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Paul R

What is "better" sound to you?

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Why is the sound of one device better than the other? Is it because it has more detail? Less distortion? Better frequency balance? Something else? That is a much tougher question to answer than it would seem to be on the surface.

 

In one of the threads I have been reading, SAL1950 posted:

Dynamics and low distortion = detail.

God is in the details.
;)

Paul Klipsch had it 90% right by 1946

 

That resonated with a lot of people.

 

Personally, I don't like the sound of Klipsch speakers, and have not since around 1977 when I first heard them. (Okay, they did and still do sound great in movie theaters...) But the point is, to me, whatever KlipschHorns do to the sound - for me, it does not make the sound better. But it is not arguable that for a lot of people, Klipsch horns do produce much better sound.

 

Then there is Chris' review of the Aurender W20 has engendered discussion of what makes for better sound. I am still considering his findings on that one, though I am sure they are both accurate and torturously honest.

Listening to Doug MacLeod's There's A Time at 24/176.4 from the Aurender W20 enables one to hear this recording to the fullest. The recording space, air around Doug's voice and guitar, and sense of realism that can be heard in this wonderfully engineered album are astounding.

 

Chris points out in his review that the Aurender W20 shows up the limitations of the C.A.P.S. music server as a source. Given that the C.A.P.S. is not only good as a music source, it is very good, that is saying something. I am not sure exactly what he is hearing that makes the W20 sound better though.

 

Finally, Paul McGown published an interesting take on voicing equipment in his blog today. Coincidentally or not, it echoes a lot of the subjects being discussed on CA now. One point in particular resonated with me. In talking about a PreAmp they designed, they accidentally discovered that putting a bigger power supply in it improved the sound. Exactly how it improved, I do not know.

In later years we discovered it was the lower impedance of the thicker wire that made the improvement to the sound, but even to this day we’ve not been able to measure anything performance wise that displays a difference.

 

It certainly resonated with me, and made me ask once again, what makes the sound better?

 

Feel free to post your thoughts on the subject here, and certainly there is no "right" or "wrong" answers about what makes you like or dislike a particular sound!

 

-Paul


Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Wow.......lots of views and no replies? Hmmmmmmm

 

Well let me break the ice here.

 

'Better' sound? Not a subjective question really so I'll avoid a subjective response.

Full frequency spectrum is essential....flat +/- 3db from 20hz to 20khz.

Low distortion products across the board

A noise floor of the system that's below the ambient noise floor of the space

Dynamic capabilities to 110db peaks when called for.

Constant directivity from 500hz and up.

A controlled reverberant field.

Balanced power response.

Good recordings to feed the above.

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Finally, Paul McGown published an interesting take on voicing equipment in his blog today. Coincidentally or not, it echoes a lot of the subjects being discussed on CA now. One point in particular resonated with me. In talking about a PreAmp they designed, they accidentally discovered that putting a bigger power supply in it improved the sound. Exactly how it improved, I do not know.

I always use larger power supplies than necessary, and preferably a separate PSU for each channel where possible, with vastly improved low noise and low Z regulated power to amplifier front ends. In DACs I try to use separate transformers and PSU PCBs for both the digital and analogue areas too. I would expect that the audible improvements would be difficult to measure though.

Even seemingly silly little touches, such as ensuring that 0 volt PSU leads are of similar low resistance to both channels, despite one channel perhaps being located at twice the distance from the PSU PCBs in a high quality Class A preamp can result in a worthwhile SQ improvement. I tried that in a Class A preamp which had spare 0 volt terminals available at the amplifier module and the PSU PCB , when I tried adding an additional parallel wire to the further away module. Did I expect any audible improvement ? Of course not ! It didn't seem to make much sense when both 0 volt leads were already at least 7.5A rated

I am also reminded of John Swenson's obvious embarrassment at not being able to explain perceived SQ improvements when he connected up the little Kelvin Sense PCB to his new low noise and well regulated linear PSU for the Mac Mini.

 

Alex


How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 28-06-2020

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Wow.......lots of views and no replies? Hmmmmmmm

 

Well let me break the ice here.

 

'Better' sound? Not a subjective question really so I'll avoid a subjective response.

Full frequency spectrum is essential....flat +/- 3db from 20hz to 20khz.

Low distortion products across the board

A noise floor of the system that's below the ambient noise floor of the space

Dynamic capabilities to 110db peaks when called for.

Constant directivity from 500hz and up.

A controlled reverberant field.

Balanced power response.

Good recordings to feed the above.

 

(Grin) I forgot to add the poll I intended to add. :)

 

Can you expand just a little on what you mean by a controlled reverberant sound field? Are you talking room acoustics or the design of the speaker?

 

Yours,

-Paul


Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Better music? It must be visceral to be better.

 

How? Dynamics (high sensitivity speakers, lots of speed from the drivers, and able to push huge volumes of air effortlessly). I want to feel the music when it isn't loud and I want the system to always seem like it has more in the wings if needed.

 

So said the man with eight 15" drivers and two large AMT tweeters that have a surface area of 8" drivers each. Moving air with ease and speed is where it is at for me…

 

Best,

John

 

P.S. Everything else matters, too, like room treatments, etc etc etc…but without the dynamics and moving lots of air, the magic doesn't happen and I don't have that visceral reaction of pleasure when the music plays.


Positive emotions enhance our musical experiences.

 

Synology DS213+ NAS -> Auralic Vega w/Linear Power Supply -> Auralic Vega DAC (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> XLR -> Auralic Taurus Pre -> XLR -> Pass Labs XA-30.5 power amplifier (on 4" maple and 4 Stillpoints) -> Hawthorne Audio Reference K2 Speakers in MTM configuration (Symposium Jr HD rollerball isolation) and Hawthorne Audio Bass Augmentation Baffles (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> Bi-amped w/ two Rythmic OB plate amps) -> Extensive Room Treatments (x2 SRL Acoustics Prime 37 diffusion plus key absorption and extensive bass trapping) and Pi Audio Uberbuss' for the front end and amplification

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When I tap my toes or get a strong emotional response then that dictates good sound for me. Then the question is what causes these responses? I know it's not Energy speakers hooked to Classe amps. I thought my ears were frying. I get more pleasure from my analog rig because the music is more coherent and/or flows better. What measurement is that? I also like Linn/NAIM systems more than anything else I have heard. PRAT?

 

I do enjoy the couple of SACDs I have (DSOTM and Heathen by Bowie) so I am looking at upgrading to dsd capability.

 

I am not sure I can hear most, if not all, the items listed by Mayhem. Coherency and flow are it for me.


QNAP TS453Pro w/QLMS->Netgear Switch->Netgear R7800 Router->Ethernet (50 ft)->Netgear switch->SBT->iFi xDSD->Linn Majik-IL (preamp)->Linn 2250->Linn Keilidh; Control Points: Squeeze Commander (DroidX) & iPeng (iPad Air); Also: Rega P3-24 w/ DV 10x5; OPPO 103; PC Playback: Foobar2000 & JRiver; Portable: Sony NWZ_ZX1 & ZX2 w/ PHA-3; SMSL IQ, Fiio Q5, iFi Nano iDSD BL; Garage: Edifier S1000DB Active Speakers  Wish List: New DAC,  SBT replacement; Dream system: Linn EXACT or ATC Active or Big Tubes (KR or Nagra or Shindo or ...)

 

My goal is to use appliances and take home PC out of the chain...

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I agree with the previous poster that good sound primarily involves an emotional response to the music. More important than impressive specifications is what is often referred to as "musicality". IMO, much of today's high end equipment, in its quest for ultimate resolution, produces sound that induces listening fatigue after a short while. I find this to be true of far too many expensive speakers that I have listened to at RMAF the last few years. In contrast, Paul, I believe that perhaps the main reason you like the Advent speakers so much is because they don't suffer from that characteristic.

 

To me, good sound especially involves capturing the true timbre of instruments, such as the wood as well as the metal strings of an acoustic guitar. Rhythm and pace are other fundamentals of music that, IMO, are far more important than extreme detail. The latter, when excessive, can often can end up sounding analytic, the antithesis of becoming involved with or connected to the music.


"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted"- William Bruce Cameron

 

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In the mid 80s I was spending a lot of time working on stereos. Building and modifying equipment. My brother caught the bug to. Once, when our elderly father was out for a visit, he was interested in coming to the high end shop that I did some of the mods for, to get a better understanding. He was hard of hearing. We went to the back room, the one with typically just a single system in it, and put an LP on. The shop tech had just made some very inexpensive interconnects (20 or so feet long) wih twisted tefzel wire wrap wire, that he was ABing with the MIT cables that tended to share top billing with Cardas in the room. The cheap interconnect was sounding awfully good. My dad was sitting the sweet spot, with a a smile on his face. We switched to the MIT and replayed the cut. "That sounded more like a violin, did that wire make a difference?" My brother and I still scratch our heads about that. I don't think he heard anything over 2500 hz.

 

It's a hard question, what sounds better? Talented designers have a pretty clear grasp on the sound they want. Based on what's important to them. I've yet to hear a a system that did everything perfectly, there's always trade offs, and this is where that question becomes the most relevant.

 

First thing, I don't want to be aware of the speakers at all. I don't want to have any sense of where they are located. (This is, unfortunately, often not possible with some recordings.) I'm willing to sacrifice some timbal accuracy, but really want to get micro dynamics right, and also willing to have some compression, but not much. Coherence, the complete sense of what is making the sound--the way the overtones emit from the right place, the palpability of a singers voice, that's better sound to me. On a good recording, I want the musicians right I the room with me, and in a great recording, I want to be right in the room with them.

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PRAT for me :)

Well wearing those sunglasses all the time indoors...


Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Agreed. More specifically, micro dynamic shading. IME, it is the first thing to go when something is off.

PRAT for me :)

Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

DSD>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>"Naked" Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

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(Grin) I forgot to add the poll I intended to add. :)

 

Can you expand just a little on what you mean by a controlled reverberant sound field? Are you talking room acoustics or the design of the speaker?

 

Yours,

-Paul

 

Sure

 

John touched on some points that relate to control. On the system side, where midbass and bass in concerned, impulse or step response is going to define the sound. Six to eight inch woofers although sold as such, well, aren't really bass producing machines and ports that produce the lower octaves aren't controlled at all but simply resonate at a desired frequency. In both cases, the content being reproduced is a bit reverberant or 'sloppy' to some degree. When larger drivers capable of moving more air are used in a system where either the woofers suspension is controlled or the box is removed altogether combined with high motor strength......the low frequency resolution improves dramatically with less induced reverberance. Add room treatments for modal response anomolies and the improvements extend even farther. Ceilings are tough and responsible for most of the mechanical room issues where bass is concerned as bass is non directional. There's ways to cheat that system somewhat, bit usually have low WAF.

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Why is the sound of one device better than the other
simple the device being listened to, #1 meets the expectations of the listener,and since we humans are all created a little differently in our likes and dislikes we have a personal choice #2 it meets their limitations of their wallet. NEXT

The Truth Is Out There

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Timing should be considered as well.


My System TWO SPEAKERS AND A CHAIR

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I agree with the previous poster that good sound primarily involves an emotional response to the music. More important than impressive specifications is what is often referred to as "musicality". IMO, much of today's high end equipment, in its quest for ultimate resolution, produces sound that induces listening fatigue after a short while. I find this to be true of far too many expensive speakers that I have listened to at RMAF the last few years. In contrast, Paul, I believe that perhaps the main reason you like the Advent speakers so much is because they don't suffer from that characteristic.

Generally warm and blurry sounding gear is preferred by majority of the folks in the world because they have unhealthy body and ears. When ears are not healthy, they will convert sound from high frequencies into "distortion". Today most fancy manufacturers design and produce audio gear to "blur" the sound, so that unhealthy people can hear music without sounding rough or distorting and fatiguing. Ears play large part of this game, probably more than the audio gears.

 

To me, good sound especially involves capturing the true timbre of instruments, such as the wood as well as the metal strings of an acoustic guitar.

What you are saying is you want true sound? Not a fake mechanical sounding but true sound like in reality? That can be done by upgrading power cables. ;) And if you go high end power cables it will go beyond real life, several steps closer to heaven. No I am not joking.

 

 

Rhythm and pace are other fundamentals of music that, IMO, are far more important than extreme detail. The latter, when excessive, can often can end up sounding analytic, the antithesis of becoming involved with or connected to the music.

Not necessarily true. Extreme detail is a good thing, and is very revealing. The extra details also promote larger soundstage, more 3-dimensionality. Stock cables provide more details than the fancy expensive aftermarket cables. A lot of higher end cables blur the sound just like the same way audio receivers and amps do. As a result you lose out detail.

 

It's easy to blur the sound to reduce fatigue. But it's difficult to increase detail and crisp sound without fatigue. 99% of manufacturers can't / don't have a clue to do it.

 

The ultimate sound by definition is to have the following:

 

- Dynamic Contrast

- Detail: Macro and Micro Detail

- True Timbre

- Multiple Dimensional sound (alien level from another planets, and yes, better than original recording and the file itself)

- Maximum Transparency (nakedness) without sounding harsh

- Some Openness / Airiness / Attack and Decay

- Musical elements separation (this also promotes more detail and textures)

- Cleanness and liquid smoothness without loss of detail

 

 

And speaking to other users here, no, loudness using high volume doesn't dictate sound quality. That's quantity, huge difference. Loud boomy bass and loud sound is for the parties for young folks.

 

;)

 

 

bunny


 

  • Windows PC + Creative EMU0404 USB DAC w/ stock USB cable
  • Focal CMS 65 speakers
  • Very hyper-end Power cables for all components

 

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Why is the sound of one device better than the other?

Is it because it has more detail?

Less distortion?

Better frequency balance?

Something else?

That is a much tougher question to answer than it would seem to be on the surface.

 

 

Technology is but a means to an end.

 

I do think we hear differently and thus have different preferences.

Probably caused by a combination of: room, experience and training.

 

 

I'll break My Personal view and preference down for you.

 

 

Where?

 

I want the musicians right there in my living room, i.e.:

 

- Holographic imaging

- Completely natural sound

- No traces of the real room

- No traces of the system

 

OK, that's the ideal state of things.

 

 

What?

 

- The room and the rig needs to play together as one instrument.

- The sweet spot need to be rater wide as I'm a sociable guy.

- Allow the best possible music source

 

Rig.

 

- Full frequency system (20hz to 20khz minimum)

- Frequency and impulse response adopted to best possible in the room.

- Low total system distortion

- Low total system noise

- As many channels/speakers as possible.

- Wide imaging speakers / excellent directivity within +/- 30 deg. horizontal / +/- 20 deg. vertical

- Minimum resonance and difraction (no square speakers)

 

Room

 

- Good placement of speakers and listeners

- Small enough to tame lower freq.

- Dimensions sufficiently different to distribute resonances.

- First reflections absorbed and/or sufficient delayed

- Bass absorbing furniture, shelves and treatment

 

 

How?

 

Rig.

 

- Designed to be a system by experts/manufacturer

- Using DSP to design optimum frequency & impulse response and timing

- Digital files as prime source - surround preferred.

- Fully Active & Digital Design: One DAC - per One AMP - per One driver

- Co-axial mids and high drivers in directivity waveguide for perfect imaging

 

Room

 

- Soft furniture only.

- Lots of shelves with records, books and stuff.

- Rugs on the floor.

- Rear wall half open to distribute low freq. resonances.

 

 

Your preferences may lead you to entirely different Rigs & Rooms.

Hence, I don't think there is a straight answer to your question.

 

Most of the industry hates or ignores my preferences and findings.

May they rest in peace.


Find my blog: “Confessions of a DigiPhile” at http://www.computeraudiophile.com/blogs/digipete

ALAC 16/44 - 24/192 stereo/surround on Promise Pegasus2 R6 12TB -> Thunderbolt -> MacBook Pro 2,2Ghz Core i7 120GB SSD 16GB RAM

iTunes / Pure Music / Amarra HiFi / Bit Perfect / Audirvana + / Decibel / VLC

-> Firewire -> Weiss AFI-1 DDC -> AES/EBU -> Genelec 3 x 8260A + 2 x 8250A + 7271A sub

DragonFly / iPhone 6 -> Sennheiser Amperior / Etymotic RE-4PT

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20105elmer_fudd2.jpeg

(grin)

 

I might have to put up my shotgun, that was for the most part, really well thought out Bunny. :)


Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Generally warm and blurry sounding gear is preferred by majority of the folks in the world because they have unhealthy body and ears. When ears are not healthy, they will convert sound from high frequencies into "distortion". Today most fancy manufacturers design and produce audio gear to "blur" the sound, so that unhealthy people can hear music without sounding rough or distorting and fatiguing. Ears play large part of this game, probably more than the audio gears.

 

 

What you are saying is you want true sound? Not a fake mechanical sounding but true sound like in reality? That can be done by upgrading power cables. ;) And if you go high end power cables it will go beyond real life, several steps closer to heaven. No I am not joking.

 

 

 

Not necessarily true. Extreme detail is a good thing, and is very revealing. The extra details also promote larger soundstage, more 3-dimensionality. Stock cables provide more details than the fancy expensive aftermarket cables. A lot of higher end cables blur the sound just like the same way audio receivers and amps do. As a result you lose out detail.

 

It's easy to blur the sound to reduce fatigue. But it's difficult to increase detail and crisp sound without fatigue. 99% of manufacturers can't / don't have a clue to do it.

 

The ultimate sound by definition is to have the following:

 

- Dynamic Contrast

- Detail: Macro and Micro Detail

- True Timbre

- Multiple Dimensional sound (alien level from another planets, and yes, better than original recording and the file itself)

- Maximum Transparency (nakedness) without sounding harsh

- Some Openness / Airiness / Attack and Decay

- Musical elements separation (this also promotes more detail and textures)

- Cleanness and liquid smoothness without loss of detail

 

 

And speaking to other users here, no, loudness using high volume doesn't dictate sound quality. That's quantity, huge difference. Loud boomy bass and loud sound is for the parties for young folks.

 

;)

 

 

bunny

 

So do you have a prescription for my unhealthy ears?

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You must have been smart enough to stay out of that thread!

So do you have a prescription for my unhealthy ears?

Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

DSD>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>"Naked" Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

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Extreme detail is a good thing, and is very revealing. The extra details also promote larger soundstage, more 3-dimensionality. Stock cables provide more details than the fancy expensive aftermarket cables. A lot of higher end cables blur the sound just like the same way audio receivers and amps do. As a result you lose out detail.

bunny

 

To me, detail can become a problem when it doesn't jibe with the soundstage presentation. If I am listening to a singer and a chamber orchestra, and I have the volume set so that it is about as loud as it should be given the recording's perspective, I don't want to hear a level of detail that tells me that I am a foot away from the string section. This is all part of the "coherence" that I mentioned earlier. Don't get me wrong, it isn't that I don't like detail, but systems (and recordings often do this) that have a spotlight quality, allowing one to hear an abnormal level of detail, harm the illusion of being in the same space as the performers. I am lucky enough to hear live, unamplified music fairly regularly, and want to recreate that quality.

 

But this is just MY listening bias. I know some people really want every last detail, and some want every bit of dynamism; they are no more right or wrong than I am in their desires. Luckily, there are good systems out there for all of us.

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I was recently listening to a friend’s system.

In the realm of ‘great’ systems, this one has always held a V high placement on my short list of the one’s I have heard & consider ‘reference’ systems. This may seem counter-intuitive when one considers this rig consists of a single 3-1/2 inch paper-cone driver in each speaker driven by 50 year old 14 peak watt tube powered electronics.

 

Why would such a system consistently leave me in such high regard of its performance? It certainly is not blowing me away with its wide, huge, rumbling macro dynamics. No super tweeter, spine-tingling highs. Definitely not the throbbing, tsunami generating low end. Especially when the bottom end does not realistically go much below 60Hz even when you optimistically factor in the gain you might get from room effect placement. In fact, when you compare the hardware in this system against any of the others on my list of ‘reference’ systems you might see it as a blatant error or possibly the perceptions of a fool [i will allow consideration of this last possibility off-line, please].

 

But for me, perception is what it is all about. A subjective sense that all is right with the world; if even for just a few minutes.

 

You can have your measured 5-zero signal-to-noise ratio, your mass loaded, 5 driver cabinets of resonant-cancelling unobtainium which requires a small fork-lift to move them, along with a perfectly timed, zero jitter DAC with its ytterbium atomic clock.

 

In fact, it may just be the simplicity of this flea watt system that is its most critical characteristic. There is so little between it & the music. What is physically there is similar in economy to the Wright bros’ first flying machines. Consider the parts count of one of their early planes to that of an Airbus A340. They both fly, most of the time, anyway. But when it comes to making a heavier-than-air machine defy the laws of gravity…….one accomplishes the V same task in a much simpler & frugal fashion.

 

I like to consider the use of a single driver, its practicality & the pure ‘righteousness’ of it. Like a perfectly matched key for the most precise lock. When you start adding drivers you must carefully control when one driver begins to drop off in its frequency generation & the adjacent driver begins to pick up its generation of sound. This is the crossover point. And for every driver that is included to handle just one region of the total frequency spectrum, so too must a crossover be added to facilitate a smooth transition between. Easier said than done. And like most things, to do it right typically is not inexpensive. Many speakers also have this crossover point at frequencies that are difficult to handle. For example, the frequency range of the human voice is centered at around 1000 Hz, and covering a range from around 200 Hz to 3 KHz. Putting a crossover in this region is quite dicey & easily detected when poorly executed, weather due to price point constraint or simply poor engineering. And the more drivers you have spread across the spectrum the more crossovers are required. And every time an instrument produces frequencies that must pass through the crossover transition the more likely your ear is to notice unrealistic characteristics of the sound.

 

This is the reason you find many V good two-way speakers. The design is simpler than three-way & full-range speakers, & can be made to perform quite good relative to the quantity & cost of parts required when they give up trying to produce the lowest registers.

 

There are other advantages inherent to single-driver arrangements, too. Take the recent trend of coaxial drivers used in some V high-end designs. And Kef’s latest LS series utilizing their Uni-Q driver. Reducing the number drivers in a system makes good imaging & sound-staging much easier to accomplish. Again, it is matter of physics…….and the fact that sometimes, simpler is better.

 

But please, do not misunderstand me. I am in no way, shape or form implying flea-watt, single driver systems are ‘The’ answer to the audiophile’s quest. Such a system can in fact be quite limiting. What I am saying is, when executed correctly & fed a diet of less than complex & smaller scale acoustical & vocal repertoire they can bring to life such sound like you may have never heard before.

 

Getting back to the OT, it is this meager system & its ability to let the naturalness of the music & human voice just flow that never fails to amaze me. Obviously, its sweet spot is in the mids, a place where human voices & acoustical instruments spend most of their time. It was once said, “We live in the mids”. The mids account for the vast majority of what we hear in our normal lives. When a system can reproduce the sounds we are most familiar with in the most natural & realistic of ways to a level we feel as though they are genuine, that what I call ‘Better’.


Bill

 

Practicing Curmudgeon & Audio Snob

 

....just an "ON" switch, Please!

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Why is the sound of one device better than the other? Is it because it has more detail? Less distortion? Better frequency balance? Something else? That is a much tougher question to answer than it would seem to be on the surface.

 

In one of the threads I have been reading, SAL1950 posted:

Dynamics and low distortion = detail.

God is in the details.
;)

Paul Klipsch had it 90% right by 1946

 

That resonated with a lot of people.

 

Personally, I don't like the sound of Klipschorn speakers, and have not since around 1977 when I first heard them. (Okay, they did and still do sound great in movie theaters...) But the point is, to me, whatever KlipschHorns do to the sound - for me, it does not make the sound better. But it is not arguable that for a lot of people, Klipsch horns do produce much better sound.

 

Paul, I have never liked the Klipschorns either. I had a friend whose dad had a pair of the big corner horns (the original K3/5 model), and I thought they sounded dreadful. About the only saving grace that I could attribute to them was that they were incredibly efficient. We did an experiment one time where we connected one of the Klipschorn speakers to the headphone jack of a typical 6-transistor radio of the early 1960's. The SPL ran us out of the room! The speakers sounded tinny with little bass (due to the radio, I hasten to add, not the speakers!), but that <100 mW was really loud (the speakers were advertised as being 50% efficient!). They were also gorgeously finished pieces of furniture and were really impressive looking. They produced prodigious bass for the time (I believe they could produce decent output below 30 Hz), but that bass was also incredibly boomy, and the speakers were very slow and did transients very poorly, and had a very screechy top end from a OEM ElectroVoice compression tweeter driver coupled to an exponential horn. More modern Klipsch speakers like the Heresy, I can't comment on because I've never heard them.

 

I've been behind the screen in lots of movie theaters, on both the east and the west coasts, and I've never seen a pair of Klipsch speakers - maybe that was a mid-west phenomenon, after all, wasn't Klipsch's works in Arkansas or some such place?

 

Anyway, when I was a teen living in Virginia, just south of D.C., they were tearing down a local movie theatre. While they were stripping out the place, I went to see if I could score some of the discarded sound equipment. I missed out on the amplifiers and the phonograph system (and I believe they had a tape deck as well in the projection booth - which I also missed out on), but I did manage to score a pair of Altec Lansing A7 "Voice of the Theater" speaker systems. They were going to throw them out. A friend and his pickup truck helped me to get them home where they literally filled my bedroom! Anyway, they too were very efficient and I could get them to play very loud with just two 18 Watt Knight-Kit mono amplifiers. I later found out that most theaters, in those days, filled up an entire theater auditorium with 25 Watts per speaker system, and wide-screen theaters generally had three speakers behind the screen. My Altec A7s, while they sounded much better than the Klipschorns of my buddy's dad, still sounded pretty bad even by the standards of the day (at the time, I think that AR3ax's were considered state-of-the-art). With 15" woofers, the A7's still struggled to get below 50 Hz, and that aluminum multi-cellular treble horn that the A7s used from about 500 Hz-up, rang like the bells of Saint Mary's! So, in those days, theater sound was nothing to write home about. But as "quirky" as the A7's were, they were still better than the Knight 12" KN-812 "full-range" speakers with "whizzer cones" in home-made bass reflex enclosures that I replaced with them!

 

On the east coast, older movie theaters had mostly Western Electric or RCA theater speaker systems, and newer theaters had Altec Lansing systems. On the West Coast most theaters had Altec Lansing systems, or so it seems.


George

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So do you have a prescription for my unhealthy ears?

 

 

In my case an icepick comes to mind, when the tinnitus is raging. Although I am told that even deaf people can have tinnitus, which is adding insult to injury.

 

 

Carry on.


In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake ~ Sayre's Law

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I was recently listening to a friend’s system.

In the realm of ‘great’ systems, this one has always held a V high placement on my short list of the one’s I have heard & consider ‘reference’ systems. This may seem counter-intuitive when one considers this rig consists of a single 3-1/2 inch paper-cone driver in each speaker driven by 50 year old 14 peak watt tube powered electronics.

 

Why would such a system consistently leave me in such high regard of its performance? It certainly is not blowing me away with its wide, huge, rumbling macro dynamics. No super tweeter, spine-tingling highs. Definitely not the throbbing, tsunami generating low end. Especially when the bottom end does not realistically go much below 60Hz even when you optimistically factor in the gain you might get from room effect placement. In fact, when you compare the hardware in this system against any of the others on my list of ‘reference’ systems you might see it as a blatant error or possibly the perceptions of a fool [i will allow consideration of this last possibility off-line, please].

 

But for me, perception is what it is all about. A subjective sense that all is right with the world; if even for just a few minutes.

 

You can have your measured 5-zero signal-to-noise ratio, your mass loaded, 5 driver cabinets of resonant-cancelling unobtainium which requires a small fork-lift to move them, along with a perfectly timed, zero jitter DAC with its ytterbium atomic clock.

 

In fact, it may just be the simplicity of this flea watt system that is its most critical characteristic. There is so little between it & the music. What is physically there is similar in economy to the Wright bros’ first flying machines. Consider the parts count of one of their early planes to that of an Airbus A340. They both fly, most of the time, anyway. But when it comes to making a heavier-than-air machine defy the laws of gravity…….one accomplishes the V same task in a much simpler & frugal fashion.

 

I like to consider the use of a single driver, its practicality & the pure ‘righteousness’ of it. Like a perfectly matched key for the most precise lock. When you start adding drivers you must carefully control when one driver begins to drop off in its frequency generation & the adjacent driver begins to pick up its generation of sound. This is the crossover point. And for every driver that is included to handle just one region of the total frequency spectrum, so too must a crossover be added to facilitate a smooth transition between. Easier said than done. And like most things, to do it right typically is not inexpensive. Many speakers also have this crossover point at frequencies that are difficult to handle. For example, the frequency range of the human voice is centered at around 1000 Hz, and covering a range from around 200 Hz to 3 KHz. Putting a crossover in this region is quite dicey & easily detected when poorly executed, weather due to price point constraint or simply poor engineering. And the more drivers you have spread across the spectrum the more crossovers are required. And every time an instrument produces frequencies that must pass through the crossover transition the more likely your ear is to notice unrealistic characteristics of the sound.

 

This is the reason you find many V good two-way speakers. The design is simpler than three-way & full-range speakers, & can be made to perform quite good relative to the quantity & cost of parts required when they give up trying to produce the lowest registers.

 

There are other advantages inherent to single-driver arrangements, too. Take the recent trend of coaxial drivers used in some V high-end designs. And Kef’s latest LS series utilizing their Uni-Q driver. Reducing the number drivers in a system makes good imaging & sound-staging much easier to accomplish. Again, it is matter of physics…….and the fact that sometimes, simpler is better.

 

But please, do not misunderstand me. I am in no way, shape or form implying flea-watt, single driver systems are ‘The’ answer to the audiophile’s quest. Such a system can in fact be quite limiting. What I am saying is, when executed correctly & fed a diet of less than complex & smaller scale acoustical & vocal repertoire they can bring to life such sound like you may have never heard before.

 

Getting back to the OT, it is this meager system & its ability to let the naturalness of the music & human voice just flow that never fails to amaze me. Obviously, its sweet spot is in the mids, a place where human voices & acoustical instruments spend most of their time. It was once said, “We live in the mids”. The mids account for the vast majority of what we hear in our normal lives. When a system can reproduce the sounds we are most familiar with in the most natural & realistic of ways to a level we feel as though they are genuine, that what I call ‘Better’.

 

 

I was 'OK' with your subjective viewpoint on YOUR listening pleasures until you brought physics into it.

 

The advantages of a single fulrange driver with what's available today siply dont exist over even a well executed 2way speaker. You like what you like....thats ok.........but it has nothing to do with what's actually coming out of speaker.....physically. If someone would rather eat skittles instead of prime rib......that's great. But when someone says skittles are better for you, well........you gotta draw a line in the audiophile quicksands sometime.

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I'm OK....

 

Your OK. ;)


Bill

 

Practicing Curmudgeon & Audio Snob

 

....just an "ON" switch, Please!

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