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ednaz

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About ednaz

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  1. I got a set of Gradient Revolutions back in late 1999, when I was sent over to live in Asia for a couple years (so had to leave my US current components in storage at home.) Triangular shaped tower. The woofer is suspended, open air, in the bottom segment. The mid and tweeter are in a separate unit that mounts on the woofer unit, and has a cardioid radiation pattern. (speakers are forward facing, with the other two sides of the triangle open, so that there's some sound radiation there.) Got them for the reason I think the Rossi speakers sounded so good to you... that open woofer/cardioid mid and tweeter makes the speakers fairly independent of the qualities of the room. Our apartment in Singapore had hard plaster walls, with a wall of windows on one side, and marble floors. The living room dining room was two stories high on one end. The echoing was so bad that when I took a mobile call in the place, the person on the other end literally couldn't understand me. When we moved in we did what everyone does there - lots of rugs with thick padding, and we hung rugs here and there as decoration. While it made it possible to make phone calls, the place was still WAY too live. At one audio shop, I picked out a couple amps and speakers I wanted to try, and was telling the owner about the awful acoustics. He burst out laughing, and said he'd come by that evening with speakers - the ones I thought I wanted would sound horrible, all room coupling and muddy. Showed up with the Gradients, set them up near the wall at one end of the room, where you'd logically want them... and they sounded amazing. Then he moved them into different placements, and they really didn't sound much different no matter where. He then hooked up a set of more traditional speakers he'd also brought (that cost twice what the Gradients did) and there wasn't a placement that worked. Muck and boom no matter where. He was right. The Gradients stayed. I've had them in several very different rooms since then. Some well damped, some almost as bad as the Singapore place. They always sounded great. The Gradients are a bit bass shy, as the woofer is much smaller than what Rossi's using. In well damped rooms, I added a sub for the last octave. I was excited when I saw the Rossis, since speakers don't last forever and Gradient no longer has a US distributor, until I saw the price...
  2. Double amen to that. A whole lot of the anti-audiophile and anti-fancy gear arguments I see people tee up seem to firmly rest on the assumption that everyone's sensory capability is identical, and everyone's skills in using said senses are identical. "Because I can't hear a difference, there is no difference." "Bits is bits." Blah blah blah. Everyone's ears are made differently. Everyone's hearing, which involves both the ears and the brain, is made differently. I was a card-carrying musician until my mid-20s, playing all manner of brass instruments. I could tell you whether a trombone player was using a regular or large bore horn. I could reliably tell whether a brass instrument's bell was yellow or red brass, or silver, by the sound. After thousands of hours playing and listening, I developed some pretty acute hearing skills even though I wasn't gifted with great hearing talent. I have friends who can sing any note you asked them to exactly on pitch, and could tell you if a chamber orchestra was tuning to A440 or to one of the early music tunings (before everyone sat down and said, enough pitch madness...) So yeah, I hear things in music, and in my system, that lots of other people don't. Sometimes it's because they can't - not gifted with sensitive hearing - sometimes it's because they won't - they didn't put in thousands of hours training the hearing they have to the best it can be. I also know a few people who can hear differences between cables at a much finer level than I can... because they've listened to hundreds of cables, compared to my several dozen, on systems that are better able to render nuance than my systems. It's true about any senses. I know a couple of people who can take a sip of wine, and tell you what grape, what country, what region, what wine maker, and what year. I'm happy being able to tell pinot from cabernet. I've shot hundreds of thousands of photos, and when I teach in a field workshop, I hear over and over again "I was right next to you and I didn't see that picture!" Put in the work, and you might. Unless you're color blind, or have other visual differences that get in the way. I put in tens of thousands of laps on race tracks - which trains a LOT of senses - and got fast enough to get paid seats in some endurance races. But I've had students who, the first time they sat in a race car, were almost as fast as I was with all my years of training. I had skills, but they had talent... and if they developed their skills they would leave me in the dust. When people want to argue with me that it's impossible for anyone to hear a difference between cables, or between 320kps and 16/44, much less 24/192 - that all the time I put in training my hearing in fine nuances of sound and music is irrelevant because we all have the same talents and skills - I still push back a bit, with the talents/skills analogies. Once it's clear they're "my senses are as good as anyone" people, I go with: "Good for you! You'll save so much money on components and connects compared to me! You should be very happy!" Yet that's never enough. They seem to persist from some kind of need to prove that there's no value in learning and training, no differences in physical capabilities. We're all different. Because some of us choose to train different aspects of our native abilities, we get more different. I've been fortunate to have time to acquire skills to reach my personal apex in a few different areas. It has made me humbly admire the abilities of those with both talent and skills.
  3. If you love jazz piano and haven't done some deep dives into Monty's work, I have an idea for you for a full weekend... He does enough different styles of music that you COULD listen all weekend.
  4. An excellent piece of work. Amazing, in fact. By the time I got to the version comparisons, I was too buzzy with energy to read it... Went back to listen to all of the albums talked about to match them up with the story here. Spectacular "intro to Steely Dan" piece right up front. Heck, you could have stopped there and it would have made my day. Not saying that the comparisons weren't interesting, just that what came before was so dense and intense that I couldn't care about Aja until I'd gone back and checked out everything else. Talk about high engagement writing...
  5. Exactly. When HD music started to become readily available, I was unfortunate enough to have the first few HD albums I purchased be spectacularly produced and engineered. I thought, hell, I'm not buying that 256K Apple junk ever again. And screw the CD. Then I had a few things show up that were reissues of various sorts, where I owned the music on CD, or Apple's better quality compressed format. Hearing near zero difference between what I owned and the new releases on some albums and massive differences on others kicked me into analytical mode. Where I ended up was, not rebuying ANYTHING unless I can hear a sample to see if it's been well re-engineered. Interesting that's hearable on a 256k streamed sample. I also started messing with upsampling to exotic PCM levels, or to DSD. No surprise... for some albums it sounded better, for reasons I couldn't explain. (Thanks for the images, Miska... now I do understand what changes.) For some albums it sounded no different. You can't fix bad engineering with upsampling, and albums with a DR of 3 don't sound any different as an Apple AAC as-is than they do in an HD form upsampled to 4x DSD. I would guess that some things might end up sounding worse upsampled, because you could better hear annoying things. I also found that it only made a large noticeable difference on one of my systems... and not the one with the most expensive DAC, and way more with headphones than through speakers. Where I've ended up is, if I buy stuff that's a casualty in the loudness wars (my first live concert was the MC5, so yeah, I do...), I buy it in a cheap format. The good things that higher def and upsampling can do for sound just don't improve things for flat DR music- or at least not in a way I can hear. An artist I love, clumsily engineered, red book format it is. The good stuff is worth the extra cost for HD. I don't upsample what I stream from my server - only when I'm sitting down to listen deeply in, with headphones, on the one DAC where I know it matters a lot, with a local source. If I'm writing, or printing, or cooking, just living, playing through speakers in any of the four imperfect listening environments I've got, bit perfect is perfect enough. There is such a thing as "good enough."
  6. Do take a look at the photo print on acoustic panels options. Looks better than I expected by far. If you're an ambitious DIYer, you can find info on printing and then building your own acoustic panel. I'm not that ambitious. The places I found that did print covers had a library of (decent) art options for those who don't have their own work.
  7. I know it might not be a lot of fun, but it WOULD be interesting and educational to see how things measure with different components of the acoustical system installed. I don't mean putting things in and taking them out... but maybe ask Vicoustic to recommend an installation pattern from what they believe will be most impactful to least impactful, and then measure at a couple of different stages. For our family room in our new house, I had to negotiate the degree to which I included acoustic treatments with my Decorator in Chief. I had some discussions with architect friends who often design sound studios and performance spaces, to decide what to push hardest, and get some alternative suggestions where the best solution looked - um - industrial. (That's the nicest word used by the Decorator in Chief about some of the recommendations.) That led to my enthusiasm for some decorative drapes made from specific fabrics that were both acoustically and visually agreeable. And, led to me getting a few of my photographs (my part time profession) printed on acoustic panels of the right specs and sizes. Acoustic absorption was the easiest part of the negotiations. We also came to some agreement on diffusion that were pretty creative. We moved furniture around to create a couple of table top and cabinet top "sculpture gardens". We've got carved wood and cast sculptures, some pretty large, from world travels. Now we've got nice displays, not in ideal locations, but close enough. Also moved a couple large carved masks onto walls in the room for some diffusion help, where originally we were going to hang photos. We measured with ears, and the bass traps and back wall absorption (the acoustic panel photos) made huge improvements. We found one recommended bass trap had near zero value, because of a carpeted stairway right next to where it was supposed to go. The diffusion ideas were harder to notice with music, but when we did them, they DID improve my "hand clap" test results. My basement studio and printing workshop are next - a very long, somewhat narrow room, 9 foot ceiling, carpeted floor. I've got some thick Tibetan and Middle Eastern rugs I'm hanging for absorption, another thick one over the carpet up close to the speakers (carpet on concrete wasn't quite enough) and that leftover bass trap now has a home. All made much easier because the speakers I use down there are pretty insensitive to placement - open baffle (effectively dipole) woofers, cardioid mid and tweeters.
  8. Surrealistic Pillow got me into The Airplane... Volunteers and Crown of Creation made me a lifetime fan. Volunteers of America was the soundtrack in the back of my head at a number of marches and demonstrations back in the day. And unfortunately it's the soundtrack in the back of my head again at marches and demonstrations... I thought we'd finished with all that. Now I just have to figure out which version I've got on my music server...
  9. I've found voice control to be more pain than gain. Way back in the 90s I used to use voice control for my presentations at conferences (my employer had some experimental capabilities loaded on my laptop) and I was fortunate to not have horrible things happen when I was on stage. Then again, I was VERY CAREFUL in what I asked it to do, and stuck with a vocabulary that I knew was reliable. We have Alexa in our kitchen and guest rooms, and after trying a lot of different things, we use the voice stuff very, very little. Radio and shopping lists. For the longest time, if I asked Alexa to play the radio station WETA, she'd try to connect me to WetRadio (whatever that is). There was no way around it. I sent the data to Amazon, showing every way I tried to make it work... and that it worked fine with any other radio station. I worked with natural language tools, and really, that was some slick trick turning W - E - T- A into WetRadio. We use it for shopping lists, but it does weird things from time to time. Like when we were at the grocery, opened the shopping list, and found soccer testicles on the list. Whatever that is. Painful no doubt. To this day we can't reconstruct what we said that produced that. I can't begin to imagine the horrors I'd experience if I tried to use Alexa or Siri or Google voice for controlling my music library. I'd get the Monkees every time I asked for Monk.
  10. The speakers are totally insane looking. Besides the art involved, they'd make an excellent acoustics or physics of sound analysis project. Sad that it's so far away for me. I grew up in a woodworking family - my father built custom furniture, my brother was and still is a wood carver, so I have a deep appreciation for lovely wood used in lovely ways.
  11. Great review! First speaker review I've read in a long time that's going to make me seek out the speakers to listen to them. My favorite speakers have a similar sound radiation pattern and philosophy - Gradient Revolutions. Cardioid tweeter and midrange, open hung woofer. I got them during a long term assignment to Singapore, where my apartment was a total nightmare of curved walls, marble or teak floors, walls of windows. I tried several speakers and they were all horrible... but the Revolutions sounded excellent. And, sounded excellent almost without paying attention to placement. (almost...) The sweet spot was also really big. In the traditional location, yeah, it was perfectly balanced left to right etc, but off axis, it was pretty much like sitting in the side sections of a concert hall versus row H center. Over and over again, over the years, I've had people explore that, without prompting... wanting to see what they sounded like HERE, and THERE, and OVER THERE. When I came back to the US, these speakers performed beautifully no matter how imperfect the listening room. Yeah, they're light on bass, and don't reach very low. A subwoofer fixes that. I've gone through a few different speakers in the 15 years for other rooms in my home and studios, and I've not found many with the imaging and clarity and lack of fussiness of the Revolutions. I've got GoldenEar speakers for my home AV system, and they have some similar characteristics - an enormous amount of the energy that the speakers put out comes from side radiators, which (for me, YMMV) makes the sweet spot bigger, makes the sound stage rounder. My studio system is all compromises, particularly the speakers. Your review makes me think these may work.
  12. Thanks. I'm looking for something stereo that lives out on the deck, that I can get running in sync with the indoor system via Roon, since our outdoor area tends to be used fluidly with indoors. Lots of bluetooth wireless outdoor speakers, battery and otherwise. I'm less worried about battery power (whoever built my place put four AC outlets on the deck) than avoiding some weird speaker wire run. I've got a couple different portable sound alternatives. My favorite is an old Bluetooth surface transducer (BassEgg) that turns a teak side table on our deck into a very entertaining speaker with great bass.
  13. I've long known that the sound up close is way better than back where the PA system is your primary sound system. Other than for bands like Cactus or the MC5, it's also nowhere near as body-tunneling loud. That may be why despite going to several concerts a month for years and years, my hearing is still exceptionally good in my 60s. (I also used to wear earplugs when performing, monitors deafened a lot of my friends...) The one exception to that was when a few bands toured with quadrophonic sound. If you weren't back far enough to be hearing the front PA systems, the sound mixing and behavior didn't make sense at all. Oddly, the most engaging place for the quadrophonic concerts was OUTSIDE of the quad zone - music meandered or danced around in front of you then. I laughed my way through most of an ELP quadrophonic concert - they did a lot of fun stuff. The superior quality of stage sound versus PA sound is one reason I don't go to live arena or even large stage shows any more. The cost to be up close verges on obscene for most bands, and the robot buyers gut the close up ticket pool. After not enjoying a couple of very expensive concerts, I stopped going to rock concerts. With jazz concerts, they still play a lot of venues where you can sit so close you're hearing the music like you're one of the band. That's my kind of engagement. For rock, concert videos, my big screen TV and my 7.1 audio setup are just fine for me now.
  14. I keep hoping for great truly wireless speakers that I can use as my rear speakers in a 5.1 or 7.1 setup. I got the front wall problem dealt with when we built our current place, but not the rears, so they're running off of under-rug speaker cables that annoy my wife (and startle barefoot guests.) The other "truly wireless" speaker application I've been searching for is outdoor speakers.
  15. WOW, excellent stuff. 10 minutes in to the first episode I picked at random, and I've already learned five minutes of new stuff! (The rest was music...) If I ran Tidal, I'd have something like this as a feature - something that dove deeply into the library, and not just the same stuff that every music streaming service will have. Better for Tidal because the better the quality of the sound coming from the speakers, the more likely it is to produce that dopamine rush that accompanies great music. It would make sure that people NEVER drop the service because they could never afford to buy all the things they heard and loved.
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