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About ednaz

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    Northern Virginia

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  1. Sounds like you were at least smiling, and often grinning throughout the review process. Exciting news.
  2. "Dynamic range compression and poor recordings are facts of life that no bit rate, bit depth, or sample rate can overcome. Listening to Metallica's Death Magnetic or the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Californication at 24 bit / 192 kHz just can't make them sound better. They are crushed to death. Period." Amen. There are some bands, and some electronica, that I no longer buy at 14/44, only at Apple compressed 256. I've listened to music from a couple of bands I like at CD quality and Apple Compressed. The DR compression completely wipes out any and all nuance. I just checked my recollection... the MC5's live album has an average DR of 11. The Amboy Dukes, 10. They've got way more dynamic range than half the contemporary releases today, and believe me, they were a hell of a lot louder live, besides. You also mention Neal saying LP is 100% of the information. I stopped with vinyl a long time ago, since quite often it becomes 110% of the information, because besides the music, it includes the life story of the vinyl platter itself in pops and clicks. No matter how OCD my cleaning process albums acquired non-musical noise.
  3. I'm with you on this. Many audio media outlets have a standing policy of only publishing positive reviews. Sometimes mixed reviews (I can remember that the Yggy DAC got mixed reviews in a couple of places, generally super positive on listening and not so positive on measurements). But they avoid negative reviews, because silence doesn't threaten ad revenue like a bad review would. And after a few decades as a consumer, and as a consultant to a lot of well regarded companies, I know for certain that no company produces nothing but great products, so over time, with the accumulation of products that weren't great... no advertisers. I've seen the evidence of the "no bad reviews" policy. I've watched as some of the media report on what they've got in the review cycle, and then a review never comes out. They wouldn't comment on why, just that they'd decided to not review a product. I'm also sure that any single component's review is highly dependent on the other component's used in the review process. In a case like this, the bad review wouldn't make me run away, particularly if I'd heard the headphones myself and liked them, but it certainly would make me absolutely want to try the product with the gear I'd use with it. It's altogether possible that, for no easily discernible reason, these headphones had a hate/hate relationship with this reviewer's gear. Twice in my life I've had two very well reviewed products, that I'd heard in different systems, sound great in those listening environments but sound awful together. A few years back I upgraded my integrated amp and it made my system sound flat, dull, and muddy - I'd listened to that integrated with four different speakers at the specialty audio retailer - just not MY speakers (since they didn't carry them). Those speakers had sounded great with the two different integrated amps I'd owned over the years before, from two different brands. So for all of those bemoaning a negative review of headphones they think are amazing - first, think hard about whether you'd rather have people NOT review stuff that they thought was bad, or whether you'd rather have the caution flag raised to warn you to insist on your own testing. And second, if these headphones sound fantastic to you, it just may be that your system is perfectly suited to them... and then this review should caution you that if you decide to upgrade some component or another, you should only do so after YOU test.
  4. Sigh. Looking at the Cobalt and Red, then looking at my on site photography laptop which when I travel is usually my system (relatively new MacBook Pro used for field processing images to show the client) with its USB-C ports. And my phone... USB-C. My tablet - Lightning port. Unfortunately the world of ports is in flux right now. I blame Apple for a lot of this. Since I started using Apple stuff for tablet and laptop (employer requirement) way back when, I've had a Bag-O-Dongles. Dongles to connect laptops or tablets to any of the various ports on video projectors. Others to connect HDMI, memory cards, USB to tablet. But the Android world has jumped to USB C now. I've got dongles and adapters from everything to everything. I think it's the actual profit model for Apple. Once I start visualizing a cable and dongle or adapter for connection to phone or tablet or laptop... Grrrrrr.
  5. It's difficult to get to compare active speakers. The big box stores tend to carry only one or two that are above junque level, so I had to fall back on looking at reviews by reviewers who seemed to hear the same things I hear when reviewing gear I own, with a price ceiling that represents sanity, and the fact that the speakers I was getting weren't going to be my primary setup. That got me to a short list. Then when I said, gotta be a Roon endpoint, I only had one choice - KEF LSX. Based on how good those little guys sound, I'd love to find a way to try out the big brothers, the LS50s, in our main listening room, before I start trying to sell stuff.
  6. Absolutely agree on sometimes you can get joy (and make accommodations for joy) from a large speaker system. I had a double-Advent system for years in a range of small student and broke actor apartments for years. But while I know it's not a popular opinion, I do believe that in general, there's an optimal speaker size for spaces. Our place in NJ was huge in cubic feet - really high ceilings, open side walls. Along with long and wide floor measurements. We had GoldenEar Triton 2 speakers, traded up to the Triton 1, and it was amazing how they filled out the space with sound even better than before. (FYI, my enthusiasm for the speakers is the shape of the bass output... I've always had a thing for speakers that do bass in an open baffle or similar pattern...) When we moved to our new place in VA, while the T1 sounded great, they're not being used anywhere near their full potential. The new space is rectangular with a 12 foot, not 30 foot, ceiling, not t-shaped with open sides. In our NJ space, the T2 had the bass amps set to 2/3... and landing alien ships rattled the dishes in the kitchen. The T1 in the old place was set to about half. The built in woofer amps are set to well below a third of max in our new place. Helped a neighbor set up her new T3 speakers in her house, and she agreed to let me try them in our space. Damn, they were perfect. The bass could still rattle your innards, the amp was a hair above middle, and everything else - upper bass, mids, and highs, didn't sound terribly different other than all the drivers seemed to be working in their sweet spot at normal listening volume. Every speaker I've ever owned was tested at quiet background levels, and dance like no one is watching levels, and if they didn't do both well, I passed. But... I think that for speakers, there's some kind of optimal space and stress level. Maybe less true with designs that radiate everything to the front.
  7. I can attest to the quality of the powered network speakers. We needed something for our small living room for morning music and dining room background. Just picked up a set of KEF LSX - had been looking at single box all in one stereo setups like the Dynaudio Music 7, but they all took up a lot of space in a small room. (Small enough that whatever we chose had to sit on one of the side tables - at an angle about 3 feet of separation.) The LSX pair takes up VERY little table space. The bass is surprisingly good, without any DSP. Had a sub I thought I might use, but won't... will be selling it now. Sound quality is good enough, streaming wifi from our house media server, that if there's one more downsize in our future, these will be our audio system. Picked them up for $840 - open box, and they were the green color, which apparently is the least favorite color, the audio place couldn't sell them. We've got green in the rug, and in the curtains...so that's a nice sounding system for $840. We replaced an old DAC in our bedroom (that cost me almost $800 way back when I bought it) that had a USB drive plugged into it with an Allo Boss that takes streams from the house server. Sounds better than the old DAC. About a quarter of the size. And we just replaced our monster music server (full size tower) with an Intel NUC running headless, and a small RAID 1 direct attached storage. The table that used to be devoted to the music server, mouse, keyboard, monitor, now is devoted to flowers.
  8. At 260 pounds per speaker, he'll need those friends to help him move them around. Little locking casters, screwed in where the spikes will go, would be quite a useful customer nicety. Once you find the location, mark and swap spikes for casters.
  9. You may have seen me say earlier that because a space is hard to model using traditional acoustic engineering tools, simply means you fall back to ear. I'm on patents based on formal verification (which includes the most nightmarish math I've ever hated), number theory, and algorithmically driven computer code translation. So I'm not afraid of the math... just very cognizant that sometimes the math can suck because it isn't founded on certain necessary conditions. A few times, the higher math breakthroughs came from real wizards (I'm a catalyst, not a wizard) listening to intuitive experts talk about how they do their work. Attempts to model analog insights. Still, in memory of the anniversary of Apollo 11... we sent a few tons of metal gear and humans off the earth, sitting on top of extremely high explosive devices, and then landed two of them on the moon while their onboard computers (and that last word is very, very kind) spit multiple errors and rebooted every minute during the final approach. The analog computers that sit above our shoulders are amazing things. They fixed all the digital computer failures. Sit and grill some experts on super-computing, and they'll tell you that they'll all suck (by comparison to our brains) until they're based on analog computer technology. There are new video technologies called "event cameras"... that are basically video sensors based on analog pixels. They can make nice normal videos. And can then view the same images at rates much higher than 5000 frames per second. Locating these speakers in this space will be easiest using analog computers based on meat. Bet you that we hear that what he learned optimizing the TAD speakers contributed in some way.
  10. The asymmetry and angled ceiling do make it an interesting math engineering problem, which is why that's probably not the right approach. Our last place had multiple ceiling heights, from 12 feet to nearly 3 stories, with a "flying bridge" (open balcony hallway) across the back, with another 12 feet behind it. Open one side, closed the other. First moved speakers around to get it to sound best as it was, then started with experimenting with absorption and diffusion. Found that a nice display of thick, heavy Tibetan and Indian rugs on the railing of the flying bridge, hanging down to cover the whole front, completely transformed the sound. (and was quite nice looking...) Everything else was tweaky. The pitched ceilings aren't necessarily bad. The best sounding studio I've ever been in - the recording sessions sounded LOVELY when in the room - was Rudy Van Gelder's asymmetrical beamed wood pyramid. Good enough that the room was part of most albums recorded there. I've got a friend who's built out or refurbed recording studios, in search of that live sound. He did big movable walls initially, and found that asymmetrical spaces sounded better than symmetrical ones, and finished two studios by tweaking the walls so that there were no parallels. Hard to reverse engineer a pyramid ceiling, though.
  11. Damn, those crates! That's going to be a hell of a test of friendship finding someone who can store them. Know anyone who runs a storage business? I take continuing abuse from my family because I have every box (with all contents) for all the camera gear I own, and for all the audio gear acquired in the last decade. I've done a couple of upgrades in the last few years, and always make a huge point (to the point of my wife saying STFU about it...) of having the boxes and packing material. It definitely increases sales prices, and definitely makes me more relaxed about whether stuff is properly packed for shipping. Those speakers are huge. I'll be interested to see how the work in your new listening space. I upgraded from GoldenEar Triton 2 to Triton Reference in our NJ home - where the listening area was large end to end and side to side, ceilings a couple stories up. In our new place, with lower ceilings and one long room, without being open on each side, the speakers are noticeably overkill.
  12. I've had people scroll through my library (or back in the physical media world, my shelves of LPs and CDs) and in frustration ask me whether it's a library for multiple people. About the only thing I don't listen to is opera, and that's not even a hard and fast rule.
  13. Yep, it was the Adelphi. Damn, sad to hear it's drifted, although that's consistent with the path of high end audio in the US. Hardly any good specialist shops left except in the largest cities, and a fraction of what there used to be. I do remember that many of the shops were too small for the speakers they had even then (1998).
  14. Bravo on posting your playlist. I think that the music used to make judgments can influence the results. Not a negative - it influences the results to match YOUR preferred music. A long time ago, I moved to Singapore for a bit and left my audio gear in the US so I needed to buy a whole system. They had a wonderful mall that was four floors of high end audio gear. Most of the shops small, four or five brands. I had a handful of CDs that were my playlist. I had a written guide - this disk, these two tracks, that disk, this one track. I always let the shop use their playlist initially, but once I heard how different my playlist made the gear sound, I realized that the shops' playlists were selected to show off their gear best. After a half dozen shops, my rule was, my playlist only. Interesting results. A few shops, the owner went downcast seeing my CDs. In one case, he said "you won't like anything here, I know this". In a couple of shops, the owners broke into huge grins. In a couple of cases, they whipped out disks of music I love, that could well have been on my playlist. Guess what? Everything I bought came from those shops. Since then, I've kept track of what reviewers say they listened to. Funny... those who did rave reviews of gear I owned called out music that I enjoyed. Most reviews you get piecemeal info. Posting the playlist ROCKS because it simplifies things. Unfortunately, I think I'm going to love your playlist, and a new DAC at this price range is not likely in my immediate future...
  15. I see a lot of people talking about disappointment about added EQ and reverb. I've spent a fair amount of time in quite a few recording studios - inside where the musicians are, and then listening in the control room after takes. Most studio environments are incredibly dry sounding. Unpleasantly dry, and artificial sounding. We really don't hear pure instruments in any real world setting, it's always instruments in a space. Extremely common to "wet up" the recording with reverb. A lot of effort when building out recording studios goes into absorbing sound to minimize bleed and crosstalk problems. They engineer away the space so that it's not part of the recording. Very few studios are designed for that little bit of liveliness that makes things sound alive. Rudy Van Gelder's studio in NJ is an exception - he designed the space so that it would be a little bit alive. I've been inside during sessions and it's so much more pleasant sounding than most studios. Chesky's albums sound different because he's recording in spaces with their own reverb characteristics. The rooms are as much a part of the recording as the musical instruments.
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