Thread: The Audiophile Thread

  1. #126
    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    And the link is...?
    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

  2. #127
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerjo View Post
    What CDs or albums do you guys use to show off your system? I just put on Supertramp's Crime of the Century and forgot how great the dynamics where on "School".
    Having just heard this because my wife just bought it, while it's not totally m cuppa, I must admit I enjoyed classical soprano Cecilia Bartoli's latest, St. Petersburg, and it is now on my list of albums to use to demoing gear. Dynamic range huge, production overall wonderful; we cranked it, and it wa able to exemplify exactly what I telling her about dynamics and how poorly mastered albums lose them through excess compression. And, without wanting to belabour, on the Tetras, the album just soared.

    The same night we played the high res version of Crimson's Live at the Orpheum, and whether or not you think it needs three drummers...and whether or not you are pissed at it being only 41 minutes long (), cranked up it was another example of proper mastering. It sounded incredible...you almost having to lean forward to hear the quiet spots and being blown back in your chair when the group hit its peaks. Obviously the best tracks were "The Letters," "Sailor's Tale" (the build-up during Fripp's skronky banjo solo was particularly stunning, as was the build to its ultimate climax and then the low level of Rieflin"s closing mellotron chords), and "Starless" where, while it may not possess the sare rawness as 72-74 Crim, it sure managed to be stupendous when it came a to slow, inexorable build of dynamics during the first part of the instrumental section, before it kicks into high gesr with Collins' solo.

    Another record that I found particularly good was the Blu Ray high res disc in Steven Wioson remix set of XTC's Nonsuch. "The Smartest Monkey" was a particularly good track, with so much "ear candy" that is finally crystal clear.

    Cheers!
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  3. #128
    Member rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerjo View Post
    And the link is...?
    Hmmm, can't seem to locate it. Maybe it wasn't this board.

  4. #129
    Last week I listened to a $400,000 system. You know the kind with speaker cables that look like firehoses!
    It sounded really good, but in all honesty, I like the sound of my system much better. I'm into mine about 3K.

    My feeling is that the whole thing can be pretty simple. I like a variety of speaker sizes. I know everyone is crazy about a stack of 6 and 8 inch cones, but I am a big believer in having a pair of 15" speakers in the system. People can go crazy with cartridges and tonearms. The Music Hall and Goldring combo is very good for the price. For vinyl, tube amps working into high efficiency speakers are a no brainer. I like horn drivers for jazz and passive woofers as they give more detail in the low end.
    The Klipsch Forte ll is a fantastic speaker for the money. It has a passive 15 in it. I'm also a believer in silver thin stranded interconnects.

    Here's my take. A lot of the great bassists played through those old Fender cabinets that had 15s in them. Makes sense to play back through a 15. Any horn music will sound best played back through quality horn drivers. Just common sense.

    A powered subwoofer somewhere in the system will fill things in nicely on the deep as long as you don't over do it. Just bleed it in so that you just start to feel it.

    I like BIG speakers, but not necessarily played at high volume. I think you need size to get music to sound properly full.. assuming you like a live sound.

    The problem with any kind of headphones is that you won't feel the music in the body. I've done a lot of headphone listening in my life, but no phones are going to replace a quality open air system in a good room.

    The room and speaker placement is critical of course, but best to experiment. I like the speakers in the corners for bass support and usually the sweet spot for listening with be you creating the third point of a perfect triangle. That should get one in the ball park. Adjust to your ear from there. Mess with toe ing in the speakers a bit.

    Don't carpet the walls or use foam in excess. Some natural reverb with make things sound natural. People get carried away with "accuracy". Nothing is going to be completely accurate. It's an art, and a style, and each system in each room is going to be different, just as concert halls all have a different quality. This is the beauty of the experience. A little variety is ok.

    I have three systems in my home. One for very critical listening as if you are in the mixing control room. One for big full bodied concert sound in a large room with giant stacks of speakers, and another for casual listening. All professionally restored tube amps, silver interconnects and Goldrings, High efficiency cabinets.
    Last edited by Skullhead; 01-22-2015 at 02:20 AM.

  5. #130
    Member rcarlberg's Avatar
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    All good accurate observations, thanks -- with the possible exception of the "horn drivers = horn players" comment. I dunno, maybe that's a good matchup after all.

    Half million dollar stereo, huh? At some point you're better off hiring a band.

  6. #131
    I have the Oppo bdp-105 blu-Ray player w/sabre DACS, into a very old NAD amp (good cables) into Focal floor standing 3way speakers. I have All my misic on a 2 terabyte drive attached to the player, I listen to 24/96 versions of misic usually downloaded from HDTracks, and DSD files. The oppo is controlled entirely by my ipad.

    Bliss for about $3,500.
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  7. #132
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  8. #133
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerjo View Post
    What CDs or albums do you guys use to show off your system? I just put on Supertramp's Crime of the Century and forgot how great the dynamics where on "School".
    CD, Atomic Rooster, In Hearing of, and LP, Samurai 180 gram pressing.
    "Always ready with the ray of sunshine"

  9. #134
    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    All good accurate observations, thanks -- with the possible exception of the "horn drivers = horn players" comment. I dunno, maybe that's a good matchup after all.

    Half million dollar stereo, huh? At some point you're better off hiring a band.
    And a couple of hookers.
    "Always ready with the ray of sunshine"

  10. #135
    Member rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Why settle for two?

    As far as speaker testing CDs I'll mention a couple of my favorites:
    Group 87 - A Career in Dada Processing: A big bold 1980s sound with excellent dynamics
    Patricia Barber - Nightclub: Lounge jazz, acoustic, with a real sense of stage
    David Helpling - Between Green and Blue: Electronic music that hits every frequency between 20-20,000 Hz
    Flim and The BB's - Tricycle: Explores the full dynamic range capabilities of CD
    Dave Brubeck Quartet - "Far More Drums": A track that despite its age (1961) is still the most realistic recording of floor toms I've ever heard
    Ottmar Liebert - Up Close: I'll bring in one binaural recording because on speakers that pay attention to phasing the effect is amazing
    Last edited by rcarlberg; 01-22-2015 at 04:46 PM.

  11. #136
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerjo View Post
    What CDs or albums do you guys use to show off your system?
    You can't go wrong with classical music with huge dynamic outbursts, hence:

    - Mahler 8 - chorus mysticus (Solti)
    - Rautavaara 8 finale (Segerstam)

    Choral music allows for pleasant middle-range natural sounding tests. Add a massive sub-bass pipe organ and it becomes a very hard test for most systems, so:

    - Arvo Part - The Beatitudes (Polyphony)

    Also some hard-driven but organic electronic music:

    - Steve Roach / Vir Unis - Body Electric
    "The world will soon be right again,
    Innocence and undying love will reign."
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  12. #137

    What was the rest of the system?

    What was the source material?

    Were the participants trained listeners? Were they even music fans?

    This test is useless as presented. Much more data is required.

    I am not saying that ridiculous priced speaker wire is worth the cost, or even that there is a difference in sound. What I am saying is this test is worthless.


    According to Dr. Sean Olive, Director of Acoustic Research for Harman International and ex-president of the AES, average listeners can be trained in a relatively short time to hear distortions, non-linearities, and other minor problems they would not have been able to hear before training.


    http://seanolive.blogspot.com/2010/0...eners-and.html


    Why should I trust a listening test performed by untrained listeners?
    And if there were a god, I think it very unlikely that he would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence - Russell

  13. #138
    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    All good accurate observations, thanks -- with the possible exception of the "horn drivers = horn players" comment. I dunno, maybe that's a good matchup after all.

    Half million dollar stereo, huh? At some point you're better off hiring a band.

    Just that horn instruments are vibrating metal, and having a horn driver in your cabinet, along with other cones and woofers, in my opinion gives the best chance for horns to sound more accurate. I think metal cymbal crashes also.
    Cymbals to me is where the digital world is not quite there yet. I get that most people don't care. Not here to argue analog vs digital.

    Of course the horn drivers need to be decent quality. I really like the Klipsch KG series such as the 5.2's with the passive radiators. If you look around, you can put up a pair for $300 sometimes. Incredible value at that point.

    I just don't buy into the stack of 6" cones with a small coned long throw sub to fill in. It sounds compromised, forced and unnatural to my ears.

    Having spoke to a lot of audiophiles over the years, I am surprised how many of them have gone that route because of their wife complaining about the unfashionable look of big boxes! Sad but true. Not everyone has access to a proper "mancave"!

  14. #139
    Member BobM's Avatar
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    If you like horn speakers you have to hear the Volti's. He started out updating vintage Klipsh speakers, mainly the Klipshorn. Then he decided to just make his own version. These have all the +'s of traditional Klipshorns (micro and macro dynamics, details, etc.) plus all the nuanced sound of more traditional non-horn speakers (soundstaging, a lack of in your face forwardness, balance, etc.). Truly a remarkable speaker, especially if paired with a decent tube amp.
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  15. #140
    Member rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simon moon View Post
    What was the rest of the system?

    What was the source material?

    Were the participants trained listeners? Were they even music fans?

    This testis (!) worth the cost, or even that there is a difference in sound. What I am saying is this test is worthless.
    Well you would be wrong. The testers are described in the article.

    Coat hangers may be an extreme example to make a point -- I wonder how they isolated + from - -- but many other people have done the dreaded BLTs with wires and proven that even the best listeners can't hear the difference unless they know which result they're supposed to come up with.

    Some of that heralded "training" you're talking about is imparting imaginary bias to the expen$ive wire, and provided the listeners know which wire they're supposed to like, teaching them the words to say to describe this obvious difference -- which disappears in a Blind Listening Test.

  16. #141
    Member Garyhead's Avatar
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    When I was starting out auditioning Audio gear, I was living in Philly with my GF who was studying classical horn at the Curtis Institute. We would "drag" various friends to the shops with the hopes that they would be biased to the reproduction of their own chosen instrument.....It was a fascinating experience and I learned a Ton from them both in the gear and the recordings themselves. The down side was all the beer & pizza expenses After the auditions!
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  17. #142
    Member rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skullhead View Post
    Just that horn instruments are vibrating metal, and having a horn driver in your cabinet, along with other cones and woofers, in my opinion gives the best chance for horns to sound more accurate. I think metal cymbal crashes also.
    Some very basic misunderstanding here.

    If your horn is "vibrating metal" it is defective -- the very LAST thing you want in any speaker system is something loose that rattles and adds sounds that weren't in the original recording. Besides, horns can be fiberglass or wood too. One of the cardinal rules is that they be rigid, and non-vibrating.

    Horns have one purpose and one purpose only -- by controlling the dispersion of sound off the vibrating membrane, you can use a smaller membrane which is theoretically a smaller mass and able to track the incoming signal more accurately. The principle is exactly the same as a megaphone, used to amplify the voice before electronics.

    And incidentally, used before electronics to *capture* sounds too -- ear trumpets and the "speaking tubes" of early wire recorders. But with the advent of electronics, these "mechanical amplifiers" were discarded because they are not acoustically transparent -- they impart coloration to the sounds, by amplifying certain frequencies that resonate in the particular size & shape of the tube, and de-emphasizing other frequencies that are not resonant. This is, incidentally, why a trumpet sounds different from a trombone or a Sousaphone, even though they all use the same embouchure.

    Modern horn speaker systems can sound very very good... but to my ear they always "sound like horns," with a certain brittleness caused by frequency inequality. They DO sound good on cymbals, because the horn drivers respond very quickly with their low mass, and you need that for high frequency metallic sounds like cymbals. Of course that's why tweeters are small and woofers are big.

    Speaker preferences are a personal thing, the "horns vs. cones" debate has been going on since the 1930s, but "vibrating metal" is not part of it.
    Last edited by rcarlberg; 01-24-2015 at 02:03 PM.

  18. #143
    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    Forgot about another favorite to show off the system: CSN "Southern Cross". Some beautiful acoustic guitar, gorgeous harmonies, dynamics, and a nice fat tone to the bass guitar.
    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

  19. #144
    Member Guitarplyrjvb's Avatar
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    Okay, here's a few questions for you gear heads:

    1. My cd player is dying. It is analog out. Are the new machines better at decoding the digital signal?
    2. My amp is old. It even has a phono input! Should I scrap it for a new amp with a digital in and a phono pre-amp or do they even make integrated amps with a phono preamp anymore?
    3. Are the digital-capable amps better at decoding digital inputs than my old cd player was at decoding digital outputs?

    I wonder if a new rig will have a discernable difference on my Koss Pro4a headphones. They're aren't any audiophile shops around here where I could test the rig out to tell.

  20. #145
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarplyrjvb View Post
    2. My amp is old. It even has a phono input! Should I scrap it for a new amp with a digital in and a phono pre-amp or do they even make integrated amps with a phono preamp anymore?
    You can buy phono preamps at places like Guitar Center or Sam Ash for around $50. I myself use the ART DJPreII which sounds pretty awesome.

  21. #146
    Member rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Newer electronics will generally have better converters. I say go for the lot.

  22. #147
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Some very basic misunderstanding here.

    If your horn is "vibrating metal" it is defective -- the very LAST thing you want in any speaker system is something loose that rattles and adds sounds that weren't in the original recording. Besides, horns can be fiberglass or wood too. One of the cardinal rules is that they be rigid, and non-vibrating.

    Horns have one purpose and one purpose only -- by controlling the dispersion of sound off the vibrating membrane, you can use a smaller membrane which is theoretically a smaller mass and able to track the incoming signal more accurately. The principle is exactly the same as a megaphone, used to amplify the voice before electronics.

    And incidentally, used before electronics to *capture* sounds too -- ear trumpets and the "speaking tubes" of early wire recorders. But with the advent of electronics, these "mechanical amplifiers" were discarded because they are not acoustically transparent -- they impart coloration to the sounds, by amplifying certain frequencies that resonate in the particular size & shape of the tube, and de-emphasizing other frequencies that are not resonant. This is, incidentally, why a trumpet sounds different from a trombone or a Sousaphone, even though they all use the same embouchure.

    Modern horn speaker systems can sound very very good... but to my ear they always "sound like horns," with a certain brittleness caused by frequency inequality. They DO sound good on cymbals, because the horn drivers respond very quickly with their low mass, and you need that for high frequency metallic sounds like cymbals. Of course that's why tweeters are small and woofers are big.

    Speaker preferences are a personal thing, the "horns vs. cones" debate has been going on since the 1930s, but "vibrating metal" is not part of it.
    As for modern horn speakers sounding like anything, I think your perception of how it sounds has a lot to do with the source. First MP3s sound brittle if there is significant high frequency content. Female vocals can sound atrocious in this case. Modern horns are actually much more neutral than they were 15 years ago, however they still don't sound as good as non horn designs, except at high power levels in the PA application. The issue with horns is the vibrational modes of the walls, but efficiency is the key for them. Those vibrations are like nonlinear distortion, not an EQ problem. EQ is less of an issue with high res digital receiver calibration required and available. More important is the radiation pattern which makes it easier to obtain calibration over space.
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  23. #148
    Member BobM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarplyrjvb View Post
    Okay, here's a few questions for you gear heads:

    1. My cd player is dying. It is analog out. Are the new machines better at decoding the digital signal?
    2. My amp is old. It even has a phono input! Should I scrap it for a new amp with a digital in and a phono pre-amp or do they even make integrated amps with a phono preamp anymore?
    3. Are the digital-capable amps better at decoding digital inputs than my old cd player was at decoding digital outputs?

    I wonder if a new rig will have a discernable difference on my Koss Pro4a headphones. They're aren't any audiophile shops around here where I could test the rig out to tell.
    A lot of these answers depend on your budget, but here's my opinion:

    - CD players have come a long way. A $200 player today will sound better than a $1000 player 5 years ago. Definitely replace it.
    - An old amp may still sound damn good, however the capacitors inside have absolutely degraded and are not working up to spec anymore. You could have it recapped if you like the sound of it, or you could replace it. Again, budget is king.
    - "Digital" amps are called "class D" amps because they use a different method of amplifying the signal. Not because the decode digital signals and make them analogue. You always need a DAC (digital analogue converter) to do that. DAC's improve all the time, so to me it doesn't make sense to have one dedicated inside your amp when you can buy a better CD player and get the upgrade fairly cheaply in comparison.
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  24. #149
    Member Guitarplyrjvb's Avatar
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    Thanks, Bob! Any recommendations for a good CD player, then?

  25. #150
    Member BobM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarplyrjvb View Post
    Thanks, Bob! Any recommendations for a good CD player, then?
    Price point???, otherwise I will be telling you about a great $3000 player when you have a $500 limit.
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