In Reply to: Hi end speakers tonal balance posted by chlim on May 3, 2012 at 03:49:17:
I try my best not to make any judgement based on the technology of the loudspeakers and I really try to avoid every reading a graph before an audition. Reading graphs create a bias which companies who market graphs want to do. It's similar to when CD players first came out. They put in their specs a wow and flutter reading. It would say something like wow and flutter: below measurable or audible limits. Of course this was an utterly pointless spec for CD and its sole reason for being was to "beat turntables"
The fact that decent modern entry tables have wow and flutter below the level of human detection was of course irrelevant because the numbers on the spec sheet were "higher" and therefore worse. Marketing BS to con people into buying CD.
Note: I have nothing against CD - I like them - own several etc - and there are many valid reasons to buy CD over vinyl but just pointing out the marketing BS to push push push the new thing.
The fact is people respond to different things while listening to music reproduction. Terry, the owner of my favorite audio dealer Soundhounds in Victoria British Columbia has been at this since the mid 1970s. He's been to all the shows and sold virtually every major speaker to come down the pike - sometimes sold brands dropped them and re-picked them up.
He sells up to date Soolos Meridian digital powered speakers, Quad and Magnepan panels, NRC measured hoopla Paradigm Sig, old school boxes from Audio Note and Harbeth, warm sounding Sonus Faber, to fun ass speakers like the Cerwin Vega CLS 215, to cutting edge digital Ayre and Linn streamers, to old SET tubes from Audio Note and Wyatech to big beastly McIntosh, Classe, and Bryston.
You can't please all of the people all of the time. He notes that some people are sit at the front of the chair listening "for" sonic attributes and thus are also listening "for" individual aspects of sonic reproduction. As a reviewer - reviewers tend to do this when reviewing. We have to "look for" problems. Or report on strengths. But it's not really a natural way to audition gear.
I have never listened to anything live and ever listened for or thought about staging. Yet on most forums and many reviewer commentary this takes up a massive amount of detailed space. And to me it's overrated - consider this article by Lawrence Borden http://www.dagogo.com/View-Article.asp?hArticle=398
I understand what you're saying about those two and you can add a whole pile of others from most speaker makers out there that like Larry indicated below are geared for supposedly a popular stance.
The problem with some of the speakers you note is that my ear ends up focusing on frequency response or treble attributes and it doesn't sound "right" A Harbeth sounds more "right" but I'm sure it doesn't measure as well - probably because someone there actually bothered to attend classical symphonies and then goes home to design the speaker and say let's do this and this - and measurements be damned it sounds more like real instruments in space than the textbook.
I was on the PMC or B&W with Bryston track when I first was in this hobby. Bryston is what got me interested in higher end audio. And I kept track of THD and impedance in speakers and frequency plots for ages. And then a silly lousy measuring SET amp with ugly boxes that were "all wrong" by current mantra standards I heard pseudo blind.
You see the tube amp was a beastly sized thing and covered from a company I never heard of. It was in a rack on the bottom so I had no way to tell that it was a tube amplifier. I was listening to several things but piano for the first time sounded like an actual piano, bass was deep big tight and full bodied - wow - by far beat everything I heard the 20 years prior - and I heard JM Labs Mezza Utopia, flagship Paradigm hales, cabasse, Apogee, B&W, PSB, PMC, Genelec, Martin Logan, Focal, Castle, ProAc etc etc., on ruler flat exceptional measuring SS beasties - Levinson, Krell, Bryston, Classe etc.
Wow where was the sub? No sub. Okay but how did it sound so real - that amp is HUGE it must be 1000 watts - 8 watts. WTF? That is a SET - SETS are supposed to be gutless heavily distorting piles of poo. Some hack on some forum or some totally clueless or worse corrupt reviewer said so.
I said how can such ugly stuff that measures so bad sound so much better than everything else?
Terry - the guy who sells all the current measures perfect stuff - smiled and says - "good sound looks like "that"" as he pointed over to the system I just heard.
Unfortunately, personally speaking I hate it when something that measures like a SET sounds SO MUCH BETTER than stuff that measures like a Bryston. It's highly irritating to me because I like to see the numbers and something that will illustrate why the SET sounds "clearer" - why it sounds "LESS" distorted - why it seems to put out actual decay and body and 3D image. Why is there richer bass - why are the transients seemingly faster.
What's the answer I read? "SETs have pleasing 2nd order distortion which tricks you into liking it better." Problem is I don't associate distortion with clearer. Why do I need to turn the Bryston amps up loud to make things out while with a SET at lower volume I can make out things easier. Why do people leave SS for SET and not return. It's not trick - tricks don't have staying power.
The thing with Wilson is that I was impressed with the treble - but I have yet to hear one truly sound integrated - something is thin about the bass. The MAXX 3 at CES was all over the place IMO. And people always want to blame show conditions but plenty of other speakers in much worse room conditions sounded better.
I guess I don't want to be so much "impressed" by the stereo rather I want to be "satisfied emotionally" by the stereo. Impressive is cool but after 20 minutes I wind up turning it off to watch TV.
Perhaps it goes back to the "hi-fi" versus "musical" argument. I hate siding with the "musical" camp because it's uncomfortably too much like a religious cult for my left brain to handle.
But listening to the SS PMC/Bryston - Paradigm/Anthem - PSB/Musical Fidelity - B&W/Classe, Wilson/Krell, JM Labs/Boulder kind of systems I just can't take them. I can't relax - they sound hi-fi and they have cool aspects "slam" and power and they may even offer "pinpoint" imaging or lots of "air" and blah blah. But I want to sit back in the chair - I want the goosebumps and I NEVER EVER get it from ANY of those systems. It's fluorescent lights versus natural light. Fluorescent light may cover more of the room than opening the window to let natural light in but ...
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Topic - Hi end speakers tonal balance - chlim 03:49:17 05/03/12 (20)
- RE: Hi end speakers tonal balance - RGA 00:20:34 05/12/12 (0)
- RE: Hi end speakers tonal balance - 3db 04:14:56 05/10/12 (0)
- RE: Hi end speakers tonal balance - tmsorosk 05:04:48 05/07/12 (0)
- Anechoically flat.... - morricab 06:54:34 05/04/12 (4)
- RE: Anechoically flat.... - email@example.com 15:46:26 05/04/12 (3)
- Read Robert E. Greene's essay in TAS April 2012 issue, p. 14 - hesson11 16:37:17 05/03/12 (2)
- Another factor.... - Salectric 12:34:51 05/06/12 (0)
- RE: Excellent essay in TAS April 2012 issue, p. 14 - layman 08:33:41 05/04/12 (0)
- RE: Hi end speakers tonal balance - Justlisten2 16:19:58 05/03/12 (1)
- RE: Hi end speakers tonal balance - Presto 10:34:48 05/04/12 (0)
- no cochlea for old men - DrChaos 15:42:39 05/03/12 (1)
- Bravo.....I can relate to that. * - mr grits 16:32:24 05/03/12 (0)
- High end trend - Larry I 13:30:13 05/03/12 (1)
- RE: High end trend - 3db 04:53:33 05/09/12 (0)
- I think it depends... - mkuller 11:34:13 05/03/12 (0)
- Contrary to popular belief... - Presto 09:39:15 05/03/12 (0)
- RE: Hi end speakers tonal balance - tomservo 06:02:09 05/03/12 (0)
- RE: Hi end speakers tonal balance - RGA 00:20:34 05/12/12 (0)