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I am looking for an upgrade sometime in the future but am not sure which compenent should be tackled first. Obviously one could assume the source on out would be the most importaint. Just looking for some feedback and comments from the wealth of knowledge available in the asylum. I kind of feel my speakers are a weak point at the moment but am not really sure they will make such a dramatic impact if changed. System as follows
LP12 valhalla, alphason xenon, dyna 10X4
Monolithic pre and power supply
NAD c320bee integrated
JBL S38 monitors
Thanks for your help
I'd look at upgrading the NAD. The NAD is okay, but is not going to really deliver take-your-breath-away kind of sound. I think you could drive your JBLs in a much more musically exciting way than with the NAD.
Agree- feed some real current to the JBL's and they might astound you! I have long loved the ORIGINAL Adcom GFA 555 - flat face, not the series II. They aren't perfect but they are incredibly good for the money. They can also be effectively modified and upgraded- their parts and construction are very good and make a platform for rebuilders can really work with. These can be had for about $250 bucks on eBay, if you're of a mind to shop there. I believe the Soundstream DA-1 power amp is nearly identical and can be found even cheaper. There are other low-price, alternative, giant killers- I run a pair of Audionics/Fosgate 4100 4-channel amps in a multi amp setup- amazing sound. All 8 channels cost under $300. Or, if you kill off a rich relative, get a Bryston.
If you've got two grand to play with, some used MC-30s and Klipsch Cornwalls or Klipschorns (if you find a real deal) would put you in another league entirely. Been there.
since you say the speakers are suspect, and so many people have tiny speakers, I will shoot off my mouth before I know what your speakers are. I used to have some fine JBL speakers. At the time, the drivers incorporated were some of the best you could buy. As a matter of fact, I recently saw these same drivers for sale ,new, at a higher cost than my old speakers, with solid walnut cabinets , way back when. ( I have since moved on, as has JBL. ) So quality of drivers is an easy way to shop for speakers. Recently, my neighbor was showing me his new monitor speakers. You could roughly put the two in a carry on bag. He reads the mags and was impressed with a write up of some small speakers that were the product of a guy who just plays around with 'em until they just "sound right". So he got a "deal" (surprise!) when he contacted the guy, and buys them , sight unseen. I didn't want to rain on my neighbor's parade, but it wouldn't have taken much craft to get to the sound his speakers were producing, as I recognized some of the finest drivers around set inside the pretty wooden boxes. Any cabinet maker could have built his speaker, and maybe done better with some fequency design applied . They sounded pretty good. But, at the volume levels he was running for me, the speakers were too small , like trying to fit an opera singer through a doggie dog. He had a woofer, but that made it even worse. The thing is he had almost three grand (if you count the woofer) invested in small speakers! You can play around with small speakers but at a greater compromise to the sound, than the same dollar amount spent on a speaker of respectible size from a good company. Bass is such an important part of the sound, and the last time I checked, small woofers were called mid range drivers. . And get the bass designed in a system, very very hard to match pro engineered results with a stick on woofer. I could move on to other areas, but let's just leave it at driver quality to make it as simple as possible. It's better to have a big speaker system effortlessly tasked, than to have a smaller system trying to do tricks every time you turn it on.
Not to be contentious, but the physical size of the loudspeakers has little to do with the volume they are capable of producing or are expected to produce some reletively small stand mounted speakers are capable of producing truly impressive SPL's and do so with very little distortion, and conversely some fairly large loudspeakers
are designed for nearfield listening at modest volumes.
Loudspeaker design is as much an art as a science and the physics behind speaker development is very complex, much easier now that computer modelling programs are available, for cabinets as well as the crossovers, but the odd's of just cranking out some enclosure's
installing some drivers and installing a crossover module and haing it actually sound really nice is slightly less than a fart in a Typhoon :-)
Fortunately there are scad's of fully engineered and worked out designs all over the Web, some of which are phenomenal, the actual cost of the raw drivers and parts on some of megabuck loudspeakers is
a few hundred bucks, most of the $$$ is in the cabinetry.
There are also a number of incredible value kits now, the vendor I'm
familiar with Madisound has a new kit full range driver rear loaded horn with a super tweeter mounted atop for $650 that with decent tube amplification makes any number of very expensive speaker designs sound lame. Madisound has an anechoic chamber and almost 40 years of expertise
Just kidding. I agree with what you say, but perhaps my reply was poorly written . Spl is different from music, and most music requires some way to achive bass. There are some clever designs to try and get around the laws of physics. I just haven't heard any really good compromises. Since you brought up the subject, the speakers I am using now were designed in a computerized anechoic chamber. The chamber was built by the Canadain government to spur economic benefits . The head of the project used to put out Angstrum speakers. He led the design and wrote the computer programs for the place. I wonder if your speakers are a product of the same place. There can't be that many high powered design rooms around.
I agree. I have three systems with three different sets of speakers. All have their strengths and their weaknesses. The smallest system has a virtually unheard of pair of bookshelf monitors made by Hafler in an attempt to enter the high end audio speaker market. Although they are only the size of a legal sheet of paper, the imaging is uncanny. Another system has an old pair KEF Reference 103.2 speakers. They are larger, but they sound like very large speakers. I have owned speakers twice their size, and price, that couldn't touch them. The main system has big Maggies with subs, and they easily beat the others, but have unusual requirements, so far as associated equipment is concerned. Speakers are all different, and their size tells only part of the story.
The S38s are bookshelf monitors.
I currently live in an apartment and settle for 8" fullrangers in medium-sized cabinets. But when I move into larger quarters in the next year or two, I will next be looking for REAL speakers. You know, vintage Klipsch or Altec with 15" woofers.
but rather than a single woofer, consider multiple modern drivers. That way you won't have to turn them against sag, and they might be tighter and quicker. I'm running Two eight inch drivers in a small footprint type five foot tall vented tower. One is on top of the tweeter and midrange, and the second, slave driven, woofer is below on the bottom of the stack. So I still have good cone area, but in an easier package. I would be just happy with some corner Kilsph horns, I would never have to think about speaker designs again.
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