HT2-TLs - Pics and First Impressions

 

Gold Member
Username: Dakulis

Spokane, Washington United States

Post Number: 1158
Registered: May-05
Well, the pictures don't do the speakers justice. The veneer is actually a little more red than shown and comes pretty dang close in color to the cherry wood on the center stack where the amp and CDP are located. These are some of the most beautiful speakers that I have ever seen. Pretty impressive, huh?

I have been puzzled up to now why anyone was impressed with Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon". (Recogize that I have brand new Blue Jeans speaker cables and a new interconnect and I'm told that they need a little play to run in so I'm not sure if I am getting the full impact of what these speakers can do yet.)

In the first song on the CD; the first thing I notice with the new speakers is that I was slammed with rhytmic bass drums punching me in the stomach . . . bam . . . bam. . . bam . . . bam . . . and then a cacophony of voice and instruments that presented on a sound stage that was wide, deep and real. These voices and instruments moved around the sound stage, appearing and disappearing like fireflies in a Midwestern night. The "speakers disappeared" and the music took over and I was mesmerized with the sounds that seemed to emanate from far outside the width of my speaker placement.

Then, at about 45 seconds in, softly, faintly, in the background are footsteps. I'd never heard them before. (If you've never heard them before, you need new speakers.) If you can tell me what the footsteps do on your soundstage, you've got pretty good speakers. I can tell you what they did; in fact, I have a mental image of every step of every heel and toe. BTW, it happens again about 3:45 into the same track.

In the second track, the synthesizer seems to create sound, light and darkness in space, jumping around the stage while voices and a very faint guitar can be heard in the distance. Then, skip ahead to "Money" and the clang of the cash register stage left and the old style calculator at stage right alternating until his voice cuts in. Very impressive.

Frankly, it's not the kind of music I would normally get all worked up about because it is so overly processed with instruments and voice that it isn't "real" as Jan would likely say. But, for the pure joy of listening to these speakers reproduce the sounds and movements, it was pretty magical and more than once I had shivers going down my back.

Then, I went for a couple albums I know inside out. Norah Jones' "Come Away With Me." As you may recall, the Altecs actually did jazz pretty well or at least I thought so until now. Listening to this album again, it was like I had purchased a new CD. Her voice was smokier, breath sounds were present that were never there before and passages where her voice had disappeared before found her simply carrying out a note that hadn't been heard.

The piano, bass and guitar were as real as I heard this evening at a concert at our church. Each key strike had just the right note, timbre and delay. The bass was deep and tight and felt right, better than the high school bass player I listened to tonight but give the kid 10 years and who knows.

Finally, I put on Cowboy Junkies, "The Trinity Session" and listened to the first short track. It's a 1:30 of a pure female soprano in an old church. For the first time, I could hear the faint echo of her voice in the background created by the old church walls catching and releasing it again.

In the 4th track I believe it is, she and her brother carry out a haunting duet of an interesting take on "Blue Moon"; I believe the whole album recorded with a single microphone so you may not get quite the sound stage you would on most modern recordings but the purity of voice and instrument is so perfect and the pitch and pureness of her voice with the absence of sibilance was impressive.

Needless to say, after about 10 hours of listening so far, I could not be happier. This is an incredible upgrade for me in sound. Moreover, I seem to be able to play music louder without any listener fatigue and get goosebumps much more often. To answer Jan's typical question, "is it real?" Well, this is without question the closest I've ever come to feeling like I'm in the middle of live music. I played a little Miles Davis today and the haunting sound of his trumpet was amazing and the quintet just blazed through a number of tunes that had my eyes closed, my head bobbing and my foot tapping, while I could imagine a haze of smoke in the air and the smell of gin - I don't drink so imagining is all I'm going to get anyway.

I'm sure I could have paid more for speakers but I'm not sure I could have gotten any better sound at this point. The speakers have also made me appreciate the real quality of the Arcam CDP and I have to thank Art for nudging me towards the Unison Research Unico. It is incredibly detailed and very precise with just a little warmth from its hybrid tubes that keeps things from getting too bright up top.

With the Altecs, there were times that I thought that the new amp made some of the treble "bright" but with the HT2-TLs and the ribbon tweeter, it simply shows how right on and pure those high notes can be. The proof is in the fact that I've been listening for hours and the only pain i've had is in my butt and my back - I'm getting old.

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Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15602
Registered: Dec-04
Thanks for posting Dacks. Nice.

Real real nice!
 

Silver Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 589
Registered: Oct-10
I love hearing about people having such experiences! Thanks for posting

Btw, "Dark Side..." is not supposed to be real! Pink Floyd had a very UNreal experience in mind when they cut that album.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13600
Registered: Feb-05
Well done, Dave!

Nice write up and beautiful speakers.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4186
Registered: May-05
Excellent review Dave. This hobby is all about enjoying music, and I have no doubt that that's what's going on in your living room. The Unico is a great integrated. I've always really liked Arcam's CDPs. Haven't heard the Salks, but I'm sure they're everything you say they are.

BTW, my only criticism of Dark Side and most other Floyd albums is the over production of the main vocals. They used way too much echo IMO. Everything sounds very convincing to my ears, but once the singing starts, I'm quickly reminded that I'm listening to recorded music. I guess there's worse things in life though. Maybe his voice sounds too thin in the mix without all the processing? Who knows?
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4187
Registered: May-05
Also, everyone talks about Dark Side, but The Wall is equally good in that regard. It also suffered from the dreaded over-echo IMO.

Pick up a copy of The Wall if you don't have one. An excellent album IMO. Perhaps a little better than Dark Side musically. Then again, it's a double album so there's more room for more tracks.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dakulis

Spokane, Washington United States

Post Number: 1159
Registered: May-05
Thanks guys,

Stu, will do, I went out yesterday and picked up several new CDs that I had on my list and a couple that weren't. So, I'll add The Wall to a new list.

So, not to hijack my own thread, but if you could only play 3 CDs or albums from your current collection, what three would you keep and why?

I have pretty diverse tastes so Opera is about the only thing I don't own or play but I'm be interested in your thoughts and yes I know about the other threads but I'm trying to narrow it down because I can't affor 4,000,000 new CDs. LOL
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 15616
Registered: May-04
.

"I believe the whole album recorded with a single microphone so you may not get quite the sound stage you would on most modern recordings ... "



A single stereo mic which had the ability to duplicate the crossed cardiods or coincident pairs often used in early (1950-early'60's) stereo recordings; http://emusician.com/interviews/rhythm-noise-john-mcentire/index2.html The Trinity Sessions were made popular in audio demos due to a few other factors. The most important of which would probably be the recordings were made "direct to two track" which meant they were mixed "on the fly" and put down to a two track master without intervening stages of production. Very little post production is possible with such microphone techniques and overdubs and splices are minimized. The recordings appeared at a time when direct to disc LP's had resurfaced as a throw back to the earliest days of recording (mono) when all performers had to play together as there were no mixing consoles in those early days of recording. All performers played at the same time and as if they were giving a live performance. Any serious screw ups in the early days of recording meant everything was stopped and all performers began again from the top - no overdubs or splices as the recordings were made onto acetate discs and not tape. Here's an example of that style of recording; http://www.uulyrics.com/music/count-basie/song-boogie-woogie-blues/ In these early recordings the performers were generally arranged on stage much as they would be during a live performance and a good system can indicate the "soundstage" of the mono recording with performers' position given depth and width on the decidely constricted "stage".

Here's an example of a Sheffield Direct to Disc recording. Sheffield is generally credited with starting the "direct to disc" audiophile recordings of the mid 1970's; http://www.sheffieldlab.com/sheffield.pl?detail=SL10070 and http://www.sheffieldlab.com/

Numerous companies jumped on the bandwagon of D2D recordings and many were atrociously bad music with, however, great sound and not terrible performances from (far) lesser known groups. Yamaha, JVC and Denon all had a series of D2D recordings which they produced as promotions to be handed out at CES and to dealers to demo their products. JVC (Japanese Victor Corp.) and Denon were two of the earliest proponents of digital recording, producing numeorus "digitally recorded" LP's with a few being produced D2D.

In the "early days" of D2D LP's an entire side of the album needed to be cut from the start of the first track through to the final note of the last track as no splicing and overdubs were possibe since the recording was once again being transferred directly to a two channel "master" disc. D2D recording was tedious and expensive and, with the advent of CD's, digital recording techniques were more accustomed to the concept of "perfect sound forever" no matter how or how many times the signal was manipulated in post production and mastering. By that time 64 and higher numbers of tracks in the recording studio's mixer were commonplace with a single drum set having as many as a dozen microphones all residing in their individual tracks. Think for a moment about the comb filtering, phase and time issues of a dozen microphones on a single drum set all recording supposedly only a single section of the drum - under the splash cymbal for instance - but obviously also picking up traces of all the other parts of the drum set and the reflections of those other parts. Often individual members of a group wouldn't perform in the same space with many being placed in isolation booths so their instrument didn't run into the recording of another instrument which would complicate editing and post production. Most of us know of recordings made up of individual performances where the individuals never saw each other but the final product was assembled from these individual parts. A far cry from DSOTM which was created in a studio by layering individual performances on top of each other with a four track(?) analog tape machine with rudimentary noise reduction. (In analog recording each re-recording of the same track will add +3dB of noise to the final product.)

By contrast a D2D recording was typically more constrained and restricted to fewer channels of individual tracks just to make things manageable. For this the stereo "single" mic of the Trinity sessions was ideal though daunting for the technicians who were not used to working with such simple techniques and equipment. With only two microphone capsules positioned in essentially the same space the benefit of all time, phase and frequency response information is captured intact and cannot be altered in post production/mastering. Much was made of the "ambient" nature of the Trinity Sessions recording venue which is quite obvious in the recording as another performer. This was at a time when D2D had virtually vanished from the scene (with the exception of Telarc) only to be revived once again by labels such as Wilson, Reference and Chesky on CD's and limited pressing LP's. If you ever have the opportunity to purchase a Wilson recording, do so. Dr. Johnson's Reference Recordings are, to my ears, about the most natural sounding of any recordings I've heard coming from a label of even modest size and come highly recommended. VTL produced a limited number of recordings in the mid '80-'90's which are also recommended though musically they might not be everyone's cup o'tea.

During the late '70's and early '80's the audiophile press had made quite a bit of the quality of many early stereo recordings - specifically the Living Presence and Living Stereo recordings from the 1950's; http://www.soundfountain.com/amb/mercury.html These recordings were made, for the most part, with a three omni mics across the front technique which captured the acoustics of the venue with a naturalness which had been lost in the pop oriented recordings of the late '60-80's. "Ambience retrieval" became a buzzword of audiophile manufacturers and retailers and the components responded to the demand by audiophiles for hearing where the recording was made - something impossible to do when the individual parts were made all over the globe. With its obvious venue sounds Trinity Sessions appeared at just the right time for the audiophile market which had experienced "early CD sound" for half a decade before the Trinity Sessions arrived. The final closing track is a favorite for low level detail retrieval as the band raps up the session with loose conversations and acoustic sounds which move about the soundstage as the performers and technicians pack up their gear. The fact the overall sound quality, the music and the performances are exceptional doesn't hurt. The fact too many audiophiles get caught up listening for everything other than the music is regrettable.

The Trinity Sessions Revisited; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNkUZ6y_Pkw offers another take on the familar sound of the chapel.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Trinity_Session


Enjoy your speakers, Dak. This should be a fairly large upgrade from where you were this time last year. If you're still using the universal player, you should try to get your hands on the SACD version of DSOTM. It makes obvious what was the original intent of the group back in 1973 and the sound quality has never been better IMO even on the stereo downmix layer. DSOTM is an album I couldn't listen to for decades as it had just been worn out by playing a few minutes of the album over and over and over for demo material. The remastered SACD version is a new experience. It's probably difficult to find nowdays.


.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15603
Registered: Dec-04
Johnny Cash, Folsom

Boston, half speed master vinyl(to file)

Billy Halliday of your choice.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4189
Registered: May-05
Interesting info, Jan.

I'm pretty sure the Dark Side SACD is the one with the midnight blue cover. I've seen it several times. I almost always see it at Best Buy.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 852
Registered: Dec-06
My impression of the Dark Side SACD is that it was one of the more widely available SACD discs. Probably due to the popularity of Pink Floyd and that album in particular. Amazon has it right now for just $14.

I bought a copy a few years ago at HMV. I think it was the first SACD I bought. I'm not sure if I've listened to the SACD version in full yet, but I'm planning on doing so either this weekend or next. From what I've heard it's definitely better than red book. First time I listened to the album, I dunno, I felt it was a little overrated. Like Stu said, not the strongest musically. If you want an album that has exceptional sound quality, I thought The Final Cut was awesome. Not very musical, though.

Congrats on the speakers, Dak. If they take you away into the music that's all that you can ask for. They look great too!
 

Gold Member
Username: Dakulis

Spokane, Washington United States

Post Number: 1160
Registered: May-05
Jan,

As always, you're amazing with the additional information and knowledge. Thanks for info. I am loving these speakers the more I listen the better they get.

Guys, by all means feel free to weigh in with CDs or whatever and I'll run some more down. I'm having a ball discovering new things on old CDs and playing some of the new stuff I've picked up. Sounds like I may need to go pick up "Trinity Revisited", which I hesitated to buy because I was afraid they just messed with the original and didn't do it justice.

Also, I'll grab the SACD of DSOTM, why not? LOL, my wife didn't realize I'd spend more on new music than the speakers cost. LOL
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1133
Registered: Jul-07
Those speakers are flat out gorgeous Dak. I'd love to hear them.
 

Silver Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 603
Registered: Oct-10
Miles Davis, "B!tches Brew"
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13604
Registered: Feb-05
I could never come up with just three...
 

Bronze Member
Username: Chriswild87

Holden, MA

Post Number: 78
Registered: Dec-08
I would second the wall, just found a 1979 columbia pressing at a Record shop up here in Boston in greatshape. Comfortably Numb and Young Lust sound fantastic. Another Pink Floyd album would be animal, I feel there is less voice echo more instrumental music to it rather than synthesis.
 

Silver Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 638
Registered: Oct-10
Scorpions, "Lonesome Crow"
Mike Stern, "Who Let the Cats Out?"
Al Di Meola, "Kiss My Axe"
Amy Grant, "A Christmas, Album"
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13611
Registered: Feb-05
OK I'll play...

Shelby Lynne - Just a Little Lovin'

Oscar Peterson - Tracks

Roy Hargrove Big Band - Emergence

The Oscar Peterson CD is one of the best recorded piano solo albums I've ever heard.
 

Silver Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 640
Registered: Oct-10
Oscar Peterson meets Roy Hargrove
 

Gold Member
Username: Dakulis

Spokane, Washington United States

Post Number: 1161
Registered: May-05
I appreciate everyone playing. It's looking like my jazz collection is going to keep growing. Thanks guys, I'll start buying, LOL. Thanks, Dave
 

Silver Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 641
Registered: Oct-10
That's good, jazz is favorite genre.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15620
Registered: Dec-04
Boston, half speed mastered is the very best I have heard. I have it(gifted) on vinyl, but have seen it on hdcd as well.(equally good).
If you treasure this recording as I do, then you will love the third return, where there is thankfully no suckout with Tom's lead, but free fatty juice instead. All the layers.
Fuckingg loud.
 

Silver Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 646
Registered: Oct-10
Do have player that decodes hdcd and the Denon device that's supposed to used with it Nuck?
 

Gold Member
Username: Dakulis

Spokane, Washington United States

Post Number: 1162
Registered: May-05
Chris,

If you go to the Salksound webpage and go to forums, I just created an owner's audition list. There is a guy near Boston "zybar" that has the SongTowers, which are the speakers I initially ordered. They are supposed to be amazing at their price point but the HT2-TLs are a whole nother animal. If you ever get out my way, you've got a listen whenever you want or you can look at the Audition list - it's the one further down the first page with "dakulis" as the last entry and see if you can find someone near Boston that has them. I know they're are a bunch in New York - in fact Bill Baker at Response Audio just got new HT2-TLs with the Raal tweeter because I bought his floor displays from Jim Salk. Good luck, Dave
 

Gold Member
Username: Dakulis

Spokane, Washington United States

Post Number: 1163
Registered: May-05
2nd Impression,

I think my cables must be breaking in and opening up some because the lows keep getting lower and I've noticed the tweeter producing more distinct and precise highs.

These speakers are not new (they were used as floor models at Response Audio in upstate New York - Bill Baker is a great guy) so they didn't need to break in and that's why I'm attributing the sound to my Blue Jeans interconnects and cables breaking in. Art might be a better source here since he's already gone through that and he may be able to confirm whether I'm hearing correctly or it's my imagination.

In any event, I just finished listening to the "reference CD" that Jim Salk ships with the speakers. I listened to it twice with my old speakers and played it through once with these speakers after they first arrived. All I can explain is that things sound better than they did initially. A couple of the vocals I thought weren't quite as clear as what I'm hearing now and I'm getting much more detail out of these babies than initially.

So Art, tell me if I'm hearing things or that's what's going on with the cables. All I can say is if anyone wants to wander into Spokane for a listen, feel free. Or, you can check out Salksound speakers in your area from the post I made on the website. . .

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?PHPSESSID=4agdco3crira3s2tmnkttuedn34s5m7s& topic=88740.0
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1137
Registered: Jul-07
I keep wanting to get out to Seattle for a Seahawk game at Qwest. If the house rennovations ever stop long enough I'd love to make the trip and would surely enjoy a listen to the Salk's.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13615
Registered: Feb-05
If they are new cables that is certainly possible, Dave. Sometimes a system sounds better after a few days after all the connections settle in .Sounds silly but it's true.
 

Silver Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 691
Registered: Oct-10
I've noticed that too. Every time I up grade cables, it takes a few days to realize the full benefit.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dakulis

Spokane, Washington United States

Post Number: 1164
Registered: May-05
Thanks guys,

I didn't want to think it was just my imagination running away with me. LOL Dave
 

Gold Member
Username: Dakulis

Spokane, Washington United States

Post Number: 1165
Registered: May-05
Chris,

If you're heading to Seattle, we're about 4 1/2 hours east near the Idaho border and you would be welcome to drop in for a listen. Just give me a heads up in advance. Dave
 

Gold Member
Username: Dakulis

Spokane, Washington United States

Post Number: 1166
Registered: May-05
BTW Jan,

I pulled out that old Elvis CD that you recommended from his Sun recording days. WHOA!!!! What a difference these speakers make in what you hear on that recording. I don't think that I've ever heard Elvis' voice as pure as it sounded on "Such a Night" and several of the later songs. Also, Incredible guitar and back-up vocals also. Now I understand a little better why you recommended it.
 

Silver Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 745
Registered: Oct-10
I guess the atoms in wires have to get used to the electron exchange that takes place?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 15639
Registered: May-04
.

http://www.sozoamplification.com/break_in.html
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 15640
Registered: May-04
.

Dak, I sent you an PM, did you receive it?
 

Silver Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 760
Registered: Oct-10
Was it a tylenol PM Jan? If so, he probably took it and is fast asleep!
 

Gold Member
Username: Dakulis

Spokane, Washington United States

Post Number: 1167
Registered: May-05
Jan,

I did and I tried to respond but it said that you do not accept PMs? So, it wouldn't let me reply. Thanks for the link, at least I am not crazy because I sure am noticing a difference in sound with time. If it continues to get much better, I may just quit work and stay in my little 2 channel listening room. My wife would love that. I have probably 20 hours on the new speaker cables and interconnect at this point so . . .
 

Silver Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 763
Registered: Oct-10
There's nothing wrong with being crazy Dak, been crazy all my life. It's great! Trust me...
 

Gold Member
Username: Stryvn

Wisconsin

Post Number: 1247
Registered: Dec-06
I pulled out that old Elvis CD that you recommended from his Sun recording days...



Which is this? I would like to find it.

Try Floyd's Final Cut lp.....way overlooked by way too many, IMO. A great album. And, of course, Waters Amused To Death. And the third selection...?
 

Silver Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 774
Registered: Oct-10
Dak, if you look at Jan's link, you'll see that you're not crazy. There is in fact a viable explanation for what you're hearing.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15627
Registered: Dec-04
Dacks, if you like the Stones at all, and want to be more American about it, then John Mellencamp "uh huh" is the bag.
Just dancin' and groovin' and slammin' away
 

Silver Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 779
Registered: Oct-10
That's interesting Nuck, I never noticed any similarities between JM & the Stones. I like JM, not the Stones. Guess that's why I like one, not the other.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dakulis

Spokane, Washington United States

Post Number: 1168
Registered: May-05
Nuck,

Good timing. I was looking at a JM CD, always have liked him. I don't have that CD so it's going to the top of the list.

Stryvn, it's something like "Essential Elvis - Volume 6", found it on Amazon a couple of years ago after Jan recommened it and another Elvis album in a much earlier thread, which I also picked up. This album is mostly alt takes and out takes of several of his older material, prior to Hound Dog, Don't Be Cruel and I Want You I Need You I Love You, which interestingly enough I had on the A/B sides of an old 45 that my dog decided to chew up.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4530
Registered: Feb-07
"Just dancin' and groovin' and slammin' away"

On one foot?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 15645
Registered: May-04
.

http://shop.elvis.com.au/prod94.htm


and

http://www.elvisinfonet.com/elvisatsun.html (mono)


.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dakulis

Spokane, Washington United States

Post Number: 1169
Registered: May-05
Ok guys,

I'm about 40 hours into the new interconnects and about 30-35 hours into the new speaker cables. About when do I see them fully run in?

I continue to get better sound out of these speakers in small increments each day. The speakers were already well broken in as they were floor models for Response Audio for several months. So the only thing I can attribute it to is the cables. But, I could be wrong maybe it's symbiotic for the whole system.

Jan, in any event, I pulled out that second Elvis album and spent over an hour with it. I don't think it's as well recorded as the first one but it still sounds really good. I've got some old and I mean old Muddy Waters recordings. The quality isn't very good but it's fun to hear Elvis' take on his songs and especially the very different approach to the instrumental portions. Very cool.
 

Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 1040
Registered: Oct-10
I'm sure it'll level off soon Dak. However, if it keeps improving, keep enjoying it!
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13658
Registered: Feb-05
I'll take Muddy Waters over Elvis seven days a week, for my listening anaway. Want some fun try some old John Lee Hooker recordings.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dakulis

Spokane, Washington United States

Post Number: 1170
Registered: May-05
Art,

I also like Muddy Waters, the problem with the CD I have is that the recording is not very good. If you have a CD that you like and is decently recorded or remastered, let me know. I'd love to have something decent to play.

I had a nice collection of Charlie Parker, Thelonius Monk and Count Basie on vinyl that I sold when I sold my last phono. I've never tried to find them and replace them on CD.

Super, I just read something on the MAC cables site that said that interconnect cables and speaker cables can take 200 hours or more to break in and they won't sound their best until then. So, I've still got a long ways to go then.

BTW, anyone tried the MAC cables, they're slightly more expensive than Blue Jeans but still look pretty dang reasonable and they have gotten decent reviews.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13659
Registered: Feb-05
Sorry Dave, I listen to the music and not the recording. Especially with old music like Muddy and John Lee, also with Bird, Monk and Basie. BTW there are a bunch of nice recordings of the latter two.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 859
Registered: Dec-06
There are some recordings so poor that it's tough to sit and listen to the music. This probably affects rock more than other genres (i.e. the loudness wars). My solution: buy a decent sound card ($50) and a pair of Klipsch Pro Media 2.1 speakers ($200). Listen to the crappy quality CDs on that. It's actually very impressive for a computer speaker system, good CDs will sound very good on it, and poor CDs won't sound as bad as they do on the high resolution main system.
 

Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 1044
Registered: Oct-10
Jazz is pretty badly effected by bad recording too. I have some under the name King Oliver from 1917 where Louis Armstrong is a sideman. For all of their efforts the people who remastered it made the terd a little less stinky. It's good music, but listening is hard.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13661
Registered: Feb-05
Good grief. Ofcourse a 1917 recording won't match the present standard. But the music is great so just enjoy.

Why would listening with Klipsch computer speakers be better than using your system? Because you have already anticipated that the sound will be poor regardless of the recording.

One of the best things that has happened to my listening based on the improvement in my system has been that I can listen to any CD on the shelf and the music comes through, recording be damn. Everything I own is listenable now, and that's a real gift. With the improvement in Dave's setup I'm sure he will find the same thing, once he gets past this initial evaluation piece.
 

Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 1046
Registered: Oct-10
My point Art, is that it's a little rough on the ears. I do the best I can which is about 2 or 3 songs at a time.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13662
Registered: Feb-05
My point is that on my system it's not a little rough on the ears. It used to be but because I successfully built a system that allows me to listen without any fatigue, it's not any more. That was my goal, to build a system that let's me listen all of my music without fatigue and that sounds natural to my ears.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 862
Registered: Dec-06
Why would listening with Klipsch computer speakers be better than using your system? Because you have already anticipated that the sound will be poor regardless of the recording.

Nope. I don't anticipate that all newish rock recordings are going to sound poor. I've been pleasantly surprised by quite a few of them.

It's not about fatigue. I don't suffer from listener fatigue with my system. I can listen for hours, fatigue free. But when you crank all sounds on a CD up to a certain volume, you kill dynamics and you create this wall of sound that muddies up the mix. You can say "recording be damn", Art, but there are plenty who will disagree with that. Many have spoken out against the loudness wars, including many within music and the recording community, and audiophiles of course as well. Frankly, I'm not sure how anyone can argue that decisions made during the recording process cannot have disastrous effects on the listenability of the final product. A system basically just reads and then plays back what is on a disc. There's more to it of course, but that is still what it's doing. So how can what is ultimately pressed onto the disc not matter?

I know you aren't into rock and pop all that much, but it affects these genres the most. I suspect you haven't heard the worst of it. I'm not talking about a little too much sizzle in the treble region, I'm talking about CDs that are mixed improperly so that they sound good on lower res systems.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13663
Registered: Feb-05
When I said "recording be damn" I was clearly talking about my own listening so disagree all you want.

I've read all about the "loudness wars" and the more of that garbage you buy the more they will produce. Just how it is. I have a few of the albums that suffer that malady, I still listen if I'm in the mood but avoid buying anymore of it. Not because it isn't listenable but because if they don't care how they put it together then there is no reason for me to care enough to buy it. Speaking of rock/pop you are right it's no longer my favorite genre, however I probably have more of it in my collection than darn near every one here. I've listened to most of it many times.

The best statement you can make about the loudness wars is the one that you make with your pocketbook.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4238
Registered: May-05
Regarding that last sentence, Art - yes and no. Unless you've heard the album before you bought it, and iTunes previews don't count, you really have no way of knowing.

I despise Metallica's recent production. The latest album is still great IMO and worth putting up with it. While it's listenable to me, it's very frustrating because I know it could be so much better - people have ripped the Guitar Hero mix and put it online, and it sounds great. I won't get into illegal downloading, so I'll live with the CD.

Everyone's all about high res. Until the loudness wars end - and it's not just metal and current pop, there are a few Beatles remastere that people aren't happy about - there's very little point in high res. Until all CDs are at the level of say Dark Side, there's no point.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 863
Registered: Dec-06
When I said "recording be damn" I was clearly talking about my own listening so disagree all you want.

Why the hostility? It wasn't clear to me. You asked why I'd need the Klipsch to listen to some CDs and then segued into how your system allows you to listen to any CD you want. The implication to me was that a person doesn't need two systems. Sorry, but I tied the two paragraphs together, whether it was intended that way or not.

I've considered downloading loud albums and not paying for them. But I'm not a thief, and I'm not going to avoid buying music from my favorite bands. I can listen through that wall of sound to the music as well, but ultimately a lower res system for some discs is simply more enjoyable. I didn't buy the Klipsch for the sole reason of listening to poorly recorded music, I was always going to buy a nice set of computer speakers regardless. They get most use watching movies and You Tube videos, and whenever they are fed music of any kind they do an admirable job.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13664
Registered: Feb-05
This is the internet, Dan. You don't know if I'm being hostile or not, you're just guessing. That's one problem with forums, people guess at intent as though their guess is fact.

How about not being the first to buy a record and wait to find out about the recording before you buy. C'mon guys, where there is a will....
 

Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 1050
Registered: Oct-10
I agree with Dan that there are many pop albums that sound better on low res systems. This is partially due to the loudness wars and partially due to the mentallity of making it sound great on a crappy system. I've spoken of the Zu-ka album "Supplemental Restraints" (available on iTunes). The guy who mixed it, I believe his name is Brian Fitzgerald, deliberately set out to make it sound truly great. He wasn't worried about making it "fit" on fm radio or within the confines of a crappy system. The frequency range extends well below 20 Hz and well above 20 KHz. The former you can feel, the latter you know because it drives dogs crazy! It was hard to listen to this album on my previous systems because the bass would distort due the system's inability to handle it. On my current system, it sounds spectacular! Clean, tight bass and the rest of the spectrum is very clear and accurate. There's even a little warmth for you warmth fans. It's a mixture of 70s & 90s rock styles. I highly recommend this album to anyone who considers his/her systen high res.

Back in my metal days, I thought "Master of Puppets" sounded better on the systems I had then, than any other album. The system I had in the mid 90s on the other hand, I had to play it at a certain volume (not too loud, not too soft) or it just didn't sound right. My son & I listened to clips of songs from it on my current system and it sounds better than ever! Since I can no longer listen to more than one metal tune at a time, he listened to the whole thing on my system while I was at work.

So yes Art, there are albums that most people would agree sound better on low res systems. For this reason, I'm glad I lost interest in popular stuff and got into jazz. Jazz doesn't seem to suffer from such non-sense.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 864
Registered: Dec-06
I usually put research into which version of an album to buy if there are multiple versions. It's why I'm limiting my purchases of Ozzy Osbourne solo albums to the 1995 or earlier releases, rather than 2002 and later. Those releases are were re-mixed to take out the drummer and I believe bass player, whom Ozzy and Sharon had a falling out with.

Many albums get remastered, and so I'll research whether the original or the remaster is superior, and perhaps if a company like MOFI or Audio Fidelity has a version out. I've even ordered from Japan to get better audio quality.

I know many albums I purchase won't be perfect. I'm fine with that. If I wasn't I'd own lots more from the SACD section at HMV, filled with mostly classical recordings, and whatever the likes of MOFI and other similar labels release. But I'm not going to let the recording, or my system, dictate what music I buy. I'll buy what I like, and try to get the best version of it if there is more than one. It really sucks getting a poorly recorded album, but there are other ways to listen to it. 90% of what I own sounds great on the main system, so I can live with the other 10%.

As for the argument that if you buy it they will keep making it. Most people don't buy CDs anymore. Those that do are very likely after superior sound quality. Labels are well aware of the loudness wars and the decline in CD sales (not that the two are highly correlated), and thankfully I believe are starting to limit how loud they make their albums.
 

Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 1053
Registered: Oct-10
That's the right attitude Dan. I listen to whatever I like. I just break up ear killing stuff over time.

You should check out that Zu-ka album. I really think you'd enjoy it. That's an album for your main system. Your pc speakers won't handle it.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13665
Registered: Feb-05
"So yes Art, there are albums that most people would agree sound better on low res systems. For this reason, I'm glad I lost interest in popular stuff and got into jazz. Jazz doesn't seem to suffer from such non-sense."

You routinely listen to an album on a cheap computer based system vs your main system? I have not listened to anything that sounded better on computer speakers than on my main system. To me that points to problems in your main setup. Not that I think it can't happen, but I have not heard it.

Nothing should ever be "ear killing".

"As for the argument that if you buy it they will keep making it. Most people don't buy CDs anymore. Those that do are very likely after superior sound quality."

I don't believe that is so. Money to marbles that the primary reason for continued CD sales is that those who are buying them have not yet transitioned to other formats. Folks who spend a lot of time on these forums get a skewed view of the music buying world. Ask the over 50 crowd at your office (unless you work in hi tech) and spend sometime at your local music retailer. You'll get a better idea of who is buying CD's.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 867
Registered: Dec-06
That's probably true, Art. Let's just say then that one reason to buy CDs over mp3s is for superior audio quality. The record companies should be highlighting this as a benefit of the CD, not undermining it with poor recording techniques. Especially if most of their customers don't listen through an mp3 player, whether it's because they are looking for better quality or whether it's because they are simply comfortable with the medium they are already using.

There is really no upside in putting a poor recording on CD.

Some suggest making two different recordings of an album, one designed for mp3 players and the other for home stereo systems. In this day and age it wouldn't be difficult or costly to implement.

I still disagree with the idea that if an album sounds better on a relatively cheap PC system it points to problems in the main set up. Again, the loudness wars is all about recording so that music sounds better on mp3 players and other such "low-fi" systems. That's the idea, that is what record companies, in their infinite wisdom, are trying to do. With other issues, besides the loudness wars, I think I'd agree with you.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13666
Registered: Feb-05
I think the difference between what we are saying is this. You're saying that "loudness wars" recordings are made to sound better on MP3 players (and they are, however...) and I say that if they do it's the system revealing the poor master in an ugly sounding way. I used to think that most rock cd's were bright. They are often mastered a little hotter than the other music I listen to but they have gone from painful to quite listenable as my system has improved. If they really are brighter then you would think that the greater resolution would reveal that. Quite to the contrary. The greater resolution revealed the shortcomings of my previous setup more than anything. Don't get me wrong, I heard more of the recordings, warts and all. But it was still quite easy to listen to. I'm not sure that this is really a distinction or a distinction without a difference...lol, but perhaps this explains what I mean a little better.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 868
Registered: Dec-06
My system right now is smoother and warmer sounding than I've ever heard it. For a while I was on a mission to tame unruly highs, and I think that's happened. I don't think I'm where I want to be yet though, because other things aren't quite to my liking.

I think the loudness wars are different than other things because when you turn everything up to a certain volume, the various parts to a song are simply not in relation to each other the way they should be. Dynamics are stifled because nothing is low volume, all you have are loud sounds, and so you get this big, muddy, wall of sound. I think it's impossible for any high end system to fix this because it's part of the recording. Some might reveal it more than others I suppose, perhaps by highlighting certain frequencies that are most annoying to the ear with loud CDs. But I don't know...I think I'd be focused on the wrong thing if I tried to assemble a system that didn't present 10% of my music collection in an offensive way. If you have a system that presents these discs pretty well, and excels with the rest of your collection, that's a great place to be. To be honest, I haven't listened to a really loud CD on my current set up, so I'm not sure how it'd sound.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13668
Registered: Feb-05
"I think I'd be focused on the wrong thing if I tried to assemble a system that didn't present 10% of my music collection in an offensive way."

Interestingly I didn't try. I was almost there with the DeVore's and to a certain extent they would sometimes mask too many imperfections but for the first time, everything was listenable. Harbeth speakers are the next step in my journey. I now get all of the resolution and none of the rough edges. The Harbeth speakers with a quality source and amplification are truly marvelous. I actually downgraded my speaker cable 2 levels and with excellent results. I'm no longer using the Gutwire Basic2 and gave my wife the van den Hul D352, while putting the vdH CS122 into my setup. The results are fabulous...that Naim drive and pace along with a sumptuous way with timbre.

Along the way you may just find yourself "there" and wonder how you got "there"...that's ok.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 869
Registered: Dec-06
Good stuff, Art. Harbeth is a speaker I'd love to hear one day. There is almost too much stuff out there!
 

Gold Member
Username: Dakulis

Spokane, Washington United States

Post Number: 1171
Registered: May-05
Wow,

I missed a bunch by working a little too much the last few days. You guys never cease to amaze me with the things you catch and bring up. I would say that one of the best "improvements" in the current system is that the treble is clean, distinct and very discrete. Next big improvement is that it just isn't fatiguing at all anymore so I get Art's point about being to listen to just about anything for a long time with no problem.

That said, I enjoy certain CDs more than others just because of the recording quality. I'm afraid that several of the older CDs have poor recordings and can sound a little tinny. So, it does affect my listening enjoyment. Does that mean I don't tap my toes, nod my head, close my eyes and enjoy? Nope, just possibly not as vigorously as if it were recorded better. Does that make sense, Art?

ROCK TOO LOUD? Is that even possible? LOL
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 870
Registered: Dec-06
It's not about how loud you turn up the dial, Dak. I listen to primarily rock and I crank it up to loud levels too.

http://www.turnmeup.org/

^ It's about that. And when rock is turned up loud and loses it's dynamics and clarity, that sucks.

CDs from the early 80s can sound a bit tinny, that's true. CDs from the early 90s are often the best sounding, because they hadn't suffered from the loudness wars. But any CD made in the 00s where they take proper care making it should sound better than anything from the 80s or 90s.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dakulis

Spokane, Washington United States

Post Number: 1172
Registered: May-05
Dan,

Very cool, that explains an awful lot of what I am hearing on some of my rock CDs. It always seems like the drums are either way too far from a microphone or some one has intentionally muted the sound. Thanks for the explanation, makes perfect sense. Dave
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15636
Registered: Dec-04
Think on rock recordings, then think who produces them.
Some of these recordings are made with horn loaded loudspeakers in concert, where high end extension is not the norm from the drivers.
Recording 'a little hot' is not unusual for the band guys.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dakulis

Spokane, Washington United States

Post Number: 1188
Registered: May-05
Well guys,

Just had a thoroughly enjoyable evening. A friend from church came over to hear the Salks. He has been shopping mucho for speakers. He just heard the 1.6 version of the Maggies, a pair of Gallos and he's off to listen to the new Harbeths, the 1.7 Maggies and the new versions of Art's DeVores.

He had an interesting take on the HT2-TLs. He liked them better than anything he had heard so far, described them as very neutral and he liked the huge sound stage but mostly appreciated that they just disappeared and you heard real and clear music.

His wife also an audiophile, how does anyone get that lucky, was equally impressed. I played her a couple of tracks from Cowboy Junkies and DSOTM and he played some Radiohead, James Taylor and Nora Jones. A great time was had by all and it was nice to get some "independent" reinforcement of my speaker choice and how good they sound. We listened to music a few clicks louder than I typically do and I was amazed how much the speakers opened up even more and yet no fatigue at all. He also noticed that he had no listener fatigue and mentioned that he could not do that with his current set-up.

After they left, I put some John Mellencamp in and enjoyed it immensely, followed by "The Wall", didn't want Stu to be disappointed (I picked it up off Amazon). Followed those with some Johnny Cash, including the Folsom Prison Live cut - just for you Nuck.

Found a special edition of "Thriller" at Hastings on Friday for under $5.00 so put that on and turned it up way too loud. Could you hear it Canada, Nuck? I'm only about 80 miles from the BC border you know. Then, stuck on a little Coldplay and finished with some U2. I meant to get to some classical music but never got there.

The more I listen to these speakers, the happier I am. Every genre sounds good, except opera. I don't own any so it doesn't sound at all. No, don't try to convince me, I've tried and I just can't get there. Sorry, I'm not that sophisticated I guess.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I'm still giving these speakers a 12!!!
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1175
Registered: Jul-07
Terrific stuff Dak. Nothing like finding a component that suits you to a tee.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15666
Registered: Dec-04
Very good news Daks!
Very glad to hear it (from here)!
 

Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 1225
Registered: Oct-10
It's a shame the red tint doesn't come through. It adds a nice touch to the wood grain.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dakulis

Spokane, Washington United States

Post Number: 1189
Registered: May-05
Thanks guys.

Super, I may have to get some natural light in during a weekend day to see if that gives a little better photo of the actual color. Or, you can take a look at them on HT2-TL photo gallery on the Salksound website. They are the pau ferro rosewood pair.
 

Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 1231
Registered: Oct-10
Thanks Dak! I'll look on the site, don't go to a lot of trouble over it.
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