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System Upgrade Advice Needed

 

Bronze Member
Username: Dlovell2001

Alexandria, Virginia United States

Post Number: 85
Registered: Jul-12
Given these parameters:

- I already have a pair of Sonus Faber Venere 2.5 and Venere Center and a Klipsch Reference SW-310 sub which I feel is adequate
- consider all other gear as crap that needs replacing
- I listen to music in 2.0 and HT in 3.1 and would prefer to keep it that way
- I live in a condo so noise control is a concern
- I have no desire to add a CD player or a turntable to this system
- ideally i'd like to be able to play all my music files on this system which right now are all MP3
- I can be flexible on most of this

Can someone give me a ball park range for what it will cost me to buy gear to power the SF Veneres? Gear that is good enough to do them justice? Suggestions and ideas would be wonderful.

I apologize in advance for being ignorant about the gear. I have done some research but i'm quite sure the only things I found were cheap crap.

I'll be happy to do research if someone could point me in the right direction. I honestly do not know what to look for.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 3175
Registered: Oct-07
Look at the Parasound P5 preamp. It has digital inputs, as well. I plug my iPod into the front panel jack and listen to MP3 files while I do house duties.
It also has good bass management so you can turn the bass DOWN on the mains while running the sub as a full range input and letting the SUB handle its OWN crossover. There is a front panel bass level (sub level) control so during the day you can put it where it sounds best, and later on, turn it DOWN a bit to keep from offending the neighbors.

For the amp? The A23 of 125x2 or the A21 of 250x2 with very good low impedance capability and several 'options' for startup. I let it 'sense' the input signal while you could run the 'trigger' input or flip the switch yourself.

Cost of P5 and A23 should be <2000$ out the door.
Richard Schramm, the boss man at Parasound is a real nice guy and accessible to the owners of his gear. He answers his own email, but please be nice.

The reasons I suggest the A23 are as follows: The SFs are fairly sensitive. That means they are pretty good at turning electricity into sound, at least the loudness part. A23 also is built to the same standards as the A21. Don't let anyone stampede you into getting the 'better' amp. It ain't necessarily so. The amp has 'loop out / in' connections so you need only ONE connection to the amp for biamping. This is an advanced connection style where you use ONE stereo amp PER SPEAKER and connect to the (gotta be more than one pair) speaker binding posts for highs OR lows. Look at the amps back panel picture and you'll get the idea.

Parasound has 2 'less expensive' lines, too, but I'd stick with the HALO series.

You could spend a LOT more. But for ME, the cost/benefit flattens out at this point and spending MORE doesn't necessarily GET me more.

For example, you could at the cost no-object level, buy a Pass Labs XA30.5 (3500$ USED@ RenoHiFi) and the same for a Pass Preamp. the NEW x.8 series has also come with a pretty good price increase.

Or, you could go the OTHER way and buy whatever suits your fancy from Emotiva. You could probably wrap it up for 60% of what the Parasound costs, but to what end? I think the Parasound is a better, longer lasting Value proposition. Just my opinion, fans of Emo.

THEIR: You've got 3 price points and some names to look up. Me, I'll take door #2. Emo never impressed me with the hype and I simply can't afford Pass Labs, especially since I have fairly power hungry speakers and it would take a PAIR of the XA30.5s to make 'em work.

Others may be around to suggest some TUBE gear, of which there is some really good stuff these days, at affordable price points. I don't know costs, but Manley and Jolida spring to mind as well as Chronus.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17955
Registered: May-04
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Leo, isn't the P5 a 2.1 pre amp? Rocker has a center channel speaker.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Dlovell2001

Alexandria, Virginia United States

Post Number: 86
Registered: Jul-12
I checked out the Parasound A31 amp - 3 channels - that would fit me. The preamp is where I get lost. The P7 Preamp has inputs for up to 7 channels but - correct me if i'm wrong - it does not have the Dolby Digital / DTS-HD decoders in it - it just takes in 7 already-decoded signals - I would use balanced connections between the A31 / P7 - 3 of them - and the sub connects into the P7 - it powers itself - am I understanding this right?

The few times i've looked at various equipment I always run into some wall like this where I do not know what to look for next. But I am learning. Thanks. I've bookmarked Parasound.

I think there is another 2 pieces i'd need to add to this? something to play digital music and something else to decode the dolby / dts. right?

I am wondering - how much more does that center channel cost me?

It seems like in the past when I looked into this I came to the conclusion that I could build a fairly nice audio system - i'm talking gear right now - speakers not part of this - a fairly nice stereo audio system for a few thousand. But once you go up to the multichannel - just tossing in a center alone makes it a whole new line of products - and the price tag jumps up significantly. I got the impression the center channel alone would triple my price tag (unless I go buy some cheap home-theater receiver - which is not what we're talking about and not what i'm interested in already got cheap crap not looking to modernize my cheap crap). I am hoping that I was looking at the wrong stuff - that if I look in the right place I can achieve what I want at a reasonable price tag. Please tell me my hopes are not in vain.

And thanks for this info.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 3176
Registered: Oct-07
Jan,
100% The P5 IS 'just' 2.1 For MY 0.02$, the center channel is NICE but not worth the extra expense. I believe the center channel speaker adds complexity and adds a few problems of its own, not the least of which is 'speaker match' to the L/R 'main' speakers. I suspect you agree, but won't put words in your keyboard.

The difference in cost / benefit between the P5, fairly inexpensive for all it does and does RIGHT (VS) the P7 is huge cost / less benefit. The P7 is over 2x the cost of the P5. For me, not worth it. Besides, I'd need ANOTHER amp, and another Maggie, for center channel. Space would than start to be an issue as I had to try to figure out HOW to get it all to fit.

As for the A31? That is a 3-channel version of the A21, as near as I can tell. I can guarantee that it's gonna kick out some heat, being biased well into class 'a' AND is 2x250 just sitting there! Not to mention the WEIGHT of about 80lb (shipping). You'll need some serious rackage, if you'll pardon the expression.

The P7 / A31 pair kicks in at about 5600$, far above 'budget'.

For THAT kind of coin, I'd investigate a HT receiver at the HIGHEST level.

I'm on unfamiliar terrain with HT / 7.1 stuff, anyway, and have ALWAYS stuck to stereo and 'point one' additions.

The P7 will connect to the amp using EITHER balanced connections OR single ended. A good balanced cable is available at Guitar Center. The Mogami Studio Gold is about 40$ each, in 6 foot lengths. This is just an example, NOT a hard recommendation.

I do NOT believe the Parasound is a fully balanced design, so the use of balanced connections on shorter runs is a debate topic for later.

With the NEW SF speakers, I'd be leery of adding a center channel. The Timbre won't match, the sensitivity of the speaker won't match and you may end up with some odd workarounds. I have NO idea of the finer features of the P7, if you can, for example, level match.

Doing research doesn't hurt. ME? I tend to look at back panels and try to figure out connections / setup. That's one selling point, to me, the built in bass management of the P5. I was able to delete the bass to my Panels, off load ALL of it <=50hz to the sub and 'clean up' a bit of muddiness at the same time. Than, read thru the setup part of the manual. They'll have PICTURES of suggested setups. I LIKE pictures!

The P7 has NO form of decoding, but is 'discrete'; you are probably stuck, unless you get a BlueRay player with such outputs OR a HT receiver with such outputs, but than why would you need the P7 ANYWAY?
Also, in looking at its back panel picture, I see inputs 9 and 10 as full 7.1 while outs look to be 5.1 in both balanced AND single ended.
I'd think of the P7 as a 'super P5', but without bass management. Personally, I made the right choice.

I think you are 'on the edge' of reconsidering the center channel speaker, am I correct?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Dlovell2001

Alexandria, Virginia United States

Post Number: 87
Registered: Jul-12
yes. it sounds like you're confirming my earlier - I hate to say conclusions because I'm not that knowledgeable on this stuff - but my earlier guess-timation that just the center channel alone complicates the situation far more than it is worth.

it's annoying - I know my bluray player has a decoder inside it - because right now i'm feeding the same stereo analog downmix into my old JVC receiver that I would use for a tube amp or any stereo-only setup - so you know it's decoding all the discrete channels it has to in order to create the stereo downmix without losing sound. it could have outputs for those 7 channels but it doesn't. and I think that leads back to the whole HDMI cable being decrypted and being there to prevent you and I from ripping movies. we are talking sound only though so maybe it's out there. that's an idea.

hell the center channel i'm getting now is not even a real discrete center anyway it's being manufactured by a computer chip. I only love it because it reduces the noise factor alot. So it's not so much about the center channel itself as it is the center speaker which has the ability to keep the noise down or should I say lacks the ability to make neighbor-annoying noise. Maybe the old-school stereo system with an a/b speaker switch is the more practical approach. don't know if you remember back in the 70s 80s we often had the large speakers spread out wide for music and the little bookshelf speakers in close for tv and movies. the amps had a/b speaker switches so we could switch between them as needed.

for now you've given me a great deal of makers and their products to go look into. i've got a lot to think about.

thanks.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17956
Registered: May-04
.

Rocker, I really wish you would have completed the last thread before you began this thread.



You remind me of the city I live in, Dallas. I've been here for nearly forty years since I moved down to finish my graduate school work. Dallas has never really changed over those forty years, they think they can buy culture by throwing money all around it. Dallas' money has come from oil and real estate development. Fort Worth has cattle money going back to the Civil War years. The cattle barons would come into town with bullcrap still on their boots and they created culture because they thought that was important. Dallas just thought if they bought this and this and had this and that person to call their own, they could have culture without really trying. Dallas spends money building "world class" this and that's and we really have no class about it in the end. It's all show and most of it is as fake as a Highland Park fourth wife's hair color. Dallas is all hat and no cattle, as they say.

That's what I get from you, Rocker. You want good sound but you don't have what it takes to achieve good sound. You tell us now your new speakers are pretty much stuck in the spot in the room where they fit. Your wife's boxes can't be moved. Right? The speakers cannot be placed where they provide their best performance and sound. Is that right?

You've been told what you hear from a music system is as much as 90% the room acting as a resonant chamber. If you can't place the speakers - particularly full range speakers and a sub - where they are least affected by the room and provide the best soundstage and imaging, etc, etc etc, then just buying more expensive gear isn't going to somehow turn what you have now into high end sound. You are always going to hear what the room is adding and taking away.

You say you like bass, loud bass. Loud music with even louder bass. And your music sources suck. But having that is going to annoy your wife and your neighbors. So, if I have this right from what you've posted in the other thread, you do listen to music through headphones on occasion. OK, buy one of these; http://www.audioadvisor.com/AudioQuest-Dragonfly-v12-USB-Digital-Audio-Converter /productinfo/AQDRFLY2/#.VAJRcpBMvUA and some decent headphones. Use this to play music from your computer through the headphones. You need over the ear headphones and not earbuds. A headphone with a cup over your ear has better bass and will not leak sound out into the room like earbuds will. You can crank up your tunes from your computer and have pretty decent sound with this set up for not a lot of money. I'd suggest you start with the $100-150 Grado phones but call and discuss this with AA. The impedance load of the headphones is important when pairing the phones to the amp. Tell them what you want and what sort of music you listen to and let them suggest some phones. Look at Pandora internet radio. For something like $1 you can subscribe to their upgraded system and have much better than MP3 resolution.

You mentioned some type of "music streamer" awhile back. Is that your BluRay player?

You can use your laptop as a fairly decent music player if you do it right. First, if someone posted here and said they listened to MP3 files but wanted to buy some high end speakers and electronics, they would most likely be told it wasn't worth upgrading their system until they first upgraded their sources. For the most part, MP3 is the lowest fidelity source available today. As I said in the last thread, the task of high end speakers is to show you what is being fed to them. That means high end speakers are there to provide all the good and the bad things going on in your system. Garbage in = garbage out. Right? If you put garbage MP3 files into high end speakers, you are going to get out garbage. Nothing in a high end system is deigned to compensate for garbage the way it is in a junk system. So you need to start moving your files over to WAV or FLAC and stop recording in MP3. That means you need to re-record your music. Starting with low quality MP3's and putting them in a WAV format leaves you with low quality MP3 quality.

Where have to taken your MP3's from? What site? iTunes?

What bit rate are you recording at?

Are you recording everything to a flashdrive/USB stick? And playing back from that same drive?

To what media player? Mac? Or, Windows?

Download Foobar if you use a Windows OS.

That should make for a fairly obvious upgrade to your music through headphones.




On to HT. So, you have Tivo, BluRay and I assume some sort of cable/satellite source.

Does your wife use this system on her own? Can she come in and turn on the system and watch the various sources and adjust the TV and system to satisfy her needs?

How many remotes does it take? Do they confuse her?



I see no reason to suggest any equipment unless you have access to it. Modern HT is somewhat complicated by all the features they throw into a HT receiver or component. For someone like you, Rocker, I would suggest you stay with a local vendor. Someone you can call for after the sale assistance if you need it.

I want you to go find out which brands of HT receivers are being sold in your area. There's really no way to audition HT receivers but I think you will do much better if you are buying locally rather than over the web.

Find out which HT receiver lines are offered in your area which include automatic room eq.

This involves a microphone and a processor. The electronics make adjustments to your signal chain which attempt to create the "best" sound possible given the limitations of speaker set up and room configuration.

Start with this, it will give you better sound that anything else you can use at a reasonable price and these systems have become very good lately so there's no need for more. Explain to the salesperson just what your speaker placement restrictions are along with the size of your room and how it is laid out. Take a drawing of your room in with you.

Keep the receiver as simple as possible. Most HT receivers load up the rear panel which can make for needless confusion. You have "X" number of sources to use, there's no need for a dozen inputs laid out in half a dozen different connector types. Know what connectors your equipment uses. Take in your owner's manuals if you have them. If the receiver has pre amp outputs from the processor, that's fine but not necessary.

Keep the remote control as simple as possible. Once again, the average salesperson sells the back panel and the remote. The bells and whistles and buttons and knobs. You don't need any of that BS. You need simplicity. The more crap features there are, the less money has been spent on a decent amplifier section. You probably don't want a class D HT amplifier considering your SF speakers. Just class AB with a heavy power transformer. I often give the advice to buy the heaviest amplifier you have to choose between. So do check the weight in the on line specs. Possibly spend some money on a "universal, learning remote" that can replace an overly complicated receiver remote.

Inquire into a receiver line that puts some emphasis on "current delivery". This is what you will need with the SF's. You do not need watts. The Venere's are rated at 90dB output w/ 1 watt in. That's fairly high sensitivity which means they will play rather loudly with little wattage into the speaker. Tell the salesperson not familiar with the SF's they are 6 Ohm nominal with a low impedance beneath 4 Ohms. They have been designed to play well with high quality HT receivers. You need no more than 100 watts and as little as 50. The difference between 50 and 100 watts into the same speaker is minimal so do not get hung up on watts - you want decent current delivery. That's where the "power" will come from with the SF's load.

I would avoid Pioneer, Sony, Yamaha, Denon and probably Onkyo. I would pay attention to NAD, Cambridge, Marantz and Harman Kardon.




You do not need separates, they are too expensive to justify with your system's set up restriction. You definitely do not need tubes. Buying more than your set up can support is a waste. Throwing money at your problems is not a good solution vs devoting the effort to making the set up better. Put your feet back on solid ground.

You said in a previous post on the last thread that you use the center channel speaker and adjust its volume when you listen to music through your speakers. Is that right?

You do not have the ability to set up a full 5.1 system, right?

I think we provided subwoofer set up instructions in your first thread. You need to understand subwoofer placement and set up. You want to use your sub, not annoy your neighbors. Do your homework on subwoofer set up.

You will not get a better system just by throwing money at it. You will get a much better system than you have right now if you take your time and spend wisely. Please, do not come back here to tell us you bought something until you've done all of your research. Let us know what lines are available in your area with the automatic eq and current delivery. I don't see you spending more than about $800 tops! You should be able to do this for half that cost. Until you can justify more than a very good HT receiver by having the ability to do a proper speaker, sub and listening position set up and possibly some room treatments, a quality HT receiver is all you need. Don't go buying a Porsche when what you need is an Accord.

Find a salesperson you can work with who will give you good advice. Take your time. Think. Think about how you might use the system and whether any benefits of a certain line seem to fit those ideas. Let the salesperson lead you to the line, don't let them tell you what you need. You need what will work well and no more.

Then let us know what you've found.



.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 3177
Registered: Oct-07
Jan,
good call on a simplified remote.
I recommend and use the Logitech system. You tell it what gear you have and how you want it to work. Some minor troubleshooting later, you are up and running.

My wife has few issues and we've parked several remotes which I've removed the batteries from. The ONLY remote still in action is the Sony PS3 unit which is BlueTooth, not IR or other RF systems.

The Logitech data base is pretty complete. I initally had some trouble with my Cambridge Audio 840c, but that was it. It even had my OPPO 981dv, my PSAudio integrated, DishNetwork receiver, Panasonic Plasma TV, and after some changes, my Parasound P5.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17957
Registered: May-04
.

OK, Rocker, I say you are scattershot and all over the place. I say you never maintain consistency between this post and the next post. You don't see yourself that way.

Let's discuss what exactly you've said most recently in a few of your posts ...



" And for now i'm hooked on the center channel for HT use."



"hell the center channel i'm getting now is not even a real discrete center anyway it's being manufactured by a computer chip. I only love it because it reduces the noise factor alot. So it's not so much about the center channel itself as it is the center speaker which has the ability to keep the noise down or should I say lacks the ability to make neighbor-annoying noise."


Are you saying the center channel speaker by itself doesn't produce the type of bass that annoys your neighbors? But it will if you buy a new system. If you buy a Dolby Digital/DTS capable system and use the center channel, the bass that would normally be sent to the center speaker will be steered to the sub.





"To answer your question - my sources are even worse than my amp. I have an old JVC CD player. I mostly use the TiVo (right now the thing won't even power up it keeps restarting and hanging) that's not helping me test drive the Venere - the source I use the most has been unavailable to me. I bought a cheap media player - I copy my music song files out of iTunes onto a flash drive and plug into it and play music through it sometimes. The sound quality of that thing is the same as the old CD player."


"ideally i'd like to be able to play all my music files on this system which right now are all MP3"





"I still want to explore just how good of a sound can I get with this old amp. So far the Sonus Faber sounds pretty darn good. I realize it could/would/should sound much better if i'd get a new amp. Understand. I cannot spend another chunk of money that big right now. I was hoping I could do this in an incremental way. So for me the Sonus Faber being a good match for the old JVC is not what's important in the long run - it will be until I can buy a new amp - but what amp is the best match for the sonus Fabers - and from there what sources are best for that amp"


So, once again, what exactly are we trying to accomplish here? I posted a long (though basic) explanation of how high end systems operate. That explanation began with a discussion of the importance of source material and source players. You seem to be ignoring that advice in this thread.

Either you are wanting to explore just how good your sound (music?) sound can get with your old JVC, or you want a new amplifier. Which is it? How important is music vs HT? You mix the two together quite often and I'm not at all clear on what it is you actually want from your system. You can't play your music as loudly as you would prefer in your apartment. So, what is it that's most important to you if you no longer care to explore how far your old JVC can take you?

You do understand working backwards by buying a new amplifier will only solve a very small portion of your problems, right? A new amplifier/receiver/processor or whatever you decide on (if "decide" is even the right word to use here) can still only take what you feed it from your "worse than the JVC" sources, right? Therefore, if you do nothing to improve your very first pieces of the signal chain which right now are what you describe as lousy, just what are you expecting by upgrading the amplifier? I'm once again fairly confused by your ... uh, "thinking".




.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Dlovell2001

Alexandria, Virginia United States

Post Number: 89
Registered: Jul-12
For starters i'd like to say THANKS JAN - this is the no-BS core-dump post i've been trying to get. Even if I don't understand everything you just said or if I ask questions or become argumentative or do not take every word of advice you've given me I still greatly appreciate it.

Your comparison of me to rednecks with crap on their boots sounds insulting. Whatever stereotype of me you have formed in your mind seems to tell you that I could not possibly be happy with anything Sonus Faber makes. I love the silky smooth Sonus Faber sound. The harsh Klipsch Reference sound is more of a mis-match to me than the Venere sound I have now. Please consider revising your stereotyping algorithm - or at least rerun it with me.

I do not care about status when it comes to audio. I want good sound. That's it. Buying the names that audiophiles love makes sense to me - why do audiophiles love them so much? easy to get help - easy to sell if I neeed to. I do not want to throw money at audio. I do not want to throw money away on audio either. I'd like to upgrade. Not replace crap with newer crap. The applicable phrase here is practical perfectionism.

I had a pair of JBL speakers that lasted me 17 years. I gave them away when they needed refoaming. The speakers I bought to replace them left me feeling like I had paid good money for speakers I liked less than the ones I gave away. I've been driven by a need to feel like the audio I end up with is better than what i'm giving away / throwing away enough to justify the effort and the cost. The Klipsch Reference speakers on the JVC RX-1815V receiver was definitely not that.

I have equipment that I bought 19 years ago - the JVC receiver. I think it's long overdue that I upgrade it. I have no interest in replacing old crap with newer crap. I want to buy something better. I could walk into an audio shop and tell them I know nothing about modern equipment and let them guide me. I may get an honest salesman who will be helpful and informative. I most likely - in this area - will get someone who will squeeze as much $$$ out of me as they can in the shortest time possible and then have no time for me once they have my $$$. I'm trying to become as informed as I can be. At least then I can tell which salesman is honest and which ones are trying to rip me off.

Jan - the last audio system I bought was 19 years ago. I've lived in 12 different homes since I bought it. Some of those homes were roomy - some were really small. I'm thinking long-term. If I build a truly nice audio system i'd like to keep it for a long time and get much use from it. If history repeats itself - which it tends to do - I will be living in many different places with that audio system. I need an audio system that does not need a huge amount my time and money everytime I move to another a place. I need speakers that are not too large - that I can carry myself if/when I need to - that I can put just about anywhere if I have to. Given a choice between rear-ported speakers that have to be 4 feet or more away from any walls - no boxes stacked up beside them - speakers that are very sensitive to position - or a pair of speakers that can go almost anywhere and sound fine - I chose the latter. Sealed boxes and front-ported designs are the easiest to place are they not? Or should I say the least sensitive to location? Right? Every front-ported speaker i've ever owned sounded best to me backed up to a wall. That is the type of speaker I need to own. That's what I bought.

I have Klipsch Reference headphones. They are earbuds and the bass is incredible. Seriously. I like them. I have a Macbook Air and an iPhone 5. Yes iTunes is my library manager / player. I enjoy listening to music on my iPhone and Macbook. I will look into Grado (heard good things about them). For now I do not want to get too distracted with headphones. I think the best usage of our time and attention will be to focus on a new amp. Down the road we can circle back to this. I'm definitely checking out the DragonFly - that looks cool. I was thinking about something alot like this to feed music straight from my Mac to my audio system - a USB plug-in DAC - we'll talk more on that later. Thanks.

My music library is a collection of songs imported from CDs, some various files from the Napster days, but mostly new music I bought thru iTunes. Almost all of it is MP3. In the beginning the reason I used MP3 was partly from ignorance and also for space concerns. The uncompressed formats I had available to me back then were WAV/AIFF which were literally 10 times larger files than MP3. I have around 30 GB of music. Uncompressed that would not fit on my computer.

The way I see it this is like back in the days when compact discs came out - I replaced cassettes with CDs that were much higher in quality. Still - a lot of the existing music - even after being remastered were not much better than the cassette because they were not recorded digitally to begin with. What i'm saying is this: the way compression works is once you compress the audio you lose reolution. You can take the compressed audio and convert it to an uncompressed format but you cannot get back the resolution you lost when you compressed it. You just get a high-quality copy of your lower-quality audio. The only way to get the truly higher quality audio the uncompressed formats are capable of giving you is to start with those and never compress the audio. What i'm saying is that if I convert my music files to an uncompressed format it will take up a ton more space but will not sound better. I need to go back to the source and save them off as an uncompressed format - not as MP3. My new stuff is M4A. That's an Apple lossless format right? Most of my MP3 audio is old stuff where the sound quality is not that good anyway. I'm not sure i'll gain mush by getting uncompressed formats of those.

What i'm saying is - my library is the result of years of a bad habit - collecting MP3. I need to change that habit to collecting something better - FLAC or AIFF (apple - WAV is Windows). Space will be an issue though. As far as converting all my old stuff to new higher quality files - Apple has a service called iCloud where they swap your music for higher quality versions if you store your library on their cloud. I could look into that for the old retro stuff that's all in crappy MP3. My old stuff is 128kbps. Some is 192kbps. The newer stuff is all 320kbps or 360kbps and almost all of that is M4A - not MP3. I can tell a HUGE difference when playing them on my media player. I'm just saying that I realize my music sources are a huge problem. I can build the most awesome audio system in the world and it will be mothing more than a monumental waste of $$$ as long as i'm playing crappy old music files on it. I"m not making excuses i'm just being realistic. I'm not going to be able to change that overnight. It took me years to build this audio library. It will take time to upgrade all my music source files. But it can be done. I have to start somewhere. The first step for me is to find a better format and commit to it. Do you recommend FLAC over M4A?

The only audio editor I have is Audacity on my Mac. I do not know much. I can cut and splice and save files under a different format. I'm not Avicci or Deadmau5 (dead mouse).

My media player is a cheap USB model called Micca. There were not many of them with analog outputs - which I have to have since my old JVC is analog only. It's like $60 on amazon. it plays songs, movie files etc and outputs it to my TV. I can watch my iPhone videos on my TV with it. it plays songs in all kinds of different formats. it's a cheap DAC probably no different than what's in a computer. it sounds as good as my old JVC CD player for whatever that's worth.

I have a BluRay player that could also serve as a SACD player if I had a receiver to feed the signals into - which I do not. You're not a fan of SACD right? I only use the BluRay for movies. The TiVo has Pandora on it. I've tried that and it sounds like my media player / CD player. The Music Choice channels that come with my cable service are 360kbps Dolby Digital 2.0 - I have to feed an analog downmix into my old JVC. As far as TV from the TiVo goes I use a 3.1 mode. Music is 2.0

I do not use the center channel when I listen to music. I only use it for TV and movies. I am not comfortable with the idea of going stereo-only and losing the center for HT. If I were to lose the center speaker then I can imagine myself one day in the future sitting in a studio or small apartment in a new city while we learn the area and I have this awesome expensive audio system sitting there but when I watch TV i'm using the speakers in the TV because the audio system is too dang loud for where we live. I think of a center channel as an insurance policy that says I can always actually use the audio system.

I want to clear up one thing about my center channel. Jan - on my old JVC receiver - I can turn on the FM radio - this is a stereo signal for sure - it is absolutely definitely NOT Dolby Digital - and I can turn on the Dolby ProLogic Processor and the center channel plays. In the 3CH mode it adds the center. Then I can switch it to DSP mode and it plays 4 channels, fronts and back, then to the proLogic mode where 5 channels play. Forget the 4 and 5 channel modes I never use them I do not have rear speakers. 3 channel mode only. I get a center channel on the FM radio. On anything. I can play my CD player and get a center channel. The quality of the center channel is crap in those cases. I can play the AM radio - mono signals - which I hear in both front speakers equally - and turn on the center channel and ALL of the sound goes to the center - nothing coming from the left and right. From this I concluded - 2 years ago - that my center channel is being manufactured by a computer chip - that it seems to be finding common sounds that are in-phase in the left and right channels and subtract them out and send them to the center instead. The quality of the center sucks in those cases. It's like all the DSP crap on the new receivers it's obviously computer-generated crap - But - with the TiVo - and the BluRay player - I can go into the audio settings on them - DOWNMIX settings - and tell it to use SURROUND SOUND as the downmix and then the center channel actually sounds good. There is nothing more than a stereo analog connection between the devices. It is using an analog downmix to achieve this. But it does work. It is NOT a discrete center channel. It sounds as good to me as the discrete center channel I was getting from the Yamaha amp I bought last year. Of course a good part of that probably is what i'm used to sounding more "right" than that which I am not.

I used to watch movies in stereo but I found myself turning the volume up and down living in places like where I do now - up to hear voices when they're talking low and down when the shooting starts because it gets too loud. The dynamic range of soundtracks nowadays is not good for someone living where I do - at least not with Klipsch Reference speakers!

Anyway - so now I put my system in 3CH mode for Home Theater. I found that if I subtract bass from the fronts and turn up the center level it allows me to hear the voices loud and clear even when they're talking low and still get some action sound coming from the fronts without getting too loud. I'm not having to turn it up and down and I can still enjoy it while not annoying my neighbors or my wife. My wife was complaining a little - mostly on action stuff that gets loud on purpose.

For music I have it in stereo with the bass and treble boosted on the EQ. What I love so much about the old JVC - the one feature nobody has anymore - is that it remembers my EQ settings - ALL of my settings - even the volume - for each source - and goes to those settings automatically when I select that source. This means I can switch it to VCR1 (the TiVo) and it automatically switches to 3CH mode, normal center mode, center at +4 dB and the EQ on a bass-subtracted and mids-boosted setting. When I want music I just select CD or Tape1 (media player) and it switches to stereo and changes the EQ settings. NONE of the new HT receivers do that. They remember which DSP you want to use for each source and that is it. They have EQ on each channel. So to do what i'm doing now i'd have to go into the EQ settings and adjust my front left EQ settings and then my right front EQ settings every time I switch between home theater and music. There is no way i'm going to do all that. So I would essentially have to set the EQ for music and just find a way to deal with those settings for HT - and that would be way too loud for me to enjoy it. I would essentially have an audio system that I can use for music OR home theater but not both. I have not been willing pay money to do that - certainly not for an amp that sounds crappier than what I already have. Flame me all you want to i'm not about to do that.

Here's what i've been thinking since I got the Sonus Faber. A large part of the reason I needed to adjust the sound with the EQ was because of the Klipsch Reference - loud, powerful whatever you want to call it. The silky smooth SF sound does not need so much EQ. Hopefully no EQ at all. Let's take the Cambridge Audio Azur 751R for example. It has bass and treble controls at 100Hz and 10KHz - that's what i'm used to i'm old school. some of the new ones have it at 50Hz and 20KHz. anyway - that's all the EQ I need with speakers as good as the SF Venere. Give me a quality amp and a center channel and I think i'll be fine. Worse case is that I'm turning the bass control down for HT and back to flat for music - I can handle that.

You said I should go for weight. The Azur 551R weighs 22 lbs. What I have now weighs 24 lbs. The Azur 751R weighs 38 lbs. This weight comes from the transformers. You're talking about me getting an amp with a linear regulator right? I'm not looking to throw money away - but I want to make sure i'm getting what I need. I'm planning on keeping this audio system for a long time and using it in many places and enjoying it. I'll spend some time studying amps and looking around my area for dealers. I'm going to take my time and do this right.

Thanks!
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17962
Registered: May-04
.

Well, Rocker, never let it be said you don't give me plenty to work with.

You love the SF's. That's great, but they are really the polar opposite of the Klipsch sound, which you also said you loved. Which leads me to think you don't have very solid priorities for what you are wanting from your audio system. Quite honestly, turning it up without distortion or harshness still falls rather far outside the typical requirements for a quality audio system. But, I see we are still comparing this to the performance of your car audio system, aren't we? Not a very solid foundation upon which to build a high quality home system IMO.

You say you are not into status and I do believe you. However, in the very next sentence you say you are after "good sound". When you go from Klispch to Sonus Faber and profess to enjoy both at some point in time, I have a difficult time decoding just what "good sound" means to you. You now say the Klipsch sound was definitely not good sound. But, just a few month ago, that was not the case. So, what has changed in those few months? Have you changed your attitude toward music by going out to listen to more live music? Or, is it just that what you have now is simply different than what you had previously and we all love what we have just purchased? "Silky sound" leaves a lot to be defined in my book.


Once again you claim you may be "ripped off" by a salesperson. As a former salesperson, I find that just a bit insulting. I've worked with a lot of salespeople and I cannot honestly say I came across any salespeople who were there to rip people off in a legitimate business relationship. If they tried, they seldom lasted long on the sales floor. There were the lazy salespeople who did very little to assist a client. There were fairly stupid people who knew not much more than the average customer. But honesty was seldom a problem with anyone I have worked with. Customers, however, often opened themselves up to the type of sales techniques which lead to their feeling ripped off despite the fact they were the one who said they were happy with what they had purchased - until they were not. Buyer's remorse is typically rationalized as the dishonest salesperson ripping off the poor, unsuspecting customer. It's seldom the salesperson though who does the cheating. It's rarely the salesperson who is looking to "get them before they get me".




You mention speakers you can "put just about anywhere". Those speakers don't exist, Rocker. I'm actually a bit disappointed you think that way at this point in our discussions.

Rear ported speakers require at least 4 FEET between their backside and the closest wall? Not in my experience. High quality speakers almost always perform best when they are away from the reflective walls of the room. However, due to the omni-directional nature of low frequency wavefronts, the position of the port does not dictate more than a few inches more distance between the rear port and any other sort of port or none at all. Sealed speakers are somewhat different in their group delay measurements than are ported speakers but the bass they produce is still omni-directional by nature.

No speaker is guaranteed to perform to its highest level simply because another speaker worked well in that location. With a typical high end speaker of today, location is critical and cannot be dismissed as belonging to one type of speaker or another.

Yet, you say, your front ported speakers " ... sounded best to me backed up to a wall. That is the type of speaker I need to own. That's what I bought." IMO neither did you buy that sort of speaker nor is your generalization true for the vast majority of modern speakers. If you wanted speakers which performed best when placed tightly against a wall, you should have asked before you bought. But what you have is what you have and what we must work with. As I said, however, I simply don't know exactly what "sound" you actually prefer.


Recording in MP3 format because all your music won't fit on your computer in WAV or FLAC is not very good reasoning. Buy yourself an external hard drive which feeds from your computer and feeds back into your computer. You can buy 1TB for less than $100 and 4TB for about $150. Even recording in WAV format, that's a lot of music you can store.

You mention compression and a loss of resolution. While there are debates about the audibility of compressed and expanded files, they don't really concern what you want to do. You need to record in the highest resolution possible from your file ripping program. FLAC is roughly comparable to actual WAV files (basically, CD Redbook quality) but will take up only about half the space on your hard drive. Still if your drive is 1TB, you have more than enough room for the uncompressed files.

You go through something about uncompressed files not sounding better than your MP3's. Whether you are upsampling or upconverting MP3 format files to a higher bit rate format, there are no capabilities to replace data lost to the original recording. You need to save your MP3's for use in your car or another portable device. There are devices which you can purchase to rip hundreds of files automatically if you want to spend the money. Some people pay for someone else to do the ripping. Otherwise, begin with your most favorite albums and work to the least favorite as you record in a higher resolution format.

MY4 files, as I understand them and I am not a Mac user, can be either a lossless format or a lossy format. Do your homework before you do your recordings.


I would suggest you record in WAV format though FLAC is a very close second and not that distinguishable from WAV on less than the best equipment.

Your sources are "a huge problem'? Yet you purchased several thousand dollars worth of speakers. I know you've justified you "had to" do it this way. But, Rocker, you admit your amp isn't up to driving the speaker load you now own and you seem to realize your sources are less than stellar. Once again, I'm at a loss as to what it is you want if not a name on your speakers.

There's no need for a digital audio workstation just to rip files to your computer. For whatever reason you have been using Audacity, stop. You can't remix completed data streams. Use a high quality ripper set to a higher resolution (WAV or FLAC) and forget Audacity. I use the dBpoweramp CD ripper program which I think is about as good as you can find for quality and very easy to work with. iTunes works fine after making a few adjustments. Buy an external DAC.

I'm actually a fan of SACD. The few DSS (SACD) discs I own were most often superior to the Redbook CD of the same recording. However, as a long thread which ran on this forum many years ago concluded, it is the mix and mastering which are the most important thing. Any file format is secondary to those two actions. No amount of technology can make up for a lousy recording. Many early CD's were digital copies of analog recordings. They were felt to be superior to early DDD discs. Many SACD's benefited from a remix and/or a remastering of the original recording.


Pandora can be used in a higher resolution format by paying a small ($1?) fee per year.

That's it for now, I'll deal with the TV/audio system issues tomorrow. That will take some time to lay out.


.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17963
Registered: May-04
.

Let's finish up a bit of business concerning SACD. As it was introduced to the public - as a hard disc format which would replace the several copies of identical material already in most libraries - it was generally considered to be a flop. It outlasted several competing hi-rez formats but was done in by Sony/Philips themselves as they haggled for months over watermarking the data to protect it from black market copies.

It never really had a solid footing in the market, though it did occupy more rack space than those competing formats due to Sony's extensive library of music ownership which they have built up over the last few decades. The Mercury Living Presence recordings I mentioned earlier were finally brought to the listener in their original three channel format which indicated a bright future for SACD. Of course, for those younger listeners unfamiliar with the Mercury recordings, they wondered why their 5.1 channel format was being limited to 3.1. It was this sort of shooting itself in the foot that did SACD no favors.

Unfortunately, the actual albums generally suffered from a lacksidaisical approach to their production. Some received full remix/remaster production values while others offered nothing better than what already existed on previous versions of the same album. While a forward looking disc such as Dark Side of the Moon wowed most listeners with a new and interesting difference to the original along with excellent sound values - and DSOTM had already gone through many versions over the years, I have at least 6 copies of various takes on DSOTM which I had used for demo material - many mixes had instruments split in half with the bass coming from the front speakers and the treble end coming from the rear speakers. Occasionaly, instruments just existed somewhere in space with no rationale for their being there. SACD sound became just another version of early stereo recordings of ping pong games and passing trains, showing off the possibilities of the format but never actually creating anything other than a very uninteresting clone of earlier versions of the same album. Their cost was higher but their sound was basically the same. SACD hung in there for several years mainly through their classical music sales which benefitted from generally high quality production values. Many of these discs were mixed and mastered completely in DSS format which allowed them to show off the virtues of the hi-rez idea. Most other genres of music had the basic problem of a data stream which could not be supported by DSS equipment throughout the entire mix/master process which then left the final product really no better than the weakest PCM gear through which it had passed. If the DSS data had been downconverted to PCM format at any time in the process, data was lost to the hi-rez version. The eventual upconversion back to DSS was more or less similar to trying to make a WAV copy of a MP3 file. Once the benefit of the higher resolution format was lost, so too was the reason for buying the lo-fi, hi-rez version at the hi-rez price. Eventually though, even with the internet based marketing, there just wasn't enough interest in the music to keep the format alive.

There is renewed interest in DSS capable DAC's. The format itself had promise, it was the implementation of the process which did in SACD as a hard disc format. Many DAC's which can upsample now offer DSS capabilities for downloaded files from the web. Personally, though I think my SACD collection is essentially higher quality than my Redbook CD collection, I wouldn't buy a DAC today based solely on its ability to process DSS data streams. There isn't enough music available to most listeners to support the price difference at this time IMO. Of course, that's also based on the fact I purchased a decent, and not that cheap, DAC only a year ago.




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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17964
Registered: May-04
.


"I do not use the center channel when I listen to music. I only use it for TV and movies. I am not comfortable with the idea of going stereo-only and losing the center for HT. If I were to lose the center speaker then I can imagine myself one day in the future sitting in a studio or small apartment in a new city while we learn the area and I have this awesome expensive audio system sitting there but when I watch TV i'm using the speakers in the TV because the audio system is too dang loud for where we live. I think of a center channel as an insurance policy that says I can always actually use the audio system."


That entire paragraph makes no sense to me. Just as when we get questions about distortion, the simple answer remains, turn it down. You shouldn't be afraid to use your system. You should be respectful of those neighbors who aren't interested in hearing your audio system. Once again, Rocker, I'm just not clear on your thought process.



"I want to clear up one thing about my center channel. Jan - on my old JVC receiver - I can turn on the FM radio - this is a stereo signal for sure - it is absolutely definitely NOT Dolby Digital - and I can turn on the Dolby ProLogic Processor and the center channel plays. In the 3CH mode it adds the center ... yada yada yada ... It sounds as good to me as the discrete center channel I was getting from the Yamaha amp I bought last year. Of course a good part of that probably is what i'm used to sounding more "right" than that which I am not."


OK, fine with me. Whatever works for you as long as you own the JVC.


"I used to watch movies in stereo but I found myself turning the volume up and down living in places like where I do now - up to hear voices when they're talking low and down when the shooting starts because it gets too loud. The dynamic range of soundtracks nowadays is not good for someone living where I do - at least not with Klipsch Reference speakers!"


I'm a bit concerned that you think the Sonus Faber's won't play with the same dynamic range as the Klipsch. My bet would be the SF's are more accurate than the Klispch could ever dream of so there's no reason to think the dynamic range won't be at least the same. I would expect the SF's to have a very different character and the midbass emphasis of the Klipsch is what was causing "loudness" issues. I have no earthly idea how you had the system arranged to listen to movies in two channel and there's no need for you to go through anything you did. It doesn't matter. You need to buy a new receiver/processor more suited to your current needs.

A very common feature on most HT processors/receivers is called "midnight mode". Dynamic range is compressed with this system which allows the low level signal to be raised and the highly dynamic, loudest signals to be reduced. It might as well be called "apartment living mode" since it will go a long way towards eliminating the loudness issues you mention. When you go looking for new gear, discuss this with the salesperson. To my knowledge, there isn't much difference between the various manufacturer's implementation of this compressor but I don't know that nowdays one line of receivers isn't better than another in this one respect.


"Anyway - so now I put my system in 3CH mode for Home Theater. I found that if I subtract bass from the fronts and turn up the center level it allows me to hear the voices loud and clear even when they're talking low and still get some action sound coming from the fronts without getting too loud. I'm not having to turn it up and down and I can still enjoy it while not annoying my neighbors or my wife. My wife was complaining a little - mostly on action stuff that gets loud on purpose."


I get the feeling you are constantly changing the settings on your receiver. I know you'll say you aren't, but reading your words leads me to the conclusion that you are really all over the place when it comes to sound quality. Maybe even changing things up for each album. You're not the first person I've dealt with who fiddles with their system too much. Beyond the fact music just sounds better when it passes through simpler circuits, this is very much why most high end audio has moved to an extreme austerity in controls.

Turn on the system, play music, enjoy. That's all there is to it. Simple, when you leave things alone.

Just because you can change something doesn't at all mean you should be changing things constantly. I have the feeling this advice will be lost on you, Rocker. If you get yourself deep into the weeds of whether the processor remembers certain settings, you risk buying an overly complicated system where the features are more important than the amplification itself. Find equipment that allows you to make any adjustments required in the initial set up and then leave the controls alone.

Turn it on, play music, enjoy. Put the remote down. Listen, don't play with the system.


"Here's what i've been thinking since I got the Sonus Faber. A large part of the reason I needed to adjust the sound with the EQ was because of the Klipsch Reference - loud, powerful whatever you want to call it. The silky smooth SF sound does not need so much EQ. Hopefully no EQ at all. Let's take the Cambridge Audio Azur 751R for example. It has bass and treble controls at 100Hz and 10KHz - that's what i'm used to i'm old school. some of the new ones have it at 50Hz and 20KHz. anyway - that's all the EQ I need with speakers as good as the SF Venere."



Why not just leave the controls alone? Stop thinking "EQ"! You are already mixing up so many points where there is eq in the system and now you're planning on more. Leave the system alone, Rocker! Buy good equipment. Set it up right the first time. Turn the system on, listen to music, enjoy.

That's all you need to do.

If you go out there talking to a salesperson about all the BS controls you can use, you're going to get a component that is either nothing but junk features or so complicated it's a waste of money for your use. Stop thinking "EQ"! You look at the miniscule and miss the whole, Rocker. Stop that!

That's why BS HT receivers put all that crap on their sales literature, because it's all they have to talk about. They hope you'll pick their receiver because it has "this" control" that doesn't amount to diddly. It's how crap hifi gets sold. Look at the amplifier, look at the value of the processor, they are not all created equal. If money goes into BS features, it comes out of the amplifier. That's how you need to think about this. Plain Jane on the outside typically translates into higher quality on the inside. Buy it, set it up and then just listen.

You do not use controls to replace proper set up of your system. You have no earthly idea what a 50Hz control will change with your speakers backed up against the wall. If you have a sub in the system, there won't be any 50Hz to adjust on the main speakers. The LFE filter will probably be set above 50Hz. So, what exactly would that control do at that point? Stop looking at something that means nothing and concentrate on what does matter. You want a good processor and a good amp. Whether they come in one box or several, that's all you need to concern yourself with when you are shopping.

Auto eq on a processor will give you a good start on getting the sound smoothed out according to your speaker placement and room situation. It's meant to allow a near flat response from your system. Use it and then put the remote down. Stop thinking this is all a game of what you can constantly change. It's not. It's getting you the "best" sound possible given your other choices. If it's not, then just keep the JVC with all the controls you want to play with. If you want something other than what the system gives you, go out and listen in your car. I can't keep juggling your desire to have this and then that and then something entirely different all of which are contradictory to good sound quality. I can't get you to a home system that sounds like your car. No one can. Honestly, Rocker, I am just worn out by you. What is it you want from this system? Choose one and stay with it. I would suggest you select simple and effective over simply a play toy.


"You said I should go for weight. The Azur 551R weighs 22 lbs. What I have now weighs 24 lbs. The Azur 751R weighs 38 lbs. This weight comes from the transformers. You're talking about me getting an amp with a linear regulator right?"


What have I done?! I've given you another number to look at. Yeah, your JVC weighs "X" and today's amps weigh "Y". A '58 Buick weighs almost three tons and a modern Buick weighs about two. They don't build 'em like they used to. Weight is to be used as a possible factor in making a decision, not as a decision maker. It is one value in a list of values.

Weight is a generic suggestion. Yes, the weight in any amplifier comes primarily from the power supply and mostly from the transformer(s). But they do build power supplies with much smaller transformers and supply/filer caps than they did two decades ago. In a cheap amplifier, that's a detriment. In a quality amplifier, it's what progress has brought in the last few decades. There are better materials available today. There are more integrated circuits in a modern processor than in your old JVC.

What you want to concern yourself with in the power amplifier is current delivery. A heavier amp is the more likely of two to have current delivery capability since more of the amp is dedicated to storing current. Weight is a secondary consideration if you are choosing between two amps. Your speakers have a low impedance/high phase angle combination which requires current at times. You want an amp that has the ability to deliver that current when needed. Linear supplies generally do better at this than switching types. That doesn't completely rule out a switching type ps. You just need to know the power amp can deliver the "power" (combined Voltage and Amperage) your speakers will require. You don't need a sledgehammer, you need a precision device.

Most often a salesperson will not know much about current delivery in any amplifier. It's seldom mentioned in the sales literature for any HT receiver. They usually sell remotes and buttons and knobs and plugs. If they don't even mention the power amplifier in their sales presentation, then either they don't know anything about power amplifiers or they aren't interested in selling good sound quality. I've given you the names of a few lines which are known to design for sound quality vs features quantity. Stay with those lines and you'll be OK.

Got that?



I'm going to throw out an idea and I want some feedback on it. I've suggested a good HT receiver with auto-eq. With your ideas about speaker placement and what you say are your limitations with speaker placement, I think the auto-eq is a worthwhile feature. However, have you considered splitting your HT and audio systems? Have you looked in to a decent "sound bar" for the TV/movies and a basic two channel or a better quality multi-channel audio system for the audio portion?

Nothing is shared between the two if you buy wisely. Set up each to give the best each can offer and don't constantly change settings and eq and this and that when you want to listen to music. Give that some thought.



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Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 3184
Registered: Oct-07
I wanted to add a note about what Jan called 'midnite mode', where the dynamic range is compressed so you have less 'blasting' and levels which are too low.

My Small Dish receiver has that function in the setup somewhere. I leave it OFF since it can also effect music reproduction from the Sirus/XM stuff I use around the house.

If I want to listen LOUD after the house gets quiet, I'll use earbuds. Not your choice, I suspect.

If you are coming from a BR or DVD player, search the setup menus and see if you can enable that function.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Dlovell2001

Alexandria, Virginia United States

Post Number: 91
Registered: Jul-12
I don't know any other way to say this: I don't know what I don't know. If you don't understand what i'm saying when I talk about my center channel then obviously my center channel setup is very unusual in the outdated way. The old JVC is Dolby Surround that uses stereo analog connections to do what it does. My fronts always play. The sub always plays. Whatever goes to the fronts goes to the sub. The frequency dial on the bacl of my sub decides what the sub plays and the volume on the sub decides how loud it is relative to the rest of my system.

The ProLogic processor turns on or off when I push a button on the unit or remote - nothing is automatic it is all manual - regardless of the input source. Depending on the ProLogic settings the center and/or rears play - I have the thing in 3CH (3-Channel) mode (center on but no rears) so whenever I turn on the ProLogic thing the center plays regardless of input source. The center sounds like crap unless i'm feeding the unit a signal from my TiVo or BluRay with SURROUND SOUND selected as the DOWNMIX. In that case it sounds like the fronts and the center form a 3-channel version of sound as opposed to a 2-channel stereo image. The voices move to the center and the sounds that belong in the left or right move more in those directions. For TV its like what I hear more closely matches what I see. I hear voices coming from the center because they really are coming from the center not a phantom center generated by a high quality stereo image. I get mostly voices coming from the center channel and mostly all the rest of it - the "noise" - coming from the fronts (and sub). Since I have a center level control - a relative volume for the center channel - it's like having a volume knob on the voices and another for the noise (the master volume). I can turn up the voices or turn down the noise to get it where I want it - just enough noise and always enough voices so I can hear it well and enjoy it.

My center channel has 2 active modes: in "normal" center mode common in-phase sounds above 350Hz are sent to the center. No bass is sent to the center. I guess back then center channel speakers were typically small? Anyway - then there is "wide" mode which sends all ferquencies to the center including bass. It subtracts the sounds from the left and right when it sends it to the center - meaning more bass in the center is less bass in the fronts (and therefore in the sub) so it's much less bass overall since my center channel speaker produces far less bass than the two fronts and subwoofer combined. That seemed like an obvious thing to me when I said it. But my system is old enough to vote.

So if I put my center in "normal" mode there is no bass coming from the center so I can turn it up and the master volume down and keep the overall bass low and still have loud voices in the center. I can put the center in "wide" mode and the center pumps out some bass (it doesn't produce the kind of bass my fronts or sub produce - it's a lot like the difference between the 6x9 rear speakers in my car which pump out ample bass and the tiny front speakers in my car doors that although they do play bass it's nothing like what the rears pump out). But the fronts and sub get much less bass and the overall system is more "polite" even though it's still hi-fi.

I've tried the Dynamic Compression setting on my BluRay player and I don't see where it changes anything - maybe that's because i'm listening to an analog downmix? Maybe it only applies to Digital outputs? Some of the gear i've looked at has "night mode" on them.

Instead of trying to find what I have now in a modern amp maybe I should rely on the new technologies - such as "night mode" to do what I need. The only way to tell is to get something in here and listen to it.


I read the Crutchfield Soundbar buying guide. Looked at some models. The models that caught my eye: B&W Panorama 2, Focal Dimension, Monitor Audio ASB-2, Martin Logan Motion Vision, Canton DM9 & Paradigm Soundscape. I'd have to get out and listen to them. My first impression is that a soundbar will not sound as good as the 3.1 i'm listening to now unless I get a really good one - like the models i've listed. And those models cost in the range of $1.5k to $2k. It seems to me the speakers inside them are too small to have a very large soundfield or produce much bass - which may be a good thing - many of these have subs that go with them. So far I don't have a positive feeling about the soundbar. I feel like i'd be selling my center for half what I paid for it and paying good money for a soundbar that doesn't exactly stack up to the 3.1 Sonus faber. Until I get a good amp i'm not really sure what to compare the soundbar to - and once I do that - why do I need a soundbar? See my dilemna? I'll think about this - thanks for the idea. I'm not going to rush out and buy anything soon anyway.

If I understand you correctly - what you're calling phase angle I believe you're talking about this: the Klipsch Reference are a 2.5-way design using 1st order slopes with points at 550 and 1.7k - so they are 8 ohms down to 550 and below that drop to 4 ohm but not so quickly since they use 1st order slopes - I think that's what's called butterworth crossovers. The SF Venere - all I could find - is they too use 1st order slopes on all models except the 3.0 which uses a 3rd order on the woofers. SF calls the 3.0 a 3.5-way design with points at 180, 220 and 2.3k. So the 3.0 is 8 ohms above 220. The review I read that gave me the info about the crossover points did not specify which woofer has 3rd order slopes and i'll not speculate (my guess is the top one would be 3rd order at 220 and the bottom one 1st order at 180) so we should assume they both have 3rd order slopes - so it drops to 4 ohms rather rapidly. Introduce an EQ and the current demands on the amp can grow significantly as we descend below 180. Am I understanding you correctly? What you're saying is the 2.5 I actually bought - if it does actually stick to 1st order slopes - which is what my understanding was of the speakers I purchased - that they were not significantly different from what I had electronically - the only difference being points at 250 and 2.5k - meaning their "nominal" or average impedance would be higher than the Klipsch - had I received what I paid for those speakers probably would sound fine on my amp? Honestly I had no idea that a 3rd order slope would make a diference to my amp. Had I read these things had 4th order Linkwitz-Riley crossovers in them I still would've bought them and expected my cheap amp to drive them. I'm not saying I knew that going into this sale. I'm saying had I received what I actually bought I could've lucked out and they sounded fine - maybe. I guess we cannot really know until someone hooks them up and listens. Pass.

When I started collecting music as files on a computer - my music collection was still a stack of CDs. The only way I ever listened to music (since 1985 or so) was to burn it to CD. Still - to this day - the only way I can listen to music in my car is to burn it to CD. Until a year ago the only way I could listen to my music on my home audio system was to burn it to CD. Any file format with a higher resolution than Redbook CD format was a pointless waste of disc space. Until now. Now - I have the ability to listen to the music files directly. Yes I have been listening to those files directly on my iPhone for years now but I never have been able to fit my whole music collection on my iPhone so space was as much of a consideration as sound quality. But that's another discussion. I do need to start keeping my music library in a digital repository (for now that's iTunes) and start getting / keeping the highest fidelty copies of the songs that are available. iTunes doesn't support FLAC but it does support Apple Loss-less formats - files with M4A or M4B extensions. I checked and ALL of the new music - everything i've purchased from iTunes is in this format. My cheap media player plays it. It takes up 6 to 9 times the disk space of MP3 but I can tell the difference in sound quality. For now i'll use this format. I can convert songs to FLAC using Audacity without any loss of sonud quality.

I do not understand what you mean by what I "record with." I download songs from iTunes. I buy them. I get music podcasts for free. I use Audacity to take an hour-long podcast and chop out the songs I like and save them off as individual songs. It takes up far less space than the full podcasts plus it gives me just the songs I like and I do not have to remember which chapters of which podcasts are the songs I like. In this case Audacity is acting as an editor. I can convert files from one format to another using it - including FLAC. I can use it to convert my M4A files to FLAC when the day comes that I benefit from that format. For now the M4A suits my needs. I have 2200 songs in my library. iTunes says it's 18.4 GB but Finder tells me my music library takes up 53 GB - and iTunes has its own copy so that's over 70 GB of space.


It's like this: the mindset I had when I met my wife - the mindset she had and still has - she's the rock - i'm the sandy beach - is like this: imagine you make $50k a year. You live as well as you can on $50k a year and you're essentially broke - you can't save money because all you make goes to rent, car payments, bills - then you get a new job making $100k a year. Cool. You trade the Corolla for a Solara. You leave the apartment and buy a townhouse condo. You're moving up. But you're still broke. You still cannot save money because you're still spending all you make on bills. You've raised your standard of living. But you still have nothing left over at the end of the month. So now imagine you get a new job making $200k a year. This time - you do not trade the Solara for the Lexus nor the townhouse for the penthouse. You keep the townhouse and Solara. You live just like you did when you were making $100k a year only you're doubling that now. You're living on half of what you make. You're saving tons. You take fabulous vacations. You eat filet mignon. Car repairs, doctor's bills - so what. You're NOT cutting coupons out of the Sunday paper. That's us. 11 years of living like this has been good for us.

The paradox of life that applies here is that we have the money to buy nearly anything we want because we do not go out and buy everything we want. I could go buy pretty much any audio system I wanted. But the fact that as a policy we do not live that way - that is more valuable to me than any audio system I could buy. But at the same time I love audio. A lot. What good is money if I cannot use it to enhance my life? I cannot take it with me. Audio is oe of the things i've chosen to splurge on a little. So i'll take $10k or so and buy a descent audio system and be happy with it hopefully for a long time. It has to be something I can be happy with for quite some time. I cannot afford the time mostly but also the money to be doing this all that often. Getting this right the first time has value to me. Saving a few bucks is not as important as getting it right. For that reason I will tend to over-buy.

Right now - i'm looking at Soundbars and not feeling like that's where I want to go. But that is an option i'll keep in mind. The Diamond center is over $4k. If i'd chosen that path instead of the Venere the soundbar would be looking good. But I already have a Venere center sitting there paid for. And i'm liking it. I cannot imagine i'd be happy with a soundbar after listening to the Venere 3.1 sound for a while. I'm already hooked on it. A soundbar would have to sound as good or better and I just cannot imagine that happening. But I still want to go out and listen to some of the best ones. Are there any you recommend above others?


The more I look at receivers I understand what you've been telling me. There is only so much $$$ you can spend on audio and still provide all the features consumers demand. Every one of those brand name logos featured above the picture of the receiver represents a patent you're paying to use. I work with engineers - I know - the biggest problem with the receiver concept in todays world is physical space - you can fit only so much stuff inside of the phyisical box while still keeping it a reasonable size - I think about 7 to 7.5 inches seems to be the typical height limit. Designers of separates have literally twice the space to work within.

If i'm going to buy anything at all I feel like I should go with separates. Some things in audio are timeless: speakers and amps have not changed much over time - it's the pre-amp processing and the sources that have evolved the most - with separates I can buy a good amp and keep it - all I may upgrade one day down the road is the pre - sources will always be plug-in and play. If I go with something affordable like Outlaw or Emotiva I should be able to upgade later and stick with the same brand - but no guarantee - Marantz is a Bowers company - hard to see Bowers & Wilkins going out of business - or Harman for that matter.

For now i'm leaning towards the Marantz 7701 / 7055. My only concern there is physical size. My home theater stand has 2 compartments - one on each side - with a non-adjustable shelf in the middle - it has 7.5" of space on each of 4 shelves. The 7055 is 7 3/16" tall - meaning it will fit but with only 5/16" clearance to the shelf above it. Is that enough room for it to properly ventilate? That concerns me. I was thinking I could adjust the shelf on my own using a drill - I cannot remember what holds those shelves in - I can check into that - a new stand like this one I have costs around $2000 from the 2 places I looked. Target may have something cheaper but that changes the equation if this is a legitimate concern. The Outlaw 975 / 7125 combo is half the price and the 7125 amp is only 6" tall - pas de problem. I could mix and get the Marantz 7701 and the Outlaw 7125. The Marantz has the Audessey MultiEQ XT system you recommended whereas the 975 does not.

I would rather buy the Outlaw separates than any receiver i've seen so far. The only receivers I like are the most expensive ones and at those prices i'd be better off with separates. I assume receivers only go so far because this is the conclusion all consumers reach - that and the physical limitation that you can only fit so much stuff in one box. That said - receivers by their modern nature are not the product that interests me. Are separates always better than receivers? I feel like i'm making that assumption.

Unless something jumps out at me as the obvious choice (like the Venere did) i'm going to have a hard time making up my mind. Is squeezing a Marantz amp that is 7 3/16" tall into a 7.5" space a bad idea?
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 3192
Registered: Oct-07
Phase angle refers to what the amplifier 'sees' of the speaker.
NO speaker is completely and purely resistive. That is, when measured with a DVM, it measures what the amps sees�.in 'ohms'.
Reactive is when you look at the speaker from the amplifiers view, you are seeing some Capacitive or Inductive measure. The result is that current (amps) and voltage are NO LONGER rising and falling together, but rather are slightly out of sync. This out-of-syncness is measured in degrees. The larger the measure, the less actual power is being delivered.

HT receivers are crowded inside, indeed, at the high end. And run warm. And usually won't run low impedance speakers. And have proprietary parts which are only stocked for a few years. And when they break at THAT point, you're all-in.

I am hating giving financial advice, but it would appear that the secret to accumulating wealth is to simply spend less than you take IN. Like going on a diet, in reverse.

And yes, you CAN cook an amp. 1/2" or whatever, clearance on TOP is NOT enough.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17976
Registered: May-04
.

"I've tried the Dynamic Compression setting on my BluRay player and I don't see where it changes anything - maybe that's because i'm listening to an analog downmix? Maybe it only applies to Digital outputs? Some of the gear i've looked at has "night mode" on them."



First, how the compression system operates depends largely on the type or model of chip which controls it. Second, compression in the player is probably not similar to compression in the playback stages of a processor. I think this would be a useful feature for your application. However, I would suggest you not make any decisions based primarily on the compression system. Think of it as you would radio controls mounted on the steering wheel. Moderately useful on average and even logical in most cases but I would not buy a car based only on their radio controls.

Some compression systems seem to only favor operation in the DD format while others also apply to DTS and other discrete digital signals. Some compression systems are simply more effective at minimizing dynamic differences than are others. And, of course, if the program material is not highly dynamic, a compression system isn't going to be doing much. Then there's the fact most people do not want to listen to their compression systems - and don't actively do so - and they are designed to be as invisible as possible.

The problem with looking at features becomes one of how modern processors are constructed. A designer buys into using a certain chip fro whatever reason. Once that's done they have narrowed their further choices to what is available from that chip. If there are three chips available, then there may be several multiples of options which can be switched on or off by the designer. Trying to pick a component based on "a feature" essentially means you're trying to pick all the vowels other than "O" and possibly "U" out of your alphabet soup.

When it comes to more expensive HT receivers you need to realize how much of the higher priced product is available from the lower priced component. The common method of manufacturing a receiver is to build upon a platform. In a line such as, say, Marantz, there will be several platforms used to build a line of receivers. Taking the covers off any group of (probably three) receivers using the same platform you'll see largely identical parts in the processing portion of the boards. Jumpers are used to eliminate those features not being sold in that price range. The same chip sets are likely to be in all three components but you have to buy up the line to get those jumpers removed and those features switched on. Depending on the quality of the line, the power supplies of those platforms will be largely similar with only higher wattage being the difference which then necessitates the need for slightly larger power supply components. IMO most of the features included in high priced HT receivers will be wasted in the average system. IMO the auto eq feature is probably useful in your application but it is a one time use and then stow feature. Unless you change something in your system set up or your room, there's no need to run the eq system again once you've determined the needs of the processor. Many of the features in the upper price range are similarly not-useful on a constant basis other than set and forget. Many are just BS features that are included because they can be, they exist on the chip being used. The real world cost of including these features is fairly small. The same goes for, say, a remote control. Once the designer has chosen a chip set for the receiver, the remote has been decided upon to operate that chip set.



The format you use to store your data is your decision. Overall the Apple formats are decent for sound quality and maximizing storage space. Don't make more work for yourself by adding another format if it's not needed. How you store your files is also your business. External drives have been popular for years. The cloud is becoming more popular and, for those folks tied to their smart phones, using the cloud gives you the simplicity of controlling your system's playback with your hand held phone.




"The more I look at receivers I understand what you've been telling me. There is only so much $$$ you can spend on audio and still provide all the features consumers demand. Every one of those brand name logos featured above the picture of the receiver represents a patent you're paying to use. I work with engineers - I know - the biggest problem with the receiver concept in todays world is physical space - you can fit only so much stuff inside of the phyisical box while still keeping it a reasonable size - I think about 7 to 7.5 inches seems to be the typical height limit. Designers of separates have literally twice the space to work within"




I would not agree with the idea the "biggest problem" with receivers today is fitting all that stuff in the box. All that "stuff" comes on a chip and several chips take up remarkably little space when compared to discrete components. If the designer selects "X" chip, they have many decisions already made for them. Their job then is to make the options work. While not to say all components using identical or even similar chips are therefore equal, the chip set is what determines a large portion of how well a processor goes about its tasks. It doesn't matter much whether the chip is in a receiver or in a separate processor. Further, most chip manufacturers have several chip sets to choose from and, as with HT receivers, these are built on platforms. I'd say you do get what you pay for but the differences between one manufacturer's chips may be rather small when it comes to outright performance.

Double the space? As far as boxes, yes. As far as internal components, nope. Open any processor or amplifier and you'll see mostly air. What takes up space in a component is the power supply, the rest of the component exists mostly on circuit boards. With most chips it is important to keep signal paths as short as possible. Depending on your point of view, that can be either a benefit or a disadvantage. One of the more constant issues with a receiver is the combining of multiple devices within one chassis. A power amp requires larger power supplies than does a processor. The power supply (ps) required for a power amp can inject noise into the circuits of a low level device such as a processor. Additional noise might be the result of a fan added to cool the component due to large power amp's ps. Greater amounts of regulation are required when combining a high wattage power amp and a digital processor operating on the micro-Volt level. Separating the components into discrete chassis will make measured performance look better but now you are paying for the cost of two chassis and two power supplies and all the associated costs of manufacturing and shipping. You are paying for quite a bit of duplication in separates which does not occur in a receiver or integrated amplifier.

Longer signal paths are more likely to pick up extraneous noise from any ps, however, when combining numerous components into one chassis it often becomes necessary to have longer runs. For every advantage you can attribute to separates, the thinking buyer can come up with an equally offsetting disadvantage. One of the most basic trade offs would be the need for additional interconnects between separates which for many buyers means more opportunities to tailor the sound to their likes at an added cost. In the real world more connection points mean more opportunities for poor connections, noise and distortions if not outright failures in some cases and electrical mismatches due to cabling reactions between the sending component and its load. All of that even ignores many of the more intricate aspects of cabling. Combining a pre amp/processor/power amp in one chassis, the smart designer makes the "correct" decisions for the system, not decisions based solely on the look of a cable's outer insulator and how bulky its connectors look.

Yes, it's easier to replace a single component as needed. And many processors of ten years ago would be rather outdated as far as connectivity is concerned with today's components. I have an (about five year old) Outlaw processor which is all but useless now due to their choices for connectors which favored the more professional side of the market. The market did not follow their lead. It really is only good for old fashioned analog connections now while all of its video and digital processing remain unusable without multiple adapters in place. Do you really want a component that becomes obsolete because of a connector? HDMI and USB connectors/cables in particular have evolved over the years to have higher data transfer rates. That's a good thing since the original cables were quite inadequate for the job they were doing. The unfortunate side of this is many of the newer cables are not backwards compatible with older connectors and your five year old component is now obsolete. Looking at advertisements for HT receivers over the years, the pitch has been the same; new connectors are being offered along with more BS features. You're buying current thinking on connectors - never mind the BS features - which, I guarantee you, will be obsolete in a few year's time. On yet another hand, consumer and high end audio has decided it will stay tied to some of the worst connectors in the industry and dress them up to sell for higher and higher prices when a simple switch to a higher quality connector, the type typically found in pro audio/video applications, would have made none of this redundancy and planned obsolescence a possibility, let alone a requirement. I have several pieces of AV gear which are quite adequate if not in some ways superior to their replacements but are not functionally useful due to nothing more than connector incompatibility and the fact I've grown tired of buying higher and higher priced BS.

However, separates are the "better" choice if you're after a slight gain in performance or you swap components on a frequent schedule. "Better" in an AV processor however, does what in this case? As far as I can see it ties you down to two choices in a processor. The Outlaw or the Emotiva, unless you want to spend rather outrageous amounts. So, tell me, Rocker, how is narrowing your choices down a good thing? I honestly don't know there is a good answer to that question but it is a question that I think anyone should ask before they spend money on one of those two processors. Separate components have not caught on in HT as they have for decades in the high end audio world of two channel playback. Yet, there are more and more manufacturers turning out more and more junk in the HT receiver world. In some ways, there are no good choices in the HT world unless you have rather deep pockets. And, even with that said, a $6k McIntosh AV processor from five years ago would be looking fairly outdated by today's standards which are, after all, driven by the HT receiver market.




.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17977
Registered: May-04
.

" I cannot imagine i'd be happy with a soundbar after listening to the Venere 3.1 sound for a while. I'm already hooked on it. A soundbar would have to sound as good or better and I just cannot imagine that happening."




A soundbar is only one option. IMO it simplifies your system which simplifies a lot of the rest of what you do. It first separates out the video from the audio which means you should stop playing with all the settings on your gear. Maybe you like that, I don't know. To me you should sit down and turn on equipment that works to your benefit. I've certainly sold to clients who liked all the button and knob BS and played with them constantly. A soundbar should be a set and forget piece of gear. It includes the processing required to give (more or less) a "full surround system experience" to a system where a full surround system can't be placed. By manipulating the time and phase domain of the signals, a soundbar can have planes and bullets flying over your head and landing behind you with just the soundbar doing it all. A more "cinema like experience" is available from a soundbar vs your present system or any three channel system you might encounter.

And, once it's set up, you simply switch it on. The size of the drivers is not that important for several reasons. I don't know how to guide you on this, you made a purchase that, IMO, wasn't in your best interest because you wanted to buy something. You can, IMO, continue with a system that has limitations in some aspects but that you already own or you can say you possibly made a mistake and try another direction. Try some soundbars and you decide.

If you buy a soundbar, your audio system choices are more flexible.




"If I understand you correctly - what you're calling phase angle I believe you're talking about this: the Klipsch Reference are a 2.5-way design using 1st order slopes with points at 550 and 1.7k - so they are 8 ohms down to 550 and below that drop to 4 ohm but not so quickly since they use 1st order slopes - I think that's what's called butterworth crossovers. The SF Venere - all I could find - is they too use 1st order slopes on all models except the 3.0 which uses a 3rd order on the woofers. SF calls the 3.0 a 3.5-way design with points at 180, 220 and 2.3k. So the 3.0 is 8 ohms above 220. The review I read that gave me the info about the crossover points did not specify which woofer has 3rd order slopes and i'll not speculate (my guess is the top one would be 3rd order at 220 and the bottom one 1st order at 180) so we should assume they both have 3rd order slopes - so it drops to 4 ohms rather rapidly. Introduce an EQ and the current demands on the amp can grow significantly as we descend below 180. Am I understanding you correctly?"



No.


I hesitate to give you information, Rocker.


If I give you basics, you tend to misuse the information. If I give you more detailed aspects of the facts, you tend to abuse the information. Either way, you tend to see the individual veins on one leaf on one tree while ignoring the entire forest. I'm really not trying to give you a hard time but your devotion to specs amounts to needless information detached from more important data. I think it's great when someone wants to understand what they are buying. However, as they say, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. But, at least you ask on occasion before you go out and apply your new found data.




I'll assume you never placed "electrical phase angle" into a search engine. If you had, there wouldn't have been any suggestion of first, second or third or even fourth order crossovers being in the basic description. And, while in a loudspeaker, the crossover filters are largely responsible for electrical phase angle and "impedance", the order of the filter is not really determinant to the phase angle which is presented to the amplifier as its load. For example, back in the mid '90's Thiel advertised using a photo of the 22 element (resistors, capacitors and inductors) filters used in their first order X-vers. Now, I still have a pair of Boston Acoustics' least expensive speaker at the time, the A40, which also has a first order X-over, this time on the tweeter only. Where the Thiel used 22 elements in their "first order" filter, BA used a single cap attached to the input of the tweeter which served to block low frequencies from the high frequency driver. Both designers utilized a first order, -6dB per octave filter yet one required 22 individual components to achieve the desired result while the other used only one. When looking at the two speakers from the standpoint of an amplifier driving a load, which speaker would you assume would be the more difficult for the amp to operate?

Thiel used multiple "notch" filters along with the larger filters which together trimmed the output of their drivers to a very narrow specification for on axis performance. The difference in price between the Thiel and the BA was about 15 times to one so BA was not attempting to create a high end sound, just a "musical" sound. However, Thiels' speaker also had extremely wide dispersion characteristics which meant there was significant in room energy across the bandwidth. While the notch filters gave the system good on axis performance when measured in a conventional manner, its dispersion characteristics meant there was a significantly uneven in room "power response". On the other hand, the BA, being a rather compact speaker, operated over most of its bandwidth as a point source system. BA built their own drivers, as did Thiel at the time, so there was the ability to design in the mechanical roll out of the woofer in the BA system. IMO, at far less cost, the BA speaker was by far the more elegant design and the more effective design when considering the price options of the individual drivers.

As an aside, the Klipsch horns act as mechanical filters. Their dimensions determine the low and high frequency cut off for their drivers. This makes first order filters more common when combined with horn loaded drivers. However, as we continue seeing trade offs in components, we have to notice a failure of a horn when it comes to time and acoustic phase alignment of the speaker system. So, I give you one thing and take away two. That, IMO, is how you have to look at audio. Add to that the more commonly associated issues of horns as far as resonance and distortions and the list begins to pile up against cheaply built horn loaded systems. That doesn't mean horns can't sound good and can't be what someone prefers. It's merely a matter of what the individual listener's priorities demand and what their budget can afford.

High end audio is historically driven by taking away something. At any one time the fad will be for this or that to be taken away which then leaves behind something the listener hasn't noticed prior to the other being removed. "Veils being removed" and "windows being thrown open". Yada, yada, yada ...

I can't agree that amplifiers and loudspeakers have remained "timeless". I would say good audio engineering can prove to be timeless but that means most of the amps and speakers we've seen over the years don't qualify as being good audio design. Quite often an individual component hits home and has such significant advantages over the competition that, for many buyers, there is no competition. The Quad ESL, the BBC's LS3/5a and the McIntosh Unity Coupled vacuum tube circuitry come to mind. These were and are elegant designs which captured the sound of live music in their output. Many times the problem becomes, what does the designer do for an encore? Models eventually must be changed and fads drive audio to a great degree. What was a favorable sound can't be accomplished when the next model is rolled out. In the early '90's the BK ST140 was a stand out for its musicality ... when it was driving a non-reactive loudspeaker load. Not that long ago, the class T amps were turning heads and looking as though they were the next direction for amplification ... as long as they were driving non-reactive loudspeaker loads.

The "problem" with all amplifiers tends to be the loudspeakers they are asked to drive. Speakers and amps tend to be designed in a vacuum it seems, and one designer doesn't bother discussing anything with the other.

There's really no need at this point, I don't believe, for a long drawn out explanation of electrical phase angle as it relates to impedance and loudspeakers. I'll give you a few sites to read and then you can ask questions if you need clarification. The basics of "phase angle" are discussed here; https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20130519110423AARVm6S
The (more or less) practical application of phase angle in audio is discussed here; http://www.stereophile.com/content/measuring-loudspeakers-part-one-page-4

Keep in mind Voltage and Amperage are the two components of work being done via electricity. Like horsepower and torque, neither can exist alone if work is to be accomplished but each plays its own role in how work is accomplished. Ohm's Law describes the relationship between the two when it comes to wattage. Read about Ohm's Law.




When an electrical signal passes through either a capacitor or an inductor (a "coil"), either Voltage or Amperage will "lag" behind the other at their exit. The further the phase angle of either value deviates from 0 degrees, the less work is being done. In other words, the amplifier must work harder to accomplish the same amount of work had there not been the phase angle shift. This "harder work" can be mitigated by maintaining a higher "impedance" value and vice versa. If a loudspeaker system were to maintain, say, a constant 15 Ohms impedance, electrical phase angle would be a minor annoyance for the most part.

So, if the loudspeaker has a low "impedance" and a high phase angle at the same frequency, the amp will have a lot of hard work to do. "Hard work" being the production of higher current (Amperage) as predicted by Ohm's Law. If the load has a low impedance (measured in Ohms) but a benign phase angle (close to 0 degrees), effects of "impedance" are less of a factor to the driving amplifier. Loudspeaker "impedance" therefore should be considered the combined load effects of resistance, capacitance and inductance. Simply looking at the low measured "impedance" of a speaker doesn't begin to tell you enough. When low impedance and high phase angle are present in the low to mid frequencies, the amplifier is being asked to work harder in the bandwidth where power is almost always at a maximum. If an amp is delivering 100 watts to the woofer at a specific frequency, it is probably only using about 5 watts at the upper frequencies. So where the issues of "load" occurs in a speaker also will make a difference in how difficult the speaker is for the amp. If you listen at low volume levels, there is more headroom in the amp for higher current delivery. As you push the volume levels upward, there is less headroom.

Inductors push the Voltage/Amperage components in one direction while caps push in the opposite direction. A wise designer can combine the two elements of a X-over to negate many of the phase effects of a filter, though each device will still represent further "distortions" to the signal. What becomes more difficult to describe is the acoustic time element which is evident in the acoustic, in room power response of the speaker system.

Basically, when it takes more work for the amp to drive the system, more acoustic time delivery will also be displaced in the final signal as it arrives at each driver. Simplicity is often to the benefit of the speaker designer, though it too has its trade offs.

John Atkinson, the editor of Stereophile, promised almost two decades ago to develop a system of measurements which could predict the "sound" of any speaker system based strictly on the test performance of the system. He has yet to deliver such a system. Cabinet resonances and driver/port output measured in "group delay" make such a system more and more difficult to predict. Therefore, while measurements can tell you some things, they can't predict everything. As the song says, you gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em.

It is, IMO, a fairly safe bet to assume a loudspeaker with a measured low impedance beneath 4 Ohms will be, at best, a somewhat difficult load to drive as it will require larger amounts of current from the amplifier. It is equally safe to assume MOST receivers will be less capable of driving low impedance loads since their power supplies will be more of a compromise based on the requirements of the entire receiver's needs and the cheap watts per dollar buying habits of the average receiver buyer. Since measuring amplifiers and measuring loudspeakers isn't done in the real world of dynamic music useage, what appears on paper can be misleading. Some amplifiers and some speakers have a "reputation" for being either more capable or more difficult. Experience is about the only thing you can use as a guide here. The receiver lines I mentioned earlier are considered on average to be more interested in sound quality than are the lines which are intended to sell based on cheap watts and lots of features.

Without any specific knowledge of your speakers, the low impedance point as stated in tests would make me want an amp that was up to the task of driving more difficult loads. There's certainly little to say you don't want some amount of overkill when it comes to the power supply of an amplifier.


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Bronze Member
Username: Dlovell2001

Alexandria, Virginia United States

Post Number: 92
Registered: Jul-12
I am going to listen to some of the top sound bars. My curiosity beckons.

I do have one question that is bothering me: my furniture - an entertainment center - has non-adjustable shelves and the maximum height I can fit inside it is 7 1/2" - how tall of an amplifier can I get in there - if I buy an amp that is 7 3/16" tall - it will fit but it will only have 5/16" of clearance between the top of it and the wood above it. Is that enough space for an amp to properly ventilate?

I'm just wondering if I need to be looking at amps that are shorter in height - receivers will have the same problem. with 7 1/2" of space available should I be looking at ways to adjust those shelves?

Reason I ask is the amps I like - almost all the receivers I like - they all are just over 7" tall - is ventilation a valid concern or am I making a problem out of nothing?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17979
Registered: May-04
.

Heat is the enemy of most things, amps included. If you only listened at low to moderate volume levels, you could probably get by with that amount of ventilation though it would still be better with greater air flow. The specs you give don't allow for any type of fan above the amp (the preferred site) either. You might get away with a fan on the back of the amp directing air over the rear of the unit where the power supply and most heat sinks reside. The bottom line is you are risking the amp if you don't provide ventilation on all sides. It will first shut down as it heats up and, eventually, if it does that often enough, one time it won't reset.

Some amps simply have better heat dissipation than do others. Some amps are biased to run hotter to improve on paper specs. But certainly, any class A/B amp is going to produce heat. If you can hold your hand on the amp's top plate after it has run for several minutes at your highest volume level, then the amp dissipates heat fairly well. Or it doesn't get hot to begin with. Heat production is typically a result of the lower efficiency of A/B amps. Class D amps tend to produce little heat as they are running at about 90% efficiency.


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Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 3193
Registered: Oct-07
A/B amps are no more than about 60% efficient. The rest is HEAT.
A possible solution is to mount a pair or even a trio of fans in the enclosure pushing air OUT. Unless you're backed up against the wall.
You can get 12v fans and run them on a 9v wall wart and they'll be very quiet, indeed.

Heat kills electronics. The efficiency Jan mentions for 'd' amps is for 'Plug to Speaker' and at full rated power. The 90% number you see quoted is typically for output stages only and does not reflect real world conditions.
Efficiency is LOWER at lower powers. ICE amps, the B&O product are mid-lo 80s at full power.

Keep in mind the difference between HEAT and TEMPERATURE.
A 10 watt amp which is say 50% efficient running at full power may have the SAME temperature as a 200 watt amp which ALSO is of 50% efficiency but the quantity of HEAT is entirely different.
My physics instructor once asked 'what has the greater temperature, an Iceberg or a red-hot needle?' After the answer he than asked 'Now, what has more heat?'
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17980
Registered: May-04
.

"Keep in mind the difference between HEAT and TEMPERATURE.
A 10 watt amp which is say 50% efficient running at full power may have the SAME temperature as a 200 watt amp which ALSO is of 50% efficiency but the quantity of HEAT is entirely different."




I get what you're saying, leo, but even that is fairly simplistic in the real world. Class A equipment is extremely inefficient and creates a tremendous amount of heat - irregardless of the temperature. A 25 watt, solid state Sugden amp running in class A all the way will really heat up a room. However, if an A/B amp is biased "hotter" to stay in class A longer or just to improve the on paper specs, those output devices are staying on longer which is going to create even more heat than an amp with similar paper specs but is biased into a low A/B arrangement.

Your statement needs, I think, the qualifier "if all things are equal". And, as we know, things are seldom equal when comparing two amplifiers. But, yes, if you add output devices to gain higher wattage, it's like putting an extra log on the fire.


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Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 3194
Registered: Oct-07
I think a reasonable way to measure would be the amount of heat output per WATT of output.
Heat output being measured in Calories, perhaps. Minimal heatsink would result in higher heatsink temps, but NOT more heat output. While HUGE and expensive (lets not forget THAT!) could be added which would appear to never get above 'barely warm' to the touch. One amp could run @redline all day and just get warm, while the other had already passed thermal limits and either self-destructed or 'saved itself' with some shutdown circuitry.

Best case would be a high efficiency amp, run in its most efficient 'zone'. Like many modern 'd' offerings. High sensitivity speakers with maybe 30 watts per side of 'd'? Maybe one of those 'T' amps?

Worst case would be a POWERFUL 'A' amp, like one of the new Pass Monos. These amps will render a hotel room Sauna Hot in short order and NO amount of AC will be sufficient to keep from cooking ALL contents of the room. I walked into such a room at last years T.H.E show in Newport.

My comments about the difference between heat and temperature are still valid. The point being, that if you get a VERY inefficient amp in a small enclosure, you can cook it, even if the amps output is a modest 50 a side.
OR
You can run a huge 'd' amp, like my old GCC250, into a fairly low sensitivity load like my panels, and even pretty darn loud for an hour or more, not really get it above a reasonable temperature. And that with the stock, minimal heat sinking provided on the ASP modules.
The DishNetwork receiver in the 'compartment' above, actually generated more HEAT than the amp!

The 'all things being equal' is true. Now, what do you want to set as EQUAL, for our comparison? You've got several choices to parse thru.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17981
Registered: May-04
.



I don't want to set anything as "equal". This is Rocker's decision. He has his own set of ... "priorities" to work with. He does seem to continually work himself further into a corner though.




"I think a reasonable way to measure would be the amount of heat output per WATT of output.


IMO a reasonable way would be to place your hand on the amp after it's been running at a loud level for several minutes. Your hand knows what's hot without any further measuring devices.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Dlovell2001

Alexandria, Virginia United States

Post Number: 93
Registered: Jul-12
I've been studying receivers and separates.

When I said "speakers and amps are timeless" I was thinking/hoping I can buy a good amp and speakers and keep them for a long time and they'll still work and sound good. Pre/pros on the other hand seem to be outdated much quicker. Sources come and go but they're plug and play.

Is that a realistic statement? Is a pair of "good" speakers from 30 years ago still a "good" pair of speakers? That's likely a matter of taste. There will always be something new but i'm not the type to chase hype or fads. Quality endures. That'll stick around and pass the test of time every time.

Look at me. I"m still driving a 99 Solara. I kept my JVC / JBL combo for 17 years only reason that marriage ended was they needed refoaming. I'm poster child for "if it ain't broke don't fix it." So I strongly suspect whatever I buy next i'll likely keep it forever as long as it lasts. Speakers eventually need refoaming. Do amps last a long time assuming i'm not blasting it? One side of this question is how long can I expect a good amp to last? The other side is - is it a good idea to buy a used amp that is old - and how old of an amp is becoming risky? Especially if I want to keep it for a while.

I'm balancing in my mind - do I buy something new ike a Marantz or an Outlaw for around $1k - or do I get a used higher-quality amp - like a Meridian G55 that is 10 years old and maybe only keep it another 10 years or so and just replace it down the road? Or do I get a brand new amp in the $3k - $5k range? That depends on how long I can expect an amp to last. And still sound good.

Another idea i've had that i'm not sure whether it's a good or bad idea is to get an amp like the Meridian G55 and then get a receiver that has pre-outs to use as a pre/pro. It seems the receivers have the more robust feature set for the money. I realize they do not have amps in them with the quality of separates. Is feeding those into a good amp a stupid idea? Are pre/pro separates a lot better in sound quality or not?

ANother topic i've researched a little and found answers to that i'm not sure I am confortable with the answers i've found - is the idea of bi-amping my fronts with multichannel amps. If I get a 5-channel amp and only want a 3.1 setup I could use 4 amps to bi-amp my fronts. How would I hook that up? I've seen answers that say to use a Y-connector between the pre and amp. This would what - cut in half the input impedance of the amp? Is this a problem for the amp or the pre/pro? I've also wondered - for preamps that have both balanced and unbalanced outs - could I hook the balanced output to amp1 balanced input - hook the unbalanced output of that same channel to the unbalanced input on amp2 and use amps 1 and 2 to bi-amp a front channel?

Then there's the argument that noone seems to agree on - is there any benefit from bi-amping my fronts? I tried bi-amping the Klipsch speakers with the Yamaha amp - that's a feature built into most 7.x receivers nowadays - and I thought it made a noticeable improvement in what was essentially a 2-way speaker. I do not know this but I suspect bi-amping will help the sound with the Venere.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17985
Registered: May-04
.

"When I said "speakers and amps are timeless" I was thinking/hoping I can buy a good amp and speakers and keep them for a long time and they'll still work and sound good. Pre/pros on the other hand seem to be outdated much quicker. Sources come and go but they're plug and play."


Sources generally introduce the connector type for the next generation of A/V receivers. They may also have the newest format for, say, surround functions or similar. They might also reflect the latest internet connectivity or the preferred option for this feature or that. For the most part, sources change more rapidly than do processors and amplifiers reflecting the reason a five year old receiver/processor might be considered out dated. The high end has never driven the creation of a new source device, they have simply modified what that mass market has created to come up with a more refined product.


"
Is that a realistic statement? Is a pair of "good" speakers from 30 years ago still a "good" pair of speakers? That's likely a matter of taste. There will always be something new but i'm not the type to chase hype or fads. Quality endures. That'll stick around and pass the test of time every time."



There are a few 30 or 40 or 50 year old speakers (and a few amplifiers) which are still true to the spirit of the music despite the obvious advances made in technology since their original introduction. The concept behind their creation was largely the same concept which make anything timeless, truth to function and nothing more. For many listeners "truth" meant a midrange/vocal range which did not betray reality. Since the human ear and brain will be most sensitive to any alterations which occur in the sound of another human voice, I'd say, overall, those speakers (and amps or phono cartridges, etc) which have found the truth and beauty of the human voice have, to a certain extent, also captured a certain amount of timelessness to their reason for being.

However, materials change and many times the actual product reflects its time and not so much its timelessness. Or, the concept could not be implemented until technology caught up with the idea, as in digital audio and Norquist's theories of the 1930's. Genius and insight are rare and seldom are exhibited in abundance or over a long time span. It becomes more difficult to follow a highly successful product with another. Teams which brainstormed a great idea together break up and neither partner on their own is capable of the same level of creation. Some ideas are nothing more than ideas such as a Voight pipe. While speaker enclosures were built using the math which determines a quarter wave resonator long before IMF made the enclosure type known to many audiophiles, it was not a fully implemented model for building a speaker system for another forty years after it was first proposed. If you were to find a list of the 50 greatest audio products of the last century, I doubt you'd find many products which are still viable designs. More often "great" audio reflects not much more than a shift in thinking away from the mainstream such as the original AR turntable did. As material selection and computerized modeling has driven many audio products over the last two decades, I would find several speakers still musically satisfying though their flaws would now be more evident due to improvements made in more current products. Personal musical priorities would, IMO, determine just how bothersome over the long term those flaws would become. If need be, I think I could live with my 1976 Rogers LS3/5a's again though their sensitivity no longer reflects my current thinking in amplification.

Given the enormous number of speakers available to choose from, however, that I could probably create a list of no more than a half dozen speakers I'd care to own in their fourth decade, I'd say you'd be better off staying away from "classic" speakers. At least until you have a much more refined concept of what standards music reproduction must meet. When you can say you love the Klipsch sound and then a few months later say you don't and you buy Sonus Fabers, I don't think you're truly ready to assess "classic" speaker status.


" I'm poster child for 'if it ain't broke don't fix it.' So I strongly suspect whatever I buy next i'll likely keep it forever as long as it lasts. Speakers eventually need refoaming. Do amps last a long time assuming i'm not blasting it?"


An A/V product's lifetime is highly finite. First, the audio/video industry is not in great shape when it comes to creating new buyers. Back in the late '90's, I was selling 10' and 12' video screens and projectors driven from Laser Disks and then early DVD's. At the time, most video content was not in a true 16:9 format. Through the first decade of the century, people began watching action blockbusters on small 2" screens through their smart phone and headphones. The "entertainment" industry is constantly recreating itself in an attempt to bring in new clients or to give an old client a reason to buy again. Mostly this has become a matter of features and technical specifications rather than true improvements.

How long you keep an A/V product nowdays largely comes down to how long it continues to operate. Once anything breaks today, planned obsolescence tends to get us motivated to replace rather than repair the equipment. More than once we've told people on this forum the average lifespan of any mass market A/V receiver is well under ten years. As I have said, I have a five channel amp that was considered class A recommended gear in the late '90's. I stopped working last year and there's simply no need to repair the amp. It makes more sense to buy new with a warranty than to repair that amplifier.

On the other hand, my main two channel audio system still has my 53 year old McIntosh tube amps as the mainstay. Mac has reintroduced the amp as a current product and it has always been a well regarded amp that has only risen in value over the years. But the innards are now thirty years since I last rebuilt them. I can no longer trust them to be powered up 24/7 as I once did. Parts eventually wear and age, you need to realize when a vintage product no longer operates as it did when new or even rebuilt.

Speakers required "refoaming" because they used a foam surround. Such driver surrounds have become unusual in the last twenty years being replaced by a PVC type material which should last as long as a plastic grocery bag in a landfill.



"One side of this question is how long can I expect a good amp to last? The other side is - is it a good idea to buy a used amp that is old - and how old of an amp is becoming risky? Especially if I want to keep it for a while."



This like asking, "How long can I keep my '54 Oldsmobile?" Eventually, parts wear out and need replacement. Parts often times become less easily replaced due to parts availability. You can canabalize some other amp for its parts but you're still replacing old parts with other old parts. Some parts are rather universal and you can find a resistor with similar specs without great trouble. Specific parts, sometimes very simple parts, are no longer produced in quantity and, if they are available, you may wait a month or more for a part. Then you need someone to do the work. Most current techs don't care to be tied down to a vintage component which might have several parts waiting to go out.

Depending on the component, you'll need someone to first troubleshoot the component to determine what needs to be repaired. That may mean you will send the component to someone out of state. Unlike that '54 Olds, audio gear isn't something that you can modify to accept a 2014 motor and suspension. Bipolar transistors and integrated circuits used in the '70's are not easily replaced since they aren't always being made today. Tubes are, for the most part, still available though most people feel quality has suffered over the years. Thus, the NOS tube market with its ridiculous prices. However, at some point you have to realize a 1950's amp with new parts isn't really a vintage 1950's amp any longer.

Capacitors in particular have a finite life, around 20-30 years in most cases. Carbon and wire wound resistors are not your typical replacement item today. If you change a part in a circuit, because today's parts are not identical, you risk changing the circuit values.



" ... do I buy something new ike a Marantz or an Outlaw for around $1k - or do I get a used higher-quality amp - like a Meridian G55 that is 10 years old and maybe only keep it another 10 years or so and just replace it down the road?"


So, who fixes the G55 if it breaks while you own it?


"Another idea i've had that i'm not sure whether it's a good or bad idea is to get an amp like the Meridian G55 and then get a receiver that has pre-outs to use as a pre/pro. It seems the receivers have the more robust feature set for the money. I realize they do not have amps in them with the quality of separates. Is feeding those into a good amp a stupid idea? Are pre/pro separates a lot better in sound quality or not?"



It's a system, Rocker. Garbage in = garbage out. Receivers sell due to their price point and the availability of the features/connectors you'll need to stay current with technology. There are some good A/V receivers. I believe I've given you some guidelines for receivers even without discussing the power amp section. As I stated, the integrated circuits which make up most A/V gear today can be found in a wide price range and are not limited only to receivers or separates. While there may arguably be some performance improvements found in separates in the very best systems provided the very best sources and the very best set up, until you can justify the cost of anything other than a good receiver it seems to me a moot point given the other restrictions which exist in your present system. A "better" component" is not what you feed from a crap $69 music server or a cheap BluRay player. And certainly not when you feed the system with low bit rate MP3's.

Garbage in = garbage out.

Until you can justify higher quality at the end of the system with proper source components and an equally good system/speaker set up, spending on a "high end" $5k amp is, IMO, a complete waste of resources.



"ANother topic i've researched a little and found answers to that i'm not sure I am confortable with the answers i've found - is the idea of bi-amping my fronts with multichannel amps."


Why don't you just get the rest of your system in order first? Don't get distracted by all the bright and flashy stuff. Get your sources and your set up sorted out to get the most from what you have today. Spending on pricey gear that will only see the same bottlenecks is absurd.




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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17986
Registered: May-04
.

"If I get a 5-channel amp and only want a 3.1 setup I could use 4 amps to bi-amp my fronts. How would I hook that up? I've seen answers that say to use a Y-connector between the pre and amp. This would what - cut in half the input impedance of the amp? Is this a problem for the amp or the pre/pro?"



Either you didn't bother to read Ohm's Law or you certainly didn't understand Ohm's Law.

Using a Y connector to split an output you're still talking source and load. If you send one signal to two inputs on two discrete amplifiers, the output impedance of the sending unit remains relatively unchanged (depending on the use of buffers and negative feedback circuits). Think, though, of what occurs when you send two parallel lines out from your power amp to two loudspeaker loads. The load impedance which the source unit sees is lowered by the combined value of each load (which is not constant and, therefore, is difficult to predict in total) which is what happens when two pairs of loudspeakers are connected in parallel to one amplifier channel.

The same thing happens with the processor/pre amp acting as the source of Voltage and Amperage (in other words, "work" to be accomplished) when it now sees the combined impedance of two loads placed in parallel with each other. In most cases the load impedance will drop which, just as with your power amplifier, will require more Amperage (current) coming from your source to maintain the same "power" output from the source. If the source is not up to snuff, then current delivery will be curtailed and dynamic range will suffer as the most obvious alteration to signal quality. Whether the change will be audible is not something to be determined by hypotheticals. You would need to know the specifics of the system before you could even begin to do any math which might predict the outcome. Even that would probably be obscured by the real world conditions which exist in a bi-amped system. Processors and pre amps do not state their current delivery potential so you would be guessing mostly in the dark at values which fluctuate constantly with the changes in the signal. Rather like trying to catch lightning in a bottle.

Just realize "bi-amping" is just one more buzzword which exists in the marketing of A/V gear. A buzzword is intended to get the buyer's mind kicked into gear thinking they will get "something" for basically "nothing". It's a hook to draw in fish willing to take the bait.

If you're talking bi-amping from one multi-channel amp, you're still drawing from one power supply in almost all cases. OK, look at Ohm's Law again to see what it predicts under those conditions. Nothing particularly good I can tell you.

If you're trying to bi-amp using multiple, totally discrete amplifiers with different power supplies AND different connector types, you're really asking for more troubles than can be overcome by any one buzzword.

Once again, Rocker, I find you examining individual leaves rather than seeing the whole picture. Step away from the ledge and get real.









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Bronze Member
Username: Dlovell2001

Alexandria, Virginia United States

Post Number: 94
Registered: Jul-12
Ok. You're absolutely right.

But first i'll distract for a sec. I was wondering how I could profit from the WMC (weenie-measuring contest). It's all around. Everywhere. If you know what to look for. For example - where I work - the parking lot - close spots you pay for - the Maseratti beside the Porsche - the attorney on 4th floor bought a new Jaguar F-Type - nice car - so the attorney on 6th shows up next week in a new SL550. This is the weenie-measuring contest executive edition. Thank God i'm not part of that but I can profit from it. Take the SL500. WMC favorite. Has the full WMC checkist. Obscene horsepower. Yeah I need 570. Right. Wipers on the headlights. Gotta have that. How did I live without that all my life. It is a cool car. Set you back 6 digits brand new. You can buy one 5 - 10 years old, 50 - 100k miles for between 15-$20k. Still a really cool car. get another 100k miles out of it easily. that's because the WMC drives demand to the latest and greatest. Gotta be new and shiny with the latest whatever. So the used ones are a fraction of the new cost. It's a buyers market for sure.

In high-end audio it's the opposite. Production is limited. People are not leasing audio for a few years and upgrading. Everybody wants it but there is a very select number of folks who can afford it. Demand is high - supply is low for used hi-end gear. It's a seller's market. I could benefit from that by buying the good stuff on sale - like the NAD Masters M15/25 a local shop will let me have for $5k. I could use it for years and sell it almost for that much. So in the end what did it really cost me? That was my idea. I'm starting to think that's a bad idea. You were clever to use my own excuses back at me - why buy a high-end amp if i'm not prepared to high-end the entire setup? You're right. I'll stick to something more reasonable for me.

In audio I see there are 2 WMCs. The gadget WMC and what I call the "space race" WMC. Mine is longer than yours takes on the flavor of I have more gadgets my gadgets are cooler mine are newer and have more features. That's the receiver market. The iPod generation driving that WMC may say that sound quality is important to them but their buying habits prove otherwise. The modern receiver is all the proof I need. Gadgets win. Everytime. (There is a strong dose of hypocracy in my words right now - I realize that)

The other audio WMC is the pure sound taken to ridiculous extremes. Like the guy that tells me i'm not "really bi-amping" I need to rip the crossovers out of my fronts and put an active crossover between my prepro and my amp. What kind of a genius is it that tells newbies to rip the crossovers out of their speakers? WMC has no boundaries. Gotta have the silver-gold-oil capacitors. Gotta carve the boxes out of genuine moon rock. YKWIM. I appreciate the endless pursuit of sonic perfection. Just stay grounded in reality please. That's one more thing I appreciate about you. You told me about your audio in an informative way. There was no WMC involved. You do bi-amp your fronts don't you? If you didn't you would've said so. But I understand where you were driving me. I would've guessed you to have McIntosh gear w- tubes, ESL, no sub. You either want or have lowthers. acoustic guitars? you told me before not sure I remembered it right. i've heard Stephen Stills unplugged live 4 times in my life. acoustic guitars, pianos and drums is what I like. but you would never guess that from my music collection. Anyway - you're a no-BS don't care about hype or what anyone else thinks about my audio just give me good sound type of audiophile and I appreciate that.

Be real. Okay. It's time I asked myself what do I want. My whole life i've listened to essentially cheap audio. I learned at a young age how to tweak the sound of cheap audio to sound better using an equalizer. That's what my version of good audio has always been.
20 years ago the EQ was a way the user had to tweak the sound. Today the EQ has been replaced by the DSP as a tweak tool. The tweak tools exist on the gadget side. The pure audio side does not want those. It's like I want good sound but instead of moving to the pure sound products i've been moving towards the gadget side all because I still have a tweak-the-sound mindset. I gotta let go of that.

I remember turning off the EQ on the old JVC with the Klipsch reference speakers. I hated that sound. It was bland, dull and boring. Macaroni without the cheese. Bologna on white no mayo. I refuse to live like that. So I tweak the sound with the EQ and it comes to life. The problem is that I need to buy gear that sounds good enough for me without an EQ. The EQ is NOT the solution I should be searching for in new gear. I know that in my mind I just have a hard time letting go. I've replaced the Klipsch speakers with something that should be good enough. Now I need an amp that will sound good enough to not need an EQ. A Marantz receiver should work.

I know this. I do not have an EQ in my car and I love that system. I do have an EQ on my laptop in iTunes and I prefer to keep it off. The EQ makes music sound different - not better - on my headphones. That's what I need in my home audio system. My fear is that i'll buy a receiver and it will not sound good enough. So i'm leaning towards over-buying.


I went to an audio shop today. They sell Marantz, NAD, Anthem, Mark Levinson, Lexicon. Had Rockport, Revel, Axiom, KEF, JBL speakers. They do not sell receivers. The cheapest separates he had was the Marantz. His opinion of my Sonus faber was that I should not buy a receiver. Was he saying this because he only sells separates? I do not know. This is what I mean by I need to know my way around audio when I talk to these guys. I guess most of the customers they get are audiophiles who know exactly what thay want. They do custom work. There are quite a few shops like that around here. Or I could go to Best Buy and go back to the world of gadgets. I got lucky today. That guy talked with me for an hour. No "real customers" came in. They usually do - and no I do not expect them to make customers there to spend real money wait for me to finish - not that they would do that anyway - but it was informative.

He has floor models of the NAD Master series M15 / 25 he'll let me have for $5k. Is that a good price? Seems like it to me. But I honestly think i'd be fine with a good receiver or the Marantz separates.

Crutchfield has the Marantz SR7007 receiver (normally $1800) on sale for $1000. I guess they're clearing out a model that is now 2 models old. You agree that I should get the Marantz SR7007 or something of an equivalent nature?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17989
Registered: May-04
.

"Crutchfield has the Marantz SR7007 receiver (normally $1800) on sale for $1000. I guess they're clearing out a model that is now 2 models old. You agree that I should get the Marantz SR7007 or something of an equivalent nature?"


Let's see, the way I perceive the conversation would be;

Jan: Rocker, you need to perform a proper speaker set up if you want "good sound qualities."

Rocker: Can't do a proper set up so I bought some new speakers and some new socks.

Jan: You are dealing with a system and a system is only as good as the worst component in the system.

Rocker: I might bi-amp my speakers.

Jan: If you feed low quality signals from low quality components into a higher quality speaker, your better speaker will simply do as it was intended and show you exactly how poor your sources are.

Rocker: The guy selling separates says I should buy separates.

Jan: Why don't you first get the rest of your system in order?

Rocker: Guys who like expensive separates have little weenies. The guy selling separates will sell me stuff for $5k. That's not too expensive, is it?

Jan: I can't suggest buying any component you have not auditioned.

Rocker: "Crutchfield has the Marantz SR7007 receiver (normally $1800) on sale for $1000. I guess they're clearing out a model that is now 2 models old. You agree that I should get the Marantz SR7007 or something of an equivalent nature?"





Rocker, I thought I had made it clear that I do not recommend, nor do I "agree" on, any component anyone should buy beyond what I care to buy for my ownself. In general, over the years on this forum, I don't even mention my system very much because I have no intention of what I prefer being mistaken for what anyone else should prefer. Not long after I began selling audio, I realized my priorities in music reproduction were seldom the same as those held by most of my clients - if they had any "priorities" at all. Most did not and had never even thought about buying audio equipment in such a way.

You need to make your purchasing decisions - on your own, not by way of my permission or agreement. I am here to simply provide you with a direction and some things to think about. I'm not here to take any credit nor any blame for a decision someone else makes and then decides they don't like. I never told a client what to buy and I've not in my time on this forum ever done so either. I told you that you might want to audition some Klipsch speakers after you had expressed a preference for a system with "powerful" bass which sounded like your car system. I never told you to buy Klispch speakers, nor would I have told you to buy anything at that time. The speakers were your decision based upon, I assume, being exposed to a new line.

You still seem to think eq is capable of making a better system rather than simply changing the system sound you already have. EQ cannot replace the missing data from a MP3 format signal. I've described how the thinking in high end audio tends to work and yet you still ask the same question(s) you did in your very first post on this forum.

Regarding your specifc question, I don't agree or disagree with your thinking. Neither are what I do here.



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