Advice on stereo vs. multi channel amp.

 

New member
Username: Jou78

Post Number: 1
Registered: Sep-09
Hi,
I am gonna buy a music equipment this summer. For speakers I am considering to buy either the ProAc D18 or Spendor A5 (other recommendations are also welcome given a budget up to 3000$). However I have a dilema when it comes to amplifiers. No doubt I want both to listen to music (specially clasical music) and watch movies as well. Thus, I was wondering if there is a multi-channel amp. that can also match these speakers and give excellent stero sound, or if I should buy an stereo amp. and then extend it to multi-channel using a separate processor. Of course, I guess the second option is more expensive, so your help/advise is much appreciated. }
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16250
Registered: May-04
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The "amp" comes after the processor in the signal chain. Buying a stereo amp only provides two channels of sound. How do you then plan to extend this by buying a multi-channel processor? If all you have are two channels in the amp, five channels in a processor will still not end up being more than two channels. Are you unaware of this? Or, do you have some plan you've not divulged?


Can you explain to us what "excellent stero sound" means to you? There are numerous amplifiers which would mate well with the speakers you've mentioned. But each amlifier will have it's own character. Until we know a bit more about what it is you believe you will require for "excellent stero sound" we cannot be very specific about which amplifiers might be of interest to you.

It's also very difficult to suggest something to someone when we have no idea where you live or what your budget projections have come to. Do you have a dealer in your area from whom you intend to buy the system? Surely, you must have heard the speakers playing with an amplifier. What system were they paired with?



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New member
Username: Jou78

Post Number: 2
Registered: Sep-09
Hi Jan, thanks so much for the response, and sorry for the lack of details.

I just moved to Orange County, California. My budget is around 5000$ for all speakers + amp. Previously, when living in Spain I had the following configuration: AE505 with a NAD C350. And I consider that an excellent stereo sound to my ears. Before moving and with the intention to buy a new equipment in OC, I gave a try to the ProAc D18 and Spendor A5 which were paired with a Marantz PM6003 and a NAD C375 respectively. I liked more the ProAc D18 but Spendor sounded very good as well - another example of what I consider excellent stereo sound and I would not like to lower the bar with a multi-channel amp.

So the question was whether a multi channel amplifier would suffice compared to a stereo amp + power-amp\multi-channel processor on top of it that delegates the driving of the 2 front speakers to the stereo amplifier. I am sorry if I am misusing any of the terms and hope it makes sense.

As said the budget is around 5000$ having in mind that I want to spend around 3000$ in the speakers.

Thanks so much for the help.

Josep
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16256
Registered: May-04
.

JA, I guess I still don't know exactly what you think is "excellent stereo sound". I think the components you had put together in Spain are all nice components but, as a system, together they tell me nothing about what you are listening for. I can't decipher what qualities are important to your and what you can live without. I do get the feeling you believe the speakers should be more important (more expensive) than the rest of the components. There we would disagree.



"So the question was whether a multi channel amplifier would suffice compared to a stereo amp + power-amp\multi-channel processor on top of it that delegates the driving of the 2 front speakers to the stereo amplifier."



Ok, so let's just deal with how good are most multi-channel amps and processors. I'm still somewhat confused about your plan for several reasons. Let's get some terminology down first. A "power amp" is the final "amp" in the system and it is the component which uses "watts" to drive the loudspeaker. In that context you wouldn't use a "stereo amp + power-amp", you would use a stereo power amp alone - assuming, that is, you're main intent is the highest quality two channel music reproduction.

The addition of a multi-channel processor for video use would then feed to the stereo power amp. That would neccessitate the addition of another multi-channel amp to fill out the 5.1 system. That would lead us to lead us to; first, consider what you could buy for roughly $2k in a multi-channel processor, a stereo power amp and a multi-channel amp plus your subwoofer and whatever source(s) you're going to use. Second, we should discuss where funds are best allocated.

Even if I assume you have the subwoofer and the source player(s), I'm left with $2k for the basic electronics. IMO that's not much when spread out over the components and subwoofer you'll need. It's still slighting the system if we take the sub out of those funds. Personally, I can't think of a set of components available for that amount of money that I would suggest you pair with highly revealing speakers which are also not the easiest load for most amplifiers. I'd have to double check but my recollection of both speakers is they present a fairly difficult load - the Spendor being the easier to drive of the two - which would mean you should really put some "UMMMPH" into the stereo amp. That's expensive to do right.

And there's the rub, I can't figure out what would make you happy. You could certainly have sufficient watts and probably enough amperage in the NAD to drive the speakers but IMO that would be short changing the system when it comes down to "excellent stereo sound". But it's very possible you and I are on drastically different wavelengths when it comes to what we expect from reproduced music. If you were satisfied with what you heard from the NAD or Marantz driving the speakers, then I can only assume you have found the level of satisfaction you desire. Still I have a problem in that they are both integrated amplifiers (a pre amp and a power amp on one chassis) which you do not need and they are dramatically different in price. Assuming you are not going to be buying an integrated amplifier when all you require is a stereo power amp, a multi-channel amp and a processor ... what do I use as an example of what you might buy?

If you were to go with just the NAD stereo integrated amplifier and forgo video with multi-channel, then I'd give you a pass on the integrated amp driving the speakers you've selected. But that isn't what you've said you want, you also want multi-channel applications. If we assume you would spend the equivalent to the NAD integrated in cost in order to buy a your stereo power amp and your multi-channel amp, I would say you are not doing the system any favors in terms of "excellent stereo sound". But that would be my opinion and possibly not your own.

If I were to assume you had spent the NAD's price on amplification, what then would that leave you in terms of a multi-channel processor? I suppose something the equivalent to the Marantz integrated in terms of sound quality. So, should I then asssume you were satsified with the Marantz driving the speakers? I guess so. Which, taking all the assumptions I've made into account, you could find gear which would make a system operable in the price range you set with the stereo amp, the multi-channel amp and the processor. Don't take this wrong because this is just my opinion, but "operable" is a far stretch from "excellent stereo sound" in what I expect from a component system.

And we really haven't discussed those other components required to make the system actually make sound, like the source player and the subwoofer.

Here's my opinion; you can manage to do what you're proposing on what I guess to be your budget - if you have funds set aside to complete the system, but I would not go about this for myself. I think you are buying far too much speaker for the electronics you will have and thus needing to compromise on the portions of the system which should have far more importance.

You're obviously in an area where you should have access to several decent audio shops and several independent designers who will provide private auditions of their gear. IMO a two channel only system will provide significantly higher satisfaction when listening to music material than will a mid priced multi-channel system which must perform double duty with video. That opinion is darn near unbreakable until we're talking far more cash than you intend to lay out. But I'm not you and you don't seem to have my expectations of music reproduction. At this point I have to say I do not have a good answer for you other than you should audition several component systems - both two channel only and multi-channel dual use systems and see where you find your tastes taking you. If you listen to live music on a regular schedule and have expectations of getting closer to that quality in your home rather than just "stereo sound", I would think the comparisons would speak for themself.



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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16257
Registered: May-04
.

You might also take some time with this purchase and find out just what's available in your area. My guess is there would be at least one audio "club" in your area which would allow you to audition gear without the pressures of a dealership. You would also meet more opinions about your plan and their potential. Explore the area and ask around as to whether such clubs exist in your locale and when they meet for auditions. More than anything else, the sort of exposure you'll get at such events will be far more informative than any forum could provide.



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New member
Username: Jou78

Post Number: 3
Registered: Sep-09
Thanks a lot Jan,
the budget I proposed 5K would be only for front speakers and amplifiers. Aside I will buy a DAC for music (need to research on this one) and a quality DVD player if needed for movies. Then rear-mid speaker and subwoofer may be added later on. I see you emphasize the need of a subwoofer but I was under the impression that this one is only really needed for movies ... for my taste a subwoofer to listen to music colours the sound and makes it unrealistic. But that's just my opinion, of course.

Now let me define what I like from an stereo sound. I love classical and film music so I am much more interested in clear and warmth sound rather than just high power. I like to feel the sound comes from the center like if the speakers did not exist or if the orchestra was just in front of me. I pay a lot of attention to how solo instruments sound, specially for violin and piano - of course always assuming that the recording is good. Voice is also very important for arias and/or choral pieces. Finally, for heavy orchestra pieces like a Mahler's symphony I like to be able to identify the different voices - so clear separation and amplitude is very important. The AE505+NAD did not fulfill 100% what I describe but it was excellent in terms of warmth sound and a very pleasan experience.

Now, my intention was to spend around 3K in speaker and 2K in amplifiers, and yes, I had the impression that the speakers are the more determinant component in a system and worth spending a bit more - so please let me know if this is not the case and you think it may be worth maybe spending more in the amps. So as per your words - with the right assumption that I want a system ready for multi-channel apps - I have 2 options:

1- processor + stereo amp + multi-channel amp
2- Multi-channel Processor/amplier.

So I was wondering if there is any device that falls in option 2 that gives let's not say 'excellent' but good quality sound for both stereo and multi-channel.

Of course I will follow your recommendation and take my time to visit dealers around the area (do you have any recommendations?). If you don't mind I will keep you posted of any findings. I really appreciate the help on this.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4780
Registered: Feb-07
I don't have the knowledge that Jan has, but if you want to go the option route, I'm extremely happy with my Cambridge Audio 540R A/V receiver.

It's not the usual lightweight fodder that you see at Best Buy, and sounds surprisingly good in Stereo mode for 2 channel listening. It also has pre-amp outs for all the channels so if you want a different amp to drive, for example, your front speakers, it can do that as well.

For movies, it's a no frills, no bells and whistles processor that suits me just fine. The 650R is a even more kick @ss unit.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2414
Registered: Oct-07
Josep,
You just MISSED T.H.E Show on June 3,4,+5 at the Hilton Hotel, right next to John Wayne Airport........
they had it ALL and than some.
Too much stuff to describe or list with manufacters and individual stores both sponsering rooms.
Speakers from the megabuck Focal and MB all the way down to a local brand, RSL and other better known speakers like AudioEngine. And everything in between.
I visited only about 3/4 of the rooms and didn't give but a few enough time. Some drove me out while others had such an inviting sound that I had to force myself to move on.
Many good stores in Orange County as well as many more in LA and even south into San Diego.
Enjoy your freeway experience!
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16262
Registered: May-04
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JA, I'm not ignoring you. I've had a very busy day and jury duty was just a small part of it. I'll make an attempt to answer a few of your questions tomorrow.
 

New member
Username: Jou78

Post Number: 4
Registered: Sep-09
Thanks Jan, no worries I will wait for your next post.

David, thanks for the recomendation. Already written down to check it out. In fact I also wanted to check out the DAC from Cambridge Audio that has so many good reviews ...

Leo, I missed it. I was unaware of such show, otherwise I would have attended for sure.

Thanks !!
Josep
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4782
Registered: Feb-07
I've owned a couple of the CA DACMagics. The first one was defective (first CA product I've ever owned that was defective, and I've had a lot!). The second one was fine. Not a bad unit for the price. Their CD players sound better, though.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3518
Registered: Jun-07
I agree with Davids opinion on the DacMagic. Decent little unit for the money. Their CDP's are better indeed. The DACMagic became dull to me overtime. Adding the MSB was like taking my hands off my ears.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16272
Registered: May-04
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"... the budget I proposed 5K would be only for front speakers and amplifiers. Aside I will buy a DAC for music (need to research on this one) and a quality DVD player if needed for movies."


A DAC for music? What will feed the signal to the DAC? Bits are not bits and source players still matter. You might consider a universal player such as one of the Oppo players; http://www.oppodigital.com/blu-ray-bdp-83/ If your plans include a computer as a source, then there are numerous other considerations. I would suggest you give some consideration to flexibility and upgrade-ability with your choices. The Oppo could, at a later date, feed to an outboard DAC while being a perfectly good start on a high quality system.


"I see you emphasize the need of a subwoofer but I was under the impression that this one is only really needed for movies ... for my taste a subwoofer to listen to music colours the sound and makes it unrealistic. But that's just my opinion, of course."


There are a few high quality subwoofers available for well under $600 - look at Hsu subwoofers online. A subwoofer in a music system can resolve some basic issues such as speaker positioning and bass power. A full range speaker system with response down into the 30Hz range will necessitate a placement in the room which is largely based upon the quality and quantity of bass the listener desires. This often shortchanges the eight upper octaves for the benefit of the two lowest. A subwoofer will make excellent bass reproduction far less of a hassle and certainly less of a compromsie in overall sound quality. It will also add the benefit of relieving the lowest octaves of resposne from the main/center speakers which will provide some headroom for the amp. Of course, if you are going with a subwoofer, it doesn't necessarily make sense to buy full range speakers for the front array. Buying a higher quality satellite system - not tiny speakers but just not full range speakers - will offer definite advantages when it comes to the speaker getting out of the way of the music. I would suggest you give a listen to a good sat/sub system and compare what you hear in terms of musical transparency to that of a full range system. If a dealer in your area stocks the Usher line of speakers, begin there. You might also consider something a bit less conventional and try out a pair of Magneplanar MMG panel speakers with a subwoofer; http://www.magnepan.com/model_MMG


"Now let me define what I like from an stereo sound. I love classical and film music so I am much more interested in clear and warmth sound rather than just high power. I like to feel the sound comes from the center like if the speakers did not exist or if the orchestra was just in front of me. I pay a lot of attention to how solo instruments sound, specially for violin and piano - of course always assuming that the recording is good. Voice is also very important for arias and/or choral pieces."


Without getting too technical, what you describe are genarlly the benefits of a sat/sub system. Not that you can't find full range speakers that are high on any list of timbral accuracy but this is more the province of satellites. By discarding the lowest octave of music from the main speaker functions the woofer has less to contend with and can be better designed to make the most of a more restricted - by, maybe, two ocatves - frequency range. The point to be made is the lowest octaves are the most difficult for both the speaker and the amplifier to reproduce while also being faithful to the other eight octaves. A full range system's woofer that is outputting 32Hz while also trying to remain clear at 1kHz (where voices are intense and extremely sensitive in quality to your ear) will have certain difficulties which can most often only be resolved by tossing more money at the problem or by removing the lowest octaves of material from the demands of the music. Smaller speakers are most often two way systems where the frequency range is divided only once and the transistion between drivers can be made as gradual or as sharp as the designer sees fit. Due to the smaller dimensions of the cabinet panels in a satellite speaker, there will be less aggregious resonances in the enclosure which will allow the smaller speaker to almost always be more transparent to the music and to "disapper" from the apparent soundstage in front of the listener. With fewer and lower level cabinet resonances, there will also be less smearing of vocals, timbre and musical detail normally associated with cabinet problems.


Now, if you'd like, I can argue the opposite way around in favor of full range speakers. You see audio is a series of trade offs and there are no singularly right answers for all listeners. Therefore, though I find sat/sub systems capable of solving many of the typical problems associated with fitting a high quality sound system into a domestic listening room, the recommendation for sat/sub systems is just one option anyone spending serious cash should explore before making a final decision.



" Finally, for heavy orchestra pieces like a Mahler's symphony I like to be able to identify the different voices - so clear separation and amplitude is very important."



Geez! why'd you have to mention Mahler?!



Mahler makes life difficult for all audio systems. The complexity of the orchestration combined with the dynamic range of the music and the soundstaging extremes of most of Mahler's works are very complicated arrangements for most amplifiers and speakers. If volume potential is not high on your requirements, then most decent speakers and amplifiers can survive Mahler and even sound exceptional doing so. The inclusion of Mahler, however, means system matching is of extreme importance IMO. My best suggestion here is to take several examples of your own personal favorites along on any audition and make certain you can live with the tradeoffs most systems will make when being asked to reproduce Mahler's 4th, Nina Simone, Alberta Hunter and Muddy Waters as individual artists.



"Now, my intention was to spend around 3K in speaker and 2K in amplifiers, and yes, I had the impression that the speakers are the more determinant component in a system and worth spending a bit more - so please let me know if this is not the case and you think it may be worth maybe spending more in the amps"


High end audio has adopted from computers the slogan "garbage in = garbage out". Forty years ago speakers were where virtually all audio sales began because speakers were thought to have the most importance in a system's sound. Over the last few decades thinking has changed and now we feel the room is the single most important component in the system's final sound. Therefore, the emphasis is on more careful set up of the entire system along with attention paid to speaker placement and most likely some treatments on room surfaces. Second comes the source players in that they are the sole component responsibile for faithfully transferring what the artist/engineer has placed on the recording downstream toward the rest of the system. Whatever is added or, most importantly, whatever is subtracted from the music at the source cannot be corrected by the components further down the chain. So the source becomes a primary focus of quality and then each component downstream from the source plays a slightly decreasing role in piecing together a high quality, transparent audio system.

The amplifier is responsible for the speakers since they are linked together as a circuit. As is suggested above, if the amplifier is not capable of dealing with the load imposed on it by the speakers, then the system sound will suffer. This will be most evident on complex or bass heavy music such as you might find in Mahler. I would guess this is how the majority of good audio dealers go about successful system building in 2011.



"So as per your words - with the right assumption that I want a system ready for multi-channel apps - I have 2 options:

1- processor + stereo amp + multi-channel amp
2- Multi-channel Processor/amplier.

So I was wondering if there is any device that falls in option 2 that gives let's not say 'excellent' but good quality sound for both stereo and multi-channel."



I simply cannot say "yes" or "no" or "this" not "that". I do not have your ears and you do not have mine. I can't tell you to buy "X" because I really can't be sure it would satisfy you. Additionally, I don't know where you could audition such a component and, in this price range, you need to audition before you buy.

As I stated, for music I personally stay with a strict two channel system while the HT system resides in another room. I use a multi-channel processor from Outlaw in the HT system paired with a single five channel amplifier and a powered subwoofer. For the most part I don't listen to music in this room.

It's very common for forum newbies to ask us how to obtain better music performance from their HT receivers. On the other hand, I have to asume a good many HT receiver owners are happy with an all inclusive system. I would guess this is largely due to the fact so few people actually sit down to listen to music and do nothing but listen to music. Recorded music has become a wallpaper-like commodity that can be ever present but never engaging. For that sort of listener, most any combination of electronics and speakers will do.


Therefore, if I begin with the assumption (based upon my own tastes and experiences) that "a two channel only system will provide significantly higher satisfaction when listening to music material than will a mid priced multi-channel system which must perform double duty with video", I have to say you would need to significantly boost your budget for the entire system to even come close to what I expect my music system to be capable of doing.

On the other hand, Dave is happy with his Cambridge receiver.

JA, I wish I could tell you to just buy "these" components but I just can't. You must satisfy yourself and that can only be done by carefully auditioning the various combinations of systems your budget allows. Sorry.

https://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/forum/home-audio/672623.html








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Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2421
Registered: Oct-07
Funny Jan should mention the OPPO player.
The new model...the '95 has Balanced Stereo Outs. For the real over achiever......And at 1000$, a price to match.
BUT, with its attention to 2-ch detail in the analogue section, it is just possible you can get away with a single player solution.
 

New member
Username: Jou78

Post Number: 5
Registered: Sep-09
Hi Jan,
sorry for the late response. First of all I want to thank you for such a detailed and thoughtful response. Please, don't be sorry, I did not expect to find out what to buy from you, but to have a better idea of what options I have. And you totally helped me out.

I had read about the magneplan but I found hard to belive that such flat speakers could sound any good. But I trust you and will try to find out a dealer to schedule an audition for them. For now I have scheduled an appointment in one store 'Pacific Audio'. The dealer mentioned that based on what I told him I will like the sound of Totem (Model 1 and Arro) speakers that he has provided for the last few years. I had not heard about them ... hope they sound good. He will pair them with Marantz and Anthem stereo amplifiers (don't know the models). For the Totem Model 1 I will ask to use a subwoofer as well see how it compares with the full range speaker. They don't have the oppo player but he will show me different alternatives at the store.

Interesting is one of his comments. He mentioned that with a high quality stero system I don't need a multi-channel system to play movies. That one I had not ever had and I will surely follow up with him during my appointment. Jan, do you have any opinion about this ?

Anyway, thanks so much for the help and I will post again when I have more questions - which I am sure I will.

Josep
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2424
Registered: Oct-07
JA,
I've never had anything BUT a 2 or 2.1 system for 3+ decades. I've also owned Magnepans for MOST of that time.
Magnepan is a unique company in some respects. They are small and based in Minnesota. And have been since inception. Since they are small you get to CALL them, not E-mail. Wendel, one of the wheels is as likely to answer the phone as anyone.... They also make a product which has 'roots' going back to the original issue. The changes have generally been evolutionary. One 'revolutionary' change was going to a Ribbon tweeter on the upper model or models.
Other than that, it is the same general technology, what is called 'planar magnetic' and it DOES sound good. No Box is a major selling point. The compromise is generally needing a bit more powerful amp, NO HT receivers need apply and a bit more space. You'll need 3 feet in BACK of the speaker and be willing to adjust 'em for best position and sound. They are also pretty low in WAF. The Spouse will look at 'em and go....'not in MY room!', since they are fairly large. My MG1.6qr speakers are about 65" tall and 20" wide.
The GOOD news is you can Mail Order (only) the MMG for 600$ and have it 'on approval' for 30 or 60 days. Long enough, for sure. You can also change UP with various amounts of credit to a larger model for the first year. Resale is good and the DIY crowd is in love. The MMG is the smallest full-range panel, but has all the characteristics of its larger kin.
IF you want to listen to Magnepan BEFORE you buy, drop me a PM and come by. There is a Magnepan dealer in SanDiego who stocks everything. Up to the Stellar MG20.1

Disclaimer: I'm a FAN. No doubt about it. Others will have differing opinions, of course. But, I think you owe it to yourself to have a listen......in the interest of 'fair'.
 

Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 1507
Registered: Oct-10
JA, if music is your main thing, you may want to consider a 2 or 2.1 channel system. Use the surround similator in your blu-ray/dvd player. This will give you a theater "like" experience. If you are more into movies, then a 5.1 or 7.1 channel system is in order.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16283
Registered: May-04
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How you view videos and films is a complicated decision some folks will be forced into due to budgetary or space considerations. I have separate systems but I have room - more or less - for such a set up. I also favor my two channel music over any video content. So I would say my HT system is OK but it's not going to impress the listeners who demand the very best.



Multi-channel can share space and components between music and video but this is extremely cost heavy and requires exacting applications of divergent technologies. IMO what is used as the sound track to film is mixed for a film playback system. What you might then find on a disc of the same "film soundtrack" will have an entirely different mix meant for more conventional home playback. So which do you set up the system to favor? That becomes just one in a series of questions someone must answer for themself if they wish to combine the two technologies. There is a magazine titled "Widescreen Review" which does a better job of addressing this issue than I can in a single post. You might find them on line and do a bit of reading.



A strictly two channel system has certain difficulties it must deal with when playing what is intended to be a 5.1 source. The most important comes when you begin to look at how Dolby and DTS have arranged the capacity to "down mix" from 5.1 to 2 channels. A problem I find no way around is the significant dimunition of dynamic range which has resulted from the down mix. Most noticeable in Dolby's white papers for Dolby Digital, when the system excludes the center channel output, the dynamic range which would normally be spread across three front speakers is automatically decreased by a sigificant margin. Depending upon the visceral effects you prefer in your videos, this might or might not be a probelem you encounter. Also, unless your two front speakers can perform some very intricate tricks with sound staging and you can devote exactly the correct amount of room to properly set up your speakers, what should exist as a panormama of sound across the front of the room will appear more as two sound sources with a big screen TV in between them. Voices and foley effects which should move naturally across the stage will make sudden jumps and transformations which will only serve to draw attention to the missing channels. Listeners on one side of the room will very likely hear only what is present in one speaker and will often see a performer on one side of the screen while the voice appears from the opposite side.

Given proper set up and consideration for the flaws inherent in such a system, I see a two channel system being adequate to quite good for video use. You will, however, need some careful attention to detail and a somewhat more forgiving nature to what you hear vs what you see when using only two channels. Have the dealer demonstrate anything proposed before you accept such statements.




"But I trust you ..."

Josep, I'm flattered but we've only just met on a public audio forum. But since you have all this cash laying around and I have suggested you take your time before investing in a serious audfio system ... how about loaning me a few hundred?








Good luck. Take your own material with you and do your auditions on a nice quite afternoon or morning when the dealer can spend sometime with you and answer your questions. Come back anytime.



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Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2426
Registered: Oct-07
My system...and I have only space and resources for ONE, is probably biased for music.
But keep in mind that current TV speakers are easily bested by ANY clock radio over 25$. I mean TV speakers are AWFUL.

So, while I have made some real compromises, like the TV between the speakers, it isn't all that bad. Removing the RPTV a couple weeks ago and putting in a panel helped more than I'd have thought. The RPTV was at least 6 cubic feet, so I guess I should have known.

As for dealers, you MAY want to call ahead so they can suggest a time when you will be 'in the clear'. They may also ask some preferences so they can have something set up. Some stores may appear 'snooty' by asking for appointments, but that isn't usually the case. I have a store down here in SanDiego which has a 'reserved' day for appointment customers ONLY.

PM me if you want to hear some panels in a house. I won't try to sell you anything.....!!!
 

New member
Username: Jou78

Post Number: 6
Registered: Sep-09
After 2 weeks of research I am back again to update the thread .

Jan, sorry to say that I doubt I will loan you any money but I can say that at least you have gained one loyal reader in this forum that highly respects your opinion.

Now let me explain my findings so far. So first I went to a store in Corona del Mar that specilizes in Totem Speakers. I went to hear the Signature Model 1, hawk and forrest that were driven by Musical Fidelity Mi3 integrated amp. All these speakers were priced over 2500$. Honestly, I did not like the sound - the Model 1 were very wild with poor detail to my ears, the hawk had more detail but were contained with poor soundstage, and the forrest, being the best of them all, it did not justify the 4K value IMO. Maybe the Musical Fidelity int amp was not up to the challenge ? Anyway, the dealer had a very tiny speakers that he did not bother to show me but I actually asked him to please let me listen to them. They were the Paradigm S1. To my surprise, these little speakers driven by the same integrated amp sounded incredibly much better than any of the totem 2x/3x the price - it may be just my ears, but the degree of detail and warmth that the Paradigm provided was just great.

After that I did more research on the Paradigm and I found a dealer in San Diego that had the Paradigm S2 paired with the Anthem 225. And this is what I exactly was looking for in therms of sound - I had to jump to the S6 (2x the price) to hear something similar to what the S2 could do with better bass, of course. Oh to leo and Jan, I did hear the Magnepan in Sand Diego and although I was quite impressed by the level of detail I did not find them as compelling and fulfilling as the S2.

So basically I am strongly considering to buy the following combo:
Paradigm S2:
Anthem 225 integrated amp
OPPO BPD-95

This falls into the 5K budget BUT ... and coming back to my original question, there is no multichannel option here. So ... I did some more research and I found out that there are a few integrated amps that have HT bypass like:
Bel Canto
Naim XS
PS Audio GCC-100
Bryston B100 (not sure about the B60 since B100 is out of my league)

These are more expensive but they give the option to run them with an HT receiver. Note that the fact that some of the int amps have an integrated DAC is not a must since the OPPO will do the job. I just want an integrated amp with HT bypass that can handle the S2 as nicely as the Anthem 225 do. I have read very nice reviews of the Naim XS and B60r SST but I wanted to know your thoughts since it is not easy to find a dealer around that carries both products.

Again, thanks so much for any piece of advice or help you can provide. You certainly helped me a lot with the initial steps.

Josep
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16368
Registered: May-04
.

"Jan, sorry to say that I doubt I will loan you any money but I can say that at least you have gained one loyal reader in this forum that highly respects your opinion."




Well, I'm still broke but at least that makes two loyal fans.



Hmmmmm? what? I don't count as one of my own loyal readers?





OK, Josep, hang on and I'll try to dig up someone else to join the ... uh, "your" club.









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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16369
Registered: May-04
.

The first system with Paradigm, Anthem and Oppo sounds like it would probably make for a nice system.

I take it you're asking most specifically about the Naim integrated. What do I say? Naim is somewhat unusual gear. Most people either find it to be the only electronics they find musically satisfying or they just don't get Naim at all. Their products aren't all that cheap and for the most part even current Naim product doesn't get up and scratch your back and rub your feet with audiophile tricks like a lot of other gear can. And I think that's what keeps it from being more popular in the US than it is. But play music it can. Or, at least, in my opinion it can.

Naim is a little bit Luddite and American audiophiles don't get the Luddite thing. Naim isn't interested in what the American audio press has to say about it and that drives the American audio press plumb crazy! Not to disparage US audiophiles too much, Naim is very set in their ways and you really almost always need to use a Naim system and not a Naim component with anyone else's components. Very much like Audio Note has their own concepts of how music is reproduced and you don't build a system with Naim or AN in one component area. You begin a system with one Naim or AN component knowing you'll one day have a complete system of Naim or AN components.

YMMV

I don't know, does that help at all?


I would certainly say you need to hear the Naim gear with compatible speakers and, IMO, the Paradigms are not that compatible with what Naim strives to achieve. There I have a preference for the Magnepans with Naim. But that system might not have the type of detail retrieval you seem to prefer, more about just getting absorbed into the musical atmosphere of performance and less about all the other stuff that can go with it. It's about the synergy of the system - as you've heard. To my ears, Paradigm and Naim would be going in somewhat opposite directions. Add to that the somewhat limiting effect Naim has on many listeners who then find they can't break away from owning Naim, Naim and more Naim and you will have a few decisions to make. But it certainly sounds as though you're headed in the right direction. Don't get impatient and this just might work out.

What else can't I answer for you?



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New member
Username: Jou78

Post Number: 7
Registered: Sep-09
Thanks Jan - I am not sure to understand what you mean by synergy of the system. Should not a good amp be able to drive any speaker ? why amps with similar specs are better suited for a certain brand of speakers ? - for instance I have heard that bryston and pmc go well together same as anthem and paradigm ... but why ? I would like to understand it a bit more from a technical point of view.

And ... sure I have one question I am sure you have an answer for . I would like to know your opinion about the HT bypass feature and whether or not an integrated amp (with HT bypass) + multichannel receiver is a decent solution for a quality stereo and multichannel system. How does the HT bypass handle the fact of having 2 preamps ? I guess the stereo preamp cannot shutdown completely so I was wondering what's the magic with HT bypass. I could not find a clear answer online ...

Thanks !!
Josep
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16372
Registered: May-04
.

I've not forgotten you, Josep, just busy today. I'll make an effort to get to this on Thursday.
 

New member
Username: Jou78

Post Number: 8
Registered: Sep-09
No worries Jan. I will wait for your answers and will take the opportunity to formulate another question.

I am doing more research and considering also an option that would cost a bit more than going with the Anthem 225. These separates with the Paradigm S2: Parasound P7/A23 combo so I can upgrade in the future and get the multi channel amp. I can't get a dealer that pair them to the S2 though ... What are your thoughts about this option ?

Thanks!
Josep
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16378
Registered: May-04
.

" I am not sure to understand what you mean by synergy of the system. Should not a good amp be able to drive any speaker ?"


"Synergy" speaks to the complementary nature - or the personality, if you will - of each of the muiltiple components which constitute a complete system. Synergy suggests you possess "priorities" related to music; what qualities are most important to you and what can you live without? You had earlier spoken of "excellent stereo sound" and I had asked you to define what qualities go into a your own decision that one component or one group of components presents "excellent stereo sound" while another does not. IMO anyone thinking about spending more than a few hundred dollars for a complete system should have a few quick references to qualities which they desire and cannot do without. Those qualities will be somewhat different for each listener. Some will have priorities which relate to the system itself and the audiophile "tricks" it is expected to manage while others will have priorities which are more focussed on, say, the value of each component dollarwise when compared to other components. Some listeners will be more prioritized on how the individual musical performances are portrayed while others are somewhat narrowly interested in some tonal aspects of the overall sound - what I tend to classify as the all too ubiquitous "tight bass, clear mids and clean highs" crowd. The music you prefer might go a long way toward establishing your own personal priorities as orchestral works - most specifically Mahler or Shostakovich - tend towards a competely different presentational style than will gypsy jazz which itself will be substantially unlike modern pop music. In other words, your expectations are based - we hope - on your experiences with live music and what portion of that experience you then prefer to bring into your home and these are the qualities which form your "priorities". Ideally, your priorites are those things which excite the same emotional responses at home that you feel listening to a live performance.

For some listeners their preference is to have the performers appear before them in their own room in present tense while others find the ability to be transported through time and space to the location of the original performance a more fascinating journey. That would be the "They are here" or "I am there" decision which many listeners face.

To achieve any of those goals with the least amount of wasted time and money, you must first establish some priorities as to what you expect of the system and each component in the system. Then you need to weed out those designs which are contradictory to your goals. If we assume most all high quality audio represents the refined and elemental sense of how music "sounds" to either a single designer or to a collective group, then we can begin to realize the priorities of those designers and focus our attention on those components designed, built , reviewed and sold by individuals who have similar priorities to our own.

If, for example, you read a great review of an amplifier but nothing you personally find important in music is ever mentioned in the review, how useful to you is that particular review and reviewer? If you walk into a shop and the music from each system has little to attract your attention let alone draw you into the performance, what good advice can you expect to recieve from that shop?

For example McIntosh and Audio Research are both high quality companies turning out high quality products, but they certainly do not have a similar presentational style to how their components reproduce music. If your priorities side with one of those companies, then it's unlikely they will also jive completely with the other. Once you've indentified which priorities, say, the Mac designers have found of value, then you can begin to pair similar components to the Mac products while ignoring those components which emphasize the values you found less appealing in the Audio Research.


Let's say on a very basic level, you prefer a presentation of music which is "front row", placing you as a listener in as close to the performers as possible. Then your priorities might include a very "upfront" presentational style in all of the components. You are likely going to find extreme detail retrieval to be one of your prime priorities while being far less intrigued by components which exhibit a great degree of ambient room sounds and a sense of performers occupying "space". You might expect the sense of placement of each performer to be very tightly drawn with vast landscapes existing between performers. However, if your priority is to be placed in row "G", then detail is less important to you and room sounds and stage width might be far more so. The sonic edges of each performer's location can be slightly less distinct and still be consistent with what you preceive in a live performance. If tonal balance is a priority, then you would prefer a system which neither emphasizes the bass, mids or treble ranges but rather clearly portrays the subtle character shifts of a Stienway vs a Baldwiin or a Martin vs a Taylor guitar. If transparency is a must have priority, then the distraction of having your attention drawn to the fact there is a music reproduction system in the room will be unsatisfactory in every way. And so on and so on, these are your on personal priorites.

My opinion of synergy is having similar traits in each component. Others - who, IMO, are well off base - think you can place BandAids on problems - and thereby achieve system synergy. For those people a "warm" amplifier paired with a "cool" speaker would be synergistic in that the resulting sound is supposedly balance towards neutral. Or a "tubey" CD player might roll off the highs on a brittle sounding recording or a bright pair of speakers. As I said, these are IMO BandAids and not very good ones at that. The main problem is you have two divergent personalities on display in the equipment and they each tend towards their own strong suites. Somewhat like having two people with different preferences decorate a room, there is always that jolt of discontinuous styles competeing for attention. What I hear when a warm amplifier is paired with a bright speaker is neither component doing its best to reproduce music but rather the struggle of two competing philosophies of audio. The system might favor a particular type of music but not others and, when the listener finally tires of the combative nature of most of the music being substandard, they must then make a decision as to which direction to take the system. Do they get rid of the warm amplifier and live with an overly bright system? Or, do they ditch the bright speakers and buy a rolled off speaker which deprives the music of life? If they had started off with synergy in mind, they shouldn't be faced with such a decision.

While each component and speaker - and cable and stand, etc - will introduce a personality to the system as a whole, my preference is not to downplay the negatives of what I have purchased by buying the exact opposite to cover up my original mistake. Instead I strive to have each component play upon the strengths of every other component in the system and thereby de-emphasize the less than State of The Art qualites every component must have. As the song goes, "Accentuate the positives, eliminate the negatives ..." In my approach I see myself constantly trying to build on those priorites which remind me the most of live music, which then serves to minimize the qualities of lesser importance to my perception of music. By doing so I am building on my priorities and achieving system synergy. In my experiences, as my budget expands so too will the number of priorites I can find in any one component. Eventually, I will have a system which favors nearly all of my vital must haves and does a good job with the qualities I prefer to possess while not paying much attention to those things I care little about. This takes time and effort to seek out those designers and their products which most completely summarize your own listening experience.



Should a "good" amplifier be capable of driving any speaker? I would say, no, not at all. But what I consider to be a "good amplifier" might not be what someone else considers an equally good amplifier. In my current system and with my own priorites I could easily live with a small five watt amplifier with very little in the way of current delivery. If my prefernce in speakers were to then run towards something which was very low in sensitivity and required tremendous reserves of current to drive adequately, I would have a conflict. If I had a very high wattage amplifier and I was driving speakers which excelled at revealing the inner details of a musician's performance and thought process rather than a more bombastic style which glossed over the finesse of the player, then the high powered amplifier might be a non-synergistic mate to the capabilities of the speakers. As I recently mentioned in a different thread, there are diverse ways to achieve the same end when it comes to audio. If your desire is to have a "jump factor" to the dynamics of the systyem, you can get to that point by having a very powerful amplifier running a moderately inefficient speaker system. Or you could also achieve dynamism by using a very small wattage amplifier with greater transparency and more of a sense of "start/stop" and pairing it with a highly efficient speaker system which would never stress the amplifier's capacity. Either way, the sense of macro-dynamics could be achieved, though the resulting sound from the two systems would be somewhat different in their finality. Depending on what your priorities were for the final music product, you would lean towards one system and probably dismiss the other. As long as you were consistent in your priorities, then the system synergy should accomplish your final goal. IMO, synergy is when each component in the system makes life easier - not more difficult - for every other component in the system and for me.


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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16379
Registered: May-04
.

"why amps with similar specs are better suited for a certain brand of speakers ? - for instance I have heard that bryston and pmc go well together same as anthem and paradigm ... but why ? I would like to understand it a bit more from a technical point of view."



I would hope that by reading the above post you can see the personality of various components will be more or less complementary to other components and speakers. On paper specs are virtually uselss in telling you how the component or speaker reproduces music. They are certainly quite unnecessary and often misleading when it comes to informing you how well a certain component will pair with another component in a complete system. In today's market you will find many companies under the corporate leadership of one group of designers. It is often the case then that all of the companies under that one corporate flag will have qualities which are quite similar and your budget will determine just how a big a scoop of those priorities you can have.

Several of the other members are more up to date on who is paired with who in the corporate world and can give you better examples of which components tend to be "synergistic" than can I.



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Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1366
Registered: Jul-07
A little reading on specific amplifier manufacturers, and you can usually find what speakers the designer uses to "voice" their speakers. That is a pretty good indicator of what the designer thinks is a good match, or synergistic. I know Vinnie @ Red Wine Audio uses WLM speakers (and others), Dusty @ Channel Islands Audio used to use Von Schweikert speakers but I don't know if he still does. Steve @ Decware uses his own speakers, but is very familiar with what works other than his, and even gives advice on his website as to what he's tried and has worked well (in his opinion).

Audio forums will also be good sources of info, but you'll get more detailed info on the forums of the manufacturers, like the Naim forum for suggestions on what Naim owners are running for speakers. There is a ton of info on the interweb related to amp/speaker matching. It's no guarantee you'll hear the same thing that others do, but it will give you a much smaller list to work from......and then it's up to you and your ears.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16385
Registered: May-04
.

" would like to know your opinion about the HT bypass feature and whether or not an integrated amp (with HT bypass) + multichannel receiver is a decent solution for a quality stereo and multichannel system. How does the HT bypass handle the fact of having 2 preamps ? I guess the stereo preamp cannot shutdown completely so I was wondering what's the magic with HT bypass. I could not find a clear answer online ... "



I suspect some of the confusion regarding HT bypass comes from the fact it is included in both stand alone pre amps and integrated amps. HT bypass - or whatever term the maufacturer applies to a similar circuit - is simply a dedicated output which allows a selected component to run through the pre amp without being affected by the pre amp's volume and balance controls. That would allow the audio section of a universal player (the Oppo), a DVD, a BluRay player or an outboard DAC (digital to analog converter) to be used with both the stereo pre amp and the multi-channel system.

I'm not at all clear on why contemporary designers have decided to label this dedicated output as "HT bypass" when it serves the same function as a common tape monitor loop or effects loop but I suspect it is less complicated to explain "HT bypass" to most buyers than it is to explain tape monitor loop when most of today's buyer's have never seen a three head tape recorder. And, of course, if the pre amp includes a tape loop, it is more verstile than a singe output dedicated to bypassing the volume and balance controls as all inputs are unaffected by those two circuits when fed from the common tape out jack. So this would seem to be some marketing more than some common sense being applied to the use of the pre amp with "HT bypass" included.


When you are using only a pre amp and you "bypass" a signal to the multi-channel receiver, the receiver's amplifiers then drive the two front speakers which would normally be used for both two channel and multi-channel operation. Now, this makes even less sense to me since you would then be using a higher quality two channel pre amp but still relying on the amplification from the receiver - unless you had separate amplification and speakers just for two channel use. Either hook up just plain sounds strange to me.

If you are using an integrated amplifier with HT bypass engaged, the internal amplifier of the integrated would be the driving amplifier of the system for the front two channels. The volume levels for all channels would be set by the multi-channel processing systems so all channels would rise and lower at equal rates. You cannot have two amplifiers connected to the same speaker, so the two front channel amplifiers of the receiver are not typically going to be your choice for a high quality two channel system. (Which, IMO, rather implies that a high quality two channel pre amp shouldn't be run into a multi-channel receiver, but, then, that sort of logic just confuses the issues, doesn't it?) In this type of set up you're essentially using the integrated amplifier for both two channel and multi-channel operation and then just switching in the processing and additional amplifiers of the receiver to supply your center and surround speakers along with any video switching or processing you might require. IMO, this doesn't really address most of the problems most of us associate with trying to put two systems in one space.

However, is it a way to integrate the two systems with less hassles?

I suppose if you don't count the extra cabling required to make such a system functional or the possible confusion of why sound doesn't come out of there but instead comes from over there, yes, it does achieve that stated goal.

Will it sound decent?

That's up to you to decide. I would say probably you're wasting a fair amount of the quality of the two channel system by cramming it into a single space along with a multi-channel video system. But, as I have said, you don't have my ears and I don't have your's. I would certainly try to get a decent dealer to demonstrate just how well this works before I made the investment but I suspect most dealers prefer just tell you about HT bypass and don't really want to demonstrate its magic principles.



The Parasound gear has a very good reputation when you get into the John Curl designed Halo series. However, while it has virtually unamimous rave reviews for its overall sound quality, the caveat will always follow the review that the Halo sound requires great attention to system matching - that ol' "synergy" thang. Mate the Halo components with the wrong gear and you'll have a system that might be just too aggressive about its detail retrieval. IMO ProAc and Theil speakers would be over the top when mated to the Halo sound. Equally, Harbeths and Magnepans would be fighting the Halo's desires with somewhat opposite personalities - in my opinion.

The Halo gear you mention is strictly two channel and can only be used as a video/multi-channel system with the introduction of a complete HT receiver or separates intended for HT use. As with the HT bypass function, the Halo gear will get you to the destination you've intended from the start of the thread. I really can't tell you how comfortable the journey will be or whether you will truly enjoy where you end up. But it is one way to get there.



Normally, I would hope most audio dealers are still trying to present a "concept" of what they feel is "excellent stereo sound". If they have been a successful dealer for awhile, they will have multiple reps coming from various manufacturers trying to get their lines in the store. Or the dealer will have sought out a specific manufacturer because they feel their products would fit well in their shop. Sorting through the gear available to them and finding the type of presentational style they find alluring should give the shop a "house sound" of sorts. If they're selling Theils, Wilsons and Audio Research, then they probably aren't going to have B&W's, Krell and Accuphase gear to demonstrate because those lines don't really suit what the shop feels is the best music reproduction - to their ears. Now, they are very likely to have an "alternative" house sound for those people who don't really buy into, say, a Wilson and Audio Research based system. But, if you listen to most of their gear, you'll still find that one concept which represents their priorities list. Get the idea?


When you shop, one thing I tend to suggest to clients is to buy from one dealer as much as possible. First, you'll have agreed with the concepts of synergy the dealer has set forth and the dealer will have done much of the leg work for you in assembling compatible components/systems. They have already, in their opinion, weeded out the gear that doesn't fit well with their other products. That doesn't mean there isn't other gear out there which will also fit with their products, there certainly will be. But a dealer has limited display space and won't have too much equipment which represents a more or less similar choice in the same price range. So a dealer is looking for compatible gear but not overlapping gear. They want to have a clear choice for the client in most price ranges but that choice is still tethered to their own priorities for "excellent stereo sound".

Additionally, when you finally have your system assembled, it's very likely you will have some fine tuning to do. The worst situation a customer can find themself in - IMO - is to have two or more dealers pointing fingers at the other dealers and claiming your dissatisfaction with the sound is the result of the other guy's gear and not their own. If you feel extremely confident you can make clear decisions about equipment and set ups, then you shouldn't have any problems buying from dealers who have very different ideas about how your system should perform. If you have your own priorities in place and they belong to no one but yourself, forge ahead and achieve the sound you hear in your head with little input from the dealer other than how to get those boxes home.

If, on the other hand, you think you might need some after the sale service, then buying from one dealer as much as possible will always simplify arriving at a satisfactory result. At least that's been my experience in 8 out of 10 cases. There are dealers who will place the good of the client above their own profits. Unfortunately, dealers have become all too familiar with getting screwed by customers (I would say especially so from HT customers) and they are nowdays rather wary of most any request for assistance that has the possibility of turning out bad for them.

A lot here depends on the dealers and the relationships you have established with them. If you play square with them, don't play one against the other or be a complete jerk, then I would say almost all dealers will reciprocate with similar intent. Discuss this with the dealers you visit, Josep, and get their feedback. I will tell in - once again, in my own opinion - I prefer to have someone sell me their merchandise on the strengths of their own products, knowldege and available services rather than by way of tearing down other dealers and products. If you can't tell me why I should want to do business with you, and all you can tell me is why I shouldn't want to do business with the other guy, you're probably not the person I want to do business with at all.






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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16386
Registered: May-04
.

I don't know if this will help you or just confuse you, Josep; http://www.avguide.com/review/playback-23-parasound-p7-multichannel-preamp-maran tz-av8003-av-pre-tuner The review is a few years old now and the Marantz might not still be available. The review is from The Prefect Vision which is the home theater wing of The Absolute Sound. Tom Martin is a respected reviewer for that magazine though you will need to check your priorities list with his to see whether his comments are worth taking into consideration.



I received this via email today;

SR5005 Now Just $499!



Dear Jan:



Upon its release, the Marantz SR5005 AV Receiver quickly earned a reputation for being one of the leading, high-performance, HDMI 1.4 integrated surround processors, video scalers, room equalization and power amp combinations on the market; and that was at its original price of $799.

With a street price just below $500, we know of NO other product that offers a full set of 7.1 pre-amp outputs and audiophile-friendly playback capability that can compete with the SR5005's substantial value proposition.

In addition to our new low-price of $499 with free ground shipping*, we will continue to provide a printed copy of The Outlaws' Guide to the SR5005 with every unit sold. Not only are you getting one of the best virtual-processors on the market, you're buying it from the one reseller who understands the ins and outs of the Marantz SR5005's incredible feature set well enough to write a comprehensive guide to help you get the most from your home theater investment. So if you are ready to upgrade your home theater, act now as quantities are limited.

Whether it's our own Outlaw products or one of our great partner products such as the Marantz SR5005, you can be confident that "The best values in Home Theater are just a mouse click away.â„¢"


Best regards,
The Outlaws





Outlaw is a high value on line only retailer who have consistently received good marks for their products. I happen to use one of their pre amp/processors in my HT system and have generally been very pleased with the sound and the performance - but I still don't prefer to listen to two channel music in that room. They build both two channel and multi-channel systems and might be a good source for information if you realize they are providing their own opinions about their own gear.

http://www.outlawaudio.com/products/index.html




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New member
Username: Jou78

Post Number: 9
Registered: Sep-09
Jan,

thanks so much for such extended detailed answers. I understand better now the concept of Synergy but it seems quite subjective to the individual - I guess like everything in hi-fi .

Your explanation of HT bypass and how is implemented in an integrated amp was excellent - thanks a lot.

The more I investigate the more I like the idea to have all separates with each component doing what is supposed to do. For instance, if I get the Marantz or any other multichannel receiver, and then a player like oppo ... does that really make sense ? The oppo is doing all the signal processing I need and I just want someone doing the pre/amp work. So when I read all the specs of the Marantz or other multichannel receivers, I don't know how much I am paying for the processor part and how much for the pre/amp knowing that I am more concerned that the later makes a good job and produces what is called "clean" power for my speakers. That's why a combination oppo(acts like processor)+preamp(like p7)+stero amp+multi-channel amp (upgrade in the future) sounded more appealing - It seems like each component is doing what is supposed to do and I am putting my money where it is needed. Tomorrow I am going to an audition to hear separates vs. receiver Anthem MRX-700 vs. p3/A21 and see what my ears tell me. Unfotunately they did not have the P7.

Otlaw. I have heard very good things about the outlaw but they don't seem to have a preamp like the P7 but just a pre/pro. Any recommendation of a pre (no processor) that would go well with the outlaw amps ?

Damn, I did not know this was going to be so complicate ... I can't get to the right solution without splitting (2 rooms) or spending a lot of money in separates . And splitting does not seem an option for now.

Anyway, thanks so much for the answers again and hopefully I can get to combination that satisfies me without going broke. I will definitely keep updating the thread ... I want to believe there are other guys out there with the same problem/questions .

Josep
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16389
Registered: May-04
.

Separates offer the highest quality of design, build and music reproduction but, most often, that comes with the highest cost. The advantage of separates is, as you say, having each component do it's intended purpose, no more and no less. You can pick and choose which component best suits your situation, desires, needs and budget. You don't have to stay within one manufacturer's line to put together a system of separates as long as you have your priorities in place and you focus on system synergy. As advances or changes in electronics progress - most especially in HT gear - you can update the single component which requires the new connectors or processing without ditching an entire receiver. With a receiver, you are tied to the desires of the manufacturer and those desires are not always about the best sound quality. Receiver manufacturers are staying in business by having the customer replace their product every few years. Too often this is due to a new feature that doesn't really call for junking an entire component but the buyer is faced with a decision that makes for poor choices for everyone other than the receiver manufacturer.

The downside of spearates is typically the cost, both for the components and for the additional cabling required to attach them together. Each component has its own power supply and chassis which makes for a cost component that is a single price in a receiver. However, the power supply of most HT receivers is rather challenged when asked to perform certain tasks - like playing Mahler. Separates are going to provide a lifespan that is several times that of most HT receivers. I'd say most of us here would guess-timate the life of the average HT receiver to be not much more than five years. When the receiver requires servicing, it is all too often cheaper and more productive to replace rather than repair.


As far as recommendations go, I just don't make them, Josep. There are too many components to select from, I don't know which you might have access to or which you might prefer. I do know from my years in audio sales that my tastes are often not the tastes of my clients. So it is the very rare case where I suggest you spend your money on "X" component. The Oppo is a good unit but it was not intended as a suggestion to buy, just a suggestion to take your thinking in another direction. If it works for you, great. If not, then you've at least had the opportunity to consider your options.

I hope there are others in the forum who have been watching this thread and will join in with some of their suggestions for components. They are more up to date about current gear than I am. I bought what I liked years ago and just haven't bothered keeping up with all the new gear since I stopped selling a few years back.


Good luck and keep us informed.





And I'm still on the look out for another member of the I-read-Jan's-posts club to join you. There must be someone else out there, don't ya think?




.
 

New member
Username: Jou78

Post Number: 10
Registered: Sep-09
Hi,
I thought to give a new update to the thread. After a 2-3 month journey of investigation, wise advices from this thread, auditions and considering lots of options .... well I could not find a solution to my original question

I could not find a multi-channel receiver that could match separates or an stereo integrated amp. I paired the paradigm S2 and Esoteric MG-10 with MarantzSR7005/Anthem MRX7/Arcam AVR600 multichannel receivers. IMO and only talking about music, the first 2 in the list did not have neither detail nor good soundstaging, the third one did a better job but not even close to dedicated stereo integrated amp or separate like Anthem 225/Esoteric AI-10/Parasound P7+JC2/Mcintosh7000. McIntosh was just sublime to my ears, in second position the AI10 which did not have the clean sound of the mcIntosh but for half the price was pretty close. As per speakers, I found the Esoteric MG-10 finner (more detailed sound) than Paradigm S2-S6, Totem hawk-model 1 and Dynaudio 25. I even decided to step up and give a try to MG-20 - wrong move since I could not listen to anything else as good as these in that price range (they were ofering them to me for 4500$). This world is way too addictive ....

Well that said, I picked up the MG-20(4500$ and AI-10(2000$) (the mcIntosh or separates with better quality than AI-10 were way out of my budget - 6000$. So I kind of gave up on multichannel for now and I will watch movies with this system. As a source I got the cambridge 751BD ... could not compare to oppo but it sounded pretty good to me. I tried the NAD M56 which is twice the price and could not find the difference for music ( did not try movies ). In the end i went beyond my original budget but very happy with the final system.

Jan, it seems you were right from the very beginning ... I can't picture a multichannel-stereo system that is not with separates and spending quite a lot of money - or maybe having 2 rooms one for each world . Anyway, I hope your club of fans is growing!! At least you really helped me and I am pretty happy with the end.

Thanks !!!
Josep
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1398
Registered: Jul-07
Enjoy the music Josep.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16438
Registered: May-04
.


"This world is way too addictive .... "





Yep, and you ran into that wall of slowly hardening cement called "dinimishing returns". For everything small percentile of improvement in sound quality you find, you will relieve your bank acount of expotentially higher and higher percentiles of it's contents.

I'm very glad to have been of assistance, Josep. I hope you and your system get along well for years to come. Now you might find these two threads of interest; https://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/forum/home-audio/676769.html

https://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/forum/home-audio/672623.html


Take care and come back to visit on occasion.



.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Glasswolf

Columbia, South Carolina

Post Number: 14361
Registered: Dec-03
OP, to keep this simple, my suggestion to you would be to buy a good stereo amplifier for a nice set of mains (for music) and then look at a matching 3 or 5 channel amp (depending on if you go 5.1 or 7.1) for the other channels.
emovita has amplifiers of this nature, and this is similar to how I set up my living room, using a stereo amplifier for a pair of KEF Reference mains which I use for music in a stereo setting, and a separate amplifier for the remaining speakers when watching TV on the plasma.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1404
Registered: Jul-07
I think he's already pulled the trigger.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Jou78

Post Number: 11
Registered: Sep-09
Indeed
Glasswolf suggestion was Jan's suggestion at the beginning of this post as well ... but by far the most expensive as per what I could find out there. I would need to invest almost double if I had bought all separates. So I finally decided to favor music and and watch movies with a good stereo system.
Thanks for the suggestions anyway
Josep
 

Gold Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 1100
Registered: Dec-06
Wish I'd have seen this thread earlier. I do not believe this solution was mentioned here (I know the OP bought his system already, congrats btw Josep!), but on another forum someone suggested doing the following and it made sense to me:

Purchase a decent receiver with preouts on the back and run three power amps from it (one for the fronts, one for the rears, one for the center). For example, a used Rotel or NAD, which might cost $500 each. Including the receiver you are at $2,000 for amplification. The specialized Rotel or NAD power amps will trump whatever is in a receiver and won't become obolete. When you need a new receiver for whatever reason you simply replace that part of the chain for probably $500. You might be able to integrate an audiophile preamp in the system as well. If it has a HT bypass you could use that when watching movies.

Interesting comments about synergy too. The idea of matching warm to bright is pervasive amongst audiophiles, and thus very easily becomes something that a newbie adopts. I agree with Jan, I think focusing on this is covering up deficiencies in sound, while not paying attention to other strengths which will make or break a system for the listener.

That said, What Hi-Fi suggested once that you do not "double up" on warmth or brightness, but definitely double up on some of the more desirable things, such as PRaT (pace, rhythm, timing), imaging, detail, clarity, transparency, etc. Perhaps there is some merit to that...you may like a speaker that is bright sounding for many of the other things it does well, but is there a way to tone down the brightness a bit while still enhancing those other things you like from it? Or at least do not exacerbate the brightness. I would think this is a worthwhile goal.
 

New member
Username: Gerbilaudio

San diego, Ca U.s.

Post Number: 7
Registered: Oct-10
The sunfire TGR 401 you might want to check out but not at retail price but those selling it at street price like at ebay or audiogon, it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of denon, yamaha, pioneer, onkyo's latest HT receivers because it came out in 2008, but has superior amplifier stages in my opinion considering it's price. I would consider it or even older sunfire theater receivers. Carver already proven his abilities on blind tests in the past. Carver/sunfire makes quality HT and stereo, NAD and ADCOM are in that category too. Having a separate stereo only amp however would be preferrable. Emotiva is a good choice for your budget. You could purchase both their ht processor and preamp, including amplifiers for that budget, www.emotiva.com
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16443
Registered: May-04
.

"Interesting comments about synergy too. The idea of matching warm to bright is pervasive amongst audiophiles, and thus very easily becomes something that a newbie adopts. I agree with Jan, I think focusing on this is covering up deficiencies in sound, while not paying attention to other strengths which will make or break a system for the listener.

That said, What Hi-Fi suggested once that you do not "double up" on warmth or brightness, but definitely double up on some of the more desirable things, such as PRaT (pace, rhythm, timing), imaging, detail, clarity, transparency, etc. Perhaps there is some merit to that...you may like a speaker that is bright sounding for many of the other things it does well, but is there a way to tone down the brightness a bit while still enhancing those other things you like from it? Or at least do not exacerbate the brightness. I would think this is a worthwhile goal."




No matter which way you go in audio you risk running into a money pit if your destination and your path to reaching your objective are not clearly mapped out. Having priorities which are not clearly defined as being all about how music sounds to you is IMO the most dangerous way to go about piecing together a competent system. If your priorities tend towards those things which relate mostly to the performance of the audio components themself, imaging, three dimensionality, "palapbility" (any one still use that one?), soundstaging, etc, then you are in danger of piling on one atop the other those very qualities. OK, so the soundstage gets wider and deeper with each component change, so what? Isn't that exactly what the audio reviewers tell us is desirable? Well, first, I would point out most audio reviewers don't have a very good sense of what live music actually sounds like - only how they wish their audio components performed. And, I suppose, it also depends on how you view just what occurs in the chain of components which might make for a wider, deeper soundstage and whether or not those improvements, additions, subtractions or distortions - depending on your point of view - go towards making reproduced music more "lifelike".

Take a group of your own chosen priorities and apply them to, say, your position in the audience as it relates to how your audio system presents the perception of virtual performers within a perceived soundstage. J. Gordon Holt once proposed the theory of microphone operation as it relates to the playback chain and stated flatly that should the performer or their instrument be directly in front of the microphone capsule (close mic'd), then that performer or their instrument should appear centered along or just slightly behind the front plane of the loudspeakers if the loudspeakers are accurately reproducing what existed in the live performance. To accurately consider that statement you must first understand several facts. First, JGH was a staunch opponent to using anything other than well recorded, reference grade, acoustic classical music as an appropriate source for judging the accuracy of a music system. Second, we have come to understand many things about audio - and microphones and loudspeakers in particular - which were not quite as evident at the time Holt made that statement. Third, the proliferation of technologies available to any one listener has made the exception the rule more often than not in today's audio market. Obviously, bipole, dipole and omni-directional speakers working into a typical domestic listening room will not present the same soundfield to the listener as will a monopole configuration which was predominantly the way Holt heard music reproduced in the 1960-70's. And, finally, if we consider the fact that the addition of multiple microphones or just a touch of the engineer's hand on an eq slider or pan pot or the addition of even a small amount of chorusing to the final mix alters the virtual position of performers as we preceive them, then Holt's words have to be somewhat ammended to satisfy the passage of time and the desirable qualities of what today we consider a "well recorded" album.

So let's examine the concept of "bright" vs "warm" in this prioritizing of musical qualities as it relates to what a listener might perceive at a live performance. Holt spent years developing his shorthand for audio descriptions and his final glossary of terms is available from the Stereophile website. Most of us have only a few words of Holt's glossary in our head and most often we even have those few we think we understand not at all meaning what Holt originally intended. For example from Holt's glossary we have, "bright, brilliant ; The most often misused terms in audio, these describe the degree to which reproduced sound has a hard, crisp edge to it. Brightness relates to the energy content in the 4kHz-8kHz band. It is not related to output in the extreme-high-frequency range. All live sound has brightness; it is a problem only when it is excessive". Compare that to, "warm; The same as dark, but less tilted. A certain amount of warmth is a normal part of musical sound". And, just to make this more clear, "dark; A warm, mellow, excessively rich quality in reproduced sound. The audible effect of a frequency response which is clockwise-tilted across the entire range, so that output diminishes with increasing frequency. Compare 'light'." OK, compare that to, "light; Lean and tipped-up. The audible effect of a frequency response which is tilted counterclockwise. Compare 'dark'."

In those descriptions we can see that warmth and brightness are both important qualities which we should want in a system's reproduction qualities. What we essentially want to avoid is the excess which pushes the system over into a darkness or lightness in its balance as neither of those qualities relate to most good performance halls or to well recorded performances. However, it is the darkness that comes not from additive components which are "warm" any more than it is the compilation of components which are "bright" which by themself push the system into extremes. In this, IMO, What HIFi does the reader a disservice by simplifying and misusing Holt's terminology in ways he never intended. What HiFi's advice comes down to "don't add too much salt to the food". That is not, IMO, the lessons Holt was trying to achieve. That abridgment of the complete thought process was not at all Holt's desire for his readers.

If you consider Holt was not in favor of using pop or rock music with its many studio manipulations - which have only been expotentially increased with each passing year since Holt finalized his glossary - think about how you might arrange yourself within the seating positions of a symphony hall. If your personal preference is for a seat in the first five rows, you have a somewhat "brighter" experience of music than does the person whose preference is for a seat in row H and far more so than does the listener situated in the first balcony. The first few rows hear more detail to each stroke of a bow or strike of a mallet than will the person seated further back. That is sensical and easy to accept by everyone, is it not? Additionally, the first few rows have a visual perspective on the orchestra which occupies most of their field of view whereas those sitting further away from the stage have a more narrow view of the stage but that listener's perception is accompanied by more of the hall being within their view. Along with that visual prespective comes a greater sense of hall sound which will, quite reasonably, be greatly diminished to the person sitting up front. To the listener who occupies row H the sound of the hall and its contribution to the overall perspective they enjoy on the performance informs them when a reproduction system "gets it right". They have traded a bit of detail and immediacy for a more sweeping vista of performers plus hall sounds. Think of this as a corrolary to where you sit in a movie theater and just how much of your field of vision is taken up by the screen. Now move that "screen" to what you expect to see from your system when listening to a stage full of performers. Do you envision a stage which occupies 60% of your field of vision? 80%? Or, maybe, 100%? With each change in how broad is your prespective on the stage comes a change in what you expect to hear. Not only will the amount of detail change but also the timbre of each instrument will be altered by the final mix of direct and indirect sound your ears perceive. So you begin to see this is far more complex than just thinking in terms of bright and warm sounds.

Once you've decided just which perspective is appropriate for your typical seating position within the hall, then you should adjust the typical amount of "brightness" and "warmth" which would naturally accompany that seating position. Remember, both brightness and warmth are characteristics of live music which are equally desirable in reproduced music. Rather than thinking simply in terms of such broad descriptive terms as bright or warm, think instead in terms of what you are familiar with from your visual field and what amount of detail and immediacy, direct vs ambient sound or timbral balance you expect to encounter in a live listening situation. Begin combining the spices which constitute most good coooking or excellent wine making. A cook does not rely solely on salt and pepper to enhance the flavors of the dish but will most often add spices and herbs which add subtelty to the overall taste of the dish. A wine maker doesn't attempt to make a product which hits the pallette with only the taste of, say, a Sangiovese grape. They want a product which has complexity and a balance of flavors which are often highlighted by what lingers in your perception at the very end.

Think of your audio system in the same manner, not just in simplistic bright and warm elements but rather in the sense that a Sangiovese grape has well known, consistent qualities and your expectation of a wine made from that grape should stimulate those sensory perceptions while avoiding others. A certain ingredient in a meal should add this and not that and those additions should build upon each other and complement each other to make the most satisfying final product. If you add cinnamon to a sauce, would you then add, let's say, sage or rosemary? Probably not. The flavors would begin to fight each other and the overall final product - the taste you preceive last - would be a mishmosh of nonsenical qualities.

Take that same building up of flavors and perceptions and apply it to your music system in that you are not looking to combine bright to cancel warmth to the extent all you can taste is one of those two ingredients or, worse yet, something that tastes like neither. You wish to experience both to a certain degree which is influenced by your personal perception of a live performance. If you sit up close to the stage, then your field of view on the performers consumes most of your visual and auditory attention and you are hearing far less of the ambient hall sounds than would the listener in row H. If, on the other hand, you were to combine cinnamon in the form of extreme detail retrieval heard up close with the slightly warmer and more sage like sound of ambient hall sounds heard from rows further back in the auditorium, then you will have a real confusion on your hands. If you were to add too much salt and not enough pepper to the mix, thinking only in those simplistic terms of bright and warm, then you've obviously made a dish that is pleasing to virtually no one and will eventually not even please yourself though you might be forced to eat your own stew for a good amount of time before you finally understand how better to prepare the dish. Learning and observing more of how excellent cooks prepare a meal you will find there must be complexity and simplification along with flavors which both stand alone and add to. In other words, your final perception must be more in tune with the multiple qualities that each decision you make regarding each priority you select - each ingredient you add - will bring with it other complementary qualities which need to be present to balance all of the flavors and not emphasize just the salt and pepper of bright and warm.

Possibly, this means you have a component system which does the quality of detail retrieval quite well. If that detail retrieval is set within the soundstage of a row H perspective on the stage, then you have erred in your judgement of how to piece together components which are additive in their nature and personality. If your system does your row H perspective but lacks the sense of ambient hall sounds you would experience in a live performance, then you need to find a component which can add to rather than take away from your preferred listening position. Adding the salt of extreme detail retrieval or the timbral balance of instruments heard up close would only serve to fight what the rest of the system is attempting to achieve and the result would be a sonic and perceptual disconnect. Here, in most instances, adding to the ambient nature and the warmth of timbre heard in the middle rows would be a more appropriate selection. Does the instrument glow or does it burn brightly? Move towards the flame and which do you perceive? Move backwards away from the immediacy of the heat and what happens? Cook a steak over only the hottest coals of the fire and you'll end up with a shoe leather tough, inedible mess. Understand the concept of direct fire and indirect fire working together, each having their own powers to reach a certain end product, and you'll have a great meal.


The moral of this post is to constantly broaden your concepts and realize that nothing exists in a vacuum. Don't stop thinking and most of all do not stop observing what occurs around you in everyday life as well as in a symphony hall. If I give you one thing, I will normally take away at least one other thing. Your task should be to find those additions which combine in a mostly additive way - those priorities which you cannot live without - while playing down those things I've taken from you - those things of lesser importance to your overall perception of reality. That, IMO, is where system synergy begins and ends. Only in the very first stages of your learning process and decision making should terms so simple as bright and warm even be a consideration and then only for the shortest time until you understand more of the world you perceive and react to.







.
 

Gold Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 1101
Registered: Dec-06
I think the terms "bright" and "warm" are today used to mean what Holt meant by the terms "light" and "dark". Anyhow, nice post, Jan. A great way of breaking down vague terms like warm and bright and giving them a more concrete meaning.

I guess you might be saying that brightness is a desirable quality, warmth is also desirable quality (as Holt said, both are a natural part of music). However, we don't want either to be excessive. So one should buy a speaker that gives them their desired amount of each, and buy an amp and source that pulls in the same direction (and is a good electrical match, of course). If the speakers are too bright for the listener that they require an amp and/or source that pulls in the other direction, then they have probably chosen the wrong speaker. Why buy a component and then spend all your time focusing on correcting something you don't like about it while choosing it's partnering components? it does sound rather silly.

You seem to have also drawn a correlation between warm/bright and soundstaging width and depth. The warm system should situate you further back from the stage, and the depth should have increased, with probably less soundstage width. The bright system will put you right up to the stage, giving you lots of detail and a feeling like the band is right in front of you. To me the depth should now be much less, but the width will be quite wide (you literally have to turn your head quite a ways to see each end of the stage).

In addition, the warmer system should be a bit more recessed and slow, with the brighter more forward and quick.

It is the emphasis of certain frequencies over others that helps to create the illusion in our minds, and based on what the individual is looking for it will either sound right or it won't. Hopefully I am grasping a decent amount of what you are saying, Jan. Of course, it's probably not constructive to focus solely on warmth and brightness when evaluating a system, but knowing how they might work to help create what we hear is surely insightful.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16444
Registered: May-04
.

The first point I should make is we all get to decide just how far into this hobby we care to extend ourself. In a sense, when we say, "we all hear differently", we are giving each other permission to not hear exactly as we do in that we cannot expect everyone else to be as concerned about particular issues - or priorites - as we might be. If you take any hobby there are the casual participants and the devotees. If you want to consider a hobby such as birdwatching, you will find the casual hobbyist who is content with attracting birds native to their locale by putting up feeders with food types preferred by those birds. Maybe one feeder for all birds or several feeders for each specific type of bird. Then you progress to those birders who go out into the wilds with a list of birds they want to spot before they say they have completely participated in the hobby. Next there are those who want to combine hobbies and they bring along their cameras and lenses to photograph each new bird they spot. Maybe the cameras are less expensive 35mm's or maybe they are larger range finder types. In each case the birder/photographer who is more intent on their objective shouldn't look down on the more causal participant. The same would apply to this hobby.



Within audio there are those who see the equipment as the end and music as the means and those who reverse the proposition and the equipment is merely there to allow them access to the music they enjoy. Some listeners will be focussed on a performer's technique and how they approach a particular piece of music while other listeners will only want to hear the music as a whole entity and not focus on anything more than the entire experience of listening to a favorite artist or group.

Going back to the cooking analogy, you can say you prefer to have beef tonight but your options in how you prepare and assemble the meal around beef are up to you. However, if you are going to be more than a casual diner who just wants food in front of them, then you have more decisions to make. Let's say you chose to have your beef prepared as a Florentine Steak, this would automatically suggest certain qualities must be met in the selection of the meat and certain ingredients would need to be assembled to adjust the flavor of the final product along with a particular cooking technique to be applied to the beef in order to achieve some version of Florentine steak. Your thinking would have included other dishes; antipasto, vegetables, desserts along with beverages which all complement the choice of beef prepared as Florentine steak. This will result in a meal which is more experienced than just eaten. If you had instead chosen to prepare hamburgers or pot roast, then you would have made other choices based upon the desired final product. So as you make one decision, several other complementary decisions must follow if you wish to be this involved in piecing together a complementary final product.

If, in the example above, you choose to have a front row seating experience from your system, then other qualities which relate to that same front row experience will naturally follow. No one is going to enforce any rules about any of this but it is merely a suggestion for how to assembly a synergistic system taking each priority you select and then considering that priority as a puzzle and each subsequent decision as pieces of that puzzle that either fit together to make a single final picture or they do not. If you prefer a front row perspective on the performance, then you must think of what other qualities go along with that position within the hall. I would say that a more emphatic "brightness" is a quality you would perceive in the front row and less so in row H or M. Details such as foot tapping, fingernails on the keyboard or breath taking might be noticed by the front row listener while not at all perceived by the listener in row H.


"If the speakers are too bright for the listener that they require an amp and/or source that pulls in the other direction, then they have probably chosen the wrong speaker. Why buy a component and then spend all your time focusing on correcting something you don't like about it while choosing it's partnering components? it does sound rather silly."


If we look at this problem once again as a puzzle and the individual components as pieces of that puzzle, the situation you present is, IMO, similar to someone who uses all the green pieces for the sky in the picture and then must use all the blue pieces for the grass and trees. And, to make that puzzle work, they'll need to trim each piece to fit where they want it to go which will leave gaps in the overall final product. To preceive the final picture we will have to work harder at making sense of the missing pieces. More specifically to an audio system, think of the front row presentation as possessing a "brighter" quality to each instrument than would the midhall seating where the sound is likely to be slightly warmer due to the absorption of high frequencies by the other listeners and the hall reflections combining with the direct sound of the instruments. Not to short change the warmth heard in a front row seat, the sounds of an instrument's materials, the woods, the strings, the keys or mallets are all possessed of a richer, warmer, more immediate presence than one would preceive from a midhall seating position. We would then expect a vocal to exist further up in front of the soundstage, with a slight bit more "presence" (or what some people refer to as "brightness") and with sharper edges to its image and to the attack of individual notes. (How sharp are the edges which delineate the space in which the vocalist exists? On average I'd say far less than most people would think if they only read about this in the audio magazines.) That would be the presentation we might find in, say, a Thiel loudspeaker. Not exactly "bright", though lacking a certain degree of instrumental warmth and up front in its presentation emphasizing the tight image and sharp edges to the attack of each note.

Place that speaker in a room without any treatments or even soft surfaces and the room will tend to make the speaker sound "light" as if its frequency response has been tilted up towards the high frequencies due to the excessive contribution of room reflections in the mid to high frequency range. If the components in front of that speaker also possess a personality which tends toward an emphasis in the presence range - what many listeners consider to be desirable in that it makes for a very "clear" system sound with a good deal of emphasis on those details which would be naturally occurring in both a front row seat and in close mic'd recordings, the entire system can become overwhelming with an aggressive nature. Such a system will constantly push the front row perspective further towards the listener providing aural clues which each individual component does well but in combination sends the system over the top and which finally defies our experience at a live event. Listener fatigue is most often the result of having to work harder to fill in those perceptions which are not in agreement with our live experiences. The more constant the effort, the more fatiguing the experience.


Let's then pair that speaker with a "warm" amplifier which presents more of a row H perspective. When I hear this sort of combination one of the first things I am drawn to is how the speaker is attempting to place a vocalist or instrumentalist across the front plane of the speakers (or slightly in front of the speakers) while the other components are displaying a soundstage, a slightly less immediate attack to each note (one which lacks the bloom of a note occupying space and distance) and a timbre of instruments which I would hear if I were sitting in row H. This is the green sky and the blue grass which are not what I expect to confront. I've heard components which seem to have this sonic disconnect between a sound that is somewhat bigger and brighter and more tilted towards the upper frequencies but which also informs my ears that the soundstage and imaging is more midhall or even first balcony. This has always been my personal impression of the Krell line of components.

So, what to do with the Thiels? Well first, I have to confess i have always had a problem with Thiels in that they tend, IMO, to take a good thing too far. Like the original and subsequent five iterations of the Wilson Watt, they are very good at what they set out to do but they are difficult speakers to get music out of. If you want the speakers to inform you of which brand of cigarette a particular audience member is smoking, then such a speaker will do exactly that. However, my attention is constantly drawn to those details which have little to do with what I consider the live listening event and I end up not caring much about the music itself.

Should you own Thiels though, pairing them with components which are selling their ability to present detail and emphasize the presence range will probably only tilt the system toward a fatiguing personality where the listener is worn out by constantly hearing an overabundance of those very qualities which drew them to the Thiels in the first place. Combining the Thiels with front end components which emphasize the sort of sound heard from row H gives neither presentation a fair shake and tends toward a confused sound. Obviously, the first thing the Thiels will require is room treatment to bring the tilted balance of the system back into a more neutral perspective. Then speaker placement and listening positiion will be crucial to the perception the listener has of transporting performers into their room. Careful selection of cables and system set up will take the fatiguing aspects of the Thiels further down in value. None of these approaches would be considered to be Bandaids to the Thiels but rather further components which build upon the values a listener would have originally found appealing in the Thiels. IMO the Thiels excel in the "They are here" school of audio while a speaker like the Vandersteen performs much more in the manner of transporting the listener to a "I am there" style of presentation. Every review of a Thiel speaker cautions the reader the speakers will require careful system matching. Here I would tend more towards components which build upon many of the same qualities of a front row perspective; soundstaging which presents performers across a wide stage with fairly sharp edges to the image of each performer and an apparent "speed' to the attack of the notes but without the agressiveness of the Thiels in pushing those images in the listener's lap. A good MOSFET amp or a 6L6 tube might be my first choice to add some of the natural warmth, attack and bloom to instruments which the rather cool Thiels can lack. Where most buyers go is instead to a solid state amp and pre amp which play to the tight, dry bass characteristics of the speakers and the result too often tends to emphasize that coolness of the Thiel in presenting live performers in a room. Where most solid state amps draw performers which are too tightly focussed in size while downplaying aspects such as PRAT the Thiels will benefit from a system which presents some "bigness" to the images and a sweeping scope to the musical performance. A system with slightly less emphasis on the details of each performer and more on the way music is made as a whole would be my first suggestion to a Thiel owner. A McIntosh, Conrad Johnson or Rowland would be my first picks and an Audio Research or a Pass Labs would be my last. Let's not just add more salt and pepper to the dish but instead include the enhancing flavors of some herbs and spices.

Providing more of a midhall presentation to the listener the Vandersteens possess a soundstage which extends well beyond their edges yet also includes more of the ambient room sounds heard from such a location. Listening to classical music on the Thiels and on the Vandersteens you can hear the closeness of the performers on the Thiels while you can sense the scope of the venue through the Vandersteens and how music tends to roll through, reverberate within and eventually fill a great space. While not lacking in detail a speaker such as the Vandersteens tends to play music more than overwhelm the listener with details and up front performers. The time I've spent with Lowthers is the most informative I've encountered when it comes to supplying a music system which envelops the listener within a soundfield rather than in front of a simple soundstage. With the Lowthers and a complementary system the listener is made aware of their presence within a specific space. That space has the abillity to morph into any number of dimensions from purely acoustic to totally electronic and the listener is transported to each new venue with relative ease. Where the Thiels are up front and aimed directly at attracting the listener's undivided attention through the abundance of information they reproduce, the Lowthers place performers and their music in front of the listener and wrap them in a blanket of every experience they've ever had in a music venue. To make the most of the Lowthers or the Vandersteens you would need a system which is not merely "warm" or "bright" but rather one which is capable of capturing the very small details which surround the listener in a live event. Tinkling ice in cocktail glasses at the edge of the stage isn't as important as slightly less comprehensible conversations within the room. Certainly, most class A amplifiers would be contenders for the Lowthers and the Vandersteens would play well with analog sources. Single ended tubes tend towards presenting environments where music occurs.


Those are the sort of decisions I would be making when putting together a synergistic system. Where some listeners might want a subwoofer to extend the bass response of their system or to add some tautness to the deepest octaves, I would be more interested in a subwoofer which actually dropped the apparent noise floor of the system and allowed for those subtle environmental clues which suggest the size and scope of a space. My first response to the T amps was to be gobsmacked by the quietness which existed in the room, the nothingness of the electronics which belied the fact of amplification and which made it all the more obvious just how the performers were positioned not simply on a stage but on a stage which existed within a larger space. The T amps placed the blue pieces in the sky and the green pieces in the grass and trees and the picture I saw of performers was one which made sense to my experience of live music.



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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16446
Registered: May-04
.

Possibly I can simplify all of this by saying that building a system is very much like building a recipe. You get to decide what priorities you have which will lead you to choose this main ingredient over another. Once you have the taste of the main ingredient secured - the best meat, the best vegetable or, in audio, the detail and upfront atttitude of a cartridge or CD player, you want to enhance the base without overpowering the base. It could be you are building on the spatial presentation of an amp or speaker from which you move on to add the complements to that main ingredient. You no longer need to pile on more of that main ingredient but you should then be on the lookout for the ingredients which further enhance that base flavor, those things which add complexity. If you have the base for a salad, then you add the texturizing ingredients, those things which add the crunchy parts, the sweet parts, the spicy parts and those things which add to the intial mouth feel such as acids, oils and dressings and those items which present the lingering after taste which might be the vinegars or the herbs. All the ingredients need to be taken into account according to how they work together. All components need to be in balance and all need to complement the strength of the base to make the sum more than the total of the parts.



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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16448
Registered: May-04
.

A successful audio system is like a good biscuit; http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/24/magazine/you-are-making-your-biscuits-wrong.ht ml?_r=1&src=me&ref=magazine
 

Gold Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 1102
Registered: Dec-06
I think I understand. Seems that knowing the typical differences in sound from various amplifier designs is key. I've been all gung-ho about trying a SET amp with high efficiency speakers. However, given that my preference is for a more forward sound (perhaps not surprising given the music I typically listen to) maybe a MOSFET amp or a different kind of tube amp rather than SET would be more appropriate. Though I guess that depends on the speakers too. I don't think my current speakers are very forward or laid back, and perhaps that's why my current amp (moderately powered class A/B solid state) seems to work quite well.

It seems that audiophiles get more caught up in brand names and reviews espousing this and that, and do not consider all amplification design types when determining which pairing is ideal. If all you do is look at class A/B solid state, you might pick up the best amp in your price range and it may sound better than the others you were considering, but does that mean you purchased the right amp for your situation? The amp may have the required guts to drive your speakers, and it might sound good, but to not consider the different topologies and types of circuit design at all is probably a big mistake. Theoretically, one of those design types should be the best option.

So for a forward speaker like Thiel, or I believe in the past you've said ProAc and Paradigm too, a MOSFET or 6L6 tube might be ideal. For Vandersteens and other high efficiency designs that have a high level of transparency, a Class A or SET amp might be ideal. Care to take a stab at why British speakers tend to work well with British amps? I guess I'm thinking about Harbeth, Castle, and Spendor. It seems that many suggest amps such as Naim for these speakers. Yet Naim also tend to work well with speakers like Kudos and Neat. Not sure that those speakers have the same strengths as the first three.

If I'm not mistaken, the first three are from the BBC school, where midrange accuracy and overall balance is paramount. Why would Naim, a brand known for PRaT, work? Perhaps Naim gear just has the right balance, neither too forward nor too recessed (though from what I've read, leans a little forward), and it's musicality is allowed to come through with these speakers. In contrast, it seems to me that brands such as Kudos and Neat emphasize PRaT like Naim does, and that really helps to bring this quality out even more. I think they are more forward than Castle/Spendor/Harbeth, but given that Naim itself has a good balance this does not become a problem. Perhaps partnering Naim with Thiel would be another story.
 

New member
Username: Gerbilaudio

San diego, Ca U.s.

Post Number: 9
Registered: Oct-10
I agree with JAN vigne, he made various detailed accurate statements on how audio works and how audiophiles responds to various performances of equipments. Having an open mind and a listening ear to various knowledgeable and EXPERIENCED audiophiles who are also musicians, sound engineers and design engineers I found to be of great advice. I have bought components from such who educated me on what to look for, and jan vigne pretty much expounded on what they have educated me on, not that I have my own knowledge and experience in listening to live sound and what equipment should sound like. After 33 yrs of this hobby and learning electronics, especially audio electronics hardware myself as a former tech and installer, I have found that there is so much more to the hobby that is really never ending. Not everyone is going to be able to listen to the many source components out there and the most effective equipment matching which can costs lots of money in some cases, but having the knowledge or given the knowledge to head in that direction is the wise thing to do. That is why always have a humble mind in regards to this hobby, because you can always learn and experience from those who have already went thru your paths of successes and mistakes. The more deeper you get into this hobby, the more abstacles you encounter. It's like diving thru the ocean, the deeper you dive down, the more of the earth's sea creatures you encounter you normally would not come across, the same with attempting to reproduce live sound in home entertainment high end components. Finding the best matched two channel stereo is like finding the most compatible significant other among the 6 billion plus humans you share this earth with.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16452
Registered: May-04
.

" think I understand. Seems that knowing the typical differences in sound from various amplifier designs is key. I've been all gung-ho about trying a SET amp with high efficiency speakers. However, given that my preference is for a more forward sound (perhaps not surprising given the music I typically listen to) maybe a MOSFET amp or a different kind of tube amp rather than SET would be more appropriate. Though I guess that depends on the speakers too. I don't think my current speakers are very forward or laid back, and perhaps that's why my current amp (moderately powered class A/B solid state) seems to work quite well."


Dan, I wouldn't at all suggest you write in or out any particular topology for your components. Over the years I've more or less settled on certain designs which I feel provide the most consistent agreements with my own priorities. Single drivers, tubes, moving iron or induced cartridges, etc. However, I am always open to changing my opinion of any group characteristics should I hear more natural sounding music being reproduced by an amplifier, source player, cartridge, cable, etc, type which I had previously discounted.


"The moral ... is to constantly broaden your concepts and realize that nothing exists in a vacuum. Don't stop thinking and most of all do not stop observing what occurs around you in everyday life as well as in a symphony hall. If I give you one thing, I will normally take away at least one other thing."


Never stop listening and do your listening as if you had never heard music reproduced through audio gear. Don't go into a listening environment with preconceived judgements about equipment, only about those priorities of music which you have established. If your preferred seating position is tenth row, know those qualities which suggest tenth row sound. If your priorities begin with "first, get the mids right", then you should understand what that implies to the rest of the music - what must be included and what might be dismissed as less important. Should PRaT be your highest priority, then other qualities of music will naturally come along for the ride. If you must hear the details of Glenn Gould humming along with his own playing, then you assume another set of priorities must be included with that one base priority you have set. And so it goes that baking a good biscuit is not just assembling some flour, fat, liquid and possibly a leavening agent but knowing which individual ingredients will build the best biscuit for your tastes and in what amounts they should be added to the base to achieve the desired results.

I have no idea how much you cook or bake but learning to do so well is yet another process in life which never ends. Cooking can be somewhat free form, there are rules to follow but they are largely open to interpretation and a recipe can change midway through without danger of falling down the rabbit hole as long as the person doing the cooking has a clear idea of where everything is heading. Baking is very much chemistry and one thing must follow another if you are to have success. Baking a biscuit should be one of the simplest tasks a baker will encounter and yet it is probably one of the most difficult to do well in that the baker faces numerous decisions in preparation - to add butter? If so what temperature should the buttter reach before you add it to the other ingredients? - regarding which ingredients play well with those other ingredients the baker has prioritized. The greatest challenge in baking a good biscuit is there are so few ingredients involved that each and every decision made about adding or subtracting even a small amount of a single ingredient will alter the final result. If you wish, you can compare a good biscuit recipe to most tube amps and certainly to most SET's - simplicity of the parts is key to success. In the Decware two watt SET amp, the signal path is comprised of two resistors and one cap all hard wired to eliminate any circuit boards or other extraneous additions, subtractions or distortions to the desired result. In this recipe the person assembling the whole has in mind that each individual ingredient - even connectors and solder - have their own power to influence the final result. It is a very good biscuit recipe - if that sort of recipe suits your tastes.

If you've read the NYT article, you'll see that even when you are baking what you feel is the perfect biscuit, someone else with priorities different than your own will tell you that you've done your biscuits all wrong. Which recipe is best for you will be unlike what is best for someone else and each of you will assemble those ingredients and prioritize them in a way that suits your own desired end point - the same as in audio.

Biscuits are like that. You need to make them right or not make them at all, and most people will tell you most of the time that however you are making biscuits, you are making them wrong. This is true especially if you are not from the South or if you are from England, where biscuits are hard and dry and sit on the dividing line between cookie and cracker.

Some people mix their biscuits in a wooden bowl handed down from Grandmother. Some drop biscuits onto a cooking sheet, rather than cutting them out. Some people use lard as the fat, others butter. For some, a biscuit must be huge. Others say small. There are people who beat their biscuits or add salt to them and others who press sugar cubes into the dough. Liquids added to biscuit flour may include buttermilk, heavy cream, flat beer, sour cream or cola. Cream of tartar can make an appearance in a biscuit recipe, as can baking soda.

For Yankees, the principal biscuit issue is flour. Proper Southern biscuits (as proper Southerners will tell you) are made with soft red winter wheat flour, low in protein and gluten â€" traditionally White Lily brand or Southern Biscuit brand. These are only sporadically and expensively available in the North and West of the country, where the more traditional all-purpose flour is made from sterner spring wheat, with more protein and gluten in it, better for making yeast breads than tender, flaky biscuits.



The most essential priority in a biscuit must be the flour, if you don't have flour which can yield the desired end result, then you might as well not bake biscuits at all. Make that the essential priority in your audio system, say, midrange timbre and scope. Soft red wheat fours will yield only a certain type of biscuit due to those properties of the wheat - low protein and low gluten. OK, now your essential priority in building a system has had two more qualities added to the recipe which naturally follow from the first selection of soft red wheat flour/midrange timbre. You cannot have soft wheat flour which does not possess those associated qualities unless you first alter your priority on the base - the flour - itself. In other words, one follows the other. From there you add those ingredients which will make the final biscuit suit your particular concept of a good biscuit. Adding salt does one thing while not adding salt does another. Adding organic lard over fresh cream butter yields two vastly dissimilar biscuits. None of the ingredients you are adding are meant to add more base to the already existing base of soft wheat flour any more than assembling a good audio system would mean finding a system full of components with identical essential qualities, let's say, the detail retrieval of a moving coil cartridge or the cinemascope presentation of a classic American amplifier. Rather than add more flour to the recipe which will result in a poor biscuit result, the additive ingredients are there to make the most of the base while guiding the final product in a certain direction. So begin with the flour and then decide which type of fat - lard or butter - will provide the density of texture or the flakiness and lightness you wish to build into the end result. Add that ingredient to your base and you will move the final product in a specific direction. As with baking, the quality of each ingredient is of primary importance to the end result. Yet, if we say we are going to include salt in a recipe, then we might choose from several types of salt depending on the results we desire. If you are the person doing the baking, this is your decision to make. If you are the person who only consumes the final product, then your decision is not about which salt is used but simpy whether the inclusion of a high quality salt satisfies your desires.

Extensive testing in Brooklyn bears her statement out. Cake flour, a low-protein flour that is available in supermarkets from Boston to Chicago, north to Seattle and down to Los Angeles, makes a fine biscuit. Standard Northern all-purpose flour does as well, especially if you allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes or so before cutting it out and baking.

What follows are two simple recipes for biscuits, one made with cake flour and lard; the other with all-purpose flour and butter. The first results in a biscuit with a delicate, silken texture that does well with syrups and runny fried eggs. The second provides a crumbier result, with a density appropriate to the flour, that is marvelous with thick, creamy sausage gravy, heavy on the sage and black pepper.



Salt/no salt, sugar/no sugar, leavening/no leavening, buttermilk or cream/ flat beer or sour cream? Each is an essential ingredient in building the best biscuit for your taste and yet each will need to be chosen for its compatibility with your base priority (flour/detail, flake/warmth, crumb/timbre) and their status as a natural complement to each of the preceding ingredients. Salt is no less important to the end result than is a leavening agent in that salt controls the action of the leavening agent. Sugar by itelf is out of balance without the nutty creaminess of butter vs lard. So you should begin to look at the whole as an assembly of the parts not as just a biscuit or not as just a SET amplifier.

If you remember this thread; https://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/forum/home-audio/684150.html, you will see a discussion of how a designer will build the ingredients of a final product through careful selection of parts.

What do audio systems do? At the most basic level, they are Illusion Engines. I'll repeat that: a hi-fi system is really an Illusion Engine, a type of mechanical contrivance that hypnotizes the audience into thinking musicians are somehow present (or at least nearby). If the contrivance fails in this, it fails utterly, just as a magic trick entertains or it doesn't.

Re-framed in this context, "accuracy" simply doesn't apply. It's like rating a dream, or a hallucination, on an imaginary "accuracy" scale, although the mainstreamers have come up with a series of incantations, body postures (jaw-dropping, pants-flapping, cojones, etc) and audiophile-approved test discs that purport to accomplish this feat.

Although watching the highly trained Positive Feedback review staff going through the audiophile motions is pretty entertaining, the hi-fi systems that seem to produce the most agitation from them only rarely produce an illusion of musicians for me. From this experience I conclude that different kinds of people enjoy different kinds of magic tricks. Some people like THC, some like psylocybin, some like a dry martini that is shaken not stirred, some like Night Train, and others never indulge in any form of self-amusement lest the Wrath of God (or Science, take your pick) smite them down.

Having described audio systems as a special class of Illusion Engine (like THC, psylocybin, ethyl alcohol, Vision Quest, etc), there's one group for whom the word "accuracy" actually conveys meaning: recording and broadcast organizations with ready access to professional musicians. For the last 30 years, BBC monitor speakers have been subjectively assessed by rapidly walking between the control booth and the performing hall. The short trip is a quick reality check, and the BBC and other national broadcasting organizations command the resources to have both large groups of professional musicians and the engineering talent to design high-quality monitoring loudspeakers. This is why I give special weight to the writings of D.E.L. Shorter of the BBC, who pioneered the techniques of modern crossover design, cumulative-decay measurements, and swept distortion measurements as techniques to chase out subjective coloration.

Let's descend from the clouds and visit the more earthly realm of the hi-fi magazine reviewer, hi-fi retailer, and consumer (AKA "the food chain"). By and large, most of these folks are technically challenged, and incapable of building or designing their own (unlike the inhabitants of the levels above). They are forced by their limitations to approach audio in a building-block fashion, picking and choosing amps, speakers, cables, CD players, power cords, MPingo blocks, Vibraplanes, etc etc. As a group, they habitually fasten on simple one-dimensional numbers, such as cost, watts, THD, freq response, the -3dB bass limit, or if especially clueless, the 2-bit universe of "Stereophile" Class A, B, C, and D ratings, or at the lowest level of all, the 1-bit binary logic of "THX-approved".

This may seem a harsh view of the industry, but it is "accurate" in terms of which products sell and which ones don't. Without a 'Pile rating or the "THX" logo, most retailers won't give a new vendor the time of day. They won't even let you in their door. That's just how it is. So in one sense, "accuracy" is nothing more than market acceptance. By this logic, Microsoft defines accuracy in software and McDonald's defines accuracy in food. Think about it.

Viewing the audio chain in terms of convenient marketing "chunks" of CD players, power amps, and speakers, is to cater to the ignorance of the mass market. Test data is simple to measure at this "chunk" size, but correlation to sonics is low to nonexistent. Correlation to sales pitches aimed at reviewers, dealers, and customers, though, is excellent.

The device level is where things get a lot more interesting for the serious designer and enthusiast. For one thing, the "chunk" size is about right for getting at least a modest degree of correlation between what you hear and what you measure. For speaker drivers, roughness in the 3D cumulative-decay waterfall is a good index of potential coloration; however, the 3D waterfall loses most of its meaning when applied to the entire speaker, since the crossover neatly hides most of the gremlins from sight (although not from the ear of a skilled listener).

The device-level approach also works for electronics; the audiophile-approved 6DJ8/6922 loses much of its "low-distortion" charm when its abundance of 3rd and higher harmonics appears on the spectrum analyzer. Similarly, the audiophile favorite of the 12AU7 loses some of its luster when a dirt-cheap surplus NOS 6SN7 has three times lower distortion and three times the drive capability. These things are audible; when you work at the device level, repeatable correlations between sonics and appropriate measurements begin to dawn. Unfortunately, as long as magazine reviewers are incapable of appreciating the functional difference between a mu-follower and a SRPP, they will never penetrate this level of insight and understanding.

This is the right level for the skilled illusionist to work their magic. The adventurous triode builders, unlike the armchair generals of the mainstream magazines, have actually built mu-followers, SRPP's, RC-coupled circuits, transformer-coupled circuits, and explored the wonders of parallel-feed. Some of the geekier folks have turned on their spectrum analyzers and peered at the little wiggles down in the -120dB region ... and lo and behold, found useful correlations. By doing so, they are treading in the footsteps of Norman Crowhust, D.E.L. Shorter, and other pioneers of the Fifties.



Now, no one exects you, or most of the audio buying public for that matter, to have instilled in your memory which brand of capacitor displays the highest degree of timbral accruacy or vocal bloom. Or which tube type has the lowest overall suppression of high/odd order harmonic distortions. That is for the designers to decide as they build their recipes for each component they assemble. It is then not so much a function of, "Single ended tubes tend towards presenting environments where music occurs", as it is finding which SET's might align themself with those priorities which you have established for pleasing and involving reproduction of music in your room when added with the other ingredients/components/priorites you've assembled in your system. Or, possibly, finding out that SET's just do not manage those priorities which you have established in other areas. For example, and as I have previously mentioned in a different thread, you can achieve dynamic realism in several ways yet each assembly of ingredients will speak to your own personal perception of dynamic realism in their own peculiar manner and with their own particular voice. You can now think of this as you would any other "thing" about which you make a subjective judgement. If it is a car, you might decide your overall preference is for a motor with good midband torque, gearing which suits a sepcific style of driving, or a certain suspension type. That shouldn't rule out cars with other qualites if for no other reason that you should keep an open mind towards what is possible. But, knowing those few base priorities, you can begin to find those other qualities one would naturally assume to be complements to your essential priority. If you wish to get the most out of a camera, you might decide you need the highest level of flexibility in lense selection, the fastest shutter speed, the most accurate color rendition, the sharpest field of vision across the widest area of focus, etc. Each of those decisions makes for other ingredients which will then complement your base. But in all cases, the braod decisions you make will - for the most of us - have already been made at the most basic level by a designer who builds with a knowledge of which ingredient goes into making a biscuit, car, camera, audio component with good midband torque, excellent depth of field or extreme detail retrieval and so on.

Therefore, your job as someone wishing to hear a specific final result - one which evokes those same emotions you would experience at a live performance - is not to weed out posssibilites based upon the topology of the whole nor the inclusion of the unfamiliar. Just as you should not shut your mind off from any sort of musical experience due to its labelling as "classical", "folk" or "metal", neither should you shut your mind off from experiencing a DAC or an amplifier or a cable which has a certain topology or construction. As the NYT article points out certain ingredients will make for complementary additions to other components of the entire meal. The addition of lard goes well with eggs and syrups. The inclusion of butter does best with gravies and sweet jams. The broader your tastes in what you will consume, the broader your needs in which single component will meet all of the desired results.

So assemble your priorities with the idea that once you've established a base ingredient there will be other components of that base which must naturally follow as inclusions. High degrees of detail will accompany a front row presentation but less so a midhall positioning. A "they are here" priority would be accompanied by priorities which would not be included, by necessity, in an "I am there" priority. Once you have your baseline priorities in order, don't over think this whole affair. Experience will tell you what you need to add and what you can live without.

The most important thing is to make biscuits a lot. A biscuit recipe, after all, is not so much a series of instructions as what martial artists call a kata â€" a form that rewards repetition with excellence. Kathleen Purvis, a top dog on the food desk of The Charlotte Observer, runs into a lot of biscuit recipes, and has reported on dozens of them. She put it this way in an interview: “Most of biscuit success is in how gently you handle the dough, and that’s just practice.”

That is true as North.



The more you experience live music in different situations or the more biscuits you taste in various settings, the more you can refine your desires for which accumulation of ingredients for either make you the most satisfied with the end results.






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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16453
Registered: May-04
.

"Care to take a stab at why British speakers tend to work well with British amps? I guess I'm thinking about Harbeth, Castle, and Spendor. It seems that many suggest amps such as Naim for these speakers. Yet Naim also tend to work well with speakers like Kudos and Neat. Not sure that those speakers have the same strengths as the first three."


This is an entirely different subject and will require some time. For the most part though, this has a lot to do with wars, proximity to each other audio company in England, Luddites and the flat earth types, the typical housing situation in Britain, the economies of England vs the rest of the world, the overwhelming influence of the BBC and the Americanization of British audio in the 1980's.




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Bronze Member
Username: Gerbilaudio

San diego, Ca U.s.

Post Number: 11
Registered: Oct-10
I just wanted to warn everyone here to buy something else if you find emotiva attractive. The people especially upper management of emotiva will ban you or try to ban you in their forums for having an OPINION they do not like. They are like communists and dictators. They have gang members which i call the emotiva mafia who attack new members like myself of mentioning an item or manufactuerer they don't like and they will ban you for fighting back or for defending yourself. These people are pathetic and their moderators and staff will defend the attackers. They will accuse you of spamming if you try to help someone if you put a link or website of company that may help that person's question. if they don't like what you have to say or share, they will attack you personally, call you names, their forum trolls and when you file a COMPLAINT to their management, they will SIDE with the attackers especially if they have the label of VIP and then BAN you from the forum. If you file a complaint to the customer service, they will ignore you and be part of the THOUGHT POLICE GANG. it is so pathetic. they don't even know you and they have the nerve to victimize you for having an OPINION that's contrary to theirs and try to censor you and ban you. I wonder if you mentioned MARK LEVINSON, CONRAD JOHNSON, AUDIO RESEARCH, KRELL, MCINTOSH and compare to their AMPS, these people will go berzerk and ban you from their website. They will attack your URL or your location from being able to re register on their site. These people are as bad as those who run youtube and MSNBC. Don't even mention any TWEAKS, these people get offended. I mentioned dakiom stabilizers, sonic holography, BBE sonic maximizers and these people turned it into a crime! sick people that run emotive, There were several people I read on other audio posts a few years back mentioning many members of EMOTIVA being and acting like a cult. You can't criticize or mention other products that they don't like around them. BE WARNED...
These idiots can learn a lot from JAN VIGNE and all the SENIOR members of this site who have a lot of knowledge to share and are open minded enough to ACCEPT all opinions without trying CENSOR people with different experiences and thought. If anyone is at emotiva forum, watch out for RLW and CHUCKIENUT, these are two of their GANG members looking for some innocent new member to attack for having differring opinions or just having an opinion about any product!
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