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K-High-Fi
02-26-2010, 12:25 PM
Hello to every one,

This is my first post in Audio review and I hope you share with me your opinion, and probably generate other discussion that help to understand better about speakers.

I would like to know from standpoint view regarding using monitor studio speakers in home use if itís right or not?

I have Magnepan MG-20 speakers and Krell gear, as the case with all main speakers for home use I always encounter frequencies problems and both speaker position and acoustic treatment are critical and hardly I achieved perfect balanced sound.

As I understand before: Studio monitor with built in amp have better advantages! like the amp match the speaker, electronic crossover, short speaker cable. Plus many custom controls like room EQ, and Gains which these are not available in domestic speakers.

So im wondering, if I use speakers like Adam active monitors like S2, S3X, S4XÖ. can I achieve perfect sound and better than normal passive speakers? Are demotic passive speakers having any sonic advantages over studio monitor speakers in home use?

Can any one want to share some good thoughts please?

Many thanks to all.

Sincerely,
Cheers

Ajani
02-26-2010, 12:53 PM
Studio speakers are generally designed for near-field listening (I have mine setup at my computer desk and they sound sweet that way)...

While I am a fan of active speakers, you do need to remember that they lack the flexibility of passive ones... so you either like the sound or you don't, as there is little you can do to really alter it (no swapping from SS to Tubes, etc)...

Also Studio gear is often designed to be very detailed and neutral, which is quite different from the smooth and warm presentation that many audiophiles prefer... So you really need to listen to some Studio Monitors and decide for yourself if you like their presentation...

Mr Peabody
02-26-2010, 08:51 PM
Also, keep in mind that Maggies are not your typical speaker. Have you ever tried a box speaker? A good passive box speaker may give you the sound you are trying to get.

I've heard several systems with Krell and Dynaudio, it is a very dynamic combo. Are you also using Krell for your source component?

The flexibility Ajani mentions is a good point as well, thinking of cable changes and some speakers are biampable.

E-Stat
02-27-2010, 06:38 AM
Studio monitor with built in amp have better advantages! like the amp match the speaker, electronic crossover, short speaker cable. Plus many custom controls like room EQ, and Gains which these are not available in domestic speakers.
Indeed there are numerous advantages to using active speaker systems. Others include more efficient distribution of power and isolation of bass clipping to the rest of the bandwidth. Do you realize that all of those advantages can be applied to your Maggies? They have always been designed for bi or tri-amping since the 70s with the Tympani series. The very first Maggie I heard was a set of T-IIIs tri-amped with Audio Research crossover and amplifiers. That is why the crossover on the MG-20 is external. It requires no modifications to simply bypass altogether.

There are a number of guys over at the Magnepan Users Group who run theirs using actively (Marchand is a popular choice for active crossover). Or an original Audio Research EC-2 or EC-3.

Ind

Sir Terrence the Terrible
02-27-2010, 09:04 AM
I have two hometheaters built around active speakers, and I am a big supporter just for the reasons E-stat mentions. The speakers I own are not exactly nearfield monitors as they are stacked configurations of the M&K 2510P for the front speakers, and single monitors for the sides and rear surrounds.

http://www.mksoundsystem.com/propages/mkprof_2510p.htm

The other set of active monitors I have are from PMC, the BB5A active monitor for the fronts, and the AML2 for the side and rear surrounds. These speakers are quite pricey, but the sonic results are audio magic to my ears.

http://www.pmc-speakers.com/product.php?mode=view&pid=14

http://www.pmc-speakers.com/product.php?mode=view&pid=41

I found out first hand there are alot of mediocre active monitors out there, so choose wisely just like you would with any speaker. Listen for neutrality, and look for a speaker that gets louder without changes in the frequency response(many actives fail in this area).

Mr Peabody
02-27-2010, 09:18 AM
Good point, not all active speakers are "near field". Last I looked at Meridian they were using active speakers exclusively for the home theater set ups. Big dollar though.

K-High-Fi
02-28-2010, 04:53 AM
Thank you very much to all for helpful thoughts. :smile5:

MG-20 is one of best sound I heard, the problem they need strong amp to make them sing, with my room size they become over power! One expert has told me: im unable to hear all the frequencies because the short distance wall (11.5 ft wide) I have! The speakers from side wall only 16 inch! Most problem I encounter is the high frequency was very energy or strong and its really disturbing every time the highs go high which sound phenomenal but disturbing! Actually this problem with ALL domestic tower speakers I use.

I listened to Adam S2A and I have to admit they are SO precise and the resolution almost like MG-20 or probably better! Its not transparent like MG-20 or demotic speakers! But very flesh out and precisely accurate, the only problem they sound bright. I donít know how the S3X or S4X sounded.

Other alternatives im thinking for Passive speakers are: Dynaudio C1, ProAc Response D two, Harbeth M30 or S-HL5, Kef 201. I never listened to them to be sure! But generally im thinking for bookshelf speaker only, I felt they are simple and precise too, somehow better than tower or big speaker.

I will be very happy to hear thoughts from anybody.

Cheers.

Mr Peabody
02-28-2010, 05:56 AM
K you have some awesome electronics I think you just need to find the right speakers and maybe some room treatments. Dynaudio will be quite a bit better than the towers and Bose you have listed. In my opinion you should pass on the C1's and opt for a Contour or Focus tower. The C1's are very good but may also seem unbalanced to you because they won't have the bottom end one of the towers will have. The C1's will excel some in detail and highs due to the Confidence tweeter. From the way you talk I'd recommend giving the Focus 360's a listen. You don't have to go way up the Dynaudio line to get a fine performing speaker. They are all good in my opinion for their price points, as you go up you get more of what Dyn can do. I think almost any tower Dyn makes would be an improvement over the towers you have. You might also try moving down to a Maggie 1.7 and adding a sub to see if the smaller size fits your room better and performs better if you are into their sound. Sometimes if the room isn't the right size or has issues a large speaker just won't work.

Krell and Maggies are an interesting combo. I've not heard it. I heard Levinson driving Maggies. I will reserve comment as I'm not a big Maggie fan. Krell excels in dynamics and power, the best set ups I've heard with Krell have always been with dynamic box speakers such as Dynaudio. I'm sure other similar brands will do well but that is the combo I've heard most. I've also heard from people for a sweeter Krell sound that Thiel works well. No matter what speaker you try I don't think you will get a "flushed" or "flesh" sound from Krell. I have and have used Krell for years but it wasn't until switching to tubes that I achieved a more "fleshed" sound or lifting the images off the sound stage sort to speak. To get high power in tubes costs though. Tube gear also very in sound as much as solid state so do your listening before going that direction. If you do listen to tubes one day I certainly recommend Conrad Johnson. They satisfy what I was looking for in music. I've also heard VTL gear I liked as well.

Poultrygeist
03-01-2010, 03:43 AM
My relative has a pair of very large and very expensive Meridian speakers that once belonged to Emmitt Smith. He also has the matching CDP. As much as I've tried to like them for his sake I can't say that I do. The sound, while impressively expansive, seems contrived and not natural to my ears.

Mr Peabody
03-01-2010, 08:31 PM
It's been so long since I've heard Meridian I couldn't begin to argue the point.

I like the Martin Logan active speakers but they also require ample space around them for best results.

K-High-Fi
03-03-2010, 07:23 AM
Thank you Mr. Peabody for recommendation. Dynaudio C1 was my first choice but two reasons hold my purchase:

1- has back port for the bass! This is not good in my experince because when the sound hit the back wall and travel and hit other things in the room like furniture, the sound become smeared when arrive to the ear. This problem I faced with Bose 901 and MG-20 too.

2- Danish made are superior in term of build up quality and resolution, but sounded bit unemotional. I experienced before B&O speakers and Ortofon Red Rondo cartridge which both make in Denmark, both has the sme (unemotional).

I could be wrong because I never heard Dynaudio, but I have to be little careful. Krell and MG-20 match perfect (in my opinion), however I prefer bookshelf because I feel they lack resonance and coloration. Another point, MG-20 can sound exotic or luxury if fed with more high-end interconnects and cables, something I don’t like because the music doesn’t sounded serious anymore!

I listened to Adam P22 and right from start sounded best performance. Doesn’t have sweetness or honey or any coloration but perfection and precision, which I always wanted for serious listening. Some friends recommend ProAc Response D28 or D two (bookshelf), others Harbeth M30 or S-HL5, to my knowledge British speakers are bit dark and honey, but not sure about these.

I will be very happy to hear any opinion.

Cheers.

Sir Terrence the Terrible
03-03-2010, 08:58 AM
1- has back port for the bass! This is not good in my experince because when the sound hit the back wall and travel and hit other things in the room like furniture, the sound become smeared when arrive to the ear. This problem I faced with Bose 901 and MG-20 too.

I think you are talking about two different things here. Both the 901 and MG-20's throw a full range sound to the rear. Full range rear reflections can be a curse or a benefit, depending on what your taste is. However, a port only outputs the deep bass, and at those frequencies the bass radiates 360 degrees, and fills the room instantly. Bass reflections are not nearly as audible (if at all) when compared to a full range rear reflection which can smear the forward output. A port cannot smear anything in the mid and upper frequencies because it does not output them.

The Adam speaker line use of the ribbon tweeter give its sound a rather clinical but accurate sound. I have found that you will generally get the same midrange and treble responses throughout their entire line, but the differences between models lie in how much bass output you want from the system. The are excellent studio monitors, but I do not know if I would like them as home speakers. My experience with them showed me that they have a pretty narrow sweet spot which required that my head stayed pretty much in the same place, or I would hear something different in its output.

Mr Peabody
03-03-2010, 09:08 PM
Don't stereotype sound quality by country of origin. I find the Dynaudio speakers engaging and have used them with several amps, Krell, Arcam, Conrad Johnson & Linn to name a few I've had on my t2.5's. I've driven my Audience 60's with Krell, Adcom to vintage Sansui. The Dyn's are neutral enough to let you hear the various characters of each amp while being consistent with excellent bass response, imaging and detailed.

As a side note all the Dynaudio speakers I've seen come with port plugs.

If you want a nice bookshelf see if you can get your hands, ears, on a set of Special 25's.

K-High-Fi
03-09-2010, 02:42 AM
Do I understand Dynaudio sounded closer to Magnepan MG-20 (or at least similer high freq)?

Can anyone recommend bookshelf or small speaker tower sounded closer to MG-20 from any brand?

Thanks.

Feanor
03-09-2010, 06:39 AM
Do I understand Dynaudio sounded closer to Magnepan MG-20 (or at least similer high freq)?

Can anyone recommend bookshelf or small speaker tower sounded closer to MG-20 from any brand?

Thanks.
No monopole dynamic driver speaker is really going to sound like a dipole planar spearker. Can't happen.

Mr Peabody
03-09-2010, 07:10 AM
I wouldn't say Dynaudio sounds like Maggies. It's been a while since I've had the opportunity to hear a pair of Maggies so wouldn't try to recommend anything that resembles them. As Feanor stated I don't think anything will be the same. You could maybe get close if you find a box speaker that utilizes some type of ribbon tweeter. If looking for an excellent bookshelf speaker that produces better than average bass response then Dynaudio is worth a listen. The C1's are awesome I just thought their high end might be too much as you seem to want the highs a bit laid back.

There's a thread here, I think something like "side grading from B&W" where Koven tries a few different pair of speakers. You might find that a useful read.

K-High-Fi
03-09-2010, 08:38 AM
Thank you very much all for help thoughts. Seems hard to find same good sound as MG-20! Sure i will try listen to C1, i heard in small room sounded like floor standing speaker! I think this is great feature so can be used in both small and large applications.

RGA
03-09-2010, 09:23 AM
it seems to me that your room might be too small for the big Magnepan - Why not try a smaller panel such as the KingSound Prince II - it retails for $6,000 and I think it's a LOT LOT better than "ANY" magnepan speaker I have heard. How your Krell amps might do I can't say. Another panel that I think sounds better and smaller panel IMO is the Summit from Martin Logan which under difficult show condition managed a cohesion of panel/woofer that was as good as I have heard from them. But it was running with tube amplification - err so were the Kings - and Quads - All the best sounding panels at CES were panel makers who brought tube amps and the panels that sounded lousy were the ones running SS gear. Hmm probably just a coincidence...hmm.

One of the reasons Active works is because the speaker and amp are designed by the same company or are designed in tandem to work strictly for that speaker - it has a synergy or purposes. One reason people are drawn to it is because the alternative is designs running at cross purposes are put together and despite being individually fine pieces are not designed to work for specific applications.

I find actives to often be somewhat tiresome - high impact and clinical but usually not satisfying long terms. The new Meridian speakers are pretty nice - but at the price - IMO better passivesfor less than 1/2 the price are out there. PMC actives are also good - but I'd rather them inHome theater - and even then the prices start climbing and the advantage IMO isn't really there.

Give King Sound a try - unfortunately they don't have the prestige factor because they are actually charging at real world prices so they lose some prestige by not being overpriced.

http://www.kingsaudio.com.hk/index.html

K-High-Fi
03-10-2010, 03:34 AM
Thanks RGA for helpful information. Excellent points, yes I felt Adam monitors are clinical but I thought something I could pass it because they have advantage being very precise and accurate. I will try listening again for longer time before I decide. King Prince II still too big for me.

You mention interesting points about MG-20: sounded better with tube amp, and there are better electrostatic than MG-20. For example if I use Conrad Johnson tube is there will be huge differences? And what other Electrostatic brands better than MG-20 (beside from Martin Logan and King)?

Sincerely.

E-Stat
03-10-2010, 07:02 AM
And what other Electrostatic brands better than MG-20 (beside from Martin Logan and King)?
I favor the Sound Lab full range electrostats. I find they are the best of all the electrostats I've heard over the past thirty five years.

rw

RGA
03-10-2010, 11:03 AM
Thanks RGA for helpful information. Excellent points, yes I felt Adam monitors are clinical but I thought something I could pass it because they have advantage being very precise and accurate. I will try listening again for longer time before I decide. King Prince II still too big for me.

You mention interesting points about MG-20: sounded better with tube amp, and there are better electrostatic than MG-20. For example if I use Conrad Johnson tube is there will be huge differences? And what other Electrostatic brands better than MG-20 (beside from Martin Logan and King)?

Sincerely.

The problem is that it doesn't matter how good the speaker is if it is too big or overpowers the room your in it will sound poor. Soundlabs sounded pretty poor in part at CES because the room was far too small. Smaller panels suffer from pretty wimpy dynamics and drive. The King Sound Prince II still isn't a bass dynamics champ but it has more of it that other panels around their size (and better than some much bigger ones) and to my ear electroctats sound a lot better than ribbons which tend to sound a bit hissy or lumpy or both.

To give you full disclosure I am not a Magnepan fan. The more I listen to them the more I dislike them to be perfectly honest. Electrostats simply sound more natural and there are probably piles of reasons why but I would take a Soundlab, Quad over them. Unfortunately they also cost a lot more money. I have heard the U1 and the A1 and Quad 2905 - I'd take a King Sound over them and use the difference to buy a Honda Accord.

Martin Logan often has driver integration issues - but the Summit at CES had no such trouble and sounded really good - much better than the Soundlab or Quad room and using a less expensive front end to boot.

My dealer owned Magnepans for four years constantly having problems getting them to sound right in his room due to frequency problems, bass etc - sounds to me like you have the same problem. He sold them off for a boxed dynamic speaker that he likes a lot better. The bottom line my preferences aside - you simply need to find a speaker that works better in your room.

You want a high impact high "grip" sound with tightly controlled or 'accurate/Neutral some might say bright" leaning speaker which are smaller.

I would have a serious look into the Gallo 3.5 with your Krell power amps and possibly a tube preamp to soften it up a little better. The Gallo 3.5 is being heavily used in recording studios - they have tremendous authority and terrific bass impact with outstanding start stop speed. The Magnepans sounded like "mud" in comparison and none of the other panels at the show mustered the impact or the bass or the openess or the speed. The 3.5
Check them out http://www.dagogo.com/View-Article.asp?hArticle=713

Ajani
03-10-2010, 11:30 AM
The problem is that it doesn't matter how good the speaker is if it is too big or overpowers the room your in it will sound poor.

I agree with RGA... The issue may well be that your MG20s are just too big for your room, so a smaller speaker maybe the only feasible option...

K-High-Fi
03-10-2010, 11:55 AM
Thank you very much. Yes im aware MG-20 being big for my room and im getting ear fatigue sometimes. And yes sometimes I felt muddy and heavy too in some recording.

However, I like natural sound, dynamic, soft. Just wondering (and im sure RGA knows better :)): are there one-way speaker, high resolution and performance?

Im beginning to like the old fashion speaker with one or two way, I felt they simple and produce better sound than 3 ways or more.

hasaudio
03-10-2010, 12:53 PM
Hello all. First post here on audioreview. http://sound.westhost.com/biamp-vs-passive.htm heres a good link which has always been handy to bookmark!

RGA
03-10-2010, 02:22 PM
Thank you very much. Yes im aware MG-20 being big for my room and im getting ear fatigue sometimes. And yes sometimes I felt muddy and heavy too in some recording.

However, I like natural sound, dynamic, soft. Just wondering (and im sure RGA knows better :)): are there one-way speaker, high resolution and performance?

Im beginning to like the old fashion speaker with one or two way, I felt they simple and produce better sound than 3 ways or more.

It depends on the music you like and I am leary on recommending some speakers because I'm not a big fan of big powerful amps like the Krell either.

The only thing I can suggest is to try something completely different. A SET amplifier with Teresonic Single Driver Lowther speakers ($10k - $14k). Why? Because they have perfect coherence in the midrange and they have good bass - not rock bass but nice bass for stand up bass - probably around 30hz but not the higher impact of the Gallo - though the Teresonics sound nicer and smoother than the Gallo 3.5 (no doubt aided by a much better front end). I always recommend it but that's because it has few peers - the Audio Note J or E (your room size the E would be better - but you need corners) - they don't like Solid state amplifiers however so while they're only $7,600 for the E/Spe HE - you would have to sell the Krells and lose money. There are others like the Acoustic Zen but they're not quite as open as a good panel - but they have more macro abilities.

The thing to do is to wait and audition and don't judge it on looks or advertising or being "different."

My analogy is this. Most poor boxed speakers are like looking through a muddy window over a picturesque landscape. You can tell you're looking through a window because you can see all the dirt. (hence some boxes sound muddy or overly resonant). An average panel has a nice clean window that you can see and none of the dirt but some of the glass is rippled and something is not quite right and it is annoying but not dirty. A great panel is a beautiful clean big astoundingly clear (as clear as it gets) window that lets you see the landscape in all its glory without a spec of dirt. Truly amazing window view.

The best boxes - puts you onto the balcony - forget the stupid window - you are there feeling the breeze, smelling the fir trees, feeling the hot sun on your face. The pressure of the instrument in space where you can practically feel the air pushing past you.

I highly recommend that you spend your money and go to the audio show in Colorado - RMAF Rocky Mountain Audio Show - or perhaps CES in Jan 2011. For the price of a flight, a 4 night stay in a hotel and choosing cheap hotels you can do this for less than $1,500. Yes you could buy a nice component for that but in reality that money will save you a bucket later on in upgrades.

I and others can throw out preferences but in the end nothing replaces your experiences. I post my favorites at given prices - I prefer speakers that are comfortable with rock as they are with classical. I think some of the issue is that bass depth and impact is mastingly interpreted as distortion.

Mr Peabody
03-10-2010, 06:05 PM
K-High, have you heard the C1's? If not, you need to in order to see if that is what you are looking for. If you don't like that combo then you might want to look for different electronics. I've not heard Krell any better than with Dynaudio. The combo is even better than Krell's own speakers. It's like this combo is the epitomy of that fast dynamic sound with hard hitting bass.. If you aren't into what you are hearing from Krell/Dyn then it's time to think about a new direction.

I am a big Martin Logan fan and would probably like other electrostats if I heard any but I also like Krell, I don't like them together. Tubes with electrostats I have found to be a magical presentation. It's also a trade off as the sound is quite a bit different than a Krell/Dyn sound. Electrostats are also quite a bit different sounding than Maggies.

As far as Conrad Johnson that's where I ended up in my main system after Krell. The more expensive CJ is very good, not giving up much in the control and detail to similar priced solid state and bettering it in macro/micro dynamics. I find CJ very musical allowing the listener to have a sense of pace and rhythm to the music I haven't heard with anything else. Some of the older CJ gear sweetens things too much. An excellent place between tubes and solid state is Conrad Johnson's Composite Triode gear.
http://www.conradjohnson.com/It_just_sounds_right/current-products.html

It does sound like if possible some listening sessions with other systems are in order.

Sir Terrence the Terrible
03-11-2010, 09:51 AM
It depends on the music you like and I am leary on recommending some speakers because I'm not a big fan of big powerful amps like the Krell either.

Richard, I am curious as to why you don't like powerful amps. I know it is a matter of choice, but is it a technical thing?


The only thing I can suggest is to try something completely different. A SET amplifier with Teresonic Single Driver Lowther speakers ($10k - $14k). Why? Because they have perfect coherence in the midrange and they have good bass - not rock bass but nice bass for stand up bass - probably around 30hz but not the higher impact of the Gallo - though the Teresonics sound nicer and smoother than the Gallo 3.5 (no doubt aided by a much better front end). I always recommend it but that's because it has few peers - the Audio Note J or E (your room size the E would be better - but you need corners) - they don't like Solid state amplifiers however so while they're only $7,600 for the E/Spe HE - you would have to sell the Krells and lose money. There are others like the Acoustic Zen but they're not quite as open as a good panel - but they have more macro abilities.

The thing to do is to wait and audition and don't judge it on looks or advertising or being "different."

You have mentioned the Gallo 3.5 several times, and the sound characteristic that you describe about them makes me so curious that I am looking for a dealer in my area(or areas) to give them a listen. I have never been a lover of two channel systems because that is all they can do is two channels, but it might no be a bad idea to put one together and see if I can live with it.


My analogy is this. Most poor boxed speakers are like looking through a muddy window over a picturesque landscape. You can tell you're looking through a window because you can see all the dirt. (hence some boxes sound muddy or overly resonant). An average panel has a nice clean window that you can see and none of the dirt but some of the glass is rippled and something is not quite right and it is annoying but not dirty. A great panel is a beautiful clean big astoundingly clear (as clear as it gets) window that lets you see the landscape in all its glory without a spec of dirt. Truly amazing window view.

What a perfect description of the two different technologies, and they agree with my own. I would also add that panels as clean and clear as they sound, also cannot reproduce a large orchestra with full dynamics without giving up the ghost, and that is why almost no studio in the world uses them as monitors. Panels are one show speakers IMO. If it is not classical or small scale, then a panel is out of the question.


The best boxes - puts you onto the balcony - forget the stupid window - you are there feeling the breeze, smelling the fir trees, feeling the hot sun on your face. The pressure of the instrument in space where you can practically feel the air pushing past you.

This is exactly what I get from my Dunlavy SCV system, my PMC system, and the speakers in my signature. They just move out of the way, and let the music or soundtrack shine.(or not shine!)


I highly recommend that you spend your money and go to the audio show in Colorado - RMAF Rocky Mountain Audio Show - or perhaps CES in Jan 2011. For the price of a flight, a 4 night stay in a hotel and choosing cheap hotels you can do this for less than $1,500. Yes you could buy a nice component for that but in reality that money will save you a bucket later on in upgrades.

I would also recommend attending a all acoustic concert or two as well. There is nothing like having a true reference point to strive for when picking your speakers.


I and others can throw out preferences but in the end nothing replaces your experiences. I post my favorites at given prices - I prefer speakers that are comfortable with rock as they are with classical. I think some of the issue is that bass depth and impact is mastingly interpreted as distortion.

I totally agree with your last sentence. However I think the lack of bass depth and impact is also a distortion if your speaker cannot do it when it is called for in the music or soundtrack.

I sure do like your perspective on speakers, I really do! It is like a breath of fresh air.

RGA
03-11-2010, 11:32 AM
Sir T

The Gallo gear can be purchased in home theater or surround recording studio versions. Have not hear those so I can't really say.

As for preferring SET - well the SET makers will trot out a list of why they're better sounding in a technical sense but the arguments are challenged immediately. Peter Qvortrup of Audio Note one of if not the largest manufacturer of SET amplifiers points to negative feedback which to him is an issue over harmonic and non-harmonic distortion which leads to time base distortion. Feedback is an increase of time base distortion and the higher the damping factor which is usually larger in bigger power amps the more of it there is and the worse the timing of the system. It defeats the standard measurements and looks nice but not according to their measurements. http://www.audionote.co.uk/articles/art_negative_feedback.shtml

Stereophile's measuring guru Martin Colloms wrote about this years ago and pointed out that even the TOP SS amp makers in the business in a blind listening session chose a no negative feedback tube amp for 1/10 the price of their stuff when listening http://stereophile.com/reference/70/

For me it comes down purely to the sound. SS amplifiers to me have the same effect as my panel argument - the best SS has a two dimensionality to it and the window is far clearer with a Krell or Bryston than Pioneer but the better SETS have the organic real world three dimensional you are there sensation of being on the balcony.

I think the issue with panels is that many makers acknowledged the failing by making hybrids. Sure a HUGE panel can have some bass but they are not domestically feasible for most people. I do not buy they are better in the midrange or treble either. Yes the diaphram is lighter and moves faster and has less resonance - but they also don't push air to create dynamic shadings or scale - so for me it sounds a little washed out. I do get their appeal - but they typically don't have enough grunt for me to take them seriously. King Sound at their prices are an exception because they do have respectable bass and drive and a very clean sound. $6,000 is for what you get terrific sound for the buck. But $10k- $20k - Many boxes offer everything the panels excel at and also big dynamics and quality bass in a smaller footprint.

The King Sound Prince II is the only panel that I have heard that I would buy. And as great as it is - I would not trade my $5k retail speakers straight up for them.

K-High-Fi
03-12-2010, 03:23 AM
Thank you all for great comments. To my best knowledge: electronic crossover is much better than passive and probably one main feature in some active speaker, but some manufactures insist a speaker without crossover is better. Is it true? And is Teresonic Magus mini monitor have good bass and soundstage?

Sir Terrence the Terrible
03-12-2010, 03:38 PM
Sir T

The Gallo gear can be purchased in home theater or surround recording studio versions. Have not hear those so I can't really say.

As for preferring SET - well the SET makers will trot out a list of why they're better sounding in a technical sense but the arguments are challenged immediately. Peter Qvortrup of Audio Note one of if not the largest manufacturer of SET amplifiers points to negative feedback which to him is an issue over harmonic and non-harmonic distortion which leads to time base distortion. Feedback is an increase of time base distortion and the higher the damping factor which is usually larger in bigger power amps the more of it there is and the worse the timing of the system. It defeats the standard measurements and looks nice but not according to their measurements. http://www.audionote.co.uk/articles/art_negative_feedback.shtml

Stereophile's measuring guru Martin Colloms wrote about this years ago and pointed out that even the TOP SS amp makers in the business in a blind listening session chose a no negative feedback tube amp for 1/10 the price of their stuff when listening http://stereophile.com/reference/70/

For me it comes down purely to the sound. SS amplifiers to me have the same effect as my panel argument - the best SS has a two dimensionality to it and the window is far clearer with a Krell or Bryston than Pioneer but the better SETS have the organic real world three dimensional you are there sensation of being on the balcony.

I think the issue with panels is that many makers acknowledged the failing by making hybrids. Sure a HUGE panel can have some bass but they are not domestically feasible for most people. I do not buy they are better in the midrange or treble either. Yes the diaphram is lighter and moves faster and has less resonance - but they also don't push air to create dynamic shadings or scale - so for me it sounds a little washed out. I do get their appeal - but they typically don't have enough grunt for me to take them seriously. King Sound at their prices are an exception because they do have respectable bass and drive and a very clean sound. $6,000 is for what you get terrific sound for the buck. But $10k- $20k - Many boxes offer everything the panels excel at and also big dynamics and quality bass in a smaller footprint.

The King Sound Prince II is the only panel that I have heard that I would buy. And as great as it is - I would not trade my $5k retail speakers straight up for them.

Richard,
Thank you for the very thorough and well thought out answer. It is refreshing to see a person come to a conclusion based on educating themselves, instead of the typical knee jerk, gut based, overly emotional responses I usually see around here. I actually learned something from it. Bryston amps are my choice of amps for all of my mixing and listening studios and several of my hometheaters as well. I love their neutrality, though I must admit I wouldn't have ever thought they were two deminsional in their presentation.

klif570
03-12-2010, 04:50 PM
Richard,
Thank you for the very thorough and well thought out answer. It is refreshing to see a person come to a conclusion based on educating themselves, instead of the typical knee jerk, gut based, overly emotional responses I usually see around here.

Oh, more BS from you, right? After calling everyone uneducated and retarded in your Blu Ray thread you come here to cry how we are emotional?

Ok, how about I stir something for you.. right from your Blu Ray thread - Sir Terrence the Terrible: ''Any person who is still looking for a DVD, and dedicated CD player in a Blu ray world where all three can be played on the same machine is obviously so behind the curve they can easily be considered technologically retarded.''


:biggrin5: And you call us retarded? Thanks, Terrence, you've made my day!

Mr Peabody
03-12-2010, 06:05 PM
K-High, if one manufacturer had the "right" answer, or best way, to do something, they'd all do it that way. Manufacturer's don't agree on the best way, nor will we. It's good to get opinions on maybe getting a direction but at some point you'll have to do some listening and decide where you stand.

Those are some strong words there Sir T. Blu-ray machines may play all those formats but I don't agree one will do it to an audio disc's optimum performance. I will think about changing my mind when a BDP plays a CD that sounds better than my T+A. Or, when we see audio reviewers start using BDP's for their reference playback machine for audio.

Sir Terrence the Terrible
03-12-2010, 06:43 PM
Those are some strong words there Sir T. Blu-ray machines may play all those formats but I don't agree one will do it to an audio disc's optimum performance. I will think about changing my mind when a BDP plays a CD that sounds better than my T+A. Or, when we see audio reviewers start using BDP's for their reference playback machine for audio.

My P, check this out.

http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Products/HomeEntertainment/Blu-rayDisc+DVD/EliteBlu-rayDiscPlayers/BDP-09FD

http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Products/HomeEntertainment/Blu-rayDisc+DVD/EliteBlu-rayDiscPlayers/ci.BDP-23FD.Kuro

http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Products/HomeEntertainment/Blu-rayDisc+DVD/EliteBlu-rayDiscPlayers/ci.BDP-05FD.Kuro

All of these players have received excellent reviews on their Blu ray, CD, and DVD playback, so my words are not all that strong, but do reflect that there are Blu ray players out there that do it all well.

Sir Terrence the Terrible
03-12-2010, 06:47 PM
Oh, more BS from you, right? After calling everyone uneducated and retarded in your Blu Ray thread you come here to cry how we are emotional?

Ok, how about I stir something for you.. right from your Blu Ray thread - Sir Terrence the Terrible: ''Any person who is still looking for a DVD, and dedicated CD player in a Blu ray world where all three can be played on the same machine is obviously so behind the curve they can easily be considered technologically retarded.''


:biggrin5: And you call us retarded? Thanks, Terrence, you've made my day!

You got this all wrong ding bat, I didn't call anyone but you technologically retarded. I wasn't talking to everyone, I was talking to YOU!

And can you tell my how in the hell we got from complimenting somebody for actually doing research and then drawing conclusions to crying? Your departure from reality is universe wide...really.

I respect Richard opinion, I do not respect yours until you get quite a bit more educated in this hobby. Plain and simple.

RGA
03-12-2010, 08:36 PM
Richard,
Thank you for the very thorough and well thought out answer. It is refreshing to see a person come to a conclusion based on educating themselves, instead of the typical knee jerk, gut based, overly emotional responses I usually see around here. I actually learned something from it. Bryston amps are my choice of amps for all of my mixing and listening studios and several of my hometheaters as well. I love their neutrality, though I must admit I wouldn't have ever thought they were two deminsional in their presentation.

Yes i get pounded for my views on bryston but bryston was the company that got me started in going down the audiophile road. I brought home a Bryston 3b for a long weekend and hooked it up to my Flagship Pioneer Elite receiver. I was running 95db sensitive Horn Wharfedale Vanguards (based on and an improved version of the now classic E-70) and these are dead easy to drive speakers. The Pioneer Elite had drop jaw terrific specs and at the time was said to be one of the better receivers around.

The Bryston dealer knew my speakers and at that time I was considering PMC loudspeakers because the Wharfedales sound wooly and bloated and slow. He said - don't trade the Wharfedale for the TB1s because I'd miss the full range sound. Take home the Bryston to try.

I brought it home and it destroyed the receiver. Despite the receiver's claimed 125 watts per channel RMS with .00025% THD and discrete amps etc - the 120 watt bryston had unbelievable grip and had air and all the other wonderful stuff. The speakers stayed the amp was sold off.

For a long time I had Bryston and PMC as a goal - and I still feel they're best suited together - they have a high impact sort of sound - a precise sound which is no doubt why they have great appeal in the studio. But home speakers are supposed to be more for relaxation and not analyzing all the time. And it's so hard to put that into words. On drums for instance the high impact thwack and cymbals a high impact system is nice - but when it comes to softer vocals Sarah McLachlan, Loreena McKennitt Jackson Browne and guitar strings it's where the Bryston/PMC falls down.

What was really surprising for me when i first heard a SET amp (The Audio Note Meishu) it was a big silver box and I was fortunate at that time not to know who Audio Note was, or that it was even a tube amp. It was in a cabinet on the bottom shelf and it just looks like a monster Krell or something. I was hearing acoustic instruments with by far the best transient and decay behaviour I had ever heard from an audio system over 20 years. A couple in the next section of the store who could hear it but not see it came in to hear the musician and was equally floored. The salespeople played some music of thunderous ability and I played a Beethoven piano Sonata and again piano was just so shockingly right. This is something I have heard from other brands SE amplifiers too so it's not brand specific necessarily either.

Big bass - powerful tight controlled etc. So then I asked about the watts given the Krell sized amp - answer - 8 watts. Where is the subwoofer that is providing the bass with those two standmounts with mediocre sized 8 inch woofers. Oh there is none. That changed my entire view of the audio industry, forum advice magazine advice and a whole lot of other things. And I am pleased that some recording studios have begun to use tubes and these kinds of speakers.

astrallite
03-12-2010, 09:33 PM
Active speakers like studio monitors are almost exclusively soft-dome designs.

Also they are designed specifically for near-field listening; the high frequency response is intentionally and aggressively rolled off off-axis to avoid fatigue.

K-High-Fi
03-13-2010, 02:22 AM
Thank you very much to all for wonderful opinion, little discussion help good enough learning systems and components match. From good comments here it appear using studio monitor in home not suitable! I also learned more from Harbeth web that studio monitoring has high output up to 130 db, which is very dangerous to our health. 85 db is low enough for home use in longer period without any hazard. I believe this is exactly what I want to learn and probably good for everyone know this. I use to see speaker in store, listen for a little time, then buying it! Without considering other important facts or details because we lack the knowledge and recourses! Hence most the time I end up with unhappy results: not the sound I want, and wasting time and money!

I had some bad experience with some systems before like B&O speakers, which cost high, later I learned most money I paid goes to decoration design and little for the sound performance. Bose 901 sounded phenomenal at store (great highs and lows and dynamic), but later I felt sounded less perfect because most frequencies are smeared from back reflection design also the woofers made from paper! Stereophile have great review for 901 but I wish I read it before purchasing. MG-20 is another example but least problem; need very big room, very strong/dynamic amp, and good wall reflection. But gives very refine sound from any source.

Again thank you very much to all.

Here are some helpful links I found:

http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?777-The-Harbeth-sound-unique-because-of-the-BBC-connection

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

klif570
03-14-2010, 03:11 AM
You got this all wrong ding bat, I didn't call anyone but you technologically retarded. I wasn't talking to everyone, I was talking to YOU!

Tut tut.. your own words..

Sir Terrence the Terrible: ''Any person who is still looking for a DVD, and dedicated CD player in a Blu ray world where all three can be played on the same machine is obviously so behind the curve they can easily be considered technologically retarded.''

Haha.. I'll make sure my friends see this, we'll have a blast!

E-Stat
03-14-2010, 10:14 AM
Haha.. I'll make sure my friends see this, we'll have a blast!'
Such makes sense when one is primarily a videophile using the unit as a transport only and is content with the quality of the processor's DAC for music output. Naturally, that excludes SACD which his Oppo is capable of delivering but only in the analog domain (which is the source of the improvements in the SE version). Obviously, Oppo realized their basic DAC remained in the budget camp sonically.

rw

hifitommy
03-14-2010, 01:12 PM
audio engine makes some nice little affordable designs. perhaps better integrated in sound than the adam. the review in tas of the adam brings out their incoherencies. that is what was wrong with the ess amt1s of old.

air motion transformers can be made big enough for mids, why doesnt someone provide us with those?

RGA
03-16-2010, 03:41 PM
Sir Terrance

To continue with the Feedback idea - Peter Qvortrup discusses it at about the 3:15 mark and continues on with the big problem of feedback http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEUW3Y7IZRA

paulspencer
03-19-2010, 12:20 AM
Quite a few people on the StereoNet forum are getting Adam active speakers. I would say they are for some and not for others. Their build quality is exceptional. I'd say the sound is precise and perhaps a little brigher than some prefer. Given that they are active, I expect they could become more mellow by turning down the treble slightly. It can make a surprising difference. I know someone who went from Dynaudio Confidence to one of the Adam speakers. To my ears the Dynaudio speakers were "just right." Ultimately you have to hear them for yourself.

I'm a fan of active speakers. Active crossovers allow the full potential of a driver to be realised. You can do things that just aren't possible any other way. I had a demo of a digital active crossover system (DEQX) of some speakers using the Vifa Ring Radiator. Everyone agreed that it sounded best with a low 1.2k crossover point. With a passive crossover it's common to cross 3rd order @ 2.8k or this tweeter can sound harsh. But with the active crossover and very steep slopes, it was happy going low. Choices with active speakers are limited as the trend is for passive speakers.

One advantage not often realised is that if one prefers valve amps, active could well be the way to go. Active is much a more efficient way of using amplifier power. You can replace a 200w amp driving passive speakers with lower powered amps when running active. A 3 way active speaker may mean the tweeter amp needs 10% of the power, 40% for the mid and 50% for the woofer. You could probably replace that 200w amp with 100w for the bass, 50w for the mid and 15w for the mid.

K-High-Fi
03-19-2010, 06:07 AM
Thank you Paulancer for your input. I toke RGA advice and lucky I found dealer have Cary tube integrated preamp/amp connected to Klipsch RF-83 speaker. This first time I heard tube, however still my MG-20 driven by Krell FPB or KAV-500 sounded better generally, especially high and laws are extended, but I have to admit: tube sound VERY special and clean, very musical too, I would assume MG-20 would sound a lot better with the tube than SS. however, one thing I noticed the Krell FPB have some chemistry of Tube, very musical and none fatiguing, but not the same as tube I think. Now I want to buy phono tube box for my Project 9.1 :). I thought would be nice to share some experience here.

Thank you RGA very much and to all brining Tube idea. :)

RGA
03-19-2010, 12:10 PM
Unfortunately I don't think Klipsch RF 83 is a very good loudspeaker - it's good for the price but it's got problems. Cary doesn't have much drive IMO. That was the problem at CES - They were driving Marten speakers but couldn't muster the low end grunt.

Active speakers in theory have the advantage of tighter control over drivers - but that doesn't make it musically satisfying. I have heard the big actives from PMC and ATC. I would stick to an 8 watt SE tube and efficient speakers. It will depend on taste - I would take the PMC and ATC set-ups for high impact home theater - not for music. But that is a preference I realize.

K-High-Fi
03-19-2010, 12:42 PM
Yes I noticed the bass somehow missing when I played Sound Tracks for Erich Kunzel track Imperial march (empire strikes back), the dealer told me because from Klipsch not Cary! Hmm, I also noticed need certain spot to hear best bass from it.

Now im interested :)

I have limited source for tube brands, any suggesting good Tube amp brands and speakers match as well. Also, all my systems are SS, if I want to upgrade shall I go with tube amp and keep SS preamp or vice versa? My listening mostly Orchestra, soundtracks, pops, little rock.

Sir Terrence the Terrible
03-19-2010, 02:48 PM
Yes i get pounded for my views on bryston but bryston was the company that got me started in going down the audiophile road. I brought home a Bryston 3b for a long weekend and hooked it up to my Flagship Pioneer Elite receiver. I was running 95db sensitive Horn Wharfedale Vanguards (based on and an improved version of the now classic E-70) and these are dead easy to drive speakers. The Pioneer Elite had drop jaw terrific specs and at the time was said to be one of the better receivers around.

The Bryston dealer knew my speakers and at that time I was considering PMC loudspeakers because the Wharfedales sound wooly and bloated and slow. He said - don't trade the Wharfedale for the TB1s because I'd miss the full range sound. Take home the Bryston to try.

Interesting that you brought up the PMC/Bryston combo. My listening/tracking room uses this combination, and it has excellent system synergy, as if they were meant to work together. I upgraded from the 7B-SST to the 28B-SST and the improvement was pretty dramatic. I also got my hands on a California Audio Labs custom CL-2500 which is a discrete mono amp based off of the CL-2500 MCA paired with the Dunlavy SCV's(7 of them). This amp sounded better to my ears than the CL-2500 MCA.


I brought it home and it destroyed the receiver. Despite the receiver's claimed 125 watts per channel RMS with .00025% THD and discrete amps etc - the 120 watt bryston had unbelievable grip and had air and all the other wonderful stuff. The speakers stayed the amp was sold off.

For a long time I had Bryston and PMC as a goal - and I still feel they're best suited together - they have a high impact sort of sound - a precise sound which is no doubt why they have great appeal in the studio. But home speakers are supposed to be more for relaxation and not analyzing all the time. And it's so hard to put that into words. On drums for instance the high impact thwack and cymbals a high impact system is nice - but when it comes to softer vocals Sarah McLachlan, Loreena McKennitt Jackson Browne and guitar strings it's where the Bryston/PMC falls down.

That particular amp does not sound that good at lower volume levels. The 28B-SST is much better with soft and delicate stuff than the 3B and 7B are. Subtle was not their strong suit.


What was really surprising for me when i first heard a SET amp (The Audio Note Meishu) it was a big silver box and I was fortunate at that time not to know who Audio Note was, or that it was even a tube amp. It was in a cabinet on the bottom shelf and it just looks like a monster Krell or something. I was hearing acoustic instruments with by far the best transient and decay behaviour I had ever heard from an audio system over 20 years. A couple in the next section of the store who could hear it but not see it came in to hear the musician and was equally floored. The salespeople played some music of thunderous ability and I played a Beethoven piano Sonata and again piano was just so shockingly right. This is something I have heard from other brands SE amplifiers too so it's not brand specific necessarily either.

Big bass - powerful tight controlled etc. So then I asked about the watts given the Krell sized amp - answer - 8 watts. Where is the subwoofer that is providing the bass with those two standmounts with mediocre sized 8 inch woofers. Oh there is none. That changed my entire view of the audio industry, forum advice magazine advice and a whole lot of other things. And I am pleased that some recording studios have begun to use tubes and these kinds of speakers.

I just love when I see things and have an expectation, and that expectation is blown out of the water in a positive way. That was my experience with the Cerwin Vega speakers. The sound was not high end, but it was natural, powerful, full, and satisfying on many levels.

Tube amps have never grown on me even though when combined with certain speakers they sound pretty darn good.

Mr Peabody
03-19-2010, 03:03 PM
K-High, when beginning with tubes most add a tube preamp to get their character but stick with solid state power for the control and slam.

For me personally I wasn't satisfied with the sound until I had an entire tube chain. I now have a solid state CD player and believe that's the way to go in sources if running tubes in the amplification. But that could be due to personal preference or synergy.

Adding a tube DAC or CD Player may be a way to introduce the sound into your system as well.

RGA
03-19-2010, 05:21 PM
Yes I noticed the bass somehow missing when I played Sound Tracks for Erich Kunzel track Imperial march (empire strikes back), the dealer told me because from Klipsch not Cary! Hmm, I also noticed need certain spot to hear best bass from it.

Now im interested :)

I have limited source for tube brands, any suggesting good Tube amp brands and speakers match as well. Also, all my systems are SS, if I want to upgrade shall I go with tube amp and keep SS preamp or vice versa? My listening mostly Orchestra, soundtracks, pops, little rock.

The thing with tube amps is they're not created equally and a lot of it comes down to the transformers. Audiofederation is one of the biggest high end dealers in the US and they carry Audio Note and marten loudspeakers and they dislike the Cary amps on the Marten's but Audio Note has little trouble driving them - it comes down to power supply and the bigger AN amps have the kind of power transformers that often drive speakers they shouldn't be able to drive. But they also cost a helluva lot more than Cary so they "ought to." Cary tends to sound more like stereotypical tube amps - softer mushier and a little veiled - they sound really sweet and nice and everything but they miss out on the grunt factor.

Interestingly I have listened to the Klipsch reference line and prefer the small floorstander - the 72 I believe - I often prefer the middle model of such speaker lines because the biggest has more bass but often more resonances - but I didn't hear them with the best gear. Still the 72 seemed to me to have less problems.

RGA
03-19-2010, 05:32 PM
Sir Terrence the Terrible

There are always exceptions - and I think the toughest thing is to change track once you have your mind set on a given technology - and that includes me. CES 2010 was nice because I found numerous exceptions to my belief systems - enough to not get locked in on approaches. Though I still noted that the very best rooms used tube front ends and it says much when most of the rooms were using tube front ends - even rooms with speakers that you would be "surprised" would use a tube amp.

I don't love the stereotypes that tubes get - but must admit there are a LOT of tube amps that do sound mushy, veiled, dark, and lack openness and unfortunately those are the tube amps that seem to get more attention. I don't like the idea of trying to "fix" loudspeakers using amps as tone controls. And it's awfully hard to convince a PMC Bryston guy to go with tubes if they have heard mushy tubes like a Cary or Jolida which tend not to be able to generate the bottom end impact of the bigger SS amps.

I believe in the system approach - and with low powered tube designs you almost have to buy into the system synergy notion because SETS have such low power they simply can't drive every loudspeaker the way a massive Bryston can. So the only thing I can say is that it requires an audition.

This is a poster on AA who had top of the line Bryston/PMC $20k British pounds invested in it. And he brought home an entry level Audio Note system to try out. http://www.audioasylum.com/reviews/Other/Audio-Note/Level-3-system/general/345133.html

I think it's critical that a tube design not sound thick or veiled - it needs to have the same treble openness and bass drive - and not very many tube systems muster it to a satisfactory level to convince SS guys to switch.

Mr Peabody
03-19-2010, 05:59 PM
RGA, how does the Klipsch Reference line compare to the Heritage?

RGA
03-19-2010, 08:38 PM
The only heritage speaker I have heard is the Klipschhorn and they are big bold and have a sense of live scale. The Reference speakers are the slim line designed speakers that are less efficient and boxier sounding and possess a nasal quality to them - but I find that from most slim boxes like this. The Reference standmounts have less box and thus less interference. I like them at the price mind you and think they get overlooked because largely they sell in low-fi shops - in Canada they sell at London Drugs which is unfortunate because they're typically mated to receivers and lines up beside 10 other speakers with a switch box.

The K-Horn has a big live scale sound far more dynamic and largely free of the box. Some complain about the treble but so it goes with any horn. I think that can be compensated for with good electronics - horns tend to show up limitations.

I know some folks like the LaScalla and others better than the K-Horn - they may be right Have not heard them so I can't say.

Still I would probably lean to the Tannoy Prestige series since they're in the same price class offer similar live scale sound - and generally sound smoother - but they cost more.

paulspencer
03-19-2010, 09:46 PM
I haven't heard too many Klipsch speakers, but the ones I've heard were not good enough to use as a basis for comparing amps. It's futile trying to judge amps when the speakers used have a lot of coloration are are simply not neutral enough. I recall a session at a high end hifi shop where the sales person showed a friend of mine two different amps on some cheap mini speakers. He was expecting us to pick the difference between a Yamaha and Denon receiver. The track was a familar Jazz track. I didn't say at the time but it sounded equally awful on both amps. The speakers were so bad it was impossible to judge. I'd expect the same of a lot of Klipsch speakers which have a fair amount of treble coloration from the horn loaded domes. Tracks that sound magical on neutral and accurate speakers with just about any amp sounded bland and lifeless. It's a bit like trying to hear a whisper when someone in the room is shouting, yet that's what a lot of audiophiles think they can do.

Mr Peabody
03-19-2010, 10:45 PM
If any one knew me or looks into my threads you will notice I was far from a Klipsch fan. They have speakers I've seen and heard that are...... well trying to be tactful, let's just say I wouldn't own or listen to them. The Klipschorns are a different story as I understand the same with the four remaining models in the Heritage line. It's a shame the same company can make other products that are just dreadful.

I saw Klipsch has a Paladium series that is pretty expensive, any one know what kind of sound they have?

Sir Terrence the Terrible
03-20-2010, 11:21 AM
Sir Terrence the Terrible

There are always exceptions - and I think the toughest thing is to change track once you have your mind set on a given technology - and that includes me. CES 2010 was nice because I found numerous exceptions to my belief systems - enough to not get locked in on approaches. Though I still noted that the very best rooms used tube front ends and it says much when most of the rooms were using tube front ends - even rooms with speakers that you would be "surprised" would use a tube amp.

I used to attend CES every year, but work and having my own studio has pretty much killed that. I think you are right on changing track once you have settled on a particular technology. My choice is based on my attendance at CES, listening to many different high end(costly) and high performance(not always costly) systems over the years. I have heard really good sounding tube based systems, but there was always a flaw in them that I could not get past. They may have a great coherent midrange and sweet highs, but the bass either dragged the system down, or distortion was a problem with peaks. My journey with ribbon or electrostatic panels was always dogged by linearity problems, poor bass response, lack of overall dynamics, poor dispersion characteristics in the high frequencies even though they had a lush and coherent midrange. Being a musician, I believe that a good bass response is essential to a good sounding loudspeaker. The bass is the foundation of all music, and if a speaker cannot do it well, it kills everything else for me.


I don't love the stereotypes that tubes get - but must admit there are a LOT of tube amps that do sound mushy, veiled, dark, and lack openness and unfortunately those are the tube amps that seem to get more attention. I don't like the idea of trying to "fix" loudspeakers using amps as tone controls. And it's awfully hard to convince a PMC Bryston guy to go with tubes if they have heard mushy tubes like a Cary or Jolida which tend not to be able to generate the bottom end impact of the bigger SS amps.

I have heard both Cary and Jolida tube amps, but they are not the only ones that have formed my opinion on tube amps. Some of the really good tube designs sound damn good when paired with speakers they can drive well, but my experience has found that that combination was scarce outside of events like CES. I do not like the fact that the tubes have to be replaced, and seemingly needed constant fiddling with to get optimum performance(at least it seemed that way). Another perception I have is that certain cable designs can give some tube amps a real bad fit. I guess I am a plug and play guy, and the only thing I really like fiddling with constantly is room acoustics, of which I am a stickler about.


I believe in the system approach - and with low powered tube designs you almost have to buy into the system synergy notion because SETS have such low power they simply can't drive every loudspeaker the way a massive Bryston can. So the only thing I can say is that it requires an audition.

We are in total agreement here. I believe in system synergy far more than system price. I have found that some very costly components can really sound bad when combined together, and some medium priced components can often sound quite good when combined. I have one home theater/music system that did not cost a lot of money to put together, but had great synergy that made it sound terrific when combined together.


This is a poster on AA who had top of the line Bryston/PMC $20k British pounds invested in it. And he brought home an entry level Audio Note system to try out. http://www.audioasylum.com/reviews/Other/Audio-Note/Level-3-system/general/345133.html

I loved that the reviewer gave enough information for us to get the idea he liked what he heard, but not enough for the vultures to pick apart his pleasure.


I think it's critical that a tube design not sound thick or veiled - it needs to have the same treble openness and bass drive - and not very many tube systems muster it to a satisfactory level to convince SS guys to switch.

Bingo. I am sure there are tube system that can do everything a SS amp can do, but those system cost far more than a SS amp, or they are too few and far between. While I don't think that SS amps are the holy grail of sound reproduction, many of them do so well on so many perimeters it is easy to look at them that way. This is how I look at the Bryston 28b, and the CL-2500 amps I have. Not perfect, but so close in so many ways.

Mr Peabody
03-20-2010, 11:43 AM
Sir T, ever hear any of the Dynaudio studio speakers?

Sir Terrence the Terrible
03-20-2010, 11:47 AM
If any one knew me or looks into my threads you will notice I was far from a Klipsch fan. They have speakers I've seen and heard that are...... well trying to be tactful, let's just say I wouldn't own or listen to them. The Klipschorns are a different story as I understand the same with the four remaining models in the Heritage line. It's a shame the same company can make other products that are just dreadful.

With Klipsch, you scale upwards in sound as you go up their individual lines. The Synergy line is just awful, and I mean awful. Spitty piercing highs, bloated bass, and very hard midrange are how I would describe them. The Reference Line sounds a little more refined, but still dogged by harsh highs(when driven), but has a smoother midrange but an overly prominent bass. The American assembled line (RF-3,RF-5, and RF-7) sound better than the Chinese assembled speakers in the line such as the RF- 35, RF-52 and 82. The Heritage line generally sounds the best of all their speakers, and with after market mods(better crossovers, and better drivers) they can sound clean. lively, very present, and full of realistic dynamic punch. I have three heavily modified Klipschorns that used to have a home in my screening/mixing room. These were the best sounding speakers I had every heard up to that point in my listening experience. Every negative issue with the speaker had been addressed in the mod, so they were just stunning to listen to. Using wood horns in place of metal or plastic is the key to getting rid of the horn coloration the speaker can sometimes exhibit. They were the most un-horn like sounding horn loaded speaker I have ever heard, much like the current horn hybrid system I currently use in one of my hometheaters. They are in storage now until I can figure out what to do with them.


I saw Klipsch has a Paladium series that is pretty expensive, any one know what kind of sound they have?

It is far more refined than the Klipschorn in every way. The PF-39F when paired with the right amp sounds absolutely stunning. They flesh out detail as good as electrostatic and ribbons do, and sound just as coherent in the midrange and sound staging as well. Before I invested in my PMC, this was the speaker I had originally wanted for my tracking/listening room. They came out too late, so I went with the PMC's instead. I will definitely give them some consideration in the future.

Sir Terrence the Terrible
03-20-2010, 11:58 AM
Sir T, ever hear any of the Dynaudio studio speakers?

Most definately. My good friend Chris Boyes (sound designer of Avatar, and Pirates of the Carribean) uses the AIR20 active monitors and BM 14S Active subwoofer in his sound design suite at his house. He has used this monitoring system to create the sound design for Iron Man, Pirates, Avatar, and several other high profile movies. Great sound.

Now that i think of it, several of my fellow sound designers use Dynaudio speakers for their mixing and sound design monitoring systems. Dynaudio is pretty popular in Hollywood post production facilities. They are popular along with M&K speakers, and Blue Sky monitors.

K-High-Fi
03-21-2010, 11:23 AM
Thank you Peabody and RGA very much for great comments. I decided to buy Pro-Ject tube phono box SE II for my 9.1 turntables, if anybody feel this tube not perfect please let me know. I will be very happy to learn.

Since nobody mention it, what people think of Conrad Johnson, does it sound real tube? and what the special thing about these bulbs and importance like 300B?

Thanks.

RGA
03-21-2010, 12:49 PM
Sir T

The problem is that I have the reverse problem or I guess experience than you have had. Most people who go on about tubes talk about the midrange magic and not the rolloff on the frequency extremes. Kind of what Panel owners like.

Unlike Panels that sound like that no matter what amplifier is hooked up tube amps are far more varied in design and sound quality. A Jolida 302B sounds a LOT different than an Antique Sound Labs AQ 1003DT despite the fact that both use the same tube compliment. The Jolida sounds syrupy and fat and the ASL sounds more like a Bryston. Polar opposite sounding tube amps. I actually like them both for the money and you can generally partner them with the right kind of speaker to yield good results.

The interesting thing though is the AN E/Spe HE with Jinro integrated (~ 20 watts) and it was some of the best bass at CES. I walked into one room where the guy was telling me that you needed 1000 watts (his own 1000 watt power amp) to drive speakers properly and get proper bass). I wonder why these manufacturers don't close their door for half an hour and walk down the halls to listen because the AN E played louder with deeper tighter bass - and didn't screw up the midrange and make the treble sound brittle.

Frankly I get tired of hearing those manufacturers because they either bury their head in the sound or they have no clue what they're doing.

There is not question that some speakers require more power than a 10 watt tube amp - and that such amps will become distortion generators. Usually low frequencies and high frequencies is where impedance drops. That requires the tube amp (or any amp) to increase power to meet the speaker's needs. When the need isn't met the speaker distorts because the amp can't produce.

Though I will maintain that when the speaker is chosen carefully - a good tube amp has better bass than a SS amp. And IMO it comes down to decay and that is where SS even the best of the best SS falls apart.

But just staying with SS - I once directly compared a Sugden A48b Class A/B 60 watter versus a big 150watt Musical FIdelity. The MF sounded powerful and has that noise/air rush around instruments that sounds detailed on the showroom floor. The Sugden had all the treble without the noise/air and at first sounds a little dark. The MF had very tight bass response - the Sugden had a deeper tone - but it also sounded as though it was producing a lot deeper bass as well. The A48b is known as a "valve-like" sounding SS amp.

To me the Sugden was a much better amplifier and I bought it. Sugden's are not high current amps - they don't double into 4ohms and they have no frequency limiter devices. The Bryston 3,4 and 7 and 14 are the Bryston's I have heard and all lack bass depth IMO. They're fast and tight but they simply never really dig deep and that is a problem with them on my speakers - I felt they cut off a few octaves. The treble has that noise/air that is not present in any live music I have ever heard - that air may sound cool but I can't believe how it can be viewed as accurate. Something IMO is franly broken about the sound. The caveat though is that a speaker built for low damping factor won't work well with the likes of Bryston and the reverse is true.

So ultimately it then comes down to speaker choice. A Bryston will drive far more speakers than a 10 watt amp - but to me the issue should be framed differently - since very few speakers are really any good (at least ones that are affordable) the fact that an amp can drive more of the bad ones doesn't really make the advantage an advantage.

For the recording studio tubes have problems - down time is a big one and a hugely costly one. But one reason people complain so much about most recordings being lousy and worse that pre 1970's recordings may in fact in part be due to changing from tubes to SS. I have a growing record collection and so far all of the best ones are the older ones. It should be noted that one of if not the best classical recording studios, Chesky records, uses tube equipment in the studio.

Tubes are pain in the butt. I like plug and play as well. Fortunately, I chose Audio Note which requires no work of any kind. The SE amps require no tube biasing and they have a generally long life - 8000+ hours on the amps and 100,000 hours on the cd players. Take them out and stick the new ones in and the amp does the rest. Not too bad at all. Note many other amps do this self biasing - you have to look - pretty sure all SETs do it.

To me I go by the sound of the overall system - the actual boxes are completely unimportant. My dealer carries for example the N801 from B&W and I am sure you have heard them. Running Bryston power amps, McIntosh, MF. Versus an AN E and an 8 watt amps. The N801 should have more bass and slam and treble etc. I should walk away "clearly" being swayed that the N801 with that kind of amplifier power should win the day. A two way with 8 watts has no right to even compete let alone beat them. It just shouldn't happen.

I would have liked to audition the 28b but the only room using it was the Magnepan room and those are hardly the speakers you want to use to show off bass prowess, accuracy, dynamics, treble quality. Why Bryston would choose them is beyond me.

Mr Peabody
03-21-2010, 02:59 PM
K-high, I think I touched on this earlier. I love Conrad Johnson. The gear seems to give the music a soul, sort of a rhythm or pace to it, the thing that makes music, music. I read and heard the term "musical" used to describe a lot of gear, it may mean different things to different people but to me Conrad Johnson is the epitomy of "musical". Some of the older gear has sort of the stereotype tube sound but the more modern gear has good bass response with extended highs. The PV14 I had was a good preamp for the price but didn't extend to deeper low end and a bit valed compared to my current CT6. The CT6 is an incredible preamp that shatters any stereotype of tubes. My system now does a better bass line than anything I've owned prior and that includes Krell. Krell may have better control but it lacks what RGA was talking about, the decay. The CJ is more able to make the bass sound like bass. The Krell is actually a bit too controlled to be totally convincing. To be fair my tube set up isn't as fast as Krell either. So crescendos aren't going to have quite the impact as with the likes of a Krell. Krell can deliver quite a gut punch when called upon. One thing I enjoy in my tube gear is the presence. I have yet to hear any solid state gear give you that live in the room feel to human voices the way tubes can. Some may call it warmth but when I listen to solid state it may give you the physical feel of a live performance but it lacks something tubes have. I call it presence but it's more an ability to lift the performance off the paper or give it more dimension. If you've ever tried walking in the dark or your eyes closed and felt you were coming close to a wall? It's sort of that feel tubes give to music. Your mind is more convinced of reality Except for ultra expensive solid state gear, for the most part, tubes are more capable of delivering micro and macro dynamics. I also like to call these "texture". Because those dynamics is what conveys more detail about the instrument being played. I am talking in general terms when referring to tubes. Conrad Johnson for the most part delivers the things I was speaking of in spades. Again, it's worth repeating, CJ in the past their gear definitely had a "golden glow". So when buying used older gear may be more stereotype tube where newer gear keeps with good attributes of tubes while doing away with many of the stereotypes like rolled off highs and tubby bass.

E-Stat
03-21-2010, 05:37 PM
I love Conrad Johnson. The gear seems to give the music a soul, sort of a rhythm or pace to it, the thing that makes music, music. I read and heard the term "musical" used to describe a lot of gear, it may mean different things to different people but to me Conrad Johnson is the epitomy of "musical".
I've always like C-J gear since the time I first heard the Premier One amp back in 1980. The ART line stage remains among my favorites.

rw

Ajani
03-22-2010, 10:12 AM
Yes i get pounded for my views on bryston

I must say that this is one of the most insightful threads I've read on AR in very long time!

RGA, Sir T and Mr Peabody have all provided some excellent perspective on why they chose the gear they did and what they compared it to... While I haven't auditioned all the brands you 3 have mentioned, I am familiar with enough of them to appreciate what you are talking about and the descriptions of strengths/flaws of each...

K-High-Fi
03-23-2010, 01:21 AM
Agreed! Thank you all for helfpul thoguhts.

K-High-Fi
03-24-2010, 01:45 AM
Thank you RGA, Mr Peabody, and Sir Terrence. Your posts are truely helpful for me. Thanks again for everything.

Mr Peabody
03-24-2010, 07:27 PM
You are welcome.

Hipper
11-05-2010, 12:24 AM
I haven't a wide range of expertise on this subject but have VMPS RM30M speakers with a passive crossover. These have ribbon drivers for the tweeter and mid range.

There are options throughout the VMPS range for both passive and active (using the Behringer DCX) crossovers and prices seem reasonable. The problem I had in the UK was auditioning them - I couldn't but took a chance on the guidance of my dealer and don't regret it.

The RM30M worked well for me in a small room (13' x 8' x 8') but this was with room treatment and a digital equalizer (Behringer DEQ2496). I now view these two as an essential part of any hi-fi set up. I listen in a nearfield arrangement.

http://www.vmpsaudio.com/RM30.htm