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RGA
06-06-2004, 07:26 PM
Listened to Magnepan, B&W, Audio Note on Friday as that was all that I could get time for. 7 hours of listening - minus a short lunch and a few cappuchino's and coffees provided by the great group at Soundhounds. However I have some musings on Totem, Paradigm Signature and Martin Logan as well

The store was much leaner and less stuffed with gear this time around. They now have a dedicated home theater room with a giant front projection system and all B&W all around in one room. I didn't spend time in there but the picture of the movie ICE AGE was impressive to say the least. The store had set it all up becuase one of the top B&W guys is flying down in a couple of weeks.

Please no flames this was my impressions of the speakers of the day and not an attack on other people's choices - not everyone is going to like the same things. Follow the bolded spots for discussion of a given speaker to the next bold for the next speaker.

I was extremely excited getting in the store and seeing a set of Magneplanars in used because I have no problem buying used and people rave so much about them that it would have been nice to hear them before upgrading just to save myself future second guessing.

The Maggies are not carried by my dealer though they were years ago and he even owned their top of the line for a short while. These were in on trade - looked like big White scratching posts. The model he told me but I forget - something with a 2 in it - it was supposedly the 2nd from the top. Quite large actually - wider than me and maybe ~5.5 feet high
I had them hook it up to the top of the line MF integrated and a very nice and rugged looking Rotel CD player - have not been paying too much attention to Rotel - but they're at least "looking" better these days.

I have to say it was a wildly different sound than the B&W and Audio Note speakers. If I stood up and walked toward them the sound became completely muddy like a towel had been put over the singer's mouth - so it is certainly very important to set them up correctly and and be seated at a reasonable height and distance.

I tried a few discs from Dianna Krall, Tina Turner and Jesse Cook. What was good was an incredibly clear vocal band and a ton of air - I mean a ton of air - plenty of wetness to vocals. The top and bottom end presented some problems - I was not convinced by the location of instruments as if they were on the panel rather than on a stage and the bass while seemingly deep simply had no impact whatsoever - I mean almost zero - it just seemed that on the drum kicks it was just lifeless to me. The music was clear but lacked the full body. It did far better on lighter guitar.

I do think I understand the appeal of em and why people like them and certainly I understand why some would gravitate to them - certainly against a lot of the boxed competition which are resonance inducers that tend to have a "thumpy" quality. Thus I can certainly understand why one would choose no bass impact over lousy bass impact - the latter is abnoxious - the former isn't missed if you don't know it's supposed to be there. There were qualities that reminded me of Electrostats and it did a lot of terrific things - in the end they're not for me. Not enough meat on the bones was a good analogy IMO.

The rest of the audiotons were don in the same room, same stands, same electronics - with slight adjustment where needed to satisfy a better posoition for the speakers. Those electronics were as follows:

Audio Note Meishu 8 watt SET amp - a lower end Audio note integrated running at $10,000Cdn - about twice as high as my 300 disc cd player and deeper by the looks of it.

Audio Note level 3 cd player - not sure of price - all cabling was Audio Note - with very heavy duty looking power chords directly into high grade wall sockets. Skylan stands used for all speakers.

Audio Note AN K/Spe was first up in line - this was to let me get accustomed to my speakers in a different room and with much superior gear. I listened for a good hour running through some selections from the discs I brought with me [Classic Yo-Yo, Dianna Krall "Girl in the Other Room", Tina Turner "Simply the Best", Santana "Shaman" and "Abraxas", Leahy "Lakefield, Acoustic Alchemy "Back on the Case", Sarah McLachlan "Mirrorball"(Live album), "Afterglow", CBC's After Hours Jazz Collection, Albinoni "Adagio Albinoni" Naxos 8.552244, Jesse Cook "Tempest", Madonna "The Immaculate Collection", Dido "No Angel", Natalie Cole "Unforgettable"]

The sound of course was very good to the point where I began thinking "you know a nice B&W or Paradigm sub might work just fine." I came out of the room and the dealer just smiled at my thought and said yes you can add bass but it's not just about bass. Removing the K's he put up the

Audio Note J/Spe's and within 2 minutes it was game over to thoughts about adding subwoofer(s). The AN K was a standmount that bettered every other standmount around it's size I had ever heard. The J/Spe I'm not sure can really be called a standmount speaker in this day and age to be totally fair. It is roughly 3 times the volume size of the K's and simply sounded much bigger and with far more sense of depth front to back than the K's could muster. The dealer said that Audio Note is trying to prove the diminishing returns theory wrong by having you go in and listen to a product at one level and then saying WOW at the next level - not oh i hear a bit of added bass. The sound was far more open and vocals were simply outstanding with the wetness and sense of air that I have only heard from the best speakers - usually a LOT LOT bigger speakers. The drivers are different in the J to the K as is the crossover and overall design of course - but it's to such a degree that youalmost can't go back - as good as the K's are already the J takes it all up a league in every regard - and they still manage to remain postion friendly despite rear porting.

The Albinoni disc was the deciding factor - classical music is so tough to do well because hardness brightness can completely distract me from the music. Not so here - it was the first time I was moved to tears from a session at a store. There was no hint of grain anywhere at anytime and that is a tribute to well designed gear. Closing my eyes the stereo "system" was gone - the listening "for" sonic attributes dissapeared - leaving musicality at the top of the list. We can talk of dips and spikes in frequency graphs, box versus no box, SET versus SS, Audio Note arrogance, multi-way versus 2 way versus one way, Metal versus planar versus stat etc etc etc. The emotion the enveloping nature of the great systems have it ---- find yours - whether it's Audio Note or not is not important - LISTEN and wait for something to provide you some cort of cathartic listening experience.


Rather than blathering on more I say go listen.

I listened to a lower level J against the J/Spe on another thread. The Basic J/L is no longer made and was a terrific speaker and was probably selling for $4kCdn

B&W N805 - I was going to go with the 705 - but really you'll see a billion of those reviews in the next months - So a look see at the favorite N805 again can't hurt and I thought was warranted considering it runs $3000.00Cdn - and more "In competition" with the K and J.

The presentation was good old B&W but better than I have heard in the past expecially at the frequency extremes. The Meishu at a mere 8 watts had no trouble with the b&W playing at high levels while maintaining deep bass(well as deep as the 805 musters) and a smooth effrtless top end with a touch of hardness for the style of tweeter,crossover, woofer choices they have made. The N805 would be a pleasure to own and it's still a great speaker - but this amp/cd player combo would be my choice. The SET Meishu exhibited absolutely no noise whether loud or not nor at any time did i need to move the knob past 12 O'clock to get good levels - and there was plenty on tap for more. I would still take the presentation of the K over the N805 simply due to the more cohesive sound from top to bottom. The J/Spe or J/L simply embarrased the N805 - and they should given the cost. Though the J at soundhounds are last years model and cost $500.00 less - but this is a fluke deal. The J is simply giving you way more of what's on the disc with much much deeper and tuneful bass response and a top end that that was reminiscent of the openness and air of the Magnepans.

Interesting thing I noted about the J's was that you almost NEVER see the woofer actually move even on demanding bass material. The E is like this as well though the woofer on the K would visibly move more. From Madonna's Vogue to Classical pieces at prettyhigh levels the woofer seems not to budge - at elast not to the naked eye. Presumably they will at very very high levels with very high bass content but I didn't see it. The dealer said that this is because the cabinet is not created to work AGAINST the driver like virtually all other box designs. It is indeed designed like a violin or guitar box were the entire cabinet is involved in creating the sound - the driver doesn't need to move very far to get the cabinet going and let it handle the rest. From that I was attempting to hear a box colouration because that "should" happen but nary did I find it.

What I could not hear on the day:
Paradigm Signature Series. I wanted too given the request - but the dealer brought the Signature Series in for several weeks and shipped them back. The problem was simply thay they felt the sound was simply too close to the Studio reference line and desipite the vastly superior cabinets and finishing in the signature models they felt the sound didn't live up to the levels of the money charged - not against what the store is currently carrying. They decide what makes the grade in their store. Don't shoot the messenger - this is what THEY said not me so don't get in a hissy fit at me about it. Indeed, this also indicated that they think highly of the Studio models in fact and might save Paradigm lovers from a looks over sound upgrade. Remember the B&W CM series is supposedly an upgrade over the 600 series but is JUST cosmetic.

I also wanted to hear the Totem Rainmaker but alas the dealer said they will not be buyuing anymore stock though they will remain an ordering hub - if you want one you can order one kinda deal. The same deal with Martin Logan. The size and positioning price and sound to varrying degrees were tough for them to move.

Canadians and Audio Note specific shoppers
Musings about Soundhounds and Audio Note. The owner at Soundhounds who I met, while he was tweaking out a Juke Box :-) a fancy one at that, is in the works to have the speaker building done at Soundhounds to reduce costs - the entry Dacs are already being made in Canada. The owner of Soundhounds has bought one of the top E models and an all AN system - like all the other salesman - and is awaiting the new Ongaku-On integrated which is on the way.


I asked about them laying the Audio Note "love in" on a bit thick. And he said that if we just sold Audio Note we would go out of business to be frank. Most People come in to a place like Soundhounds and they have a preset product in their mind to buy, usually their big name sellers - which I presumed was Boston Acoustics, B&W and Paradigm. There job is not to re-invent the wheel. Where they can sell Audio Note is when people spend a lot of time in there and are not too impressed with what they actually hear from their preconceived expectations. But if someone comes in and Wants Reference 3a or B&W they sell Reference 3a and B&W. He also noted that what do you always here us listening to in the main rig (which is the center of the store). It's always Audio Note despite the fact that they carry far costlier gear.

I also thought it was interesting to meet a customer who re-wired his B&W speakers with Audio Note Silver wiring and was astounded by the improved results. He lives near the store and has been an audio shopper there for 28 years - never was impressed with the notions that cables made a different - brought them home never a change - until Audio Note. I'm personally very skeptical of cables but hey they will mail em to me to try and if I don't like em I can mail em back - or go and pick them up to ttry at home and bring em back etc - no cost - and the cables are not as obscene as I thought. Though $7.00Cdn a foot is still a lot more than $1.50 a foot - but many are $50.00 a foot out there so???

I was also surprised they closed their store down and had all their staff down at CES in Vegas with Mr. Qvortrup - with picture on the Soundhounds site of their top gear.

Personal Note to 92135011 I only upgraded from the K/Spe to the J/Spe because of the price you told me they were selling them for. There is no way I could afford a speaker this expensive normally. I am also happy that soundhounds reconsidered the initial trade-in value I was offerred and decided to give me 100% trade-in. I'm also glad I went to hear them and not thought it was just going to be about bass - in fact the added bass(which is considerable) is probably the smallest reason I went to the J.

Incidentally, they said listening to the AN E/Spe for any period would likely have me wanting something I couldn't afford and steered me away from listening to one (I ran out of time anyway) - and they also did an LP experiment at CES with Audio Note's second best turtable - and a re-worked version of the Voyd Reference (largely considered the world's best turntable), on a set of high end E's. They got results of 16hz and even 12hz(but they had a term for this of which I forgot) - People who went into that room didn't believe there was no subwoofer running - including folks from B&W. They simply would not have it that an 8incher from a small box(smaller than a 9NT) could put out that kind of sound and also that kind of bass.

The AN J stands were not in and are behind shipment as the company movied locations - so I have to use the 20 inch stands over the recommended 14-16 incher. Considering that they're still spankingly good on my Skylans.

92135011
06-06-2004, 10:43 PM
So your report on the maggies was exactly what one salesguy told me. If you like soundstage, this aint the speaker for you.
Interesting stuff about the CES LP experiment. Although, I'm thinking...is 16hz even all that practical? What artists would I need to look for to actually go that low? Most of the "bassy" stuff these days is usually midbass like dance or something. Although I have heard an amazing CD of this group of about 100 Chinese Drummers. Too bad I never got the name of that CD...really neat stuff probably could go down to 16 hz. But other than that, I'm not sure I've really listened to anything that requires it.

You going to stay on the 20 inch stand?

Feanor
06-07-2004, 07:41 AM
[QUOTE=RGA]Listened to Magnepan, B&W, Audio Note on Friday ... QUOTE]

I greatly respect your opinions which are based on frequent and extensive listening; that especially applies to spearkers. So I was particularly interested to hear that you finally got to listen to some Magneplanars. Your conclusions re. these speakers are not at all surprising, given (a) the nature of the speakers, and (b) your particular preferences.

To address the the latter first, it does seem you place high priority on dynamics, both macro and micro. It would seem that Audio Notes excel in this area. At least this is what your numerous reports imply to me; unfortunately I have never heard any AN speaker myself. Dynamics, particularly marco dynamics, are not areas of strength for Magneplanars. Especially with the smaller models -- certainly the MMG which I own -- a subwoofer is called for if you listen to anything much more than chamber music. BTW, I was able to "seamlessly" integrate my sub with minimal effort: I recommend an active cross-over at 80Hz for the MMGs, albeit the lower bass looses some "tightness".

Placement of Magneplanars is critical though not necessarily difficult. (This is true of all dipole, bipole, and omni speakers including Martin Logans, etc..) When auditioning them, always watch positioning: they ought to be 3+ feet from any wall for a start. That is, unless room treatments are used, but the effect of these can be difficult to gauge.

Magnepan is sometime criticized for not building better cross-overs or for not using good enough x-over components. And they have never bothered to sell products tweaked in this respect -- here one might say they are the antithesis of Audio Note.

By all means give Magneplanar more auditions when you have the opportunity. I doubt that you will make them your personal choice, but you might come to see why so many people love them. Or why, (regardless of your opinion of press reviewer in general), TAS rates all of Magnepan's models (except MMG), "best buys" in their respective price categories.

RGA
06-07-2004, 10:24 AM
The Magnepans were at least three feet from the rear wall maybe as much as 5. My dealer had their big ones way back. I do think I understand their appeal - my review of the AN K versus AN J is ot me an indication that adding a subwoofer simply doesn't do the job. A subwoofer adds bass - but the J would always be a more open sounding speaker than the K. Bass and dynamics are not quite the same thing.

And no matter the reviews in the end everything gets a good review - you still have to listen - the maggies and electrostats present a very different sound you either will buy into or not. Not knocking them - many people love em - many don't - so what else is new in the audio world.

RGA
06-07-2004, 10:32 AM
So your report on the maggies was exactly what one salesguy told me. If you like soundstage, this aint the speaker for you.
Interesting stuff about the CES LP experiment. Although, I'm thinking...is 16hz even all that practical? What artists would I need to look for to actually go that low? Most of the "bassy" stuff these days is usually midbass like dance or something. Although I have heard an amazing CD of this group of about 100 Chinese Drummers. Too bad I never got the name of that CD...really neat stuff probably could go down to 16 hz. But other than that, I'm not sure I've really listened to anything that requires it.

You going to stay on the 20 inch stand?

Organs and Synthesizers can go way down. People seem to think LP's will have trouble with deep bass - or for that matter that SETs can't do it or that one 8inch woofer can do it.

SO put all three of these supposed things together and get more bass than say the B&W N801 with a top of the line Krell and maybe people will clue in that no actually these old antiquated systems - supposedly - can kick the snot out of the NEW supposedly superior designs. SETs are not complicated enough to be able to reproduce full range music is one silly notion I have read.

Stereophile has actually reviewed an Audio note preamp in this issue - have not read it - not that reviews are important anyway but I might like to see what they think.

topspeed
06-07-2004, 10:55 AM
Nice review RGA and I hope you enjoy your new toys. I'm actually going to Vancouver for vacation this summer so if I get a chance, I'm hoping to drop into Soundhounds and finally hear the AN's myself.

Now, if I could just find a nice resort...

Feanor
06-07-2004, 10:58 AM
...Bass and dynamics are not quite the same thing. ...
Bass and dynamics aren't the same thing at all. The reason I recommend a sub with smaller Magneplanars is that the sub unburdens the Maggie of dynamic demand below the cross-over point. Most subs have more dynamic capability than the planar element, hence the combo has better over all dynamics. Deeper bass is a just bonus if you like.

I haven't had the sub integration problems some people have had. I tried a 50Hz cross-over and didn't like it. But that was because the setting didn't transfer sufficient dynamic demand to the sub, not at all because the sub was "slower" that the planar or such explanation.

RGA
06-07-2004, 11:15 AM
Nice review RGA and I hope you enjoy your new toys. I'm actually going to Vancouver for vacation this summer so if I get a chance, I'm hoping to drop into Soundhounds and finally hear the AN's myself.

Now, if I could just find a nice resort...

Soundhounds is in Victoria so it will require a ferry ride. But if you're on Vacation I should think you would want to include Vancouver Island anyway. A lot of nice summer spots on the island - Tofino on the west coast is supposed to be great - i still have yet to go and I live on the island :(

92135011
06-07-2004, 11:43 AM
Tofino is mega expensive these days I hear.
Plus if you arent a big beach or fishing fan, then its not really for you.
Ferry these days isnt cheap either. Think a car would cost you a good 40-50 one way. That's why its such a waste to go there for a day trip. Just the travel itself runs about almost 150. Then of course there are the attraction tix, which some of them are a ripoff - such as buchart gardens and others

RGA
06-07-2004, 12:42 PM
Topspeed is from the States though - so their money goes considerably further up here. Certainly it would not be advisable to ocme for one day - but coming over for 3-5 days and staying in a travel lodge in the Victoria area would be a good move. If you come to Vancouver and you don't go to the Island kinda short changes yourself. Depends how long your trip is too of course - but typically the Island and Whistler are the major places outside the Vancouver area to be seen. Whale watching is a popular activity in Tofino as well.

ciscokid1970
06-07-2004, 12:55 PM
Well since you are pricing things in Loons (Canadian $ for those unfamillar with the slang term) I am assuming you live in Canada.

If that is the case I am surprised that you have not given your local Canadian PSB a listen. The alpha is great for the money and the Image series is a even better value.

It is clear that you are aiming at wide soundstage stereo only music.

You gave a very fair (and close to my impression of the Maggies) so I figure that you may like the same type of sound I like.

I had a pair of psb 2b and I loved the sound and mostly the soundstage.

I now own a pair of B&W 601 with a asw 300 sub for my stereo room. Next I will upgrade to the Triangle titan 202.

Feanor
06-07-2004, 01:24 PM
So your report on the maggies was exactly what one salesguy told me. If you like soundstage, this aint the speaker for you. ...
Your sales person's definition of soundstage must be different from mine. Soundstage plus transparency are the Magneplanar halmarks.

RGA
06-07-2004, 01:33 PM
Well since you are pricing things in Loons (Canadian $ for those unfamillar with the slang term) I am assuming you live in Canada.

If that is the case I am surprised that you have not given your local Canadian PSB a listen. The alpha is great for the money and the Image series is a even better value.

It is clear that you are aiming at wide soundstage stereo only music.

You gave a very fair (and close to my impression of the Maggies) so I figure that you may like the same type of sound I like.

I had a pair of psb 2b and I loved the sound and mostly the soundstage.

I now own a pair of B&W 601 with a asw 300 sub for my stereo room. Next I will upgrade to the Triangle titan 202.

I'm not quite sure who you're addressing with this. I have listened to PSB's - good speakers to be sure for the most part. You may not be as familiar with Audio Note http://www.triodeandco.com/Prod_Loudspeakers.html

RGA
06-07-2004, 01:51 PM
92135011

Here's a pic of the soundhounds crew. Peter Qvortrup is back right - Sounhounds owner back left and my sales guy Paul is second left sitting down. It also gives you an idea as to the size of the AN E with outboard crossover. You have to click on winter CES photo because the picture is too big for this site and I don't know how to reduce the soize of pictures??? http://www.soundhounds.com/

benil
06-07-2004, 02:30 PM
Congratulations RGA! you're lucky to get the SPes for such a bargain.

btw, that's a great review you wrote there! what are your impressions with regards to timbral quality and tonality of the AN-Js compared with the N805s? any chance the experience will make you go the tubes route? :cool:

RGA
06-07-2004, 03:18 PM
The N805 has brighter presentation and the bottom end lacks body - it's a much smaller speaker than the J and has a sound which is much smaller - the bass can boom a little and you hear more box. But the AN J/SPe sells in the US for nearly double the price of the N805 and frankly should be THAT much better.

Basically, when you start listening to something and then you go back and listen to something not up to it it's hard to not to gain a snob-like attitude. Even the dealer admitted that when you hear the AN E upper models the AN K sounds like a clock radio by comparison - and unfortunately that's almost the way I perceive the N805 - directly compared I laughed because it's just no contest. The J has a huge soundstage real bass response without a hint of boom - the ear gravitates to the N805's tweeter and bass and less on the music. Granted if you didn't do a side by side the N805 is a terrific speaker - no real nasty habits better than most for the money. Those dealers who own the AN E/Spe probably couldn't go back to the J/Spe in the same manner.

They've been in business for 30 years - line or not I don't know, but they said they consider AN to be the best stuff, musically, they've ever carried from cables, cd players, turntables, speakers and amps - and they have carried a lot of gear during that time. It's not a fly by night operation they've been around for a long time on the merit of their sound - because they don't look like anything - they don't play the pay for reviews bribe the reviewer game. Many review publications expect to be GIVEN the product they review or other "thank-you" gifts.

I will likely save for the Soro SE. My Sugden is out of its league playing with these speakers - and I think I get why Peter Q is adamant about his amplifiers. I was considering adding a preamp but I may just get the integrated. 8 watts is more than I could ever need with both my speakers - the clarity non edgy but not glossed over nature of the Meishu was fantastic and I already heard the Soro last time was there. I think to get the best results all Audio Note is the way to go - while that is a very expensive proposition - for the first time i don't need the hassle of worry about good matches for my speaker etc - I know they designed it all to match.

skeptic
06-07-2004, 03:55 PM
Thank you for your extensive listening notes. I felt like you were someone at the audio equivalent of a wine tasting describing your sensory reactions to what you heard and the differences of the different models. Unfortunately, a recent visit to Audio Note's web site revealed that there is no longer a dealer anywhere near me so I will probably not have an opportunity to hear them for myself for the forseeable future.

"The dealer said that this is because the cabinet is not created to work AGAINST the driver like virtually all other box designs. It is indeed designed like a violin or guitar box were the entire cabinet is involved in creating the sound "

It is this kind of absurd rhetoric which makes me highly dubious of the claims made for A/N products. This is rediculous. The science and art of designing speaker enclosures has been developed for about 75 years and every conceivable type of enclosure has not only been tried but many of them have been extensively modeled mathematically in conjunction with drivers of different types. Among the more efficient enclosure/speaker combinations are horns and folded horns. Virtually every other speaker manufacturer besides A/N regards any resonances from the enclosure itself to be spurious because they are uncontrolled in amplitude. They take every conceivable step to eliminate those unwanted resonances by bracing the enclosures or making them from materials which do not resonate. It is hard to accept claims for a loudspeaker system which fly in the face of the otherwise universally accepted goal of non structural resonance of the enclosure by comparing them to musical instruments where the thinness, shape, induced stresses, and materials are deliberately chosen to enhance these types of resonances. The type of blanket put down of all other loudspeaker enclosures besides the ones employed by A/N is the kind of hype not usually associated with advertising for high end audio equipment. This accompanied by an unusual lack of technical details about the design philosophy or construction of these products is very disturbing, especially given their cost. The manufacturer seems to lose the distinction between the "machines" he makes and sells, and actual musical insturments other people make.

E-Stat
06-07-2004, 04:18 PM
The Maggies are not carried by my dealer though they were years ago and he even owned their top of the line for a short while. These were in on trade - looked like big White scratching posts. The model he told me but I forget - something with a 2 in it - it was supposedly the 2nd from the top. Quite large actually - wider than me and maybe ~5.5 feet high.
Actually, they would be at least three down from the top. 20.1 then 3.6 then the now discontined 2.6. Or even further down as the 12s. A visit to the magnepan.com site might help. My first planars was a pair of MG-IIs thirty years ago. While they were definitely frequency extreme restricted, their presentation was very coherent. The current top three all use ribbon tweeters which does transform their high frequency capability over those that were not. Having said that, you do need to get some distance from them for the drivers to blend. One small "fix" is simply to place the tweeters "inboard" rather than "outboard" as the different ffrequency drivers run vertically in the panels. I could very easily live with a pair of 20.1s - I heard HP's nicely driven pair in Seacliff.

You are most correct in that folks have different listening priorities when it comes to speakers. As for me, I cherish coherency, transient response, and imaging. As Feanor suggested, imaging contains a sub-category of characteristics that involve priorities as well. For me the live experience involves a large image. While it is not simply a question of height, I have yet to hear a satisfying large image from a small speaker, whether it is on stands or not. I am most aware that the sound is rising to meet me and it is perceived to be more distant. My 'stats run floor to ceiling. The image completely fills my listening space in height, width, and depth. Mine are situated eight feet from the back wall. While they are certainly not perfect, they do those things that I cherish most right. Since they are full range, they bypass the whole crossover question altogether. Yet, they beam big time. Move from the center listening chair and the image changes significantly. Positioning them took lots of experimentation. They requires lots of power to deliver realistic SPLs (my amps are 200/450 watt tube monoblocks). But they are able to "float" a very coherent image of a voice, strings, woodwinds, or whatever in a most convincing manner. I find planars better able to reproduce the timbre of bass instruments than most cones with their lower mass and uniform drive. The speakers I aspire to get some day are the Soundlabs A-1s.

To each his own. :)

rw

RGA
06-07-2004, 04:40 PM
Is he really flying in the face of everyone else - since the well proven design has been there since the 1940's - and modified once by Snell and then by PQ?

Your assessment was similarly asked on AA:

"The reason violins, guitars, etc. have boxes is because they PRODUCE music. Speakers don't. They REPRODUCE music. The box is a big, heavy, distortion producing artifact. The best box is either no box, or a silent box. The only silent box I've personally ever heard were on the Wilson Audio X1 GRAND SLAAM...$65k. 2 inch thick synthetic marble.

So the previous poster is fairly correct. Speakers do NOT need box resonance to operate, look at any dipole.
Read up on speaker design theory, and you'll understand a lot more.

-tal"

"Dear Tal,

Let's put this to bed once and for all, Mount Everest has a resonance frequency, low yes, but it still resonates.

We can therefore reasonably conclude that everything resonates, there is no such thing as a speaker with no box (popular as the concept may seem, you have to mount the drivers in something, even if it is a panel driver), so we have essentially two choices,

1.) Build a box that minimises the resonant behaviour by applying mass, which does nothing useful in most cases, because whilst a lower resonance frequency at lower amplitude may look great on a waterfall graph, the reality is that it prolongs the amount of time the resonant energy is present, which leaves it present for long enough to disturb the replay.

In addition, damping is "stupid" in the sense that it removes both the sounds you want and the ones you are trying to get rid of.

2.) Build a cabinet which has a fast enough recovery time to stay within the human ear's time constant, that is, be close enough to the original note, to be indistinguishable by the human ear.

Method no. 2.) is much much harder to apply, as working out how to RAISE the resonance frequency and shorten it towards inaudibility requires hundreds of hours of experimentation AND does provide beautiful waterfall graphs with which to present your latest resonance removing technique as another breakthrough of "innovation" with which to sell next years crop of speakers with.

All our measurement methods and conventions dictate that making the cabinet heavier is better, unfortunately the truth is that it is a convenient, but poor way of solving the problem.

Sincerely,
Peter Qvortrup "


Dear RGA,
It should say - 6 dB at 23 kHz, the problem with this kind of information is that it largely depends on how far away it was measured and in what kind of environment, anachoic or reverberant, so you need a whole load more information to be able to determine what the speaker actually does.

Given that most software, whether LP or CD does not have much energy above 15kHz and also considering that many of the recognised best recordings don't either, I think it is a mute issue whether bandwidth above 15kHz matters that much to the musical hearing experience, I think, as with most paper specifications, that they are designed to impress the less knowledgeable consumer into believing that they are making a choice based on "solid" information, which is important when they are making a buying decision.

A number of magazines and audio companies use our speakers, as do several mastering studios, we do not advertise this generally, because I do not feel that it is right to influence people's judgement of performance this way, I have the same view of specifications, they tell you little or nothing about the real world performance.

Sincerely,
Peter Qvortrup"



The comparison to musical instruments is for the layman in that they actually use the cabinet itself like a musical instrument does, to create the sound. Most box speakers don't - which is why so many of the speakers you hear in a given price range say sound nearly identical - different treble and one might have more bass etc but they sound almost identical in the dyamics room filling kind of weightyness aspects.

In the end though I am forced to simply go by what I hear - you have way more of a technical background and have the right to question his approach. But right or wrong it sounds right to me. And I know you are not impressed with a LOT of speakers currently available yourself because you have oftened mentioned that "Brightness" that I also complain about.

Thus does it not make sense that an entirely different approach would or at least "could" be better. If the New accepted designs are not exactly getting you to sell your old designed AR9's then maybe other old designs are also better than the new ones. His master speaker is the Snell AII I believe. I can honestly say that take away all other considerations I would take the J ~3k over the N801 at $14k. So yes things at AN may be overpriced but to me then what is the N801? The point is to make you feel something when you listen for me that is AN for you may leave you totally cold and another it's Quad etc. I don't think this is rocket science.

Also:
Why not ask him some technical questions - He spends time on AA, he answers people's questions but has to dumb it down for less technically minded people - he's at every show, runs the company puts the stuff together designs and still takes the time to frequent AA and admittedly come under the gun on occasion. His digital products took a lot of flack too - I wonder if people actually heard and compared though.

The guy is pasionate and thinks he's right - and if he's right then to him everyone is less right to outright wrong - presumably Peter Walker felt that way about electrostats and whoever runs Magnepan feels that way too...and the people who buy those speakers because they genuinely love the sound will believe that those designers were dead right - even though someone like yourself can easily come along and find the "technical" flaws or weaknesses in planars and stats - nothing is perfect.

skeptic
06-07-2004, 05:21 PM
The "box" in a loudspeaker system serves one or more of several useful purposes, most having to do with low frequency reproduction. Since vibrating membranes like loudspeaker cones produce sound from both the front and the back, and since sound from the back is 180 degrees out of phase with sound from the front, if the speaker has no enclosure, the sound from the back will cancel the sound from the front and the bass will be very weak. Ported enclosures cause the wave from the back to invert in phase and emerge in phase with the wave from the front. Unfortunately, they are very frequency selective and usually have a series of resonance and antiresonance nodes. Infinite baffles try to just prevent the back wave from reaching the front. Acoustic suspension speakers use the air pressure trapped in a relatively small box to control the cone motion in additon to preventing it from emerging out of phase and canceling out the front wave. Horn enclosures are the mechanical equivalent of electrical transformers efficiently coupling the energy from the front of the speaker to the room by providing a suitable back pressure at the narrow end of the horn to load the driver efficiently while providing a transition to a low pressure end which couples efficiently with a large room. Enclosureless speakers like Magnepan magneplanar types have to take special measures to overcome this out of phase problem. They are probably effectively back to back drivers in a bi polar configuration having the back wave emerge in phase with the front wave instead of out of phase. There are many others clever enclosure ideas like isobaraks which have an inner driver to effectively increase the effective size of the enclosure for loading purposes without increasing its physical size. I don't see how you can glibly dismiss the role of a loudspeaker enclosure. One thing all of them have in common. The guy who builds them does NOT want them to add spurious resonances to the sound of his speaker.

"In addition, damping is "stupid" in the sense that it removes both the sounds you want and the ones you are trying to get rid of."

Once again this kind of statement flies in the face of accepted and well proven facts. This should be especially evident to anyone who tries to design an acoustic suspension speaker system like A/N K. Of the three parameters which control the frequency response of a loudspeaker; mass, springiness, and damping, the internal damping material used to control overshoot of the cone is the only thing that prevents it from exhibiting boomy undamped resonances. This is a direct application of Newton's second law of motion applied to the phenomenon of forced resonance. It is presented in every freshman college physics textbook along with its solution and explanation. BTW, it is one of the most widely used equations for analyzing and designing mechanical systems including for example the suspension on your car. For ported systems, the driver suspensions are usually much tighter so the damping can be done mostly by the driver itself. The box can be "tuned" to any frequency desired given the right dimension and internal configuration. I'd like to see a cutaway view of the A/N J and E series which are two way 8 inch ported designs. The extremely low claimed low frequency cutoff suggests a kind of transmission line loading to tune the relatively small cabinet to such a low frequency.

I do not and will not post on AA. For me the site is unacceptable. As I said on the cable message board, I posted there for a short time many years ago. I was not thrown out, I left on my own but had I stayed, the outcome would not have been in doubt.

RGA
06-07-2004, 06:22 PM
With the E anyway apparently the cabinet is tuned nearly a full octave below the driver midbass driver cuttoff - well according to an advert I was reading.

The Audio Note Absolute Zero floorstanders are essentially Transmission line speakers from what the dealers were saying. The back of the speaker about 3/4 the way up was cut completely out and you could look down inside the speaker. AN calls it [Two-way folded, parabolic, rear-loaded, quarter-wave quasi-horn-loaded floor-standing loudspeakers] instead of transmission line I guess.

Way back when I was looking at the AN/K specifically - Peter told me exactly where to get info on them:

"You may find this even funnier, they are actually 1940's cabinet shapes, read L. L. Beranek's Loudspeakers and you will find the calculation for all our speakers, cabinet shape, driver position etc.
What you will not find is how we match the drivers to each other to maximise efficiency, dispersion and overall tonal balance."

This L.L Beranek guy - I've seen his name a lot in acoustics even for car companies to control vibration and B&W referred to him in their FAQ section - you would likely be WAY more familiar with him than I.

RE: the K
"As to the drivers, they are both from Vifa in Denmark, the tweeter is a highly modified version of the TD19, no ferro fluid, no damping and a special ferrite magnet, the woofer is also a Vifa which is a derivative of the original standard driver.

But really if you want to know exactly what is inside the speakers and all there other products why not go to that AudioAsylum board - they now have a dedicated Audio Note Kits forum - can't get into trouble if you just read through what the builders are saying http://www.audioasylum.com/forums/audionotekits/bbs.html - I can't find the picture of the inside of the E kit but they had all the parts all sitting there ready to placed in the box.

92135011
06-07-2004, 08:31 PM
RGA,
why not go for a kit2 with preamp kit.
I know that the dealer advised against a preamp, but probably means he is against using a pre with the A48b. Plus the kit2 with preamp kit are both tube so it should be ok.
The 2 units will run you 1700US (probably a notch less after negotiation) Plus you can sell off your Sugden for a little bit. Save 7% on taxes, which is another 150 or so. So at the end you are looking at about the same as the soro.

Good thing is that you can easily upgrade it when you get more cash. If you are uncomfortable with kit building, I can help you build it if you would like and if you can trust me of course. Light electronics is sort of a hobby for me anyways.

RGA
06-07-2004, 10:06 PM
Yeah it's going to be at least a year before I could do something like this. I'm already WAY over budget in going with the J's in the first place. Thanks for the generous offer though. You are right they were not against the preamp kit or preamp but they didn't feel it was a worthy move to use my amp as power amp as it is solid state.

I'll probably wait until I come back from Japan - roughly 4 years from now before I make a move - unless I marry a rich girl by then who loves music too. Or a lottery happens my way.

I will probably keep the Sugden and run it as a power amp for my Marantz receiver. Of course this assumes the receiver lasts five years.

Sugden has pulled themselves from north America apparently - probably because people here buy based off of looks and features over actual sound quality and build construction. .

I also noticed that Soundhounds was selling some of the AN amplifier Kits which they assembled for $3000.00. UGLY freakin things with a lot of tubes and uncovered transformers. - Definitely pay extra to get the covers - I mean there is acceptable ugly and then there is UGGGLY. From the looks of it they were very well built.

92135011
06-07-2004, 10:35 PM
Actually, check out Audionotekits.com
The new kit1 is larger and has a stainless steel chassis. Looks better than the old one.
And yes...the covers are a MUST.

I'm going to build myself some of those kits in due time.
When I'm done you are welcome to drop by to give them a listen to see if its your cup of tea. Then it will give you a good idea what you getting yourself into if you do decide to invest. The kits are undergoing a lot of change. The preamp kit right now looks like the M2. But in a few months time they will look closer like the M3 (to accomodate more transformers and such). The excellent thing about kits is that you can upgrade it bit by bit rather than buy a whole new unit (OPT, caps, atteunators, etc.)

RGA
06-07-2004, 11:11 PM
Actually, check out Audionotekits.com
The new kit1 is larger and has a stainless steel chassis. Looks better than the old one.
And yes...the covers are a MUST.

I'm going to build myself some of those kits in due time.
When I'm done you are welcome to drop by to give them a listen to see if its your cup of tea. Then it will give you a good idea what you getting yourself into if you do decide to invest. The kits are undergoing a lot of change. The preamp kit right now looks like the M2. But in a few months time they will look closer like the M3 (to accomodate more transformers and such). The excellent thing about kits is that you can upgrade it bit by bit rather than buy a whole new unit (OPT, caps, atteunators, etc.)

How much are these kits - the Kit two says it's only $999.00US Is it an integrated amp? How much is the Kit one? They say all you need is a soldering iron besically.

92135011
06-07-2004, 11:50 PM
Kit 2 is a power amp, but it has a volume pot so that if you have a source with a high enough output you can run it without a pre. The kit2 is built based on the Kit1 except that its the non-triode version running on 6550 pentode. The kit1 runs $1349 and is 300B SET, no feedback, directly heated running about 9 WPC. The upgrades entitle a "high-B" OPT, black gate caps, copper film oil caps, tantalum resistors, silver wiring, better pot). The preamp kit runs $699, as upgrades like the above, and as I said, a new chassis coming soon.
BTW, they are coming out with some 211 monos soon, probably for the extra power or something. Also, a new integrated is in production. However, this will be a budget push-pull integrated probably much like the soro pp. Hence, even after these new products, the kit1 will remain their most popular amp. As you can see, I have asked Brian many many questions.
In regard to the equipment needed, I think a soldering pen, solder, stripper, cutter and pliers is enough to get the job done. I think they include everything else. Plastic wire ties may be worth the extra 50 cents too as it will make everything nice and tidy. Just the soldering pen and solder would do...but then the result would look very messy amateur. Actually, I'm going to buy a new stripper just for this project as my old one is dull and no longer does the job well.

kexodusc
06-08-2004, 07:41 AM
I dunno RGA, I kinda like the earlier idea of going with the PSB Alpha's....I have some old Alpha bookshelfs in my garage I suppose I'd be willing to trade you straight up for your new AN J's...
Whaddya say, buddy???

:)

RGA
06-08-2004, 05:01 PM
Kit 2 is a power amp, but it has a volume pot so that if you have a source with a high enough output you can run it without a pre. The kit2 is built based on the Kit1 except that its the non-triode version running on 6550 pentode. The kit1 runs $1349 and is 300B SET, no feedback, directly heated running about 9 WPC. The upgrades entitle a "high-B" OPT, black gate caps, copper film oil caps, tantalum resistors, silver wiring, better pot). The preamp kit runs $699, as upgrades like the above, and as I said, a new chassis coming soon.
BTW, they are coming out with some 211 monos soon, probably for the extra power or something. Also, a new integrated is in production. However, this will be a budget push-pull integrated probably much like the soro pp. Hence, even after these new products, the kit1 will remain their most popular amp. As you can see, I have asked Brian many many questions.
In regard to the equipment needed, I think a soldering pen, solder, stripper, cutter and pliers is enough to get the job done. I think they include everything else. Plastic wire ties may be worth the extra 50 cents too as it will make everything nice and tidy. Just the soldering pen and solder would do...but then the result would look very messy amateur. Actually, I'm going to buy a new stripper just for this project as my old one is dull and no longer does the job well.

Well when the time comes I will go and listen to the ones built by the guys at soundhounds. this way I will actually get to hear the kit before I buy. If i like it I will build one.

RGA
06-08-2004, 05:03 PM
I dunno RGA, I kinda like the earlier idea of going with the PSB Alpha's....I have some old Alpha bookshelfs in my garage I suppose I'd be willing to trade you straight up for your new AN J's...
Whaddya say, buddy???

:)

:) thanks but after due consideration I will suffer with J's

92135011
06-08-2004, 07:35 PM
Well when the time comes I will go and listen to the ones built by the guys at soundhounds. this way I will actually get to hear the kit before I buy. If i like it I will build one.

Soundhounds has the kit1 but they dont have the preamp. If you drop by vancouver, you can give it a try at my place if you wish. I havent built it yet, but will in due time.

Pat D
06-09-2004, 12:11 PM
Listened to Magnepan, B&W, Audio Note on Friday as that was all that I could get time for. 7 hours of listening - minus a short lunch and a few cappuchino's and coffees provided by the great group at Soundhounds. However I have some musings on Totem, Paradigm Signature and Martin Logan as well

The store was much leaner and less stuffed with gear this time around. They now have a dedicated home theater room with a giant front projection system and all B&W all around in one room. I didn't spend time in there but the picture of the movie ICE AGE was impressive to say the least. The store had set it all up becuase one of the top B&W guys is flying down in a couple of weeks.

Please no flames this was my impressions of the speakers of the day and not an attack on other people's choices - not everyone is going to like the same things. Follow the bolded spots for discussion of a given speaker to the next bold for the next speaker.

I was extremely excited getting in the store and seeing a set of Magneplanars in used because I have no problem buying used and people rave so much about them that it would have been nice to hear them before upgrading just to save myself future second guessing.

The Maggies are not carried by my dealer though they were years ago and he even owned their top of the line for a short while. These were in on trade - looked like big White scratching posts. The model he told me but I forget - something with a 2 in it - it was supposedly the 2nd from the top. Quite large actually - wider than me and maybe ~5.5 feet high
I had them hook it up to the top of the line MF integrated and a very nice and rugged looking Rotel CD player - have not been paying too much attention to Rotel - but they're at least "looking" better these days.

I have to say it was a wildly different sound than the B&W and Audio Note speakers. If I stood up and walked toward them the sound became completely muddy like a towel had been put over the singer's mouth - so it is certainly very important to set them up correctly and and be seated at a reasonable height and distance.

I tried a few discs from Dianna Krall, Tina Turner and Jesse Cook. What was good was an incredibly clear vocal band and a ton of air - I mean a ton of air - plenty of wetness to vocals. The top and bottom end presented some problems - I was not convinced by the location of instruments as if they were on the panel rather than on a stage and the bass while seemingly deep simply had no impact whatsoever - I mean almost zero - it just seemed that on the drum kicks it was just lifeless to me. The music was clear but lacked the full body. It did far better on lighter guitar.

I do think I understand the appeal of em and why people like them and certainly I understand why some would gravitate to them - certainly against a lot of the boxed competition which are resonance inducers that tend to have a "thumpy" quality. Thus I can certainly understand why one would choose no bass impact over lousy bass impact - the latter is abnoxious - the former isn't missed if you don't know it's supposed to be there. There were qualities that reminded me of Electrostats and it did a lot of terrific things - in the end they're not for me. Not enough meat on the bones was a good analogy IMO.

The rest of the audiotons were don in the same room, same stands, same electronics - with slight adjustment where needed to satisfy a better posoition for the speakers. Those electronics were as follows:

Audio Note Meishu 8 watt SET amp - a lower end Audio note integrated running at $10,000Cdn - about twice as high as my 300 disc cd player and deeper by the looks of it.

Audio Note level 3 cd player - not sure of price - all cabling was Audio Note - with very heavy duty looking power chords directly into high grade wall sockets. Skylan stands used for all speakers.

Audio Note AN K/Spe was first up in line - this was to let me get accustomed to my speakers in a different room and with much superior gear. I listened for a good hour running through some selections from the discs I brought with me [Classic Yo-Yo, Dianna Krall "Girl in the Other Room", Tina Turner "Simply the Best", Santana "Shaman" and "Abraxas", Leahy "Lakefield, Acoustic Alchemy "Back on the Case", Sarah McLachlan "Mirrorball"(Live album), "Afterglow", CBC's After Hours Jazz Collection, Albinoni "Adagio Albinoni" Naxos 8.552244, Jesse Cook "Tempest", Madonna "The Immaculate Collection", Dido "No Angel", Natalie Cole "Unforgettable"]

The sound of course was very good to the point where I began thinking "you know a nice B&W or Paradigm sub might work just fine." I came out of the room and the dealer just smiled at my thought and said yes you can add bass but it's not just about bass. Removing the K's he put up the

Audio Note J/Spe's and within 2 minutes it was game over to thoughts about adding subwoofer(s). The AN K was a standmount that bettered every other standmount around it's size I had ever heard. The J/Spe I'm not sure can really be called a standmount speaker in this day and age to be totally fair. It is roughly 3 times the volume size of the K's and simply sounded much bigger and with far more sense of depth front to back than the K's could muster. The dealer said that Audio Note is trying to prove the diminishing returns theory wrong by having you go in and listen to a product at one level and then saying WOW at the next level - not oh i hear a bit of added bass. The sound was far more open and vocals were simply outstanding with the wetness and sense of air that I have only heard from the best speakers - usually a LOT LOT bigger speakers. The drivers are different in the J to the K as is the crossover and overall design of course - but it's to such a degree that youalmost can't go back - as good as the K's are already the J takes it all up a league in every regard - and they still manage to remain postion friendly despite rear porting.

The Albinoni disc was the deciding factor - classical music is so tough to do well because hardness brightness can completely distract me from the music. Not so here - it was the first time I was moved to tears from a session at a store. There was no hint of grain anywhere at anytime and that is a tribute to well designed gear. Closing my eyes the stereo "system" was gone - the listening "for" sonic attributes dissapeared - leaving musicality at the top of the list. We can talk of dips and spikes in frequency graphs, box versus no box, SET versus SS, Audio Note arrogance, multi-way versus 2 way versus one way, Metal versus planar versus stat etc etc etc. The emotion the enveloping nature of the great systems have it ---- find yours - whether it's Audio Note or not is not important - LISTEN and wait for something to provide you some cort of cathartic listening experience.


Rather than blathering on more I say go listen.

I listened to a lower level J against the J/Spe on another thread. The Basic J/L is no longer made and was a terrific speaker and was probably selling for $4kCdn

B&W N805 - I was going to go with the 705 - but really you'll see a billion of those reviews in the next months - So a look see at the favorite N805 again can't hurt and I thought was warranted considering it runs $3000.00Cdn - and more "In competition" with the K and J.

The presentation was good old B&W but better than I have heard in the past expecially at the frequency extremes. The Meishu at a mere 8 watts had no trouble with the b&W playing at high levels while maintaining deep bass(well as deep as the 805 musters) and a smooth effrtless top end with a touch of hardness for the style of tweeter,crossover, woofer choices they have made. The N805 would be a pleasure to own and it's still a great speaker - but this amp/cd player combo would be my choice. The SET Meishu exhibited absolutely no noise whether loud or not nor at any time did i need to move the knob past 12 O'clock to get good levels - and there was plenty on tap for more. I would still take the presentation of the K over the N805 simply due to the more cohesive sound from top to bottom. The J/Spe or J/L simply embarrased the N805 - and they should given the cost. Though the J at soundhounds are last years model and cost $500.00 less - but this is a fluke deal. The J is simply giving you way more of what's on the disc with much much deeper and tuneful bass response and a top end that that was reminiscent of the openness and air of the Magnepans.

Interesting thing I noted about the J's was that you almost NEVER see the woofer actually move even on demanding bass material. The E is like this as well though the woofer on the K would visibly move more. From Madonna's Vogue to Classical pieces at prettyhigh levels the woofer seems not to budge - at elast not to the naked eye. Presumably they will at very very high levels with very high bass content but I didn't see it. The dealer said that this is because the cabinet is not created to work AGAINST the driver like virtually all other box designs. It is indeed designed like a violin or guitar box were the entire cabinet is involved in creating the sound - the driver doesn't need to move very far to get the cabinet going and let it handle the rest. From that I was attempting to hear a box colouration because that "should" happen but nary did I find it.

What I could not hear on the day:
Paradigm Signature Series. I wanted too given the request - but the dealer brought the Signature Series in for several weeks and shipped them back. The problem was simply thay they felt the sound was simply too close to the Studio reference line and desipite the vastly superior cabinets and finishing in the signature models they felt the sound didn't live up to the levels of the money charged - not against what the store is currently carrying. They decide what makes the grade in their store. Don't shoot the messenger - this is what THEY said not me so don't get in a hissy fit at me about it. Indeed, this also indicated that they think highly of the Studio models in fact and might save Paradigm lovers from a looks over sound upgrade. Remember the B&W CM series is supposedly an upgrade over the 600 series but is JUST cosmetic.

I also wanted to hear the Totem Rainmaker but alas the dealer said they will not be buyuing anymore stock though they will remain an ordering hub - if you want one you can order one kinda deal. The same deal with Martin Logan. The size and positioning price and sound to varrying degrees were tough for them to move.

Canadians and Audio Note specific shoppers
Musings about Soundhounds and Audio Note. The owner at Soundhounds who I met, while he was tweaking out a Juke Box :-) a fancy one at that, is in the works to have the speaker building done at Soundhounds to reduce costs - the entry Dacs are already being made in Canada. The owner of Soundhounds has bought one of the top E models and an all AN system - like all the other salesman - and is awaiting the new Ongaku-On integrated which is on the way.


I asked about them laying the Audio Note "love in" on a bit thick. And he said that if we just sold Audio Note we would go out of business to be frank. Most People come in to a place like Soundhounds and they have a preset product in their mind to buy, usually their big name sellers - which I presumed was Boston Acoustics, B&W and Paradigm. There job is not to re-invent the wheel. Where they can sell Audio Note is when people spend a lot of time in there and are not too impressed with what they actually hear from their preconceived expectations. But if someone comes in and Wants Reference 3a or B&W they sell Reference 3a and B&W. He also noted that what do you always here us listening to in the main rig (which is the center of the store). It's always Audio Note despite the fact that they carry far costlier gear.

I also thought it was interesting to meet a customer who re-wired his B&W speakers with Audio Note Silver wiring and was astounded by the improved results. He lives near the store and has been an audio shopper there for 28 years - never was impressed with the notions that cables made a different - brought them home never a change - until Audio Note. I'm personally very skeptical of cables but hey they will mail em to me to try and if I don't like em I can mail em back - or go and pick them up to ttry at home and bring em back etc - no cost - and the cables are not as obscene as I thought. Though $7.00Cdn a foot is still a lot more than $1.50 a foot - but many are $50.00 a foot out there so???

I was also surprised they closed their store down and had all their staff down at CES in Vegas with Mr. Qvortrup - with picture on the Soundhounds site of their top gear.

Personal Note to 92135011 I only upgraded from the K/Spe to the J/Spe because of the price you told me they were selling them for. There is no way I could afford a speaker this expensive normally. I am also happy that soundhounds reconsidered the initial trade-in value I was offerred and decided to give me 100% trade-in. I'm also glad I went to hear them and not thought it was just going to be about bass - in fact the added bass(which is considerable) is probably the smallest reason I went to the J.

Incidentally, they said listening to the AN E/Spe for any period would likely have me wanting something I couldn't afford and steered me away from listening to one (I ran out of time anyway) - and they also did an LP experiment at CES with Audio Note's second best turtable - and a re-worked version of the Voyd Reference (largely considered the world's best turntable), on a set of high end E's. They got results of 16hz and even 12hz(but they had a term for this of which I forgot) - People who went into that room didn't believe there was no subwoofer running - including folks from B&W. They simply would not have it that an 8incher from a small box(smaller than a 9NT) could put out that kind of sound and also that kind of bass.

The AN J stands were not in and are behind shipment as the company movied locations - so I have to use the 20 inch stands over the recommended 14-16 incher. Considering that they're still spankingly good on my Skylans.
I'm glad you liked them.

I'm not much interested in what you did NOT hear.

E-Stat
06-09-2004, 01:58 PM
I'm glad you liked them.
It's a good thing you quoted the entire work otherwise we wouldn't have been able to place your comments into perspective. :D

rw

RGA
06-09-2004, 03:36 PM
I'm glad you liked them.

I'm not much interested in what you did NOT hear.

I had a request to audition the line of speakers before I went - I could not so I relayed the reason why.

Woochifer
06-09-2004, 04:26 PM
Good overview of your listenings. Surprise, surprise, you decided to upgrade!

Your impressions of the Magneplanars were pretty similar to my listenings with their 1.6 and 3.6 models. I thought they had more low end kick than a lot of other panel speakers I've heard, but they're at their best primarily with acoustic music. They very effectively disappear and image well when positioned properly (pulling them at least 3' from the front wall is a must; no idea if this also applies to the MMG and their newer wall-mounted models). But, they have a narrow dispersion pattern and their tonal characteristics change a lot when you move around the room.

Interesting about contrasting the B&W to the ANs. Not sure what type of sound I would prefer. I have heard the N805s before and thought they were excellent all-arounders, but I could only compare them with other B&W models, so I have no idea how they would stack up in A/B sessions with competing model lines.

But, when espousing the virtues of the ANs, I wouldn't go too far with trying to generalize the design approaches. Saying that the driver movement was minimal is not always considered a positive, since one of the more commonly cited design goals with subwoofer drivers is a high Xmax (maximum linear excursion).

And the whole notion of a resonant wood box being a positive trait, I just don't buy it. I've heard way too many speakers over the years with poorly damped cabinets and the resulting resonance to believe that all of the companies that devote time and expense to minimize box resonances are wasting their time. Even though a guitar, piano, and violin are all hollow bodied instruments, they each have a VERY different sonic signature. Even though a violin sounds great with a bow or a pluck, I certainly wouldn't want percussion instruments to sound like they were pumped through a violin body. Are you saying that in order to best reproduce a violin sound, then a speaker driver should be mounted inside a hollow cavity that mimics the resonant characteristics of a violin? Or if you want to optimize a human voice reproduction, then a speaker designer should use a ribbon transducer and mount it inside a fleshy pipe?

This kind of generalized analogy runs dangerously close to the Bose 901 edict that says that if you want to best reproduce a concert hall type of sound, then you must design speakers that have similar reflective characteristics. If the recording was done in a concert hall, then that ambient effect is already part of the recording. Last thing you want is for the speaker to further add to that reverberant effect. Same thing goes with wooden speaker boxes. A violin is played through a reverberant wood body, and that effect is already part of the recording. Why would you want to put the sound through yet another resonant body if the end goal is to reproduce the sound as closely to what you would actually hear in person?

RGA
06-09-2004, 06:48 PM
Just about hoit send an my computer deletes everything - stupid things.

First ignore my analogy descriptions of the speaker because it's basically just that.

Since they're designed differently, like a guitar/violin box, the guesswork begins. Naturally there is much more to it than that because I would not want to hear a trumpet through a guitar box - which would be a total disaster. Well except for the guitar I suppose.

My limited knowledge of their goal is to take resonances and shift them to an inaudible region and let them escape as instantly as possible - rahter than a heavily damped box which stores them and eventually hampers the sound. Unless they're really really heavy cabinets.

Now while Hi-fi Choice gave them the best in class rating - some members of the blind listening panel felt the J's were coloured(though they were not set up properly). No doubt some people's decay is another person's bloom. Though I can spot bloom pretty well since my wharfedale's have it. Bloom should also result in box resonances which should increase distortion - but the distortion is very low and the bass very tight - so I don't buy that. When an instrument say a piano is playing you get the sense it's a real piano and even with the Bass in Dianna Krall you hear the entire box and her voice never becomes muddy. The N805 for example will attempt the Bass but whne krall starts singing your ear shifts to her and the Bass seems much lighter in weight - it's hard to describe but it's as if the speaker has given up on doing both at once.

I am no engineer don't claim to be - but upon listening - their speakers, to me, sound more like music than any other speaker maker I have heard.

They don't advertise they don't have any product literature they look butt ugly and they've been selling on sound for 20 years. You just don't do that if you're selling a highly resonating box. Bose markets the hell out of everything and are horrible speakers.

The only kind of technical description(which still isn't technical) is from the kit sites and only on the E - though the J is basically the same in that they use Foster tweeters and SEAS woofers.

A lot of engineers have already questioned Q about these speakers - it's impossible to get bass like that from one woofer - it's impossible to get the sensitivity etc.

The only technical info is from LL Beranek's "Loudspeakers" from 1940 with which all AN speaker boxes are designed. Though AN has their own crossover - different ports and wiring and box quality

All I can find specifically about them is from a kit site:

"All our speaker cabinets are made from different materials, front baffel is either plywood or soft chipboard, the wrap is dense MDF and the back is again either plywood or medium chipboard, no damping materials are applied to any part of the cabinet, whilst we use some bracing to distribute the cabinet resonances."

Do I hear cries of "cabinet colouration"??

Despite what you might think the guitar like structure of our cabinets greatly enhances efficiency, dynamics and sparkle and sounds less coloured than the alternative methods, which generally just move the resonans frequency and amplitude of the energy lower down in the spectrum, which in most cases is more audible, mainly because this also increases the duration of the resonances, our belief is that the shorter the duration of the energy is the less likely it is to interfere with the immediacy of the original transient.

For this reason, we also use only a minimal amount of wadding, and it has to be a specific type, preferably well cleaned and carted sheeps wool, positioning is critical"

Q once said to me that his woofers act differently in that they are not piston like but radiating like as well. Naturally efficiency is increased greatly if you let the box essentially become a woofer."

Basically though all of this is tidbits of info here and there - but you listen to his speakers and directly compare them to your choice of B&W within reason - and IMO B&W is simply totally out of their league. And Hell to me B&W is a great company. But the mid-band on the B&W is compressed, smaller, and nasal in comparison - with more of thumpy bass - you hear the speaker box on bass lines not the instrument's box. Tough to verbalize.

review of the E talking a bit about the sound and bass level.

http://www.dagogo.com/AudioNoteGoldmundEffect.html

And Maggie it's hard to really describe becaus they did many things really well and a lot differently than I've heard before and so some could think the difference is a lot better - sorta like Audio Note is to me. So I don't want to say anything really bad about them but they sounded kinda bright. Probably because of the lack of bass. They were a good 4 feet from the rear wall and 3-4 feet from side walls.

The dealer didn't like them at all - and he owned the best ones way back when when it was sheik to have them. He said they were more of a discussion piece than good speakers. What was it that you didn't like about them? They seem to measure as if they would get good bass - but something is amiss in the measurements because they don't sound right to me - granted a higher end model might be much better.

benil
06-09-2004, 10:16 PM
The only kind of technical description(which still isn't technical) is from the kit sites and only on the E - though the J is basically the same in that they use Foster tweeters and SEAS woofers.



you have an idea what exact SEAS woofer models are used for the AN-E and AN-J? how about the foster tweeters? my brother-in-law will be arriving in a couple of weeks from Illinois and i could have him ship some drivers from madisound.com.

while i still have plans to get the used pairs of AN-J, am thinking of a US$300 DIY project on either the type-J or type-E. while i expect driver-matching problems peter Q mentioned with this experiment, guess its worth the risk. should i fail to get close to the AN sound, i can sure use them for HT front, surround or even center speakers :D

cheers!

skeptic
06-10-2004, 02:44 AM
"This kind of generalized analogy runs dangerously close to the Bose 901 edict that says that if you want to best reproduce a concert hall type of sound, then you must design speakers that have similar reflective characteristics"

The idea of using the reflective surfaces of a room to cause sound to reach the listener from many more directions than you get from a speaker that aims all of its sound directly at you has nothing to do with Q's claim to use a speaker box as a resonant cavity to amplify sound which is exactly what the box in a stringed insturment does. This in effect is also what bi polar flat panel speakers like magnaplanar and electrostatic speakers do. They just use different types of vibrating membranes to launch their sound and the specific radiating patterns are different.

The limitations of the Bose 901 IMO having owned a pair for the last 34 years among other speakers is its poor frequency response. This is due to its inability to reproduce the highest octave with 4 inch drivers and in models since series III the lowest octave. My experiments with using additional direct and reflecting tweeters and bi amping them with series one as well as additional equalization has yielded very satisfactory results. I am very pleased with the outcome.

A/N gives little technical information about what they do or how they do it. I don't have any convenient way to hear these speakers for myself so at this point the whole discussion of them seems a hodgpodge of hype and hooey. There isn't even a consistant design philosophy with the K series being an acoustic suspension design and the J and E series being ported. Visiting their web site doesn't help any. It's worse than technobabble. It's just babble.

benil
06-10-2004, 04:10 AM
A/N gives little technical information about what they do or how they do it. I don't have any convenient way to hear these speakers for myself so at this point the whole discussion of them seems a hodgpodge of hype and hooey. There isn't even a consistant design philosophy with the K series being an acoustic suspension design and the J and E series being ported. Visiting their web site doesn't help any. It's worse than technobabble. It's just babble.

Audio Note's philosophy which is described thoroughly in "Are You On The Road to Audio Hell?" is exactly the anti-thesis of the philosophy behind brands that rely almost solely on technical measurements and technical jargon to sell their products. Let's face it: appreciating music reproduction is hardly a technical experience.

I think forums like this are a good way to begin our journey in seeking our own audio nirvana. however, we should ultimately decide on what's good and bad based on what we hear. if you're really serious in your search for your ideal 2-channel system, convenience should be no obstacle. after all, if there's a will there should always be a way.

i learned that audio note products are great based on actual listening experience not on technobabble. :)

skeptic
06-10-2004, 04:59 AM
Since "technical jargon" and "technical measurements" are just meaningless babble, perhaps audio equipment should be designed by musicians and music lovers and leave electrical and electronics engineers and scientists out of it altogether. Perhaps electrical lighting should be designed by people who like to read and refrigerators and stoves should be designed by people who like to cook or eat. Forget automotive engineers, cars should be designed by drivers.

This is the kind of anti science garbage logic and reasoning that finds its way into the advertising hype of people who have nothing of real value to sell. Like audiophile cable manufacturers. Perhaps you should consider the Mini/Max preamp hyped elsewhere on the amp/preamp message board. No technical specs there either. No tecnical information, not even technobabble. Just babble. Just like Audio Note.

RGA
06-10-2004, 10:09 AM
Benil

Don't think there isn't a strong technical basis for what they do - there is. One reviewer went through a tour to see how they design and build their speakers and they have in house mic measurements and a computer program they developed in house. Driver matching to .2db they do on all their K modesl and up somehting KEF can't even manage on their flagship Reference models.

The difference here is Auio Note is first and foremost A SET maker - not a speaker maker. They are not big enough to build everythig in house. Peter Q bought the best available speaker designs and still may have them like the big Apogee's, Horns, Snells, Quads and a load of others. Obviously looking for speakers that would be well appointed to Single Ended relatively low power amps - though do note his SETs are not especialy low power many ~20-30 watts which is enough to drive most speakers.

He chose Snell - and not really Snell but the same design that Snell used to improve LL Beranek's original loudspeaker design from the 1940's. By taking a proven good design and making it a lot better there is no need to re-invent the wheel. Quad and Magnepan have been around for 30 years and the new models are tweaked versions - lets try a ribbon lets make it bigger but the principle is identical.

When Voyd went down Peter bought the rights and his second best turntable is now a modified Voyd Reference(already widely considered the best in the world). Well now maybe second best. DA converters are based off the very first ones that came out in 1982. But Sony and Phillips didn't have the engineering ability to make it work Peter and crew obviously have much better technical knowledge when it comes to solid state and digital technology because they managed to make it work and sound better. It is a frowned upon process by some - but it sounds better bottom line. Interesting for no times oversampling you can hit the machine and it won't skip. Why have error correction if you build a player that makes no errors to start with.

The proof is in the sound frankly - he doesn't advertise that many magazines and mastering studios use his stuff - he doesn't advertise the specs - not even somehting basic like the watts - not even in the manual - he is selling to people who LISTEN to music - if you want to buy a spec sheet and 5 pages of technical discussion that's fine too.

The speakers were chosen based on their sound in the first place - not a specific bias in design. The K is sealed to reduce their cost. Peter wanted to use a woofer with foam surrounds but in order to get the specific driver he wanted he would have to order 1000 units. So it's not his ideal woofer choice with rubber. OIf he was the size of B&W this would not be a problem and the K would no doubt be a much better loudspeaker - as it is it's already damn good.

Ask 925011 about the kits - you could probably build an E to around 1/4 the price. The Audio Note Kits forum at Audioasylum can help you with building and how do it cheap. http://www.audioasylum.com/forums/audionotekits/bbs.html

There are 25 Audio Note Dealers in the United States - and if you're in the UK and interested to hear his products - Peter will have you to his home to demonstrate his gear. Pretty nice guy

skeptic
06-10-2004, 11:14 AM
"DA converters are based off the very first ones that came out in 1982. But Sony and Phillips didn't have the engineering ability to make it work Peter and crew obviously have much better technical knowledge when it comes to solid state and digital technology because they managed to make it work and sound better."

Give me a break. What planet are you on??????

20 odd years after AR and KLH, Snell reworked and tweaked Kloss' and Vilcher's 2 way 8 inch acoustic suspension design in the eighties and now 20 years later, Peter Q tweaks it again and offers it for 30 to 75 times price of the original versions as the A/N K series. Between his small production runs and his use of European materials and labor, he has the least efficient and highest cost manufacturing operation conceivable. Small wonder his products sell for prices that are beyond all belief.

benil
06-11-2004, 04:38 AM
Since "technical jargon" and "technical measurements" are just meaningless babble, perhaps audio

equipment should be designed by musicians and music lovers and leave electrical and electronics engineers and scientists out of it altogether. Perhaps electrical lighting should be designed by people who like to read and refrigerators and stoves should be designed by people who like to cook or eat. Forget automotive engineers, cars should be designed by drivers.

i think you overreacted to what i said. all i said was that there are many immeasurable qualities in music reproduction that even the most sophisticated scientific tools cannot measure. brands that rely almost solely on technical jargon to sell their products will often just mislead consumers and fail to sell their products successfully in the long run.


This is the kind of anti science garbage logic and reasoning that finds its way into the advertising hype of people who have nothing of real value to sell. Like audiophile cable manufacturers. Perhaps you should consider the
Mini/Max preamp hyped elsewhere on the amp/preamp message board. No technical specs there either. No tecnical information, not even technobabble. Just babble. Just like Audio Note.

on the contrary, technobabble can be used/abused to deceive audio consumers. take the case of the amplifier quality issue. the common philosophy we hear nowadays is that low noise, low distortion through high-power amplification, high damping factors, etc. are all it takes to make an amp sound good. indeed noise-to-signal ratios, distortion and clipping can be measured at different frequencies and SPLs. the result: people choose a path towards boredom and frustration ( i.e. audio hell!) buying megabuck megawatt amps matched with low impedance/ "strangled" speakers .

let's face it: most "low-noise" gear can sound very dry and uninvolving. now tell me what technical instrument can measure dry and uninvolving sound?

Truth is...the most captivating, involving, almost addictive systems i've heard are those that run on low-powered single-ended triode amps hooked up to efficient (high sensitivity, high and flat impedance) speakers. after listening to many different systems (including megawatt mark levinson+dynaudio types) using various type of material, I was convinced that the first few watts are indeed the juiciest watts! this is an anti-thesis of the "low-distortion-is-all" philosophy which is the mainstream philosophy- it seems-- and where a lot of the techie guys seem to thrive.

Audio Note does not need to cite technical measurements simply because the difference between an audio system that sounds captivating or involving from one which is boring and (because they can be very expensive) frustrating to listen to cannot be measured. Honestly, the sound of "low-noise" megawatt-amp-based systems will sound so veiled and
boring if you get used to many hours of listening to an 8-watt single-ended, zero negative feedback amp (like AN amps!) hooked up to a 93db pair of speakers (like audio notes AN-E/SPe speakers).

WmAx
06-11-2004, 08:40 AM
Your statements seem to me, to convey that you do not attempt to isolate the actual variables causing the different 'sound'.

(1) It is true that more then measurable parmeters are involvded. It seems like you have ignored possible psychological influences.

(2) It is true that many SET amplifiers will sound different from amplifiers that meaure well, even in controlled comparisons. It is not unusual for SET amplifiers to have measurable differences that are within known JNDs of human subjects. SET amplifiers typically have a high output impedance resulting in signficnat frequency response variations at impedance swings on a load, such as around the resonant spikes of the bass alignment and at the impedance swings at crossover points. Additinally, most SET amplifiers have levels of harmonic distortion(though, even order primarily) that can detectably effect the sound of the music. In this regard, it could be said that a solid state design that measures good could be considered to be missing something that a SET does not: audible harmonic distortion components.

-Chris



Audio Note does not need to cite technical measurements simply because the difference between an audio system that sounds captivating or involving from one which is boring and (because they can be very expensive) frustrating to listen to cannot be measured. Honestly, the sound of "low-noise" megawatt-amp-based systems will sound so veiled and
boring if you get used to many hours of listening to an 8-watt single-ended, zero negative feedback amp (like AN amps!) hooked up to a 93db pair of speakers (like audio notes AN-E/SPe speakers

RGA
06-11-2004, 08:44 AM
20 odd years after AR and KLH, Snell reworked and tweaked Kloss' and Vilcher's 2 way 8 inch acoustic suspension design in the eighties and now 20 years later, Peter Q tweaks it again and offers it for 30 to 75 times price of the original versions as the A/N K series. Between his small production runs and his use of European materials and labor, he has the least efficient and highest cost manufacturing operation conceivable. Small wonder his products sell for prices that are beyond all belief.

BeforeI ge to this I should stay away from the hype - nothing can live up to the hype - you are not going to go in and be blown away - they are not the fireworks sound.

The Snell K sold for ~$300.00US in 1980 through to something like 1982 (with the buying power of money factors taken into account over 20 years) and the Snells used worse parts throughout. How much would that speaker have risen when sent to the UK? One reason so few North American speakers get sent to Britain is the conversion shipping costs. They now go for 6 times that figure - well so do cars and most everything else these days. A movie was $2.00 then now here they're $12 to $14

The Bryston B60 in Canada sells for $1900.00Cdn funds. The Sugden A21a which is a much better amplifier sells for $2500.00Cdn. OK this is pretty close right.

In Britain the Sugden is 999Gbp but the B60 is a whopping $1700Gbp. When British gear comes here it also gets a healhy increase in price - but the reverse is ridiculous. That's roughly $4500 - $5000.00Cdn.

It isn't how much the speaker costs to build or anything else - it's how good it is versus the competition. I can't justify to you that any piece of stereo equipment should cost more than $500.00. But Peter Q can listen to all the $2000.00US models on the market and say well hell my K kicks the crap out of those speakers so I will charge $2000.00US for it. His speaker may actually cost LESS to build - but that is more of a credit to his choices is it not? And from a parts perspective they're better than what you will find in the N805. Like real wood and silver wiring. As for the drivers we don't know the cost involved because B&W does it in house. A good businessman is the one who can sell a superior product to his competition while making more profit on the deal.

And AR and Snell should have been interested in building the best speakers not the best looking speakers - the garbage both put out today is no where near as GOOD as it once was - they decided to be businessman and put speaker quality last which is why both have practically non - existant presence today. It wasn't broke then - it isn't broke now. And they should have improved those designs not stopped production to make junk like the Snell B-Minor for 5K. That speaker alone probably had every dealer here drop the company - and AR - wow they have a few $199.00 HTIB speaker set-ups around and a bunch of also-ran products at higher prices. What happened!

You pay a premium because Audio Note is a smaller company and they build in Britain and have a more expensive labour force? Yes that's likely true. Unfortunately quality labour costs more and hand built drives a premium. Can starting up a slave labour force in China do it less - yes and maybe just as well too. They have shifted lines to Canada and may move the entire production to Canada and even have certain qualified dealers building the products to reduce costs and prices. Having the speaker built in the actual market redices costs greatly.

However despite these cost draw-backs of lower production runs and higher labour costs - they also don't have to pay millions and milllions and millions on a large labour forces, large overhead, huge marketing campigns or product literature and wining and dining reviewers or GIVING products to reviewers etc. Peter does pretty much all of it himself when it comes to getting dealers - not paying a 12 person marketing department. Which is why instead of plastic speakers you might actually get some quality parts. R&D is greatly redced because instead of trying t re-invent the wheel they take already the best design in his opinion and make it better. R&D is a funny thing manufacturers like to spout in order to justify high prices - hmm but does it sound good - it looks good on paper and ad campaigns but lets get the scost breakdown per speakers from an independant accounting firm. Try comparing a solid Oak table from 1980 to the price of a brand new solid Oak table today - yes you can go to wal-mart and get one that looks like solid oak I'm quite sure for $49.99.

Now why the E goes from $2700.00 to a $40k version well yes that's nuts. Then again compare it to other $40k speakers and maybe it's not. I mean not in relative terms because speakers should not be $40k from anyone - these things are more statement products than things expected to sell. B&W, ML and Dynaudio have such speakers. TO be taken seriously you too must have such a speaker.

Pricing is more about what the market will bare. I would be surprised if the actual cost of a speaker is 1/10 what the retail ends up being. Certainly the DM 302 for $300 Cdn would not cost more than $50.00Cdn to make - the thing was a plastic mold.

The difference is Audio Note lets you build one yourself and you know where to get all the parts to make it cheaper. Most don't allow that.

And in the end if the old Snell J sounded as good as the current AN/J Spe I can safely say that since the late 1970s early 80's NOTHING has been done in speaker technology that has bettered it musically. Mostly it has gone the other way. And for $3500.00US I'll run it up against the N801 at $14,000.00Cdn or the ~10k Martin Logan Oddysey. And then to myself and to you I ask "who are the real rippoff artists?

I should not really hype them - people Audio Note based off of what they hear - without advertising and without fashinable looks and given the high prices and all the things they LOOK to be doing incorrectly - for some strange reason people buy them - oh perhaps it has somehting to do with the music - silly shoppers - who wants something to create that from audio equipment?

RGA
06-11-2004, 09:14 AM
Your statements seem to me, to convey that you do not attempt to isolate the actual variables causing the different 'sound'.

(1) It is true that more then measurable parmeters are involvded. It seems like you have ignored possible psychological influences.

(2) It is true that many SET amplifiers will sound different from amplifiers that meaure well, even in controlled comparisons. It is not unusual for SET amplifiers to have measurable differences that are within known JNDs of human subjects. SET amplifiers typically have a high output impedance resulting in signficnat frequency response variations at impedance swings on a load, such as around the resonant spikes of the bass alignment and at the impedance swings at crossover points. Additinally, most SET amplifiers have levels of harmonic distortion(though, even order primarily) that can detectably effect the sound of the music. In this regard, it could be said that a solid state design that measures good could be considered to be missing something that a SET does not: audible harmonic distortion components.

-Chris

Part of this is why Audio Note likes you to hear their complete systems because their speakers are designed to compliment their amplifiers. They don't dip under 5ohms and are an average of 12 from low to high they don't swing more that 12 or 15 ohms. How their amps would do with other speakers is another matter of course. Their speakers though will be perfectly suited for SS amplifiers - but their SET's were not what I was led to believe by the SS is best camp. They're the first SET amps I have heard and there is no mid bass bloom and no bass and no highs. If you can get 16hz at room rattling levels from an LP and one 8 inch woofer and still be crystal clear in the midband and top end all from SET amplifier - then either people were hearing SETs from comapnies that don't know what they're doing or never actually bothered to listen to any and just looked a frequency graph.

I'm not anti-SS at all - I very much like a whole bunch of them from Sugden to Bryston Rotel YBA etc over a lot of tube amps which do seem to wheeze out - and many speakers simply won't like tubes/SET. I'm sure it will be written off as just warmth or euphonic distortion - but in the Meishu's case higher resolution would be more apt - now where's that darm resoultion sounding more like music graph. Since someone going in and listening to them would not know since the amp is coverred and looks like a big SS amp and since the company doesn't advertise or produce any product literature and the stuff is relatively ugly - people are buying on sound alone.

kexodusc
06-11-2004, 09:23 AM
The Bryston B60 in Canada sells for $1900.00Cdn funds. The Sugden A21a which is a much better amplifier sells for $2500.00Cdn.

Whoah, brother, not to hijack this thread, but I had both of these in my own home for a few days...I will disagree with you here to the bitter end. Except in my neck of the woods they were both priced about the same.

I really liked the Sugden, don't get me wrong, but you could roast a Turkey on the back of it. More importantly, the darn Sugden struggles with lower bass, something that was painfully evident to me on Diana Krall's "Live in Paris" performance. Put in some Therion (I use their cover of "O Fortuna", a very dynamic track) and the Sugden really reveals it's limited capacity for producing low bass and wide dynamic ranges. The B60 is terrifyingly real. Unbelievable piece of equipment.
I'll admit the Sugden is quite musical, and it sounds a bit more natural than my Rotel integrated, but if you aren't in a bedroom, 12X16 living room, or something smaller, and you like classical music, it won't generate anywhere near the realistic presence the B60 does. Accounting for personal tastes, I'll stretch it and say the two amps were equal, but different, but there's no way the A21a can be considered "much better".

WmAx
06-11-2004, 09:33 AM
. I'm sure it will be written off as just warmth or euphonic distortion - but in the Meishu's case higher resolution would be more apt - now where's that darm resoultion sounding more like music graph. Since someone going in and listening to them would not know since the amp is coverred and looks like a big SS amp and since the company doesn't advertise or produce any product literature and the stuff is relatively ugly - people are buying on sound alone

Sound alone? In this cases of evaluation at a dealer, their is no way to distinguish what is really a different sound vs. a psychologically induced difference. Let's say you compared amps E and F on speakers A at dealer Z's store. How did your dealer level match(human hearing is not linear vs. amplitude difference) the two amps? How is he switching them without you knowing? If you know, then you can not rule out psychological induced factors. Name, look, dealer's tone of vioce, etc. will have effect on your perception.

-Chris

RGA
06-11-2004, 09:33 AM
The Sugden requires good equipment - the Sugden is a full range amplifier - lack of distortion is often associated with less of something. I have heard both as well - with the speakers I was using there is no contest that the Sugden is a better sounding unit - the B60 is a more powerful amplifier. I'll grant you with less efficient speakers the A21a is innapropriate. But usually if the speaker is that tough the Bryston would be innapropriate as well. Class A is hot.

http://www.hifichoice.co.uk/review_print.asp?ID=2745 VS
http://www.hifichoice.co.uk/review_read.asp?ID=1933

Though to be fair the Bryston is no slouch - and way better you're right I should not have said. Subtly better to my ear. But I would take the Bryston over most others -factor in the warranty and re-sale vale and it would make a great choice - now that Sugden pulled out of North America - maybe the best integrated under $2k is the B60 - to me anyway.

RGA
06-11-2004, 09:47 AM
deleted by RGA

kexodusc
06-11-2004, 10:22 AM
The Sugden requires good equipment - the Sugden is a full range amplifier - lack of distortion is often associated with less of something. I have heard both as well - with the speakers I was using there is no contest that the Sugden is a better sounding unit - the B60 is a more powerful amplifier. I'll grant you with less efficient speakers the A21a is innapropriate. But usually if the speaker is that tough the Bryston would be innapropriate as well. Class A is hot.

http://www.hifichoice.co.uk/review_print.asp?ID=2745 VS
http://www.hifichoice.co.uk/review_read.asp?ID=1933

Though to be fair the Bryston is no slouch - and way better you're right I should not have said. Subtly better to my ear. But I would take the Bryston over most others -factor in the warranty and re-sale vale and it would make a great choice - now that Sugden pulled out of North America - maybe the best integrated under $2k is the B60 - to me anyway.

Well, I don't know what you mean by the first line...unless Sugden has some way cool AI technology it puts into it's gear to see if the equipment it's working with meets it's standards before it decides to give 100% effort. There certainly wasn't a disclaimer in the manual or packaging that said "Warning, not for use with mediocre equipment, only good stuff here".
Off-topic question: What's with you and hifichoice - you on the payroll? :)

Oddly enough, the links you provide make ambiguous statments like "the success of the A21a will hinge on system matching and personal taste" but they give it a 5-star rating. How much system matching and personal taste does it take to give the Bryston a 5-star rating?
Why not say "Regardless of what we think, some people will undoubtedly like the A21a - Five Stars!!!"

Truth be told, I tried them both first with my Studio 40's. I know you don't like the Studio's but they're reasonably decent, versatile speakers. My living room is quite small, and the Studio's aren't the greatest below 48 Hz or so, so the result was very close.
When I moved the amps downstairs, I ran them through some my cutom built Vifa driven floorstanders (man, I sound like a rich snob here) that are considerably more efficient and full-range than my Studio's. I'd put those up against my uncle's AN/E's anyday (I'd probably lose to the sweet midrange the E's have, but not by much!) It took about 30 seconds of "Les Miserables" to discover the Sugden only likes reproducing narrow ranges at any given time. Ideal for Blues or Rock maybe...not so much for more demanding music. Maybe that's not fair, I'd love to hear the A-48B which I believe is somwhere between 40-60 watts or something. I have my suspicions that lack of power (odd since it shouldn't cost too much to juice it up) was the culprit...Volumes were matched.
The Bryston certainly was uglier. The Sugden's no beauty queen herself though.

kexodusc
06-11-2004, 10:24 AM
Just noticed you actually own the a-48B...cool.

RGA
06-11-2004, 10:48 AM
Just noticed you actually own the a-48B...cool.

Well and that arguably does make me biased. I give credit to Bryston because THEY are the ones who turned me onto High end audio in the first place. And When i bough the Sugden Used I went in hoping to find a Bryston 2BLP that I could run from headphone amp(which would serve as a preamp). But they had no used Brystons. Interestingly when I bought my J's last Friday they had a 2bLP for $275.00Cdn. So if the timing were different I would have bought the 2BLP most likely. So, I'm in no way a disliker of Bryston. I recommend them almost anytime someone is looking for a SS amplifier or have speakers that would require some power. And if I had money to improve my second system a used Brystom power amp would be first on my list.

The A48b is a 70 watter - probably quite close sounding to the 2BLP and thus the B60. Both are a bit warmer. The B60 though is better built and has a remote - and a great warranty. I would take the B60R over my Sugden in absolute terms possibly - I would need to do a side-by side.

RGA
06-12-2004, 10:17 PM
you have an idea what exact SEAS woofer models are used for the AN-E and AN-J? how about the foster tweeters? my brother-in-law will be arriving in a couple of weeks from Illinois and i could have him ship some drivers from madisound.com.

while i still have plans to get the used pairs of AN-J, am thinking of a US$300 DIY project on either the type-J or type-E. while i expect driver-matching problems peter Q mentioned with this experiment, guess its worth the risk. should i fail to get close to the AN sound, i can sure use them for HT front, surround or even center speakers :D

cheers!

Sorry it took so long to answer this:

All i could find was this:

"We use a custom version of a SEAS 8 inch paper cone woofer and a custom version of a Foster 1 inch dome tweeter.

Peter Qvortrup"

The custom job involves re-wring and removing any and all damping substances such as ferro-fluid which according to Peter slugs up the sound. You may be able to ask SEAS and Foster directly to see if you would be able to purchase drivers directly - or go through Audio Note - their prices are not too bad but shipping from Britain could be high. However, they will be starting up In Canada and kits are already available in Canada and the US.

Personally I would just get the kit of the E and build your own cabinets - the Kit is very cheap considering the price. I mean if you do what 920511 with quality Birch ply you would get one terrific full range speaker. With the bass I've been getting from my J/Spe already at 25hz from my Sound and Vision test disc I have no doubt you would get 16hz from the larger E. My Wharfedale's which are three way 10 inch woofers and 3 times the size of the J's(in overall volume) can't produce the bass depth and certainly are not up to it in the distortion department. The other nice thing I'm finding is the ability to play full range at very very low volumes - my wharfedales you have to turn up a bit before the bass kicks in - not so with the Audio Note.

The level of bass response from the E properly set-up in a corner should do justice to any and all recorded music presently available. Must be properly set-up because the speakers use the corner as re-enforcement - and thus toe in out etc and treatments might need to be looked at - though I have not found a treatment necessary as of yet.

If you're in Britain ask to drop by his house and give his system a listen:

I had to laugh at the exchange about bass response from a guy who has not even listened to them - and probably bases everything off of a review he read. http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/speakers/messages/163956.html

Anyway good luck to your do it yourself project - when I get back from Japan I will try an build an amp kit I think - and maybe a set of E's if I have a much larger room room by then. Go to the AN Kit forum if you need help on the drivers too they may be able to find you some cheaper options. http://www.audioasylum.com/forums/audionotekits/bbs.html

benil
06-30-2004, 12:06 AM
Your statements seem to me, to convey that you do not attempt to isolate the actual variables causing the different 'sound'.

(1) It is true that more then measurable parmeters are involvded. It seems like you have ignored possible psychological influences.

like what influences?


(2) It is true that many SET amplifiers will sound different from amplifiers that meaure well, even in controlled comparisons. It is not unusual for SET amplifiers to have measurable differences that are within known JNDs of human subjects. SET amplifiers typically have a high output impedance resulting in signficnat frequency response variations at impedance swings on a load, such as around the resonant spikes of the bass alignment and at the impedance swings at crossover points. Additinally, most SET amplifiers have levels of harmonic distortion(though, even order primarily) that can detectably effect the sound of the music. In this regard, it could be said that a solid state design that measures good could be considered to be missing something that a SET does not: audible harmonic distortion components.

-Chris

can't speakers with flat and very high impedance curves (in room) handle those resonant spikes you mentioned?

audible even order harmonic distortion components sure reads like a negative technical term to most people because of the word distortion. i guess some ears including mine, prefer to hear music with such distortion :)

benil
06-30-2004, 12:12 AM
Sorry it took so long to answer this:

All i could find was this:

"We use a custom version of a SEAS 8 inch paper cone woofer and a custom version of a Foster 1 inch dome tweeter.

Peter Qvortrup"

The custom job involves re-wring and removing any and all damping substances such as ferro-fluid which according to Peter slugs up the sound. You may be able to ask SEAS and Foster directly to see if you would be able to purchase drivers directly - or go through Audio Note - their prices are not too bad but shipping from Britain could be high. However, they will be starting up In Canada and kits are already available in Canada and the US.

Personally I would just get the kit of the E and build your own cabinets - the Kit is very cheap considering the price. I mean if you do what 920511 with quality Birch ply you would get one terrific full range speaker. With the bass I've been getting from my J/Spe already at 25hz from my Sound and Vision test disc I have no doubt you would get 16hz from the larger E. My Wharfedale's which are three way 10 inch woofers and 3 times the size of the J's(in overall volume) can't produce the bass depth and certainly are not up to it in the distortion department. The other nice thing I'm finding is the ability to play full range at very very low volumes - my wharfedales you have to turn up a bit before the bass kicks in - not so with the Audio Note.

The level of bass response from the E properly set-up in a corner should do justice to any and all recorded music presently available. Must be properly set-up because the speakers use the corner as re-enforcement - and thus toe in out etc and treatments might need to be looked at - though I have not found a treatment necessary as of yet.

If you're in Britain ask to drop by his house and give his system a listen:

I had to laugh at the exchange about bass response from a guy who has not even listened to them - and probably bases everything off of a review he read. http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/speakers/messages/163956.html

Anyway good luck to your do it yourself project - when I get back from Japan I will try an build an amp kit I think - and maybe a set of E's if I have a much larger room room by then. Go to the AN Kit forum if you need help on the drivers too they may be able to find you some cheaper options. http://www.audioasylum.com/forums/audionotekits/bbs.html

thanks RGA i'll consider the kit option again.

saw your discussion in AA with the apogee-fanatic who hasn't even heard any pair of audio note speakers yet. it's funny how some people can comment on the basis of specs alone and even criticize gear they haven't even tried listening to. :rolleyes:

skeptic
06-30-2004, 04:25 AM
For better or for worse, from a design point of view, SET single ended triode non feedback amplifiers are the earliest most primitive form of amplifier we have. They harken back the the invention of the vacuum tube triode itself. Every one of the countless developments in the last approximately 75 years of amplifier design has had the goal of overcoming in one way or another, the inherent shortcomings of the SET amplifier and its successors. This is not an opinion, it's an historical fact.

RGA
06-30-2004, 07:57 AM
Yes SS is the techniological superiority. SET is the more primitive and simple signal path no question of it. "For better or for worse" -- well the AN SETs are for better - SET's in general? can't say. Audio Note is considered the best SET maker in the world so before people knock SET they may want to listen to the best that SET has to offer. Judging SS off of a Krell is more fair than a Yorx - both are SS.

skeptic
06-30-2004, 08:29 AM
You could almost say that the electronics era begins with DeForest's invention of the vacuum tube triode and the triode amplifier. An electronics design engineer of say 1930 should have no problem understanding the circuit design of a modern SET amplifier. Except for some of the smaller details, it is essentialy the same as the circuit he was most familiar with himself. To say that SET is still the best choice for audio systems you would have to draw at least two conclusions;

1. That every advance from class AB operation to negative feedback to transistors and all of the thousands of other ideas that differentiate a modern "state of the art" amplifier of any other stripe which overcame the limitations inherent in SETs such as getting greater power, wider flatter frequency response, lower measured distortion, greater stability, greater reliability, etc. all pay a heavy price by compromising performance in some other way that makes them unacceptable. Furthermore, that the price that they pay cannot be measured. That every electronics engineer from then up until now has not figured out how to build a better mousetrap.

2. That there is some reason why the cost increase between the SET of 1930 and the SET of 2004 which is probably the greatest increase of any electronic device in history other than perhaps the increase in the tube preamplifier which matches it is in any way justified.

You will pardon some of us who are skeptical of this notion and who feel that the people who make these devices started their electronics education with a 1950s beginners how to book of radio theory and decided that it contained all the theoretical knowledge they ever needed to know. The only word most electonics engineers could ascribe to this amplifier circuit no matter how well executed is conceptually primitive. I'm not going to flat out say that it isn't true that it is still the best out there although personally I don't believe it, but for many electronics engineers, accepting these assumptions is a stretch too far for them to make.

benil
06-30-2004, 08:34 AM
For better or for worse, from a design point of view, SET single ended triode non feedback amplifiers are the earliest most primitive form of amplifier we have. They harken back the the invention of the vacuum tube triode itself. Every one of the countless developments in the last approximately 75 years of amplifier design has had the goal of overcoming in one way or another, the inherent shortcomings of the SET amplifier and its successors. This is not an opinion, it's an historical fact.



What historical fact? You seem to be implying that SET amps are obsolete when you referred to them as being primitive. I agree that expensive transistor, solid-state amps have dominated the market for high-end amplifiers. That they have made SET amps obsolete is not a proven historical fact at all.

Can you categorically say, for example, that the developments you mentioned succeeded convincingly in overcoming the shortcomings of SET amps without foregoing anything? For example, even the most advanced solid state and push pull tube amps today still do not seem to have overcome the inherent flaws of negative feedback.

Sure SET amps have shortcomings. It’s easy to demonstrate this when they are matched with the wrong equipment. For example, one sure way of discouraging someone to buy or build a SET amp is to hook it up with any of today’s very inefficient “mainstream” speakers. The music will sound very compressed, bright, lean and will likely make the amp clip. Matched with the right speakers (like Audio Note), however, SET amps have a lot to offer that many of today’s megabuck amplifiers don’t seem capable of producing.

I suggest that if you want to talk about the history of developments in amplifier technology that you research on why SET amps lost its popularity and dominance in the amplifier market. I heard it had something to do with the birth of stereo reproduction. Convenience was supposedly what drove innovators to replace SET with push-pull pentode amplification rather than the quest for better sound quality.

Having two huge speakers with two huge separate amps simply required too much space and became very unpopular for those who wanted to listen to stereo with SET amps. Demand for smaller, less efficient speakers grew requiring more powerful but not necessarily better sounding amps.

92135011
06-30-2004, 09:14 AM
why argue when you guys can just go out and do an A/B test?
Hey, whatever floats your boat.

skeptic
06-30-2004, 10:56 AM
"What historical fact? You seem to be implying that SET amps are obsolete when you referred to them as being primitive."

The historical fact IS that the SET amplifier is the first and oldest amplifier design. There is no dispute of that. Tetrodes were designed to overcome the problems of triodes, pentodes were designed to overcome the problems of tetrodes, and beam power pentodes were a later development yet. The 6L6 was invented by RCA in 1936. I don't know where you get your history or electronic theory from but if I were you I'd study a textbook, not advertising copy. Here's a good one I used myself; Analysis and Design of Electronic Circuits by P. M. Chirlian Published by McGraw Hill. Too complex for you? Try RCA Receiving Tube Manual. I have the 1964 edition in front of me right now. The front of the book has an elementry primer on how vacuum tubes and tube electronic circuits work. The bulk of the book has data for all of the popular tubes RCA manufactured then on the market (virtually everything you'd ever see in a consumer product.) The back has schematics for different projects. You can build a class A 1 watt amplifier using a 35W4 rectifier tube and a 50EH5 pentode power output tube which has only about a dozen parts including the tubes and output transformer (page 593.) It's the first amplifier I ever built. Want a little more power and flexibility in a triode amplifier? Try building the 8 watt unit using a 6L6GC output tube, a 6EU7 and a 6AV6 for preamp tubes and a 5Y3GT full wave rectifier which only needs about 45 parts, mostly resistors and capacitors and of course 2 transformers (page 592.) These were considered primitive designs for beginners 40 years ago. For low output SET amplifiers, all that changed between the 1930s and 1960s was better parts, not the design philosophy or the circuit topology. The design of low powered vacuum tube audio amplifiers hasn't interested many people since. Except for this niche market, nobody really cares today either. There are NO new tubes, NO new circuit designs, NO new anything except for higher and higher prices. They are lucky there are people eager to pay them. I never would have thought so.

RGA
06-30-2004, 11:24 AM
You could almost say that the electronics era begins with DeForest's invention of the vacuum tube triode and the triode amplifier. An electronics design engineer of say 1930 should have no problem understanding the circuit design of a modern SET amplifier. Except for some of the smaller details, it is essentialy the same as the circuit he was most familiar with himself. To say that SET is still the best choice for audio systems you would have to draw at least two conclusions;

1. That every advance from class AB operation to negative feedback to transistors and all of the thousands of other ideas that differentiate a modern "state of the art" amplifier of any other stripe which overcame the limitations inherent in SETs such as getting greater power, wider flatter frequency response, lower measured distortion, greater stability, greater reliability, etc. all pay a heavy price by compromising performance in some other way that makes them unacceptable. Furthermore, that the price that they pay cannot be measured. That every electronics engineer from then up until now has not figured out how to build a better mousetrap.

2. That there is some reason why the cost increase between the SET of 1930 and the SET of 2004 which is probably the greatest increase of any electronic device in history other than perhaps the increase in the tube preamplifier which matches it is in any way justified.

You will pardon some of us who are skeptical of this notion and who feel that the people who make these devices started their electronics education with a 1950s beginners how to book of radio theory and decided that it contained all the theoretical knowledge they ever needed to know. The only word most electonics engineers could ascribe to this amplifier circuit no matter how well executed is conceptually primitive. I'm not going to flat out say that it isn't true that it is still the best out there although personally I don't believe it, but for many electronics engineers, accepting these assumptions is a stretch too far for them to make.


Firstly I would not argue with you on any of the technical terms you ascribe to them - flat response distortion etc etc. Never have argued the technical merits and many reivewers who are also professional acostic engineers don't claim it either.

All of this is really not the issue however. What is the issue is how it sounds - and you may want to listen to the Audio Note Oto which is one of Audio Note's least expensive units - it the bline level matched panel of listeners it was chosen as the best amplifier amongst some SS counterparts. This is in the $1000+pound range.

I am not really interested in the technical superiority if it doesn't result in the real world of listening to music. It's really that simple - listen to the J or E it with a Meishu and then some $7k SS amplifier or a $70k SS amplifier for all I care. If that SET is supposed to be so lousy compared to any and all SS amplifiers - then give me more lousy.

Audio Note SETs are new circuit designs not based on any other design - Audio Note SETs are not all low watt designs 27 watts is not low power.

psonic
06-30-2004, 12:21 PM
"Audio Note SETs are not all low watt designs 27 watts is not low power."

it is if it's powering my dynaudio pair! 8)

benil
06-30-2004, 05:33 PM
"What historical fact? You seem to be implying that SET amps are obsolete when you referred to them as being primitive."

The historical fact IS that the SET amplifier is the first and oldest amplifier design. There is no dispute of that.

won't argue with that. just don't use the word primitive. its derogatory.


Tetrodes were designed to overcome the problems of triodes, pentodes were designed to overcome the problems of tetrodes, and beam power pentodes were a later development yet. The 6L6 was invented by RCA in 1936. I don't know where you get your history or electronic theory from but if I were you I'd study a textbook, not advertising copy.

a history of electonic theory and technology is exactly that: history of theory. That may have little to do with the commercial aspect of amplifier history. Can you categorically say that the emergence and popularity of tetrodes and pentodes and their dominance were a purely technical phenonomenon and had nothing to do with economics or commercial history? New technology is not necessarily better technology.


Here's a good one I used myself; Analysis and Design of Electronic Circuits by P. M. Chirlian Published by McGraw Hill. Too complex for you? Try RCA Receiving Tube Manual. I have the 1964 edition in front of me right now. The front of the book has an elementry primer on how vacuum tubes and tube electronic circuits work. The bulk of the book has data for all of the popular tubes RCA manufactured then on the market (virtually everything you'd ever see in a consumer product.) The back has schematics for different projects. You can build a class A 1 watt amplifier using a 35W4 rectifier tube and a 50EH5 pentode power output tube which has only about a dozen parts including the tubes and output transformer (page 593.) It's the first amplifier I ever built. Want a little more power and flexibility in a triode amplifier? Try building the 8 watt unit using a 6L6GC output tube, a 6EU7 and a 6AV6 for preamp tubes and a 5Y3GT full wave rectifier which only needs about 45 parts, mostly resistors and capacitors and of course 2 transformers (page 592.) These were considered primitive designs for beginners 40 years ago.

Didn't I tell you i'm not a techie person. All i know is that my favorite topology for a SET amp is the 300B tube amp which has a pair of 6sn7 driver tubes, 5u4G rectifier and a superbly designed output transformer. By the way, did the book ever use the term primitive?



For low output SET amplifiers, all that changed between the 1930s and 1960s was better parts, not the design philosophy or the circuit topology. The design of low powered vacuum tube audio amplifiers hasn't interested many people since. Except for this niche market, nobody really cares today either. There are NO new tubes, NO new circuit designs, NO new anything except for higher and higher prices. They are lucky there are people eager to pay them. I never would have thought so.

Oh yeah? You don't seem to that informed after alll. SET amps don't have to be expensive. Didn't you say that you yourself had a SET amp project in high school that i bet didn't cost you much.

One can actually build a SET amp based on ones budget constraints. Very recently, for example, a group of audiophiles in our area offered a US$200 kit (including the tubes) for a great sounding 3wpc 2A3 amp. The designers offered an upgrade path for transformers (e.g. tango, tamura, james, audio note), capacitors (auricaps, blackgate) resistors (tantalum) and other parts for those who can afford them.

As for tubes, have you not heard of Eastern European and China made tubes? For example i use a pair of TJ/Sophia mesh plate 300B tubes made in China which are not even 1/3 the price of NOS 300B tubes Believe it or not, there are even less expensive brands from Valve Art, Golden Dragon, Sovtek Svetlana that compete pretty well with rare NOS tubes.

Again, the loss of interest in low powered vacuum tube audio amplifiers was probably not because it is inferior but it had less commercial viability in market that wants to try something new but not exactly better.

Demand for multi-channel 24-bit digital home theater is strong and AV receivers are taking over two-channel systems pretty fast. Its new, yes but does it sound better?

benil
06-30-2004, 05:36 PM
why argue when you guys can just go out and do an A/B test?
Hey, whatever floats your boat.

i can't agree more. technical information has its limitations after all. those branding audio note as hype probably haven't even heard them yet. :rolleyes:

RGA
06-30-2004, 08:06 PM
i can't agree more. technical information has its limitations after all. those branding audio note as hype probably haven't even heard them yet. :rolleyes:

Hype doesn't have legs to last 30 years going back to Kondo - since they don't advertise and don't have product literature and don't ever pay for reviews(errr give gifts of appreciation), you don't last that long on hype - since most people have never heard the product even me 2 years ago. Heck most have never even heard OF them so it is a word of mouth company and more importantly a listen to it against anything and everything else company - and see what you end up with. (Which does not mean AN is perfect by any stretch of the imagination - the best statement is that they "choose their compromises artfully"). Well balanced would be a great term. There is not too much of one thing at the expense of something else - because that advantage in one area can be a dsitraction later.

There are plenty of good systems that are total opposites from what AN is doing that I do like as well - but IMO there is room for both. What I've heard from an all AN set-up was amazing - nevertheless even the reviewers do call the sound of a lot of their products somewhat coloured. I dislike the term because I don't get what they're really talking about - I am perceiving a greater sense of decay - a lot of slim line speakers and high power amps seem to kick everything at you with impressive initial attack but I get the sense I'm missing the piano's full body and full tone. If that "body" you're not used to then I suppose some will think it's colour? Distortion? The numbers don't support distortion though, so I'm not sure what the reviews mean when they throw that in sometimes.

Paul Messenger of Hi-fi Choice makes inconsistant statements about the E/LX speakers. He makes note that some may be put-off on the level of coloration the speaker exhibits when one "first" listens - and that the coloration doesn't go away - but mentions how strong it is in realism and dynamics compared to others.

Well of course the speaker must sound fairly different from slim line speakers currently available if my and other raves are going to hold water - it must sound wildly different to sound wildly better.

However, later he states while listening to Radio 3 that

"I found myself sucked in by the sheer realism of the singers' voices. Speech is also imbued with a healthy dose of realism, so that although voices are quite laid back, even slightly shut-in, they remain very expressive, and individual accents are particularly clear."

Reading this carefully makes almost no sense - how can voice be laidback and shut-in but very clear and expressive and REAL - all the while you say there is also colour?

Peter Qvortrup noted the inconsistancy on another forum that all of those statements are a result that people find it hard to put into words what they're actually hearing(and what they're using to run the speakers with and the room) - regardless of whatever anyone reads in to this review from Aug 2004 Hi-fi Choice about the speaker's weaknesses(they all have them) they awarded it their top rating in the $2500.00GBP range and Mr. Messenger has not returned the speaker. So all the things not right about the design might be very true, but it is right enough for him to have him actually keep the speaker and listen to music on apparently. And Hi-fi choice did not shy away from talking about its weaknesses.

And when so many reviewers from so many magazines use the same brand(and mastering studios and interestingly other manufacturers) as their own speaker/amp/system etc should at least indicate you might want to give them a try. That is different from just a positve review - it would have to be absolutely hideous to get a negative review - but the reviewers are basically saying that yeah all these are good but I want the Oto and the E or J or DAC 5 etc etc in my home to listen to music. Is music not the point - or is the one that has bass that can kill you or a tweeter than can shatter every poiece of glass in your home?

The inferior SET design the inferior speakers with wide baffles and hard corners and PAPER woofers - this is all wrong, two drivers - can't possibly get bass - no damping must create terrible colourations(well maybe pleasing colouration???) or as AN claims doesn't damp out the life of music while damping out distortion - how would the speaker know what it is damping out? It has to damp out some of the good while getting rid of the bad.

In the end the technology is being blathered about - I could care less whether it's tube or SS or SET or digital or whatever - I don't care about the brand name the look or the price - I was going to buy a very pretty ASL or Jolida tube integrated which LOOK stunning - I walked out with a used ugly Sugden that had no tube FUN FACTOR - Audio Note sounded best when I auditioned - simple as that. Compared directly against the top competition and it was even more evident to me that the their system knew something about music that was lost for whatever reason on the other systems. Is it expensive yes, but you could pay a lot more from others and get a lot less.

benil
06-30-2004, 11:33 PM
There are plenty of good systems that are total opposites from what AN is doing that I do like as well - but IMO there is room for both. What I've heard from an all AN set-up was amazing - nevertheless even the reviewers do call the sound of a lot of their products somewhat coloured. I dislike the term because I don't get what they're really talking about - I am perceiving a greater sense of decay - a lot of slim line speakers and high power amps seem to kick everything at you with impressive initial attack but I get the sense I'm missing the piano's full body and full tone. If that "body" you're not used to then I suppose some will think it's colour? Distortion? The numbers don't support distortion though, so I'm not sure what the reviews mean when they throw that in sometimes.




In my opinion, the dominant or mainstream audio reviewers or commentators consider amps with good technical measurements as their reference amps. Once they get used to the sound of these reference amps, they are able to call or classify other amps as either "neutral" sounding if they sound like their reference amps or "coloured" or “musical” if they sound different or fail their measurement standards.

Those of us who like our music with body, tonal and timbral accuracy, warmth etc. do not believe or agree with the use of the terms “neutral” or “coloured”. Personally I find what they refer to as “neutral” gear to sound very lean and clinical however low their “audible harmonic distortion is”.

What I liked about my friend’s AN-E is its lively and very, very involving and it really makes the SET amps bloom. I have heard quite a number of crossoverless/ single-driver speakers and I find them to be very deficient in some areas like midbass, where they seem to have a very audible suckout. I’ve heard a few super high-sensitivity horn speakers hooked up to SET amps too. They are superb in the area of dynamics but are not as involving as the AN-Es.

In other words, its hard to get it right with SET amps but once you find the correct matching, all the hard work will be more than worth it.

skeptic
07-01-2004, 03:51 AM
I'm the kind of person who likes to look under the hood and kick the tires before I buy something. I want to know WHAT I'm getting for my money, not just the fact that I like the way it works. I have to feel that any product I buy delivers real value for money. I will not pay any price just to get what I want or like. I'm not going to buy a speaker with two drivers I could buy for $150, a small wooden box, and a handful of coils and capacitors for $5000 a pair. I'm not going to pay $2500 for a power amp and another $2500 for a preamp which has about $300 worth of parts and took 4 hours to assemble by semiskilled workers. Having worked around real scientists for many years, I do not consider the creative tinkering most audio equipment manufacturers' so called R&D departments do "research." They don't rise to that level. And tweaking 20 to 70 year old designs isn't either.

benil
07-01-2004, 05:50 AM
I'm the kind of person who likes to look under the hood and kick the tires before I buy something. I want to know WHAT I'm getting for my money, not just the fact that I like the way it works. I have to feel that any product I buy delivers real value for money. I will not pay any price just to get what I want or like.

sure. but you should, at the very least, look under the hood, kick the tires and do a test drive. :)



I'm not going to buy a speaker with two drivers I could buy for $150, a small wooden box, and a handful of coils and capacitors for $5000 a pair. I'm not going to pay $2500 for a power amp and another $2500 for a preamp which has about $300 worth of parts and took 4 hours to assemble by semiskilled workers.

there is always the kit option which saves you about $4,000.
click the link here:audionotekits (http://audionotekits.espyderweb.net/).

btw, such a socialized/discriminating pricing strategy only goes to show that audio note does not need to hype. I suppose if you have the money but don't have the time, going for the $5,000 factory-built pair may just be the logical thing to do.

why don't you have your scientist friends build these speakers for you if you really want them done well? ...unless it will turn out to be more expensive given the high opportunity cost of such a project will be to your friends.




Having worked around real scientists for many years, I do not consider the creative tinkering most audio equipment manufacturers' so called R&D departments do "research." They don't rise to that level. And tweaking 20 to 70 year old designs isn't either.



What' s so bad about old designs? My LPs still sound far better than most of the digital material i've heard thus far. I understand the skepticism against most R&D departments. This is why i support those who prefer to take the DIY route. However, as i mentioned above, I'm equally (or probably even more) skeptical about the notion that scientific research is all one needs to make or design audio equipment that sound good.

skeptic
07-01-2004, 07:46 AM
I don't think I'd have a problem successfully building any well designed audio kit. I could probably reverse engineer it as well and build my own unless the manufacturer has used custom made parts to preclude just such a possibility.

New designs usually come about because of the inadequacies of the old designs. There are exceptions such as special audiophile wire where some clever marketers saw a naive sucker market with delusions of sophistication to cynically exploit. As I said in my previous posting, class AB came about because class A couldn't deliver enough power, negative feedback came about because distortion of non feedback amplifiers was too high, frequency response too limited, and stable operation inadequate. Transistors came about because tubes were too hot, too inefficient, and too unreliable. Whether the advantages of these ideas have sufficient merit to offset the claimed disadvantages by their detractors is for the consumer to decide. I have said that it is up to the innovator to prove the worth of his new products to the satisfaction of his technical peers. Inventors of these innovations have proven their superiority in the areas claimed over the decades again and again. Now it is up to those who challenge them by saying that there is too heavy a price to pay for these advantages to prove their point, not in advertising copy or in the testimonials of customers, advertisers, and reviewers whose employers get paid to advertise the same products they review but by scientifically demonstrating their superiority to the satisfaction of other scientists and engineers. If this is possible, it takes real research to accomplish it, not tinkering. Yes, scientific documentation of superiority is one of the things I look for under the hood. If a 10 or 25 watt per channel amplfier is going to cost a few thousand dollars, there had better be more to recommend it than just the fact that it sounds better to some people under some circumstances. I expect a lot more for my money.

92135011
07-01-2004, 08:31 AM
Dont forget that it may be that one of the reasons why innovation was brought about was to be more economically sound. It may be because it is just cheaper to build with transistors? I'm no expert on parts prices, but a possibility nonetheless

GSI
07-01-2004, 09:25 AM
What I see under the hood of the most if not all SS amps is handfull of cheap standard computer grade parts inside - nothing exciting at all. $2500 or more for SS amp or even worse - for preamp is where I see real nonsense.

skeptic
07-01-2004, 09:37 AM
There were and still are expensive examples of both types. Tube technology was well established. That means that the industry was "tooled up" for it. Production lines, parts vendors, assembly workers, design engineers, troubleshooters, were all familiar with the product. Transistors required an entire rebuild of the industry. That has to be amortized. For some, it was partially offset by other transistorized products they manufactured for the military and industry. Some engineers couldn't make the transition because they were unable to make the switch from thinking in terms of voltage to thinking in terms of current. There were many difficulties in learning how to bias transistors to prevent crossover notch distortion. There were a high failure rates. Early transistors were germanium, not silicon and didn't perform as well as later transistors. It took time for technicians to learn how to troubleshoot and service them, even learning how to solder and unsolder them without damaging them in the process. It was an expensive decade of transition but most manufacturers knew it was the wave of the future and if they wanted to survive, they would have to make this transition. Among the last of the tube holdouts of that era were Dynaco and McIntosh. They only produced solid state products when they felt that they had something better to offer, not just something new. Today, 35 to 45years later, it's a different world. Except for special tubes like klystrons, magnetrons, and CRTs, the age of the vacuum tube is over. The vacuum tube hi fi amplifier is a niche market comprising far less than 1% of all the audio amplifiers sold worldwide. Now it is the parts, labor, and knowhow of tube technology which is rare. Had vacuum tube technology survived in any meaningful way, vacuum tube amplifiers which cost $500 in 1964 would not cost $5000 but $50 or less today. Economy of scale, advanced production methods, and the antiquated nature of the technology would have driven the cost to produce and the price through the floor just as it has with much of its solid state counterparts. There is no rational reason why a solid state audio amplifier should cost $5000 either.

RGA
07-01-2004, 12:20 PM
Tube amps in Asian countires never left never got left behind and are hugely popular. The reason is thatthe following technology, SS, didn't sound as good to them -- simple concept.

America is the disposable society - people are not buying products for their quality or build construction - otherwise HTiB would not outsell everything else. As big as Bryston or Rotel are they are nothing compared ot the inferior junk Sony and their ilk is putting out.

There is only one reason to put it - profit. Has nothing to do with technological superiority. And your point is ludicrous because ALL speakers have a cost to final price ratio - why for example you pick on Audio Note cost of drivers to final price - what about the Paradigm Studio 100 or B&W N801 or $70,000.00US Dynaudio Evidence Master - It's not like the Drivers combined are worth $1000.00 - they may sell then for more than that but Dynaudio may build them for $3.50 each.

Audio Note relies on the cabinetry to creat a large section of the resulting sound. And as for their amplifiers - well they use the best physical parts in the world for their amplifiers - How does Krell, which you recommended way back, do to justify their price in a world where SS "SHOULD BE" dirt cheap. $80,000.US for two monoblock power amplifiers?

High watt amps only came out because speaker manufacturers cheaped out and made low efficiency loudspeaker - better to high damp bad cheap wood than build with quality cabinetry with no internal voids - but this would COST more and reduce profits - much cheaper to use the worst wood and stuff it to death with Foam or dacron or whatever - or sand fill them. Then you need a 100+ watts to open them up because the driver is competing with the cabinet.

Then you need more BIG drivers to get bass that one 8 inch woofer properly designed can not only do but provide DEEPER bass and clearer sound top to bottom.

For a DIY you can build them dirt cheap - labour is the highest price part for small companies especially when that labour is from Britain - and when you have a 100% sampling for QC that adds to the cost. You have the option to bypass all of this. At least they have the option. Same with the amps - you want the best Audio Note transformer fine you want a cheap ass one that is fine too.

Audio equipment is not the same as a car - more parts in an audio chain is worse unless it serves a purpose. AN is about the direct route as possible from source to speaker with no error correction of any kind - or as close to this as possible - done badly it is a disaster - done right it does not and cannot get better - no need to FIX errors with oversampling if your player does not make them in the first place.

This comes at the price of power OK...but even power is only there to compensate for ineficient insenstive design - it is also AN ERROR correcting entity.

I choose the system that needs the least error correcting. And those errors were only created because the manufacturers used CHEAP parts.

RGA
07-01-2004, 12:53 PM
And also these tube/transistor debates are silly anyway - I tend to agree with this reviewer Ian White

"While I prefer the sound of tubes to solid-state devices, I refuse to throw myself into the ludicrous "push-pull/single-ended" debate. I see no point to it. Does it really matter to you the reader if the amp that makes the most beautiful music in your home uses tubes or transistors? I believe that this exercise is about finding the amplifier that sounds the best to your ears in the context of your system. Some of you will choose solid state and others will choose tubes. Itís the end result that matters." http://www.soundstage.com/revequip/ian04.htm

skeptic
07-01-2004, 01:12 PM
"How does Krell, which you recommended way back, do to justify their price in a world where SS "SHOULD BE" dirt cheap. $80,000.US for two monoblock power amplifiers?"

I don't ever recall recommending Krell. IMO, there is no justification for a pricetag of $80,000 for a pair of Krell monoblock amplfiers. There is no justification for even $8000.

You parrot back Peter Qtwerp's line very well but you are both very wrong about low efficiency loudspeakers. AR3, probably the archetype acoustic suspension loudspeaker was among the least efficient speakers of its day requiring a whopping 25 watts RMS per channel and having a rated maximum capacity of 100. That was a lot in the early to mid 1960s. It was extremely well constructed of very good materials for their day as were products from KLH.

I don't know much about the Asian market but I would find it hard to belive that Panasonic, Sony, Kenwood, Pioneer, Teac, Toshiba, Nakamichi, Yamaha, Denon, didn't fill that market with ss products as successfully as they filled the American market. It is dangerous to generalize about America being a "throw-away" society. Just look at how much vintage equipment is still available on e-bay for instance that wasn't thrown away and how much more is likely still out there being used. Some of them are considered gems and are highly prized like old McIntosh and Marantz equipment.

High wattage amps came out because the market wanted them and they could be made at reasonable cost using transistors. The first on the consumer market was the Crown DC300 with Phase Linear 400 and 700 following shortly. There was a horsepower race of sorts in the 1970s and McIntosh and Marantz entered the fray as well.

The fiberglass in acoustic suspension loudspeakers is used to damp the speaker. Damping is a fundimental part of tuning the speaker/enclosure combination to avoid spurious resonances and is an inherent part of Newton's second law of motion. If you design speaker systems, you neglect it at your own peril. It is hard if not impossible to say much about Peter Qtwerps speakers or any of his other products for that matter except that they seem expensive and it doesn't appear that much goes into them. He doesn't tell you much about the design and there aren't many places to go hear them, certainly not near where I live and I'm not going out of my way to get to one of the few places that they are demonstrated.

It's always suspicious when someone comes here with the line that only one guy has a corner on everything that is good and everything different from his meaning everything else is awful. By your reckoning, the more than 99% of audiophiles who don't have any AN equipment all have terrible equipment that isn't worth listening to. I'm sure most people find this line hard to swallow. I know I do.

benil
07-01-2004, 02:36 PM
I don't think I'd have a problem successfully building any well designed audio kit. I could probably reverse engineer it as well and build my own unless the manufacturer has used custom made parts to preclude just such a possibility.

New designs usually come about because of the inadequacies of the old designs. There are exceptions such as special audiophile wire where some clever marketers saw a naive sucker market with delusions of sophistication to cynically exploit. As I said in my previous posting, class AB came about because class A couldn't deliver enough power, negative feedback came about because distortion of non feedback amplifiers was too high, frequency response too limited, and stable operation inadequate. Transistors came about because tubes were too hot, too inefficient, and too unreliable. Whether the advantages of these ideas have sufficient merit to offset the claimed disadvantages by their detractors is for the consumer to decide. I have said that it is up to the innovator to prove the worth of his new products to the satisfaction of his technical peers. Inventors of these innovations have proven their superiority in the areas claimed over the decades again and again. Now it is up to those who challenge them by saying that there is too heavy a price to pay for these advantages to prove their point, not in advertising copy or in the testimonials of customers, advertisers, and reviewers whose employers get paid to advertise the same products they review but by scientifically demonstrating their superiority to the satisfaction of other scientists and engineers. If this is possible, it takes real research to accomplish it, not tinkering. Yes, scientific documentation of superiority is one of the things I look for under the hood. If a 10 or 25 watt per channel amplfier is going to cost a few thousand dollars, there had better be more to recommend it than just the fact that it sounds better to some people under some circumstances. I expect a lot more for my money.


Jack Elliano who was literally a rocket scientist throughout most of his carreer has introduced a number of new SET designs that you might want to take a look at. He owns elektraprint and invented the DRD ultrapath design. Here's a link to an article on his amps by enjoythemusic's Bill Gaw:

billgaw_on_DRD_amp (http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/viewpoint/1101/aachapter27.htm)


I've heard a 300B and a modified 2A3 version of his amps from a friend who got to visit his research Lab in Las Vegas. Guess what speakers i've heard them best matched with? An audio note AN-E/SPe :D

skeptic
07-01-2004, 03:17 PM
He may have been a rocket scientist in his day job, but his amplifier is still a minor variant of the primitive SET design. Oh his big claim to fame is inserting a capacitor between the low side of the primiary output transformer winding and the cathode. That and a direct coupling between the plate output of the driver tube and the control grid of the output tube. Big deal.

By the way, the review stinks. He lost me in the first few sentences with his extoling his new power conditioner and his power cord that are finally broken in. No measurements of course. Just a lot of bull. As I said, they don't really like to show you what's under the hood and as far a this reveiwer is concerned, I don't think he would know what he was looking at anyway. BTW, a directly heated cathode goes back to the most primitive form. Better have a rock steady power supply or there will be hum and noise.

"If I didn't already have the specialty power cords, I'd probably be able to do without. Thus the $5,000 charge for the twelve outlet unit may actually be a bargain, considering you may be able to do without twelve super high-end power cords at $1,000-$6,000 each."

give me a break.

Hey, remember my earlier posting about how primitive SET amps are? Here's your guru's opinion. I'm sure AN's amp fits into here somewhere.

"Just about every different type of tube circuit, especially the SET ones, were first developed in the 30's, with the last being probably the Williamson push pull circuit from the late 40's. Every tube amp development since has been variations on these prehistoric configurations, just using different configurations and quality of resistors, capacitors, inductors, transformers, etc., to adjust the sound. Each new change is considered an advancement by the maker, but is usually just a variation of a theme."

Well, maybe he does know something about tube amplifiers after all.

RGA
07-01-2004, 03:39 PM
I am not saying one needs to buy an Audio Note to get good music - nor am I saying they're the best - They happen to be the best I've heard since 1992 when I started to pay attention to audio - but the list of what I have not heard is extremely long. Looking over older designs by Acoustic Research many of their speakers look to be very similar to the original Snell designs - wide baffles highish sensitivity - two way designs with good bass.

The only difference I see is that AR gave up using quality materials and cabinetry and went to making a pile of crap like most others and are now a "nothing" company on the world stage - AN continued to improve and improve what was already the basis of great music makers to make them the best they possibly can - and obviously when peole listen to them without letting sight be a bias in the blind panels of hi-fi choice people are still selecting these over this weeks $5,000.00 models.

The Snell B-Minor is a total disaster and is obviously based off the AR 9 and if the new AR's were better you would have them - but you're sticking to the AR9 of old. Why? Surely in 20+ years they've improved speakers - uhh no - and if they tried to build a $2k model from them using quality woods instead of particle board or plastic you'd pay $10k+ today for it. I don;t blame AR for cheaping out - it's a business for "most" first and foremost.

It is really quite simple - they're 60 year old cabinets and good quality materials are beating the ever loving crap out of the brand spanking new - advertise the crap out of it - change every 4 years Harman international models which sell for as much or more money. The can claim every technical thing they wish with their NRC blind tests and white papers - but in the end when I went out to listen none of that helped Harman or B&W - and independant blind auditions Hi-fi choice isn't backing those claims up either(Certain models perhaps). It's just marketing spin alla Bose.

UHF made the statement that in the late 70s early 80s 25 watts was considered a beast of an amp. The idea of low efficiency was to gain bass depth - but the E or the J or even to a degree the K is proof that that that is total BS.

The only reason to NEED more power is bad speaker design - Higher efficient speakers ALWAYS sound more dynamic more lifelike than something like the Totem Model 1 and virtually ALL slim line design speakers. While these do have certain sonic advantages - music isn;t one of them.

Looking at the overall picture of the AR 9 I seriously doubt you would think much of the Paradigm Studio 100 or its ilk -- all of which are supposedly superior technological advancements and will have a stream of engineers will tell you this new "truth." It's all true of course until you catually play some music on them and realize the "emperor has no clothes"

As for SET versus SS I can't comment because i've not heard enough of the former to make a general comment and have really only heard SET with spekaers built for SET. Though the Meishu handled the B&W N805 with ample aplomb.

I understand full well your skepticism because Peter says he's right and everyone else is wrong - well which companies state don't imply that? Magnepan Quad, B&W, Harman all imply the same thing and it's not true for any of them including Mr. Qvortrup. It's only true to the person listening. If I picked Magnepan then I would be like the person on here who says Magnepan is the only company that can pass the Live test recreating instruments the only true way. He obviously hears it differently than me. On another forum if it isn't an electrostat then it's unlsitenable - :rolleyes: Fair enough - you think Classical is the only thing worth listening to and that a speaker needs to be some sort of omnidirectional or multidirexctional to be any good - so no front firing system can possibly be acceptable to you regardless of design or price.

It's called a preference.

Disposable society does not apply to 70's North America but to current North America. People used to shop for things like service and quality - two things Future Shop Best Buy and Wall Mart know nothing about and sell to consumers who are only about price. This explaoins buying speakers over the internet unheard - these people don;t really CARE about what it sounds like - they read reviews and can get a "Deal."

They know the price of everything but the value of nothing. Value is how good it sounds -that is the only point of a stereo system. If one speaker puts $900.00 worth of materials etc into his $1000.00 retail speakers while Audio Note puts $400.00 into their $1000.00 speakers knowing this means the first is better - but if the latter sounds ten times better - it's the one I'm buying. The former I view as an idiot for not getting way more out of their speaker. Plus if something goes wrong with the former it will cost way more to repair - all that for worse sound - no thanks.

RGA
07-01-2004, 07:39 PM
I found a small essay on the history of the 300B and Single Ended amplifiers in the US. Some of this goes to what I was saying about why there are big power amps today offerring no real gain in music reproduction:

http://www.republika.pl/mparvi/300b.htm

Woochifer
07-01-2004, 09:07 PM
It is really quite simple - they're 60 year old cabinets and good quality materials are beating the ever loving crap out of the brand spanking new - advertise the crap out of it - change every 4 years Harman international models which sell for as much or more money. The can claim every technical thing they wish with their NRC blind tests and white papers - but in the end when I went out to listen none of that helped Harman or B&W - and independant blind auditions Hi-fi choice isn't backing those claims up either(Certain models perhaps). It's just marketing spin alla Bose.

And which "brandspankingnewadvertisethecrapoutofitchangeevery 4yearsharmaninternationalmodelwhichsellfor asmuchormoremoney" models have you actually compared to these "60yearoldcabinetsandgoodqualitymaterials" speakers that you are speaking of? Blind tests and white papers are just marketing spin alla Bose? And how does Hi-Fi Choice contradict what's written in those white papers? Better question, have you ever READ the Harman white papers? Your generalization is so full of holes, presumptions, and wishful thinking, it borders on delusional.


UHF made the statement that in the late 70s early 80s 25 watts was considered a beast of an amp. The idea of low efficiency was to gain bass depth - but the E or the J or even to a degree the K is proof that that that is total BS.

That assertion is BS. The wattage wars between different amp manufacturers was in high gear by the late-70s. 25 watts at that time would have been well below average for a typical mid-fi receiver. And those output ratings for that era were very conservative because by then the FTC had cracked down on the fallacious and "creative" output ratings that various manufacturers were quoting by the late-60s.


The only reason to NEED more power is bad speaker design - Higher efficient speakers ALWAYS sound more dynamic more lifelike than something like the Totem Model 1 and virtually ALL slim line design speakers. While these do have certain sonic advantages - music isn;t one of them.

And I suppose that all those panel speakers that practically need a dedicated circuit to drive to moderately to high volumes are just as poorly designed as those slim line speakers that you love to hate?


Looking at the overall picture of the AR 9 I seriously doubt you would think much of the Paradigm Studio 100 or its ilk -- all of which are supposedly superior technological advancements and will have a stream of engineers will tell you this new "truth." It's all true of course until you catually play some music on them and realize the "emperor has no clothes"

Hmmm, the "emperor has no clothes"? I get it. Technology is bad. Music is not technology. Therefore speakers with no technology are good. Nice logic.


It's called a preference.

Disposable society does not apply to 70's North America but to current North America. People used to shop for things like service and quality - two things Future Shop Best Buy and Wall Mart know nothing about and sell to consumers who are only about price. This explaoins buying speakers over the internet unheard - these people don;t really CARE about what it sounds like - they read reviews and can get a "Deal."

For someone who didn't even follow audio until the early-90s, you sure know a lot about how people lived and shopped in the 70s. Let me clue you in something that you may not be aware of. People in ANY era are going to look for the best product for the best price within their budget range. I don't know where you get this twisted idea that service and quality were things that people were more willing to pay for back then than they are now. People were just as cheap back then as they are now. It's just that back then fewer of them could afford anything beyond a basic record changer or portable cassette player.

The thing about Future Shop, Best Buy, and all those low priced products that they sell ... guess what, the majority of people back in the 70s would have paid the same amount (inflation adjusted) for audio equipment. But, instead of getting a receiver or HTIB system for a low price like they can today, they would have settled for a boombox or an all-in-one system (complete with BSR record changer and 8-track player). In inflation-adjusted terms, the performance that a consumer can get right now in those entry level categories is FAR greater than anything that was available at that time.

The first record player my family got cost $50 in 1972. The thing was a GE folddown record changer with detachable speakers, it sounded like crap, and the tonearm had such poor tracking that we needed to tape a penny to the headshell. At an inflation-adjusted rate of $225, you means to tell me that a CD mini system that sells that that price today sounds worse than that $50 record changer from 1972? The lowest priced stereo boomboxes in the late-70s almost all cost more than $100. Inflation adjusted, that would now cost about $260. I doubt that even you would find fault in a $260 mini system of today in a direct comparison with that boombox from 1979. If you're talking about price and value, yeah EVERYTHING in the 70s was about quality and service. What bull****.

And your generalization about internet speakers is equally ridiculous. People who buy things factory direct over the internet are looking for the best performance for the best price. What makes you think that they DON'T care about the sound quality? They're trying to get a higher level of performance than what they typically see at their price point. THAT'S why they go the mail order route. I went with a mail order subwoofer because the performance and design that I was looking for WAS NOT available at my price point with the retail options that I was looking at. The fact that an option was available through an internet direct company was worth trying. And as it stands, my bass setup far exceeds anything else I've heard in this price range.


They know the price of everything but the value of nothing. Value is how good it sounds -that is the only point of a stereo system. If one speaker puts $900.00 worth of materials etc into his $1000.00 retail speakers while Audio Note puts $400.00 into their $1000.00 speakers knowing this means the first is better - but if the latter sounds ten times better - it's the one I'm buying. The former I view as an idiot for not getting way more out of their speaker. Plus if something goes wrong with the former it will cost way more to repair - all that for worse sound - no thanks.

Once again, you're making wild accusations about people's motivations and what they are looking for when they buy things. Value is a personal judgment. Something that you view as low value, might have higher value to someone else because that particular product meets THEIR needs. And those two-channel only Audio Note systems that you might think are the best things ever, have no value to me because if something cannot do multichannel, it's irrelevant to my purposes.

And, you're making baseless guesses about the material costs and profits and business models, etc. Can you even think of any real world examples that fit that hypothetical scenario that you're painting out? Stick to what you know. If you claim to know what an idiot is thinking, then the last thing you want to do on this board is leave yourself open to questioning about why you have such a strong grasp on that perspective.

benil
07-01-2004, 11:51 PM
He may have been a rocket scientist in his day job, but his amplifier is still a minor variant of the primitive SET design. Oh his big claim to fame is inserting a capacitor between the low side of the primiary output transformer winding and the cathode. That and a direct coupling between the plate output of the driver tube and the control grid of the output tube. Big deal.

Wow BIG WORDS from you man. so what's your claim to fame? the tone of your language seems to me YOU have made the biggest contribution to audio design in history. have you even tried listening to this amp? what then is good value to you? can you give an example of an amp you really like so we can get to listen to them. who knows? I might have a friend who has them lying around gathering dust somewhere.


By the way, the review stinks. He lost me in the first few sentences with his extoling his new power conditioner and his power cord that are finally broken in. No measurements of course. Just a lot of bull. As I said, they don't really like to show you what's under the hood and as far a this reveiwer is concerned, I don't think he would know what he was looking at anyway. BTW, a directly heated cathode goes back to the most primitive form. Better have a rock steady power supply or there will be hum and noise.

"If I didn't already have the specialty power cords, I'd probably be able to do without. Thus the $5,000 charge for the twelve outlet unit may actually be a bargain, considering you may be able to do without twelve super high-end power cords at $1,000-$6,000 each."

give me a break.

i don't agree with that part on power cords either. hum you say? again, its obvious you haven't heard any of Jack's amp before. :rolleyes:


Hey, remember my earlier posting about how primitive SET amps are? Here's your guru's opinion. I'm sure AN's amp fits into here somewhere.

"Just about every different type of tube circuit, especially the SET ones, were first developed in the 30's, with the last being probably the Williamson push pull circuit from the late 40's. Every tube amp development since has been variations on these prehistoric configurations, just using different configurations and quality of resistors, capacitors, inductors, transformers, etc., to adjust the sound. Each new change is considered an advancement by the maker, but is usually just a variation of a theme."

Well, maybe he does know something about tube amplifiers after all.

believe me: using better configurations, quality resistors, capacitors, inductors, transformers do affect the sound. each may have a small contribution which when all added up make a lot of difference. the WHOLE does become greater than the SUM of the parts. again, this is all just based on listening experience.

92135011
07-01-2004, 11:57 PM
This is genuinely the worst thing about internet forums. Too much talk, not enough listening. If you guys like your technologically superior transistor amps, well that's fine. Why is it important if I like it? If you like the classic valve amps, thats cool too. What does that matter to me. Maybe transistors are superior; maybe valve amps are. It's all about perception. It's all relative - not absolute. Not that I care too much if you like either type anyways as long as you dont extend your arm into trying to influence me into liking exactly what you like.
Woochiefer's point about value being subjective is well taken. If that holds at least some truth, then it should hold true to everything. As I have said before. Who cares if you like expensive cables? Who cares if you like CD over vinyl? Who cares about any of other peoples business? It don't bother me.
Don't get me wrong. Discussing is cool. Expansion of knowledge is great. But if it isnt asked, then it dont need to be answered. Everyone has their own passion. RGA loves Audio Note, as do I. Skeptic doesnt like tubes. But RGA seems to like them. Not that it bothers me.

Should it bother you?

skeptic
07-02-2004, 03:09 AM
"The only reason to NEED more power is bad speaker design - Higher efficient speakers ALWAYS sound more dynamic more lifelike "

This is pure nonsense. The truth is that on an absolute basis, ALL loudspeaker systems are very inefficient at converting electrical power into acoustical power. One watt of acoustical power is an enormous amount. The most efficient loudspeakers ever made are only a few percent efficient as energy converters. The sacrifice in efficiency to gain greater control, lower distortion, wider flatter frequency response is a well known and accepted engineering principle. Of course you have to know what you are doing or it can be a disaster. Low efficiency in itself does not mean improvement, it is a consequence of certain techniques such as negative feedback and damping.

The Teledyne AR9 was the last and ultimate experession of Edgar Vilcher's concept for his original acoustic suspension design. It was relatively efficient for a speaker of its type. Acoustic Research strived for accuracy by making extensive measurements and proving their worth in live versus recorded demonstrations allowing listeners to judge accuracy for themselves. They were amazingly successful with many different types of instruments from guitars, nickelodeons (both of which I attended) pipe organs, string quartets, and among the last an AR Ten Pi played against Buddy Rich the world famous drummer. It's unfortunate that Arsenal's web site is down for the last few weeks because there is an extensive thread now archived about this particular demo by the people who were actually involved in setting it up and conducting it. HOW MANY LIVE VERSUS RECORDED DEMOS HAS Audio Note CONDUCTED???? I'd venture to say the answer would be about.......NONE! Like most manufacturers, they don't dare. The appeal of their products is based on what they think their customers will like, not on what is accurate. In this respect, they are no different from most of their competitors.

benil
07-02-2004, 06:37 AM
They know the price of everything but the value of nothing. Value is how good it sounds -that is the only point of a stereo system. If one speaker puts $900.00 worth of materials etc into his $1000.00 retail speakers while Audio Note puts $400.00 into their $1000.00 speakers knowing this means the first is better - but if the latter sounds ten times better - it's the one I'm buying. The former I view as an idiot for not getting way more out of their speaker.

Yes! You hit the nail in the head! TEN of my favorite LPs sounding TEN times better means 100 times more value to me :)

benil
07-02-2004, 06:55 AM
HOW MANY LIVE VERSUS RECORDED DEMOS HAS Audio Note CONDUCTED???? I'd venture to say the answer would be about.......NONE!

What exactly do you mean by LIVE music? Do you mean a live orchestra playing at 110 to 120db? A live pop or jazz band in a controlled listening environment like a studio or a music hall? Live concert of pop band with an enormous crowd using mammoth PA equipment? Can you be more specific?

skeptic
07-02-2004, 07:16 AM
Some of the deomonstrations consisted of an Aolean Skinner pipe organ alternating with a handful of AR3s. Another was a nickelodeon flanked by a pair of AR3s. Another was Buddy Rich sitting at his drums flanked by a pair of AR Ten Pis. Recordings were carefully taped outdoors where possible to avoid a double echo effect resulting from recorded room reverberation. On cue, the musicians would stop and the speakers would start picking up the music where the musicians had left off. At the next cue, the situation would reverse. Some of the engineers who devised and conducted these tests are still alive and ready willing and able to talk about them on Arsenal's Classic Speaker web site which as I said has unfortuantely been down for several weeks. The last of these demonstrations was the Buddy Rich demo performed in the mid 1970s reportedly at the factory. Others such as those I attended with the niclelodeon and the guitarist were conducted at trade shows. The accuracy of the speakers was to say the least remarkable. Whether you like their sound or not playing commercial recordings or whether they were successful commercially themselves or not, from an engineer's perspective, they passed the acid test. This is where the rubber meets the road and where the real thing is separated from the wanabees.

If efficiency was a measure of loudspeaker quality, Klipschorn, Altec A7 and JBL Hartsfield would be among the top units ever produced, not only far more efficient than Acoustic Research but also much more efficient than Audio Note as well.

skeptic
07-02-2004, 07:23 AM
The differences in the configurations are minimal. The incremental cost of the better parts is also minimal. These guys think that as audio tinkerers they should be paid the same wage for their after hours extra curricular activities as they get for their real work. If there are people out there willing to pay it, why shouldn't they. I'm not.

benil
07-02-2004, 08:31 AM
Some of the deomonstrations consisted of an Aolean Skinner pipe organ alternating with a handful of AR3s. Another was a nickelodeon flanked by a pair of AR3s. Another was Buddy Rich sitting at his drums flanked by a pair of AR Ten Pis. Recordings were carefully taped outdoors where possible to avoid a double echo effect resulting from recorded room reverberation. On cue, the musicians would stop and the speakers would start picking up the music where the musicians had left off. At the next cue, the situation would reverse. Some of the engineers who devised and conducted these tests are still alive and ready willing and able to talk about them on Arsenal's Classic Speaker web site which as I said has unfortuantely been down for several weeks. The last of these demonstrations was the Buddy Rich demo performed in the mid 1970s reportedly at the factory. Others such as those I attended with the niclelodeon and the guitarist were conducted at trade shows. The accuracy of the speakers was to say the least remarkable. Whether you like their sound or not playing commercial recordings or whether they were successful commercially themselves or not, from an engineer's perspective, they passed the acid test. This is where the rubber meets the road and where the real thing is separated from the wanabees.


am a buddy rich (and Gene Krupa) fan myself and i liked his drum solo in "Jumping At the Woodside" best in his "This One's For Basie" LP. Sounds more "live" with Audio Note gear than any of the other gear/ systems i've heard.

were other equipment demonstrated side-by-side with the ARs? don't tell me other equipment were not tested or compared with the ARs for this Live demo. what's the relevance of a demo if there is no point of reference? can we say it sounds accurate in absolute terms. what if another SET :) of gear is able to reproduce live event you referred to better than the AR?

the comparison by contrast section of Qvortrup and Norwitz clearly states the importance of relative performance of gear to others when choosing your audio gear:

"Even if we were present at every recording session, we would have no way of interpreting the electrical information which feeds through the microphones to the master tape--let alone to the resulting CD or LP -- into a sensory experience against which we could evaluate a given audio system" from audio hell (http://www.audionote.co.uk/anp1.htm)


also reproduction of music played outdoors would not top my list of music titles i'd like to listen to with my gear. i prefer listening to a "live" studio recording (single take) using 2-tracks (left and right) over a live indoor or outdoor concert. The latter, to sound balanced (no one instrument dominating the others) usually requires the use of huge multi-track mixers and amplifiers for all the various instruments and musicians to be heard.


If efficiency was a measure of loudspeaker quality, Klipschorn, Altec A7 and JBL Hartsfield would be among the top units ever produced, not only far more efficient than Acoustic Research but also much more efficient than Audio Note as well.

the most efficient speakers or speaker systems i've heard are great with dynamics and headroom.i've heard altec 604s and 605s in open baffles, several versions of ALTEC voice of the theater, SET tri-amped JADIS (a french brand) eurithmie of , Klipsch, Tannoy Westminster, sequera full range etc. all rated close to 105db and very high impedance.

despite all their strenghts, however i don't find them any of them to be as involving as Audio Note speakers. btw, I also like listening in a "living room" type of an environment. i'm not into an acoustically treated theater-type of listening room which SS followers seem to prefer.

RGA
07-02-2004, 10:24 AM
That assertion is BS. The wattage wars between different amp manufacturers was in high gear by the late-70s. 25 watts at that time would have been well below average for a typical mid-fi receiver. And those output ratings for that era were very conservative because by then the FTC had cracked down on the fallacious and "creative" output ratings that various manufacturers were quoting by the late-60s.

Skeptic said it first - UHF mentioned it in a book. I notice you don;t quote Skeptic to correct him - you have proof of course too right? Receivers are not high end products. So I really am uninterested in what they claim they can produce.



And I suppose that all those panel speakers that practically need a dedicated circuit to drive to moderately to high volumes are just as poorly designed as those slim line speakers that you love to hate?

The 10 watt Sugden A21 was a popular match for the low impedence but stable Quad electrostatic panels - the fact that the ML is hog might be because they aren't as good.



Hmmm, the "emperor has no clothes"? I get it. Technology is bad. Music is not technology. Therefore speakers with no technology are good. Nice logic.

Quite the reverse - technology that offers zilch to make music better then yes the emperor has no clothes. Math was math in 1940 - the difference was they did not try and cheap out and invent excuses to make garbage and pass it off as being superior technology - alla Bose etc.



For someone who didn't even follow audio until the early-90s, you sure know a lot about how people lived and shopped in the 70s. Let me clue you in something that you may not be aware of. People in ANY era are going to look for the best product for the best price within their budget range. I don't know where you get this twisted idea that service and quality were things that people were more willing to pay for back then than they are now. People were just as cheap back then as they are now. It's just that back then fewer of them could afford anything beyond a basic record changer or portable cassette player.

Back then people would have their toaster or stereo or tv etc repaired if it broke down - the mentality of many people not all was that you don't waste something that can be fixed - just like people who don't like to have their kids waste food and make them eat every scrap - I seriously doubt that today's young parents do that - no one I know would be like that today with their kids - but man even my folks made me sit and eat those freaking Brussel sprouts. Today something brweaks and you dump it and get another one. Most of this is price - obviously if you paid $1000 for a VCR and it breaks in the 13 month you're going to pay $100 to repair it - but today a VCR is $49.99 and you can get another one - hell we went through 3 in the last year because they're so dismally built.

The main reason Bryston does so well has hardly anything to do with the fact that they are any bit superior to most quality power amplifiers - the 20 year transferable warranty and incredible customer service is what makes them king of the hill. There are many people who value these so I'm not saying no one does - but they sell largely because of this aspect - because many others don't - the people who seek out Build construction and after market care as priorities will seek out Bryston - look how many threads disscuss this as an advantage when it comes to Yamaha - people are willing to pay extra for it. So I concede the generalizion was unfair.



The first record player my family got cost $50 in 1972. The thing was a GE folddown record changer with detachable speakers, it sounded like crap, and the tonearm had such poor tracking that we needed to tape a penny to the headshell. At an inflation-adjusted rate of $225, you means to tell me that a CD mini system that sells that that price today sounds worse than that $50 record changer from 1972? The lowest priced stereo boomboxes in the late-70s almost all cost more than $100. Inflation adjusted, that would now cost about $260. I doubt that even you would find fault in a $260 mini system of today in a direct comparison with that boombox from 1979. If you're talking about price and value, yeah EVERYTHING in the 70s was about quality and service. What bull****.

Oh but you're comparing the boom box then to now - I never said everything. They had gimmicks in the 1970s as they have gimmicks now and they had cheap junk then as they do now - and they even tried to use advertising extolling the scinence of superiority as they do now. Your toaster today breaks it's in the garbage bin the next day you bu a new one - that was less apparent in 1970 and earilier - which is why there are so few repair outlets. Even until the early 90s in my town there was a place that repaired TV's. It's gone. It's cheaper for the manufacturer to replace the item. Granted today's television LOOKS better with advancing technology in that regard though it is still based of the original principle a TUBE - but the build construction of those Wega's is garbage. SET's have also utilized the NEW technology of today improve those designs. The difference is that they also kept the build quality and betterred it to go along with the superior technological parts advances.



And your generalization about internet speakers is equally ridiculous. People who buy things factory direct over the internet are looking for the best performance for the best price. What makes you think that they DON'T care about the sound quality? They're trying to get a higher level of performance than what they typically see at their price point. THAT'S why they go the mail order route. I went with a mail order subwoofer because the performance and design that I was looking for WAS NOT available at my price point with the retail options that I was looking at. The fact that an option was available through an internet direct company was worth trying. And as it stands, my bass setup far exceeds anything else I've heard in this price range.

I seriously doubt that this is the case - certainly they are attempting to get more for their money buying off the net - whether that ends up being the result or not is another matter. An unknowable one except to the individual - not everyone who bought the Axioms on the threads I've been on are any happier with them than what they could get at B&Ms or nOhr etc. But i'll concede the attempt was there.

http://www.republika.pl/mparvi/300b.htm

skeptic
07-02-2004, 11:00 AM
Here are some facts about the horsepower wars of the mid 1960s to mid 1970s.

The most conservatively rated amplifiers of the mid 1960s were made by McIntosh, Marantz, and Dynaco. The last of the big tube models popular for the richest audiophiles were Dynaco MK III which were 60 watt monoblocks, MC275 also available as MC 75 monoblocks, and Marantz model 8 which cold be configured as a pentode or triode amplifier and so had different power ratings but was in that range. McIntosh also offered 300 watt tube monoblocks. These same ratings would probably have applied after the FTC ruling. They were for continuous power per channel with both channels driven over a specified bandwidth with a given maximum harmonic and IM distortion. In 1968 Crown introduced the DC 300 which put out a whopping 185 wpc under the same conditions. Phase Linear followed shortly with the Phase Linear 400 and Phase Linear 700 presumably with 200 and 350 wpc. A tier below was the IHF method of meausrement which was 25% higher. Most receivers were in the 15 to 50 wpc rms in the early to mid 60s but were rated slightly higher by the IHF (Institute of High Fidelity) method 20 watts RMS = 25 watts IHF. I don't think the manufacturers had to even use the same power supply as came with the amplifier either, they could substitute a lab bench supply of the same voltage. Then there was the EIA power. This usually doubled the IHF power and allowed up to 5% distortion. Finally there were amplifiers rated by the power they consumed, not by the power they delivered to a load. So a 20 watt RMS =25watt IHF= 50 watt EIA might be a 100 watt or more by this new method without a name. Finally about 1975 the FTC stepped in and required not only the most rigorous rating method in use but required a 20 minute preconditioning at 1/3 rated power. Even so, Big receiver manufacturers like Marantz, Kenwood, Pioneer, Sansui started building flagship units with 150 wrms and more. Other models with power ratings of 60 wpc rms became commonplace. 100 to 200 wpc solid state amplifiers also became very commonplace as well. The issue of adequate power for all but the least efficient speakers like Bose 901 or electrostatics was for all intents and purposes over.

E-Stat
07-02-2004, 11:33 AM
The issue of adequate power for all but the least efficient speakers like Bose 901 or electrostatics was for all intents and purposes over.
Agreed. I have always centered a system around the speaker that meets the greatest number of my priorities. The choice of amplification is secondary. Since I favor the purity of condenser transducers, be they microphones or speakers, I am faced with a higher power requirement. Given the availability of a wide range of higher power amplifiers, I find that to be a non-issue.

rw

RGA
07-02-2004, 11:50 AM
Of course the entire issue is moot - If you own the AN E you can use either a 5 watt amp or a 500 watt amp. If you absolutely despise tubes great - but if you want your low watt tube amp option open - Totem etc is not going to cut it.

Watts are abused -- like my over generalized statement that high efficency is more lifelike in dynamics the notion that high mega watts are going to be a better sounding amplifier is also. I mean just look at those 550 watt JVC boom boxes with big red flashing lights - I mean they look as tacky as it can get but for a kid sure would be "cool"

But it's interesting that that despite all that it won't play as loud as an E and 8 watt amplifier. Not even remotely in the ball park. Because a few of us know the relationships between sensitivity even if just enough to get us by we are not going to be conned by buying watts alone. But does the average consumer?

I guess this is what saddens me more is that people out there who want good sound are looking at woofer sizes and watt figures and the size of the speakers - what reviews have to say - I have looked after the purchase more out if interest not as a gode me into buying them.

My first experience with watt nonsense was when a Arcam at 75 watts sounded better than the 125 watt flagship Pioneer Elite and Denons of the time(Mid to late 90's). Especially noticable in the bass. If the difference can be that startling - on a sub satelite system from M&K and my own 95db horn Wharfedales - easy as pie to drive - then I began to wonder what the hell the spec sheets were all about. The Pionner claimed numbers that Bryston would be proud of - but only when the Bryston was hooked up I no longer wanted to sell what I thought were flabby crappy speakers - was not the speaker after all.

I can't see needing more than 60 watts to drive any loudspeaker to acceptably loud levels. 4 watts to get 87(average speaker) decibals at 8 feet is still bloody loud.

I remember listening to a carver or CJ or something that had the actual meters on the channels - driving a set of speakers i don;t recall - but not a horn - and they had these thing rattling the walls of the store - very big room because it was the open entry area - the meters never exceeded 12 watts and that was just momentary bursts - and we're talking deafening levels - most of the time the meters were sitting at 1-4watts with little bursts. Kinda of fun to watch actually. But if yu were listening at normal levels even normally loud levels this thing would probably not move past 6. The sepakers were probably in the range of 89-91db like many today are.

Even my audition of the N805 surprised me because I was expecting the 8 watt Meishu to have all sorts of probelms - but not so. So how can I anyone who heard that system say that 8 watts isn't enough - I was playing it pretty loud - sure another could play louder the math will show that - but my hearing is intact and I'd like to keep it that way. Though an 80 watt amp would get the N805 to play twice as loud perceptually going by the numbers - I don't really see how it could do that so I'm a bit skeptical of those max watt numbers of the speakers.

Woochifer
07-02-2004, 12:09 PM
Skeptic said it first - UHF mentioned it in a book. I notice you don;t quote Skeptic to correct him - you have proof of course too right? Receivers are not high end products. So I really am uninterested in what they claim they can produce.

So what if they're "not high end" products? You were claiming that 25 watts in the late-70s was a "beast of an amp" and I'm telling you that there were plenty of products on the market back then that far exceeded that. The trend at that point was more towards upping the wattage figures as much as possible, and that was the time that the FTC standard came into being, so the actual output almost always exceeded what the rating said. If you're uninterested in a truth check to what your boys at UHF are conjuring up in their imaginations and revisionist history, then so be it.


The 10 watt Sugden A21 was a popular match for the low impedence but stable Quad electrostatic panels - the fact that the ML is hog might be because they aren't as good.

This love affair with all things Audio Note has really gone to your head. Now you're saying that ML is not as good as a Quad? Didn't you at one time consistently wax poetic about the sound of MLs, but now because they don't fit into this high efficiency doctrine, they're suddenly no good?


Quite the reverse - technology that offers zilch to make music better then yes the emperor has no clothes. Math was math in 1940 - the difference was they did not try and cheap out and invent excuses to make garbage and pass it off as being superior technology - alla Bose etc.

Yeah, and the recording mechanisms in the 1940s were far inferior to what's available today. If you think that all that needed to be invented and discovered about acoustical science and electronics occurred by the 1940s, then I suggest that you check out some monophonic 78s and Western Electric movie soundtracks, and tell me how that's superior to SACD and DTS. Sorry, but the transducers from that era that I've heard are not what I would regard as realistic, musical, or whatever other subjective adjective you might want to base you conclusions on.


Back then people would have their toaster or stereo or tv etc repaired if it broke down - the mentality of many people not all was that you don't waste something that can be fixed - just like people who don't like to have their kids waste food and make them eat every scrap - I seriously doubt that today's young parents do that - no one I know would be like that today with their kids - but man even my folks made me sit and eat those freaking Brussel sprouts. Today something brweaks and you dump it and get another one. Most of this is price - obviously if you paid $1000 for a VCR and it breaks in the 13 month you're going to pay $100 to repair it - but today a VCR is $49.99 and you can get another one - hell we went through 3 in the last year because they're so dismally built.

You know why people repaired and held onto things back then? BECAUSE IT WAS CHEAPER TO REPAIR SOMETHING THAN TO BUY A NEW ONE! A basic RCA color TV cost over $1,000 in the early-70s, which is well over $3,000 in today's money. Those freaking things had vacuum tubes that burned out regularly, so they needed frequent servicing. They wasted energy, had pictures that drifted (does the old "horizontal hold" dial mean anything to you?), had tuners that couldn't hold the signal, and had lousy audio quality to boot. A $200 WalMart special today will give you superior performance AND it doesn't need to be serviced on a regular basis. Even if you have to buy a new one every other year, the cost of ownership would still be lower than that 70s vintage console TV. Your longing for the good ole days is filtered through the lenses of wishful thinking rather than reality.


The main reason Bryston does so well has hardly anything to do with the fact that they are any bit superior to most quality power amplifiers - the 20 year transferable warranty and incredible customer service is what makes them king of the hill. There are many people who value these so I'm not saying no one does - but they sell largely because of this aspect - because many others don't - the people who seek out Build construction and after market care as priorities will seek out Bryston - look how many threads disscuss this as an advantage when it comes to Yamaha - people are willing to pay extra for it. So I concede the generalizion was unfair.

How many people buy Bryston or even buy products in Bryston's price range? Not very many. And if you're looking at audio gear of today versus what was made yesteryear in a comparable price class, you'll see that the quality IS comparable. Take for example, the Marantz 2275 receiver that I grew up with. Cost was $600 in 1976. In today's dollars that would work out to nearly $2,000. Think of how much amp you can buy for that amount of money today. I would guess that a contemporary $2,000 two-channel amp would be AT LEAST as high in quality as that Marantz was back then. THAT'S how you do comparable comparisons. Not by comparing a $600 model from yesteryear with a $600 product from today. But, even there my Yamaha AV receiver holds up very favorably with that Marantz, and it doesn't have all these interconnected switches and buttons that can start to short out within five years, and it can do multichannel.

Yamaha is recommended for their quality yes, but they are no more expensive than similarly appointed Denon, Onkyo, Marantz, or h/k models. All other things being equal, yes you go with the higher quality. But, the price equation is nil in this case.


Oh but you're comparing the boom box then to now - I never said everything. They had gimmicks in the 1970s as they have gimmicks now and they had cheap junk then as they do now - and they even tried to use advertising extolling the scinence of superiority as they do now. Your toaster today breaks it's in the garbage bin the next day you bu a new one - that was less apparent in 1970 and earilier - which is why there are so few repair outlets. Even until the early 90s in my town there was a place that repaired TV's. It's gone. It's cheaper for the manufacturer to replace the item. Granted today's television LOOKS better with advancing technology in that regard though it is still based of the original principle a TUBE - but the build construction of those Wega's is garbage. SET's have also utilized the NEW technology of today improve those designs. The difference is that they also kept the build quality and betterred it to go along with the superior technological parts advances.

Well, you were the one who brought up WalMart and Best Buy, and how everyone who shops there only cares about price and not about quality blah blah blah. You're using WalMart as an example of the bargain hunting mentality of today, and I'm just pointing out that today's HTIB and mini system buyers are the same as yesterday's cheap record changer and all-in-one system purchasers. When those old record changers broke, guess what? People tossed them and got a new one.

If you inflation adjust the prices, those all-in-one systems from yesteryear would actually cost more than double what a Sony HTIB system costs today. And judging from first hand experience, I would MUCH rather listen to a Sony HTIB system than revert back to a 70s vintage all-in-one system. If you compare what the $200-$400 price of an all-in-one system got you back in the mid-70s and compare that to what in comparable dollar terms $600-$1,000 will buy you today, it's no contest.

Those Wegas have had a spotty reliability record, but in real dollar terms, they only cost one-third of what an old RCA or Zenith color console cost 30 or so years ago, and they don't need vacuum tube replacement, the picture doesn't drift, the tuner can hold the signal, they have remote control, there are much fewer moving parts to wear out, and the picture is MUCH better. Some more reliable Toshiba and Panasonic TVs give you all that plus longer term durability. And it's not like those old consoles were THAT reliable either. Just because something was so expensive that it justified keeping and repairing sure as hell doesn't mean that it was a more reliable or higher quality product.


I seriously doubt that this is the case - certainly they are attempting to get more for their money buying off the net - whether that ends up being the result or not is another matter. An unknowable one except to the individual - not everyone who bought the Axioms on the threads I've been on are any happier with them than what they could get at B&Ms or nOhr etc.

Why don't you ask someone who bought a factory direct speaker about what their motivation was rather than conjuring up these conpiracy theories about their motives? You might be surprised to learn that they went that route because they wanted ... OMG ... BETTER SOUND QUALITY FOR THE MONEY! Some people are legitimately frustrated with the options available in their price range, and are willing to try a factory direct option. That certainly fit my mood when I was shopping for a subwoofer. I was willing to roll the dice to get an affordable subwoofer that met my criteria, and in my case it worked out.


But i'll concede the attempt was there - or that well they look cool and the reviewer liked it and Toole saidit was good so it must be.

Like I said, value is a personal definition and looks are a part of the value equation for more people nowadays. I know that my wife would not stand for a couple of huge black boxes in the middle of the floor. And back in your favorite era, I heard plenty of big box speakers that pale in comparison to most of the slim profile speakers of today, and on average, today there are much fewer truly lousy speakers out there than there were in the 70s. Those big $600 JBL L65s that I grew up with (nearly $2,000 in today's dollars) can't even come close to what a $900 pair of Studio 40s is capable of. But, at least those JBLs had solid walnut cabinets.

Show me one example where "Toole said it was good so it must be." He doesn't do product reviews, and he doesn't write subjective evaluations about individual speaker models. Your reflex abhorence of that guy is getting laughable. Everything wrong with audio is attributable to research done by Toole! Guess what, ALL speaker companies do testing and research! Just not all of them publish their findings the way that Harman does. Even though I don't own any Harman Int'l. speakers, their white papers are relevant to what I do with my system, and backed up with well documented research. For you to dog on Harman and compare them to Bose indicates to me that either you've never read their stuff or you will just condemn anything that you don't understand. Bose does not talk about room modes, time domain, frequency response, or off-axis response -- they dumb down the research and basically lie about why discredited approaches such off-angled drivers, bandpass subwoofers, and high crossover frequencies are the best way to go. Harman explains scientifically validated concepts and practical approaches to why they are relevant for a typical room setup. For example, Harman's RABOS room mode attenuation feature may be accompanied by slick marketing materials, but it's a feature that's also based on sound scientific concepts that have real world benefits. Same benefit as the parametric EQ that I use, except that the RABOS system takes less than 10 minutes while the manual approach that I use takes about 90 minutes.

E-Stat
07-02-2004, 12:16 PM
I can't see needing more than 60 watts to drive any loudspeaker to acceptably loud levels. 4 watts to get 87(average speaker) decibals at 8 feet is still bloody loud.
Naturally that depends both upon the speaker involved and the music played. I am perhaps a bit unusual in that my musical tastes are rather wide ranging - I may follow up listening to Madonna with Stravinsky. On average, the power levels with classical music are far less, but - on an instantaneous basis, such wide dynamic range material can demand very much higher levels. I have listened to a pretty wide range of high powered amps, SS and tube alike. Only with the larger tube amps do I perceive an elusive quality of "authority" or absolute control and lack of strain. That is why I have a pair of 450 watt tube amps. And if money were no object, I would have even more as I have heard what a pair of VTL Wotans can do.

rw

RGA
07-02-2004, 12:30 PM
Naturally that depends both upon the speaker involved and the music played. I am perhaps a bit unusual in that my musical tastes are rather wide ranging - I may follow up listening to Madonna with Stravinsky. On average, the power levels with classical music are far less, but - on an instantaneous basis, such wide dynamic range material can demand very much higher levels. I have listened to a pretty wide range of high powered amps, SS and tube alike. Only with the larger tube amps do I perceive an elusive quality of "authority" or absolute control and lack of strain. That is why I have a pair of 450 watt tube amps. And if money were no object, I would have even more as I have heard what a pair of VTL Wotans can do.

rw

I can accept this - the other thing we need to note here as well is room size and your prefernce for volume levels - And loads of other things. The AN's have a lot of plusses but ultimate volume capability is not one of them. They are not going to play like a club speaker can play in terms of volume level.

As an aside I was reading about one of the VTL amps that was a technical marvel telling you how hot your tubes were running auto bias between tracks, how much life is left and slew of other rather interesting things. Pretty sure it was VTL - big watts - it was in one of the last two UHF magazines. Tubes are not the same as they once were. Audio Note has one tube unit rated for 100,000+ hours or ~11 years 24 hours a day - or gee for many people that would be 3 hours a day for 88 years. And we're worried about tube life?

E-Stat
07-02-2004, 12:56 PM
I can accept this - the other thing we need to note here as well is room size and your prefernce for volume levels - And loads of other things... They are not going to play like a club speaker can play in terms of volume level.
My room is relatively large at 30x15 feet. At age 47, I have long ago given up listening at ear bleeding levels. In fact, I wear ear protection when mowing the lawn or using the trimmer. Using my Radio Shack meter, I record instantaneous peak levels at seating position in the low 90s.


As an aside I was reading about one of the VTL amps that was a technical marvel telling you how hot your tubes were running auto bias between tracks, how much life is left and slew of other rather interesting things. Pretty sure it was VTL - big watts - it was in one of the last two UHF magazines.
You are referring to the Siegfrieds that use computer controlled circuitry to constantly monitor and maintain ideal tube bias for the output tubes. They are special amplifiers indeed. If memory serves from discussing the design with him, he incorporated four separate design teams to create the product.

http://www.vtl.com/pages/Amplifiers/Siegfried/


rw

RGA
07-02-2004, 01:06 PM
I am not comparing a wega to a 30 year old television. What I am saying is there isn't something enw about a tube set today than there was 30 years ago or the principle behind todays VCR as opposed to one 20 years ago. The new ones are certainly BETTER.

Electrostats have been around for decades - no doubt today's versions are better because they have been continually been betterring the parts quality. Even Sugden managed to get better sound and a few more watts because of improved capacitors among other things that could handle heat better. Princaply there is nothing new about any of this.

Getting to the actual thread which is focussed back to the E - it is no different than having a stat platform and improving it - they have improved the Snell platform.

Toole does not comment by giving a review but he does work for Harman - Harman has a speical interest in aqcuiring Toole to be on their staff - and when tests are conducted blind Harman speakers come out best. Excuse me for seeing some bias here. Some of those speakers do very well in the blind sessions at Hi-fi Choice(The Intermezzo 2.6 is a Rabos design and was awarded a Best Buy) so there is certainly merrit in them(i'm not saying buy Audio Note or nothing - but these were also awarded a best buy and recommended etc)

- I like to see external listening sessions rather than those conducted by the people selling the speakers. B&W can do a blind test where B&W's come out on top and Harman speakers come out last and B&W can hire a team of world experts and George Lucas himself to imply that this is the best approach to building loudspeakers and that most people will choose our loudspeakers because their measurments dictate that they are the superior design blah blah blah- and all of that is fine because it helps make a sale much of the time. Except the flaw in this is that that doesn't necessarily happen when I and a LOT of other people go and listen to the speakers.

ML I like and I have not changed my view of them because of their impedence - but they have had trouble with integration always have of their woofer - and they require gobs of power - they have worked on this many of their panels now don't go under 3 ohms.

Many stats and panels are consistant with their impedence - even when low impedence it's not as jumpy. And they offer certain advantages people like over any boxed speaker including Audio Note. They also have plenty of disadvantages as well - so what else is new?

RGA
07-02-2004, 01:13 PM
You are referring to the Siegfrieds that use computer controlled circuitry to constantly monitor and maintain ideal tube bias for the output tubes. They are special amplifiers indeed. If memory serves from discussing the design with him, he incorporated four separate design teams to create the product.

http://www.vtl.com/pages/Amplifiers/Siegfried/


rw

And they say tubes are low tech - that thing looks futuristic. And at 175lbs how can people say you're not getting anything under the hood with tube amps?

Please at least you're getting solid weight to tube amps. And 800 watts. Yes I'm sure tube amps suck. I'm sure my Marantz SS reciever is much better than the VTL. :rolleyes:

RGA
07-02-2004, 01:59 PM
This is genuinely the worst thing about internet forums. Too much talk, not enough listening. If you guys like your technologically superior transistor amps, well that's fine. Why is it important if I like it? If you like the classic valve amps, thats cool too. What does that matter to me. Maybe transistors are superior; maybe valve amps are. It's all about perception. It's all relative - not absolute. Not that I care too much if you like either type anyways as long as you dont extend your arm into trying to influence me into liking exactly what you like.
Woochiefer's point about value being subjective is well taken. If that holds at least some truth, then it should hold true to everything. As I have said before. Who cares if you like expensive cables? Who cares if you like CD over vinyl? Who cares about any of other peoples business? It don't bother me.
Don't get me wrong. Discussing is cool. Expansion of knowledge is great. But if it isnt asked, then it dont need to be answered. Everyone has their own passion. RGA loves Audio Note, as do I. Skeptic doesnt like tubes. But RGA seems to like them. Not that it bothers me.

Should it bother you?

Frankly the best advice - buy whatever the hell makes you happy - is that not the point? To dervie happiness out of what you get - the forums here are to bring attention to different perspecitves. Give them a try and decide for yourself.

Now who will be the first to post number 100 on this thread? LOL.

92135011
07-02-2004, 02:10 PM
I guess my main question is...why would anyone need 1250 watts or 800 watts?
I guess if you were powering speakers for a large hall or something. But unless you were the Saudi King, you probably dont have a hall that large. Even in a normal banquet hall or something, chances are, VTL quality is not really required. Most concert halls just hook up some Cerwin Vega's to a car amp or something cheap like that. As long as it makes sound, its all good.

skeptic
07-02-2004, 02:34 PM
I don't think you understood my thread. The recordings were made out of doors (except for the pipe organ of course) so that no reverberation would get on the recording. That way the signal is as pure instrument and free of acoustics as possible. Upon playback, the speaker playing the tape alternates with the live musician. The acoustics of the location of the demo treat each the same. That way, you get the best comparison of how well the speaker can accurately reproduce the live instruments or more succintly, its accuracy. Were other speakers present? No why should there be. The demo was for the purpose of showing that AR speakers were accurate on an absolute basis against live musical instruments, not that they were superior in the same demo to someone elses model? If someone else has the guts to do the same with their equipment, they would do no differently.

" can we say it sounds accurate in absolute terms."

Yes that was the purpose of the demonstrations.

"the most efficient speakers or speaker systems i've heard are great with dynamics and headroom.i've heard altec 604s and 605s in open baffles, several versions of ALTEC voice of the theater, SET tri-amped JADIS (a french brand) eurithmie of , Klipsch, Tannoy Westminster"

RGA says Klipschorn is one of the ten best speakers in the world. If that is his opinon, there no point in further discussion. I've heard folder horn and folded corner horns like Klipschorn and A-7 many times. IMO, they are awful. So colored as not to be taken seriously as high fidelity sound reproducers.

RGA
07-02-2004, 03:18 PM
"RGA says Klipschorn is one of the ten best speakers in the world. If that is his opinon, there no point in further discussion. I've heard folder horn and folded corner horns like Klipschorn and A-7 many times. IMO, they are awful. So colored as not to be taken seriously as high fidelity sound reproducers"

Firstly the K-horn is considered widely to be on of the best speakers ever produced - they're not really my cup of tea - but properly set-up doing what you want them to do they're terrific speakers - and since they've been selling for 50+ years or so some people find them very pleasing. Can't handle that eh Skeptic - Same stupid dim bulbs who Like Rock/Folk/WorlD/Soul/Latin/Jazz and post 18th century classical music.

And unlike your Bose 901's I bet most real engineers not tinkerers like yourself would take the K-Horn over the Kaka that is the 901. But hey you're entitled to love the 901 however totally innacurate it is People can like wildly different speaker designs - and different sounds - you know? I mean I know you have narrow minded views on music but on the sound as well. Yikes. How is it possible to like both a Boxed speaker and an electrostat - wow I guess I'm not monogamous when it comes to stereo systems. And the earth burned and the skies fell.

Do you ever actually help anyone on these forums or just attack everyone's selections - like the poor fellow who bought the Def Techs below? http://forums.audioreview.com/showthread.php?t=5263

And heaven forbid engineers and music lovers like something different than Skeptic? -

Woochifer
07-02-2004, 06:33 PM
I am not comparing a wega to a 30 year old television. What I am saying is there isn't something enw about a tube set today than there was 30 years ago or the principle behind todays VCR as opposed to one 20 years ago. The new ones are certainly BETTER.

Well, you're trying to weave this argument that in the good ole days, products were about quality and service, and now everything's about profits and disposability first. How does that explain the fact that TVs now are far superior in performance to anything that was sold 30 years ago, more maintenance free, and much lower in cost?. I suppose if everybody had to pay the equivalent of $3,000 for a basic color TV, then the motivation for repairing as opposed to buying a brand new one might actually exist. The TV is fundamentally about a cathode ray tube (though that is changing very quickly), but the ancillary electronics that surround it have completely changed. What TV nowadays uses vacuum tubes, manual channel dials, analog tuners, and manually controlled vertical and horizontal hold?


Toole does not comment by giving a review but he does work for Harman - Harman has a speical interest in aqcuiring Toole to be on their staff - and when tests are conducted blind Harman speakers come out best. Excuse me for seeing some bias here. Some of those speakers do very well in the blind sessions at Hi-fi Choice(The Intermezzo 2.6 is a Rabos design and was awarded a Best Buy) so there is certainly merrit in them(i'm not saying buy Audio Note or nothing - but these were also awarded a best buy and recommended etc)

If you actually read their white papers, you'll note that they discuss how to use blind testing in the design process, and how their listening setup is designed. It also discusses how in sighted listenings, the sight biases become the main determinent. Has it ever occurred to you that blind listenings are something that manufacturers mainly use to test evaluate their own designs with one another? I don't see anything about how Harman speakers rank higher than other speakers in their tests, and there's no indication as to what speakers they use in their tests. If Harman does tests like that, they certainly don't discuss that in their white papers, so I don't see where you get this idea that there's some kind of conspiratorial bias at work, or that those white papers are nothing more than biased fluff pieces. Your obsession with brand identity and condemning all things about marketing is leading you to make some pretty misguided generalizations about documents that I've used multiple times as a guide to setup my system. It's sound information, often very technical, but worth reading if you're at all interested in learning about how scientific concepts translate into everyday listening. If you equate that to Bose marketing pieces, then it's obvious that you've never bothered to read them.


I like to see external listening sessions rather than those conducted by the people selling the speakers. B&W can do a blind test where B&W's come out on top and Harman speakers come out last and B&W can hire a team of world experts and George Lucas himself to imply that this is the best approach to building loudspeakers and that most people will choose our loudspeakers because their measurments dictate that they are the superior design blah blah blah- and all of that is fine because it helps make a sale much of the time.

Like I said, I've never seen Harman put any listening results in their white papers, and for technical discussions like that, subjective product reviews are not the focus. EVERY speaker company wants to convince you that their approach is the best, but very few companies publish anything approaching the technical level of what Harman releases. It doesn't matter what speakers you own or like, those white papers present valid findings that can help anyone with an interest in seeing how scientific findings can help improve their own system performance.

You lay all kinds of blame at Floyd Toole's feet without knowing what his actual function within the company is, or citing what about his writings you can refute. Your only response is that you don't like the speakers his company produces, therefore everything that he's written is marketing bull****. In case this point hasn't sunken in, Toole is NOT a speaker designer. Yet, you talk about him as if every speaker that you've ever hated was actually designed by him. Harman affiliate speakers aren't necessarily my favorites either, but I've put their publications to the test and found the information therein to be spot on.


Except the flaw in this is that that doesn't necessarily happen when I and a LOT of other people go and listen to the speakers.

Yeah, and who among your LOT of other people has ever done any kind of unsighted evaluations? You mention that "doesn't necessarily happen", well if you're doing your comparisons under sighted conditions and you're comparing that to blind tests, obviously it's an entirely different evaluation. If you believe that you're capable of equally judging things under both sighted and unsighted conditions, then why don't you put that to the test? I used to do blind tests when calibrating tape bias settings for different cassette tapes (trying to identify the setting that was most transparent to the source playback), and the "night and day" differences that I thought that I had picked up on under sighted conditions turned out to be much more subtle and difficult to discern under blind conditions. Same thing occurred when comparing cables, so I'm well aware of the degree to which sight biases can have a tangible influence.

RGA
07-03-2004, 02:29 AM
The point is moot anyway - Hi-fi CHoice is the only magazine doing anything resembling a blind test - they get around validity(which typical blind tests do not) far better than a test though because the differences are assumed and it's not actually a testing environment but an evaluatory one. Big difference between the two from a psychological perspective.

As for Harman they have in fact done tests that according to them reveals that some journalists chose the S26 JBL over B&W 601's. And Toole conducted it - go read up - it was all nice and vague and done over short listening per usual - and plenty of weasel words like most of us chose the S26 on most tracks - not everyone and not on every clip - the S26 has a nice spike around the 1-2khz range - of course that is not mentioned as to why people chose the speaker in the short listening session. I assume this is the original 601 which was not a very good speaker really, but hey the implication works for Harman so whatever. Of course everything coming out of their research will put their speakers in the best light.

Blind I have listened cd players and amplifiers blind. Speakers being so wildly different in sound is not a requirement - though I suppose if one was comparing metal tweeter slim line designs of general size then it might be a good idea. Name bias - Well all the biases available would have B&W way out in front of Audio Note: a name I knew, a product I owned and liked, tons of good reviews, expensive, great looking, well built - lots of technology - George Lucas uses them, world renouned, really big company, won't be out of business any time soon, good customer support Adio Note - never heard of them butt ugly paper freaking woofers - you gotta be joking -- despite all of these disadvantages when it comes to sound it isn't remotely close when one actually sits down and listens.

So frankly I am uninterested in what the white paper thumpers are on about. I'll just say that I am not surprised AT ALL that other posters preferred the $550.00 AX TWO to the N805 at $2k.and this ilk. Frankly, after listening to AN it's pretty tough to buy into what companies like Paradigm, Energy and PSB put on their web-sites - sorry it's my opinion and that opinion - however others may disagree and hey there will be those - my opinion is a preference and to my ear those three are in Tee Ball playing AN's who would be the New York Yankees. Some of them make good speakers The N805 is very good - but...

Your tv arguemt I already said about 8 threads ago so why you keep on about it I don't know - I already said that low price makes it not worth fixing because it would cost more to repair it - and I stated that because the price of things back then was so expensive it made it worth repairing because one could not afford to buy new. I conceded the point - The technology has improved - trying to bring that back to tube amps doesn't fly - once again people only need to go out and listen presumably to good equipment and it will be readily apparent. Well perhaps not to every listener.

Old tube amps are in such high demand because people think the sound is better. Of course all of these people are all delusional naturally.

Frankly - I really don't care - you folks want to be skeptical that is fine by me - you said you had other priorities than 2 channel no problem there. It's your money buy whatever you wish. AN will be to you just another one of those quaint little high end makers who tinker with old gear - know nothing of acoustics and charge too high a price and snowed everyone into buying - fine you all can believe that if you wish - no skin off my nose.

AN sure does not need me or anyone or themselves advertising their products. They sell just fine to people who simply listen to music. Why advertise when your product sells itself? - No need for white paper links - no need for product literature - no need to buy advertising space - No need to advertise a famouns name who uses your speakers - the only thing you need to do is put your speaker/product up against the other guy's speakers and let people listen. Simple approach.

Be happy with whatever you want to own - so will I and we'll leave it there - everyone is happy with their choice - I no longer care about being right - I will follow 925011 well stated and simple response. I have a feeling I'm going to be quoted yet again in this thread - please just be happy with your choice - go on about the science and the white papers and the history of stereo and transistors versus tubes and the relative costs blather blather. I would buy into it - if to me the sound supported it - to some of you it does great - enjoy.

benil
07-03-2004, 09:07 AM
I don't think you understood my thread. The recordings were made out of doors (except for the pipe organ of course) so that no reverberation would get on the recording. That way the signal is as pure instrument and free of acoustics as possible. Upon playback, the speaker playing the tape alternates with the live musician. The acoustics of the location of the demo treat each the same. That way, you get the best comparison of how well the speaker can accurately reproduce the live instruments or more succintly, its accuracy. Were other speakers present? No why should there be. The demo was for the purpose of showing that AR speakers were accurate on an absolute basis against live musical instruments, not that they were superior in the same demo to someone elses model? If someone else has the guts to do the same with their equipment, they would do no differently.

" can we say it sounds accurate in absolute terms."

Yes that was the purpose of the demonstrations.

that sure sounds like the most illogical demo in AUDIO history to me. i don't think Qvortrup or Kondo-san would ever conduct such a foolish demo to sell any of their products.

was the live performance amplified or not? did they use microphones ? If they did use mics, amps and speakers for the live performance, that would have sounded bad, distorted perhaps.

also where was the source for the playback (using the AR gear) recorded? were they recorded at the same LIVE venue or in a separate studio?

assuming the live performance didn't sound too bad, how would people know if AR beat any other brand or gear in reproducing the LIVE sound if everything that was demonstrated had the AR logo?



RGA says Klipschorn is one of the ten best speakers in the world. If that is his opinon, there no point in further discussion. I've heard folder horn and folded corner horns like Klipschorn and A-7 many times. IMO, they are awful. So colored as not to be taken seriously as high fidelity sound reproducers.

If your reference speakers are indeed BOSE 901s, there is indeed no point in further discussion.

skeptic
07-03-2004, 10:41 AM
"that sure sounds like the most illogical demo in AUDIO history to me. i don't think Qvortrup or Kondo-san would ever conduct such a foolish demo to sell any of their products.

was the live performance amplified or not? did they use microphones ? If they did use mics, amps and speakers for the live performance, that would have sounded bad, distorted perhaps.

also where was the source for the playback (using the AR gear) recorded? were they recorded at the same LIVE venue or in a separate studio?

assuming the live performance didn't sound too bad, how would people know if AR beat any other brand or gear in reproducing the LIVE sound if everything that was demonstrated had the AR logo?"

I DON'T KNOW IF YOU ARE PLAYING A GAME WITH ME BENIL OR JUST DON'T GET IT.

High fidelity is not about amplified instruments. It is not about electric guitars, electric basses, electric organs, or singers with pathetic weak off key voices needing all the help a recording console and a recording engineer can give it, or screechers blasting your eardrums with their cacophony amplified through speakers.

It's about real musicians with real instruments. You make a recording of them, the best most accurate you can, you bring it to where the demo will be. The musician plays his unamplified instrument. The speaker plays the same music which was earlier recorded. If they sound the same, the speker is accurate and has done its job. That is the goal of high fidelity. Period. If you still don't get it, I give up. There are some walls just too thick to be blasted through.

"If your reference speakers are indeed BOSE 901s, there is indeed no point in further discussion. Online"

It isn't. But in my recent project to enhance the original version with additional tweeters, further equalizaton, and biamplfication, I discovered that they could be improved enormously to where they can become part of a very fine speaker system. This is as I suspeced all along. As sold, they are not a particularly good sound reproducer. Capiche?" I made that very clear in my posting about it and you deliberately trying to twist my words around to change their meaning won't work.

skeptic
07-03-2004, 05:49 PM
RGA, here's your big chance. They are practically giving them away.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=39783&item=5707617630&rd=1&ssPageName=WDVW

If you pass this one up, you'll never forgive yourself. Once in a lifetime opportunity.

benil
07-04-2004, 12:35 AM
I DON'T KNOW IF YOU ARE PLAYING A GAME WITH ME BENIL OR JUST DON'T GET IT.

High fidelity is not about amplified instruments. It is not about electric guitars, electric basses, electric organs, or singers with pathetic weak off key voices needing all the help a recording console and a recording engineer can give it, or screechers blasting your eardrums with their cacophony amplified through speakers.

you just had to answer it. you didn't have to scream


It's about real musicians with real instruments. You make a recording of them, the best most accurate you can, you bring it to where the demo will be. The musician plays his unamplified instrument. The speaker plays the same music which was earlier recorded. If they sound the same, the speker is accurate and has done its job. That is the goal of high fidelity. Period. If you still don't get it, I give up. There are some walls just too thick to be blasted through.

IT SEEM YOUR WALLS ARE THE ONES THAT ARE TOO THICK TO BE BLASTED THROUGH. :rolleyes:

you're the one who doesn't seem to get it. how do you know the recordings of the unamplified performance were done neutrally? the recording process may have been adjusted simply to make the demonstrated gear sound close (which i doubt) to the unamplified performance.

please read this:

it would be very useful if we had meaningful knowledge of exactly what is encoded on our recordings. Unfortunately, such is not possible. (This assertion may appear casually stated, but on its truth depends much if the following argument; we therefore invite the closest possible scrutiny.) Even if we were present at every recording session, we would have no way of interpreting the electrical information which feeds through the microphones to the master tape--let alone to the resulting CD or LP -- into a sensory experience against which we could evaluate a given audio system (bold letters mine). Even if we were present at playback sessions through the engineer's monitoring (read: "presumed reference") system, we would be unable to transfer that experience to any other system evaluation. And even if we could hold the impression of that monitoring experience in our minds and account for venue variables such knowledge would turn out to be irrelevant in determining system or component accuracy since the monitoring equipment could not have been accurate in the first place. -- qvortrup and norwitz

If you need more clarification please keep an open mind and read this article first. audio hell (http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/viewpoint/0601/audiohell.htm)

skeptic
07-04-2004, 06:51 AM
Article Hell

All other arguements aside, the writer of this article starts out with a logical contradicton.

"But no matter what monitoring components are used, they can never be the last word on the subject, and it is entirely possible to achieve more realistic results with a totally different playback system, for example a more accurate one. Notice "more accurate," not accurate. It bears repeating that there is no such thing as an accurate system, nor an accurate component, nor an accurate recording. "

If there can be no such thing as an accurate system, there can also be no such thing as a more accurate system because it would have to be closer to an ideal which cannot exist. Kind of like Zeno's paradox.

If there was a point to this remarkably boring article, I didn't get it. The author philosophised about life and existance, Startrek, and said something about different kinds of recordings sounding different and not all the same. But I didn't get much useful out of it. BTW, I do use lots of recordings listening to audio equipment, they are not all of the same type, I don't waste my time listening to recordings of a type I'd never use the equipment for anyway, and I'll continue to use recordings I'm familiar with.

This article was booooring and if that is what e-mag hell is about, then I've just been to hell and back.

benil
07-05-2004, 02:20 AM
Article Hell

If there can be no such thing as an accurate system, there can also be no such thing as a more accurate system because it would have to be closer to an ideal which cannot exist. Kind of like Zeno's paradox.

i think it's actually possible :D



if accurate > less than accurate > inaccurate

then

less accurate is more accurate than inaccurate even if accurate does not exist.

this is just plain topology isn't it? :cool:


If there was a point to this remarkably boring article, I didn't get it. The author philosophised about life and existance, Startrek, and said something about different kinds of recordings sounding different and not all the same. But I didn't get much useful out of it. BTW, I do use lots of recordings listening to audio equipment, they are not all of the same type, I don't waste my time listening to recordings of a type I'd never use the equipment for anyway, and I'll continue to use recordings I'm familiar with.

This article was booooring and if that is what e-mag hell is about, then I've just been to hell and back.

scientist read and write the most boringly written journal articles in the world, in my view. a scientist who writes a journal article has no concern for his writing style if he gets his message across with equations using multiple summations and differential calculus?

why am i beginning to doubt that you are one? :o

skeptic
07-05-2004, 04:10 AM
This was not a scientific article. This was an article written for consumers. And a very poor one at that.

Ever hear of Zeno's paradox? That's what this nonsense he wrote about accurate is, except reworded puttin it in a different form..

benil
07-06-2004, 01:07 AM
This was not a scientific article. This was an article written for consumers. And a very poor one at that.

who said it was a science journal? all i meant was that if you could bear reading stuff like science journals that you could bear reading anything.

btw, i didn't find their article boring at all. :)
it was the AR demo which was complete non-sense. rope for AR's own hanging? :D


Ever hear of Zeno's paradox? That's what this nonsense he wrote about accurate is, except reworded puttin it in a different form..

zeno's paradox? no. is it about audio? you should at least admit that there were no contradictions in what the authors said because i'd really like to know if there were any.

skeptic
07-06-2004, 03:25 AM
I didn't read even one practical idea for test driving loudspeakers that made sense that I didn't know before. What ideas did you get out of this article that were new? What's wrong with listening to recordings that you are familiar with? Within the range of music I like, classical and jazz there is such an enormous variety that there is no reason for me to listen to other genres of music to test equipment. These two genres can challenge sound systems in every aspect of reproduction you could ever want. Furthermore, the best of them are made conscientiously to "document" a performance as accurately as possible. It is other types like pop and rock which are hokied up for special effects disguising the attributes and limitations of loudspeakers.

The ultimate test of a "reproduction" of anything is to compare it side by side with the original. If that is beyond your understanding, there is no further point in dialogue between us. You should also think long and hard about what the term "high fidelity" actually means. One thing it doesn't mean and that is whatever it is you happen to like at the moment.

RGA
07-06-2004, 09:49 AM
Comparison by contrast is to be able to be objective with what you are hearing - not using recording you are "familiar" with because you bring your own bias to the way the recording OUGHT to sound as opposed to the way it really DOES sound. And the best way to determine that is to listen to speakers/systems that are better able to highlight the differences. And it works for any kind of music and any listener can do it - blows the notion of golden ears out the door - which is as it should be. And the result is a lot of recordings are not nearly as bad as many manufacturers claim - "Our speakers are so accurate they bring out the weakness in the recording - BS those speakers are CAUSING the problems - especially if the problem on the disc is related to treble - why the RE would only screw that up is odd. So odd that it's untrue - revealing of poor disc that is a crock - good way to sell lousy products.

For someone like Skeptic it still makes no difference - don't audition Pop and Rock then - listen to Classical/Latin/Acoustic Intrumental/Opera/ and maybe be adventurous and try some Folk and or Jazz. Still applies. The superior dynamic capability will reveal itself the tonality and timbral accuracy will reveal itself.

That article has nothing to do with Audio Note directly except that it happened to be written by people associated with Audio Note and a way to help the average consumer (who when that article was written would never have been able to afford any Audio Note equipment most likely) who has been given the usual useless approach of listening to stuff they know or comparing to live music. The recording is not live there is no way to match - and people ready to believe it will - like people do watching magic shows. People believed the original phonographs were NO DIFFERENT than live music as well when asked in the 1930's - and no it was not close but people were so impressed and or polite to deny all the work the maker put into they played along with the magic trick.

The most accurate system will reveal the most nuances from recording to recording(Not just make recordings bright and harsh and call it detail or revealing of bad recordings) - and it does not matter whether you're comparing $150.00 speakers to 2million dollar speakers.

AN of course thinks their speakers & systems achieve this at a high level - and people who have got off their ass away from the computer and blind rhetoric and have actually listened will be able to hear it. Audio Note may be arrogant - but as owners and my good dealer says after selling gear for 25+ years - you can get away with being arrogant when you have reason to be. So arrogant that you don't need to advertise - all they need is someone to listen to them - and then it's game over for Harman and their ilk.

skeptic
07-06-2004, 10:00 AM
"...blows the notion of golden ears out the door ..."

Does it blow the notion that some people have better auditory accuity than others out the door?

Does it blow the notion that critical listeners can be trained or train themselves to distinguish subtle nuances that untrained listeners can't hear?

Does it blow the notion out the door that becoming familiar with the sound of live music and then using well made recordings to judge a sound system's accuracy is the best way to decide which audio components to buy?

If it does then it should be ignored because it is wrong.

E-Stat
07-06-2004, 10:04 AM
Does it blow the notion that some people have better auditory accuity than others out the door?

Does it blow the notion that critical listeners can be trained or train themselves to distinguish subtle nuances that untrained listeners can't hear?

Does it blow the notion out the door that becoming familiar with the sound of live music and then using well made recordings to judge a sound system's accuracy is the best way to decide which audio components to buy?
Gee skeptic, you are nearly quoting statements made by Harry Pearson of TAS thirty years ago. :)

rw

gonefishin
07-06-2004, 10:15 AM
Upgraded to Audio Note J

Congrats RGA :)

While I don't think I've heard that particular model, I have heard a couple of their speakers. Including the big boy silver deals. When I compared AudioNote to many other "audiophile" speakers out there...AudioNotes speakers are a real value when directly compared for overall sound and cost. They really sound good. The best I've ever heard? Well...that's a personal thing...and while they weren't the best...they are still good.

Another comforting aspect of the AudioNote speakers is what you seem like your finding out right now...they mate well with tube amps. Depending on the size of your room and your listening preferences...you can feed you speakers only a few SET Watts or choose to go with a bit more PP tube or SS power. You've really got some good options ahead of you (if you choose).

I would be careful not to under power yourself with some SET tube amps. You may be likely to get away with something even as low as a 45 amp (In fact I know you can)...but that does depend on other aspects (as I know your aware) such as your room, type of music played and how loud. (Hmmm...I say that as I've found that varying 45 amps weren't enough power for my 106db speakers...but again...it does depend on room, music and preferences too) Just make sure your being honest with yourself! Screw what the rest of us think ;) The last thing you want to do, is choose a SET amp that just barley powers your speakers during normal listening levels. The closer you approach full power the distortion rating increases. So, if you can...keep this in mind. Even tho you may not be focusing on the amplifiers distortion measurments...you still don't want to normally run them high (near full power) if you don't have to. But again...depending on your room and levels...you could be good with one of the lower power amps . Also keep in mind that different output or driver tubes can make quite a difference in the same amp.


well...I'm at work and it's time to eat...so I may post more later...

(edit add:) Keep in mind too, I'm simply an audio enthusiast...and the above is what I've found that has led to my preferences thru listening experiences. That's all.





but again...
...congrats on the speaker purchase!
dan

RGA
07-06-2004, 12:23 PM
Gonefishin

When the time comes I will be sure to audition to make sure the amp has enough grunt. The speakers are relatively easy to drive but are not ultra high sensitive speakers. Most of the Audio Note amps themselves are in the 18 watt range to be able to power the K's and as you move up the amps move down - well depending which ones the Gaku-on are 60 watts.

No they are not the BEST - that is a subjective evaluation and unless you hear everything you can never know for sure. Like I say if you're looking for specific attributes they can be bettered in those areas - the question I had to ask myself was can I listen to them at reasonable levels for long periods - is it better than what my HD 600s can offer me - is it musically rich - and will it move me emotionally. Simple criteria - yes to all of them.

Skeptic - it does not require training to notice huge differences - if you are not noticing huge differences amongst the recordings then perhaps it is time to upgrade to Audio Note equipment :D

skeptic
07-06-2004, 12:35 PM
"... it does not require training to notice huge differences ..."

This is true. But the differences between some components may be subtle. Amplifiers are a case in point. Upgrading your A/N speaker from a J level 1 to a J level 2 may be another.

Most listeners are likely inexperienced at critical listening, not because there is necessarily anything wrong with their hearing although exposure to loud noise such as discotheque and live rock bands can often cause permanent hearing loss but because they have not taught themselves to distinguish and remember nuances. Most people can remember the sound of the voice of someone they are close to and can tell if they have even the slightest cold or nasal congestion just by their voice. Can you tell the sound of a piano? Can you tell by sound alone a Steinway from a Baldwin or a Yamaha? Can you remember the sound of a particular Steinway? In the memory of sensory perception, Robert M. Parker may be among the all time champs. As the widely acknowledged world's number one wine critic, he claims he can remember the exact flavor and aroma profile of over 100,000 different wines. Remarkable. What can you teach yourself to remember in the nature of sensory perception. What good does it do to audition audio equipment if you don't know what live music sounds like? You can compare different recordings and different sound systems all year long and every one of them may be awful. Some people are so accostomed to the sound of recordings that when they finally do hear the sound of live music, they think something is wrong with it. If a sound system is a toy, then it doesn't matter. If it's a tool to recreate the enjoyment of live music, then live music is the ONLY reference that matters.

Woochifer
07-06-2004, 12:38 PM
As for Harman they have in fact done tests that according to them reveals that some journalists chose the S26 JBL over B&W 601's. And Toole conducted it - go read up - it was all nice and vague and done over short listening per usual - and plenty of weasel words like most of us chose the S26 on most tracks - not everyone and not on every clip - the S26 has a nice spike around the 1-2khz range - of course that is not mentioned as to why people chose the speaker in the short listening session. I assume this is the original 601 which was not a very good speaker really, but hey the implication works for Harman so whatever. Of course everything coming out of their research will put their speakers in the best light.

Yeah, and the DM601s have got their own anomalies and deviations. Having heard both speakers before, I can easily see the JBL S26 beating out the 601 in a listening test. I found the 601 inferior to both the 303 and the 602, and the S26 probably the most tonally balanced speakers I've ever heard from JBL.

But, where does Harman post those results in their marketing materials or their white papers like you accuse them of doing? I did look it up, it's not there. A test like you describe was done years ago, and was part of a tour and demonstration for a group of audio professionals and journalists of Harman's new acoustically controlled blind test room and quick-change platform setup. I've never seen Harman ever post those results, even though they worked in their favor. I've read one article about that demo from a journalist who was there (and that sounds like what you're referring to), and from the sound of things it was more an informal demonstration of the methodology than a scientifically valid comparison. BTW, Toole was not the one who setup that demo comparison, so there goes that.


So frankly I am uninterested in what the white paper thumpers are on about. I'll just say that I am not surprised AT ALL that other posters preferred the $550.00 AX TWO to the N805 at $2k.and this ilk. Frankly, after listening to AN it's pretty tough to buy into what companies like Paradigm, Energy and PSB put on their web-sites - sorry it's my opinion and that opinion - however others may disagree and hey there will be those - my opinion is a preference and to my ear those three are in Tee Ball playing AN's who would be the New York Yankees. Some of them make good speakers The N805 is very good - but...

Just a fancy way of saying that you don't know what you're talking about when you accuse Harman of posting those white papers as biased marketing pieces, and equating them to what Bose does with their marketing? If you're so uninterested in Harman's "white paper thumpers" then why bring them up and accuse them of marketing "alla [sic] Bose"? If you actually read those papers, then you might realize that they are excellent resources and refrain from making baseless remarks that you can't back up. Before you go into an accusatorial tirade, try reading them first. Worst thing that can happen is that you actually learn something.


Frankly - I really don't care - you folks want to be skeptical that is fine by me - you said you had other priorities than 2 channel no problem there. It's your money buy whatever you wish. AN will be to you just another one of those quaint little high end makers who tinker with old gear - know nothing of acoustics and charge too high a price and snowed everyone into buying - fine you all can believe that if you wish - no skin off my nose.

It's not your love of all things Audio Note that I'm pointing out, it's the way that you generalize that to mean that everything they do is the gospel way, and every other approach is worthless marketing-driven junk. If you're happy with what you own, fine be happy. Just don't try to convince people who made different decisions than yourself that their preferences are formed by marketing, short-term wow factor, and stats rather than a well informed knowledge of their own preferences.


AN sure does not need me or anyone or themselves advertising their products. They sell just fine to people who simply listen to music. Why advertise when your product sells itself? - No need for white paper links - no need for product literature - no need to buy advertising space - No need to advertise a famouns name who uses your speakers - the only thing you need to do is put your speaker/product up against the other guy's speakers and let people listen. Simple approach.

Yah, a product will just sell itself, and a business will just run itself too. I got news for you. Audio Note DOES advertise! They DO engage in marketing and selling! They DO post stuff about their approach! Kinda sucks that they operate just like any other profit-driven business, eh?


Be happy with whatever you want to own - so will I and we'll leave it there - everyone is happy with their choice - I no longer care about being right - I will follow 925011 well stated and simple response. I have a feeling I'm going to be quoted yet again in this thread - please just be happy with your choice - go on about the science and the white papers and the history of stereo and transistors versus tubes and the relative costs blather blather. I would buy into it - if to me the sound supported it - to some of you it does great - enjoy.

The only reason I brought up the white papers and the relative costs is because you were going on about how all things past were about quality and service, and now it's all about profits and disposability. And I'm just lending perspective to some of your more questionable rants. I brought up the Harman white papers because you seem to have this thing about attacking them as entirely marketing driven and equating them with Bose. And if you think that inflation adjusting the costs and doing real dollar comparisons is nothing more than blather, then I'm sure that approach will fly just fine in an econ course.

benil
07-06-2004, 02:05 PM
I didn't read even one practical idea for test driving loudspeakers that made sense that I didn't know before. What ideas did you get out of this article that were new? What's wrong with listening to recordings that you are familiar with? Within the range of music I like, classical and jazz there is such an enormous variety that there is no reason for me to listen to other genres of music to test equipment. These two genres can challenge sound systems in every aspect of reproduction you could ever want. Furthermore, the best of them are made conscientiously to "document" a performance as accurately as possible. It is other types like pop and rock which are hokied up for special effects disguising the attributes and limitations of loudspeakers.

i don't remember the authors requiring that one listen to various genres when testing equipment. i could be wrong but my understanding is that so long as there is enough variety in the recording and mastering conditions of the titles one tests, the 'comparison by contrast' method should apply. Qvortrup himself listens mostly to classical stuff, i believe.


The ultimate test of a "reproduction" of anything is to compare it side by side with the original. If that is beyond your understanding, there is no further point in dialogue between us. You should also think long and hard about what the term "high fidelity" actually means. One thing it doesn't mean and that is whatever it is you happen to like at the moment.

i understand what you say. in fact, i think that's what is generally understood as the "ultimate" test of reproduction. However, do you, at least, admit that some LIVE performances do not sound LIVE at all? if you can tell me that this statement:

"Even if we were present at every recording session, we would have no way of interpreting the electrical information which feeds through the microphones to the master tape - let alone to the resulting CD or LP - into a sensory experience against which we could evaluate a given audio system. "

is wrong, i will rest my case.

skeptic
07-06-2004, 03:44 PM
"However, do you, at least, admit that some LIVE performances do not sound LIVE at all?"

I have no idea what this means. How can something which is live not sound live? Each instrument
has a characteristic sound. You hear that sound as the result of vibrations which travel from the
instrument to your ears. Then you hear multiple reflections off of the surfaces of the room you are
in. That is the role the acoustic play in increasing your enjoyment of it. Sometimes acoustics are
excellent, sometimes they are poor. I don't know what else there is when you listen to live music.

"Even if we were present at every recording session, we would have no way of interpreting the

electrical information which feeds through the microphones to the master tape - let alone to the

resulting CD or LP - into a sensory experience against which we could evaluate a given audio

system."

I don't know what that means either. Microphones have known documented electrical and acoustical characteristics. They have different sensitivity pickup patterns, different electrical frequency
responses, different distortion characteristics all known and measured. At the current state of the
art there is no ideal microphone and no standardized method to make a recording. Even when
conscientious recording engineers try to make recordings which "document" a musical event,
different engineers will use different equipment set up in different ways and get different results.
Nobody knows how to accurately record the acoustics of a venue yet. And many recordings are
made in recording studios, not at the venues they would be heard at. So engineers do the best
they can with their equipment and their "art." And often the results are very good if not always
outstanding. It is true that some recordings will sound better on some sound systems than on
others. Too bad most so called audiophile equipment has designed out all facility to compensate
for differences in recordings so that the listener can adjust the system to perform optimally with
different ones. Human auditory nerves have electrical impulses which can be measured in response to various stimuli as well. You can measure the auditory nerve's electrical response to a saxophone playing middle C and you can measure its response to hearing a recording of the saxophone being played back through a sound system. Presumably if the electical response of the nerve is the same, the brain will interpret it in the same way and will recognize it as the same saxophone. To the degree it is similar the system is successful at reproducing sound. Whatever happens in between to get the job done is not important. What this has to do with the electrical information in microphones or on magnetic tape or the cd signal is beyond me. All I know is that if each step is optimized, the overall result will usually be the best obtainable and if there is a shorcoming in one step, it may be possible to compensate for it in another. Whatever this guy is trying to say, it makes no sense to me.

RGA
07-06-2004, 07:51 PM
"... it does not require training to notice huge differences ..."

This is true. But the differences between some components may be subtle. Amplifiers are a case in point. Upgrading your A/N speaker from a J level 1 to a J level 2 may be another.

Most listeners are likely inexperienced at critical listening, not because there is necessarily anything wrong with their hearing although exposure to loud noise such as discotheque and live rock bands can often cause permanent hearing loss but because they have not taught themselves to distinguish and remember nuances. Most people can remember the sound of the voice of someone they are close to and can tell if they have even the slightest cold or nasal congestion just by their voice. Can you tell the sound of a piano? Can you tell by sound alone a Steinway from a Baldwin or a Yamaha? Can you remember the sound of a particular Steinway? In the memory of sensory perception, Robert M. Parker may be among the all time champs. As the widely acknowledged world's number one wine critic, he claims he can remember the exact flavor and aroma profile of over 100,000 different wines. Remarkable. What can you teach yourself to remember in the nature of sensory perception. What good does it do to audition audio equipment if you don't know what live music sounds like? You can compare different recordings and different sound systems all year long and every one of them may be awful. Some people are so accostomed to the sound of recordings that when they finally do hear the sound of live music, they think something is wrong with it. If a sound system is a toy, then it doesn't matter. If it's a tool to recreate the enjoyment of live music, then live music is the ONLY reference that matters.

Actually I agree with you. And that is a point Peter makes about room acoustics being overplayed. If Perlman is playing his violin in your bedroom or your kitchen it is Perlman - regardless and so should your speaker be easily adabtable. It does not matter where I hear Sarah Mclachlin I know it is Sarah McLachlan.

Some piano's or voices are recorded very poorly though from recording to recording. I do recommend one listen to their local symphony or at their local college's music department to get the sense of what a piano sounds like the overall tone and decay of the instrument in its glory. I have nothing against that approach. By all means - IMO they'll still buy AN over the competition I heard it against. Nothing has done Albinoni Barber or good ol Corelli as well. This is what I've been on about with decay(perhaps the wrong word) but the body of the instrument doesn't seem utterly hacked off as it is with comparable Paradigm and B&W's.

And if you can bring the Audio Note's to a BETTER level by adding rear-firing tweeters - then bonus.

RGA
07-06-2004, 08:26 PM
Woochifer
Hey I only attack Harman because speaker makers that emulate the approach and their own products sound to me like crap. Simple.

Advertising from AN - none. They have a web-site so you can purchase kit and speaker parts - and after you go into a store and listen to them and the dealer tells you yes these speakers are called Audio Note you can go home and look it up - they were not pre-sold to you. Other than the chat I've been providing them - most buyers heard the product before hearing about the company. And speakers are one of the smallest thing they do. Amps and Dacs are their big things.

They don't spend money advertising - the alternate web-sites are dealer run or fan run.

The Harman research I have no faith in when their products may as well be a clock radio in comparison. The proof will be in the sound - and they failed in their proof - easy to prove it against other speakers that are also trying to design home theater speakers - let's get them real competition. But if that happened something might beat what they sell. SO they will handpick what are the competitors - and they don;t list the speakers in the white papers I've read - just because something is expensive doesn't make it good. Choosing a speaker with obvious detriments for all I know. I want the specific speaker so that I can run the same blind test - without that it's in house for them and so what good is it to a consumer? Harman is the one you can read all about - Harman sells all these speakers - the implication is what? It's all wonderous until you listen to them - and even then if the competion is similar which most of it is - you can't really be sure which is better in most stores - so hey lets go back to the Harman research - it must be correct - it sounds all scientific - almost but enough so for the average Joe.

But hey I don't really care - sheesh you try and give a little company a voice in a sea of marketing because I'm like wow why can't the big boys make anything like that(err in fact they can they choose to sell looks). And before I get nailed for just re-stating what Audio Note says - I re-state it because that is in fact the way it sounds. It is either they are designing with looks as a main focus or their speakers are utterly inferior because of their designers - either way the proof IMO is in the sound - and why I'm so ready to believe in Audio Note's position is because upon hearing their gear reading their statements about the competition - hearing both sides products - then it is obvious to me who is correct - at least correct in the terms of the physical representation of their approach - perhaps the theory is correct and just very badly executed.

It may also be the case that I fall into the minority like those in the listening sessions that do not in fact choose those speakers they say MOST people in their sessions select. And Hifi choice measured the E and said that the above 800hz the speaker's measure about as good as speakers can get(with a slight recession from 2khz to 4khz). From 200hz -800hz they are a "shade strong" - below that is the speaker's strength with deep bass and very low distortion(All this measured where the manufacturer believes is the worst possible position - 1 meter from walls and no corner). Looking at JUST Soundstage measurements there would be no need to buy a speaker above the Paradigm Monitor 5 - and frankly to me there damn well is.

RGA
07-06-2004, 08:56 PM
i don't remember the authors requiring that one listen to various genres when testing equipment. i could be wrong but my understanding is that so long as there is enough variety in the recording and mastering conditions of the titles one tests, the 'comparison by contrast' method should apply. Qvortrup himself listens mostly to classical stuff, i believe.



i understand what you say. in fact, i think that's what is generally understood as the "ultimate" test of reproduction. However, do you, at least, admit that some LIVE performances do not sound LIVE at all? if you can tell me that this statement:

"Even if we were present at every recording session, we would have no way of interpreting the electrical information which feeds through the microphones to the master tape - let alone to the resulting CD or LP - into a sensory experience against which we could evaluate a given audio system. "

is wrong, i will rest my case.

If you have a question on Classical music - ask Peter. He believes it the pinnacle of music and the reference of how to design stereo equipment from a music perspective. His daughter made him listen to some pop stuff and Peter said that while some of it is pleasant - it won't last.

Classical and perhaps jazz - will stand the test of time. So in that regard I agree with Peter. But some music works in the time in which we live. Anti-Vietnam music was all over during the 60's and 70's but much of it or thevast majority is completely gone - except for people who heard the first go around. People forget quickly rock and pop - sure certain albums stick with baby boomers - Dark Side of the Moon etc but Michael Jackson? He'll be the pedophile that never got jailed and he used to be a black guy ohh and he sold more albums than anyone else - but in 50 years unlesas you were a Michael Jackson fan I doubt I could name you a single song outside of Thriller the guy ever did. And I'll only remember Thriller because I like Zombie movies. In a 1000 years if the human race is still around they will still revere Beethoven and Mozart - and it will be "Who the hell are the Rolling Stones?"

This is not a knock I enjoy listening to much of rock and pop - I defend Madonna and Gloria Estefan etc- the music is fun it has a good beat to it makes you want to dance - great - can Madonna sing? Good enough for the song - but can she really SING? I recently picked up a 3 disc set of Ella Fitgerald - and frankly just about all the singers I hear on the radio today are utterly outclassed as singers - but I am 30 and for the last 15 years I have really been listening to music - and over that time most of the music I listen to is from my time - and my time frankly sucks donkey balls for the most part - I mean if the Goo Goo Dolls and Nirvanna is considered great music then I understand a bit more where people Like Peter Qvortrup and Skeptic are coming from. I don't agree that just because they don't play classical it's junk - but I seriously doubt it will last - and as musicians these bands' level of talent is suspect - Bob Dylan can't sing. Santana is a heck of good guitarist - if he isn't considered the best I don't know who would be.

Hell I'm not totally sure if Ella will last - but if she doesn't then nothing on the radio right now will I mean Britney Spears and Hillary Duff and whatever 4-5 member little boy band with the high voices are frankly irritating - but the market is kids - when I was a kid I liked the same kind of dreck - Motley Crue :D Even have a T-Shirt.

When you have a colllection 35000+ strong mostly classical music and you have a passion for it you want your prized collection to be faithfully reproduced.

benil
07-07-2004, 02:38 AM
Sometimes acoustics are
excellent, sometimes they are poor. I don't know what else there is when you listen to live music.

its not just about acoustics. for one, live orchestra music at 115db is not something i will try to reproduce in my playback system. if its too loud, music loses it balance, pitch, tone and timbre in a live performance.

some instruments also sound disproportionately loud depending on your seating position. you get problems everywhere. whether you're located in the front or back row or whatever some instruments will drown the sound of the others. using mics and PA systems, as you cited above, are not any good either.



Whatever this guy is trying to say, it makes no sense to me.

how can you say it doesn't make sense if you say you don't even get what they're saying?

you yourself said that recording engineers use different approaches in their craft and i agree because titles handled by different engineers sound very different from each other. the recording process done for the buddy rich sessions would have sounded well with AR gear but stuff done by other engineers may not and unless a comparison by contrast methodology is undertaken, there is no way to find out whether AR indeed sounds 'less inaccurate' vis-a-vis other gear or not.

benil
07-07-2004, 02:55 AM
If you have a question on Classical music - ask Peter. He believes it the pinnacle of music and the reference of how to design stereo equipment from a music perspective. His daughter made him listen to some pop stuff and Peter said that while some of it is pleasant - it won't last.

Classical and perhaps jazz - will stand the test of time. So in that regard I agree with Peter. But some music works in the time in which we live. Anti-Vietnam music was all over during the 60's and 70's but much of it or thevast majority is completely gone - except for people who heard the first go around. People forget quickly rock and pop - sure certain albums stick with baby boomers - Dark Side of the Moon etc but Michael Jackson? He'll be the pedophile that never got jailed and he used to be a black guy ohh and he sold more albums than anyone else - but in 50 years unlesas you were a Michael Jackson fan I doubt I could name you a single song outside of Thriller the guy ever did. And I'll only remember Thriller because I like Zombie movies. In a 1000 years if the human race is still around they will still revere Beethoven and Mozart - and it will be "Who the hell are the Rolling Stones?"

This is not a knock I enjoy listening to much of rock and pop - I defend Madonna and Gloria Estefan etc- the music is fun it has a good beat to it makes you want to dance - great - can Madonna sing? Good enough for the song - but can she really SING? I recently picked up a 3 disc set of Ella Fitgerald - and frankly just about all the singers I hear on the radio today are utterly outclassed as singers - but I am 30 and for the last 15 years I have really been listening to music - and over that time most of the music I listen to is from my time - and my time frankly sucks donkey balls for the most part - I mean if the Goo Goo Dolls and Nirvanna is considered great music then I understand a bit more where people Like Peter Qvortrup and Skeptic are coming from. I don't agree that just because they don't play classical it's junk - but I seriously doubt it will last - and as musicians these bands' level of talent is suspect - Bob Dylan can't sing. Santana is a heck of good guitarist - if he isn't considered the best I don't know who would be.

Hell I'm not totally sure if Ella will last - but if she doesn't then nothing on the radio right now will I mean Britney Spears and Hillary Duff and whatever 4-5 member little boy band with the high voices are frankly irritating - but the market is kids - when I was a kid I liked the same kind of dreck - Motley Crue :D Even have a T-Shirt.

When you have a colllection 35000+ strong mostly classical music and you have a passion for it you want your prized collection to be faithfully reproduced.

hello RGA,

i think i'll learn to appreciate classical too someday...by the time i can afford to buy as many records as i want. for now, i'm concentrating on building up my jazz and pop/rock record collection.

i guess i can't blame people who like listening to stuff they grew up with specially if they hear it played in much better playback gear. Peter must have been raised by parents who also listened mostly to classical.

anyway, i've heard a number of digital orchestral titles (e.g. TUTTI, HDCD orchestral sampler) played in Audio note playback gear and it the soundstage is just amazingly large considering that its being amplified by an 8-wpc amp. :)

skeptic
07-07-2004, 04:34 AM
"its not just about acoustics. for one, live orchestra music at 115db is not something i will try to

reproduce in my playback system. if its too loud, music loses it balance, pitch, tone and timbre in a

live performance."

So now you take issue with Beethoven. Too bad you weren't around when he was writing it to
tell him "tone it down" Ludwig, you're hurting my ears. Maybe he wrote it loud because he was
going deaf. And then again maybe he just knew what he was doing. Actually, most orchestral
crecendos rarely exceed 100 db in the audience. But the fact that much of the sound comes from
the acoustics of the hall makes the experience entirely different from listening to loud music from
a home sound system of the types we use. At that level, sound systems are blasting. Massive
musical forces like symphony orchestras, pipe organs, and large choruses sound powerful.
Perhaps it's the limitations of our primitive technology which cannot reproduce this music accurately
which makes them unpopular. Try going to a live performance by symphony orchestra once and
see what real music sounds like. Then when you return to your artificial reproduced world of
recordings, you will understand just how pathetic the "state of the art" really is.

"some instruments also sound disproportionately loud depending on your seating position. you get

problems everywhere. whether you're located in the front or back row or whatever some instruments

will drown the sound of the others. using mics and PA systems, as you cited above, are not any

good either."

Get a ticket that will seat you in the center of the auditorium about halfway between the orchestra
and the back wall. This will give you the most balanced sound. The system of seating musicians
in a symphony orchestra was invented in the United States about 100 years ago and has been
universally adopted. The rest is up to the conductor and the composer. Listen to some of the
best music by Tchaikowsky, Beethoven, Brahms, Dvorak and you may get the first taste you've ever
had of real music. Try to pick a concert that has at least one symphony and one piano or violin
concerto by one of the composers I've mentioned. Maybe once you've heard what real music is
about, you will throw all of your current recodings away and buy new ones. Then again, mabye
you'll just sell your stereo equipment and buy concert tickets. BTW, if a "live performnace" is
being artifically amplified with a sound reinforcement system either in an auditorium or in a "concert
in the park" you might as well pack up and go home. You didn't get your money's worth. Real
music comes from real instruments, not audio amplifiers and loudspeakers.

gonefishin
07-07-2004, 07:25 AM
dang RGA...while I do enjoy reading your subjective posts...many of your posts are tough to read. Simply because you've got everything already figured out. Your posts read as tho you know everything plus a little more. This may or may not be your intention...but that's exactly what your posts seem to portray('least when I read them).

If I'm wrong...and you do, in fact, know everything, I can only hope that I approach the knowledge you have within my short time on earth.





I recently picked up a 3 disc set of Ella Fitgerald - and frankly just about all the singers I hear on the radio today are utterly outclassed as singers

If you like Ella...another singer I enjoy quite a bit is Eva Cassidy. Without knowing what type of music you really enjoy. I'd highly recommend (to my listening tastes) either Live At Blues Alley if you really don't care for "slower" type music. But if you don't mind some slower songs...you can give SongBird a try. Two albums that I really enjoy alot! And man oh man...can that lady sing!


again...take care all>>>>>>>

RGA
07-07-2004, 09:57 AM
Gonefishin

Everything figured out nah. But I've simply decided not to pay attention to what reviews have to say - other than for interest sake but not to help me buy. Why not become the reviewer yourself? Same with movies - I was planning on being a film critic. And the pervades other things a bit like when I talk about audio products. It's all totally subjective.

I can say Audio Note is the best I've heard - because it is - but there are plenty of products i have not heard and may never get the chance to hear. Jack Gribble on AudioAsylum gets out more and has heard the ridiculous priced gear. He owns Spendor speakers but loves Audio Note - so there is a good chance that his taste is in line with mine so I might like the Spendors.

Plenty of stuff sounds great. One thing I do like about my speakers is that frankly they hold my attention when I listen to classical or older recordings from Ella. They don't fatigue me or disinterst me and I can quickly adjust to the older recordings.

All you need to do is go out and listen - it ain't rocket science - buy whatever you like that makes you like music more. That is subjective.

gonefishin
07-07-2004, 10:34 AM
Rga, How many shops do you have where you live? I know you've mentioned your favorite...but are there others? It does seem that some people are a bit luckier in respect to number of speakers available for audition. While I (near Chicago) could certainly have a larger number of shops...we're still pretty lucky that we have a wide variety of shops to listen to equipment at. You may have to drive a bit at times...but there's a nice variety of differing types of speakers, sources, amps (tube and $$SS) and music to listen to. To add on to this there's some dang friendly people who will help you out if you want to audition a speaker (or amp) that they might own that isn't readily available to the public.

Even if you may not have a large number of shops to go to in your area. It still sounds as tho your lucky enough to have at least one shop that sells some real nice sounding stuff. It would have been extremely difficult to pursue this hobby if I lived in an area where I didn't have access to listen to different speakers, amp etc. But the internet has helped myself thru searches for equipment and people to discuss equipment with...so no complaints about the internets assistance! Although I suppose the option that people who don't have any shops near them is to just listen to music. Maybe that ain't so bad after all ;)

If your ever coming down south (hehe) past my neck of the woods you can certainly stop by to hear some homemade PA speakers ( ;) ) and either shoot the sh!t over coffee or a beer...or maybe someone may have a recommendation for a place to listen to some gear, that may be on the way of your travels (where ever your going). (although you will have a tough time finding speakers that you like more than your audionotes...it's still fun to simply listen to other stuff)

:)
dan

RGA
07-07-2004, 10:44 AM
I would like to go to one of the Audio Shows sometime - maybe an excuse to have a holiday in Vega or Ontario etc.

You can learn about the products and meet the owners and discuss or argue with them all you wish :p

You can also see who cops out by having a static display - because the room sounds bad. Funny good gear should sound good no matter how bad the room - and more to the point every company is in the same boat so everything is fair.

Ohh and you can gamble too. Among other semi-nefarious things.

gonefishin
07-07-2004, 11:45 AM
Funny good gear should sound good no matter how bad the room - and more to the point every company is in the same boat so everything is fair.



Hmmm...I would argue that while you can certainly get a flavor of what gear may sound like at some shows, it would only be in hast to make a final judgment on what any piece of gear sounds like at a show (especially speakers).

Even tho all the companies may have similar rooms, this hardly makes things fair for each and every speaker. While one speaker may have no problem performing near its best in any room of any smaller dimension. Other speakers may need to be brought out into the room to perform their best...still others may not perform well in a small room.

The room can be one element that can really hurt or help the performance of audio equipment...and while a treated or untreated room may be identical for each manufacturer. The speaker positioning or required room size is not going to be equal from speaker to speaker. One speaker can easily have an advantage over the other simply because of room size, shape or usable space for placement. This is even if all rooms are treated (or untreated) identically.

Even when auditioning equipment to buy, I think it's important to try and get an in home audition for this very reason.

What will the speaker sound like in your given room?

What will the speaker sound like with the placement restrictions you may (or may not) have?

Does the speaker match your room well?

Is your room getting excited at any certain frequencies that your placement restrictions may prevent you from overcoming?

Are you able to properly treat your room? if no...can you "semi" treat it?


Are you able to bring the speakers "out" from the rear wall enough for decent performance...and after doing so...what has this changed with the rest of the room? Are you far enough from the speakers now? Is the rear wall right behind you at this point?


Some speakers will have an advantage in certain rooms...while others may be easily adaptable in any room...this doesn't mean that each speaker had equal opportunity to perform near their best. Only that some may fit better in said room...nothing definitive.


dan

Woochifer
07-07-2004, 01:34 PM
Woochifer
Hey I only attack Harman because speaker makers that emulate the approach and their own products sound to me like crap. Simple.

So, because you don't like the speakers that they make, that means that all of their research and findings are therefore invalid and entirely marketing driven? The concept of modes is one of the first things you learn when a basic physics class covers the concept of waves. And because Harman's white papers relate that basic concept to how speakers interact with rooms, anything that they say about room modes is also a marketing driven lie? Talk about killing the messenger and ignoring the message.

And your criticisms include ALL of the Infinity, JBL, and Revel models? Since I don't think you've listened to a broad cross-section of Harman's family speakers, you can't make that kind of generalized comment about the entire company and their entire body of research. If your entire exposure to Harman's speakers is the entry level JBLs, then you've missed the boat entirely. What about the Infinity Intermezzo and Kappa lines, or the Revels? Those lines are voiced very differently and cost a lot more than the lower level JBL models, but created using the same acoustical testing facilities. Like I said, READ THE PAPERS before you go blasting the research.


Advertising from AN - none. They have a web-site so you can purchase kit and speaker parts - and after you go into a store and listen to them and the dealer tells you yes these speakers are called Audio Note you can go home and look it up - they were not pre-sold to you. Other than the chat I've been providing them - most buyers heard the product before hearing about the company. And speakers are one of the smallest thing they do. Amps and Dacs are their big things.

Hmmm, I spotted a full page Audio Note ad in either Stereophile or one of the other audio magazines last month. That's how I found out that there's actually a dealer about 30 miles from me, so I can actually try them out one of these days. I don't see anything wrong with letting a customer know about the product and where they can buy it. You seem to look at the lack of advertising as some kind of badge of honor. I look at it as a way to connect with target customers who might be interested in a company's product, and it makes sense for any rational business that can afford to advertise in a targeted magazine like that to do so. Audio Note's just behaving rationally like any other profitable business that wants to grow.


They don't spend money advertising - the alternate web-sites are dealer run or fan run.

Yeah, but their own website looks pretty slick and professional to me.


The Harman research I have no faith in when their products may as well be a clock radio in comparison. The proof will be in the sound - and they failed in their proof - easy to prove it against other speakers that are also trying to design home theater speakers - let's get them real competition. But if that happened something might beat what they sell. SO they will handpick what are the competitors - and they don;t list the speakers in the white papers I've read - just because something is expensive doesn't make it good. Choosing a speaker with obvious detriments for all I know. I want the specific speaker so that I can run the same blind test - without that it's in house for them and so what good is it to a consumer? Harman is the one you can read all about - Harman sells all these speakers - the implication is what? It's all wonderous until you listen to them - and even then if the competion is similar which most of it is - you can't really be sure which is better in most stores - so hey lets go back to the Harman research - it must be correct - it sounds all scientific - almost but enough so for the average Joe.

Your obsession with brand identity really blinds you to the value of actually reading up on what some of the research findings are. You obviously don't understand the purpose of the research and the white papers if all you keep asking for is a ranking of speakers. If you base the credibility of a body of research based entirely on a limited sample of Harman speakers, that's just delusional. I mean you're already conjuring up counterarguments to the research before you even read what it actually says! Making up all these hypothetical scenarios and baseless assumptions to try and discredit the research just demonstrates a lack of intellectual curiosity, since you haven't even bothered to read what Harman makes available to the public. I'm sure you don't find criticisms of Fahrenheit 9/11 by people who haven't bothered to see the movie especially credible.


But hey I don't really care - sheesh you try and give a little company a voice in a sea of marketing because I'm like wow why can't the big boys make anything like that(err in fact they can they choose to sell looks). And before I get nailed for just re-stating what Audio Note says - I re-state it because that is in fact the way it sounds. It is either they are designing with looks as a main focus or their speakers are utterly inferior because of their designers - either way the proof IMO is in the sound - and why I'm so ready to believe in Audio Note's position is because upon hearing their gear reading their statements about the competition - hearing both sides products - then it is obvious to me who is correct - at least correct in the terms of the physical representation of their approach - perhaps the theory is correct and just very badly executed.

Hmmm, judging by their full page ads and slickly designed website, Audio Note sure as hell is marketing like a big boy. It's fine to appreciate their speakers, but don't try to ascribe all these other external attributes like their underdog status or small business aspirations or lack of advertising as some kind of validation that what they are doing is right and what everybody else does is wrong.

Like it or not, a lot of people appreciate the sound of speakers that made use of the original NRC research. Something had to have been done right, otherwise how would all of these Canadian speaker companies have successfully emerged in the U.S. market? They all started small, so obviously it wasn't entirely marketing or hype that led to their success. Maybe they just produced a good product whose sound spoke for itself.


It may also be the case that I fall into the minority like those in the listening sessions that do not in fact choose those speakers they say MOST people in their sessions select. And Hifi choice measured the E and said that the above 800hz the speaker's measure about as good as speakers can get(with a slight recession from 2khz to 4khz). From 200hz -800hz they are a "shade strong" - below that is the speaker's strength with deep bass and very low distortion(All this measured where the manufacturer believes is the worst possible position - 1 meter from walls and no corner). Looking at JUST Soundstage measurements there would be no need to buy a speaker above the Paradigm Monitor 5 - and frankly to me there damn well is.

Given that you've never done a blind speaker comparison, or even see the need for comparing speakers blind, how would you know how you would fare in a blind listening test? You're making all these presumptions that you somehow fall outside of what most people would prefer. Until you put your beliefs to the test, it's nothing more than a guess or wishful thinking on your part.

Soundstage has measured plenty of speakers that are generally more accurate than the Monitor 5 in the frequency response, so that's a false argument.

skeptic
07-07-2004, 03:32 PM
You left out Tannoy. I think they own Tannoy too.

RGA
07-08-2004, 10:43 AM
So, because you don't like the speakers that they make, that means that all of their research and findings are therefore invalid and entirely marketing driven? The concept of modes is one of the first things you learn when a basic physics class covers the concept of waves. And because Harman's white papers relate that basic concept to how speakers interact with rooms, anything that they say about room modes is also a marketing driven lie? Talk about killing the messenger and ignoring the message.

Umm they have known about room modes since 1930 you're point is what - that Hatrman knows basics physics good.



And your criticisms include ALL of the Infinity, JBL, and Revel models? Since I don't think you've listened to a broad cross-section of Harman's family speakers, you can't make that kind of generalized comment about the entire company and their entire body of research. If your entire exposure to Harman's speakers is the entry level JBLs, then you've missed the boat entirely. What about the Infinity Intermezzo and Kappa lines, or the Revels? Those lines are voiced very differently and cost a lot more than the lower level JBL models, but created using the same acoustical testing facilities. Like I said, READ THE PAPERS before you go blasting the research.

I have not heard Revel and Infinity stopped making the Rabos speakers - the Kappa line was always and stil is irritating. Other companies have bought into the Harman approach like energy and Paradigm and PSB - and I am VERY familiar with them from their top of the lines on down(with the excpetion of the Paradigm Sigs).



Hmmm, I spotted a full page Audio Note ad in either Stereophile or one of the other audio magazines last month. That's how I found out that there's actually a dealer about 30 miles from me, so I can actually try them out one of these days. I don't see anything wrong with letting a customer know about the product and where they can buy it. You seem to look at the lack of advertising as some kind of badge of honor. I look at it as a way to connect with target customers who might be interested in a company's product, and it makes sense for any rational business that can afford to advertise in a targeted magazine like that to do so. Audio Note's just behaving rationally like any other profitable business that wants to grow.

Which issue number and page? And make sure it is Audio Note that ran the ad - Dealers are entiteled to run ads as they often do. Especially when a product is reviewed - dealers will want to jump in and say "Look we carry them - come to this address."



Yeah, but their own website looks pretty slick and professional to me.

Really I think it's pretty poor - the site was originally set-up to order kit parts. It is barely ever updated - and IMO hardly a good web-site - it's something that one could build from software included with your computer - and even then the site was made that good for them by a fan.



Your obsession with brand identity really blinds you to the value of actually reading up on what some of the research findings are. You obviously don't understand the purpose of the research and the white papers if all you keep asking for is a ranking of speakers. If you base the credibility of a body of research based entirely on a limited sample of Harman speakers, that's just delusional. I mean you're already conjuring up counterarguments to the research before you even read what it actually says! Making up all these hypothetical scenarios and baseless assumptions to try and discredit the research just demonstrates a lack of intellectual curiosity, since you haven't even bothered to read what Harman makes available to the public. I'm sure you don't find criticisms of Fahrenheit 9/11 by people who haven't bothered to see the movie especially credible.

I have read the research - and they are trying to draw a conclusion that most people will choose a sound "type" versus other sound "types" once you root through all the extra babble. The three elements they find people will "prefer" are articulated as is their evaluation sessions - they are not specifically stated however with any actual per listener listening sessions. Psychological testing needs to be reproducable by an outside body to confirm - the studies avoid speaker brands intentionally because they want to be able to talk about sound "types." That is fine but it doesn't HELP ME when I'm out buying a speaker. And because Harman or JBL or whoever links the research off of their site it gives a strong implication that their speakers meet this "Ideal." They don't or more to the point many other brands may be meeting it better anyway.

Hi-fi Choice's blind listening panels does not back up the notion that Harman or other manufacturers inspired by that same research are any better than those not using those facilities. Presumably Harman's research means that they are making speakers that follow their ideal - and external listening reveals that the ideal is not for everyone. Though the Rabos Intermezzo did extremeley well(So I looked on the site to listen to them and they're gone) the Kappa series did not - and the lower lines of JBL to me is a marked step down with treble spikes that annoy me. And since ME is the person I'm buying speakers for then ME is the only person I have to justify my reaction.



Hmmm, judging by their full page ads and slickly designed website, Audio Note sure as hell is marketing like a big boy. It's fine to appreciate their speakers, but don't try to ascribe all these other external attributes like their underdog status or small business aspirations or lack of advertising as some kind of validation that what they are doing is right and what everybody else does is wrong.

Audio Note does not run ads - dealers may. As for the Site - chances are you're not going to see the web-sirte until after you heard the product - unless people like me talk about them and other people then go to their web-site. Even Sugden has a web-site these days. This does not mean there is ZERO marketing - people have to go to a site to be able to find where a dealer is located and to buy a woofer or to state a new product. There is still not much information. They want people to listen - which requires people to know about your product - but if you can't see the difference or only think it's a matter of how much advertising then you're not seeing it the way I'm seeing it.



Like it or not, a lot of people appreciate the sound of speakers that made use of the original NRC research. Something had to have been done right, otherwise how would all of these Canadian speaker companies have successfully emerged in the U.S. market? They all started small, so obviously it wasn't entirely marketing or hype that led to their success. Maybe they just produced a good product whose sound spoke for itself.

Yes you can think that if you wish. I would take Paradigm/PSB/Energy over most Advent, Bose, JBLs, and Cerwin Vegas of the 80's and 90s as well.

None of them has any real precence in Europe except JBL but JBL has a separate division there.



Given that you've never done a blind speaker comparison, or even see the need for comparing speakers blind, how would you know how you would fare in a blind listening test? You're making all these presumptions that you somehow fall outside of what most people would prefer. Until you put your beliefs to the test, it's nothing more than a guess or wishful thinking on your part.

I see the need to do a blind listening sessions when price or site or name bias is a factor and the differences are such that I don;t want to pay $2k for a speaker that may be no better than a $400.00 model. It's pretty tough to level match when the Audio Note's superior bass extension and more open airy top end is so superior to what is on tap from ALL the other speakers that Soundhounds carries that I see no point to doing such a test. Especially when ALL of the biases that do exist are ALL ALSO in those other manufacturers favour. And my own biases supported those other speakers. And the blind sessions that have been done externally revealed the speakers to come out on top anyway. Those sessions allow the speakers to be run in stereo and no curtailment of bass applied - as it should be.



Soundstage has measured plenty of speakers that are generally more accurate than the Monitor 5 in the frequency response, so that's a false argument.

Plenty Which ones? more than 5 more than 10 - I have looked at almost every single speaker on the site. I'm sure this is considered to be one of the better measuring speakers around. Fascinating as this is to me they sound like the equivelent of cow dung to the sense of smell. :rolleyes:

Woochifer
07-08-2004, 12:22 PM
I have not heard Revel and Infinity stopped making the Rabos speakers - the Kappa line was always and stil is irritating. Other companies have bought into the Harman approach like energy and Paradigm and PSB - and I am VERY familiar with them from their top of the lines on down(with the excpetion of the Paradigm Sigs).

Their RABOS system is incorporated into most of their powered subwoofers and tower speakers with powered subs, that includes the Prelude MTS series. You're right that the Intermezzos aren't made right now. I find it very hard to believe that you would compare the original Kappa series with the Energy, Paradigm, and PSB speakers because they had a very different type of sound (and it's not like those Canadian brands sound exactly the same either). I brought up the Revel and Infinity examples because they are voiced differently from the JBLs, yet use the same test facilities.


Which issue number and page? And make sure it is Audio Note that ran the ad - Dealers are entiteled to run ads as they often do. Especially when a product is reviewed - dealers will want to jump in and say "Look we carry them - come to this address."

I'll look it up for you. Might have been The Absolute Sound, but I distinctly remember the ad because I was able to locate a dealer in my area through the ad. It was an Audio Note ad because it listed the types of products that they made and it listed all of their North American dealers. Plus, it used the same font scheme as their website.


Really I think it's pretty poor - the site was originally set-up to order kit parts. It is barely ever updated - and IMO hardly a good web-site - it's something that one could build from software included with your computer - and even then the site was made that good for them by a fan.

Well, your opinion, but it's certainly a lot better setup than a lot of other audio company websites, especially the "little guys" that you like to tout.


I have read the research - and they are trying to draw a conclusion that most people will choose a sound "type" versus other sound "types" once you root through all the extra babble. The three elements they find people will "prefer" are articulated as is their evaluation sessions - they are not specifically stated however with any actual per listener listening sessions. Psychological testing needs to be reproducable by an outside body to confirm - the studies avoid speaker brands intentionally because they want to be able to talk about sound "types." That is fine but it doesn't HELP ME when I'm out buying a speaker. And because Harman or JBL or whoever links the research off of their site it gives a strong implication that their speakers meet this "Ideal." They don't or more to the point many other brands may be meeting it better anyway.

Again, you're focusing in on ONE aspect of the research that they post on their website. Your whole approach obsesses about rank order, and that's not the point of what Harman posts on their website. Like I said, READ THE WHITE PAPERS if you want to learn about how to calculate and identify locations of room modes, compensate for acoustical issues, properly setup a two channel or multichannel system, interpret various audio measures, etc. Those papers proved very beneficial when setting up and calibrating my system, but I guess if I knew everything about everything, then I would not need to do any reading.


Hi-fi Choice's blind listening panels does not back up the notion that Harman or other manufacturers inspired by that same research are any better than those not using those facilities. Presumably Harman's research means that they are making speakers that follow their ideal - and external listening reveals that the ideal is not for everyone. Though the Rabos Intermezzo did extremeley well(So I looked on the site to listen to them and they're gone) the Kappa series did not - and the lower lines of JBL to me is a marked step down with treble spikes that annoy me. And since ME is the person I'm buying speakers for then ME is the only person I have to justify my reaction.

Hi-Fi Choice's goal is about rank ordering and slotting, and since that's your singular obsession with determining the validity of research, then it obviously appeals to you. What Harman tests for is a LOT more complex than that. Just because a company does the same type of research does not mean that the speakers will sound the same. I certainly would never mistake a JBL for a Paradigm model. And in my listenings, Energy speakers have some different characteristics from Paradigms as well. Ever since Toole setup the new testing facilities, Harman has made huge improvements to JBL's lineup, but they did not fundamentally deviate from the "JBL sound" either. If I accept your argument that the same research would result in the same sound, then shouldn't all of Harman's speakers and those Canadian speakers actually sound identical? They sure don't sound that way to me.


Audio Note does not run ads - dealers may. As for the Site - chances are you're not going to see the web-sirte until after you heard the product - unless people like me talk about them and other people then go to their web-site. Even Sugden has a web-site these days. This does not mean there is ZERO marketing - people have to go to a site to be able to find where a dealer is located and to buy a woofer or to state a new product. There is still not much information. They want people to listen - which requires people to know about your product - but if you can't see the difference or only think it's a matter of how much advertising then you're not seeing it the way I'm seeing it.

Like I said, nothing wrong with Audio Note running ads. Your defensiveness about this issue is puzzling given that I would assume that you would want word to get out about the company. And if they're doing well enough to justify paying for a full-page ad in an audio magazine, shouldn't that be a good thing?


Yes you can think that if you wish. I would take Paradigm/PSB/Energy over most Advent, Bose, JBLs, and Cerwin Vegas of the 80's and 90s as well.

None of them has any real precence in Europe except JBL but JBL has a separate division there.

Well, it's not like Audio Note has a huge presence here either. We live in North America and I can find plenty of brands that suit my preferences here easily, so I don't really care what gets sold in Europe.


I see the need to do a blind listening sessions when price or site or name bias is a factor and the differences are such that I don;t want to pay $2k for a speaker that may be no better than a $400.00 model. It's pretty tough to level match when the Audio Note's superior bass extension and more open airy top end is so superior to what is on tap from ALL the other speakers that Soundhounds carries that I see no point to doing such a test. Especially when ALL of the biases that do exist are ALL ALSO in those other manufacturers favour. And my own biases supported those other speakers. And the blind sessions that have been done externally revealed the speakers to come out on top anyway. Those sessions allow the speakers to be run in stereo and no curtailment of bass applied - as it should be.

Quite the contrary, it's VERY easy to level match using a narrowband test tone and SPL meter. Jot down the differential in the SPL, and you make that adjustment for all of your listenings. Not all that complicated, and you only have to do the measurement once at the beginning. But, if you don't believe in measurements, then that point is moot.

And how do you define your own biases? You hate metal dome tweeters, you favor small audio companies, you hate things that are actively marketed, you generally favor European components, you hate speakers that made use of the NRC research in their development. How does your preference for Audio Note run contrary those biases? It's fine to state a preference, but don't pass your preference for Audio Note off as something that ran completely against the grain of what the sight biases would also point towards.

Like I said, if you're so sure that your listening acumen is equally valid under blind conditions, then put it to the test. I'm well aware of how sight biases influence my own judgments because I have put them to the test before and found that sight bias has a significant influence that needs to be minimized wherever possible.


Plenty Which ones? more than 5 more than 10 - I have looked at almost every single speaker on the site. I'm sure this is considered to be one of the better measuring speakers around. Fascinating as this is to me they sound like the equivelent of cow dung to the sense of smell. :rolleyes:

This fascination you have with dung would make for quite a psychological profile.

As far as Soundstage measurements go, for starters, Paradigm's own Studio and Signature series models measure flatter than the Monitor 5, with less dipping in the midrange and peaking in the highs. It's not like the Monitor 5 has a perfectly flat response (and plenty of speakers have better bass response), and the others don't either. Why are you so sure that the Monitor 5 is one of the "better measuring speakers around"? Are you saying that if a speaker measures well on the frequency response, then it sounds like "the equivelent [sp] of cow dung to the sense of smell"? So, I guess a colored and inconsistent response measurement should be one of the design goals?

The Monitor 5 measures well, but so do a lot of others. All of them have measurable inaccuracies. The B&Ws, Revels, and Dynaudios also measure well, but all of them have very different areas where their inaccuracies occur. Their inaccuracies aren't huge, but they obviously make a difference in the sound. The frequency response charts give you an idea of where the inaccuracies occur, and you can make your own judgment as to which one would be better for you.

skeptic
07-08-2004, 12:58 PM
Finally something we can agree on!

"Really I think it's pretty poor - the site was originally set-up to order kit parts. It is barely ever updated - and IMO hardly a good web-site "

The AN web site is so poorly designed that you can't even get down to the bottom of the menu on the left side of main page if you have a couple of extra tool bars on your screen because they didn't include a scroll bar.

http://www.audionote.co.uk/

The minimalist approach doesn't work for web sites any better than it works for amplifier or speaker designs but when you have limited knowledge, a religous fervor of how the world is or should be, and are pigheaded to boot, this is the kind of results you get.

RGA
07-08-2004, 02:30 PM
Their RABOS system is incorporated into most of their powered subwoofers and tower speakers with powered subs, that includes the Prelude MTS series. You're right that the Intermezzos aren't made right now. I find it very hard to believe that you would compare the original Kappa series with the Energy, Paradigm, and PSB speakers because they had a very different type of sound (and it's not like those Canadian brands sound exactly the same either). I brought up the Revel and Infinity examples because they are voiced differently from the JBLs, yet use the same test facilities.


Again, you're focusing in on ONE aspect of the research that they post on their website. Your whole approach obsesses about rank order, and that's not the point of what Harman posts on their website. Like I said, READ THE WHITE PAPERS if you want to learn about how to calculate and identify locations of room modes, compensate for acoustical issues, properly setup a two channel or multichannel system, interpret various audio measures, etc. Those papers proved very beneficial when setting up and calibrating my system, but I guess if I knew everything about everything, then I would not need to do any reading.

Let me be clear here - I am not tossing out ALL Harmn research about what they have to say about speaker positioning - that is not the SPECIFIC white paper I am talking about at all. The only relevant one I am talking about is the one that will help me BUY a speaker - not the one that will help me make it sound better once I get it home - that's great and will help anyone no matter what speaker you buy to improve possibly the sound of the speaker. ELAC has apparently a very helpful program you can run for pretty cheap as well.



Hi-Fi Choice's goal is about rank ordering and slotting, and since that's your singular obsession with determining the validity of research, then it obviously appeals to you. What Harman tests for is a LOT more complex than that. Just because a company does the same type of research does not mean that the speakers will sound the same. I certainly would never mistake a JBL for a Paradigm model. And in my listenings, Energy speakers have some different characteristics from Paradigms as well. Ever since Toole setup the new testing facilities, Harman has made huge improvements to JBL's lineup, but they did not fundamentally deviate from the "JBL sound" either. If I accept your argument that the same research would result in the same sound, then shouldn't all of Harman's speakers and those Canadian speakers actually sound identical? They sure don't sound that way to me.

But Hi-fi choice is the only thing that helps someone who is looking to BUY a speaker - all I am saying is that if all Harman speakers are designed to fit the ideal and everyone elses is not as is the "implication" then they should do as well in secondary blind listening sessions as they do in house - and they don't always. I am talking about rank.

This is the entire point - the fact that within house the speakers don't sound the same means there is more to it than summing up mere frequency response even on and off axis. Speakers that measure almost exactly the same within 1db (not likely going to be detectable) or even far more variance in certain frequencies won't be detectable in themselves sound different. I am not supporting a speaker that has poor meadsurements or claiming as you would like to think that I am saying everyone go buy totally non flat speakers - what I am saying is that very flat speakers hardly gaurantee good sound - and that is simply in the listening to them - very easy to tell. The fact that the De Capo has some anomolies has hardly swayed people into thinking it's a dreadful speaker.



Like I said, nothing wrong with Audio Note running ads. Your defensiveness about this issue is puzzling given that I would assume that you would want word to get out about the company. And if they're doing well enough to justify paying for a full-page ad in an audio magazine, shouldn't that be a good thing?

I am not defensive I simply asked you for proof - Advertising and product literature are not things Peter Q believes in - an American Distrubutor might - I have no problems with them doing that. In effect that is what I am doing - except I don't get paid nor do I sell them. Word of mouth is still advertising.




Quite the contrary, it's VERY easy to level match using a narrowband test tone and SPL meter. Jot down the differential in the SPL, and you make that adjustment for all of your listenings. Not all that complicated, and you only have to do the measurement once at the beginning. But, if you don't believe in measurements, then that point is moot.

I believe in measurements that tell me something useful. Explain to me how you would level match the Audio Note J to a Paradigm Monitor 5? Then I get to play them both at 95decibals and I get to alternate ANY disc I choose - including pedal organ. SInce the monotor 5 will have hopeless bass and hopeless dynnamics and compression and an bright crappy tweeter there is nothing to match except a 1khz test tone at 95db.



And how do you define your own biases? You hate metal dome tweeters, you favor small audio companies, you hate things that are actively marketed, you generally favor European components, you hate speakers that made use of the NRC research in their development. How does your preference for Audio Note run contrary those biases? It's fine to state a preference, but don't pass your preference for Audio Note off as something that ran completely against the grain of what the sight biases would also point towards.

Umm my preferences came as a result of listening to an endless stream of this stuff. I did not wake up and say I hate all big name speakers and hate all metal tweeters - nor did I hate marketing. In fact it was Reference 3a and Audio Note - especially the latter and my experience with B&W that got me thinking about ALL the speakers over the years that I liked and disliked - and what do you know there was a pattern. I don't dislike B&W - but my opinion of them has shifted.



As far as Soundstage measurements go, for starters, Paradigm's own Studio and The Monitor 5 measures well, but so do a lot of others. All of them have measurable inaccuracies. The B&Ws, Revels, and Dynaudios also measure well, but all of them have very different areas where their inaccuracies occur. Their inaccuracies aren't huge, but they obviously make a difference in the sound. The frequency response charts give you an idea of where the inaccuracies occur, and you can make your own judgment as to which one would be better for you.

Well so does the Reference 3a MM De Capo. I am not against measurements because the measurement of the De Capo supports, partially, the reason why in the end I didn't buy the speaker - I didn't need the measurement to tell me where the innacuracies are though because I heard them - I also would not have used the term innacuracy - because that very thing is the reason the speaker is so well liked and why I liked it - but the K had a less dark presentation and because my listening genre is far more broad I wanted something more "expressive."

You seem to have an aversion to people who want to listen to speakers - skeptic hates the fact that people have the audacity to listen to Audio Note speakers. They must be giant corporations to be any good - and must have Toole designing them to be any good at all - and they must follow NRC guidelines - great be happy with what you bought and I will be as well. I have heard both and many others over the years - This is my opinion of the sound - some will disagree - even some of those people who did actually hear the speakers might disagree. And those people that did listen to them and bought something else fine.

RGA
07-08-2004, 02:51 PM
Finally something we can agree on!

"Really I think it's pretty poor - the site was originally set-up to order kit parts. It is barely ever updated - and IMO hardly a good web-site "

The AN web site is so poorly designed that you can't even get down to the bottom of the menu on the left side of main page if you have a couple of extra tool bars on your screen because they didn't include a scroll bar.

http://www.audionote.co.uk/

The minimalist approach doesn't work for web sites any better than it works for amplifier or speaker designs but when you have limited knowledge, a religous fervor of how the world is or should be, and are pigheaded to boot, this is the kind of results you get.

It's a shame that his simple approach beats the competitors complex approach - maybe it's just complex for complexities sake. After all his simple one 8 inch woofer and 8 watt SETs can destroy B&W's N801 and the best Solid State you can come up with.

And when you hear one if your a big enough person to admit that this is true - it is you who will take the shackles of ignoance off.

92135011
07-08-2004, 04:29 PM
Yeah, but their own website looks pretty slick and professional to me.

Donno bout you...but I sure dont like their website. That thing hasnt been updated for years. Their speakers dont even come in certain models now.
I also find their site a pain to navigate when you first go in. Some menus are on the side while others are on the page. If you want to know any information about their amps, it isnt on the amp page, cuz there is none. It's on level 1, 2, 3. But speakers sure have their own page. One more thing, thier products look better in person most times as there are not glamour shots. Actually the first time I saw the site, it looked so amateur that I directly linked it to the quality of the speaker for some reason. Bad thing to do, but some marketing survey found significant figures that there is a relationship between well designed websites and the likelihood that a customer will buy. So maybe its a natural thing

newbsterv2
07-08-2004, 04:32 PM
It's a shame that his simple approach beats the competitors complex approach - maybe it's just complex for complexities sake. After all his simple one 8 inch woofer and 8 watt SETs can destroy B&W's N801 and the best Solid State you can come up with.

And when you hear one if your a big enough person to admit that this is true - it is you who will take the shackles of ignoance off.

hey RGA I think you're a helluva guy but come on man why don't u give up? Resonant boxes, flea powered SET's, silver wire, snake oil. For those of us who are engineers and have been to school and have seen complex waveforms on a scope and for those of us who enjoy unamplified "live" music we know when we're getting snowballed and bs'ed. I've heard some smooth tube/silk dome tweetered boxes that were a joy to listen to but far from sounding like a live performance. It's very simple. A system that has a wide frequency response, low harmonic distortion, and a wide dispersion among the entire frequency range is what engineers who know what they are doing are trying to accomplish. I mean take 5 different acoustic instruments such as a piano, violin, cello, clarinet, and sax and all are made of different materials that have different inherent physical properties and then listen to the clown who runs audio note and he says that his cabinets should vibrate because real instruments do. That's absolutely ridiculous. If you like the "sound" your system makes God bless you man but don't tell us that Audio Notes' speakers/amplifiers are the holy grail of audio cause they're not.

Woochifer
07-08-2004, 06:30 PM
Let me be clear here - I am not tossing out ALL Harmn research about what they have to say about speaker positioning - that is not the SPECIFIC white paper I am talking about at all. The only relevant one I am talking about is the one that will help me BUY a speaker - not the one that will help me make it sound better once I get it home - that's great and will help anyone no matter what speaker you buy to improve possibly the sound of the speaker. ELAC has apparently a very helpful program you can run for pretty cheap as well.

FYI, the Harman room mode calculator is posted on their website for free. I actually used it when positioning my subwoofer.


I am not defensive I simply asked you for proof - Advertising and product literature are not things Peter Q believes in - an American Distrubutor might - I have no problems with them doing that. In effect that is what I am doing - except I don't get paid nor do I sell them. Word of mouth is still advertising.

Like I said, I'll look for it and post the info when I find it. It was some magazine that I thumbed through last month on the newsstand, so I'll have to retrace which magazine it was and see if I can locate a back issue.


I believe in measurements that tell me something useful. Explain to me how you would level match the Audio Note J to a Paradigm Monitor 5? Then I get to play them both at 95decibals and I get to alternate ANY disc I choose - including pedal organ. SInce the monotor 5 will have hopeless bass and hopeless dynnamics and compression and an bright crappy tweeter there is nothing to match except a 1khz test tone at 95db.

The subjective aspect that you describe has less to do with the SPL measurement than the overall efficiency of the speaker would. Since the Audio Note rates at a higher efficiency than the Monitor 5 and most other speakers, obviously that puts the Audio Note at an advantage, regardless of whatever other subjective findings you might have. My own listenings of the Monitor 5 were very favorable, especially considering that it sells for $525USD, and probably even less than that in Canada. Crappy tweeter, hopeless bass, and hopeless dynamics were certainly not how I would describe them subjectively, so I don't know how you're so certain that the Monitor 5 would be difficult to level match.

Just the fact that you're raising this kind of objection indicates to me that you've never used a SPL meter while comparing speakers. It may be science, but it's certainly not a difficult concept to grasp. Like I said, to control for the level you would use a narrow band test tone (one that eliminates the extreme lows but maintains a wide spectrum throughout the midrange and into the highs). Test DVDs like Avia and Video Essentials use this type of test tone for main and surround level matching, and a wider band test tone that includes the lower frequencies for the subwoofer. The reading represents the average SPL over the frequency range that most sound information is in. The last thing you want is to use a wideband test tone, since below about 300 Hz the room acoustic effects take over and you don't want the SPL reading to be driven by standing waves. Since by your claims, the Audio Note would go deeper into the low frequency range, then it has greater potential to develop either a severe null or peak in the lower range, which would create an erroneous SPL reading. The narrow band frequency test (which is obviously not the same as a 1 kHz test tone) simply means that you're minimizing a major source of bias to the greatest extent possible. Whatever other factors, if any, that you want to control for is up to you.


Well so does the Reference 3a MM De Capo. I am not against measurements because the measurement of the De Capo supports, partially, the reason why in the end I didn't buy the speaker - I didn't need the measurement to tell me where the innacuracies are though because I heard them - I also would not have used the term innacuracy - because that very thing is the reason the speaker is so well liked and why I liked it - but the K had a less dark presentation and because my listening genre is far more broad I wanted something more "expressive."

Same deal with the Magneplanars. Those speakers do not measure very well (I've read claims that their dipolar design prevents them from measuring well in an anecholic environment), but looking at the frequency response and seeing how the midrange dominates and the highs roll off, I can easily see why they have their appeal for specific genres.


You seem to have an aversion to people who want to listen to speakers - skeptic hates the fact that people have the audacity to listen to Audio Note speakers. They must be giant corporations to be any good - and must have Toole designing them to be any good at all - and they must follow NRC guidelines - great be happy with what you bought and I will be as well. I have heard both and many others over the years - This is my opinion of the sound - some will disagree - even some of those people who did actually hear the speakers might disagree. And those people that did listen to them and bought something else fine.

No, I don't have an aversion to listening. I listen to and enjoy my own speakers all the time. I just have an aversion to claims that sighted listenings alone are sufficient to discredit the validity of calibrated measurements and bias controlled listening tests. Listening has value because that's the ultimate function of audio equipment. But, at the same time, I'm not going sit here and claim that what I hear during sighted product demos invalidates all technical mesurements and that my conclusion is applicable to all situations just because I said so. There's the room acoustics to consider, the setup, and the source. For specific types of recordings, it can be very advantageous to have speakers with specific kinds of frequency deviations. EVERY speaker has deviations of some kind, so part of the auditioning process is discerning which inaccuracies work best with your listening habits.

And for umpteenth time, Toole is NOT a speaker designer.

And what about the NRC findings (they never set up any comprehensive set of guidelines, only findings that were found to be statistically valid) do you find problematic? Good off-axis response? Low distortion? Even frequency response through the midrange? Those points are really the main conclusions. Whatever else you want to ascribe to the research is nothing more than presumption. Just because a manufacturer voices their speakers with boosted highs and/or lows does not mean that the research dictated that. In fact, a while ago I read that researchers expected to find that people would prefer speakers with boosted highs or lows, but that turned out to be inconclusive and less important than the midrange accuracy, which was a consistent preference.

RGA
07-08-2004, 07:27 PM
hey RGA I think you're a helluva guy but come on man why don't u give up? Resonant boxes, flea powered SET's, silver wire, snake oil. For those of us who are engineers and have been to school and have seen complex waveforms on a scope and for those of us who enjoy unamplified "live" music we know when we're getting snowballed and bs'ed. I've heard some smooth tube/silk dome tweetered boxes that were a joy to listen to but far from sounding like a live performance. It's very simple. A system that has a wide frequency response, low harmonic distortion, and a wide dispersion among the entire frequency range is what engineers who know what they are doing are trying to accomplish. I mean take 5 different acoustic instruments such as a piano, violin, cello, clarinet, and sax and all are made of different materials that have different inherent physical properties and then listen to the clown who runs audio note and he says that his cabinets should vibrate because real instruments do. That's absolutely ridiculous. If you like the "sound" your system makes God bless you man but don't tell us that Audio Notes' speakers/amplifiers are the holy grail of audio cause they're not.

In the strictest sense the cabinet vibrates or resopnates at the frequency Audio Note dictates - and not by accident or because the speaker wasn't damped enough. You also don't need a high damping factor amp if you folow the approach through the line. Audio Note has real engineers with rela degrees working for them - the founder was the chief designer of Sony Corporation - presumably a fellow that knows a bit about design - or he would never have attained the position in the first place. Martin Colloms(B.Sc. (Hons), C.Eng, M.I.E.E.)

William Ellis Grammar School London and University of Westminster [Regent Street Polytechnic.]

Graduated in l97l with a B.Sc. Hons in Electrical Engineering.

Awarded Chartership of the Institution of Electrical Engineers 1981.

MacRobert Award Finalist 2000 (with Neil Harris and Henry Azima), Royal Academy of Engineers

has measured their products from DAC to speakers

"Books ;

The speaker design textbook, first published in 1978 'High Performance Loudspeakers'[ISBN: 0471 97091 3 PPC; 0471 97089 1 Pr.] has been in print for over 20 years. The fully revised and expanded fifth edition [paper and hardback] was published by J Wiley for 1997. It has been translated into several foreign languages and the book received a most favourable review in the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, Vol 40, Number 1/2.

A second book entitled Computer Controlled Test and Instrumentation, was published in 1983 and provided an introduction to the IEEE 488 control bus. [ now out of print; ISBN 0-7273-0310-4]

Paul Messenger and engineer measures speakers for Hi-Fi Choice among other writings - gee the AN Speakers are so bad he decided to keep them - like his fellow writers form Stereophile and Enjoythemusic.com(who hear all of the cutting edge SOTA products) to be used as reference speakers and also to measure other equipment. More importantly to JUST listen to music on.

I have read the technical arguments about what I should look for in speakers from a design point of view BEFORE I listened to the Audio Notes. They should be a slim line design - they should not have a wide baffle they should have soft corners to reduce standing waves the tweeter and woofer are too far apart - they should not use foam nor should they use paper woofers - they should be very heavily damped and they should also be very large if they are going to produce bass - and if a small speaker DOES produce bass they will be very low sensitiviy.

Yet the engineers - the people who know - are the ones buying em up when they hear them, and musicians and recording studios, and designers from B&W, and average Joe's who when they see the speaker doing EVERYTHING wrong sounds miles better. And why is that? Because the speaker is doing the So-called impossible - Impossible for inferior designers obviously - so who has the best engineers and who simply has a lot of engineers - there is a difference.

When a relatively small speaker with one woofer can generate ~18hz while maintaning a mid band that is startlingly open and uncongested and doesn't sound compressed or nasal is not surprising that blind listening panels would award them top marks - A bit of colour perhaps but the trade-off is to gain Bass depth dynamics open vocals and overall light on its feet musicality.

"A system that has a wide frequency response, low harmonic distortion, and a wide dispersion among the entire frequency range is what engineers who know what they are doing are trying to accomplish."

This is what enginners want right? Is that what you're saying? Then you sir need to listen to Audio Note speakers. And when you do you can be like me and call all the other designers a bunch of talentless hacks or poor souls for letting bean counters dictate speaker design for maximizing profits via using dirt cheap parts(and then conning the masses that their cheaply made boxes and woiring and crossovers may be cheap junk but much much better than using quality drivers, wood, and parts) - Sorry that dog don't hunt.

Woochifer
07-08-2004, 07:42 PM
This is what enginners want right? Is that what you're saying? Then you sir need to listen to Audio Note speakers. And when you do you can be like me and call all the other designers a bunch of talentless hacks or poor souls for letting bean counters dictate speaker design for maximizing profits via using dirt cheap parts(and then conning the masses that their cheaply made boxes and woiring and crossovers may be cheap junk but much much better than using quality drivers, wood, and parts) - Sorry that dog don't hunt.

In other words, Audio Note is God and all other speakers are crap just because you said so. Hi-Fi Choice likes them, so their word is gospel too. If only you could just see what kind of a caricature this self-aggrandizing run-at-the-mouth bull**** is turning you into.

RGA
07-08-2004, 08:24 PM
Woochifer

Mate this is not an issue of loudness - Of course the AN's are more efficient - when you select the Monitor 5 or the N805 one turns the volume up.

Hi-fi Choice does level match as well - and in fact notes that an AN Dac if you didn't level match would sound considerably louder due to the higher output - so certain amplifiers you need to be careful about. But they noted that because they level match the advantage is not an issue.

With speakers the bass depth of the Audio Note is superior - if you're suggesting supressing the speakers bass response - then you are no longer listening to the speaker anymore because the entire design relies on the cabinet itself to vibrate in order to create the depth and openness - Do anything to interfere with that is simply wrong. One could merely use a sub and add bass to the K - but bass is not the only issue when moving up the line.

The soundbox as it were is a top to bottom design where everything plays a role in the sound - the bass is calcuted into the design with resonances raised to inaudible frequencies. I understand the methodology and exactly what you're talking about this way of matching. But I expect to get bass with my money - and IMO tough luck if the similar and more expensive competitors needs a subwoofer.

I bring a wide array of music on listening sessions - Audio Note plays them all well. You want heavy bass trance to light classical to vocal to jazz to Motly Crue - some speakers will be better suited to stricly amplified music perhaps - AN's strength is and always will be classical music.

But why we're discussing these issues is irrelevant - listen to them or don't listen to them - I could care less

They will meet the desires of Good off-axis response Low distortion and Even frequency response through the midrange. All three were discussed and measured in the August 2004 issue(Even though we're not in August yet??) of Hi-fi Choice. The E/LX was rated the best speaker in the $2500.00 British Pound range and the reviewer kept them - as they kept the original AN E back in 1992. Which isn't to say they found perfection - there was some complaint over the speaker being somewhat coloured but that trade-off was compensated for by a number of strengths to such a high level that they had no choice but to give it the best buy tag. The original E/D with a lesser cabinet, wiring and parts

"The most expensive model in the test group did at least help justify its price with a top rating in the listening tests{blind). Praised for providing loads of detail, subtlety and insight, this is a good all-rounder which draws its compromises very artfully, delivering an even overall tonal balance with excellent low bass weight and extension, yet also creating music with lively and invigorating dynamics." £1520
BUILD * * * *_
SOUND * * * * *
VALUE * * * *_

An upgraded level would sound significantly better as it did in my session with the J.

But why we're discussing these issues is irrelevant - listen to them or don't listen to them - I could care less. I would have let the post die 50 threads ago - but AN is attacked from people who have never heard them - for being supposedly wrong? And yet the people on this thread who HAVE heard the speakers don't. Interesting. I am not saying EVERYONE or ANYONE should BUY the freakin things - but to listen to them. Dig out any recordings good bad or indiferent LP or CD - listen to an all AN 8 watt sytem and the other guys mega watt mega heavy speaker system - most dealers should carry one of those of competitors "right" designs. To ask audio hobbyists to listen to music on a stereo system :confused: what was I thinking.

gonefishin
07-08-2004, 08:27 PM
And when you hear one if your a big enough person to admit that this is true - it is you who will take the shackles of ignoance off.


RGA...I have heard some of the AudioNote speakers...a couple of the low cost ones and the high dollar silver voice coil speakers too. You know what. They do sound decent. Do they kill the competetion? no, they don't. But they are fun to listen to. They do make nice music. With the lower proced models actually being good bargins compared to many of the larger companies.


Wooch, if you get the chance to listen to them...do give them a chance...they really do deserve it. The best? no. But they are above average. As far as having a discussion about other speakers, speaker design or construction...amplifier design, use or construction or room effects with RGA, this may be futile. Unless it's written down on the AN website...I doubt you'll get much else. I think we may be lucky that he isn't using the $500.00 wooden volume knob that's treated with c37 lacquer :rolleyes:
I'd still like an answer on how in the world he could suggest that all speakers at a show would have equal opportunity to perform well in rooms which were the same. This is within this thread while discussing comparing (relatively) higher end"ish" speakers. So the comment shouldn't have been made in oversight.

have a good weekend all>>>>>

RGA
07-08-2004, 08:46 PM
In other words, Audio Note is God and all other speakers are crap just because you said so. Hi-Fi Choice likes them, so their word is gospel too. If only you could just see what kind of a caricature this self-aggrandizing run-at-the-mouth bull**** is turning you into.

Actually I had a good run of not getting hotheaded and stating it earlier - I had written it down several times and deleted such strong sentiment. Unfortunately, I agree with my dealer(granted: obviously could have alterior motives - but I know why that's not the case) that after hearing Audio Note it is very tough not to be a snob about them.

I know as well as anyone that making such strong opinions will be resented and / or disbelieved because I have been on the other side of the fence reading the claims for nOhr among others. And they can't live up to the hype I've given to them - so I am probably actually hurting Audio Note by presenting strong opinions about them and also producing reviews - something I myself don't rely on nor did I when buying them. But I figured some are heavy into reviews to even give them a try.

But presumably every person buying speakers felt it was the best speaker they heard for the money and they would have a couple of runner ups etc. So if we can let this thread eventually die before it hits 200 replies - I will try to lessen mention of Audio Note if others will as well.

RGA
07-08-2004, 11:03 PM
Skeptic - You were wondering where some of the high cost has gone

The cabinets are made by a company you are probably familiar with - knowing fine Piano construction - Bosendorfer.

This may mean absolutely zilch to you but it might help explain why there is added cost to these cabinets that perhaps go beyond Joe's cabinet making emporium.

Someone brought up an interesting point: "Sound like that we should pay by the amount and value of the oil paint that Van Gogh used on his painting! By this standard of $$$ vs. 8" driver used, we should pay no more than $5 for a Van Gogh painting! Or maybe all the piano should cost the same, because all of them have the same number of keys."

If you're ever out in Manhatten and if you can afford what must be parking fees that would rival AN speakers - give them a go againt some well known competitors - the one thing if nothing else is they won't sound like you're average two way speaker.

skeptic
07-09-2004, 04:50 AM
In a sense, a piano whether a Bosendorfer or a Steinway is a work of art. A loudspeaker is a machine. No two pianos are exactly alike. I hope and expect that when I buy a loudspeaker, it is as exactly like the one I heard in a showroom as it can be made. BTW, that is what ISO 9000 so popular in Europe is all about.

It seems to me that Peter Qtwerp has gone to every conceivable extreme to manufacture his loudspeakers in a way that makes them as expensive as possible. This works against the consumer. That the cabints MUST be manufactured by Bosendorfer is just further evidence that he doesn't give a damn about controlling his production costs. Who pays for it? The customer of course. Don't even suggest that there isn't a place in this world which cannot manufacture cabinets of equal quality for much less money. In fact, it may be difficult to find one that is more expensive.

Even before 9-11 and certainly since, I avoid Manhattan in every possible way. In fact about two years before 9-11 I moved an extra 30 miles away from the place because I always felt it was dangerous. I don't go there unless I absolutely have to. Unless and until my government takes the draconian steps I fell are necessary to effectively protect American citizens from the kind of terrorit attacks we experienced on 9-11, I will not go near high value targets unless absolutely necessary. Unfortunately the measures I deem necessary in this time of war would violate most of our constitutional rights. But in a war of survival, sacrifices have to be made.

Woochifer
07-09-2004, 10:56 AM
Woochifer

Mate this is not an issue of loudness - Of course the AN's are more efficient - when you select the Monitor 5 or the N805 one turns the volume up.

Of course it is if you're at all interested in eliminating the level as a source of bias. The question is how much do you turn it up so that the average SPL over the majority of the frequency spectrum matches up? If you have a 5 db differential between the two speakers, sure you will turn it up if you're at all serious about level matching. But, if you're doing the comparison without a selector switch of some kind, then you're relying on auditory memory to set the levels and that's not reliable. At least doing a measurement at the beginning gives you a benchmark to watch out for as you conduct the audition and mess around with the volume switch as you go along.


With speakers the bass depth of the Audio Note is superior - if you're suggesting supressing the speakers bass response - then you are no longer listening to the speaker anymore because the entire design relies on the cabinet itself to vibrate in order to create the depth and openness - Do anything to interfere with that is simply wrong. One could merely use a sub and add bass to the K - but bass is not the only issue when moving up the line.

Using a narrow band test tone to set the reference level for the comparison assures that you DON'T overly suppress the bass when doing the auditions. Bass is far more influenced by room acoustics than the midrange and highs, and as such the lower a speaker goes, the greater the potential for big peaks to erroneously drive the SPL reading. If the level is set according to something that's influenced by a large peak, then the average level for the midrange and highs are too low. And that includes setting the level by ear, since the ear will pick up on the bass peak more so than the other frequencies (threshold of audibility and how that varies by Q resonance is another concept covered in the Harman white papers).


But why we're discussing these issues is irrelevant - listen to them or don't listen to them - I could care less. I would have let the post die 50 threads ago - but AN is attacked from people who have never heard them - for being supposedly wrong? And yet the people on this thread who HAVE heard the speakers don't. Interesting. I am not saying EVERYONE or ANYONE should BUY the freakin things - but to listen to them. Dig out any recordings good bad or indiferent LP or CD - listen to an all AN 8 watt sytem and the other guys mega watt mega heavy speaker system - most dealers should carry one of those of competitors "right" designs. To ask audio hobbyists to listen to music on a stereo system :confused: what was I thinking.

Well, you're the one who's using your personal preference for one particular approach as a soapbox for attacking every other approach. Everything that Audio Note does is right, everything that everybody else does is wrong. Audio Note is about quality, everybody else is about cheaping out the customer and maximizing profits. Your argument is basically about praising every approach that Audio Note takes, and attacking every other approach regardless of what the science says and what other people's opinions of those competing products might be.

I've yet to hear the Audio Notes, and if I ever trudge my way down to Silicon Valley, I might even give them a listen. They might well be fine speakers. But, I seriously doubt that I will take one listen and then automatically view every other speaker out there as ill-conceived junk. That's where my line between praise and exaggeration stands, where truth and wishful thinking diverge. Even if something as great as the Dynaudio Evidence Master is brought down to an affordable price level, I would assert that those are the best speakers that I've heard. But, at the same time that doesn't mean that everything else is suddenly excrement by comparison. I could jot down every design approach that was used in that speaker, and praise it to high heaven, but does that automatically mean that therefore every other approach is therefore wrong?

RGA
07-09-2004, 12:25 PM
Woochifer -

Quite correct - not everything else is junk. They have their approaches - people obviously like them - so did I. I expressed why I went another route against similarly priced products. I am not an engineer and if you want to know about some of the technical process involved in the speakers they have been discussed on Audio Asylum (save the proprietary aspects of their measuring equipment)

Audio Note builds speakers on a Frequency/Amplitude and signal Pressure model. He says that "energy is a combination of the frequency and pressure present in every signal.
The overwhelming majority of systems deal only with the frequency/amplitude component." [He explains it more or less in full the way he matches speakers{well not quite} and is apparently based somewhat on a Bell Laboratories paper].
He was dicussing on another forum with another speaker designer builder.

These speakers are not to be mistaken as sounding like original Snells - other than cabinet shape and one other part of the Snell approach the two sound nothing alike apparently.

If you do get to hear them reasonably well set-up somewhere it will be the latter model which you may hear separating them from the "type" of sound you hear from what is currently the majority of 2 way standmounts. A commonly noted trait I have read on owner responses and reviewers is a certain way they pressurize a room. Can't put it into words and Peter argues the standard measurement sweeps - his equipment does apparently but that would require taking his word for it - because he isn't going to let everyone else in on it. And he is well aware that he will be attacked for his approaches - but he stays on AA to answer those questions and skeptics and hides nothing. Since the skeptics are invariably those who have not heard the products - he won't likely change their mind - neither will I. Just listening apparently isn't good enough.

When you hear them(J or E) you'll know why you won't be able to match them to a fellow standmount. Well you could - but you'll still be able to tell which speaker is which.

Woochifer
07-09-2004, 12:29 PM
Here's the Audio Note ad that I mentioned. Found it in last month's issue of The Absolute Sound (p.86).

http://members.aol.com/sfwooch/images/ANadv.jpg

RGA
07-09-2004, 07:01 PM
Nice advert - Actually I was going to say a couple threads back that I would take your word for it. The American distrubutor has advertised in the past and so does Triode and Company - who I believe is another newer distrubutor. So you beat me to it. The funny thing is they no longer sell transports(except the rest of what they have left) which is the first picture.

And come to think of it I oppologise for saying they don' advertise - You should have called me on it way back because Peter presents to Audio Shows like Vegas etc - someone needs to here about the product to be able to hear the product - and that starts with the dealer. Soundhounds pretty much can carry anything they want - and how could they carry Audio Note and or Sugen like companies with ZERO advertising?

I have notic that the prices of some AN gear has risen at Triode lately as well - the K/SPe went from $1950 to $2250.00US (maybe paying advertising etc?). And since that advertisement which lists 18 total dealers in North America there are now 25 dealers. I find that odd the more dealers would have the price rise - you would think they would go down as a result. Their bottom of the line P Zero line is now made in South Korea(which in itself means little) but again the price should go down. On the flip side they're giving 10 year fully transferable warranties on their tube amps.

Incidentally I heard a nice enough speaker today - a $999.00 Polk Audio. You know I think it was actually quite a nice speaker for the money with good deal of bass - maybe a tad boomy but the room had them maybe 20 feet apart (too far) and need their matching center channel to get Don Henly's voice to the center. And the receiver Harman Kardon's flagship - may have had the bass cranked because congo drums seemed to thunder more than they do in life - and no drummer was drumming - Still the speakers for that much money and what is that about $700.00US? I could comfortably recommend these for an audition - Now I only listened to this for 10 minutes but I think I'm getting too anal about this stuff as stuff rather than - to steal a line from Gonefishin - just enjoying music.

Skeptic
The odds of another attack despite the fear mongering are low - you have better odds winning the lottery that you do of being killed by a terrorist - the terrorists threat was there since the ~1992 trade center attack and in all that time how many Americans have been killed by a terrorist. When you change your life completely around they win. May be easy for me to say since I'm in Canada and our lousy government probably has hundreds plus terrorists living on our welfare system - but don't let the bastards win by fleeing within your own country. I will still take vacations to the US if and when I can. The bloody media is responsible for scaring the hell out of everyone - and the government to a degree. Really do most Americantruly knwo what to do when your terror status goes from yellow to orange?

gonefishin
07-10-2004, 05:37 AM
Really do most Americantruly knwo what to do when your terror status goes from yellow to orange?



From my view, most of the actions that are taking place are done so without the public knowing (or at least not seeing all of it). The people may have been aware the the terror level has been increased, but I doubt they know all the protective measures that are being taken that aren't in plain view. When the level increases...Everyone should become a bit more aware of themselves and their surroundings...and they should also take note of places or events that they might be visiting. But it seems like this is taking place less and less with each passing day.

But, on the other hand, I have been surprised how the HomeLand Dept is actually getting various equipment to local governments and protective agencies. No, not each and every city...but they're getting some nice coverage for widespread use from region to region...should something happen.


take care>>>>>>>>>

Pededrengen
07-11-2004, 01:20 AM
Sirs

The AN speakers are based on the original ideas of genius Peter Snell.

The original Snell speakers was made by pairing and listening to cheap componets, but pairing them with the ear. Thus creating a very good speaker based on a time consuming porces (and cheap components).
the AN speakers use much more expensive parts, but are still faithfull to the Snell idea.

So: If you want to know if AN is relevant for you, buy a 2nd hand Snell k (or K2) speakers. They are exellent!
It will give you an impression of the basic musicality of the consept. And they can be had very cheap 2nd hand. imho by far the best 2nd hand value for money speaker).
I myself own the Snell A and have heard rumors that AN plan to reintroduce this piece of art.
An upgraded tuned and expensive equipped A, made with the ear as the original could become the best speaker in the world (again).

regards.

lattybuck
07-12-2004, 12:48 PM
This is definately one of the most informative threads I have watched yet. Thank you all for that.
Now for my worthless opinion.
My Taoist approach - Everything effects everything else. It is just that simple. Cabinets or no, open or closed, tube or SS, longer or shorter cables, cuter or uglier sales people, less or more comfortable chairs to sit in while reviewing equipment, etc. It all plays a part and none of it can be discounted while reviewing equipment. Do specs matter, yes. But they are only a part of the picture.Once you get it home some factors become less important than others, but that is once it is properly set up at your home.
So here is my take on this, be it stupid or otherwise. You need to start by understanding yourself and what you want to hear. Do you like more natural sounds, woods strings classical etc., or maybe more electronic sounds, pink floyd rap many others I am sure. Do you like the same sound everywhere in your room? No Maggies for you then. Are you less concerned with directionality, but love speedie sound. Try the maggis or logans or a few other which use the approach of minimizing moving mass to make sound. From an oversimplified but effective viewpoint the more mass you have to compensate for, the slower your reactions. Just another take on the "Every action has an equal and oppisite reaction" theory. This is not the only way to see it. Only an example of one way. Some people love the "horn" sounds, some the "lots of drivers" sound, some more exotic techniqes and some just a simple box that handles singing voices well.
If you take a little time to close your eyes and relaxe while reviewing numerous approaches to recreating sound you will probably find the approach whitch appeals to you. Just relaxe and try a few diff types of equipment. Amps speakers etc. If you can carry your own music to listen to, so much the better. Once you know the approach you enjoy, focus on that.
There are lots of options in all catagories of equipment available and many have very nice results. Find what works well for you and your situation. the buzzword's are relaxing and enjoyable. Everything else is hype. You can make sound with a tin can and a wire, but being able to listen to that for hours is another matter. Many of the newer approaches remind me of the theory people had in the 70's, and probably other times as well, of manipulating every nuance of sound, expanders equalizers all sorts of things, they could and it is best. That approach didn't work for me, but for some it did. I lean more towards what they used to call a wire a grain approach. Buta thats just me. And It took me a while to figure that one out as well. Find your approach, and focus on that. Not on another persons idea of what you need.
Ok, thats my rambling on. Someone kill me now.

RGA
07-12-2004, 08:15 PM
lattybuck

You won't really get an argument from me. The best system I have heard was from a company that built every part of the audio chain specifically for every other part of the audio chain. From source to cable to soldering material to tranformer to source to amplifer to speaker. If "Everything effects everything else" then the guesswork is removed from hearing complete systems - Rega, Quad and Linn are some off hand that do this as well.

You have to be comfortable with whatever choices you make - but do try and listen to as much of the approaches as you can. After all it is YOU who has to live with what you buy - it is not my place or anyone else's place to tell you to buy something.

RGA
07-12-2004, 08:31 PM
Sirs

The AN speakers are based on the original ideas of genius Peter Snell.

The original Snell speakers was made by pairing and listening to cheap componets, but pairing them with the ear. Thus creating a very good speaker based on a time consuming porces (and cheap components).
the AN speakers use much more expensive parts, but are still faithfull to the Snell idea.

So: If you want to know if AN is relevant for you, buy a 2nd hand Snell k (or K2) speakers. They are exellent!
It will give you an impression of the basic musicality of the consept. And they can be had very cheap 2nd hand. imho by far the best 2nd hand value for money speaker).
I myself own the Snell A and have heard rumors that AN plan to reintroduce this piece of art.
An upgraded tuned and expensive equipped A, made with the ear as the original could become the best speaker in the world (again).

regards.


Audio Note recommends against any which are not the very original designs - and you would need to make some significant adjustments to the J and E.

They are considering re-making the type A - Many called it one of the best production speakers ever produced and it appears you are one of those. Peter Qvortrup has the speaker and uses it as a sort of a reference - so I asked him why he doesn't start building the Type A. As you know he's not a fan of three ways - he's heard all the major ones and dislikes all of them. I read that he has disconnected the awful rear firing tweeter of the type A - which may mean if he keeps that aspect he will change the tweeter or ax it alltogether.

He has been working for 4years on an 845 SET powered subwoofer strictly to be used with the E. He is not a fan of subwoofers currently available. Finding ones that will match and go deeper than the E won't be cheap.

I will be interested to hear a SET powered sub. If nothing else if it works well tube fans can state what I already know - Tubes know bass.

Pat D
07-13-2004, 04:26 AM
Audio Note recommends against any which are not the very original designs - and you would need to make some significant adjustments to the J and E.

They are considering re-making the type A - Many called it one of the best production speakers ever produced and it appears you are one of those. Peter Qvortrup has the speaker and uses it as a sort of a reference - so I asked him why he doesn't start building the Type A. As you know he's not a fan of three ways - he's heard all the major ones and dislikes all of them. I read that he has disconnected the awful rear firing tweeter of the type A - which may mean if he keeps that aspect he will change the tweeter or ax it alltogether.

He has been working for 4years on an 845 SET powered subwoofer strictly to be used with the E. He is not a fan of subwoofers currently available. Finding ones that will match and go deeper than the E won't be cheap.

I will be interested to hear a SET powered sub. If nothing else if it works well tube fans can state what I already know - Tubes know bass.
Have you ever heard a Snell Type A? How do you know whether the rear-firing tweeter was awful or not? Or are you just taking Peter Qvortrup's word for it?

What importance does Peter Qvortrup's opinions on speakers have, anyway, beyond his company, that is? Why should anyone care what they are or whether he likes 3 way speakers?

I did hear the Snell Type A quite a number of years ago in Ottawa, and it was a very good speaker.

gonefishin
07-13-2004, 05:30 AM
Pat, haven't you been reading? Everything has do do with Peter's opinion, or his line of thinking. If Peter has it on his website or in an article he's written...RGA has it memorized. It has little to do with anything else.

skeptic
07-13-2004, 06:07 AM
It does get kind of tiresome after a while doesn't it?

I've herd the A II extenisvely and it is a very clear and fine sounding speaker IMO. I also heard the A IIIi and liked it even better. One of its best attributes was the addition of its rear firing tweeter.

It is entirely possible that Peter Qtwerp does not have the skill to manufacture a 3 way loudspeaker which would be an improvement over the A IIIi. It is clear from his other designs that he feels comfortable with only the simplest of ideas.

One of the fallacies a designer may come up against is ignoring the notion of "point of diminishing returns" and the notion of a brick wall. It does not necessary follow that improving on an idea by building it with better quality parts will necessarily improve the overall quality of it. Not only won't the improvement necessarily reflect the added cost, but by changing the design, you may pay in deteriorated performance in one area for an improvement in another. The idea which seems to swirl in Peter Qtwerps head that if you keep refining and refining by using better and more expensive parts, that you will reach utopia is a false one. Each idea has inherent in it a limit as to how far it can be taken and to lavish more and more money on one by taking a cost be damned point of view can be extremely foolish. Usually, ideas are slowly and relatively inexpensively refined and evolve gradually until they have been fully exploited. Then real improvement comes when the whole idea is tossed out and something revolutionary comes along to replace it. That never seems to happen in Peter Qtwerps world.

RGA
07-13-2004, 08:38 AM
But I find it interesting that the last three posters are still reading this thread at all. Why do you care?

The poster Pededrengen mentioned that Audio Note was considering re-making the A and I added information to that - which is that they are dumping the rear firing tweeter - should not have said awful - but obviously they feel they can build it better without it. PQ owns the AIII speaker and can easily design or backwards engineer with engineer Andy Grove a 3 way speaker. I should think their ability to design is well accepted or should be - since his little 2 way does things(many people like Skeptic would say is IMPOSSIBLE from a 2 way of their size) - perhaps since he has shatterred the IMPOSSIBLE and made it very possible and more to the point an actual factual product and done what most inferior designers building speakers 5 times as big and way way more expensive do not then his design team and the late Peter Snell get credit from me for knowing how to build a speaker(but then I've heard them directly against such supposed "more up to date" designs).

Audio Note sells speakers ranging from $550 on up - Hardly a notion that nothing has cost constraints. A couple of people have mentioned that it sounds better thna the N805 (which in turn means it sounds better than anything PSB or Paradigm make) at $2000.00US - So I may give it a try - it would not be the first time an Audio Note speaker beat something 4 times the price. - ohh noting that this is IMO.

I tend to believe in what Peter has to say a little more because he backs it up with the sound of his products. When Skeptic comes out with his TWEAKED Bose 901 or TWEAKED AR 9 and I can go out and listen to his new company's products if they blow me away I would tend to believe more in what he has to say. Patd - thanks I've heard the speakers you support - Gonefishin has an eclectic taste in speakers/systems which I tend to agree with more. The running theme here is who hears it the way I hear it is useful to me. If I like sweeping drama's I am going with the film critic who also loves them - not the guy from Fangoria magazine(unless he also likes the sweeping drama). When directly comparing Peter's "simple" system against the more "complex" Paradigm, B&W's etc he opened my eyes more to what what those speakers lack. And it opened my eyes - and ears.

Then reading his web-site and why his speakers made those and considerably more expensive speakers sound like he states on his site - you say to yourself - well he backed it up with his product --- compared to the "Fashion Victim Designs" his product does exactly what he says and those others sound exactly like he says they do when directly compared. Harsh words, arrogance blah blah - but IMO he has reason to use harsh words and be arrogant.

Too simple - too expensive for the amount of moving parts you get? Well there are saws and there are saws - there are chairs and then there are chairs there is $2.00 worth of pain in a Monet, and then there are piano's vs other pianos and 5 foot 5 150 pound singers and 5 foot 5 150 pound singers. Value is listening and comparing to the other guy's speakers.

Pat D
07-15-2004, 08:16 AM
But I find it interesting that the last three posters are still reading this thread at all. Why do you care?

Patd - thanks I've heard the speakers you support - Gonefishin has an eclectic taste in speakers/systems which I tend to agree with more.


Shooting from the hip again? I haven't kept track of gonefishin's taste in speakers, but here's a list off the the top of my head of speakers I have liked over the years. Is it eclectic enough for you?

Dynaco A-25 XL
Avid 103
Kef 104
Kef 104aB
Kef 104/2
Kef 105
Dayton-Wright Electrostatic
Celestion Ditton 15
Altec 9
Altec 19
Klipschorn
Klipsch Forte
B & W 801F
B & W 801 Matrix 2
B & W 705
Quad ESL
Quad ESL-63
Paradigm Monitor 5, v. 3
Paradigm Studio 40, v. 2
Paradigm Studio 100
Paradigm Studio 100, v. 2
Paradigm Studio 100, v. 3
Paradigm Signature S2
Paradigm Signature S8
PSB New Stratus Mini
PSB Stratus Silver
PSB Stratus Gold
PSB Stratus Gold-i
IMF Monitor TLS 50
IMF Monitor TLS 80
Yamaha NS-1000
Snell Type A
Mirage M1
Mirage M3si
Sonus Faber Concerto Grand Piano
Revel Performa M20
Totem Mani-2 Signature
Dali Helicon 400

lattybuck
11-02-2004, 12:07 PM
On the subject of the AN box design, I am curious about the concept. I have met and talked with a few folks who made insturments, strings mainly but dome precusion/drums also, and they all focused heavilly on the way the material they used focused the sound in a certain way. All said that different materials and shapes had different sounds so you tuned for that when building them. I am not an insturment maker/designer but It seems to me that if these guys are correct than any box design would inherently hvae some "sound" they would be tuned for. So trying to isolate and eliminate that sound would create an overall more "neutral" sound. That said, and if i am reading this correctly, why would trying to utilizing the box's "sound" as opposed to trying to "neutralize" the boxes sound be preferable? Aren't you fine tuning the sound toward a certain "type" rather than the neutrality I tend to lean so heavilly towards.
Maybe it's just me, but I want my crappy old 70' and 60's rock to sound the closest to the way they were recorded just as much as I want my old Gramaphone masters and newer recordings to sound. I would rather hear whats recorded as neutrally and accurately as possible and decide the music I enjoy more than I would like to decide what I enjoy listening to on a specific system. I know this is a pipe dream in many ways, nothing is that accurate or neutral. This has always been my approach to music. But maybe I am proceeding from a false assumption here. I always loved the Maggie sound and the ML sound nowdays partly due to what I percieved as maybe not as full a range but a less "colored" range or reproduction. Admittedly I auditioned some B&W 803's driven by Krell stuff last week and was floored by the tonality. They doubled in the deep base area some but were increadible for the 5k or so they sell for.
So am I stumbling blindly here or are you saying that the sound speakers recreat has to be non-neutral so plan on it rather than trying to eliminate it?
Your help is appreciated.

RGA
11-02-2004, 02:45 PM
Lattybuck

I don't pretend to be a speaker designer. Peter Qvortrup has answered a similar question as to why they chose the approach they do. I made an error stating that these speakers are undamped - they are damped but they sleect what it is they want damped instead of doing what virtually every single other boxed speaker maker does and damp EVERYTHING. Their arguement is that doing that invariably damps the bad resonances but takes away a lot of the good stuff as well. It shuts down the midband - sure one can make a clear case that the speaker is less coloured - but if it also hacks of a large segement of the musical information then it's not a particularly good approach - you throw the baby out with the bathwater. That was his complaint. You havd a speaker with flaws(they all do) and to gain in one area the new speakers ruined several things that were already very good.

Don;t make the mistake in assuming that because the way they damp the speaker that it will only work for the set of frequencies of a given instrument - their analogy is for a layman to state that unlike a lot of speakers the cabinet cannot be completely ignored or that the only purpose of the cabinet is to house some drivers and not resonate - everything resonates. So you can store it which is what B&W cabinets do and try and dissipate them or you can try and shift the resonance to a different inaudible frequency and release it immidiately. (At least this is my general understanding as to what AN is doing).

There is a lot of technical stuff going on with these speakers that are covered over by a ery simplistic looking box - the fact that for a start the speakers have impeccably low deep bass distortion and no matter what room they're in and in a corner you don;t get bass boom (you have to make sure the room size is appropriate and positioning in the corner needs a bit of fiddling) but it's pretty easy to set-up and you get consistant attributes from room to room.

For instance let's take the N803 and the AN E as two similarly priced loudspeakers. Firstly what you sort of hear with the B&W cabinet and those cabinets of the same shape and similar multiple stacked woofer approach is a localized presentation which is pretty tight and punchy and clear. moving to the E you get a breathy bigger presentation - tonaly on a piano or cello you hear the instruments box rather than just the guitar pick you get the overhang of the instrument(Decay). I can write on this until i'm blue but the fact is that until you hear it side by side against the N803 or N801 etc what I say means zip. B&W has asked Peter how he is doing what he is doing from his boxes and the answer he keeps giving them is to get their cabinets right. But in order to get them right B&W will have to make a butt ugly box and use much better wood quality - two things the accounting and marketing departments are not going to want - the engineers -- hell they KNOW but can it sell? This is not a slam to B&W - IMO they are shooting now at a different market. There are many reviews on AN - this guy seems to have been down a multitude of roads and maybe better explains it http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/reviews/review.pl?Action=Review&ModelID=2941

Speakers are the least faithful thing in an audio chain - there is no such thing as a truly accurate or transparent speaker. They ALL make compromises and ALL like to tout their speaker as most accurate or more accurate transparent etc.

I think there is too much argument over semantics that we lose sight of the point of this is to get something that pleases the individual. For insance I have heard good systems that I would personally not want to listen to long term but I respect the fact that a lot pf people feel is very transparent - I don;t but I understand why they think it is so - something along the lines of Bryston Monoblocks/preamp and PMC studio monitors. I feel the set-up might be pinpoint imagers in certain respects but I feel too much of the intrument's tonality is lost. There are other disadvantages - longjevity - foam surrounds deteriorate with time more so than rubber or other materials. So after 10 years or so you may need to get them refoamed especially in a humid climate. This thread at AA deiscusses it http://db.audioasylum.com/cgi/m.mpl?forum=speakers&n=149589&highlight=Frank+E&r=&session=

I know the respected Lynn Olsen who seems very knowledgeable on speaker design noted that The Audio note Ongaku integrated amplifier of all the SETs he had measured the worst in terms of distortion and power att 22watts 3%THD - and this is a $90,000.00 amp "It also made the Ariel sound better than any electrostat I've ever heard ... in fact, the best sound I'd heard in many years. It certainly sounded better than anything I heard at the 1994 Winter CES. So what's going on here? Maybe THD is simply measuring the wrong thing." and that's the problem. TO me a more transparent system is the one that lets me hear more of the musical event - I get that with the J or E more so than I get it from the Paradigms and B&W's of the world.

Frankly all you have to do is listen and decide for yourself. Not everyone hears things in the exact same way either - I'm not out to convince people I'm right or Audio Note is right. I know their speaker/systems is/are right for ME.

lattybuck
11-02-2004, 03:13 PM
So if i am seeing this correctly, AN makes their boxes to resonate at a non-audible frequency and then dissipate and/or dampen that out thru the speaker. I understand that. That is what I was wondering about. I know the B&W has really perfected the time honed "if we don't want it kill it" approach. Both approaches seem to be very good sometimes. Although I haven't heard any AN's many claim their transparancy is very good. Wish there was an AN dealer around Tulsa, OK or close I would go hear em.

Also, i presume you have 1 or more cats by your posting's. Do you have any occasional probs using AN's w/o grills of any kind? I notices some adds of their's claim they have no grills/covers and are specifically made that way. None are available if you did want em. Sometimes the kitty just has to test things. I lost my old Pans that way. That was pre-declawed kitty. Even declawed open paws on open drivers seem like it could turn into a questionable deal. Maybe I am paranoid after the great Pan episode here also.
Your opinion is appreciated. I will try to find some AN somewhere to try out soon.
Thanks

RGA
11-02-2004, 07:12 PM
Lattybuck. I no longer have cats as both died at 17 years. My AN J's are last year's model and they do have grill cloths - they are meant to be played with the cloths and Peter didn;t want them audtitioned with the cloth - some dealers even have one cloth on and one off when demoing - this no grill cloth stops that practice...of course they are less protected I suppose from cats.

My old cat sprayed my Wharfedales - and the damage to the metal rings have left permanent stain on them = damn cat.

You can put moth balls at the bass of speakers - cats hate moth balls.