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  1. #1
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    Heard Different Speakers Receivers Lesson Is there Is No Lesson!

    Well I'm really interested in your interpretations of a more valid receiver & speaker test than ones I did previously, for which the lesson learned is there is no lesson- i.e. different CD's sound differently on different receivers with different speakers with some sounding better & some sounding worse.

    Specifically I heard a top notch Yamaha Receiver of a gracious member of this board (my comments here reflect strictly on my own opinion not his) with both his b & w bookshelf speakers & sub (I forgot the model name of it) & then my Orb speakers. They were all connected
    to the receiver so we could hear the Orbs seperately and the B & W's seperately with a touch of the remote. We listened in the 2 speaker & a sub natural mode.

    Here are the results:

    The first CD played was by the Foo Fighters, a modern group I never listened to before. The track played sounded fantastic on the B & W's. The sound quality was far superior for the B& W's over the Orb's for this particular CD. It sounded like it was being performed live in the room. If I had not listened to any of the other CD's I brought with me, I would have jumped at the chance to buy this Yamaha Receiver & the B & W speakers the next day.

    The next 2 CD's played were my famous Rubber Soul & Revolver CD's by the Beatles which I've been bittcching and moaning about (these CD's have never been re remastered).I played Norwegian Wood, Nowhere Man & Taxman. The results were the exact opposite of the Foo Fighters. In my opinion the sound was not very good for the first two numbers and absolutely abysmal for "Taxman". The sound improved tremendously when I heard these through the Orbs though both my host and I concluded that both CD's were no recorded very well. What hurts is that when they originally came out on vinyl both of these albums were praised for the sound quality. I don't know what the Beatles producer, George Martin, did when he personally remastered these albums for CD, but he totally blew it.

    Next came Elvis Costello's remastered "Armed Forces" for which I played Oliver's Army & Accidents will happen, recorded in the late 1970's. The results on this one were interesting. When I heard these on Orb speakers on my JVC receiver, I complained the sound quality was thin. On the Yamaha with the B & W speakers, the sound was "thicker" & lost the thiness but to me also sounded a bit muddy as some of the highs were lost. When we played this via the Orbs on the Yamaha, the sound was much thinner but the highs and lows were clearer. Thus superiority in this case was a matter of personal preference.

    At this point I was ready to conclude, that the later a recording was made, the better it would sound with the B & w speakers & the Yamaha Receiver then say my JVC receiver & Orb speakers & the earlier an album was recorded (say pre 1986), the better it would sound on my JVC receiver & my Orb speakers than on the Yamaha and B&W speakers. However, I then played my last CD of the day, a remastered early 1970's recording by Brian Auger, a noted English Rock/Fusion Organ Player. On the B&W's the track sounded like Brian was playing it live in the room, on the Orb's it didn't sound half as good.
    As this track was recorded way pre 1986 & still sounded much better with the B&W's, I conclude, I can't make any conclusion one way or the other in regards to speaker/receiver
    performance on CD's. I should add as an aside, I also heard some 5.1 surround sound
    TV broadcasts which sounded very good on the B&W's (we did not have the Orbs attached for this as the center speaker connection was loose when we tried, so I couldn't make a comparison) & in my opinion had better dynamics at a lower volume then my JVC receiver in regards to 5.1 sound. This isn't to imply that the Yamaha had better dynamics than the JVC when listening to it at a louder volume on the JVC.

    The bottom line for all this is, in my opinion, and I may not be telling you something you don't already know, certain CD's sound better than others on different sound systems & at this point, I'm not ready to buy another receiver and/or speaker system with a somewhat limited $2500 budget. However, I'm still open to change, if something knocked me out. As 85% of the CD's I buy, were originally recorded prior to 1985, I'm not ready to change my receiver & Orb speakers & sub but probably would have in regards to the Yamaha & B & W bookshelf speakers, if the CD's I buy were more current recordings.
    Last edited by hershon; 03-11-2005 at 12:10 PM.

  2. #2
    Tyler Acoustics Fan drseid's Avatar
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    Just purely for my own interest Hershon... Do you remember which B&W model it was you demoed? Were they the 600 series per chance?

    B&W is a very good starting place for auditioning entry-level high-end speakers (1K and under/pr., for example)... Other brands sold in stores at "reasonable" price points that are definitely worthy of audition (in no particular order, and this list is hardly all-inclusive) are Linn (Katans), Consonance (Eric-1s), Sonus Faber (Concertinos), Monitor Audio (Silver Series) and Definitive Technology (ProCinema Series)...

    I happy to see that you are giving other brands a listen, and I agree that certain music sounds better on certain speakers as a general rule...

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  3. #3
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    I'll try to get the B& W Info Tommorow

    They were B & W Bookshelf speakers, I don't know the model number off the top of my head, when I do I'll add a seperate reply here.

    I just revised my original post slightly, basically stating that as 85% of the CD's I buy, were originally recorded prior to 1985, though I'm open to change, I'm not ready to change my receiver & Orb speakers & sub.

    Quote Originally Posted by drseid
    Just purely for my own interest Hershon... Do you remember which B&W model it was you demoed? Were they the 600 series er chance?

    B&W is a very good starting place for auditioning entry-level high-end speakers (1K and under/pr., for example)... Other brands sold in stores at "reasonable" price points that are definitely worthy of audition (in no particular order, and this list is hardly all-inclusive) are Linn (Katans), Consonance (Eric-1s), Sonus Faber (Concertinos), Monitor Audio (Silver Series) and Definitive Technology (ProCinema Series)...

    I happy to see that you are giving other brands a listen, and I agree that certain music sounds better on certain speakers as a general rule...

    ---Dave

  4. #4
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Hershon: Interesting results. There's really alot going on here to arrive at the conclusion that pre 1985 cd's will always or even mostly sound better with what you have. It might not hurt to try a few other speaker options. I wouldn't even lump pre-1985 CD recordings in the same basket...there's some miserable transfers (like your favorite Beatles cd's) and some excellent re-masters (Rush, Led Zeppelin, etc)...Many cd's have been remastered because early mastering to CD was done fast to rush the older titles to market. Sometimes the remastered versions don't sound any better (or sound worse) though, too.
    With your budget though you can really do better than what you tested yesterday (not to mention there's a ton of different "flavors" of speakers out there, maybe you've just got to find the one you like).
    Don't get discouraged yet, but don't go throwing a ton of money at receivers and power amps that probably are offering you a minimal improvement over what you have.

    Did you get a chance to connect the B&W's to your JVC, or the Orbs to the Yamaha? I'm curious to know how the results would have been.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    Hershon: Interesting results. There's really alot going on here to arrive at the conclusion that pre 1985 cd's will always or even mostly sound better with what you have. It might not hurt to try a few other speaker options. I wouldn't even lump pre-1985 CD recordings in the same basket...there's some miserable transfers (like your favorite Beatles cd's) and some excellent re-masters (Rush, Led Zeppelin, etc)...Many cd's have been remastered because early mastering to CD was done fast to rush the older titles to market. Sometimes the remastered versions don't sound any better (or sound worse) though, too.
    With your budget though you can really do better than what you tested yesterday (not to mention there's a ton of different "flavors" of speakers out there, maybe you've just got to find the one you like).
    Don't get discouraged yet, but don't go throwing a ton of money at receivers and power amps that probably are offering you a minimal improvement over what you have.

    Did you get a chance to connect the B&W's to your JVC, or the Orbs to the Yamaha? I'm curious to know how the results would have been.
    Yeah I agree with kexodusc here. The combinations are limitless. You have now heard two. I also have a lot of older cds. And when I listen to them on my better equipment, they do in fact sound pretty lousy. Interestingly, when I have downloaded a few to my iPod, they sound fine. Granted the iPod isn't a high end player, and even though I have upgraded the headphones, the great thing is that can enjoy my older stuff while I sit in my office. Newer, well recorded cds definitely sound great on my system. In fact that doesn't get discussed enough here. Very good recordings can do more for the enjoyment of listening to music than a lot of hardware upgrades.

    The question is, will you always be listening to this genre of music? Will you not be buying any new recordings in the future? If the answers are yes and no, maybe you don't need to upgrade. But I suspect like most people, you will indeed branch out to other forms of music, and will be buying new cds in the future. If this assumption is correct, then upgrading is in your future.

    You mentioned a budget of $2500. That is pretty good to start with. I wish I had that at the moment. Unfortunately a minivan for the wife is in the immediate future. Anyway, you look at audiogon and search on the loudspeaker section, and you will find some great used options as well. Or at least consider your amp used. Are you wanting a receiver for HT? If that is what you need/want, then consider the better brands that have been mentioned. Audioadvisor has a Cambridge Audio receiver I have been itching to hear how it sounds. Pair that with some good monitors, and a relatively good sub, and for $2500 you will have a very good system. It might even make your old cds sound better. But as the sayin goes, garbage in, garbage out. Sounds like your old cds (and mine too).

    As the post above me mentioned, keep trying different combinations. And your own room is still going to sound different than anyone elses too.

  6. #6
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Talking

    Keep what you have and what you know and what you like,JVC and Orbs.
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  7. #7
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    We attached 2 Orbs (that's the good thing about them, they're mobile so I just brought them with me) to the Yamaha Receiver (it was a $1600 list 2004 or 2003 6.1 receiver, if I find the model number I'll post it) which already had the bookshelf B&W speakers on it,
    so we could instantly go in a fraction of a second to hearing the CD sound from the B&W's to the Orbs, for direct sound comparison.

    I didn't bring the JVC receiver with me because it would have been a pain in the ass to detach that from my system and then attach it there etc. The same thing with asking him to bring his B & W bookshelf speakers with him to my place to listen to those. In all fairness, I'll totally acknowledge that I'd consider, if one left the Orb speakers out of the connection, the JVC DVD receiver to be inferior in quality to all the receivers bandied about here in the past. The only thing to me that makes this JVC receiver special is, according to the Orb Audio manufacturer, for whatever reason, the JVC gets the best sound from the Orbs, which to date has proven true to me. I'd venture 100% emphatically that the Yamaha receiver with B&W bookshelf speakers would produce a far better sound then the JVC receiver with B&W bookshelf speakers.


    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    Hershon: Interesting results. There's really alot going on here to arrive at the conclusion that pre 1985 cd's will always or even mostly sound better with what you have. It might not hurt to try a few other speaker options. I wouldn't even lump pre-1985 CD recordings in the same basket...there's some miserable transfers (like your favorite Beatles cd's) and some excellent re-masters (Rush, Led Zeppelin, etc)...Many cd's have been remastered because early mastering to CD was done fast to rush the older titles to market. Sometimes the remastered versions don't sound any better (or sound worse) though, too.
    With your budget though you can really do better than what you tested yesterday (not to mention there's a ton of different "flavors" of speakers out there, maybe you've just got to find the one you like).
    Don't get discouraged yet, but don't go throwing a ton of money at receivers and power amps that probably are offering you a minimal improvement over what you have.

    Did you get a chance to connect the B&W's to your JVC, or the Orbs to the Yamaha? I'm curious to know how the results would have been.

  8. #8
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    Always Open to New Ideas Believe it or Not!

    I'm always open to trying out, if practical for me, new things such as receivers etc. if I think the potential is there for better sound. At ripe old middle age, I haven't bought in the last 15 years or so that many newly recorded CD's & don't see myself doing so in the future either, for my musical tastes. Alot of the various groups of today, just don't cut it for me the way they did in the past musically. Having said that I just heard a group called Keane on Saturday Night Live who's knocked me out & who's CD I just got- great lead singer & songs, somewhat similar o the Zombies & Left Banke (Walk Away Renee) to me in style. I've spent the last 15 plus years, mainly replacing my entire huge vinyl collection with CD's and then replacing some of those CD's with remastered CD's etc. (a vicious cycle perpetrated intentionally by the record industry). About the only genre I discovered out of default/disgust, was the blues as prior to around 1985, I preferred the English White Groups version of the blues to the original Black Guys. As most of the English groups stopped producing the music I liked (i.e. the Rolling Stones of today don't sound anything like the Rolling Stones of 1966) I started listening and buying the stuff of the original black guys like Freddie King, Magic Sam, Elmore James, Albert King, Jimmy Reed, etc., and started appreciating these guys more & was treating their original recordings which I had never heard before, like new original recordings to me, even though most of these guys had been dead for 20 years or so. The thing that absolutely kills me, is that when I was going to college in St. Louis in the early 1970's, most of these black blues guys were alive & I could have seen all of them playing live in small clubs, but I didn't because I wasn't interested in the blues at the time. Wow, talking about blowing it!

    The one thing I still don't understand is why the Beatles CD's which were all done just once by George Martin have not been remastered as the sound on them, or at least Revolver & Rubber Soul, is quite bad. As I said, at the time these recordings were originally made, they were considered the top quality recordings in terms of sound, of the era.
    Last edited by hershon; 03-11-2005 at 10:03 AM.

  9. #9
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Freddie King and Albert King are two of my very favorite artists...a lot of their CD's just haven't been mastered to CD as well as the original vinyl...

  10. #10
    Forum Regular paul_pci's Avatar
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    The B&Ws are the 601 S3 and the LCR60 for the center. Hershon really likes clean, detailed, and pronounced highs and I think that the B&Ws produced too much lower range frequencies in the mix, but I'm at a loss as to what brand speaker would produce solid pronounced highs, not lose the midrange, and not be too bassy for him. But that's because I'm only human.

  11. #11
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Wow,601's with to much lower range. If you like blues,you have to{i think its a law}have bass.
    Look & Listen

  12. #12
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    Interesting post, Hershon. I think what you've discovered is the double edged sword of "transparency." The better a system is, the more revealing and transparent it becomes. What this means is that very good recordings, such as Peter Gabriel's "So", John Mayer's "Room for Squares", or Ray Charles' "Genius Loves Company" will sound absolutely stunning. The performers are right there with you in the room. You can hear the separation and space between the players and notes. Basically, it's audio nirvana. The flip side is that the more revealing a system becomes, the more it will highlight deficiencies, such as poor recordings. It sounds like your current rig is more forgiving than Paul's, and therefore it is better for the era of recordings you seem to favor. Because of this, my guess is that you'd be a good candidate speakers such as Sonus Faber, Vandersteen, or Canton. These are all very forgiving, excellent speakers you might try to audition for giggles.

    If you prefer a stripped-down rock style, there are some very good offerings currently from the likes of The Killers, Jet (who I bet you'd love), The Vines, and White Stripes. Try hanging out in Rave Recs and see if those guys have any recommendations.

  13. #13
    Forum Regular paul_pci's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shokhead
    Wow,601's with to much lower range. If you like blues,you have to{i think its a law}have bass.
    Like I said, he really likes the highes, as do I, but I also prefer a more expanded range, and I also know, these won't be the last speakers I own. There's no denying the Orbs are all over that higher range. Of course, my dream speaker is Dynaudio.

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    Any Speaker suggestions Given That Comment

    Paul articulated my preference which may not in reality exist, below. If there are any speakers that fit this bill, forget about economic constraints, please let me know. I've kind of deduced as well that the Orb speakers don't have much bass in them (the bass comes out on the Orb Supereight Sub) but great highs and speakers like the B & W's have more bass in them and less of the highs. See Paul's comment below.

    Quote Originally Posted by paul_pci
    The B&Ws are the 601 S3 and the LCR60 for the center. Hershon really likes clean, detailed, and pronounced highs and I think that the B&Ws produced too much lower range frequencies in the mix, but I'm at a loss as to what brand speaker would produce solid pronounced highs, not lose the midrange, and not be too bassy for him. But that's because I'm only human.

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    Yeah you hit it on the hammer Topspeed, "Transparency"

    Your quote below, totally sums up my experience. The new recordings I heard on the Yamaha & B&W system sounded absolutely stunning. The older recordings quite the opposite to some degree. I'm almost tempted to buy this system and have 2 systems in my room: One for old recordings and the other one for modern recordings, but it just seems too indulgent for me & would look somewhat bizarre as well (2 different receivers on top of each other, 6 satellite and 6 bookshelf speakers side by side- it isn't a pretty picture too me).

    Quote Originally Posted by topspeed
    Interesting post, Hershon. I think what you've discovered is the double edged sword of "transparency." The better a system is, the more revealing and transparent it becomes. What this means is that very good recordings, such as Peter Gabriel's "So", John Mayer's "Room for Squares", or Ray Charles' "Genius Loves Company" will sound absolutely stunning. The performers are right there with you in the room. You can hear the separation and space between the players and notes. Basically, it's audio nirvana. The flip side is that the more revealing a system becomes, the more it will highlight deficiencies, such as poor recordings. It sounds like your current rig is more forgiving than Paul's, and therefore it is better for the era of recordings you seem to favor. Because of this, my guess is that you'd be a good candidate speakers such as Sonus Faber, Vandersteen, or Canton. These are all very forgiving, excellent speakers you might try to audition for giggles.

    If you prefer a stripped-down rock style, there are some very good offerings currently from the likes of The Killers, Jet (who I bet you'd love), The Vines, and White Stripes. Try hanging out in Rave Recs and see if those guys have any recommendations.
    [QUOTE]
    Last edited by hershon; 03-11-2005 at 12:40 PM.

  16. #16
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    Kexodusc Freddie King Albert king

    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    Freddie King and Albert King are two of my very favorite artists...a lot of their CD's just haven't been mastered to CD as well as the original vinyl...
    I have the CD Freddie King Just Pickin which is excellent on the Modern Blues Label which has all his great instrumental hits (Hideaway, Stumble, etc.). I also have, if you want me to burn you a copy let me know, a great video of Freddie's TV appearences in the 60's on a show called The Beat with good sound. I'm not a fan o King's Sheltar recordings.

    I also have Albert King's King of the Blues Guitar CD on Stax & his 2 Cd greatest hits collection on Rhino that are pretty good.

  17. #17
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Older recordings are going to sound dull. My guess who,chicago,bst, old recordings of some blues guys,they sound like an eight track with dirty heads. I try,when i buy older stuff to get remastered. Play with a system all you want but if the cd is poorly recorded or old,it wont sound so hot. I would only use newer cd's when testing equipment.
    Look & Listen

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    I for one am really glad to seeing you try out different systems Hershon. I personally don't like B&W (my inlaws own a B&W satellite/sub system with a marantz receiver) and I wasn't impressed by it. To me it just sounded flat, like it was missing something. Of course they could have it setup wrong =/. It's really amazing what is out there once you start listening to different brands and how that listening brings out the strengths and weaknesses in your current setup that you didn't know were there. I used to live in an apartment as well and I understand your limitations. I still don't think you should buy anything if you are happy with your current setup. That being said.... the Orbs ARE small enough to use as a bedroom system =).
    Definitive Technology Fan, Owner and Advocate!!!!! never paying retail IS half the fun of buying audio products!!!! Good shopping!

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    Actually Herson,

    Around here, the lesson is... "There is no spoon".

    (A somewhat obscure reference, but maybe some will recognize it.)

    Q

  20. #20
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quagmire
    Actually Herson,

    Around here, the lesson is... "There is no spoon".

    (A somewhat obscure reference, but maybe some will recognize it.)

    Q
    How many people here haven't seen The Matrix?!

    If you want obscure lessons;

    W H A T D O Y O U G E T I F Y O U
    M U L T I P L Y S I X B Y N I N E


    I'll give you a hint; The movie is coming out next month.
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    The line is of course from The Matrix, but that isn't what the reference pertains to ;-)

    Q

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