View Poll Results: Have you had any experiences with the M Audio Ex66

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Thread: M Audio Ex66

  1. #1
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    M Audio Ex66

    I have been a fairly regular reader of WHF for a couple of
    years now. I appreciate its accessibility vs. other mags that preach the
    outrageous. Anyways, I got myself a WHF five star system about 4 years ago
    consisting of the following:

    Cambridge Audio 640A
    Cambridge Audio 640C
    Mordaunt Short Declaration 914
    QED Silver Spiral interconnects
    QED Silver Anniversary speaker cables (biwire)

    I have to admit the system gave me years of enjoyment, much
    better than computer audio, car audio and the like. I did, however, get the
    upgrade bug a little while back and I wanted something significantly better. I
    had heard a couple of systems available with some of my friends which I really
    liked which became my reference for ‘high end’

    Krell SACD Standard, 280
    pre, 2250 power, Martin Logan Summits – A little dry but with beautiful
    clarity, dynamics and imaging

    Pass Labs amps, Sonus Faber Stradivaris – Very sweet,
    instruments would hang in the air, and it had grunt when called for

    Carver Amps married with Totem Forest speakers – Wow, what immediacy.
    Brilliant midrange and imaging

    A high end Tannoy setup at my friends studio – Sublime speed
    and immediacy, very in ur face

    Arcam A70, matching CDP and KEF IQ9 – Not impressed, didn’t feel
    it was a worthy upgrade from the Cambridge setup

    Mid Fi Marantz / KEF setup – Not impressed, no better in my
    opinion than my current setup

    I wanted to get the real high end deal, but without emptying
    my bank. Anyways, I’ve been hearing and reading a lot about AVI ADM9’s and
    other active speakers. I explored all sorts of active options including
    Genelecs, JM Labs Twin 6be’s, PMC actives, ATC actives and then I came across
    an American brand known as M Audio. They have recently launched an interesting
    product known as the EX66. I noticed they reviewed very well in Sound on Sound
    (one of the big pro magazines) and that it was priced very reasonably. I just
    went ahead and got myself a pair…

    Lemme just shoot some specs your way:
    Built in DAC, mono pre amp and 2 x 100 watt power amps in
    each speaker
    36 hertz to 20+ KHZ frequency
    Max SPL of 115 decibels
    Built in DSP to counter cabinet resonance
    Analogue volume control
    Controls for adjusting treble, midrange and bass though a DSP system
    2 sets of digital inputs (SPDIF and AES), 2 sets of analogue inputs (TRS and balanced)

    Then I did something awful, I placed them ontop of my Mordaunt Short 914’s and wired them up with Linn Analogue interconnects connected to the digital outs on my CA CDP! At first I found the sound very open and dynamic, but very stark and jarring. I trimmed the treble 2 decibels, boosted the midrange 2 decibels, and set my bass to half space. Then they really started to sing.


    Treble – extremely dynamic, very open and pleasant as long you don’t toe them in. Never sweet, but pleasant
    Midrange – very alive, brilliant imaging with great depth and outstanding instrument separation without sounding clinical
    Bass – Awesome! It gave me a huge amount more extension than my old setup was capable of, was much faster and much more accurate
    Dynamics – Fantastic dynamics, even at very low volume. I have an SPL meter with me and have witnessed the SPL effortlessly jump up from 94 decibels to 102 decibels in my listening position which is 4m away from the speakers. That too in the 10 o clock position
    Imaging – I feel its comparable to the Krell / Martin Logan setup. Brilliantly executed but not overdone
    Speed – This system is lightning quick, my old system timed very badly in comparison

    I’m gonna replace my Linn interconnects with a pair of proper QED digital cables and am getting myself some proper stands (probably Dynaudio). If its that good when not properly setup, I shudder to think how good it will be when properly setup.


    The only niggle I have with the system is its user friendliness, the volume controls are on the back of each speaker, and each speaker has its own volume control which can be a real pain. Just one more piece of advice… Never listen to anything with high frequency junk, these speakers will severely punish you with their dynamic treble.


    Just wanted to share my experiences…

  2. #2
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Gads! EX66

    Quote Originally Posted by non conformist
    ...

    I wanted to get the real high end deal, but without emptying
    my bank. Anyways, I’ve been hearing and reading a lot about AVI ADM9’s and
    other active speakers. I explored all sorts of active options including
    Genelecs, JM Labs Twin 6be’s, PMC actives, ATC actives and then I came across
    an American brand known as M Audio. They have recently launched an interesting
    product known as the EX66. I noticed they reviewed very well in Sound on Sound
    (one of the big pro magazines) and that it was priced very reasonably. I just
    went ahead and got myself a pair…

    Lemme just shoot some specs your way:
    Built in DAC, mono pre amp and 2 x 100 watt power amps in
    each speaker
    36 hertz to 20+ KHZ frequency
    Max SPL of 115 decibels
    Built in DSP to counter cabinet resonance
    Analogue volume control
    Controls for adjusting treble, midrange and bass though a DSP system
    2 sets of digital inputs (SPDIF and AES), 2 sets of analogue inputs (TRS and balanced)
    ....

    The only niggle I have with the system is its user friendliness, the volume controls are on the back of each speaker, and each speaker has its own volume control which can be a real pain. Just one more piece of advice… Never listen to anything with high frequency junk, these speakers will severely punish you with their dynamic treble.


    Just wanted to share my experiences…
    Your experience confirms why audiophiles are hesitant about studio monitor speakers -- their unforgiving nature.

    EX66 accepts analog input which it then coverts to digital. Use these with the preamp outs of your amp or receiver and you overcome the ergonomic issues at the expense of an analog -to- digital conversion, (actually both a DAC and ADC in the case of a digital source such as CDP). However a 24/96 ADC should be very clean.

    Anyway, welcome to AR

  3. #3
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    Hi Bill,

    Although the system will reveal all flaws, it has two advantages that makes all but the worst recorded music sound good; an open frequency range and open dynamic range. The worst thing you can do with compressed music is play it on something with a limited dynamic range which compresses it even further and turns it into absolute rubish.

    Many of my albums that didnt sound great on my Cambridge Audio system sound much better on my new system. Bad music dosent sound good on the system, but it sounds the best it can possibly sound if you catch my drift.

    I use the digital inputs as the inbuilt DAC is quite good, and has perfect synergy with the pre amp, power amps and speaker which is an advantage. Significantly better than my CA 640C player. The volume controls are analogue so you shouldn't lose any quality at low listening levels.

    Analogue inputs are useful if you wish to connect multiple things to the system - eg your DVD player, your FM tuner etc. You will however have to get yourself some RCA to TRS breakout wire which is readily available on the net.

  4. #4
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    I'd be tempted for HT

    Quote Originally Posted by non conformist
    Hi Bill,

    Although the system will reveal all flaws, it has two advantages that makes all but the worst recorded music sound good; an open frequency range and open dynamic range. The worst thing you can do with compressed music is play it on something with a limited dynamic range which compresses it even further and turns it into absolute rubish.

    ...
    Were I starting from scratch to build an HT set up I would give very serious consideration to active studio monitors. I think I might avoid the digital models, but I could go for, say, five or seven M-Audio BX5a Deluxe. What I like about these studio models is that their response can be tuned for room placement.

    To drive the set of the BX5a's I would add a reasonable prepro unit, maybe an Emotiva MMC-1, or an Outlaw 990 which has balanced outputs.

  5. #5
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Great review, non conformist. Glad you found a system to your liking and thanks for sharing the details.

    As an aside, I suspect another reason that powered speakers have never really caught on within the community is that, until recently, there weren't a whole lot of mid-level options with which folks could get their feet wet. Really, not a lot between Meridian and computer yer kid's computer speakers. Clearly that's changing.

    Gracias for the interesting read and welcome to the forum.

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    Thanks bobsticks,

    I do agree that active systems can very good in terms of sound quality and value. There are a couple of options available depending on your taste:

    AVI ADM9.1: These are touted to be really good, only reason I didnt go for them was due to their lack of room tuning and the mandatory inclusion of a subwoofer for full range bass
    JMLabs Twin6Be: These dont have a built in DAC or pre-amp but are similarly speficied to the M Audios and feature Berillyum tweeters which are usually found on the Megabuck Electra and Utopia ranges
    Tannoy Ellipse 10iDP: These are fairly high end, but supposedly match the PMC IB1's married with Bryston amplifications for a fraction of the cost. I might end up upgrading to these in the medium term as I find them really exciting. This was really well reviewed in Sound On Sound

    Word of caution though, if you seek a soft, euphonic presentation active speakers are not for you. They are very direct, they penetrate you with music in a way most passives cannot dream of if thats your thing.

    Cheers...

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    Hi Feanor,

    I completely agree that room tuning can make a huge difference. I have an SPL meter handy and worked out a response curve at high SPL levels using a test CD that came with the monitors. I found that the monitors 'flat response' wasnt flat at all in my listening room, probably due to the contributions made by my room. I dont live in an anechoic chamber you know

    I was able to adjust the monitors to give me a flat response almost to +- 3 decibels at listening position (4.2 meters away from the speakers) which made a big difference to the sound.

    Many audiophiles look at this feature with disdain, my argument is that minor changes in tonality caused by your DSP adjustments are a lot better than major changes caused by your listening room.

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    Hi, below are some images




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    Hi, just to show you guys what a huge difference room tuning makes, I put together my own frequency response chart with my SPL meter and a test CD that came with the system. The measurements are in listening position 4.2 meters away in a huge listening room with lost of furniture.

    I figure I can iron out the bass anomalies by placing the speakers 1m from the back wall and 3m apart to form a perfect equilateral triangle. Cheers,

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    I was listening to Bon Jovi the other day. I was listening to Everyday which I discovered to be quite a well recorded track...

    A huge soundstage opened up 2 ft to the left and right of the speakers, 6 ft infront and 1 foot behind. One guitarist was just behind my left speaker, Bon Jovi cut in left center, bout 4 ft infront of the speakers. Drummer was center right. The track was extremely dynamic with Bon Jovi singing his heart out, the guitar screeching away with fury,

    Sting was very different on his live recording of 'Roxanne'. Dynamics were realistic, not enormous like Bon Jovi. You could hear every breath, every clap, every instrument with crystal clarity. Sting was alive and present in the room

  11. #11
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Glad you're digging them

    Quote Originally Posted by non conformist
    I was listening to Bon Jovi the other day. I was listening to Everyday which I discovered to be quite a well recorded track...

    A huge soundstage opened up 2 ft to the left and right of the speakers, 6 ft infront and 1 foot behind. One guitarist was just behind my left speaker, Bon Jovi cut in left center, bout 4 ft infront of the speakers. Drummer was center right. The track was extremely dynamic with Bon Jovi singing his heart out, the guitar screeching away with fury,

    Sting was very different on his live recording of 'Roxanne'. Dynamics were realistic, not enormous like Bon Jovi. You could hear every breath, every clap, every instrument with crystal clarity. Sting was alive and present in the room
    Studio monitors in general are noted for dynamics and detail -- and most such as the EX66 have room placement adjustments which is potentiall huge advantage.

    You are right, of course, that purists don't like notion of equalization. But objectively, active crossovers and multi-amplification make equalization
    more effective and less likely to affect the sound adversely.

    I'll stick with my suggestion that a set of better designed active studio monitors would be a great HT solution. Room placement can be a big problem in a 5.1 or 7.1 set up and room adjustment at the speaker would often be optimal.

  12. #12
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    Thanks Feanor, best of luck with your HT setup


  13. #13
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobsticks
    As an aside, I suspect another reason that powered speakers have never really caught on within the community is that, until recently, there weren't a whole lot of mid-level options with which folks could get their feet wet.
    And most use less than ideal plate amps that you are stuck with. Back in the 70's, I used internally tri-amped Braun LV-1020s. Nice speaker with mediocre amps. That was the first and last active studio monitor I've used, especially after discovering planars.

    rw

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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    And most use less than ideal plate amps that you are stuck with. Back in the 70's, I used internally tri-amped Braun LV-1020s. Nice speaker with mediocre amps. That was the first and last active studio monitor I've used, especially after discovering planars.

    rw
    Hi, I suppose its what works for you that counts at the end of the day. I would welcome you to audition the new crop of actives on a separate note. I believe DAC, amplifier and speaker cone technology has progressed greatly in recent times. Are planars electrostatic? I have heard a Krell SACD Standard / 280P / KAV 2250 / Martin Logan Summit system and subjectively feel that the imaging is roughly in the same ballpark.

    I will have a friend of mine visit me in the next few days who used to have a Quad ESL setup in his house. Would be interesting to get his views. Active presentations certainly arent gentle or euphonic, and probably suit certain forms of music more than others. Well designed monitors are extremely direct and immersive. They tend to be more aggressively voiced than their domestic cousins.

  15. #15
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by non conformist
    I believe DAC, amplifier and speaker cone technology has progressed greatly in recent times.
    Well, yes and no. The best keeps getting better. Many less expensive amps are going to Class D switching designs which are still not my cup of tea. They are excellent RF generators.

    Quote Originally Posted by non conformist
    Are planars electrostatic? I have heard a Krell SACD Standard / 280P / KAV 2250 / Martin Logan Summit system and subjectively feel that the imaging is roughly in the same ballpark.
    Yes, but the reverse is not necessarily true. Magneplanars, for example. are planar but are not electrostatic. The Martin Logans are hybrid designs using conventional dynamic woofers and use substantially smaller panels.

    Quote Originally Posted by non conformist
    I will have a friend of mine visit me in the next few days who used to have a Quad ESL setup in his house. Would be interesting to get his views.
    Speaker preference is greatly determined by musical preference. Full range electrostats, like the Quad and my Sound Labs, are champs at reproducing acoustical instruments in a very natural way with their superior coherency. They fare less well with thumping rock music since the bass does not possess that character.

    Quote Originally Posted by non conformist
    They tend to be more aggressively voiced than their domestic cousins.
    Which is not always a true reflection of the signal. I prefer a neutral response devoid of commentary. What you are frequently hearing is *aggressive* solid state amplification.

    rw

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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    Well, yes and no. The best keeps getting better. Many less expensive amps are going to Class D switching designs which are still not my cup of tea. They are excellent RF generators.


    Yes, but the reverse is not necessarily true. Magneplanars, for example. are planar but are not electrostatic. The Martin Logans are hybrid designs using conventional dynamic woofers and use substantially smaller panels.


    Speaker preference is greatly determined by musical preference. Full range electrostats, like the Quad and my Sound Labs, are champs at reproducing acoustical instruments in a very natural way with their superior coherency. They fare less well with thumping rock music since the bass does not possess that character.


    Which is not always a true reflection of the signal. I prefer a neutral response devoid of commentary. What you are frequently hearing is *aggressive* solid state amplification.

    rw
    Hi there, appreciate your viewpoint. Just a couple of thoughts from my end:

    Isn't 'aggressive' or 'neutral' subjective and relative? Also if the signal was recorded using 'aggressive solid state amplification and monitors' then is that not the signal that was intended to be heard? Would listening to that signal using more 'neutral' hardware make it sound like it was not intended to be heard?

    Would the person who masters tracks for a living not want his tracks to sound the best possible on his studio monitors?

    On a separate note, please tell me what reservations you have with digital designs. Several amps using them have been reviewed very well in hifi mags such as Bel Canto, PS Audio and NuForce variants. Moreover, what importance does the amp have in the overall system as compared to the source and the loudspeaker?

    Please also tell what type of music you are into.
    Last edited by non conformist; 07-31-2008 at 07:40 AM.

  17. #17
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Hohoho

    Quote Originally Posted by non conformist
    ...

    Moreover, what importance does the amp have in the overall system as compared to the source and the loudspeaker?

    Please also tell what type of music you are into.
    Now that's what I call a question!

    There isn't exactly a consensus on this point.

  18. #18
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by non conformist
    Isn't 'aggressive' or 'neutral' subjective and relative?
    Aggressive, yes. Neutral, no. In the absence of metrics (such as THD) that directly correlate to observation, one must attempt to compare the result to the sound of live, unamplified sound. When I refer to "neutral", I mean a flat frequency power response that is easily verifiable. While my vintage and HT systems both have some uncorrected bumps in the mid to upper bass, I was able to completely flatten the response of my stats using very careful placement and a gaggle of bass traps. While not as accurate as using a real time analyzer, I used third octave test tones and attained a +/- 1.5 db from 30 hz to 200 hz result. There is a small peak at 25 hz.

    Quote Originally Posted by non conformist
    Also if the signal was recorded using 'aggressive solid state amplification and monitors' then is that not the signal that was intended to be heard? Would listening to that signal using more 'neutral' hardware make it sound like it was not intended to be heard?
    You make a valid point over which there is no one answer. Indeed, the *live* rock concert experience as I first experienced it back in the early 70s uses rugged, but not so good sounding amplifiers and large horn speakers. One could argue that part of the *experience* involves those sonic compromises. I prefer better than such and would rather be able to hear details found on recordings that are completely absent in the live product.

    Quote Originally Posted by non conformist
    Would the person who masters tracks for a living not want his tracks to sound the best possible on his studio monitors?
    Yes, but just as with the sound reinforcement example, they run under cost constraints. There are, however, a rare number of engineers who use exceptional gear such as Quad electrostats and Wilson speakers.

    Quote Originally Posted by non conformist
    On a separate note, please tell me what reservations you have with digital designs. Several amps using them have been reviewed very well in hifi mags such as Bel Canto, PS Audio and NuForce variants.
    I confess that most make a great first impression: open, clear sound with very good bass articulation. It is only upon extended listening that the remainder of their character becomes evident. Ultimately, the ones I've heard (and I don't profess to have heard them all) lack harmonic accuracy and low level resolution. You can always see "fuzz" on a square wave which is the unavoidable result of the high frequency carrier. Because they are strong RF generators, other components in the signal chain are likewise susceptible to the negative effects of RFI.

    Quote Originally Posted by non conformist
    Moreover, what importance does the amp have in the overall system as compared to the source and the loudspeaker?
    I'm of the opinion that everything matters. Having said that, my mentors always taught me the "speakers first" priority. What escapes many is the critical matching of amplifier to speaker. While I prefer tubes with the electrostats, I find that solid state works better with my vintage double Advents. Most conventional speakers have roller coaster impedance profiles which cause most low source impedance tube amps to change their frequency response. That can offset what I find to be the inherent superiority of the best tubes in the critical midrange octaves.

    Quote Originally Posted by non conformist
    Please also tell what type of music you are into.
    It is an eclectic mix. I listen to quite a bit of acoustic music ranging from symphonic to "new age" (hate that moniker) solo piano and guitar to modern R&R and jazz. On the other hand, I grew up in the 60s and 70s listening to rock and still enjoy quite a bit of pop music today. In heavy rotation at the E-Stat household is the new Madonna album. I only wish it sounded better. For any serious audio comparisons, I solely use unamplified music using minimal miking techniques in order to really demonstrate their true capabilities. My wife has a baby grand piano which helps keep me grounded in the sound of live music. I also attend my local symphony (such that it is) on a fairly regular basis. If you're interested, there are some pics in my gallery and here's a link to a complete description of my systems as I'm too lazy to list it twice: System details

    rw

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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    Aggressive, yes. Neutral, no. In the absence of metrics (such as THD) that directly correlate to observation, one must attempt to compare the result to the sound of live, unamplified sound. When I refer to "neutral", I mean a flat frequency power response that is easily verifiable. While my vintage and HT systems both have some uncorrected bumps in the mid to upper bass, I was able to completely flatten the response of my stats using very careful placement and a gaggle of bass traps. While not as accurate as using a real time analyzer, I used third octave test tones and attained a +/- 1.5 db from 30 hz to 200 hz result. There is a small peak at 25 hz.


    You make a valid point over which there is no one answer. Indeed, the *live* rock concert experience as I first experienced it back in the early 70s uses rugged, but not so good sounding amplifiers and large horn speakers. One could argue that part of the *experience* involves those sonic compromises. I prefer better than such and would rather be able to hear details found on recordings that are completely absent in the live product.


    Yes, but just as with the sound reinforcement example, they run under cost constraints. There are, however, a rare number of engineers who use exceptional gear such as Quad electrostats and Wilson speakers.


    I confess that most make a great first impression: open, clear sound with very good bass articulation. It is only upon extended listening that the remainder of their character becomes evident. Ultimately, the ones I've heard (and I don't profess to have heard them all) lack harmonic accuracy and low level resolution. You can always see "fuzz" on a square wave which is the unavoidable result of the high frequency carrier. Because they are strong RF generators, other components in the signal chain are likewise susceptible to the negative effects of RFI.


    I'm of the opinion that everything matters. Having said that, my mentors always taught me the "speakers first" priority. What escapes many is the critical matching of amplifier to speaker. While I prefer tubes with the electrostats, I find that solid state works better with my vintage double Advents. Most conventional speakers have roller coaster impedance profiles which cause most low source impedance tube amps to change their frequency response. That can offset what I find to be the inherent superiority of the best tubes in the critical midrange octaves.


    It is an eclectic mix. I listen to quite a bit of acoustic music ranging from symphonic to "new age" (hate that moniker) solo piano and guitar to modern R&R and jazz. On the other hand, I grew up in the 60s and 70s listening to rock and still enjoy quite a bit of pop music today. In heavy rotation at the E-Stat household is the new Madonna album. I only wish it sounded better. For any serious audio comparisons, I solely use unamplified music using minimal miking techniques in order to really demonstrate their true capabilities. My wife has a baby grand piano which helps keep me grounded in the sound of live music. I also attend my local symphony (such that it is) on a fairly regular basis. If you're interested, there are some pics in my gallery and here's a link to a complete description of my systems as I'm too lazy to list it twice: System details

    rw
    1. Hi again, small issue with correlating sound to live unamplified music, what if its mastered on an aggressive studio monitor. What do we keep as a reference, the actual recording to the hardware that was used to master it? Very impressive response curve by the way. I got my SPL meter out the other day and used the test tone CD to plot a curve on my system. It was within 3db (plus, minus) bar three notable anomalies after room adjustments were made: a spike at 40htz, a dip at 60htz and another dip at 100htz. I suspect this is as I have the speakers too close to the rear wall and moving it out will allow me to apply the full space setting which will hopefully get rid of these anomalies without having to revert to GOBOS. All measurements were taken in listening position which is 4.2m away from the speakers, and my listening room is huge, full of furniture and glass. I used a radio shack SPL meter for this and measured the frequency range from 40htz to 10khz (which is the limit on my SPL meter).

    2. I agree that one should be able to hear the recordings the way they were intended to be heard with full details, assuming they are good recordings of course

    3. I agree that not every studio uses esoteric audio equipment, but what happens when materials mastered on not so esoteric hardware is played back on an esoteric hifi system? Does it change and get better? or worse?

    4. Is all class D amplification inferior to valves and transistor? Can it not be implemented well as modern day transistors have been implemented well on certain brands? Can the RF not be compensated through good engineering?

    5. I agree on the point on system synergy, in the notion that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, or less in some instances. Thats one of the big advantages of integrated actives, system synergy is part of the design

    6. Interesting musical taste. Nice system too by the way. Patrick Leonard who was behind a couple of Madonnas albums including True Blue has recently endorsed the M Audio Ex66 saying that "They serve a perfect function—just the right size with excellent imaging. They sound smooth and fall in a perfect space, which is important when you’re working at a desk. I absolutely love them.". My personal audio tastes veer more towards modern music and rock, although I do like to listen to a bit of Holst, Diana Krall and the like every now and again.

    Just as an end note, I agree that the Ex66 does not represent hifi esoterica. What it does represent is a huge leap over my old WhatHifi 5 star system, and subjectively brings me into the sonic ballpark of far more expensive systems I have had the pleasure of auditioning. That all being my subjective opinion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by non conformist
    1. Hi again, small issue with correlating sound to live unamplified music, what if its mastered on an aggressive studio monitor. What do we keep as a reference, the actual recording to the hardware that was used to master it?
    I can only speak for myself, but do have some relevant experience. I was the official "timer" for a Telarc recording of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra many years ago. (Firebird / Borodin) The recording was captured movement by movement separated by monitoring the recorded results downstairs using the Soundstream recorder driving a Threshold amplifier and ADS monitors. Did it sound like the live event? No, it sounded like speakers reproducing the live event. My objective is to capture the live event as I experienced it sans audio gear. Consequently, I prefer hearing whatever gets me closest to that goal. The choice of monitoring equipment is driven by many commercial considerations and compromises.

    Quote Originally Posted by non conformist
    I suspect this is as I have the speakers too close to the rear wall...
    Before careful speaker and bass trap placement, I was getting peaks and troughs in the order of 8db to 10 db. My room required that the speakers be placed eight feet away from the back wall for the flattest response.

    Quote Originally Posted by non conformist
    ... but what happens when materials mastered on not so esoteric hardware is played back on an esoteric hifi system? Does it change and get better? or worse?
    In my experience, the quality of recordings runs the gamut from the good, the bad and the ugly. I believe that has to do with mixing and processing choices made by the engineer, not the choice of monitoring speaker/amplifier. There are far too many recordings today, for example, that have little or no dynamic range. Hard Candy sounds a bit harsh. For me, using a better speaker is usually positive. I can hear further into the recording that perhaps even the engineer experienced. With the poorest recordings, however, higher fidelity may indeed create distracting results and sound "worse".

    Quote Originally Posted by non conformist
    4. Is all class D amplification inferior to valves and transistor?
    You will get varying opinions. I wouldn't say that all non-switching products are better to all switching products either.

    Quote Originally Posted by non conformist
    Can it not be implemented well as modern day transistors have been implemented well on certain brands? Can the RF not be compensated through good engineering?
    You cannot avoid the RF artifacts when you make an RF amplifier whose carrier operates at 400 khz. They are visible on the square waves on virtually every model, even very costly ones by Karma, Rowland, etc. They require extensive filtering to minimize the carrier effects which can involve other compromises to the phase response.

    Quote Originally Posted by non conformist
    "They serve a perfect function—just the right size with excellent imaging. They sound smooth and fall in a perfect space, which is important when you’re working at a desk. I absolutely love them.".
    That perfectly describes one of the professional compromises to which I previously referred. Most studios do not offer a large enough space for large dipolars or Wilson floorstanders.

    Quote Originally Posted by non conformist
    What it does represent is a huge leap over my old WhatHifi 5 star system, and subjectively brings me into the sonic ballpark of far more expensive systems I have had the pleasure of auditioning. That all being my subjective opinion.
    And that is what is most important. I trust they are indeed very nice. Since I tend to keep components for decades, I prefer having the flexibility to select and change the amplification separately. Not to mention the fact that there are zero active full range electrostats available today. That has not always been the case and I owned a couple different Acoustat models in the 70s which housed direct drive amplifers in their base. You may consider those to be actives. On the other hand, others may reasonably prefer the convenience and space saving nature of actives.



    rw

  21. #21
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    What is "accuracy"?

    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    I can only speak for myself, but do have some relevant experience. I was the official "timer" for a Telarc recording of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra many years ago. (Firebird / Borodin) The recording was captured movement by movement separated by monitoring the recorded results downstairs using the Soundstream recorder driving a Threshold amplifier and ADS monitors. Did it sound like the live event? No, it sounded like speakers reproducing the live event. My objective is to capture the live event as I experienced it sans audio gear. Consequently, I prefer hearing whatever gets me closest to that goal. The choice of monitoring equipment is driven by many commercial considerations and compromises.

    ...
    rw
    E-Stat definition is accuracy to live performance; non-conformist to what the recording engineer hears at his monitoring station. What I want to hear is the former, but the latter is the better definition of accuracy, IMO.

    Both definitions are problematic. Unless we were at the live performance as it was recorded, or alternatively with the engineer at the monitoring station, we will never know whether what we're hearing through our system is really accurate.

    Regarding live performance of unamplified music, the sound is never the same in different concert venues or in different seats in the same venue. And the truth is that some concert halls sound terrible: not at all what we really what hear.

    A person's "live sounding" is his/her experiential concensus of the live concerts he/she has attended. So, hypothetically, though I might have attended hundreds of live concerts if they were all in the same concert hall, my live sounding would surely be different from yours, a person whose experience was mainly in an other particular hall. Granted, the person with much and varied concert experience is likely to be the better of what sounds like live.

  22. #22
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    ... or alternatively with the engineer at the monitoring station, we will never know whether what we're hearing through our system is really accurate.
    I'll throw another curve. Fenner "monitored" the recording from a centered position in the hall around row "F". I sat just in front of him to hear the performance. The replays downstairs were primarily for the benefit of Robert Shaw and certain performers. There is a wonderful clarinet solo in the Borodin piece that took several takes to for Shaw to be happy. As we listened to the passage, he provided constructive criticism to the musician.

    As for perspective, Fenner knew exactly what he was trying to achieve from his vantage point. Which naturally, will vary slightly if you were seated in row "B" or in the loge. He spent the better part of two days IIRC experimenting with microphone placement during practice sessions prior to the recording itself.

    rw

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    I'll throw another curve. Fenner "monitored" the recording from a centered position in the hall around row "F". I sat just in front of him to hear the performance. The replays downstairs were primarily for the benefit of Robert Shaw and certain performers. There is a wonderful clarinet solo in the Borodin piece that took several takes to for Shaw to be happy. As we listened to the passage, he provided constructive criticism to the musician.

    As for perspective, Fenner knew exactly what he was trying to achieve from his vantage point. Which naturally, will vary slightly if you were seated in row "B" or in the loge. He spent the better part of two days IIRC experimenting with microphone placement during practice sessions prior to the recording itself.

    rw
    I just realized how complex a hobby or (way of life for some) is! The deeper you go, the more intricate and complicated it becomes.

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