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  1. #1
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Cool Your speaker preference:Bright, Warm, laidback or natural?

    Use an EQ with my system, and any type of speaker I have owned so far, I find myself upping the treble on the EQ couple of notches to make them sound slightly brighter. Especially like to hear the Cymbals clearly and very distinctly.

    So my preference probably be bright speakers

  2. #2
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    I think it depends upon the music...

    ...you listen to as well as the quality of recordings. If, for eg., I listened to R&R exclusively, I would probably have picked a different speaker. Call me crazy, but the old Pioneer and JBLs do Rock very well - I can't think of an "audiophile" speaker that can deliver the balls while not being too grating on the ears. Maybe it's the shelved-back mids, or the extra bump in the bass, but these old speakers WANT to be played loud. Older Snells and Bostons like I have (had) are O.K. in the "smoothing" department, but not so great in the "boogie" arena.

    Then there is the room... the most forgotten component. I wouldn't want, for instance, the Totem Arros in a overly reflective room... to much treble energy. Conversely, the Sonus Faber Concertos would probably be too syrupy in a small room with overstuffed couches and wall to wall carpeting.

    IF the software is good/great, the room of at least average diffusion/absorbing/reflecting capabilities, I would much prefer a truthful speaker.

  3. #3
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Good argument..

    Mostly listen to Rock music so I might be biased about sound of speakers. Agree with you that room acoustic have alot to do with how a system sound, but often that is something you can not change. I have will to wall carpeting and a big thick couch right in the middle. And the speakers owned are not necessary high end (Bose, Polk, Yamaha).

    But despite all that, if two speakers were evaluated, I probably go for the bright speakers

  4. #4
    Audiophile Wireworm5's Avatar
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    To my ears my system sounds natural. I use an instrumental soundfield that adds some brightness, with tone controls set to flat. To some audiophiles this would probably sound bright. And I can even understand why some people who are senitive to higher frequencies would not like metal tweeters. I can hear their harshness on some recording. To none audiophiles the sound would probably seem to lack bass with bass tone set to flat, this is because they're not use to hearing clean bass.
    I've been to live concerts and I think my system accurately simulates the live sound. This is also due to the room. I use to have my stereo in my living room which isn't as lively, and generally had the volume 5 decibels louder to acheive the same perceived sound in my present room. I'd also add,the volume has to be over 95 decibels to get the lifelike sound, like the band is in the room. Otherwise your brain is compensating for the difference in sound volume over the real thing.

  5. #5
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    95 dB bad!!!!!!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Wireworm5
    I'd also add,the volume has to be over 95 decibels to get the lifelike sound, like the band is in the room. Otherwise your brain is compensating for the difference in sound volume over the real thing.
    Here's a link to an interesting article:

    http://www.prosoundweb.com/lsi/ear/csl.php

  6. #6
    Forum Regular 46minaudio's Avatar
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    Ask RGA he will tell you what you like..

  7. #7
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    So my preference probably be bright speakers
    No mine. I listen to classical music mainly, and want a natural sound. Unfortunately many CDs are too bright -- by which I mean they are brighter than what I expect to hear in a concert hall.

    My old SS amplifier sounds a bit bright in itself perhaps, (though I say not grainy or etched). My Magneplanar MMGs have slightly depressed mid-range so my overall sound is often quite a lot brighter than natural. So I use the good old-fashioned tone controls on my preamp to tone down brightness, which works reasonably well.

  8. #8
    Forum Regular stereophonicfan's Avatar
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    A humble advice...

    I've always tried to avoid the use of an equalizer. Not that I'm totally adverse to an EQ, but finding the right speaker-amplification combination can be more important than finding the right setting on an equalizer.

    Finding the right amplifier or receiver can be more than helpful. When purchasing a stereo-set there are some rudimentary rules to respect, like the right power handling (inputs and outputs), the freq. range of the amplifier (or rec.) and the speakers, and of course the Impedance.

    It's my belief that the impedance of a speakerpair can already give you a clue as to how they sound.

  9. #9
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Talking Eq......

    There is no doubt that right combinations of Amp and speakers will be much superior than trying duplicating it by using an EQ. But EQ can be very effective when the problem lies in acoustic rather than the system (such as dead or too-live room).

    It just give you another option of tweaking your system's sound. I rather have that capability than not have it

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    No mine. I listen to classical music mainly, and want a natural sound. Unfortunately many CDs are too bright -- by which I mean they are brighter than what I expect to hear in a concert hall.
    Your problem is insurmountable. The types of sound systems we have today cannot duplicate the musical timbre of acoustic instruments heard at a concert hall. Here's why. In a concert hall, the sound which reaches you directly is rich in high frequencies however, as reverberant sound (echoes) of the same sounds reach you, they have progressively less high frequency energy and therefore, the sound of live music at a concert hall is both more brilliant and mellower at the same time. To an audiophile this might seem like a contradiction but that's what gives live music both clarity and a beautiful round velvety tone. This is not captured in recordings which contain mostly only the direct field and relatively little reverberation by comparison. The acoustics of your listening room don't help much either. It can take a second to two seconds or more for these sounds to die out in a live performance but only a small fraction of one second in your listening room at home. In that time, the relative high frequency attenuation compared to the bass and midrange is not nearly as great.

  11. #11
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Cool It also worth mentioning......

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    The types of sound systems we have today cannot duplicate the musical timbre of acoustic instruments heard at a concert hall.
    It is also worth mentioning that in live concerts, we also hear complex music instrument harmonics (beyond 20 kHz) which probably will be filtered out when recording

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    Gotta disagree

    What frequency balance you hear in a concert hall depends on where you sit. I have found the front row seats in the center section of the first balcony to offer the greatest clarity and brilliance, while the sound is far darker at the rear wall where you walk in.

    Smokey- you can hear above 20 KHz? Does Medical Science know about this? I know I can hear to 12.5 KHz and it sounds like a cricket sharpening its fingernails on a blackboard. A very small cricket.

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    I like visceral bass reproduction, but not a powered sub - woofer.
    I like a some what euphonic mid band.
    I like a some what bright treble region, just not too bright or cool.

  14. #14
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Well.....

    It is not so much that whether we can we can hear [harmonics] above 20 kHz or not, but rather preserving the harmonics that make up a complex [fundamental] notes that is below 20 kHz.

    CD have filtering somewhere around 22 kHz and that might be one reason why CD sound somewhat boxy. But new formats such DVD-audio and SACD try to address this problem by moving the filtering above 40 kHz thus preserving the harmonics that are above 20 khz

  15. #15
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    I think Mash is right. We've discussed this extensively in the past and the Japanese demonstration (I hesitate to call it an experiment because it merely confirmed what had been known for a long time and proven again and again) that there is no audible difference if harmonics above 20 KHz are included or not. This conformed to all other scientific expectations based on waveform theory. On the other hand, you can feel the impact of vibrations below 20hz on your body even if your eardrums don't send signals to your brain so they aren't termed hearing.

    The tonal balance shifts away from a higher percentage of high frequencies as you get further away from the orchestra because the direct field is relatively (and absolutely) weaker compared to the reverberant field. As I said in the other post, as the sound decays, the high frequencies decay faster than middle and low frequencies and the spectral balance shifts over the time we hear each note. Without the ability to accurately reproduce this reverberant field, you cannot reproduce the spectral aspects of the insturments as they would be heard in a concert hall either.

  16. #16
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Cool It is a well known fact that....

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    I think Mash is right. We've discussed this extensively in the past and the Japanese demonstration (I hesitate to call it an experiment because it merely confirmed what had been known for a long time and proven again and again) that there is no audible difference if harmonics above 20 KHz are included or not.
    ....that higher frequency musical instruments such as Cymbals have harmonics up to 100 kHz. Don't you think removing all that information above 20 kHz would effect the tonality of the instrument's sound?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    ....that higher frequency musical instruments such as Cymbals have harmonics up to 100 kHz. Don't you think removing all that information above 20 kHz would effect the tonality of the instrument's sound?
    No it would have no audible effect. This is what the Japanese experiment demonstrated and I'm sure it must have been done many many times is the past. It it is also consistant with everything we know about waveform theory. Scientists and I'd say most engineers have not doubt of this. Audiophiles on the other hand are easily sold a bill of goods. This started back in the 60s with Harman Kardon, University, and Audio Fidelity Records and probably a few others looking for an advertising edge for their equipment and recordings which DID respond beyond 20 Khz. And for some people, this type of advertising apparantly works. BTW, for analog equipment to be flat to 20 Khz, it usually has to have an extended response beyond because response falloff is not sudden unless a "brick wall" filter is constructed to limit it. Digital signals such as those on cds may on the other hand respond in just that way, flat to 20 khz, and then nothing.

  18. #18
    RGA
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    What our preference is is only relevant if you like the same speakers generally and want advice on a buying something unheard. many people rely on reviews but forget to read between the lines, or read magazines which are direct so you don't need to guess as to how they liked em.

    I can't say I have a preference because I like many wildly different sounding speakers of wildly different designs. I like various speakers using electrostats, horns, silk soft domes ribbons, big boxes/ small boxes etc. Some sound punchier, some bloomier, some are delicate others more in your face.

    I like speakers that will choose their trade-off in a pleasing manner and speakers that don't fall apart when asked to play a variety of music. And of course I don't want an etchy fatiguing treble response or a "suckout" in the midband. Don't particularly like small sweetspots though it's not too big a deal.

  19. #19
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    Skeptic raises excellent point....

    ....so maybe Yamaha and other equipment mfgs are working toward solution with sound fields...mid price computers now have excellent hand writing recognition and sound field may be able to reproduce very accurately real listening venues.Owning a Yamaha with 44 soundfields, I am aware how weak they are at present. However it may be within the realm of possibility to encode recordings with sound field information that can be decoded by inexpensive receivers.....of course that doesnt solve the problem of individual listening environments (ie your home) within which the actual listening occurs...soooo...perhaps only with some kind of closed ear headphones could you recreate an actual live listening experience.

  20. #20
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    [QUOTE=Debbi..soooo...perhaps only with some kind of closed ear headphones could you recreate an actual live listening experience.[/QUOTE]

    That is not likely. The problem with headphones is that when you move your head, the entire sound field moves with it causing your brain to come to the immediate conclusion that the source of the sound is inside your head.

    One of the most interesting types of recordings was invented many years ago. It's called binaural. It is not the same as stereophonic. It's made simply by placing a microphone in a dummy's head where each eardrum would be and recording it on a two channel tape deck. It records exactly what a person sitting in that spot would hear except for the problem mentioned above. Why does this happen? Because a real sound field at a performance is what is called a vector field having both magnitude and direction. The headphones reproductions are scalar fields which means they have only magnitude. Some people have proposed making multiple binaural recordings, mounting accelerometers on the headphones and changing the feed to the phones with head motion immitating the vector field more realistically. However, to my knowledge, nobody has come up with a practical way to do this.

  21. #21
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Red face

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    No it would have no audible effect (removing of harmonics). This is what the Japanese experiment demonstrated and I'm sure it must have been done many many times is the past. It it is also consistant with everything we know about waveform theory.

    How can one remove all of harmonics from a live instrument unless one record it and then try to remove the harmonics electronically. And if that is how that Japanese testing was conducted, then all the bets are off since the sound have gone thru an electronic medium before reaching the ear. And that might explain why sound was the same with harmonic or without it

    Check out this link also:

    http://www.lakemills-wi.org/musical_...s_trumpet.html

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    How can one remove all of harmonics from a live instrument unless one record it and then try to remove the harmonics electronically. And if that is how that Japanese testing was conducted, then all the bets are off since the sound have gone thru an electronic medium before reaching the ear. And that might explain why sound was the same with harmonic or without it
    I don't understand the logic of your statement or how you came to your conclusion.

    The experiment was a DBT where the recording was made using extended frequency response which could be filtered at 20 KHz. (It is easy to verify that these harmonics are present on playback with measuring equipment.) The test showed that the listeners could not distinguish any difference whether the harmonics above 20 khz were present or not. It was an interesting test because their original test methodology was flawed and gave a false positive result. On their first trial, they used the same tweeter for sound above and below 20 khz. The signal components above 20 khz caused harmonic distortion to sound below 20 khz which was audible. When the test was repeated with a dedicated ultrasonic tweeter for sound above 20 khz and the regular tweeter was crossed over so that only siganal below 20 khz was produced by it, the distortion disappeared and so did the ability of anyone to hear a difference.

    This myth about sound above 20 khz has been going on since the 60s. The article you referenced notwithstanding, it is a well established fact that these frequencies are not germaine to accurate audio reproduction and contribute nothing if present and detract nothing if not present. There is no valid evidence from either an experimental or theoretical basis to suggest that there is.

    BTW, it is interesting to also note that people who have been exposed to loud music such as at live rock concerts for any length of time invariably suffer permanent hearing loss, especially at high frequencies. Contrary to popular belief, all people do not automatically suffer hearing loss with age. Tests conducted on aboriginies in Africa some years back showed that even 70 year olds not exposed to loud noise heard as well as people in their 20s.

  23. #23
    ride a jet ski Tarheel_'s Avatar
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    Me, i'm a simply guy and prefer smooth R&B and Rock. With an overly bright room, i find turning the tweeter control to its lowest mark helps even the sound...so neutral is where i seem to prefer sound. Now, if my headphones would just replicate my home speakers, i could get more work accomplished. Peace.

  24. #24
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Well-made recordings would help

    [QUOTE=skeptic] ... In a concert hall, the sound which reaches you directly is rich in high frequencies however, as reverberant sound (echoes) of the same sounds reach you, they have progressively less high frequency energy and therefore, the sound of live music at a concert hall is both more brilliant and mellower at the same time. ... This is not captured in recordings which contain mostly only the direct field and relatively little reverberation by comparison. ... QUOTE]

    Indeed! My equipment and listening room can't take a closely recorded sound and make it sound like a concert hall.

    What would help, though, would be for producers to locating the ensemble in a good listening venue, then microphone the sound from what is good listening position (in effect). This is why many "live" recordings sound good. And why Mercury Living Presence and similarly microphoned and mixed recordings sound so good.

    Rarely do recording engineers succeed in creating really good "virtual" listening domains though it is the most common practice. And I propose that that it is the principal reason we have some many bad sounding recordings of accoustic music.

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    Unfortunately, if the recording played back through a two channel stereo system had the same or similar levels of reverberation as a live performance in a concert hall, it wouldn't sound very pleasing because it would sound like the source was inside The Lincoln Tunnel. The reverberant sound energy in a concert hall arrives from many different directions, each sound giving rise to thousands of echoes. When they all come from the same direction as the source, they have an entirely different quality. Acoustic engineers and architects struggle to create the optimum arrangements of reverberation in time and space to enhance the sound of music. When they fail, for whatever reason, it is very displeasing and occasionally means they have to tear out the inside of the hall and rework it. Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York as an example has had two major acoustical makeovers since it was built, and probably countless other acoustical tweaks.

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