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Old 22nd February 2013, 06:31 AM   #8461
dvv is offline dvv  Serbia
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Originally Posted by fas42 View Post
Shoutiness is an attribute I find associated with systems, rather than speakers. My experience is that achieving good sound is like balancing on a sharp, pointy mountain top, rather than a pleasant wandering around on a grassy, round topped hill; if I'm getting top sound then it only takes a slight tipping in one direction, some minor problem and the quality degenerates dramatically into a shouty, unpleasant mess ...

Part of the reasons for this is that I'm using relatively low cost machinery, and I play many recordings that most people wouldn't bother with ...

Frank
I'm with Wayne on this, Frank. Most - but certainly not all - horn driver speakers I've heard did sound a bit or more shouty. The good guys were older speakers by Altec Lansing and JBL.

Of course, this is not inherent to horns as such, it's due to poor implementation, exactly the same thing as those "shouty", "screechy" titanium domes. I own a pair and can attest to the fact that they outperform just about any soft dome I have ever heard. On the other hand, the loudspeaker manufacturer price, the lowest ever anywhere, was not the usual 15-25 for soft domes, but a nice 97 per piece.

Pay up, and you just might be rewarded.
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Old 22nd February 2013, 08:35 AM   #8462
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Originally Posted by a.wayne View Post
Nige ,

Talk to me about tables , analog much ...?
I posted back in the thread about turntables . I only got interested in amps when designing a turntable power supply. Defeated by most amps I choose to update a PA design to drive a motor . I said to someone my power supply is better than most Audiophile amps . She said build me one , so I did . I had been repairing amps for years so had some insights . I had studied electronics ....
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Old 23rd February 2013, 01:37 AM   #8463
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Originally Posted by dvv View Post
Of course, this is not inherent to horns as such, it's due to poor implementation, exactly the same thing as those "shouty", "screechy" titanium domes. I own a pair and can attest to the fact that they outperform just about any soft dome I have ever heard. On the other hand, the loudspeaker manufacturer price, the lowest ever anywhere, was not the usual € 15-25 for soft domes, but a nice € 97 per piece.

Pay up, and you just might be rewarded.
Poor implementation, or not plugging all the leaks in the space capsule so to speak, is at the heart of sound that "doesn't work". It can be as trivial a single dodgy connection buried inside the crossover; like the F1 car that fails because of a $2 nut coming loose. The fact that the engine, the suspension, the gearbox are worth staggering amounts of money helps not one iota in the face of a $2 item failing ...

Frank
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Old 23rd February 2013, 08:06 AM   #8464
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Poor implementation, or not plugging all the leaks in the space capsule so to speak, is at the heart of sound that "doesn't work". It can be as trivial a single dodgy connection buried inside the crossover; like the F1 car that fails because of a $2 nut coming loose. The fact that the engine, the suspension, the gearbox are worth staggering amounts of money helps not one iota in the face of a $2 item failing ...

Frank
Agreed.

Small things sometimes are the difference between make it or break it. However, I'd like to point out that the manufacturer's experience is also a factor to be reckoned with. Altec, JBL and Klipsch have used horn drivers like forever, and over the decades, I imagine they have collected a lot of experience in both designing them and implementing them for the best effect.

Lastly, if we disregard Motorola's piezo drivers, horn loaded drivers if done properly are by their very nature conderably more expensive than other mid and high range drivers, and are thus almost by deafult limited to upper price level loudspeakers; the higher up anyone's range you go, the less leeway to make any mistakes.

As for your comment on the capability of quality horn designs being able to ruthlessly show up any system deficiencies, I agree but would point out that this is inherent to ANY well designed speaker with a neutral tonal balance.
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Old 23rd February 2013, 09:45 AM   #8465
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Often at hi fi shows there is a piano bar . I am always surprised how little notice anyone seems to take of a live performance . These are the same people who can hear valid difference between mediocre examples of new ideas . I was sitting in the bath today listening to my $3 radio . It was BBC Radio 4 . The lady is a piano bar player . the live music was rather good ( Chopin etude in A flat ) . Looking at it's speaker it is not unlike the Altec mid / tweeter circa 1970 ( you have no idea how good Altec can be , looks will say that must be awful ) . The radio chip amp is fed by batteries . The FM process is guaranteed to be of a high standard if BBC . Why oh why is most hi fi harder to listen too than this ? 90% of CD players say please switch me off . Worse still some are just boring .

This can be nothing to do with digital as FM has been that since the 1970's in England .

I know about bathroom effect etc . What works with the radio is that it is mostly benign in it's errors . Hi fi often takes a magnifying glass to a source which has very little to offer . This happens with photography also . There is an optimum size .

What pokes me off best is this radio even has depth and space . The voice quality also very good . The Fostex drive units I love so much are not so different . Fostex at a show were so intrigued by a question that a friend and I asked that they insisted in showing it . Crossover phase and time alignment . It was as if they had no interest in being salesmen . The rather sage audience were a bit lost at this point as the mathematical consequences of filter shape were discussed . To them is was , I go to the best supermarket and buy my needs then read the cook book . It didn't seem to occur to many that how they combine the drive units would be make or break . Much as I knock digital it does give unique possibilities in crossover design . Where this hurts is I am an analogue person . To digitize a signal to get a crossover to work better seems a bridge too far .

Klipsch Fotre 2 is one of the nicest and most neutral speakers I have every heard considering it looks so unlikely to be true . It seems to prefer modern amps and will go stupidly loud . It is like the Heresy except much more polite . It looks like a pile of junk compared with the better than F1 engineering I see with many speakers ( no joke , F1 engines look a bit rough apart for mating surfaces ) . It has a ridiculous 18 inch ABR going down to a modest 32Hz . It has no flab , the 1920's phenolic diaphragms show no obvious breakup . The horns look no better than the cheapest PA ones . And yet they are so much better than the " lost in the box " speakers I hear so often . My friend who is an opera singer and did his BSc in amplifier design loved them . They even were OK on image width . Some will say it is just the fascination with efficiency . True , yet most PA speakers at the low price level are dreadful . I always suspect those dreadful speakers have all the makings of a good one . They always have the basics correct and often are clones of better designs . Many Asian motorcars were like that ( early Hyundai ) . The cars were dreadful , the basic engineering was not .
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Old 23rd February 2013, 10:15 AM   #8466
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...

This can be nothing to do with digital as FM has been that since the 1970's in England . ...

Er, ... you mean since the 1960ies in England, Nige?

When I hit the white cliffs of Dover in September 1967, the FM scene was on fire, everybody and their dog used them, even the pirate stations were already on air (though of course, later on many more appeared).

Oh, the good old days! I purchased a Hong Kong made portable Belson AM/FM radio, which had "10 transistor radio" written on it. 4 of those 10 were just soldered on a dead PCB area, just to increase the count, only 6 were actually working at something.
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Old 23rd February 2013, 10:40 AM   #8467
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No one is certain . 1972 .A joint venture with Japan . Some now call it Nicam . 13 bit non linear . As I understand it 10 bits are arranged to suit the dynamic range . 3 bits carry level signal information ( much like Dolby but far more accurate as it is coded before recoding , not inferred from a 1 kHz sample window ) . There are pumping effects at about - 78 dB . Theses were thought to be well below typical noise levels of FM . Also effect were assessed by a Golden ear panel of experts ( Sansiui AU101 mentioned the same , later Japaneses amps were by spec alone and one can tell ) . It is said even on studio feeds the pumping effects did not cause much concern . If anyone has ever recorded standard 16 bit at - 40 dB especially in the early days of the Sony PCMF1 the results were indescribably bad ( kazoo ) . At - 20db things sound better , still a bit washed out . At 0dB much better if clanky . Many engineers would not risk even - 6dB . One I knew secretly recorded in Dolby Pro a ghost copy . He would then take days to transcribe it to the PMF1 . He then offered it to his bosses . If they had been gifted they should have noticed analogue wow . Many DDD recordings were not . The hiss levels of Dobly Pro are not very different to full digital and certainly mic noise is greater . Tonally the recording would not be vastly different . Not the sound of cassette . Many concert halls have colourations that sound just like a Revox so I doubt it is that which says analogue .

The BBC digital had these factors eliminated before the system was deployed . remarkable seeing as the ability to do digital was limited .

Last edited by nigel pearson; 23rd February 2013 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 23rd February 2013, 06:13 PM   #8468
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And how does a reVox sound, pray tell?

I never had one myself, despite my extreme respect for their build quality, I had a German made Uher deck (limited to 18 cm reels, but with four speeds and an interchangeable 4- or 2-track head block) from 1970 to 1981, and thereafter a monstruosly big ang heavy (28 kg or 62 lbs) quartz lock Philips N45?? big, big machine, which had replaced the reVox B series tape deck as the reference machine in one of Germany's most pretigious audio magazines.
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Old 23rd February 2013, 10:53 PM   #8469
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Originally Posted by nigel pearson View Post
I was sitting in the bath today listening to my $3 radio . It was BBC Radio 4 . The lady is a piano bar player . the live music was rather good ( Chopin etude in A flat ) . Looking at it's speaker it is not unlike the Altec mid / tweeter circa 1970 ( you have no idea how good Altec can be , looks will say that must be awful ) . The radio chip amp is fed by batteries . The FM process is guaranteed to be of a high standard if BBC . Why oh why is most hi fi harder to listen too than this ? 90% of CD players say please switch me off . Worse still some are just boring .

This can be nothing to do with digital as FM has been that since the 1970's in England .
People mention this every now and again, and one of the simple answers is that the radio is an intrinsically straightforward electrical device. And that alone has won a major part of the battle. Hifi systems in their desire to be modular, adjustable, to allow the user to fiddle with all sorts of configurations, in my book are kneecapping themselves in many areas.

Digital on FM works, because the transmission has filtered out a high proportion of the digital artifacts that degrade the in situ digital playback.

I suspect, and in fact know, that a lot of people would not be impressed with the sound of my setup playing softly on a quick take -- it would just sound like a very, very nice radio to them. The big difference is, that I can then start upping the volume, more and more, and nothing changes in the quality of the sound. To the point where it is deafening, on the right material, or the piano is in the room. This is one of the marks of good sound ...

Frank
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Old 25th February 2013, 09:19 AM   #8470
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Great points well made about FM . I often compare food with Burger King , more of that later .

I went to the Bristol,Hi Fi show on Saturday . It was to meet someone who alas couldn't come . His translator was there so it was mostly a polite meal which I had to leave at 10.15 to do my Cinderella trick ( a birthday party where she would be 60 after midnight ) . I arrived at 3PM so didn't have time to listen to all . Key feature was people using KEF speakers and how reasonable they sounded . When I left Audio in 1997 KEF had turned the corner with the C10 . At last what was promised worked . KEF told me that it had a slight divergence from accepted accuracy to get it commercial ( a couple of dB no doubt ) . Suddenly C10 to me was a genuine monitor speaker . I suspect that this tweak helped the treble and bass integrate better as far as phase shift was concerned . Here was a speaker that very cheaply suggested high end . What I heard at the show seems to say they stuck with the recipe . As for others , shame on you mostly .

One exception was these . My better than F1 statement applies . Good drive units also .
Everything But The Box

My greatest surprise was Pioneer . The room was empty . The sound was excellent , it was so affordable . Again KEF speakers . The amplifier A 70 a sort of time-warp product . Class D and about $1200 . More importantly unbelievable good amplifiers stating at $200 class AB . The CD sources perhaps the least troubling I heard at the show , like good broadcast players .

The absolute star of the show was Avid turntables . Nice to hear the very hard to please SME 3012 working well . Sound was perhaps slightly too good ( loudness control effect ) . Who cares it was so good .

Now to something I found both good and bad . Arrived at Harvey Nichols restaurant at about 6.30 . The food arrived at 9.30 ! The staff didn't seem to know who had ordered what and nearly walked off with my broccoli . The food was something that suggested 10 minutes from asking to getting . To raise my blood pressure more it had a failed artist arrange it on the plate . Then the pleasant surprise , it was good . They had decanted a wine that needed a bit of youth , mine would have been better from the bottle . However they passed the Burger King test and were better . I hurriedly said my good buys and just made it back to Oxford before midnight .

Then the punchline . At the friends house a borrowed hi fi . DVD player , Technics amp much like the Pioneer , Mission speakers . There it was , the identical sound of all the exhibitors bar a few . That condensed memory of real music . Burger King and no better .
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