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Old 6th April 2008, 06:31 PM   #21
soongsc is offline soongsc  Taiwan
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Originally posted by critofur

Hmm, I needed music more back then when my life was more stressful, it was like therapy. Now, it's something I miss and long for, a distant memory.

What are the odds that a cheap simple two way system with a 1st order crosover would be transient perfect?

I used to like most good systems that I heard years ago (anything that wasn't the super-cheap one way 5 watt K-mart special P.O.S. speaker, basically - do you know, the ones with the FAKE tweeters? :P )

The only recent (well, maybe not recent anymore) speakers I liked much were the Madrigal Revel Salon Ultimas. I have to go audition a bunch of new speakers again, it's been several years... I thought those B&O Beolab fancy flying saucer looking speakers were going to be great, I left the store very disapointed.


I'm a skeptic, I can't stand hearing BS about expensive cables, "high end" capacitors, indcutors, etc... Maybe where I am not being objective is this notion I have that it must be complex crossovers that ruin everything, that, a "good design" is one where the crossover has no more than a few components. I also suspect that if a speaker can't reproduce a square wave, then, our brain must be going nuts trying to process the unatural mutation of sound coming out of speakers where the music has been twisted into some kind of alien sounds that sound just about right, but are yet somehow "not right" as the inductors mutilate the phase.

CDs more clearly capture flaws, CDs can more easily have too much treble mixed in compared to vinyl or cassette tapes.

When I used a cheap pair of two way rectangular box medium size "bookshelf" (I put them on a shelf most of the time, anyway) speakers which had one 8 inch paper cone and one paper cone/aluminum dustcap tweeter with no more than a few parts in the crossover (might have been only two, I can't remember exactly) I NEVER felt like my ears were tired, I never had need of this phrase "listening fatigue".

If someone had said "listening fatigue" to me back then, I would have answered "huh, is that some kind of strange military uniform you wear when you listen to music" -or- "do you mean you're tired of hearing your wife nagging" BUT, I would not have associated that idea with listening to music on a stereo because it wouldn't have made sense to me based on my experiences listening to stereos.

I would have to guess that my speakers had distortion, that the freq. response was not particularly flat. Whether played loud or soft, the music was fun. It didn't fool me into believing that the instruments were actually right there in the room. I didn't care about "imaging" and the notion of a "sweet spot" never occured to me. Didn't matter at all where I was in the room, sounded good (by good, I mean fun and pleasing to hear, accurate enough that I never felt like saying "this sounds like ****" as I do when I hear rumbling ghetto blaster SUVs roll down the road)

I seems like there are a few factors here: the source material - vinyl records and cassette tapes, the amp - a 2 channel Dyna tube amp, and the speakers - simple two way paper driver boxes.

But another thing to consider is, most of the systems I listened to in those years were pleasing to hear - my dad's Magnapan Tympany 1D, my neighbor's Onkyo Integra setup, etc... There were lots of stereo systems back then that didn't give one the feeling of tiredness or irritation from listening for more than just a few minutes.

Even a cheap record player playing records that weren't in the best shape could still bring me music that brought pleasure, made me smile and close my eyes to enjoy the music. Todays systems mostly make me: sit up, frown, open my eyes, and wonder "is there something wrong with me? because this just isn't pleasant to hear and the salesman would have you believe these speakers belong on Gold pedestals with diamonds, and that the cables feeding them should be 3 inches thick with special secret "black boxes" on either end... power filtering line conditioners, amps designed by an ex-military high freq. radar electronics engineer, etc... But still, the sound, mediocre...
By large, you will have less "fatigue" with soft paper cones, but you will also not hear lots of the detail that would be present in a good system. I've been satisfied with Bose 301 for a few years.
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Old 6th April 2008, 06:57 PM   #22
tinitus is offline tinitus  Europe
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Originally posted by Brett

* to me, there are two different hobbies here: I'm a nerd who likes to design and build audio gear. That is completely different to enjoying the music itself, which I can do equally well on a boombox or average car stereo with no fatigue if it's not cranked into distortion.
Brett, you sure are a funny guy

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Old 6th April 2008, 06:59 PM   #23
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Originally posted by Brett
...to me, there are two different hobbies here: I'm a nerd who likes to design and build audio gear. That is completely different to enjoying the music itself, which I can do equally well on a boombox or average car stereo with no fatigue if it's not cranked into distortion.
I couldn't agree more, that is a very good summation of my feelings as well.
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Old 6th April 2008, 07:50 PM   #24
SY is offline SY  United States
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I'm with Brett. And from a technical end, the source. Compression is rampant and (for me) fatiguing. No variety, no dynamics. Like having a meal where everything has sugar in it, no contrasts or relief.
"You tell me whar a man gits his corn pone, en I'll tell you what his 'pinions is."
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Old 6th April 2008, 08:04 PM   #25
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Having too many personal feelings invested in your stereo system to be able to relax and enjoy the music. Constant error tracking.

Yes it's kind of sad.
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Old 6th April 2008, 08:09 PM   #26
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Originally posted by SY
I'm with Brett. And from a technical end, the source. Compression is rampant and (for me) fatiguing. No variety, no dynamics. Like having a meal where everything has sugar in it, no contrasts or relief.
Agree re the source compression that seems to plague all new recordings and/or re-releases/masters I've heard recently. Similarly with compression in speakers; it seems to remove some of the life from it.

You come up with some great sig lines SY.
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Old 6th April 2008, 09:31 PM   #27
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Originally posted by Dag
Go to a Linn (or Naim) store and all your listening fatigue will vanish!
Only the music is there!

Certainly one of the worse I listened to (linked to Nam electronics): Akurate 242
Certainly one of the best I listened to (linked to nam electronics): Nam SL2

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Old 6th April 2008, 09:56 PM   #28
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Default Re: Some possible causes

Originally posted by Nikolas Ojala

  • Enclosure resonances
  • Somehow bumpy response in audible frequencies
  • Some distortions of phase response usually caused by passive crossover networks (inductances)
  • Comb filter effects in mid frequencies caused by distant speaker drivers
  • Baffle diffractions
  • Early reflections from floor or walls caused by lack of directivity
  • Resonant networks, filters or other structures that momentarily store energy release energy thus spreading transients

Especially the first point, enclosure resonances, is important for me too. If i hear a speaker that is new to me, i tend to pardon
its resonances for a while. When listening longer with a certain
speaker, resonances tend to bother me.

What is interesting to me, you said explicitly "enclosure
Are those worse than e.g. cone breakup modes ?
Why ?

Another point:
Poor performance at low signal levels.
If there is a lack of detail and dynamic one may be tempted to
listen too loud to "get the details" or "the feeling", after a while
you have got enough ...

To me there are 2 typical speaker characters which cause
listening fatigue: The "nasty" speaker and the "dull" speaker.

The "nasty" one is uncultivated and simply too defective.

The "dull" one has bad resolution at low levels, maybe parameters shift too much with signal level, maybe damping materials act in a nonlinear manner, ...

The "dull" character is more dangerous, because fatigue is
not introduced by the speaker's traits itself but by affecting
our listening habits in the long term ...

Of cause a bad program source leads to listening fatigue.
e.g. there are few CD Players offering homogeneity and
detail without getting sharp or nasty ...

Has someone a tip out there concerning current CD/DVD players ?
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Old 6th April 2008, 10:44 PM   #29
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Default Re: What causes listening "fatigue"?

Originally posted by critofur

I don't know if something in me has changed now that I'm old compared to when I was 20-something and before, I loved listening to all kinds of music even on my cheap-o bookshelf speakers. Now, each time I try, it's not pleasant, I end up giving up quickly and turning it off.
I suffer a little from migraine and often it can be brought on by loud noise. If I play my electric guitar fairly loud that can start it off. I also find the same with bright lights.
I run a disco which sort of has loud noises and bright lights !!!
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Old 6th April 2008, 11:04 PM   #30
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Listening to something and telling myself I should like it because it's been declared "good" by people who know more than I do. OTOH, I can listen to what I really like on just about any system and derive pleasure from it.

A dip is usually better than a peak (especially if it's French onion), and the two system related things that bring on fatigue for me are peaks in the bass anyplace that affects the vocals.
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