Confession: It's a "Loudness" Issue

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Many of you will be familiar with my complaints about lack of bass.

Most recently, it has been the Pensil 10.2 that I have been struggling with.

I have to offer an outright humble apology to Scott for being so vocal. I did have a challenge with the stuffing initially, but when I got that sorted, things improved significantly.

But I wasn't happy, and now I know why; "Loudness".

I am in a particularly sombre/intense mood today and I am listening to Pink Floyd - The Wall. It has been close to a decade since I have listened to it, so I am not being shy with the volume.

I got to the end of side one and thought "Man, that console sub is integrating with the Pensils! It sounds absolutely perfect!"

So I go over to eyeball the "gain" and "crossover" settings on the plate amp... Wait for it...

The sub was off.

The Pensils are awesome, if you play them loud. :)

This doesn't solve all my problems :D but it vindicates the Pensils, anyway!
 
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Ah, yes. And the light comes on.

How many times have you heard of speakers that need a lot of power to "come alive"?

How many times have you heard of speakers that are "shouty"?

In most cases, its a matter of voicing to the expected listening level. If you voice a speaker to be balanced at 100dB and listen to it at 70dB, it will sound thin. If you voice for 70dB and listen at 100dB, it's going to be bass heavy.

In general, you need a whole set of contour filters for each anticipated listening level. You probably listen to Pink Floyd and Diana Krall at different levels. This is what I do. I have loudness filters set at 3,6,9 and 12dB. Of course I have a computer front end.

Bob
 
I have a computer front end as well, Bob. What are you using to apply these loudness settings? I could use EQ presets, but that would be a PITA to use every time I change the volume.

Ideally, an active, continuously variable loudness compensation would be used. One that reacts automagically to volume.

For now, I will use the sub power switch as my "loudness button".
 
Ideally, an active, continuously variable loudness compensation would be used. One that reacts automagically to volume.

For now, I will use the sub power switch as my "loudness button".

Sounds like the old Yamaha receivers that had a Loudness knob that both reduced the SPL and increased the bass boost smoothly and continuously. You used the Volume to set the max level, then the loudness to turn it down from there.

Bill
 
On another note, I do think some of my "timidness" with the volume knob has been the result of the stern warnings issued by Mark about "large driver movements".

I am a bit conflicted now, knowing that the Pensils sound their best with significant cone excursion happening. So, do I stick with thin sound in the interest of avoiding "large driver movements" or do I indulge myself in the full sound of the Pensils while the Alpairs get a full workout?

And perhaps a better question; why should I have to choose one or the other?
 
Sounds like the old Yamaha receivers that had a Loudness knob that both reduced the SPL and increased the bass boost smoothly and continuously. You used the Volume to set the max level, then the loudness to turn it down from there.

Bill

I own a modern Yamaha amp with this feature.

I love the feature, but the sound of my tube amp is so much better I cannot bring myslef to use the Yamaha again.
 
I have a computer front end as well, Bob. What are you using to apply these loudness settings? I could use EQ presets, but that would be a PITA to use every time I change the volume.

I use Foobar2000 and have the EQ presets within the "Graphic Equalizer". I have applied ReplayGain to my entire collection, so every cut plays at the same SPL across albums and genre. I set the 0dB loudness for ~70dB and the listening chair and work from there. Any room/speaker is going to need some EQ anyway. I don't tend to crank individual songs, changing EQ often is not a problem.

Bob
 
I use Foobar2000 and have the EQ presets within the "Graphic Equalizer". I have applied ReplayGain to my entire collection, so every cut plays at the same SPL across albums and genre. I set the 0dB loudness for ~70dB and the listening chair and work from there. Any room/speaker is going to need some EQ anyway. I don't tend to crank individual songs, changing EQ often is not a problem.

Bob

Thanks Bob,

I use DeaDBeeF in Linux which is very similar to Foobar2000. There is an equalizer available and it has presets so I could certainly go that route. The quality of the equalizer is excellent (Naoki Shibata's "SuperEQ") and I have used it in the past with no noticeable reduction in sound quality, but for some reason I have this desire to bypass it. Silly of me, I know.

I have also applied ReplayGain metadata to my entire collection (via Foobar2000) but I have found that the mixture of file formats in my library caused sub-optimal results. Oddly, I think the consistency of volume is better with RG disabled. I did not expect that.

I listen in two main ways; entire albums and shuffle. When listening to entire albums, I don't mind setting the EQ to match the volume and then settling into the listening chair for a session. Shuffle is more for "music while doing other things". I have various playlists for different genres and I like to just put it on shuffle and go about my tasks or hobbies. Sometimes a song will come on that I haven't heard in a while or that I particularly like and I will turn it up. Other times my wife and kids are around, trying to have a conversation, talk on the phone, etc. and then the volume needs to be lower of course. This can change many times throughout the course of an evening, so selecting an EQ preset each time would get tedious.

Perhaps the sub power button is the best choice for now.
 
Sounds like the old Yamaha receivers that had a Loudness knob that both reduced the SPL and increased the bass boost smoothly and continuously. You used the Volume to set the max level, then the loudness to turn it down from there.

Bill

I own a modern Yamaha amp with this feature.

I love the feature, but the sound of my tube amp is so much better I cannot bring myslef to use the Yamaha again.



The CA and I believe CR1000 of mid 70s or so had that feature, as well as Class A operation mode (15 watts) - for me at the time the theoretical disadvantage of superfluous switching and filtering signal path that got in the way making these already great amps stupendous.
The CR1000 made my Quad 33/FM3/405 combo sound broken, and even gave AGI pre-amp and bridged Bryston2Bs a serious race for far less money driving Dahlquist DQ10s . Ah, the folly of youth, no kids yet, and the "new rig of the month" club - testosterone and audio oneupmanship - but have we really outgrown that yet? ;)

well, certainly for some the testosterone ain't what it used to be, but there's meds for that :eek:
 
....The quality of the equalizer is excellent (Naoki Shibata's "SuperEQ") and I have used it in the past with no noticeable reduction in sound quality, but for some reason I have this desire to bypass it. Silly of me, I know.

At least you recognize it! How many have fallen into to false religion of "I don't want anything between my record and the speakers"?

Bob
 
OK, yes, there can be a bit of creative interpretation there.

I recommend Connemara (the standard one's more than fine), or Lagavulin 12yo at cask strength if budget stretches. There's probably a bit of caramel added to both, but I don't care. Well, not enough to stop drinking them. Enough peat smoke, iodine, oak, honey sea brine etc. to blow the three little pigs brick house down.
 
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At least you recognize it! How many have fallen into to false religion of "I don't want anything between my record and the speakers"?

Bob

I could take the time to count those people over at a certain other forum, however I suspect that it would be easier to count those who haven't drank the KoolAid. I drank it, but I seem to have at least some immunity to it.

I've learned that spending too much time on forums (some forums in particular) can really cause issues. If one isn't careful, the emotion of mob mentality can compromise one's common sense and logic.

For example, I've recently read Monty Montgomery's article "24/192 Music Downloads ...and why they make no sense" and I have come to realize that my lust for hi-res audio files has no basis in reality.

One comment in Monty's article that caught me off-guard (and one that many people took issue with) was:

It's true enough that a properly encoded Ogg file (or MP3, or AAC file) will be indistinguishable from the original at a moderate bitrate.

This appears in a supplemental section nearer the end of the article, and is not the main thesis. In fact, it is in a section where he is discussing the things that do affect audio quality and he is making a case as to why (and when) lossless codecs do make a difference (he and his team created FLAC, after all). Nevertheless, I was very intrigued by Monty's statement. His qualifications and intellect are unquestionable, yet here he was saying that a proper lossy file can be indistinguishable from the lossless file. I had to look into it further.

To test this notion, I have recently been encoding various hi-res, lossless albums into Vorbis encoded at -q7 (quality factor 7). They are completely transparent to me, which is no surprise because it is commonly reported that q5 or q6 results in transparency for the majority of people.

Like many others, I mostly abandoned MP3 quite some time ago. I still have MP3s of various quality in my library, but when I get something new, FLAC is my choice. There's a reason for this. MP3 sucks. Especially poorly encoded MP3.

Despite being a long-time Linux user, this is the first time I have given Vorbis a chance. I am extremely impressed by it. I have tried it on different types of music and it all sounds identical to the FLAC files to me.

Does this mean I will abandon FLAC in favour of Vorbis? Well, yes and no. I surely will be using Vorbis, but I surely won't be abandoning FLAC. I'll simply be using the advantages of both.

Anyone who has not read Monty's article, I highly recommend it 24/192 Music Downloads are Very Silly Indeed

And here is a related video which addresses some of the technical aspects of digital audio that people took issue with in the article.

D/A and A/D | Digital Show and Tell (Monty Montgomery @ xiph.org) - YouTube

Let's face it folks, he knows what he is talking about. :yes:
 
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