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Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby Arpangel » Wed Nov 20, 2019 2:00 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Arpangel wrote:When you talk about the Quads Hugh, some being better than others, do you mean better as in more neutral or more transparent?

Much more control, better dynamics, lower noise floor, lower distortion (or more transparent, if you prefer) ...

If I had to admit it, I like a coloured sound...


Yes, I'd already reached that conclusion from many of your other posts! :lol:

...during the 80's there were a bunch of us that disliked the movement for more detail and less coloration, we'd have things like powerful Trio amplifiers, Michell turntables, and big American speakers.

Less colouration was a good goal... the 'more detail' thing was a pain in the ear -- but it exploited the 'louder and brighter is better' response that all we humans suffer... I remember spending many hours in hi-fi shops through the 80s and 90s positively wincing at some of the stuff they were trying to tell me was good... Big American speakers of that time were pretty grim, too. Thankfully I'd already been heavily exposed to the really good stuff in the form of LS3/5As and LS5/8s and their ilk (I loved the Spendor BC1s, too!)

The other lot would have things like B&W speakers, Linn Turntables and Naim amplifiers...

Never got on with Naim stuff. Liked most B&Ws and Linn was okay, if overpriced. The Thorens it was based on was better IMHO...

We liked our stuff because not only did it sound amazing, but it also looked like a work of art!

:-) As always, one person's 'amazing' is another's 'brash' and lacking fidelity! That word again... :-)

A few of us were fans of KLH speakers, amazing, LS3/5A's and the like had a similar sound, I also had a pair of Spendor SP1's all of these sealers had the lovely rich velvety sound I liked, even though the LS3/5A etc were very natural sounding, they did it in a very pleasant, non-fatiguing way.
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby John Willett » Wed Nov 20, 2019 2:52 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Thankfully I'd already been heavily exposed to the really good stuff in the form of LS3/5As and LS5/8s and their ilk (I loved the Spendor BC1s, too!)

Back in the 1980's I worked for REW in London - I remember having a pair of Rogers LS3.5a on loudspeaker stands ansd no one believed that such a small loudspeaker cold give such a full and excellent sound - and alwars trhought that something much larger was playing. :D

Back then I think my favourite loudspeaker was the original Mission 770 - and I bought a pair.
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby ef37a » Wed Nov 20, 2019 2:59 pm

"Regarding the Q303... it was/is a good, solid, well-engineered amp... but it's certainly not 'perfect'. If it was, Mr Walker and co wouldn't have felt the need to build the 405."

As I remember the debates at the time Hugh (I have the Big Quad Book!) the 405 was developed to deliver the extra 3dB or so of power for the emerging compact speakers?

Then of course there was the Current Dumping which eliminated all pre sets for Iq and offset. I well recall the many letters bandied in Wireless World but I never quite understood if the amp was truly revolutionally or just another feedback amp with a clever name?

'Perfect' only means to the degree that an amplifier passes the 'wire with gain' test, i.e. that it could not be detected when inserted in an audio chain. Perfection would indicate zero noise (and by definition, zero THD) and infinite power! (which of course corrupts.....)

Of course, 'they' did not have the superb signal sources we enjoy today.

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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby ef37a » Wed Nov 20, 2019 3:10 pm

John Willett wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:Thankfully I'd already been heavily exposed to the really good stuff in the form of LS3/5As and LS5/8s and their ilk (I loved the Spendor BC1s, too!)

Back in the 1980's I worked for REW in London - I remember having a pair of Rogers LS3.5a on loudspeaker stands ansd no one believed that such a small loudspeaker cold give such a full and excellent sound - and alwars trhought that something much larger was playing. :D

Back then I think my favourite loudspeaker was the original Mission 770 - and I bought a pair.

John, I have a pair of Mission 775s, are they similar to the 770s?

Mine are presently languishing, unused in a bedroom. Belonged to my daughter's husband who is saddly very ill and not with her any more. She did not want them or the rest of his very decent hi fi system.

One day! I shall have big clear up and get them installed in my living room and it will then be very interesting to compare them with the Result 6s which I hope to get...One day!

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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby John Willett » Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:02 pm

ef37a wrote:[
John, I have a pair of Mission 775s, are they similar to the 770s?

These are the original 770 that I had:

Image

The 775 was very different.

The Mission 770 was Mission's idea to try and build a loudspeaker to compete with the Spendor BC1, but with a much lighter and responsive bass driver.

It used a polypropolene driver instead of the heavy Bextrene that that Spendor used.
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:08 pm

ef37a wrote:As I remember the debates at the time Hugh (I have the Big Quad Book!) the 405 was developed to deliver the extra 3dB or so of power for the emerging compact speakers?

Yes... but the 303 technology could have been extended to give more power... Instead, they developed an entirely new technology which even they claimed was superior (and it was)... But in doing so they made a nonsense of their previous marketing campaigns. :headbang:

It sounds like I'm Quad-bashing, but I'm really not. I have a lot of respect for them and their products... but they did regularly shoot themselves in the feet... ;)

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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby ef37a » Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:19 pm

John Willett wrote:
ef37a wrote:[
John, I have a pair of Mission 775s, are they similar to the 770s?

These are the original 770 that I had:

Image

The 775 was very different.

The Mission 770 was Mission's idea to try and build a loudspeaker to compete with the Spendor BC1, but with a much lighter and responsive bass driver.

It used a polypropolene driver instead of the heavy Bextrene that that Spendor used.

Ah, no! These are the 775s https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=ACY ... 66&bih=666

Twin bass drivers and around 1.12 mtrs tall. They go loud on just 50W (Arcam amp) and stupendous bass (but I am going to plug the ports) They sound fairly accurate and the stereo imaging is pin sharp. Son-in-law was a HM freak so these were bought for SPL I guess!

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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby John Willett » Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:35 pm

ef37a wrote:These are the 775s https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=ACY ... 66&bih=666

Twin bass drivers and around 1.12 mtrs tall. They go loud on just 50W (Arcam amp) and stupendous bass (but I am going to plug the ports) They sound fairly accurate and the stereo imaging is pin sharp. Son-in-law was a HM freak so these were bought for SPL I guess!

Dave.

I wouldn't as they are designed as bass reflex and it would change the sound.

Back in the day the solution was to fill the port with straws (of varied length) as this increased the back pressure slighly and makes it more controlled.
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby MOF » Wed Nov 20, 2019 5:03 pm

When I worked at AIR studios in the 1970s (nothing glamorous or technical) they had Tannoy speakers in three studios and JBLs in the fourth for American clients.
I thought they were very harsh (upper mids) and in retrospect don’t see why they wanted them since those frequencies would be lower in level on more neutral speakers, given that the objective was to sound punchier than the competition on the radio etc.
In answer to the OP I seem to remember reading that a lot of low/mid range hi-fi amplifiers had a ‘smile’ eq curve built in by default, so that would remove muddy low mids and harsh upper mids to give a more pleasing listening experience.
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Nov 20, 2019 7:03 pm

Arpangel wrote:A few of us were fans of KLH speakers, amazing, LS3/5A's and the like had a similar sound, I also had a pair of Spendor SP1's all of these sealers had the lovely rich velvety sound I liked, even though the LS3/5A etc were very natural sounding, they did it in a very pleasant, non-fatiguing way.

I had a pair of KLH 317's (if I've remembered correctly, they had sky blue cones), and then Rogers LS2a/2's which i still have in the summer house for 'outside listening', probably 30 years on from when I bought them.

Image


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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby Arpangel » Wed Nov 20, 2019 10:38 pm

Martin Walker wrote:
Arpangel wrote:A few of us were fans of KLH speakers, amazing, LS3/5A's and the like had a similar sound, I also had a pair of Spendor SP1's all of these sealers had the lovely rich velvety sound I liked, even though the LS3/5A etc were very natural sounding, they did it in a very pleasant, non-fatiguing way.

I had a pair of KLH 317's (if I've remembered correctly, they had sky blue cones), and then Rogers LS2a/2's which i still have in the summer house for 'outside listening', probably 30 years on from when I bought them.

Image


Martin

I had a pair of KLH Model 41's, then a pair of Model 5's, possibly one of the best speakers of the time, at that price point.
I found a pair of Rogers LS3/5A's in a charity shop, but they didn't impress me enough to hold on to them for long, great on speach, amazing, but a bit boxy, I thought my RCL "Small Loudspeaker" was far less coloured, and had a much more rigid cabinet.
My partners brother still has, and uses his Mission 770's.
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:46 pm

I have a pair of Wilmslow Audio LS3s, Rogers LS3/5A clones built from their kit. They are made from 19mm, what looks like high quality/density chipboard (MDF was not common back in the late '70s). Not boxy in the slightest, somewhat lacking in low end so you wouldn't want them for listening to EDM but detailed and neutral would be my description, and superb stereo imaging in the, fairly small, sweet spot.
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby James Perrett » Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:56 pm

Arpangel wrote:I found a pair of Rogers LS3/5A's in a charity shop, but they didn't impress me enough to hold on to them for long, great on speach, amazing, but a bit boxy,

LS3/5A's have a slight hump in the high bass in order to give the impression that they go lower than they really do. To my ears this makes them sound slightly congested in the bass end but I guess this could be the reason for you finding them boxy. Sometimes when mastering I want to employ the same bass trick and this is difficult to do when listening through LS3/5a's as it is difficult to tell whether you are hearing the bass hump that you are trying to introduce or the speaker's inherent bass hump. However, I much prefer using them as nearfield monitors compared to the NS10's that they replaced and they work well provided you have something else on which you can judge the bass end.
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby Arpangel » Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:44 am

I loved the mid range on the LS3/5A, I think that was due to the KEF B110 bass/mid driver, a fantastic unit, which is in my home built transmission lines today.
When I replaced the LS's with some RCL "Small Loudspeakers" the benefits were obvious, a much tighter sound, incredible on piano, frighteningly realistic, overall, much more controlled on complex music. I could never monitor complex music on the LS's, it just sounded bloated and congested.
I think the BBC made the LS3/5A as a monitor for speech programs (Hugh?) and the bigger ones in the LS series were supposed to be for music broadcasts.
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Nov 21, 2019 11:12 am

Arpangel wrote:I think the BBC made the LS3/5A as a monitor for speech programs (Hugh?) and the bigger ones in the LS series were supposed to be for music broadcasts.

The Research department's report ( http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/rd/pubs/reports/1976-29.pdf ) says:

BBC R&D wrote:There is a need to monitor sound programme quality in circumstances where space is at a premium and where headphones are not considered satisfactory. Such circumstances include the production control section of a television mobile control-room, where the producer responsible for the overall production of the programme needs to monitor the output from the sound mixer but at levels lower than those used for mixing. Thus a small monitoring loudspeaker is required and, as no adequate commercial device was available, one was designed by BBC Research Department.

The BBC's output, both on Radio and TV, is obviously primarily speech, so accuracy through the midrange was clearly a priority in the design. It does a decent job on music, but it doesn't go loud, and it doesn't go deep... so expectations need to be managed somewhat. It was designed as a very good compromise for small rooms and where nearfield use was necessary.

It's also worth pointing out that this was designed in the very early 70s and it set a standard of reproduction which was easily a decade or more ahead of its time. Nothing else came anywhere near close at the time, and the fact that it is still revered in some quarters and can still be considered seriously alongside modern-day high-quality designs -- even though its technology has been surpassed now -- speaks volumes for the benchmark quality it set at the time.

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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby Arpangel » Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:16 pm

Getting back to the OP, I think a lot of us started recording using our hi-fi speakers, or some sort of stereo for making our music, it was very common back in the day. There were pseudo or semi-professional cross over designs, but I think most of my friends and me included thought about monitors as those huge JBL and Tannoy systems we saw in major studio's that none of us could afford or had room for. And because studios used to listen at such ear splitting volumes those massive speakers were designed to reproduce "realistic levels" that was their main function, like slightly more hi-fI PA speakers.
We used our speakers for everything, "relaxed listening" or making music, everything.
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby John Willett » Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:27 pm

Arpangel wrote:I loved the mid range on the LS3/5A, I think that was due to the KEF B110 bass/mid driver, a fantastic unit, which is in my home built transmission lines today.
When I replaced the LS's with some RCL "Small Loudspeakers" the benefits were obvious, a much tighter sound, incredible on piano, frighteningly realistic, overall, much more controlled on complex music. I could never monitor complex music on the LS's, it just sounded bloated and congested.
I think the BBC made the LS3/5A as a monitor for speech programs (Hugh?) and the bigger ones in the LS series were supposed to be for music broadcasts.

It was originally developed as a model loudspeaker for use in models of studios as the studio was designed and then adapted as the LS3/5A as the BBC paper Hugh posted describes.

However, nowadays I would use the Harbeth Monitor 20 - the Monitor 20 is the same size as the LS3/5A and as Alan Shaw said at the time "would be what the BBC would have done if the LS3/5A was designed today".

I would have actually bought the Monitor 20 a few years ago, but wanted an active monitor of that size, so bought the K+H O110D and then upgraded to the ME-Geithain RL906 (and then bought the company that distributed MEG in the UK).

Oh - and all these pass the "speech test" :thumbup: For me to deem a monitor acceptable it HAS to reptoduce human speech naturally and without colouration. If it cannot do this I would not call it an accurate monitor.
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby Arpangel » Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:44 pm

John Willett wrote:Oh - and all these pass the "speech test" :thumbup: For me to deem a monitor acceptable it HAS to reptoduce human speech naturally and without colouration. If it cannot do this I would not call it an accurate monitor.

My current KEF based speakers also pass the speech test, I put them in the basement one day when my partner was away, and replaced them with a pair of Behringer 3030's, which are actually "OK" but when my partner got back and heard the results even she went mad, I went down to the basement and brought back my massive KEF's, and played a lot of music side by side with the Behringers, she said " yours sound like Tony Bennett is in the room, the others sound awful, voices sound really natural, put them back!"
It's that KEF midrange unit, it's a classic.
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby ef37a » Thu Nov 21, 2019 2:14 pm

Had a skim of the .pdf Hugh and will look harder later but I could not find an amplifier mentiioned? Quad 50E mayhap?

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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Nov 21, 2019 3:26 pm

The LS3/5A was a passive speaker. It was mostly used with a compact 50W mono amplifier called the AM8/12 in BBC parlance, but it was manufactured by HH.

Here's a pic of one with the lid removed. It had a power switch and volume knob on the front (which was normally maxed and level controlled from the desk's monitor section):
6888375141_956822bfac_c.jpg


And here are the rear connections:
6888103763_6924f0683d_c.jpg


Note the hideous Painton connectors used for input and output! Thankfully, it also had a B-gauge balanced jack socket for the input which is what we mostly used. The output cable had the nasty Painton connector at one end, and a female XLR at the other to plug into the speaker's male XLR.

Mains power to the amp was via a Cannon LNE mains-XLR. Secure... but it failed the finger test rules in the 1980s and became outlawed! (I still have one on my home-built Powertran DDL! ssshhh... :silent: )

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