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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?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 3:37 am
by N i g e l
Tim Gillett wrote: Is it possible what flatters the sound is the beer? Not just for you but for all of us...

cheapest hifi upgrade is a glass of wine/beer !

Alcohol takes the edge off the real time processing ability required to detect a fake soundstage from the real thing.


What i cant get is Studio engineering v HiFi, surely the same thing with a common goal, yet they are two differnt camps.

Active monitor speakers - putting the electronics in a pressure modulated enclosure - thats like having someone tap your valves with a biro in time with the music ???

Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:40 am
by Luke W
N i g e l wrote:
Tim Gillett wrote:
What i cant get is Studio engineering v HiFi, surely the same thing with a common goal, yet they are two differnt camps.

Audio engineers use speakers to listen to their music, and Hi-Fi enthusiasts use music to listen to their speakers.

Or something like that, I'm sure I'm not quoting it perfectly...

Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 10:07 am
by ef37a
Tim Gillett wrote:Unless the NAD is faulty, is driving speakers it's not designed for or is pushed beyond its limits, it's most unlikely to be the weak link in the setup. Is it possible what flatters the sound is the beer? Not just for you but for all of us...

I USED to be of the opinion Tim that power amplifiers of competent design* were subjectively 'perfect' and did not add 'colour' to a signal.
After reading Self on amps I realized that unless the output resistance is extremely low, some loudspeakers with wide variations of impedance could show response iregularities especially if they dipped below 4R.
I still think such an effect would be very subtle and speaker responses are pretty wild, even if driven from a truly near short. Then the marrying up of such a crap amp with a mad Z speaker is quite unlikely?

*You could of course argue that an amplifier that did not have a near zero OPZ was not a competent design anyway?

Dave.

Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 10:20 am
by Arpangel
Chump wrote:I mix on studio monitors but I've got an old NAD 3020 amp based setup in the living room that gives a definite colouration to the sound (I've tried the amp with a few different speaker / room combinations, and its definitely the amp that gives the colouration). Sounds absolutely nothing like my monitors, but is weirdly flattering to pretty much any material I throw at it, and with a beer I think I might prefer it to my monitors. Useless for mixing though.

Chump. I'm not a hi-fI freak, or an obsessive about this subject in any way, but that NAD is absolutely awful, god knows how it became a fave of the hi-fI community.
It's so bad, the top end is searing, a friend had one and he's almost deaf, and even he couldn't stand it. We used to laugh, it was so harsh and toppy. It wasn't a fault, they're all like it.
It will make the smoothest dullest speaker sound like an NS10 on steroids.
It was a product of that obsession with detail in the early 80's, they thought that just by emphasising the upper mid and top it was all you had to do, at the expense of everything else.

Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:40 am
by Sam Spoons
ef37a wrote:
Tim Gillett wrote:Unless the NAD is faulty, is driving speakers it's not designed for or is pushed beyond its limits, it's most unlikely to be the weak link in the setup. Is it possible what flatters the sound is the beer? Not just for you but for all of us...

I USED to be of the opinion Tim that power amplifiers of competent design* were subjectively 'perfect' and did not add 'colour' to a signal.
Dave.

I used to believe that a hifi amp was the last thing to colour the sound. Back in the day I had a Sansui 222 turntable, Celestion Dittion 15 speakers, and a Leak Stereo 30 amp. I upgraded the amp to a used Sugden A48 (one of the orange, silver and brown ones which I still have) and even my wife heard the difference immediately. It was night and day.

Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:43 am
by ef37a
Sam Spoons wrote:
ef37a wrote:
Tim Gillett wrote:Unless the NAD is faulty, is driving speakers it's not designed for or is pushed beyond its limits, it's most unlikely to be the weak link in the setup. Is it possible what flatters the sound is the beer? Not just for you but for all of us...

I USED to be of the opinion Tim that power amplifiers of competent design* were subjectively 'perfect' and did not add 'colour' to a signal.
Dave.

I used to believe that a hifi amp was the last thing to colour the sound. Back in the day I had a Sansui 222 turntable, Celestion Dittion 15 speakers, and a Leak Stereo 30 amp. I upgraded the amp to a used Sugden A48 (one of the orange, silver and brown ones which I still have) and even my wife heard the difference immediately. It was night and day.

Ah! but which one was 'right'?

Dave.

Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:44 am
by Sam Spoons
:D Definitely the Sugden

Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:47 am
by Tim Gillett
ef37a wrote:
Tim Gillett wrote:Unless the NAD is faulty, is driving speakers it's not designed for or is pushed beyond its limits, it's most unlikely to be the weak link in the setup. Is it possible what flatters the sound is the beer? Not just for you but for all of us...

I USED to be of the opinion Tim that power amplifiers of competent design* were subjectively 'perfect' and did not add 'colour' to a signal.
After reading Self on amps I realized that unless the output resistance is extremely low, some loudspeakers with wide variations of impedance could show response iregularities especially if they dipped below 4R.
I still think such an effect would be very subtle and speaker responses are pretty wild, even if driven from a truly near short. Then the marrying up of such a crap amp with a mad Z speaker is quite unlikely?

*You could of course argue that an amplifier that did not have a near zero OPZ was not a competent design anyway?

Dave.
Interestingly the venerable NAD mentioned appears to be rated for minimum load of 8 ohms total. Then examples are now decades old (how are the caps?).

Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:54 am
by Arpangel
Sam Spoons wrote:
ef37a wrote:
Tim Gillett wrote:Unless the NAD is faulty, is driving speakers it's not designed for or is pushed beyond its limits, it's most unlikely to be the weak link in the setup. Is it possible what flatters the sound is the beer? Not just for you but for all of us...

I USED to be of the opinion Tim that power amplifiers of competent design* were subjectively 'perfect' and did not add 'colour' to a signal.
Dave.

I used to believe that a hifi amp was the last thing to colour the sound. Back in the day I had a Sansui 222 turntable, Celestion Dittion 15 speakers, and a Leak Stereo 30 amp. I upgraded the amp to a used Sugden A48 (one of the orange, silver and brown ones which I still have) and even my wife heard the difference immediately. It was night and day.

I had a Stereo 30, it wasn't that good, and it was noisy.
I upgraded to a Quad 303/33 and that sounded much nicer, I had a Thorens TD160 SME/V15, and home-made speakers with 10 inch dual concentric Wharfdales.
Everything has a sound, occasionally I meet engineers, I mean trained electronic engineers, that have this view that if it's right on paper then it doesn't have a sound, and all ampliers sound the same if designed "correctly" and they apply that theory to everything, CD players, mixers, speakers, anything.
The real world, interaction between equipment, component selection, a whole myriad of things that make equipment what it is, and different, never seem to be taken into account.
And they smirk at my view like I'm some sort of alchemist or deluded idiot.
Not all engineers are like this, and, I've had some great friends that have been like this! but we just agree to differ.

Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:56 am
by Tim Gillett
Arpangel wrote:
Chump wrote:I mix on studio monitors but I've got an old NAD 3020 amp based setup in the living room that gives a definite colouration to the sound (I've tried the amp with a few different speaker / room combinations, and its definitely the amp that gives the colouration). Sounds absolutely nothing like my monitors, but is weirdly flattering to pretty much any material I throw at it, and with a beer I think I might prefer it to my monitors. Useless for mixing though.

Chump. I'm not a hi-fI freak, or an obsessive about this subject in any way, but that NAD is absolutely awful, god knows how it became a fave of the hi-fI community.
It's so bad, the top end is searing, a friend had one and he's almost deaf, and even he couldn't stand it. We used to laugh, it was so harsh and toppy. It wasn't a fault, they're all like it.
It will make the smoothest dullest speaker sound like an NS10 on steroids.
It was a product of that obsession with detail in the early 80's, they thought that just by emphasising the upper mid and top it was all you had to do, at the expense of everything else.
If that was typical for the many examples sold, NAD would have , or should have, received many customer complaints within the warranty period, not to mention probably scathing reviews by the reputable HiFi press of the day. Did that occur?

Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 12:13 pm
by Hugh Robjohns
N i g e l wrote:Active monitor speakers - putting the electronics in a pressure modulated enclosure - thats like having someone tap your valves with a biro in time with the music ???

The better (meaning more expensive!) active speaker designs house the electronics in a separate cabinet compartment which is not exposed to the massive pressure variations of the bass driver!

Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 12:22 pm
by Arpangel
Tim Gillett wrote:If that was typical for the many examples sold, NAD would have received many customer complaints within the warranty period, not to mention probably scathing reviews by the reputable HiFi press of the day. Did that occur?

The hi-fi world is very strange, and PR plays a big part.
Just by changing the colour, and removing a few knobs, can make an average unnoticed amplifier sell like hot cakes, and it imediatly gets a "Best Buy"
A friend worked for a top PR company, and he had the accounts for a couple of well known hi-fI companies, and he not only engineered this to happen, but witnessed its success.
Also, unfortunately a lot of people wouldn't know a good sound if it hit them in the face, and they don't care, all they really care about is the name and how it looks, but that's OK, it's their money.
There was a bit of a thing going on in the 80's, some people were saying that a Thorens 160 we'll set-up with a decent arm sounded better than a Linn Sondek, and a guy wrote to a magazine saying that, a month later he wrote in withdrawing his statement, I wonder what side his bread was buttered?
I'm not saying that certain well known brands aren't brilliant, they are, NAD aren't one of them though! I just think that sometimes people fall for the hype and convince themselves that some equipment is actually good when it obviously isn't.
Forget money, pretend it's not an issue, I wouldn't own a Linn turntable, or any British amplifiers, or speakers, I wouldn't say I was a hi-fI freak, I like a combination of looks and sound, a compromise, and I listen to most of my music on a John Lewis portable radio, rarely my stereo, but sometimes it's nice to hear "the big picture" like going to the cinema.
It may seem that I care more about hi-fI than I actually do, but sometimes it's easy to have the wool pulled over our eyes and our wallets emptied, for gear that is basically just not worth it.

Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 12:27 pm
by ef37a
Tim Gillett wrote:
Arpangel wrote:
Chump wrote:I mix on studio monitors but I've got an old NAD 3020 amp based setup in the living room that gives a definite colouration to the sound (I've tried the amp with a few different speaker / room combinations, and its definitely the amp that gives the colouration). Sounds absolutely nothing like my monitors, but is weirdly flattering to pretty much any material I throw at it, and with a beer I think I might prefer it to my monitors. Useless for mixing though.

Chump. I'm not a hi-fI freak, or an obsessive about this subject in any way, but that NAD is absolutely awful, god knows how it became a fave of the hi-fI community.
It's so bad, the top end is searing, a friend had one and he's almost deaf, and even he couldn't stand it. We used to laugh, it was so harsh and toppy. It wasn't a fault, they're all like it.
It will make the smoothest dullest speaker sound like an NS10 on steroids.
It was a product of that obsession with detail in the early 80's, they thought that just by emphasising the upper mid and top it was all you had to do, at the expense of everything else.
If that was typical for the many examples sold, NAD would have , or should have, received many customer complaints within the warranty period, not to mention probably scathing reviews by the reputable HiFi press of the day. Did that occur?

My thoughts exactly. I found a Stereophile review of that NAD and it looked pretty good. Certainly no respose gyrations that would cause any 'colour'.

The point that is alway missed/ignored in these debates it the term "competent design". If an amplifier is noisy it is either faulty or of bad design.
IIRC the Leak Stereo 30 was a very early Quasi complimentary design? These did not deliver good results and the setting for decently low crossover distortion required some skill and patience. Class A power amps are of course free of crossover distortion but rather impractical above about 20W per channel and that would not go far with low sensitivity speakers.

The beardy,tweaky audiophool world was and reamains fickle.

The Quad 303 was hailed as one of the best amplifiers ever made when it first arrived. Then the B.T.A's decided it was 'unmusical' and it was reviled for years. Now they can't get enough of 'em I seem to read?!!

Did Peter Walker ever have to stump up the 2 bags?

Dave.

Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 12:29 pm
by John Willett
N i g e l wrote:Active monitor speakers - putting the electronics in a pressure modulated enclosure - thats like having someone tap your valves with a biro in time with the music ???

Like the crossover in a passive loudspeaker :bouncy:

My own active loudspeaker has the electronics in a sealed compartment separate from the resonant chamber of the loudspeaker itself.

Also - some active loudspeakers have the electronics outside the box and connected by an umbilical.

I far prefer an active design with the amplifiers driving the drivers directly and with an electronic crossover before the amplifiers and the whole thing designed together - rather than having a passive crossover inside the loudspeaker with all the problems that come with a passive crossover.

Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 12:38 pm
by ef37a
Hugh Robjohns wrote:
N i g e l wrote:Active monitor speakers - putting the electronics in a pressure modulated enclosure - thats like having someone tap your valves with a biro in time with the music ???

The better (meaning more expensive!) active speaker designs house the electronics in a separate cabinet compartment which is not exposed to the massive pressure variations of the bass driver!

Even so, transistors, ICs and resistors are not microphonic. Capacitors are to some extent but the gain inside an active monitor is rarely more than 30dB* and the caps would not be a problem (if you tap the coupling caps in the first stage of a valve guitar amp you will hear a 'clunk' but we are talking MASSIVE gains there)

*Many budget 'monitors' do indeed have too much gain and that makes them noisy, a problem reported quite often in forums.

Dave.