You are here

July 2016: Pioneer monitors

For feedback and suggestions about the SOS magazine, app, web site or forums.

Re: July 2016: Pioneer monitors

Postby ef37a » Thu Jul 21, 2016 8:49 am

Morning Hugh , (bit late back, been V poorly)

Yes, I can see that measuring the very low residual noise if something the quality of the Neumanns is problematic (though I don't get the "which driver" question? Surely Ns can run to more than one mic and add the signals? )
But than at this level I would not expect there to be a problem despite the fact that it is, all other things being equal, harder to make really low noise high power PAs than run of the mill 20 and 50 watt jobs. The problem is really at the sub £300pr monitor level and in the absence of any test or specification self noise seems to get ignored. I can assure you that barely a couple of months passes without a question in the one other recording forum I infest such as "should my monitors hiss?" Of course, quite often the reason is poor setup/gain staging or a other reason such as we learn (eventually!) that the monitors are being driven from a less than stellar laptop jack! Even so, I would estimate a good 4 or 5 instances a year come down to the monitors.

I can see that reviewers are "stretched" a bit but do they ALWAYS just listen to monitors in a quiet room?

Your comment that you DO use a reference system does not I fear come across to me Hugh? The reviewers of old did, I admit have a rather more "regimented" approach but one that gave month by month consistency.

Sorry for my assumption that SOS was born of Studio Sound? All I can say is the early staff at SOS must have read a SHEDLOAD of the old mags and absorbed the general "feel"!

I have been reading reviews of hi fi and other sound systems now for over 50 years and I do not recall a single instance where a system, say integrated amp into KEFs produced any audible noise at the listening position. Building really low noise electronics has never been easier or cheaper, really a poor show to get this wrong.

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11050
Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 12:00 am
Location: northampton uk

Re: July 2016: Pioneer monitors

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Jul 21, 2016 10:18 am

ef37a wrote:...been V poorly...

Very sorry to hear that Dave. Hope you're on the mend now.

I don't get the "which driver" question?

The normal speaker measurement arrangement is with a single mic positioned on the 'acoustic axis' of the speaker -- typically a point roughly level with the very top of the bass/midrange driver. However, bringing the mic in much closer will obviously tend to favour whichever speaker it is closer to,l and thus distort the resulting self-noise figure unfairly. Moving the mic up directly on-axis to the tweeter would give a much higher self-noise figure. I guess you could employ multiple mics on-axis to each driver, but that complicates things further and you have the additional noise contributions from the mics and their preamps to consider... As the chap said, it's more complicated than it first appears...

I can assure you that barely a couple of months passes without a question in the one other recording forum I infest such as "should my monitors hiss?"

I don't doubt it, Dave. Obviously, part of this is that you get what you pay for, and cheaper speakers are almost inevitably going to be using poorer designs and cheaper parts. There's also the increasing likelihood -- as you say -- that the users won't have sufficient knowledge or experience to understand and configure the gain structure properly, and may also incur ground-loop related problems creating additional unwanted noise which they ascribe to the monitors rather than the system installation as a whole.

I can see that reviewers are "stretched" a bit but do they ALWAYS just listen to monitors in a quiet room?

Clearly I can't comment on how other reviewers do it... but it would seem pretty pointless trying to assess monitors in anything other than a quiet room! And the team do try to commission reviewers with a proven track record of knowing what they are doing.

The reviewers of old did, I admit have a rather more "regimented" approach but one that gave month by month consistency.

Times change... today the idea of keeping a tame test and measurement engineer on the team, and paying a sufficient rate to fund the necessarily expensive facilities and equipment is simply not an economically viable one. Added to which SOS reviews four times as much product every month than dear old Hugh Ford at Studio Sound ever did.

All I can say is the early staff at SOS must have read a SHEDLOAD of the old mags and absorbed the general "feel"!

;) Better ask Ian -- he conceived the original style and ethos of the magazine with his brother Paul. I dare say they were familiar with Studio Sound, but the intended audience was entirely different. Speaking personally, I started buying and reading Studio Sound every month from December 1976 when I was just sixteen after coming across it in my local library. It probably was the original driving factor that shaped my entire career -- although I didn't realise it at the time.

I do not recall a single instance where a system, say integrated amp into KEFs produced any audible noise at the listening position.

Entirely different situation. No one reading hi-fi magazines sat within a metre of their hi-fi speakers; most would be at least 2 metres away and often rather more, reducing the audibility of amplifier noise dramatically!

Today, we're talking about speakers on table-tops and production desk shelves often less than a metre from the ears. Very different situation with very different demands on the self-noise performance. I'm struggling to think of a vintage hi-fi system (ie in the 60/70s/80s) where you couldn't hear amplifier hiss if you put an ear relatively near a tweeter.

Building really low noise electronics has never been easier or cheaper, really a poor show to get this wrong.

I quite agree... I'm not hugely familiar with the budget end of the market, but I believe there are plenty of well-designed, effective budget active speakers around, balanced against a few disappointing rogue models. I'd like to think that all our reviewers would spot and comment upon any undesirable attributes of the products they review -- like unacceptable levels of self-noise. But at the end of the day it's still true that you get what you pay for.

H
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 25411
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: July 2016: Pioneer monitors

Postby ef37a » Thu Jul 21, 2016 10:50 am

Don't want to go on but I would take issue with a couple of your points Hugh!

"Old" hi fi systems: You might have sat 2mtrs+ away from your KEF R105s in your baronial mansion but many people had to sit quite close to "bookshelf" speakers. In my modest living room I am but 1.6mtrs from my home system speakers.

If you discount valve circuits there was never a time when even mid priced audio gear could not return decent noise figures. Power amplifiers specced at -100dB below full power were quite common. Yes, lug at tweeter would detect some hiss but not I would aver at 300mm and certainly not 1mtr. Then, no noise at 1mtr compared to no noise at 2mtrs implies an improvement of 6dB? Surely anyone can do that these days?

And I meant (blast you!) that reviewers should sit with the speakers WITH NO PROGRAMME running! IN a quiet room of course! This done AFTER setup but before listening tests since that would cause minor muttoning.

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11050
Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 12:00 am
Location: northampton uk

Re: July 2016: Pioneer monitors

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Jul 21, 2016 11:17 am

ef37a wrote:And I meant (blast you!) that reviewers should sit with the speakers WITH NO PROGRAMME running! IN a quiet room of course! This done AFTER setup but before listening tests since that would cause minor muttoning.

Er... yes! Clearly, you can't assess system self-noise with programme running!

What I do, and I suspect other reviewers take a similar approach, is to set up a sensible system gain structure and listening level first (and place the speakers at a listening distance to replicate the expected use, of course). Only after that is it possible to assess the self-noise in any meaningful way. If a speaker is unacceptably noisy, that will become very obvious during the (silent) gaps between auditioning tracks.

In respect of listening distances and hi-fi, I can't think of any time where my listening position was closer than about 2m (6ft) from either speaker, and that includes the university rooms, bedsits, and my first minuscule mid-terrace house.

I've just asked my man-servant to check the distances in the West Wing listening room in my current baronial mansion... but he hasn't come back yet. I fear he's got lost in the wine cellar again... :lol:

H
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 25411
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: July 2016: Pioneer monitors

Postby Backr » Tue Aug 23, 2016 9:00 pm

I can get these monitors new for $1000 which is a pretty good price. I'm tempted to order them but after reading some other reviews and opinions on the internet I'm not so sure anymore. Though I get the feeling that some people have a preconceived opinion when they see the Pioneer logo.

Phil, how do these compare to other monitors in that price range? APS Klasik are pretty high on my list - have you tried them?
Backr
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2016 12:31 am

Re: July 2016: Pioneer monitors

Postby Mike Stranks » Tue Aug 23, 2016 10:21 pm

Backr wrote:I can get these monitors new for Backr000 which is a pretty good price. I'm tempted to order them but after reading some other reviews and opinions on the internet I'm not so sure anymore. Though I get the feeling that some people have a preconceived opinion when they see the Pioneer logo.

Phil, how do these compare to other monitors in that price range? APS Klasik are pretty high on my list - have you tried them?

I don't know Phil and have never met him... but knowing his background and having read many of his reviews he's one of only two people whose written reviews I trust implicitly. The other, of course, is one H Robjohns...

If Phil says they're good... and equally if Phil says they're not good... :D
Mike Stranks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6926
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 1:00 am

Previous

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users