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Actives.

Blzebub

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A few people have spoken about owners of passive speakers box swapping. But I wonder how much more power amp swapping goes on over those that own actives. I can’t think a single reason why I would change my power amp but I could be persuaded to change my preamp if an SP20 came up at the right price and that’s mostly because the SP20 has a headphone socket and my SP17 doesn’t.
I am a former power amp/passive speaker junkie. Having climbed the slippery staircase of Naim power amps from 140 - 250 - 135s, and oh what fun it all was, but this behaviour came to an abrupt end when I got my first pair of ATC actives. My Naim dealer was not happy when he found out what I'd done, because I was removed from the pool of people hoping to get a NAP 500.
 
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rdale

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That’s because actives will kill a lot of sales which is not good for the dealers. My view of mags is to promote products and then they get advertising revenue.
Most products they review are sold by dealers, it is all part of the network. The UK market is different from the US.
I’ve got a system based on the original KEF LS50Ws and KEF R400b subwoofers which I bought from a mainstream UK dealer - Audio T. Both speakers were frequently reviewed in the HiFi press, especially the LS50Ws. So I don’t think there is any conspiracy to avoid selling active systems, it’s more that most people want to buy separates and manufacturers make what people want to buy.

I think using plenty of acoustic treatment is an important part of the ‘active speaker mindset’ which studio professionals have, but audiophiles usually don’t. I personally am very much into acoustic treatment, and it does puzzle me why it isn’t more popular amongst audiophiles. With my KEF based system I was creating a listening environment where the room acoustics and treatment is as important as the active speaker system. That isn’t the same as plonking an equipment rack and passive speakers in a normal untreated living room, which is still popular but not very cost effective for getting the best sound.
 
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Lurch

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I think the reason why room treatment (panels etc) are not a common part of the audiophile way is that most of those into hifi are men. These men on the whole tend to coexist in the listening space with a member of the taste police who are invariably women. These women tend to veto the use of acoustic additions to the family living environment, and are also capable of producing a noise far more offensive to the male of the species than that produced by an untreated room.
 

tuga

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I’ve got a system based on the original KEF LS50Ws and KEF R400b subwoofers which I bought from a mainstream UK dealer - Audio T. Both speakers were frequently reviewed in the HiFi press, especially the LS50Ws. So I don’t think there is any conspiracy to avoid selling active systems, it’s more that most people want to buy separates and manufacturers make what people want to buy.

I think using plenty of acoustic treatment is an important part of the ‘active speaker mindset’ which studio professionals have, but audiophiles usually don’t. I personally am very much into acoustic treatment, and it does puzzle me why it isn’t more popular amongst audiophiles. With my KEF based system I was creating a listening environment where the room acoustics and treatment is as important as the active speaker system. That isn’t the same as plonking an equipment rack and passive speakers in a normal untreated living room, which is still popular but not very cost effective for getting the best sound.

I agree that room treatment should be a top priority, but it is almost always very ugly and really only an option for bachelors or those fortunate enough to own a man-cave...
 

StingRay

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I think the reason why room treatment (panels etc) are not a common part of the audiophile way is that most of those into hifi are men. These men on the whole tend to coexist in the listening space with a member of the taste police who are invariably women. These women tend to veto the use of acoustic additions to the family living environment, and are also capable of producing a noise far more offensive to the male of the species than that produced by an untreated room.
Partly the reason although I don’t suffer that problem at the moment but have not gone into room treatment apart from hanging a tapestry that I already had. I did look into reducing reflections on the back wall but don’t think I need to now. I do cover the tv screen sometimes which is between the speakers but it makes very little difference. Looks and expense are other reasons. Some if they rent may not be able to use room treatment. Room treatment is hardly mentioned in the HiFi press and gets little promotion. But I’ve seen expensive systems in untreated rooms, why spend say £300,000 on a system and nothing on the room, especially when the room is very echoey. I have wall to wall carpet, if I bought a house with laminate floor I would put carpet on top, hate the sound of rooms with laminate.
 
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rdale

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I think the reason why room treatment (panels etc) are not a common part of the audiophile way is that most of those into hifi are men. These men on the whole tend to coexist in the listening space with a member of the taste police who are invariably women. These women tend to veto the use of acoustic additions to the family living environment, and are also capable of producing a noise far more offensive to the male of the species than that produced by an untreated room.
I'm a man and I don't have a partner to veto my acoustic treatment. But I personally think acoustic treatment can be very attractive and an asset to a room's decor. The tricky part is that you need the right sort of treatment in the right places according to physics, at the same time as choosing the finishes and colours so that they look attractive. Maybe most individuals or couples would find it difficult to combine both of these judgements.
 

MVJ

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I think the reason why room treatment (panels etc) are not a common part of the audiophile way is that most of those into hifi are men. These men on the whole tend to coexist in the listening space with a member of the taste police who are invariably women. These women tend to veto the use of acoustic additions to the family living environment, and are also capable of producing a noise far more offensive to the male of the species than that produced by an untreated room.
Perfectly put John👍
 

hearhere

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I agree that room treatment should be a top priority, but it is almost always very ugly and really only an option for bachelors or those fortunate enough to own a man-cave...
Even single guys baulk at the idea of cluttering up their nicely furnished living rooms with acoustic junk. A bit harsh, but it's pretty unsightly and normally stands out like a sore thumb.

My semi-circular, mostly glazed room presented serious problems when I first moved in with little furniture and no carpets or curtains. Careful addition and placement of additional soft furnishings, 30% of the floor area now carpeted and (always open) curtains handing from 5 places has made a massive improvement, such that DSP room correction results in a less life-like sound than using no filter. So I'm pleased - and still my room looks pretty acceptable, even for my visitors of the female persuasion!
 
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hearhere

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I use Dirac Live in my living room because quite frankly, the room needs it. I tend to agree about the digital processing affecting the purity/tone a bit in the mids/treble, so I too just apply to the bass.
Ah, you've missed something there! With Dirac Live when built into a full range amp that serves your entire speaker system, you can't avoid the top end passing through the processor, even though it may not be ADJUSTED in any way. The NADs that have DL included have the version of DL that adjusts only sub-500 Hz, but (think about it) the entire signal (including top end) needs to pass through the processor. The only way to protect the top end is to crossover before the DSP and send only the bass through it, allowing the top end to reach the speakers unmolested. This requires active XO and bi-amping.
 

tuga

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Even single guys baulk at the idea of cluttering up their nicely furnished living rooms with acoustic junk. A bit harsh, but it's pretty unsightly and normally stands out like a sore thumb.

My semi-circular, mostly glazed room presented serious problems when I first moved in with little furniture and no carpets or curtains. Careful addition and placement of additional soft furnishings, 30% of the floor area now carpeted and (always open) curtains handing from 5 places has made a massive improvement, such that DSP room correction results in a less life-like sound than using no filter. So I'm pleased - and still my room looks pretty acceptable, even for my visitors of the female persuasion!

Your room is amazing as a living space but one that is particularly tricky from an acoustics point of view...

Perhaps we should add "room treatment" AND "choosing a room that is adequate to the reproduction of recorded music" to the top priorities list. :ROFLMAO:

(narrow-directivity horns, thick curtains and thick carpets are the way to go)
 

tuga

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I use Dirac Live in my living room because quite frankly, the room needs it. I tend to agree about the digital processing affecting the purity/tone a bit in the mids/treble, so I too just apply to the bass.
@hearhere 's room has some peculiar requirements which cannot be solved with DRC (alone).
 

hearhere

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Your room is amazing as a living space but one that is particularly tricky from an acoustics point of view...

Perhaps we should add "room treatment" AND "choosing a room that is adequate to the reproduction of recorded music" to the top priorities list. :ROFLMAO:

(narrow-directivity horns, thick curtains and thick carpets are the way to go)
Thanks, but the inital problems that were obvious when I moved here have effectively been resolved by the additional furnishings, carpets over 30% of the floor and lightweight curtains. Using highly directional horns that are pretty forgiving regarding side and rear walls (or lack of them) I reckon my seet spot is spot on - and audiophile visitors agree. However horns offer a notoriously small sweet spot, so nearby seating is less good and my dining and kitchen areas (behind the speakers) is decidedly lacking in top end detail. After experimenting with electrostatics that squirt as much energy backwards as forwards, I concluded their sweet spot was nowhere near as sweet, although the sound in my dining area and kitchen was far better than the horns. I stuck with the horns and live with the less good sound elsewhere in the room.
 

tuga

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Thanks, but the inital problems that were obvious when I moved here have effectively been resolved by the additional furnishings, carpets over 30% of the floor and lightweight curtains. Using highly directional horns that are pretty forgiving regarding side and rear walls (or lack of them) I reckon my seet spot is spot on - and audiophile visitors agree. However horns offer a notoriously small sweet spot, so nearby seating is less good and my dining and kitchen areas (behind the speakers) is decidedly lacking in top end detail. After experimenting with electrostatics that squirt as much energy backwards as forwards, I concluded their sweet spot was nowhere near as sweet, although the sound in my dining area and kitchen was far better than the horns. I stuck with the horns and live with the less good sound elsewhere in the room.
And there's also habituation.
 

karlsushi

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No doubt room correction software has been a game changer for many people, myself included, that need to balance their interest in hifi with a family home that has little chance of being turned into a music studio.

I use Dirac in my living room because without it, my system sounds significantly worse, but I wouldn't use it if I could avoid it.

I don't use it in my second system in a smaller room with near-field speakers, because the tables turn in that room.

Surely the best advice is to leave DSP as a last resort. If you can sort your room without it, then don't bother.

But it seems there are few companies pedalling a 'DSP first' mentality nowadays, which seems counterintuitive to the 'less is more' mindset, which for the record, is the philosophy that I subscribe to.
 
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hearhere

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But it seems there are few companies pedalling a 'DSP first' mentality nowadays, which seems counterintuitive to the 'less is more' mindset, which for the record is my personal approach.
Couldn't agree more - as you said DSP should be a last resort not a first one.

For people who can't, for one reason or another, set up their speakers propely themselves, the advantages of DSP may outweigh the disadvantages, particularly in multi-speaker AV setups, but 2-channel users who don't need subs should examine their speaker setup (or often their choice of speaker type) to see how they can get them singing without DSP.

Where DSP may be of big benefit is for DIY speaker builders who don't have the recources to build umpteen prototypes to get them sounding as good as they hope for. If the DIY speaker has a frequency response curve all over the place (as is very likely) then DSP is the obvious solution, but DIYers should consider active speakers where DSP can be applied only to the bass amplifier and driver..
 

steve 57

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Where DSP may be of big benefit is for DIY speaker builders who don't have the recources to build umpteen prototypes to get them sounding as good as they hope for. If the DIY speaker has a frequency response curve all over the place (as is very likely) then DSP is the obvious solution, but DIYers should consider active speakers where DSP can be applied only to the bass amplifier and driver..
You may have a point about some diy, but I've heard many extremely good diy speakers, and the few that I've heard that have used dsp, it's been easy to tell its effect.
To my ears it tends to slow the sound and remove the life or realism.
although I've observed many who don't seem to notice it's effect, usually until its pointed out
 

hearhere

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You may have a point about some diy, but I've heard many extremely good diy speakers, and the few that I've heard that have used dsp, it's been easy to tell its effect.
To my ears it tends to slow the sound and remove the life or realism.
although I've observed many who don't seem to notice it's effect, usually until its pointed out
I couldn't agree more. I've built DIY speakers in the distant past but followed precise drawings from established and well-respected brands - in my case the Wharfedale Airedale from the 1970s. This was their top-of-the-range model and Gilbert Briggs stated in his "Cabinet Handbook", "Although difficult or probably impossible to make at home, we are including drawings as they may be helpful in more remote corners of the earth". Whether he was referring to Guildford, I doubt, but it presented me with a challenge - I had to build an Airedale. I did so, complete with sand-filled panels, quarry tiles, 15", 8" and 3" Wharfedale drivers and XO, all in my home-built huge 6-sided cabinet. I was very chuffed and went on to build a second - for stereo! How they actually measured is another matter, but to me for 20 years or so they were the dog's bollocks! They went through several changes ending up with KEF drivers - 139B "race track" woofer, B110 mid and T33 tweeter - all now facing forward. Bigger bollocks as far as I was concerned!

How good these speakers would have been with a bit of DSP to smooth out the response curve, I can only imagine!

Now, with the benefit of DSP, DIY speaker designers for can cut corners but, as you rightly say, some of the sparkle will be lost from the top end, unless they tread carefully and apply it only to the bass – with multiple amps in an active system.
 
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Tony_J

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Now, with the benefit of DSP, DIY speaker designers for can cut corners but, as you rightly say, some of the sparkle will be lost from the top end, unless they tread carefully and apply it only to the bass – with multiple amps in an active system.
This seems to have become a bit of a myth - that when you apply DSP over the whole range, you lose top end sparkle. Not so in my experience.

Firstly, if you are using DSP as the basis for the crossover, then there's no escaping the fact that DSP is being applied over the whole range.

Secondly, if what is being referred to is applying EQ across the whole range, then that is certainly a choice - and one of the choices that can be made is to enhance the top end sparkle by de-emphasising the rest of the range. In the more sophisticated approaches to DSP such as Dirac, this is formalised by allowing the user to define a "target curve" that tells the DSP engine what the desired FR profile should look like - and its shape is under the user's control.

Certainly, with powerful tools like DSP, there is enormous scope to screw things up if you don't know what you are doing, but there is also enormous scope to create a FR profile that actually matches your listening requirements.
 

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