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Quest for a better sound starts in May.


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3 minutes ago, plasticpenguin said:

Thanks for the suggestions. Problem is the speakers need to sound good at lower volumes, so speakers around the 4 ohms such as those Neats probably need a ballsy amp to hear at their best. 

ProAcs, so I've been told, sound best with a valve amp or a smooth SS amp.

Heard the PMC Twenty 23 -- very good but hate the look of them.

My list for so, which will be shortened no doubt:

Dynaudio 40s.

Dali Rubicon 2

Monitor Audio Gold 100 (again might not excel at low levels)

 Active speaker of some description.

Or may just plump for a Harbeth P3 with a sub, or something similar such as PMC DB1i with a sub.

That all said, it might just need a change of amp.

I was also wondering about the ATC19s or the smaller SCM11s. Might need a change of amp though as these speakers do thrive off current.

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12 minutes ago, plasticpenguin said:

Thanks for the suggestions. Problem is the speakers need to sound good at lower volumes, so speakers around the 4 ohms such as those Neats probably need a ballsy amp to hear at their best.

Small speakers with small mid-woofers that produce a bit of bass extension will always have low sensitivity and produce high distortion.

But if you intend to listen at lower volumes and complement them with a sub then you won't need a lot of power.

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22 minutes ago, plasticpenguin said:

That all said, it might just need a change of amp.

When you had a change of Amp (Tucana), did it give you what you are looking for?

FWIW. I think if you are looking for a fairly profound change - then a Sub, with whatever speakers, will give you that.

If you like the PMCs that you have, it frees up more budget to spend on a better Sub. 

Does the Pulse have a Pre Out to connect to a Sub?

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You’ve got a decent budget, so that does open up a lot of options.

The Dynaudio S40’s are great speakers and well worth an audition. They do some things really well – rhythms, midrange punch, smooth detail and scale for their size. You’ll need to hear them in your room though, as they need a lot of space around them, not to sound a bit muddy. They do sound great at low – moderate volumes, as the tweeter is so revealing (but silky smooth).

I home demoed the ATC SCM11 and found them superb at lower volumes, driven by a 120W per channel Arcam SA30. Never did I feel that they were lacking in dynamics, punch or detail and they were up there with the very best I’ve heard. However, yes they probably do still need a decent amount of current to get going. Not listened to the SCM19’s (would love to though), but heard they require a bit more oomph behind them, to wake-up that incredibly heavy drive unit. Either way, I’d say some ATC’s are still worth a demo.

Not heard the Monitor Audio’s or Dali’s, so would be interested to hear what you think of them.

Graham Audio LS6 (previously mentioned in this thread) worth a listen if you’re looking to stay with the trad British sound; akin to the LS3/5A sound but more scale and body. As with the Dynaudio’s though, need space around them due to large bass port.

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10 hours ago, plasticpenguin said:

Not mentioned these speakers not because of secrecy but they are irrelevant to the thread and the current situation. They were (and still are) Wharfedale E20. They were good speakers, the 'E' stood for efficiency, and were better suited to affordable valve amps of the time. 

Wharfedale E20's are one of those speakers where I'd like to see reliable independent measurements to verify the manufacturer's claims of 95 db efficiency and 45 hz bass extension. To see if any exageration was going on and how many dbs down these speakers would be at 45 hz.

If the E20 speakers were good, why not consider the high efficiency route again, exept this time done with better engineering?

The E20's weighed 11 kgs. And used an 8" mid-bass driver in a 2 way configuration. Compare that to speakers like Altec Model 19's or 604's or 605's, or EV Sentry III's or JBL Hartsfields or JBL4350's. Etc etc. Or some other DIY blend of high efficiency drivers done to high standards...

10 hours ago, tuga said:

Many high sensitivity 12" or 15" woofers have a very high resonance frequency Fs, The trade-off for high sensitivity is limited bass extension, you can't have both.

That is why 3-way horns (f.e. Klipschorn) tend to produce little low- and hardly any sub-bass.

Avantgarde's workaround is a powered bass module. Or some giant bass-horn modules.

Who needs sub bass when listening to music? Fans of cathedral organ music? For people into rock and pop music, speakers that reproduce bass drums and bass guitars well will meet the main requirements. Sadly the vast majority of modern speakers do not reproduce bass drums and bass guitars well.

If the midrange unit and tweeter of the Klipschorn were padded down to about 98 dbs, they'd be a more tonally neutral speaker.

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21 minutes ago, lindsayt said:

Wharfedale E20's are one of those speakers where I'd like to see reliable independent measurements to verify the manufacturer's claims of 95 db efficiency and 45 hz bass extension. To see if any exageration was going on and how many dbs down these speakers would be at 45 hz.

If the E20 speakers were good, why not consider the high efficiency route again, exept this time done with better engineering?

The E20's weighed 11 kgs. And used an 8" mid-bass driver in a 2 way configuration. Compare that to speakers like Altec Model 19's or 604's or 605's, or EV Sentry III's or JBL Hartsfields or JBL4350's. Etc etc. Or some other DIY blend of high efficiency drivers done to high standards...

Who needs sub bass when listening to music? Fans of cathedral organ music? For people into rock and pop music, speakers that reproduce bass drums and bass guitars well will meet the main requirements. Sadly the vast majority of modern speakers do not reproduce bass drums and bass guitars well.

If the midrange unit and tweeter of the Klipschorn were padded down to about 98 dbs, they'd be a more tonally neutral speaker.

They were very good in many aspects... in their day. You have to bear in mind the E series was first produced in the 1970s, when the E90s were first used in cinemas. After that they started producing domestic monitors such as the E70, 50, 30 and 20, I purchased mine from Comet in 1982.

At the end of the day, one has to move on.

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2 minutes ago, plasticpenguin said:

They were very good in many aspects... in their day. You have to bear in mind the E series was first produced in the 1970s, when the E90s were first used in cinemas. After that they started producing domestic monitors such as the E70, 50, 30 and 20, I purchased mine from Comet in 1982.

At the end of the day, one has to move on.

The E20's are only 8" drivers in a standmount,  I would not base your beliefs just on those. I tried some Wharfedale's once, good on vocals but completely lost control on bass guitar. The dealer nearly threw me out, blaming my music. 

The AE active would be worth trying as I think they will be different from what you have. I would check with Richers they have them in stock, when I asked they said they to order them in.

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1 hour ago, CnoEvil said:

When you had a change of Amp (Tucana), did it give you what you are looking for?

FWIW. I think if you are looking for a fairly profound change - then a Sub, with whatever speakers, will give you that.

If you like the PMCs that you have, it frees up more budget to spend on a better Sub. 

Does the Pulse have a Pre Out to connect to a Sub?

Yes, matey, the Tucana was sensational. It ticked every sonic box you could reasonably ask for. Of course there are better but you'd have to spend far more than £3500 new price of the MKII to better it. The down side is I would have factor in for a good phono stage... and the size is nearly double that of the Pulse. If I purchased another Tucana I wouldn't need a sub, as the presentation, although, taut and agile, is also bigger and gives far better 3D than the Pulse. But that's the easy option. I want to challenge myself and system. 

And yes, the Pulse has Pre Outs for a power amp.

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2 minutes ago, StingRay said:

The E20's are only 8" drivers in a standmount,  I would not base your beliefs just on those. I tried some Wharfedale's once, good on vocals but completely lost control on bass guitar. The dealer nearly threw me out, blaming my music. 

The AE active would be worth trying as I think they will be different from what you have. I would check with Richers they have them in stock, when I asked they said they to order them in.

It's true the E series wasn't great in the LFs, but considering I've owned them since 1982, and still in the attic and very usable, think I know more about how they sound than most. And that's bigger than my PMCs which are 6.9 inches, and still bigger than the average modern monitor.

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5 minutes ago, plasticpenguin said:

It's true the E series wasn't great in the LFs, but considering I've owned them since 1982, and still in the attic and very usable, think I know more about how they sound than most. And that's bigger than my PMCs which are 6.9 inches, and still bigger than the average modern monitor.

I think you are missing the point, I'm not saying you don't know how they sound, I'm saying don't judge all high sensitive speakers based on them.

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16 minutes ago, plasticpenguin said:

It's true the E series wasn't great in the LFs, but considering I've owned them since 1982, and still in the attic and very usable, think I know more about how they sound than most. And that's bigger than my PMCs which are 6.9 inches, and still bigger than the average modern monitor.

A larger woofer or even cabinet doesn’t necessarily mean more extended lows. The Purifi 6.5” is a case in point, it can go lower than many 10” with little distortion, but for this reason it requires a lot of current.

Like I said, woofer sensitivity is inversely proportional to low end extension. And woofer excursion is directly proportional to power hunger

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2 hours ago, plasticpenguin said:

Yes, matey, the Tucana was sensational. It ticked every sonic box you could reasonably ask for. Of course there are better but you'd have to spend far more than £3500 new price of the MKII to better it. The down side is I would have factor in for a good phono stage... and the size is nearly double that of the Pulse. If I purchased another Tucana I wouldn't need a sub, as the presentation, although, taut and agile, is also bigger and gives far better 3D than the Pulse. But that's the easy option. I want to challenge myself and system. 

And yes, the Pulse has Pre Outs for a power amp.

A Tucana would get much more out of the Speakers - but won't do what a Sub will do.

I think you need to hear what a good Sub will do and see if that gives the improvement you are looking for. Atm you are missing all frequencies below around 45Hz or so.

A Sub will be like having Full Range TB2is (or whatever you end up with). They will sound the same, but somehow different, once the lower frequencies are filled in.

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On 15/04/2021 at 10:25, plasticpenguin said:

They were very good in many aspects... in their day. You have to bear in mind the E series was first produced in the 1970s, when the E90s were first used in cinemas. After that they started producing domestic monitors such as the E70, 50, 30 and 20, I purchased mine from Comet in 1982.

At the end of the day, one has to move on.

Indeed. And sometimes a great way to move on is by buying stuff that was made earlier.

For example in my speaker journey, my first speakers were made in 1983. Since then I've bought speakers made in - an estimated 1982, 1981, 1965, 1976, 1967. 1973.

There is no correlation to how old and vintagey they sound compared to their actual age. But then, I did go through a phase of very much cherry picking the classic (highly rated) speakers that I bought. As well as looking out for good deals.

Is there a limit to how large a speaker you'd be willing to have in your home? And would it depend to some extent on whether it was designed to be used with free space around it, or with it's back to the wall or right in the corner? EG big speaker pulled out into the room = no no. Big speaker against the wall = OK?

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3 hours ago, lindsayt said:

Indeed. And sometimes a great way to move on is by buying stuff that was made earlier.

For example in my speaker journey, my first speakers were made in 1983. Since then I've bought speakers made in - an estimated 1982, 1981, 1965, 1976, 1967. 1973.

There is no correlation to how old and vintagey they sound compared to their actual age. But then, I did go through a phase of very much cherry picking the classic (highly rated) speakers that I bought. As well as looking out for good deals.

Is there a limit to how large a speaker you'd be willing to have in your home? And would it depend to some extent on whether it was designed to be used with free space around it, or with it's back to the wall or right in the corner? EG big speaker pulled out into the room = no no. Big speaker against the wall = OK?

That's the issue I'm faced with. Currently the way the room is configurated the speakers can only fire across the narrow side -- that's approx 18 foot x 11 something foot. I'm currently sitting about 8 feet from the speakers (approx), which, of course, limits the choice (picture taken in circa 2012). It shows roughly that I can't go for huge speakers.

As it stands the current combo doesn't sound like a typical modern set-up: it has a kinda organic or old skool sound to it, which I like. The sensible side of me would say "don't be a wussy, just buy a darn Tucana", as it doesn't mess with the presentation, other than giving it a much broader soundscape.

But I have a need to explore different brands to take me out of the comfort zone. 

So I'll try various speakers first, and if that doesn't give me lift in sound I'm looking for, it's then a change of amp.

DSCF0896 (300x225) - Copy.jpg

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On 15/04/2021 at 12:31, CnoEvil said:

A Tucana would get much more out of the Speakers - but won't do what a Sub will do.

I think you need to hear what a good Sub will do and see if that gives the improvement you are looking for. Atm you are missing all frequencies below around 45Hz or so.

A Sub will be like having Full Range TB2is (or whatever you end up with). They will sound the same, but somehow different, once the lower frequencies are filled in.

Of course a Tucana can't do what a sub does, but it has a bigger, broader sound without losing any of the Leema agility. As I've never demoed a sub before I have little clue on the sound in the real world. The only sub I heard was at What Hi-fi towers in 2009, when I participated in the Big Q. They had your Arcam AVR 600 with Mordaunt Short Performance 6 speakers -- that was cracking but their demo rooms are bigger than my living room. 

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