Domestic compromises and low level listening

Amormusic

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I don't like it too loud either. An excellent amp, including at low volumes would be a Sugden A21a Signature. I was using mine with reasonably efficient 90db speakers at it sounds sublime at all volumes. I'd recommend getting one of these into your room for a listen.

There's also a black one for sale on here atm...
 

simon ess

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I've been following this thread with interest. Living in a terraced house and with ageing ears I need to get the best sound I can at quite low volumes most of the time.
I'm using a Sugden A21a with 90db speakers.
I just felt that I was missing a bit of base impact that I like and a bit of upper mids.
I've put a Schiit Loki tone control into the mix and I'm delighted. No alteration I can detect whatsoever when the bypass switch is used but a huge improvement exactly how I want after a play with the knobs.
I totally get the don't add anything to the chain thinking, but sometimes compromise is necessary and, in my situation, preferable.
 

hearhere

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There's a pair of Unos available s/h over in Bungay.
In fact, that particular pair of Unos were my fisrt AG speakers. There are a good pair, having the SUB225 bass enclosure (avoid the ones with 7" drivers) and the drivers have roll surrounds (avoid any with foam surrounds). That pair also has silver internal wiring from new.

The price though seems excessive (as I've mentioned to the seller), as I paid £4200 for them brand new in 2002 - with a good dealer discount. They certainly hold value very well as I sold them 3 or 4 years ago for what I paid. I suspect a pair of good Unos of that spec and condition should now cost £4K or a little less. Make an offer?

I doubt you can get better sound from any speakers for that sort of price. Those Unos were chosen by Stereophile as their Joint Speaker of the Year - together with an $85K Dynaudio system. Theryre that good! Most people of the female gender really like the look of those big bold horns and white is the easiest domestically!
 

hifinutt

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And an alternative amp could be the Norma 140. There is a chap on here called @marko who had a ton of valve amps and moved to this Norma amp with Audio Note speakers and he seems very happy. By contrast to the Accuphase the Norma had a warmer smoother sound.

i had the lovely norma 70b here . not sure it was any better than any other amps at low level listening though
 
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T-elmi

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The Vitus RI-101 is very good at low/mid volume compared with Naim NAP 250dR or Chord Etude that I have also had over the last 2 years, The Naim 300DR is also good at low volume, but it introduces the mid-bass “hump”.
 

hificricketboy

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The Vitus RI-101 is very good at low/mid volume compared with Naim NAP 250dR or Chord Etude that I have also had over the last 2 years, The Naim 300DR is also good at low volume, but it introduces the mid-bass “hump”.
I had seen the Vitus in the classifieds... 🤔
 

dhansak

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Very good point. The downside is that any device for shaping frequency response will introduce some kind of added coloration. I prefer to simply live with less deep bass and extreme treble. If you don't expect more you don't miss it.

It would be worth posting a simple diagram of the FM curves so we can actually see what's happening at lower volumes.
I do sometimes lift the treble using my G68 when I’m listening at lower levels.
 
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Psilonaught

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In fact, that particular pair of Unos were my fisrt AG speakers. There are a good pair, having the SUB225 bass enclosure (avoid the ones with 7" drivers) and the drivers have roll surrounds (avoid any with foam surrounds). That pair also has silver internal wiring from new.

The price though seems excessive (as I've mentioned to the seller), as I paid £4200 for them brand new in 2002 - with a good dealer discount. They certainly hold value very well as I sold them 3 or 4 years ago for what I paid. I suspect a pair of good Unos of that spec and condition should now cost £4K or a little less. Make an offer?

I doubt you can get better sound from any speakers for that sort of price. Those Unos were chosen by Stereophile as their Joint Speaker of the Year - together with an $85K Dynaudio system. Theryre that good! Most people of the female gender really like the look of those big bold horns and white is the easiest domestically!
AG speakers are probably the only speakers I'd seriously consider swapping my Magnepan 20.1 for, I'd love to hear a pair through my Atma-sphere amps and 45 preamp.

That and a pair of Apogee full range
 
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hearhere

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The other option might be to try some magnepan LRS without subs, since you say you listen to a lot of vocal music. They

AG speakers are probably the only speakers I'd seriously consider swapping my Magnepan 20.1 for, I'd love to hear a pair through my Atma-sphere amps and 45 preamp.

That and a pair of Apogee full range
I used SETs to power my Unos for 17 years or so, but decided I’d listen to far more music if I could find an equally good sounding ss amp. After a multi-amp home demo session, I went for a Class D amp. No regrets.

interesting that Ralph of Atma-sphere has developed his own Class D amp that he considers outshines his OTLs. I’m wailing for an integrated from his company.
 

MartinC

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Watching John Darko's review video of the Burchardt A700 active speakers I was interested to find they have a built-in loudness compensation (see about 9 minutes in):

 

hearhere

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SWMBO doesn't like the horn
What I liked least about the appearance of the Unos (and Duos for that matter) is the "scaffolding" used by AG to support the mid and top horns. I decided to ditch thiese upright supports fixed to the sides of the bass enclosure and substitute an F bracket fixed to the back and supporting the horn tubes from below. This serioiusly slims down these speakers and makes them far more visually acceptable. AG themselves seem to approve this design change as current Unos don't use this scaffolding.

If you were to acquire a pair, I could let you have drawings for the F frame. Most other parts are from the leftovers after removing the uprights.

The F Frame works equally with the Uno or Duo.

I've done much the same with the current Duo XDs, thogh I've used a bracket similar to the one employed on the Mezzo to support the mid-horn - another worthwhile sliiming down achievement!
 

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hificricketboy

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The scaffolding approach is a bit industrial. Your revised support looks a lot slicker.

If I can't get away with this little horn, there's no way the Unos would cross the threshold...
wp35981fdb_05_06.jpg
 

Non-Smoking Man

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Hi Rob,
You are already on the right lines, viz. high sensitivity speakers and SET valve amps. (The 'First Watt' principle..)
I'm well known as a low level listener amongst our Wam South Coast group - visitors are always commenting that I should crank it up a bit for them.
My main system is active horns but they are ruled out, so I suggest you make a beeline for Lancaster from the West Midlands and snap up my Jantzen TQWT floorstanders that Toms Wait is moving on.
They are cracking speakers and I think they are the equal of the LVs that you have but usefully more efficient.
Also, @ £550 they are a bargain.
A sub isnt a bad idea too based on my experience and the opinion of associates. I advise a damping platform under the sub. As it is bass that travels (into the next room) if the sub is active, as most domestic ones are, then you can control the bass, or even switch it out depending on who is in the house/flat.


Jack NSM
 
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Sotosound

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I'm trying to work out what the real problem is that needs to be solved.

My good lady and myself listen together, and we often listen together at slightly higher volume in order to get the impact that slightly higher volume can supply. The sound through my system at higher volumes is, however, not piercing or harsh or boomy etc. and doesn't therefore hurt in any way.

So, exactly what is it that makes your good lady so sensitive to sound that she considers what might be viewed by many as "quiet" as "too loud"? An understanding of this seems an essential requirement inasmuch I believe that it is exactly that issue which must be addressed. Without this knowledge one might simply be shooting in the dark.

Does this make sense?
 
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hificricketboy

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I'm trying to work out what the real problem is that needs to be solved.

My good lady and myself listen together, and we often listen together at slightly higher volume in order to get the impact that slightly higher volume can supply. The sound through my system at higher volumes is, however, not piercing or harsh or boomy etc. and doesn't therefore hurt in any way.

So, exactly what is it that makes your good lady so sensitive to sound that she considers what might be viewed by many as "quiet" as "too loud"? An understanding of this seems an essential requirement inasmuch I believe that it is exactly that issue which must be addressed. Without this knowledge one might simply be shooting in the dark.

Does this make sense?
I do understand the question. It is the volume that she is comfortable listening at. The system is fairly balanced never goes boomy or sharp as volume increases - it just loses the imaging and presentation to some extent at lower volumes.

Currently we're listening to that metal godess Adele at peak sound pressure of about 60 dB and that is regarded as OK. I realise others would disagree regarding the material as well as the SPL.

I would listen slightly louder if alone, but not by much but probably not to Adele. It might be an age thing, I don't know.

It would appear I am not alone when you read all the responses.
 

Sotosound

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I do understand the question. It is the volume that she is comfortable listening at. The system is fairly balanced never goes boomy or sharp as volume increases - it just loses the imaging and presentation to some extent at lower volumes.

Currently we're listening to that metal godess Adele at peak sound pressure of about 60 dB and that is regarded as OK. I realise others would disagree regarding the material as well as the SPL.

I would listen slightly louder if alone, but not by much but probably not to Adele. It might be an age thing, I don't know.

It would appear I am not alone when you read all the responses.
Understood, thanks.
 
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Jezzer

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I live in a top floor new build corner apartment and, while I have played quite loud - anything from jazz to techno - at over 80dB after midnight, my late night listening tends to hover at about 70dB. I’ve had no complaints from the gent downstairs or the couple next door. As others have mentioned, having a highly resolving system tends to help. My Focal Kantas are quite efficient at 88dB and sound great at low volume (I find that some brands of speakers - such as Dynaudio - don’t come ‘on song’ until they’re given some welly). Laura Marling sounding mighty fine right now…

… 60dB peak seems awfully quiet to my ears! (my db meter phone app is currently showing 72db peak)
 
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