My Theory of Sonic Cues to Explain Different Sounding Systems

Kingrex

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We will have to disagree...the electronics are fundamental to good sound, IMO. The other things you mentioned are of course also important. You have to live with a system sometimes to hear where it is falling short. Just visiting, quick in, quick out, will only give you a birdseye view of the sound. A friend of mine has taken care of all this tuning that you mention and still when he puts on his Plinius Class A amp, I dutifully comment that it sounds not bad but the minute we switch to his Ayon Helios PSET or his Unison Research S6 (PSE(UL)) amps I am like "AH...now that's music". For me it is just too obvious that the other amps sound less flat, less grain and more vivid tonality...simply more like live.

it sounds like you have thrown the baby out with the bath water if you are finding your current system can't do all genres well. Maybe it shouldn't but it is nice to have variety... My system sounds really great with rock like Tool and Yes etc. but also with Scandinavian jazz, electronic or classical (particularly chamber music but better recorded bigger works as well). That said, I like to play my rock mostly in the car because of how the sound envelopes you and massages you in a car...It is probably also state dependent learning...I heard most of the great rock through the car radio.
I think you are saying a SET and horn sound more like a real instrument on classical and jazz and other such music. I am not disagreeing. I am saying the listener might not be focusing on this. And for what its worth, Mike and Marty are the only 2 people I know who play classical. Jazdoc plays Jazz. But all the other systems I have heard are playing modern, rock, female singer, electronical etc. Extreme exact reproduction of a synthesizer is not necessarily important.

All listeners with any type of system will recognize the contribution of good power and a well tuned room. I bet only 5% to maybe 15% of people with a nice audio system of say $30K and up listen to jazz and classical. Its a minority population.

Might be interesting to look at total sales of music and see what people are purchasing. I and very confident its not classical and Jazz. Yet the emphasis for designing a system in this forum seems to somehow be designed around precision reproduction of unamplified acoustic instruments. But that is not what people listen too. I even noted The Who at Mike L was outstanding. But I didn't really need to hear every last detail that was buried in the recording. Not for that music. I could be just as satisfied sitting in a room listening to Magico and whatever SS amp. I might even feel more titilated by the experience.
 
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Lagonda

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I think you are saying a SET and horn sound more like a real instrument on classical and jazz and other such music. I am not disagreeing. I am saying the listener might not be focusing on this. And for what its worth, Mike and Marty are the only 2 people I know who play classical. Jazdoc plays Jazz. But all the other systems I have heard are playing modern, rock, female singer, electronical etc. Extreme exact reproduction of a synthesizer is not necessarily important.

All listeners with any type of system will recognize the contribution of good power and a well tuned room. I bet only 5% to maybe 15% of people with a nice audio system of say $30K and up listen to jazz and classical. Its a minority population.

Might be interesting to look at total sales of music and see what people are purchasing. I and very confident its not classical and Jazz. Yet the emphasis for designing a system in this forum seems to somehow be designed around precision reproduction of unamplified acoustic instruments. But that is not what people listen too. I even noted The Who at Mike L was outstanding. But I didn't really need to hear every last detail that was buried in the recording. Not for that music. I could be just as satisfied sitting in a room listening to Magico and whatever SS amp. I might even feel more titilated by the experience.
I purchase used records from different facebook groups here in Denmark, nobody wants classical, whole collections sell for 50 cents to a dollar a record. I have picked up 2-300 mint classical records, even older Deccas for when i cannot sleep ! :rolleyes:
 

Dylan

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I’m a little late to the party, but here is what I wrote on this forum several years ago as part of my introduction. I think I’m saying something like Ron’s original premise:


“Getting back to stereo, my 50 years have established a few guiding principles for me. They apply to my personal evaluation, purchase and enjoyment of equipment.

The first guiding principle is that it is a miracle that a combination of electronic circuits, and paper, plastic, wood and magnets can create anything that would come close to recreating a musical event in our listening space that can draw us in emotionally and suspend our disbelief. I always try keep this in mind when critiquing any piece of audio gear. (The same holds true for other areas of technology- it amazes me that people will criticize their download time on their smartphone, without realizing what a miracle it is that all our smartphones work at all.)

With this in mind, I come with the perspective that any stereo system will fall far short of a live musical performance, so I need to figure out what I am willing to sacrifice to fool me into getting emotionally involved in the music and forget that it is being played from a stereo. My perspective comes as a rock/jazz lover, rather than a classical music lover. So for me, best reproducing a string quartet is not an issue.

For me, most closely reproducing what I hear in a venue allows me to suspend belief. Thus, I don't require the utmost in transparency- I don't have to hear the brushing of the fingers on a guitar to make me believe that it is live. I also don't need to hear the pinpoint of images across a soundstage because that doesn't mirror what I hear when I listen to live music. I need the music to be free of artificial distortions- so static, lead in groove noise or cartridge mistracking destroys it for me. That's why I gave up records for CD's almost immediately (more on that later).

I also don't want to identify music as coming from a woofer or a tweeter. That's why I almost universally have played my speakers with the grills on and lights out- if I can see the woofers and tweeters in my mind's eye, it is a distraction for me. Same with the equipment- glowing vacuum tubes may make some feel warm and cozy, but for me it just constantly reminds me that the music is being reproduced over a stereo system. In short- no distractions to make me think of the equipment and prevent me from getting into the music.

What I do need is a system that can scale from soft to loud without effort or strain, that is coherent without drawing artificial attention to the different transducers, that produces sound that is divorced from the loudspeakers themselves and that has a big enough sound to fill the room at all volume levels. I also need that live tone, rather than the utmost purity of the sound.

I recognize that other people need different things for them to suspend disbelief. Some people need the sound to be etched so that every detail is exposed. Others need dispersed points of sound over a stage (left to right and front to back). Others need every resonance removed from the sound so it is pristine. These are all valid points of view to get that listener to forget that a stereo is playing reproduced music. I don't knock any of these viewpoints. But for me, the coherence, scale, tone and freedom from nonmusical artifacts mean more.”
 

morricab

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Bought a pair of Mini Utopias for one of the rooms in my recording studio, the woofers kept separating. After having them repaired a third time i ended up using one of them suspended from retractable piano-wires as a center channel behind a perforated screen in my home theater. They where not particularly missed in the studio, that Focal Telar Tweeter was just to hot ! :confused:
My question then is, why would you buy them in the first place if the tweeter was so hot?
 

the sound of Tao

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Your post is so strong I am afraid you will think I am kidding with this comment: I would have said there is no anti-horn, anti-SET brigade.

I might be misperceiving what you are seeing, though, because I am seeing it through my own prism -- which is that I love some horns for certain genres of music, and I love SET in general. Presently my "fantasy amp" target is an SET.

Presently I don't have horns or SET. But I understand what horn/SET aficionados love about their components.

Ron my post was overly strong and a bit of a vent. It possibly comes out of some building frustration over some of the negativity that can come from audio factionalism. Like I said it’s no problem really.

Going forwards though I’m going to borrow your prism.
 
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morricab

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I purchase used records from different facebook groups here in Denmark, nobody wants classical, whole collections sell for 50 cents to a dollar a record. I have picked up 2-300 mint classical records, even older Deccas for when i cannot sleep ! :rolleyes:
My home listening is probably as follows:

Jazz: 50%
Classical: 25%
Rock: 10%
Electronic: 15%

Most of the recordings I listen to that are of unamplified music at home. There I have a quiet environment where I can listen to the subtleties of the music without distraction and allow my system to do what it does best. Good electronic music also has lots of interesting structure and layers in a similar vein to classical music but with less demand on subtlety.

I like rock music, and the system plays it fine but i want it loud and at home there is not much opportunity to do this. Therefore, I tend to rock out in the car, where the background noise level is too high for well recorded Jazz and classical but fine for compressed Rock...and I can crank it up a bit to help overcome the flatness of most Rock recordings and drown out the road noise.

If someone is listening 75% or more commercial pop/rock recordings then i really don't see the need to purchase a high end system at all. I think one only really gains a benefit from a high resolution, high dynamic system in a quiet environment, playing wide dynamic range recordings. To rock out doesn't require this...to listen to pop singers doesn't require this...or even benefit from it all that much. A good classical or Jazz recording most definitely benefit from having everything at the top class.

One of the larger JBL bluetooth pills will perfectly suffice (they actually don't sound too bad...at least with pop music). We have one at home that my wife streams Spotify through for her pop music fix...it is fine for her and I think it is a single driver inside with two passive radiators at each end of the tube. It sounds better than one might expect as it is quite mid-centric and pop music is a lot about vocals.
 
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morricab

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I think you are saying a SET and horn sound more like a real instrument on classical and jazz and other such music. I am not disagreeing. I am saying the listener might not be focusing on this. And for what its worth, Mike and Marty are the only 2 people I know who play classical. Jazdoc plays Jazz. But all the other systems I have heard are playing modern, rock, female singer, electronical etc. Extreme exact reproduction of a synthesizer is not necessarily important.

All listeners with any type of system will recognize the contribution of good power and a well tuned room. I bet only 5% to maybe 15% of people with a nice audio system of say $30K and up listen to jazz and classical. Its a minority population.

Might be interesting to look at total sales of music and see what people are purchasing. I and very confident its not classical and Jazz. Yet the emphasis for designing a system in this forum seems to somehow be designed around precision reproduction of unamplified acoustic instruments. But that is not what people listen too. I even noted The Who at Mike L was outstanding. But I didn't really need to hear every last detail that was buried in the recording. Not for that music. I could be just as satisfied sitting in a room listening to Magico and whatever SS amp. I might even feel more titilated by the experience.
I would go further and say that if you are listening primarily to rock music and/or commercial pop then getting a high end system is really not necessary at all and might actually make it less satisfying to listen to those recordings. it's not that they don't do them fine...they probably do them too well and expose the poor quality of like 90% of them. Sure, your Dire Straits "water of love" or "Private Investigations" , some Pink Floyd, Steely Dan will sound better on a good system (might actually only be interesting on a good system) but the majority will sound flat, both spatially and dynamically, colorless and lifeless because they are crappy masterings for use on ipods and bluetooth boomboxes.

I don't understand Audiophiles that are not into well recorded Jazz and Classical...the whole reason to own something with the resolution to make those shine. Classical music can only really be appreciated live or on a really great system...if the system is too low res the subtlety and dynamic fluctuation gets lost and the music starts to sound boring because too much is missing. Jazz requires a bit less but as you improve your system, that music gets a lot more interesting as well.

Audiophiles are not the majority of the music buying public, so why should we care what the majority of music that is sold? That is a dumb metric. It's like saying to a food gourmet that billions McDonald's burgers have been sold so why should we eat Filet Mignon? Just eat a Big Mac.
 
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Al M.

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Ron my post was overly strong and a bit of a vent. It possibly comes out of some building frustration over some of the negativity that can come from audio factionalism. Like I said it’s no problem really.

Going forwards though I’m going to borrow your prism.

Well, audio factionalism on this forum, like on any audio forum, has always existed in the form of the analog vs digital debate.

Yet when it comes to amplification and speakers, factionalism on WBF has largely been provoked by the superiority complex and dogmatism of some of the SET and horn folks. If you perceive pushback against that as "negativity", that's up to you, I don't see it that way.

BTW, Graham, I have never considered you as being one of those folks, because you just have a simple passion, as do some others in that regard. Yet it is clear to most who those are who want to shove things down everyone's throat. In my previous answer to you I have given one example.

You can be passionate about things without putting down the alternative and without trying to push down things everyone's throat.

I am passionate about digital and am a digital-only guy, but I have never put down vinyl. On the contrary, I have even strongly defended it against digital snobs in some discussions! Yes, I have made clear why I personally wil never have vinyl, but those reasons were never a putdown of vinyl per se.

Similarly, I am passionate about physical CDs, and have pointed out sonic problems with streaming; I think that's important since bad streaming with its synthetic sound gives digital a bad rep. Yet I have never argued against streaming per se. I have stated that streaming can be done well, and mentioned occasions where I enjoyed well done streaming, even though I have made clear that high-end streaming is not for me personally.

And while personally I am a tube guy, I can appreciate great SS amplification and have said so.
 
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Ron Resnick

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I would go further and say that if you are listening primarily to rock music and/or commercial pop then getting a high end system is really not necessary at all and might actually make it less satisfying to listen to those recordings. . . . but the majority will sound flat, both spatially and dynamically, colorless and lifeless
I think this is bald and myopic musical genre arrogance. I actually checked the calendar to see if today is April Fool's Day.

Whatever type of music one listens to it sounds better and more emotionally-engaging on a high-end system. This includes the most revolting rap music -- or whatever music you personally really dislike.

This certainly is not my experience. I don't listen to music in the car at all. I don't think listening to music in the car or on a computer or on a boombox has very much to do with the implementation of this hobby. None of these non-audiophile music listening methods is able to achieve any suspension of disbelief for me.

(Of course hearing a certain song on the tiniest transistor radio can be deeply emotionally moving if the song holds some emotional significance or moving memory for us.)

I listen to music exclusively in a dedicated, focused way in the listening room in the implementation of this hobby.


I don't understand Audiophiles that are not into well recorded Jazz and Classical...the whole reason to own something with the resolution to make those shine.

Plenty of people don't understand why anybody listens to classical and jazz. I don't understand this lack of understanding by either side.

Why doesn't each side understand the incredibly obvious (to me) point that the other side enjoys its music as much as you enjoy yours?

The technical microeconomics answer is the incomparability of interpersonal utility. There is no way for you to prove that you like your chocolate ice cream more than I like my vanilla.
 
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Ron Resnick

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My home listening is probably as follows:

Jazz: 50%
Classical: 25%
Rock: 10%
Electronic: 15%

I like rock music, and the system plays it fine but i want it loud and at home there is not much opportunity to do this. Therefore, I tend to rock out in the car, where the background noise level is too high for well recorded Jazz and classical but fine for compressed Rock...and I can crank it up a bit to help overcome the flatness of most Rock recordings and drown out the road noise.


If someone is listening 75% or more commercial pop/rock recordings then i really don't see the need to purchase a high end system at all. . . .to listen to pop singers doesn't require this...or even benefit from it all that much. . . . pop music is a lot about vocals.

I wish you had posted this on my thread about my theory about how musical genre preference eventually drives loudspeaker preference. I think your comments in this post support my theory.

At 75% classical plus jazz and 0% pop it makes perfect sense to me that you have horn loudspeakers plus SET. A general purpose (I am thinking a medium to large dynamic driver loudspeaker) is not necessary.

With me at about 90% pop plus solo vocals it makes perfect sense to me that I have planar dipole loudspeakers. A general purpose loudspeaker is not necessary.

PS: Have you every heard big classical symphony orchestra music on Gary's big Genesis Technologies loudspeakers?
 
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morricab

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I wish you had posted this on my thread about my theory about how musical genre preference eventually drives loudspeaker preference. I think your comments in this post support my theory.

At 75% classical plus jazz and 0% pop it makes perfect sense to me that you have horn loudspeakers plus SET. A general purpose (I am thinking a medium to large dynamic driver loudspeaker) is not necessary.

With me at about 90% pop plus solo vocals it makes perfect sense to me that I have planar dipole loudspeakers. A general purpose loudspeaker is not necessary.

PS: Have you every heard big classical symphony orchestra music on Gary's big Genesis Technologies loudspeakers?
Pop falls inside the 10% rock category…same same.
 
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morricab

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I think this is bald and myopic musical genre arrogance. I actually checked the calendar to see if today is April Fool's Day.

Whatever type of music one listens to it sounds better and more emotionally-engaging on a high-end system. This includes the most revolting rap music -- or whatever music you personally really dislike.

This certainly is not my experience. I don't listen to music in the car at all. I don't think listening to music in the car or on a computer or on a boombox has very much to do with the implementation of this hobby. None of these non-audiophile music listening methods is able to achieve any suspension of disbelief for me.

(Of course hearing a certain song on the tiniest transistor radio can be deeply emotionally moving if the song holds some emotional significance or moving memory for us.)

I listen to music exclusively in a dedicated, focused way in the listening room in the implementation of this hobby.




Plenty of people don't understand why anybody listens to classical and jazz. I don't understand this lack of understanding by either side.

Why doesn't each side understand the incredibly obvious (to me) point that the other side enjoys its music as much as you enjoy yours?

The technical microeconomics answer is the incomparability of interpersonal utility. There is no way for you to prove that you like your chocolate ice cream more than I like my vanilla.
It is simple fact that most is recorded and mastered poorly and comprises simplistic music that relies heavily on simple emotional appeal from vocals and/or lyrics. All good but let’s not try to equate it with higher musical forms.
The exception to this was some genres of rock in the late 60s through late 70s, where there was an attempt to elevate popular music to a higher art form. Who could imagine today a band like King Crimson playing a crazy experimental piece like Lark’s Tongues in Aspic live on TV. Yet they did just that in 1972.
 

the sound of Tao

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What is weird, Graham, is your perception of all of this, which you got entirely wrong.

I am not against SETs and horns (I even have seriously considered horns at some points in the past). What I and others object to is the superiority complex and dogmatism of some of the SET/horn crowd.

Likewise (and yes, I am aware that this topic is not discussed in your post), I am also not against analog. On the contrary, I love and enjoy analog, even though I don't own a vinyl rig. Heck, I even defend vinyl, at times vigorously if needed, in analog vs digital debates against digital snobs!! Yet what I and others object to is the superiority complex and dogmatism of some of the analog crowd.

With that in mind, please re-read below post, a few posts down from yours. Nuff said.

(And no, the post is not a parody, unfortunately.)

Clearly Al there are areas in which some of us can be obsessively pro things (which can be wearing) and some who are obsessively anti things (which I think can be even more divisive).

There have always been people who can view things that way… but it’s a whole range of people with a range or different preferences or issues with things. It’s not just some of the pro ‘horn and SET crowd’ who could be perceived as this. There are some people dogmatically pro or anti on;

digital, analogue, tube, solid state, class D, SET, electrostatic planar, ribbon magnetic, box, horn, DSP, video comparisons, copper cables, silver cables, audiophile recordings, original recordings, power conditioners… the list goes on beyond these and I’d suggest can extend well past just being an issue only for a few people who are pro horn or SET.

(Edit: or to put it more simply I don’t think being dogmatic is limited to any particular group or mindset)
 
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bonzo75

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At 75% classical plus jazz and 0% pop it makes perfect sense to me that you have horn loudspeakers plus SET. A general purpose (I am thinking a medium to large dynamic driver loudspeaker) is not necessary.
Do you realise that horns often have the biggest drivers moving lots of air faster than other speakers?
 

morricab

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I wish you had posted this on my thread about my theory about how musical genre preference eventually drives loudspeaker preference. I think your comments in this post support my theory.

At 75% classical plus jazz and 0% pop it makes perfect sense to me that you have horn loudspeakers plus SET. A general purpose (I am thinking a medium to large dynamic driver loudspeaker) is not necessary.

With me at about 90% pop plus solo vocals it makes perfect sense to me that I have planar dipole loudspeakers. A general purpose loudspeaker is not necessary.

PS: Have you every heard big classical symphony orchestra music on Gary's big Genesis Technologies loudspeakers?
I owned planar speakers for a long time before finally moving (back) to horns. My first horns were an old, beat up pair of Klipsch La Scalas I had in college...they did things I had never heard in a speaker before (and I had already been a budding audiophile for a long time by then). The dynamics and impact was simply amazing...and that was with mostly rock/pop music as that was most of my consumption in college.

The last pair of speakers that I owned where rock/pop was still the majority of my home listening was a pair of Dynaudio Contour 1.8MkII small floor standers. By this time, however, my musical tastes were getting more sophisticated because I was going more and more frequently to live concerts of Jazz and classical music. What I observed was this: The Dynaudios were superb at rock/pop music when played at moderately loud levels (say 75-85 dB) but struggled when trying to listen at lower, late night volumes and would start to sound compressed at higher volumes. This didn't matter when the music itself had very little dynamic range (some of the best rock/pop recordings were decent in this regard and made up a lot of my demo material) but it mattered a lot with my new desire to hear good Jazz and Classical recordings at home. The system just sounded dead and lifeless or I had to pump it up way too loud and then fatiguing. I tried all kinds of amps to solve the issue...even got my first tube amp (a Jolida PP EL34 amp), which solved some problems (like better tone and somewhat better dynamics) but caused others (weak bass). The last amp I had in that set up was a Moon W5, which was considered to be one of the better, less SS sounding, amps of the time...and the amp that resulted in SimAudio changing its name to Moon.

From that speaker I moved to a pair of AudioStatic ES100s, after remembering their remarkable sound at a show...a complete sea change in sound! Now Jazz and classical (at least smaller ensembles) sounded stunning, so transparent, alive and 3d (with appropriate amp) and this started an Odyssey into planar land. Pop/rock was much less consistent sounding on these speakers due to their revealing nature (one of the most revealing I have owned to this day I would say) and I started listening only to the best recorded material from those genres. Then Infiinty IRS Betas. Now these did big scale classical like a champ! With 4 x 12 inch woofers per tower and separate planar panels they were the second to big boy IRS V (later Genesis 1). So, I know very well what you experience with your Gryphons. IRS Betas were every bit as powerful as your speakers. But they sort of lost the plot at lower volumes...unlike the AudioStatics, which lost the plot at higher volumes.

From there Apogees for a few years (great all around, not as responsive as the AudioStatics, not as bombastic as the Infinities), great with Classical instruments, vocals, choirs etc. just the last bit of bass lacking and ultimate dynamics. Then i got Acoustat 1+1, which had everything one might desire except huge dynamics in the bass. My ex fell so in love with them that she bought them off of me when we broke up. At the same time I had STAX ELS-F81, the ultimate low level resolution, low volume listening speaker...but quite limited in bass and dynamics. My final forays into planars Acoustat Spectra 2200, which had everything the 1+1 had plus bass power and Spectra 4400, which weren't great full range but made the most amazing bass I think I have still heard to this day...so I made them subwoofers, using an Accuphase F-25. I also did my DIY BG ribbon hybrid at this time, using the same Accuphase for it.

So, I think i know where you are in your audio journey and to be perfectly frank, I could have easily stayed there. It had nearly all that was right if you had speakers that worked well at low levels (Maggies, IMO do not, for example). The planars have to be BIG and/or have big subs (like my Betas and your Pendragons) to get similar dynamics to even moderate horns but it can be close enough not to sweat it. You can even use SETs on them (I had two KR Audio VA350i on my hybrids and on my 4 panel Acoustat monstrosity) despite what the naysayers here think. I believe planars are a valid way to deliver high resolution, realistic sound, if you partner with appropriate electronics.

Use of planars reduced my listening to rock/pop at home to the levels they are today. Other kinds of better recorded music just sounded much more realistic with them...and it was what I was going to hear live anyway.

I actually migrated to horns because A) I found a pair that didn't have horn coloration, B) I had fond memories of the La Scalas, C) They gave me that last bit of "live" feel and D) they allowed the full blossom of SET amps.

The point of this long winded story is that while my music taste was primarily pop/rock, a system like the Dynaudios with a powerful SS amp was perfectly fine. It was more than good enough to connect with that music and hear everything in it. But it was wholly inadequate for wide dynamic range, well recorded Jazz and Classical. Planars were basically good enough (at least most of the ones I had...I think the Betas were lacking in subtlety) and could have been a good endpoint...they weren't any better for rock/pop though than the Dynaudios really.
 

wil

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It is simple fact that most is recorded and mastered poorly and comprises simplistic music that relies heavily on simple emotional appeal from vocals and/or lyrics. All good but let’s not try to equate it with higher musical forms.
The exception to this was some genres of rock in the late 60s through late 70s, where there was an attempt to elevate popular music to a higher art form. Who could imagine today a band like King Crimson playing a crazy experimental piece like Lark’s Tongues in Aspic live on TV. Yet they did just that in 1972.
While I listen to 75% jazz/classical (which includes a wide range of sub-genre), in my experience, there’s a lot of excellent music produced in other forms — from Americana to “Rock” to whatever. If it’s creative music, ie not designed and spit out from the pop music mill to fit a narrow prerogative of pleasing millions of consumers, that’s all I care about.
It’s out there in the nooks and crannies of today’s music world and not confined to the hazy ( overly idealized) 60/70’s era.
 
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Al M.

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While I listen to 75% jazz/classical (which includes a wide range of sub-genre), in my experience, there’s a lot of excellent music produced in other forms — from Americana to “Rock” to whatever. If it’s creative music, ie not designed and spit out from the pop music mill to fit a narrow prerogative of pleasing millions of consumers, that’s all I care about.
It’s out there in the nooks and crannies of today’s music world and not confined to the hazy ( overly idealized) 60/70’s era.

Exactly. Good new music is out there, you can find it if you search for it.
 
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DasguteOhr

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I wish you had posted this on my thread about my theory about how musical genre preference eventually drives loudspeaker preference. I think your comments in this post support my theory.

At 75% classical plus jazz and 0% pop it makes perfect sense to me that you have horn loudspeakers plus SET. A general purpose (I am thinking a medium to large dynamic driver loudspeaker) is not necessary.

With me at about 90% pop plus solo vocals it makes perfect sense to me that I have planar dipole loudspeakers. A general purpose loudspeaker is not necessary.

PS: Have you every heard big classical symphony orchestra music on Gary's big Genesis Technologies loudspeakers?
If I only hearing classical and jazz , a good fullrange driver would be my favorite. It plays closed and doesn't fray and doesn't distribute music across multiple drivers. thumbs up for a Coral Beta 8" or a Diatone P 610. You literally crawl into the music.
For the Rest horn in open baffle:p
 
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morricab

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Switzerland
Exactly. Good new music is out there, you can find it if you search for it.
Sure, no one said it's not...just 90%+ is not very good. As i said, still 10% pop/rock at home... :)
 

Al M.

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Sep 10, 2013
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I owned planar speakers for a long time before finally moving (back) to horns. My first horns were an old, beat up pair of Klipsch La Scalas I had in college...they did things I had never heard in a speaker before (and I had already been a budding audiophile for a long time by then). The dynamics and impact was simply amazing...and that was with mostly rock/pop music as that was most of my consumption in college.

The last pair of speakers that I owned where rock/pop was still the majority of my home listening was a pair of Dynaudio Contour 1.8MkII small floor standers. By this time, however, my musical tastes were getting more sophisticated because I was going more and more frequently to live concerts of Jazz and classical music. What I observed was this: The Dynaudios were superb at rock/pop music when played at moderately loud levels (say 75-85 dB) but struggled when trying to listen at lower, late night volumes and would start to sound compressed at higher volumes. This didn't matter when the music itself had very little dynamic range (some of the best rock/pop recordings were decent in this regard and made up a lot of my demo material) but it mattered a lot with my new desire to hear good Jazz and Classical recordings at home. The system just sounded dead and lifeless or I had to pump it up way too loud and then fatiguing. I tried all kinds of amps to solve the issue...even got my first tube amp (a Jolida PP EL34 amp), which solved some problems (like better tone and somewhat better dynamics) but caused others (weak bass). The last amp I had in that set up was a Moon W5, which was considered to be one of the better, less SS sounding, amps of the time...and the amp that resulted in SimAudio changing its name to Moon.

From that speaker I moved to a pair of AudioStatic ES100s, after remembering their remarkable sound at a show...a complete sea change in sound! Now Jazz and classical (at least smaller ensembles) sounded stunning, so transparent, alive and 3d (with appropriate amp) and this started an Odyssey into planar land. Pop/rock was much less consistent sounding on these speakers due to their revealing nature (one of the most revealing I have owned to this day I would say) and I started listening only to the best recorded material from those genres. Then Infiinty IRS Betas. Now these did big scale classical like a champ! With 4 x 12 inch woofers per tower and separate planar panels they were the second to big boy IRS V (later Genesis 1). So, I know very well what you experience with your Gryphons. IRS Betas were every bit as powerful as your speakers. But they sort of lost the plot at lower volumes...unlike the AudioStatics, which lost the plot at higher volumes.

From there Apogees for a few years (great all around, not as responsive as the AudioStatics, not as bombastic as the Infinities), great with Classical instruments, vocals, choirs etc. just the last bit of bass lacking and ultimate dynamics. Then i got Acoustat 1+1, which had everything one might desire except huge dynamics in the bass. My ex fell so in love with them that she bought them off of me when we broke up. At the same time I had STAX ELS-F81, the ultimate low level resolution, low volume listening speaker...but quite limited in bass and dynamics. My final forays into planars Acoustat Spectra 2200, which had everything the 1+1 had plus bass power and Spectra 4400, which weren't great full range but made the most amazing bass I think I have still heard to this day...so I made them subwoofers, using an Accuphase F-25. I also did my DIY BG ribbon hybrid at this time, using the same Accuphase for it.

So, I think i know where you are in your audio journey and to be perfectly frank, I could have easily stayed there. It had nearly all that was right if you had speakers that worked well at low levels (Maggies, IMO do not, for example). The planars have to be BIG and/or have big subs (like my Betas and your Pendragons) to get similar dynamics to even moderate horns but it can be close enough not to sweat it. You can even use SETs on them (I had two KR Audio VA350i on my hybrids and on my 4 panel Acoustat monstrosity) despite what the naysayers here think. I believe planars are a valid way to deliver high resolution, realistic sound, if you partner with appropriate electronics.

Use of planars reduced my listening to rock/pop at home to the levels they are today. Other kinds of better recorded music just sounded much more realistic with them...and it was what I was going to hear live anyway.

I actually migrated to horns because A) I found a pair that didn't have horn coloration, B) I had fond memories of the La Scalas, C) They gave me that last bit of "live" feel and D) they allowed the full blossom of SET amps.

The point of this long winded story is that while my music taste was primarily pop/rock, a system like the Dynaudios with a powerful SS amp was perfectly fine. It was more than good enough to connect with that music and hear everything in it. But it was wholly inadequate for wide dynamic range, well recorded Jazz and Classical. Planars were basically good enough (at least most of the ones I had...I think the Betas were lacking in subtlety) and could have been a good endpoint...they weren't any better for rock/pop though than the Dynaudios really.

Thanks for describing your speaker journey, very interesting.
 
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