The Mysterious Case of the Listening Window! By Jeff Day, Positive Feedback

tima

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It's just that on this forum the awareness of horns and SETs was low because this forum respected retail price. So now that there are some heavy spenders on modern TTs and horns people started paying more attention. Also it is difficult for some to appreciate how a direct cost without retail and marketing margin can have better quality parts and design and experience behind it than current production retail that costs much more because of margins embedded in it for retail and sustenance.
I also don't see that "golden age" type gear being absent at any point in time.
I think for some who are not wealthy there is caution due to lack of access to quality support and parts or at least awareness about what support is available. I ask how far do I want to go building my stereo around products that have not been made for 50-70 years. That's not questioning value or cost of gear. I can't speak to cost of support and parts. That's not an argument against, just why some (many?) might be hesitant. Nowadays dealers and some manufacturers will bring product to you and set it up, but many cannot afford to fly niche vintage experts half way around the world. (Though obviously a few can.)
 

bonzo75

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I think for some who are not wealthy there is caution due to lack of access to quality support and parts or at least awareness about what support is available. I ask how far do I want to go building my stereo around products that have not been made for 50-70 years. That's not questioning value or cost of gear. I can't speak to cost of support and parts. That's not an argument against, just why some (many?) might be hesitant. Nowadays dealers and some manufacturers will bring product to you and set it up, but many cannot afford to fly niche vintage experts half way around the world. (Though obviously a few can.)
Yes but the reason you have these questions is lack of research into that aspect, and people have an assumption that they can't be as well serviced, replaced, or resold as modern ones. You don't need to fly experts around the world but find them in the US.

Apart from sound, one thing I have against Wilson Magico owners is lack of listening research. They are not willing to look further than the component that stares them the most in the face due to better distribution and marketing. A dCS dagostino Wilson system at best shows the guy bought a ticket to a hifi show, read one magazine, called up his local dealer and did minimal googling.

Reminds me of the time that the only music we kids new was on the MTV top charts and had not done digging into other music (which also turned out to be older).

Vintage components attract the billionaires and the cost savers, so less to do with the monetary aspect.
 

tima

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Yes but the reason you have these questions is lack of research into that aspect, and people have an assumption that they can't be as well serviced, replaced, or resold as modern ones. You don't need to fly experts around the world but find them in the US.

Apart from sound, one thing I have against Wilson Magico owners is lack of listening research. They are not willing to look further than the component that stares them the most in the face due to better distribution and marketing. A dCS dagostino Wilson system at best shows the guy bought a ticket to a hifi show, read one magazine, called up his local dealer and did minimal googling.
Maybe. I would not underestimate people finding resources or not doing research. Many don't have the luxury of making a mistake. If it were so straightforward and simple, we'd see more of it, at least in the States, and we'd read about it here. I don't think the primary reason is laziness or ignorance. I agree that better distribution and marketing have an impact. I don't see marketing and distribution for vintage. It may be different in Euro/UK. There is a vintage forum here, but are there threads or posts for professional services, parts or dealers?

As I said, I'm not making an argument against, but accounting for why there may be reluctance to go down that path.

Day speaks encouragingly about vintage (he owns.) I don't mean to swerve this thread.
 

bonzo75

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There is a lot in the states. Just not on WBF. See, this is what I mean, I mentioned tons of resources in previous post where it is very active in the US and you read past it. That's a human tendency. If you are painting your house you will notice all paint shops but until then you won't know how many paint shops are in your area
 

morricab

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Maybe. I would not underestimate people finding resources or not doing research. Many don't have the luxury of making a mistake. If it were so straightforward and simple, we'd see more of it, at least in the States, and we'd read about it here. I don't think the primary reason is laziness or ignorance. I agree that better distribution and marketing have an impact. I don't see marketing and distribution for vintage. It may be different in Euro/UK. There is a vintage forum here, but are there threads or posts for professional services, parts or dealers?

As I said, I'm not making an argument against, but accounting for why there may be reluctance to go down that path.

Day speaks encouragingly about vintage (he owns.) I don't mean to swerve this thread.
Most of the vintage stuff worth owning (not all of course but a hell of a lot of it) comes form the US! It is like Japan, in particular, single handedly kept the memory alive while the US sufferred largely from a sort of audio amnesia. We had forgotten how good the stuff was that we made (at least the consumer sector forgot).

The speakers of interest: Western Electric and their spawn (JBL, Altec etc.), while perhaps not all that room friendly (especially the old WEs) can still be found in the US with a bit of digging. You don't read about it because magazines are focused on the new...it's how they sell magazines.

Go seek out either an original pair of JBL Hartsfields (with tweeter...the two-way version sounds a bit too rolled off) or the nice reproductions that are available. Set them up correctly and prepare to be stunned.

Where I think modern has handily surpassed true vintage is in eletronics...not from the design perspective as the old tube designs were quite good, but from the materials that allow greater transparency adn tonal correctness.

The reluctance, I think is due to the mentality in consumerist societies to dismiss the old for the new. In some cases, like most automobiles, there can be no doubt about the performance now vs 50/60 years ago. For many other things, it is not so clear cut. Music and music playback being two notable examples (or most things related to aesthetics rather than raw objective performance). People were sold on throwing away that old stereo for the newer shinier and of course better sounding one...just like their dishwasher, car, golf clubs etc. on the assumption that better technical performance was always better for the consumer. Just one problem...a golf club that allows you to hit 30 yards longer everytime (and straighter too) is a no brainer up grade but is going from an amp 1% THD that is all low order harmonics to an amp with 0.1% THD and a picket fence of high order harmonics better? Objectively yes, subjectively not bloody likely.

The west was on the vanguard and then got seduced by smaller, more convenient and cheaper. The Japanese, for whom convenience and size were not the main drivers, bought up the big systems from the US in droves (that is why you can go on Hifi Do and other Japanese audio seller sites and find JBLs, Altecs, Tannoy etc. to your hearts content) because they saw the value as music making devices...not as commodities.

We are now, to some small degree, rediscovering our heritage, thus the flurry of interest in horns and yes tubes. But what is not widely appreciated is that the best vintage horns can easily hold their own (and then some) with the best modern horns or speakers of any kind for that matter.

History is not as kind to vintage amps, where I think also age takes a greater toll on electronic parts. STill the designs persist...
 

tima

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There is a lot in the states. Just not on WBF. See, this is what I mean, I mentioned tons of resources in previous post where it is very active in the US and you read past it. That's a human tendency. If you are painting your house you will notice all paint shops but until then you won't know how many paint shops are in your area
Start a thread 'Vintage Resources'. That way we don't have to paw through unrelated threads.
 

bonzo75

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Start a thread 'Vintage Resources'. That way we don't have to paw through unrelated threads.
That then separates vintage from modern. I will write on components that interest me, some vintage, some modern. So Altec 817, TAD 4003, etc threads already started. Tang's EMT is great, as are fidelity research tonearms. 3012r you already know about.

If you research components rather than vintage or modern you will end up in the right place. I didn't go searching for vintage. I ended up finding them

I now own tango output transformer and interstage so at some time will get a DIY guy to do a shootout for me with modern finemet, and finemet might win
 

PeterA

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sure; you should share it. but temper the broader implications a little....or don't if you prefer to get a reaction.

i'm all for pro vintage, pro simple and pro generic. basically i like pro anything. and we can learn from what gear you personally left behind in your particular situation. then we can draw our own conclusions.

but i don't like to see painting with negative broad brushes. and if/when you do there will be conflict involved. which a few even enjoy. for every action there is a reaction.

just my personal views. but i'm only here for fun and positives.
Mike, I do not see the "broader implications" of any of my comments. Few here on WBF read those comments, and even fewer outside of WBF. I suspect they really have little or no impact. You correctly reminded me earlier that they are but just one data point. Right you are. I would add that they are insignificant in the broader sense. Mr. Day has wider readership surely. Do you see broader implications in his article? If so, what are they?

I, and others, like the Ching Cheng power cords. Some describe them as junk. Is that any different from certain isolation platforms or footers that have a following in this forum? I name the incoming cords, as others do the footers, because I do not see the harm in doing so and it is informative. Nor do I see the harm in naming products that I am removing and selling. You write that you can learn from that data point. What is the harm in changing my approach toward set up or what I value in sound?

You also write that "...we can learn from what gear you personally left behind in your particular situation". I appreciate that but, again, I fail to see the negative broad brushes. I am surely not suggesting that everyone sell their expensive cables and power cords or room treatments.

When something comes in, something else usually goes out. This has been the case with various cartridges, cables, cords, speakers, preamps, footers, and basically everything in my and everyone else's system. You yourself changed gear very often in the past. I have enjoyed your many pages of turntable discussions, past and present. You modified your room that was professionally designed. Are there broader implications from any of that? Do our descriptions and sharing with others what we are doing really need to be tempered? If so, why and how?

We are all here for various reasons. I enjoyed reading Mr. Day's article as it resonates with me. The sharing of it has created much discussion and many posts. You are here for "fun and positives." I am here for learning and sharing. Where and what are the broader implications of what we are doing? Reactions in posts are simply another way to describe responses in a discussion. They can be educational, and I welcome that.
 
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(...) Apart from sound, one thing I have against Wilson Magico owners is lack of listening research. They are not willing to look further than the component that stares them the most in the face due to better distribution and marketing. A dCS dagostino Wilson system at best shows the guy bought a ticket to a hifi show, read one magazine, called up his local dealer and did minimal googling.
I am amazed with your choice of this example. It is true that Wilson Audio has an exceptional large network of dealers around the world, that combine their speakers with many brands of high-end equipment. They select and train dealers around the world to show their speakers in show rooms with high quality and are permanently promoting local gatherings, where people can bring their music and listen, with a nice social part. However these shops also have other brands of competing good speakers, that can be also listened. Although I consider that show demos are mostly for sight, not for serious listening, I remember that Wilson often presents with diverse brands at shows along the years - Lamm was one of them.

Fortunately most people want to listen seriously in adequate conditions and do not just google or read audio forums. But probably if they research in the net they will discover many reasons to try listening to Wilson Audio or Magico speakers . BTW, I know of some pairs of old WA Watt's of different vintage (series V and VI) that are now in the possession of local tube DIY people who love building all kinds of tube amplifiers to play with them.
 
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morricab

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I am amazed with your choice of this example. It is true that Wilson Audio has an exceptional large network of dealers around the world, that combine their speakers with many brands of high-end equipment. They select and train dealers around the world to show their speakers in show rooms with high quality and are permanently promoting local gatherings, where people can bring their music and listen, with a nice social part. However these shops also have other brands of competing good speakers, that can be also listened. Although I consider that show demos are mostly for sight, not for serious listening, I remember that Wilson often presents with diverse brands at shows along the years - Lamm was one of them.

Fortunately most people want to listen seriously in adequate conditions and do not just google or read audio forums. But probably if they research in the net they will discover many reasons to try listening to Wilson Audio or Magico speakers . BTW, I know of some pairs of old WA Watt's of different vintage (series V and VI) that are now in the possession of local tube DIY people who love building all kinds of tube amplifiers to play with them.
I like the old Wilson X1s (both v1 and V3...never heard v2) when driving by a SET like KR Audio. They were a true 95db and easy impedance and had sounded great with such an amp. Watt/Puppies never sounded good with SET...too weird a load I think...come to think of it I never heard them sound too good with any tubes...although V7 were not bad in a small room with big VTL monos.
 
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I like the old Wilson X1s (both v1 and V3...never heard v2) when driving by a SET like KR Audio. They were a true 95db and easy impedance and had sounded great with such an amp. Watt/Puppies never sounded good with SET...too weird a load I think...come to think of it I never heard them sound too good with any tubes...although V7 were not bad in a small room with big VTL monos.
Yes, Watt/Puppies sounded great with most pushpull amplifiers of at less 80W. I have tried many pushpulll amplifiers with success with them - VAC, conrad johnson , VTL, Audio Research and even the big amplifiers from Beard (UK).
 

cjfrbw

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Limiting factors from my experience seem to be that large horns have difficulty achieving coherency, while excelling at dynamics. Large box speakers can approach the coherency of planars, and they can be a close intermediate to horns in dynamics.

I still remember RMAF several years ago. The Wilson Alexandria demo with subwoofers in a separate large room was just markedly and obviously superior to anything else at the show for the demo material presented, including any of the myriad horns at the show, and i loved a lot of the horns.

However, it was the usual controlled thing with the McGrath snob palaver, too. Nobody else could play their own stuff.

As far as vintage, many of my audio memories of sound that I craved came from old tube radios and the sound of horn systems in music theaters.

When I was a summer at UC Berkeley at the age of 19, the house I was staying in had a guy that took me out to Turlock, where one of his buddies had a huge Altec Voice of the Theater system in a large room and he played Led Zeppelin. To this day, I don't think I have ever heard it played like that and I was amazed. I have never had a room that could accommodate such a system, either.
 

bonzo75

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Yes poor multi way horns are not coherent and the great ones are, those are the ones to search for
 
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DaveC

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Yes poor multi way horns are not coherent and the great ones are, those are the ones tov search for
Cone 'n' domes often lack coherency too, although getting much better. In the not-too-distant past it was hard to find coherent examples, and for that reason, among others, single drivers were a lot more popular. Now, imo it's hard to justify the top-$ single drivers because most of their advantages have been greatly marginalized by better cone 'n' dome designs.

When the TAD Reference speakers 1st came out they were head and shoulders better than most, and coherency was a major reason I thought Verity was one of the best speakers at RMAF a few years ago... and it turned out they manufacture their own drivers. Often the drivers themselves sound too different, which makes coherency impossible, either in conventional or horn speakers. In horns I think there's an issue with combining CDs with regular woofers most of the time, it's not necessarily the woofer amps that many blame, it's simply the drivers are not really compatible as far as the sound characteristics they have. In my own speaker, it took a lot of effort (and $) to figure out which woofers and tweeters sounded like my wideband midrange driver, but this was key to achieving a coherent result.
 

bonzo75

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I am amazed with your choice of this example. It is true that Wilson Audio has an exceptional large network of dealers around the world, that combine their speakers with many brands of high-end equipment. They select and train dealers around the world to show their speakers in show rooms with high quality and are permanently promoting local gatherings, where people can bring their music and listen, with a nice social part. However these shops also have other brands of competing good speakers, that can be also listened. Although I consider that show demos are mostly for sight, not for serious listening, I remember that Wilson often presents with diverse brands at shows along the years - Lamm was one of them.

Fortunately most people want to listen seriously in adequate conditions and do not just google or read audio forums. But probably if they research in the net they will discover many reasons to try listening to Wilson Audio or Magico speakers . BTW, I know of some pairs of old WA Watt's of different vintage (series V and VI) that are now in the possession of local tube DIY people who love building all kinds of tube amplifiers to play with them.
I have heard 7 Alexandria set ups, many sashas and many Magicos and other cones. Except for a couple in each, I was never trying to search for the speaker. I ended up listening to them because if you want to investigate most things - dacs, phonos, SS, carts, - the guys have a Wilson or a Magico. You will seldom stumble across a Altec 817 or a speaker like Leif's, or even Universum or Anima, unless you go looking for that speaker specifically. Not for a cartridge, not for dCS or any digital, but specifically for that speaker. That's why, it is easy to get exposure to Wilson or Magico, even if you try not to, while with the others you have to search and search, plus the inconsistency since it is not a standard production will require you to be more patient and persistent.
 
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I have heard 7 Alexandria set ups, many sashas and many Magicos and other cones. Except for a couple in each, I was never trying to search for the speaker. I ended up listening to them because if you want to investigate most things - dacs, phonos, SS, carts, - the guys have a Wilson or a Magico. You will seldom stumble across a Altec 817 or a speaker like Leif's, or even Universum or Anima, unless you go looking for that speaker specifically. Not for a cartridge, not for dCS or any digital, but specifically for that speaker. That's why, it is easy to get exposure to Wilson or Magico, even if you try not to, while with the others you have to search and search, plus the inconsistency since it is not a standard production will require you to be more patient and persistent.
Well, it seems you know a lot of people with good taste! ;) But considering that the most important aspect of this hobby is listening to music and finding something we prefer, why should most people go for a never ending search, where opportunities of listening are very few and consequently the possibilities of an inadequate choice are higher?

Something I have learned in WBF along the years was the importance of training for a preference. Stereo sound reproduction is very ambiguous and we train methods and ourselves to assemble systems to suit our preferences and biases. Then we have two kinds of audiophiles - those who are in it for personnel enjoyment and fun, and those who are in a crusade for the "best" and want to persuade others that they are wrong. Surely, for some of us part of the enjoyment is debating concepts around stereo in audio forums, particularly with those with whom we disagree!

BTW, I find that our personnel connection with a designer, manufacturer or dealer is indirectly part of the listening pleasure.
 
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Limiting factors from my experience seem to be that large horns have difficulty achieving coherency, while excelling at dynamics. Large box speakers can approach the coherency of planars, and they can be a close intermediate to horns in dynamics.

I still remember RMAF several years ago. The Wilson Alexandria demo with subwoofers in a separate large room was just markedly and obviously superior to anything else at the show for the demo material presented, including any of the myriad horns at the show, and i loved a lot of the horns.

However, it was the usual controlled thing with the McGrath snob palaver, too. Nobody else could play their own stuff. (...)
I easily accept that in show conditions exhibitors can't afford to play visitor recordings. But I have listened more than once in the company of Peter McGrath at our distributor listening room after demos and I could play my own recordings - Peter even took note of a couple of them. Curiously after listening to a favorite of mine that I carried and have sometimes referred in WBF - the Vivaldi flute concertos played by Janet See - he smiled and told me he was the sound engineer in that recording ... After that with the help of the discogs search engine I was able to find many of the recordings he engineered.
 

caesar

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It well might be a fairly tale Dave, but my NOS ten year old cheap Chinese hospital grade power cords sound better in my system to me than all four of the fancy expensive current power cords I tried and owned with their fancy connectors. Go figure. Rose colored glasses and all. I don't need the precise language to explain it to others. They just have to listen.
Hi Peter,

cool that you found something you like. Sure, there are some bad, irredeemable cabkes out here that just cloud things up and slow things down, lilike kielbasa Sosna. amazing guys would buy a $100k speaker famous for transparency “details “ but fuk it up with that.... And Wilson guys who can’t control the bass in their room use bass- light nordots cables to equalize the room.

But I don’t think you can paint all cables with a broad brush stoke, despite nearly everyone hating Cables for high prices.

Also ,does Jim Smith now need to come to your house again to re-tweak/ re - equalize your system since you made the changes?
 

caesar

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I am amazed with your choice of this example. It is true that Wilson Audio has an exceptional large network of dealers around the world, that combine their speakers with many brands of high-end equipment. They select and train dealers around the world to show their speakers in show rooms with high quality and are permanently promoting local gatherings, where people can bring their music and listen, with a nice social part. However these shops also have other brands of competing good speakers, that can be also listened. Although I consider that show demos are mostly for sight, not for serious listening, I remember that Wilson often presents with diverse brands at shows along the years - Lamm

Fortunately most people want to listen seriously in adequate conditions and do not just google or read audio forums. But probably if they research in the net they will discover many reasons to try listening to Wilson Audio or Magico speakers . BTW, I know of some pairs of old WA Watt's of different vintage (series V and VI) that are now in the possession of local tube DIY people who love building all kinds of tube amplifiers to play with them.
magico and Wilson are the most popular speakers because of herd effects. Some audiophile are leading the herd, and you may be one of them, but most are just followers, as Bonzo explained.
 

PeterA

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Hi Peter,

cool that you found something you like. Sure, there are some bad, irredeemable cabkes out here that just cloud things up and slow things down, lilike kielbasa Sosna. amazing guys would buy a $100k speaker famous for transparency “details “ but fuk it up with that.... And Wilson guys who can’t control the bass in their room use bass- light nordots cables to equalize the room.

But I don’t think you can paint all cables with a broad brush stoke, despite nearly everyone hating Cables for high prices.

Also ,does Jim Smith now need to come to your house again to re-tweak/ re - equalize your system since you made the changes?
Hello Cesar,

I’m not trying to generalize about all cables with broad brush strokes. Just the ones I’ve heard in my system and I’ve owned personally, and in some cases those in friend’s systems. And only in direct comparisons.

Perhaps it’s just that my tastes have changed because I bought those namebrand cables and enjoyed them for years. I’ve also heard some great systems with popular expensive cables in them.

No, Jim Smith does not have to come to my system this time although I would love to see him again and see if he could improve the system even more. It is most definitely possible. I have a great deal of respect for the man and his skills.

Jim taught me to listen to tone dynamics and presence. And then to care about the emotional impact the music had. That is when one knows he is making progress. He taught me not to listen to the sound of the gear. That lesson took me longer to learn.

I know a little bit more than I did seven or eight years ago when he was last here. I would love to know his opinion though, and I wish him well. I learned much from him.
 
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