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#116126 - 11/15/05 04:04 PM help with stereo choice
cbee Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 11/15/05
Posts: 12
I am planning to buy a stereo (my current one is over 10 years old and pretty dead) and I have about $1000 total to spend, give or take a couple of hundred. I am sorta out of the way, and while I may be able to audition a couple of components, I probally won't be able to audition them together, so I need some advice.

From the reviews I've read, both the Jolida 1501A ($650) and the Rotel RA-1062 ($800) look pretty good, although I guess they'll sound pretty different. I was thinking of pairing them with the axiom M22ti. I still have an older energy sub for the bass. Maybe not the best, but the best for now.
Now I obviously cannot ask which amp to buy, but are there any potential problems with my set up? Is it unbalanced? Are there other options I should consider for the money?

Thanks for any advice.


Cisco

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#116127 - 11/15/05 04:17 PM Re: help with stereo choice
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6720
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.
Might I suggest you look at the Harman Kardon 3480 and pair it up with the M60s.I think you would be better served with the bulk of the budget going towards speakers.The 3480 is a fine unit and will drive the M60s great.

After rereading this are you saying you already have M22s ? The wording is a bit confusing to me.


Edited by wid (11/15/05 04:39 PM)
_________________________
Rick


"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." Sigmund Freud


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#116128 - 11/15/05 04:48 PM Re: help with stereo choice
cbee Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 11/15/05
Posts: 12
No, I have not bought the speakers either. I guess I figured that if I went for a better amp I could add better speakers later (you can always add more speakers) so with respect to upgradeability I was OK with taking a hit on the speakers. Maybe that is not the best idea though...

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#116129 - 11/15/05 05:00 PM Re: help with stereo choice
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6720
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.
Then I stand by my first statement.The H/K is a really fine unit, a friend of mine has had one for quite some time now and it is quite impressive for the $$$.
_________________________
Rick


"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." Sigmund Freud


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#116130 - 11/15/05 05:09 PM Re: help with stereo choice
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5214
Loc: Los Angeles
I have the RA-1062 integrated, and have listened to it with the M22ti's. Very nice. Superb clarity and imaging. How big of a room is this setup going to be in, and how loud do you plan on playing it?


_________________________
"A nation cannot prosper long, when it favors only the prosperous." -President Barack Obama

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#116131 - 11/15/05 05:56 PM Re: help with stereo choice
cbee Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 11/15/05
Posts: 12
Thanks for the advice Rick, I'm looking into the HK now.
Regarding the size of the room, I'm not sure. I'm not buying this system for a few months, and will be moving. The place I'm moving to will only be for a year or two anyway.
I probally won't play the system too loud. I'm more interested in how good it sounds. Still, I don't want to strain to hear either...

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#116132 - 11/15/05 06:01 PM Re: help with stereo choice
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6720
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.

While I will not disagree with Spiff that Rotel equipment is some really good gear ( I own it myself ) I feel with a 1k budget the speakers should be first priority.
_________________________
Rick


"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." Sigmund Freud


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#116133 - 11/15/05 06:33 PM Re: help with stereo choice
md55 Offline
local

Registered: 05/20/03
Posts: 284
Loc: Nevada City, CA
'd also recommend you look at the new Outlaw stereo receiver. It has a number of unique features: www.outlawaudio.com/products/rr2150.html
_________________________
Mark

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#116134 - 11/15/05 06:46 PM Re: help with stereo choice
thyname Offline
aficionado

Registered: 04/05/05
Posts: 552
Loc: Oakton, VA
For stereo listening I would really recommend the separates. I started with a 2 channel receiver and ended up with my current setup (check it below). Great improvement over the receiver. Above your price range though.
_________________________
Axiom M60s, QS4s, VP100 Onkyo TX-SR804 Oppo 970HD Rotel RB-1080/RCD-1072 REL Q150E sub, PS 3

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#116135 - 11/15/05 06:51 PM Re: help with stereo choice
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6720
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.
If there was not a limit that would be a different story.With a budget like he has the H/K unit ( to me ) fits the bill quite nice.

He could always get a RB1080 and blow the whole budget.At least he would have one hellofa amp No speakers or preamp though.
_________________________
Rick


"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." Sigmund Freud


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#116136 - 11/15/05 06:57 PM Re: help with stereo choice
thyname Offline
aficionado

Registered: 04/05/05
Posts: 552
Loc: Oakton, VA
Rick; when I first decided to purchase a decent stereo, I had 1K in mind (including a cd player!), and look where I am now. It all depends on how strong somebody is to stand the temptation of upgrading, but in order to avoid money losses from selling something to buy something better, I would really suggest to anyone to do it right from the first time.
_________________________
Axiom M60s, QS4s, VP100 Onkyo TX-SR804 Oppo 970HD Rotel RB-1080/RCD-1072 REL Q150E sub, PS 3

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#116137 - 11/15/05 07:04 PM Re: help with stereo choice
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6720
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.

I understand the notion of buy the best you can afford.It very well might be that Cbee only has 1K to spend, not everyone can put thousands into a stereo system like we did.
_________________________
Rick


"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." Sigmund Freud


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#116138 - 11/15/05 07:12 PM Re: help with stereo choice
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5214
Loc: Los Angeles
My understanding was that his $1000 budget was for a reciever/amp. I did read that he was shopping for speakers as well with that money.

Either way though. If his room isn't too big, grab an RA-1062 from audiogon, and a pair of M22ti's. Not sure anyone could complain about that combo for about $1000.


_________________________
"A nation cannot prosper long, when it favors only the prosperous." -President Barack Obama

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#116139 - 11/15/05 07:33 PM Re: help with stereo choice
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6720
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.
I thought the 1k was for the whole system, give or take a few hundred.I still think one would be better served going with the better speaker.To me the speakers make the largest difference in any system
_________________________
Rick


"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." Sigmund Freud


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#116140 - 11/15/05 07:49 PM Re: help with stereo choice
cbee Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 11/15/05
Posts: 12
Thanks for all the feedback! Yes, it is about $1000 total (except the sub, which I have), and no, right now I don't have much more to invest, but I may in the future, which is why I was considering buying a better amp. Still, I guess it works out the same, whether you upgrade you amp later or your speakers, you still have the old gear to deal with. Hmmm... So difficlut to choose, and yet still fun...

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#116141 - 11/15/05 07:54 PM Re: help with stereo choice
MarkSJohnson Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 10848
Loc: Central NH
Cbee-
I have to agree with some of the others that the speakers will make much more of a difference in your sound than an amp. Many would be very hard pressed to tell the difference between two receivers with a $400 difference in price, but for speakers in the sub-$1,000 price, that $400 difference (within a manufacturer's line) is liable to make a HUGE difference!

Personally, I'd spend almost the entire $1k on speakers alone and pick up a $250 B-stock receiver....
_________________________
::::::: No disrespect to Axiom, but my favorite woofer is my yellow lab :::::::

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#116142 - 11/16/05 01:03 AM Re: help with stereo choice
DOUBTINGTHOMAS29 Offline
veteran

Registered: 11/12/04
Posts: 164
Spend a few bucks more and you can grab the B-stock 60's and a NAD C352 integrated.

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#116143 - 11/16/05 02:40 AM Re: help with stereo choice
2x6spds Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
Hi cbee
I have a bunch of 2 channel systems, and the amps make a BIG difference. I think my best sounding system is built around a 5 watt per channel Antique Sound Labs MG SI 15DT SET tube amp. This amp was a magical match with a pair of M3s. For some reason, the M22s did not work so well with this amp, but the M22 like Michaura M55 speakers are a spectacular match up.

My second favorite system is driven by an old (but mint) Kenwood KA9100 amp (rated at 65 wpc I think).

Both these amps make for better sound quality in 2 channel than the big Onkyo M504, Yamaha M80, and far better sound quality than various receivers I've poked around with (Onkyo 797, Sony STRDB 1070, Harman Kardon AVR 65).

Anyway, for 2 channel, I'd go with a nice SET amp, a pair of M3s. The fancy CD player can come later. Some cheap and older CDPs are terrific like the JVC XL504. Some new and very inexpensive DVD players have terrific sound quality - for under $100 you can get a Toshiba SD-3960 or Sony DVP-NS575P (the Toshiba has even better sound quality but these are both great sounding players UNDER a $100.) What a world we live in!

M3s, an ASL MG S1 15DT (used) and the Toshiba would be a killer 2 channel system.

G'luck!
_________________________
Enjoy the Music. Trust your ears. Laugh at Folks Who Claim to Know it All.

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#116144 - 11/16/05 09:13 AM Re: help with stereo choice
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6720
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.
The thought of a flea power tube amp driving some M3s is an interesting idea but I wouldn't recommend it.The thought of constantly having to be aware of the biasing and tube failure just dosen't appeal to most.Not to mention if he wants to really crank up some tunes the set amp will not provide ample power to say the least.There is the cost factor to be aware of too.

Remember there is budget concerns here.I have a Rotel RB1080,RC1070 with M80s I would never tell someone looking for a system within a 1k limit to throw the budget out the window and just get what I have.Recommending these types of systems ( well over the 1K ) to the op is rather silly imo.
_________________________
Rick


"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." Sigmund Freud


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#116145 - 11/16/05 06:06 PM Re: help with stereo choice
cbee Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 11/15/05
Posts: 12
Hmmm... everyone has been so helpful I think I'm going to ask another question, though I'll start a new thread to do it. I still have a couple of months before I move and buy my system. It seems most think I should downgrade my amp and upgrade my speakers (M60 I guess). Research research research. Fun! (really)

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#116146 - 11/16/05 09:37 PM Re: help with stereo choice
2x6spds Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
Ola wid
Biasing is infrequent and easy with ASL amps with their beautiful meters. Tubes last a long time and changing tube type changes the sound - tube rolling is fun. 5 wpc is more than enough for the M3s, it certainly is enough for the M22 like, Michaura M55s.

The sound of a good tube amp (not necessarly an expensive amp) is great ... really great.

JMO
_________________________
Enjoy the Music. Trust your ears. Laugh at Folks Who Claim to Know it All.

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#116147 - 11/16/05 11:20 PM Re: help with stereo choice
thyname Offline
aficionado

Registered: 04/05/05
Posts: 552
Loc: Oakton, VA
You are right Rick, and many visitors that come at our place think I am crazy for spending such money in a setup like this. However, if I can afford it with what I make, which is not that much, how about the people that make 100K a year or more, or those who have just as much at the bank account? It is all matter of personal preferences and priorities. That does not mean that I live in a trailer or eat peanut butter sandwiches, because I purchased my Rotels and Axioms ;-)
_________________________
Axiom M60s, QS4s, VP100 Onkyo TX-SR804 Oppo 970HD Rotel RB-1080/RCD-1072 REL Q150E sub, PS 3

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#116148 - 11/16/05 11:30 PM Re: help with stereo choice
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10372
Cisco, nobody has suggested that you "downgrade" your receiver/amp choice, but simply that you should consider spending less of your limited budget on it. The main reason for this is that excellent receivers are available at quite low cost which will provide you with audibly flawless amplification, so no "downgrade" in this respect would be involved. Despite frequent reports of some amplifiers mysteriously having "better sound", there appears to be no factual support for this, as controlled blind tests have indicated. On the other hand, speakers differ significantly in their sonic qualities and should be allotted a high proportion of the total budget.
_________________________
-----------------------------------

Enjoy the music, not the equipment.



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#116149 - 11/17/05 02:06 AM Re: help with stereo choice
2x6spds Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
I agree with JohnK that there are many great sounding receivers out there and that some of them can be had for a very reasonable amount of money. I very much disagree with the idea that all solid state amps (receivers) sound the same. That having been said, I had Technics SX? 940 (5 or 6 x 100 watts) I used it for 2 channel with a pair of M3s before I got my ASL tube amp. The Technics had terrific sound quality, noticeably better than my Harman Kardon AVR65 or Sony STRDB 1070. I found the Technics at Frys for something like $150. The HK was expensive. Go figure.

Anyway, I'd consider the following choices for a 2 channel system:

1. Panasonic SAXR 25, 45 or 55 (55 can be had on Amazon for $230, the 25 can be had for under $200. These receivers have digital amplification and have been very well received by folks (who can hear the difference between different amps/receivers) who use them for 2 channel music.

2. check your local classifieds for a high quality 2 channel amp ... I like the Kenwood KA 9100, but there are many great amps out there (you should only consider integrated amps so you don't have to buy a preamp)

Get those M3s, they're great speakers.

If you really want to knock your socks off, fish around for a nice used tube amp (Single End Triode).
_________________________
Enjoy the Music. Trust your ears. Laugh at Folks Who Claim to Know it All.

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#116150 - 11/17/05 07:09 AM Re: help with stereo choice
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6720
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.
Skerdi,

By no means was I saying it was the wrong thing to do by spending what you ( and I ) did on a what we have.I was trying to convey that it does no good to tell the op to go the seperates route when the budget will not allow for it.If by chance he had asked about such a system then I would have said " go fo it ".I have had seperates for nearly 20 years and see no going back to a reciever any time soon.To me the bottom line is if we are happy with we bought then it is all worth it.That is what this is suppose to be about in the first place, isn't it ?
_________________________
Rick


"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." Sigmund Freud


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#116151 - 11/17/05 07:43 PM Re: help with stereo choice
thyname Offline
aficionado

Registered: 04/05/05
Posts: 552
Loc: Oakton, VA
I agree and I am totally happy with my system. That is why many times I can't help but suggest it to others :-)
_________________________
Axiom M60s, QS4s, VP100 Onkyo TX-SR804 Oppo 970HD Rotel RB-1080/RCD-1072 REL Q150E sub, PS 3

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#116152 - 11/18/05 06:56 PM Re: help with stereo choice
cbee Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 11/15/05
Posts: 12
Why exactly are separates better? So, using Rotel as an example, the RB-1050 and RC-1070 combo (70 wpc) is $400 + $500 resp. = $900 versus the integrated RA-1062 for $700. Please forgive me if these prices are not the lowest, I just did a quick search.

So what is the extra $200 for? Well, 10 wpc. Also the added convenience of being able to upgrade separately. Is there anything else? Any why should there be? What is the intrinsic benefit of building two separate components instead of one? Is it only upgradablility/ flexibility? Is the preamp built into the 1062 inferior to the RC-1070? Again, why not make them the same?

One more question: As I implied in my other post, I will want to really only hook up my computer to this system. Can I hook it up directly to an amp (and therefore control the volume on my computer) or do I need an int. amp or pre-amp first? I guess I really don't know what the preamp does. Even if the sound wasn't the best this way it would give me an upgrade path later on...

I want to understand some of this before I invest in something. I actually have an old technics sa-gx130. The volume control doesn't work well anymore (crackling as I move it) but I may try to fix it, by the M60s ($900) and then upgrade the amp later on if necessary. If the amp isn't THAT important to sound quality this may be the best idea...

Cisco

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#116153 - 11/18/05 08:03 PM Re: help with stereo choice
md55 Offline
local

Registered: 05/20/03
Posts: 284
Loc: Nevada City, CA
I would sggest agian you look at the new Outlaw RR2150 receiver which has just come out. It is designed to be a top notch stereo receiver with modern features like usb input direct from a computer. Reports are that it sounds great.
_________________________
Mark

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#116154 - 11/18/05 09:07 PM Re: help with stereo choice
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16266
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
They are, without a doubt, theoretically better. And they can probably be shown to be better in practice, as well. The main thing going for separates is that not everything needs to be crammed into one reasonably-sized box, but can be split across multuple physically separate boxes. One benefit of this is that you can really isolate the power side of your equipment from the audio processing side and reduce possible intference, among other things. As a product designer, you can also splurge on larger, more expensive parts that just would fit into integrated equipment like your average receiver.

In reality, however, it is pretty much impossible to reliably tell the difference between separates and integrated components when compared in a double-blind tests.
_________________________
"I wish I had documented more…" said nobody on their death bed, ever.

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#116155 - 11/18/05 09:35 PM Re: help with stereo choice
cbee Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 11/15/05
Posts: 12
Hmmm...that makes sense. Good.

And I am taking a look at the outlaw, thanks Mark.

Cisco

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#116156 - 11/18/05 10:11 PM Re: help with stereo choice
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6720
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.
From Axioms own Alan Lofft on seperates
_________________________
Rick


"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." Sigmund Freud


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#116157 - 11/18/05 11:05 PM Re: help with stereo choice
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10372
Ditto, Cisco; there's no special audible magic in putting things in two or three boxes instead of one. There may be slight measurable differences in some units, but since our measuring instruments are far more sensitive than our ears, these differences aren't audible in controlled blind listening tests. In most cases the sensible, cost-effective purchase is a receiver.
_________________________
-----------------------------------

Enjoy the music, not the equipment.



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#116158 - 11/18/05 11:22 PM Re: help with stereo choice
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6720
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.
In reply to:

In most cases the sensible, cost-effective purchase is a receiver.




But not all

_________________________
Rick


"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." Sigmund Freud


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#116159 - 11/19/05 12:10 AM Re: help with stereo choice
2x6spds Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
Right JohnK. As long as audio equipment sounds good to sensitive test equipment who cares how it sounds to people?

How do you measure sweet sound, bloom, and all the qualities which characterize the sound made by excellent audio equipment?

Have you used your more sensitive test equipment to compare the output of a real orchestra to that of a sound system reproducing the music which the orchestra made?

I don't think you really know what you're measuring, I mean in musical terms.
_________________________
Enjoy the Music. Trust your ears. Laugh at Folks Who Claim to Know it All.

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#116160 - 11/19/05 01:05 AM Re: help with stereo choice
thyname Offline
aficionado

Registered: 04/05/05
Posts: 552
Loc: Oakton, VA
I would second Peter (pmbuko) on his explenation on the difference between the receiver and separates. I was skeptical myself first, when I had Rotel RX-1052 stereo receiver rated 100 wpc with JBL E60 towers, until I switched to Rotel RB-1070/RC-1070 combo (now I have RB-1080). I noticed a sizable difference right away. Separates is the way to go, at least for stereo, not sure for HT. You won't know the difference until you actually try it (of course, you have to compare apples to apples, for example Rotel receiver to Rotel separates).
_________________________
Axiom M60s, QS4s, VP100 Onkyo TX-SR804 Oppo 970HD Rotel RB-1080/RCD-1072 REL Q150E sub, PS 3

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#116161 - 11/19/05 03:18 AM Re: help with stereo choice
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16266
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
2x6, you constantly gloss over the fact that instuments are far more sensitive than human ears, and that very slight measurable differences cannot be picked out and reliably attributed to brand A or brand B by humans in blind listening tests.

Oh, and I loves me the sweet bloom of a viola heard live from the second tier of the balcony. Nothing beats it.
_________________________
"I wish I had documented more…" said nobody on their death bed, ever.

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#116162 - 11/19/05 11:06 AM Re: help with stereo choice
2x6spds Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
Yes, but tell me which test instrument you use to determine whether an audio component accurately reproduces the timbre of a musical instrument?
_________________________
Enjoy the Music. Trust your ears. Laugh at Folks Who Claim to Know it All.

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#116163 - 11/19/05 11:28 AM Re: help with stereo choice
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17751
Loc: NoVA
Here we go again...

but seriously, dude, it's just sound waves. Compression waves, even, if you will. There's no mystical "music wave" that some things can't reproduce. It's just waves travelling in an air medium. If an audio component can successfully reproduce sound at all frequencies, it can reproduce the timbre of a musical instrument. Which is usually all messed with in the studio/mastering process anyway, so none of it's real, and life is but a dream.
_________________________
I didn't do it, no one saw me, you can't prove anything.

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#116164 - 11/19/05 12:22 PM Re: help with stereo choice
2x6spds Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
Mystical music wave? I think you miss the point ... which of your electro-mechanical test instruments (far more accurate than the human ear) would you use to determine whether an audio component accurately reproduces timbre?
_________________________
Enjoy the Music. Trust your ears. Laugh at Folks Who Claim to Know it All.

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#116165 - 11/19/05 12:56 PM Re: help with stereo choice
tigweld Offline
buff

Registered: 10/14/04
Posts: 42
Don't worry 2x6, They're deaf from all of their blind listening tests. But seriously, the truth seems to always find it's way somewhere in the middle. At least you are willing to acknowlegde that.

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#116166 - 11/19/05 12:58 PM Re: help with stereo choice
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16266
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
A microphone connected to a spectrum analyzer. It's not rocket science for goodness sake.
_________________________
"I wish I had documented more…" said nobody on their death bed, ever.

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#116167 - 11/19/05 01:00 PM Re: help with stereo choice
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16266
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
In reply to:

the truth seems to always find it's way somewhere in the middle


So if I say 2+2=4, and you say 2+2=5, the correct answer is really 4.5? The truth is where it is. It's only in the middle when each side is equally wrong in opposing directions.


Edited by pmbuko (11/19/05 01:02 PM)
_________________________
"I wish I had documented more…" said nobody on their death bed, ever.

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#116168 - 11/19/05 01:10 PM Re: help with stereo choice
F107plus5 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/24/05
Posts: 2034
Loc: Fla. Orig. Mich.
Apples and oranges perhaps; but...

...we can measure pepper spray or onions and determine why they make our eyes water.

but so can a melody.






maybe we need a PET Scan.



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#116169 - 11/19/05 02:13 PM Re: help with stereo choice
MarkSJohnson Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 10848
Loc: Central NH
Yeah, but you're all forgetting that She sells sea shells by the sea shore...

Two yearth in Speeth Clath when I wath a kid tho I don't talk like Thindy Brady.... and thath what I remember motht.
_________________________
::::::: No disrespect to Axiom, but my favorite woofer is my yellow lab :::::::

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#116170 - 11/19/05 05:37 PM Re: help with stereo choice
2x6spds Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
Yes of course, a microphone connected to a spectrum analyzer will distinguish between amps as to which reproduces 'bloom' or accurate timber. Perhaps you can direct me to the 'bloom' and 'timber' test charts for different amps? I am not aware of any tests of audio equipment which compare the output of a component (variable) in a test system, on the one hand, and live music on the other. If you put a microphone in front of an orchestra and direct the output from microphone to a frequency analyzer, undoubtedly somewhere in the hash of it all there would be indicia of the 'bloom.' But, you wouldn't be able to tell me what test results correspond to the bloom effect, could you? Who cares whether the tested phenomena has been registered on the spectrum analyzer if you can't individuate one quality from another on your analyzer ... which sort of gets us back to the human ear, which might not be as sensitive as a good microphone, but I assure you that its associated processing hardware and software is infinitely more sophisticated than your spectfum analyzer.
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#116171 - 11/19/05 05:46 PM Re: help with stereo choice
AdamP88 Offline
aficionado

Registered: 08/12/03
Posts: 639
Loc: Omaha, NE
In reply to:

Yes of course, a microphone connected to a spectrum analyzer will distinguish between amps as to which reproduces 'bloom' or accurate timber.




Well finally we all agree on something!



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#116172 - 11/19/05 05:48 PM Re: help with stereo choice
Ken.C Offline
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Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17751
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I don't see what flowers and logs have to do with any of this.

Seriously, you're doing a nice job of obfuscating the issue by using these terms. It's just sound waves. Can an amp accurately amplify the signal from a recorded medium? Yes or no. Live performances have little to do with this; like I said, it's all been manipulated before it even hits the platter.
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#116173 - 11/19/05 05:55 PM Re: help with stereo choice
pmbuko Offline
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Ken has it right on the nose calling out your obfuscation. If you can define bloom in objective terms, then I'd be happy to point to it in test results. If, on the other hand, bloom is something you can't quite define -- some je ne sais quoi quality, if you will -- them I'm afraid we're at an impasse.
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#116174 - 11/19/05 07:27 PM Re: help with stereo choice
cbee Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 11/15/05
Posts: 12
So, I've been thinking and reading (two dangerous occupation to be sure) and have a couple of thoughts. First, for a stereo system (not surround sound) it appears that the purpose of the preamp is to take the signals from your source and amplify them to levels that your amp can then use. It also lets you switch sources and adjust volume. And you want to do this with as little degradation to the original signal as possible.

So, the best preamps do the least, they just amplify the signal a little bit. But why bother? If your preamp amps the signal X 5 (for instance) and the amp X 10000 (yes, I making these numbers up, the point is that the preamp is a little and the amp a lot) couldn't you just make an amp to accept the lower level signal and amp it X 10005? You shouldn't need any extra electronics for that, should you? Then your preamp would really just be a box to switch between sources, and a volume control (via signal reduction, not amp). Yes, I know these exist and are called passive preamps, but you need a source with enough power already for the amp. I guess I don't understand why the need for designing the systems so that amps require a higher power input than your normal sources provide. Or am I missing something?

The reason I'm trying to figure this out (other than curiosity) is that I figure the rotel rb-1050 is only $400, well within my limit and from what some of you say amps can make a difference. This would also allow me an upgrade path later, possibly to surround sound with a preamp and another amp (much later, when I get a real job) and I could still swing some good speakers, the M50s or even (if I stretch it) the M60s. Or maybe I'll just use my old technics for now...


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#116175 - 11/19/05 08:03 PM Re: help with stereo choice
2x6spds Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
Adam, I meant that statement to be facetious. Not sure if I succeeded.

What PMB and KC call "obfuscation" is a challenge which neither could meet.


Edited by 2x6spds (11/19/05 08:04 PM)
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#116176 - 11/19/05 10:42 PM Re: help with stereo choice
AdamP88 Offline
aficionado

Registered: 08/12/03
Posts: 639
Loc: Omaha, NE
Really? You were being facetious? Boy, for a second I thought you had finally seen the light!

I was being sarcastic, 2x6. And as far as meeting the challenge, perhaps if your argument was more specific than simply ranting vaguely about "bloom" we could all get somewhere.

What exactly is bloom? It often has a negative connotation (exaggeration, oversaturation - ie color bloom). What may be your bloom might be someone else's bloat. So what is it? Is it midrange presence or warmth? If so that can be measured. But if you can't be bothered to define it beyond "it sounds more real" then what's the point?

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#116177 - 11/19/05 11:06 PM Re: help with stereo choice
2x6spds Offline
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Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
Well Adam, you're free to insult me if you like. See, the problem is that your beloved "more sensitive than the human ear" test equipment is utterly incapable of discerning essential qualities of music, including timbre. You understand that "timbre", is a quality which is psychoacoustic in nature - it is a function of the processor at the receiving end, the human brain - its associated auditory neural network ... all your fancy test equipment can measure is disturbances in the air. Not only that, but the test results relied on by you savants are ususally single tones.

So, KC, Adam, PMB, tell me that (1) timbre does not exist, that (2) it is not a significant component of our perception of music or that (3) you can measure it. The answers are (1) No, timbre exists; (2) Yes, and (3) No, you cannot measure it.

So, what does all your test equipment tell you? It can provide you with a fairly course 'picture' of the qualities of audio components, sort of a broad normal range ... but tells you nothing about the more subtle attributes of audio reproduction systems.

So, fellas, enjoy your test tones.


Edited by 2x6spds (11/19/05 11:07 PM)
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#116178 - 11/19/05 11:16 PM Re: help with stereo choice
pmbuko Offline
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Posts: 16266
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
Are you actually trying to say that timbre cannot be measured and only exists in your head? If I understand you correctly, you're implying that a microphone and spectrum analyzer cannot discern between a trumpet playing middle C and an oboe playing the same note. This is a completely ridiculous assertion. If that is not what you meant by timbre, can you please explain?
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#116179 - 11/19/05 11:24 PM Your argument is highly illogical, captain.
AdamP88 Offline
aficionado

Registered: 08/12/03
Posts: 639
Loc: Omaha, NE
Timbre is psycho-acoustic in nature? Are you high?

Timbre is a function of the instrument producing it, not the receiver. It is not some mysterious force that can't be captured through scientific means. As Peter noted, if timbre were a product solely of the receiver, then a microphone would not be able to differentiate between a piano playing middle C and a saxophone playing middle C. What about digital instruments? Are they infused with psycho-acoustic voodoo in order to simulate the timbre of a piano, since obviously microphones can't capture it??

And timbre can be very easily read on a spectrum analyzer. The same way that you can differentiate two people's voices through the use of a spectrum analyzer, you can differentiate two different instruments' timbres through it.

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#116180 - 11/19/05 11:54 PM Re: Your argument is highly illogical, captain.
2x6spds Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
OK, so I'm "ranting," and "high," and your spectrum analyzer can measure timbre. Very good, Adam! Funny, I've never seen an audio review which used a 'frequency analyzer' to compare two components for their ability to accurately reproduce timbre, although I have read many where the human reviewer did make such comparisons. Why bother with a messy 'wet' and imprecise piece of equipment like a human hear/brain thing when you can use a 'frequency analyzer' to obtain an objective, verifiable and precise measurement of an audio component's ability to accurately reproduce timbre?


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#116181 - 11/20/05 12:44 AM Re: help with stereo choice
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10372
Peter, whatever "bloom" is, it's apparently both elusive(can't be measured by any instruments known to man)and highly fragile(although it's said to be clearly heard in open listening, once the labels and price tags disappear and levels are matched to within 0.1dB in a blind test it evaporates and is gone with the wind).
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#116182 - 11/20/05 01:14 AM Re: Your argument is highly illogical, captain.
2x6spds Offline
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Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
OK, so timbre can be measured with a frequency analyzer, "bloom," doesn't exist (presumably therefore, can't be measured), "soundstage," "imaging," these either can be measured by a frequency analyzer or don't exist as well?

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#116183 - 11/20/05 01:51 AM Re: Your argument is highly illogical, captain.
AdamP88 Offline
aficionado

Registered: 08/12/03
Posts: 639
Loc: Omaha, NE
2x6, could you tell me what you mean by "bloom?"

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#116184 - 11/20/05 02:10 AM Re: Your argument is highly illogical, captain.
2x6spds Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
Not really ... it's kind of like defining pornography ... you know it when you see it ... bloom, you like it when you hear it. I guess if you've listened to live viola or cello music you'd know what bloom is, it is a sweet fullness of sound - of musical sound ... I'm sure it does not register on your meter, or if it did, you would not be able to distinguish the cello's bloom from everything else that's going on.

How about sense of space? Do you think your meter can capture that? Have you ever noticed it when listening to a good recording ... a sense of the acoustical 'space' of the venue of the recorded performance as opposed to your listening room?

So, timbre, bloom, imaging, soundstage, sense of acoustic space ... how do you discern these audio qualities from looking at meter or graph or osillyscope? Or, do you just think that because these qualities cannot be objectively demonstrated by your test equipment, they don't exist?

There is a certain nihilism, an arrogant positivism, an oversimple reductionist quality to the argument that if you can't demonstrate an audio effect on your scope it doesn't exist. Perhaps, Adam, your simple test equipment is not adequate to the complexity of the phenomena ... but, they're just sound waves, right? You've got 2 ears and a brain between them to analyze those sound waves ... and respectfully, I think more of my 'test equipment' than your frequency analyzer.

It's really very simple folks. Just because 2 pieces of equipment test the same does not mean they sound the same.


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#116185 - 11/20/05 02:21 AM Re: Your argument is highly illogical, captain.
AdamP88 Offline
aficionado

Registered: 08/12/03
Posts: 639
Loc: Omaha, NE
Ah, actually if you're referring to a cello or violin, then most likely what you refer to as bloom is a more present midrange. Which can be measured. And can be added via a simple eq'ing

And to further confuse things re: this sense of space you speak of. If you're set on the fact that microphones can't pick up details that our ears can, then how could ANY recording capture a sense of space, since it's recorded using these dreaded microphones?

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#116186 - 11/20/05 02:28 AM Re: Your argument is highly illogical, captain.
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16266
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
I think I understand what you mean by bloom now. Thank you for explaining. And get this, I agree with you that a simple measurement can't capture it. In that sense, it is psychoacoustic in nature.

However, bloom, imaging, soundtage, and acoustic space are completely secondary to the nature of accurate sound reproduction. For, if bloom exists as a musical quality you can perceive after it has traveled the length of your signal path and the air between your speakers and your ears, then it must first be present in the recorded material and on your playback medium of choice, be it CD, LP, or whatever.

Accurate playback is not a voodoo science that pulls musical essence from the ether and infuses it into the signal path before it is converted to sound waves by your speakers. Accurate playback is a simple matter of cleanly converting digital to analog (a trivial process with today's technology), cleanly amplifying it to the desired listing level (again, trivial), and then cleanly converting it into acoustical energy at the speaker (not as trivial, but readily available with speaker such as our beloved Axioms). (By clean, I mean not adding or subtracting anything from the source material.)
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#116187 - 11/20/05 02:29 AM Re: Your argument is highly illogical, captain.
2x6spds Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
Adam, why do you keep suggesting that I'm saying that microphones can't "pick up" details, or that the problem is an inadequacy of the microphones. It is not. The microphones pick up everything that you hear in reproduced music or you wouldn't hear it. The issue is not whether the microphones are adequate, but whether all the musical qualities you hear when you listen to MUSIC can be objectively demonstrated by your test equipment.

I'm glad you have answered the question for us as to what 'bloom' is ... something to do with the midrange. Thanks.
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#116188 - 11/20/05 02:35 AM Re: Your argument is highly illogical, captain.
2x6spds Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
I agree the effects I'm talking about are psycho acoustic. What I'm saying is that not all sound reproduction equipment are equal when it comes to reproducing these effects.

The question is - do components (for example, amplifiers and CD Players) which 'test' the same, sound the same in terms of these qualities (imaging, sense of acoustic space, soundstage, accuracy of the timbre of instruments, attack and decay ... sense of notes 'hanging in the air,' 'bloom') ... they do not sound the same. Some do a better job of reproducing these subtle musical qualities than others.


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#116189 - 11/20/05 02:41 AM Re: Your argument is highly illogical, captain.
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16266
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
If they test the same, then they sound the same. The kicker is to do real-world tests and not simply use test tones, which do not put a piece of equipment through its paces.

...which is exactly why blind tests with actual music, using 100% real human ears and 100% real human brains are so vital to getting results. And you know what? These tests have been done many times. I'd tell you about the results of such tests, but JohnK has already done that many times.
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#116190 - 11/20/05 02:50 AM Re: Your argument is highly illogical, captain.
2x6spds Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
OK, so you have changed your position to the extent that you now acknowledge that not all audible audio qualities are objectively measurable by your frequency analyzer.

I guess I have enough different systems, and have done enough swapping of components to know that they do not sound the same. Subtle effects are however ... subtle and sometimes it takes a while to determine whether or not you like the swapped component or not.
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#116191 - 11/20/05 02:53 AM Re: Your argument is highly illogical, captain.
Ken.C Offline
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Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17751
Loc: NoVA
Except for the fact that audio memory is not exactly long... maybe 5 seconds or so. Prove it with double blind testing. Use music, if that's your preference. But prove it.
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#116192 - 11/20/05 03:03 AM Re: Your argument is highly illogical, captain.
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16266
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
I didn't change my position. I just didn't give more information that I thought was necessary. A spectrum analyzer can't tell me how the brain interprets stereo sound. It's the intermixing of the different audio channels in the brain that determine spaciousness, soundstage, and imaging. What it can tell me is that the sounds coming from the left and right channels of a component differ and by how much they differ. And, if they differ by the same amount as they do on the recorded CD, then that component has done its job well.

Through all this, I haven't been trying to convince you that your systems all sound the same. I believe you that they sound different, and if I were ever to hear them, myself, I'd tell you the same thing. There are other factors at play though, not the least of which is the different rooms containing the systems.


Edited by pmbuko (11/20/05 03:05 AM)
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#116193 - 11/20/05 03:27 AM Re: Your argument is highly illogical, captain.
2x6spds Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
I wrote:

How do you measure sweet sound, bloom, and all the qualities which characterize the sound made by excellent audio equipment?

KC responded:

Here we go again...

but seriously, dude, it's just sound waves. Compression waves, even, if you will. There's no mystical "music wave" that some things can't reproduce. It's just waves travelling in an air medium. If an audio component can successfully reproduce sound at all frequencies, it can reproduce the timbre of a musical instrument.

PMB concluded:

A microphone connected to a spectrum analyzer. It's not rocket science for goodness sake.

I know that JohnK, PMB, KC, Adam and the reductionist/positivist crowd believe that a $10 CD player will reproduce music as well as any other CDP because, afer all, they're just 1 and 0s, that all amps which have the same specs sound the same ...

Those who bother to listen know better.
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#116194 - 11/20/05 03:32 AM Re: Your argument is highly illogical, captain.
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16266
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
In reply to:

Those who bother to listen know better.


The most overlooked component in any system is the room. I'm just sayin'.
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#116195 - 11/20/05 03:34 AM Re: Your argument is highly illogical, captain.
2x6spds Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
I agree with you there, PMB.
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#116196 - 11/20/05 04:01 AM Re: Your argument is highly illogical, captain.
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10372
Yes, it's been told many times, Peter, but you notice that the bottom line is carefully avoided by those who claim to hear these things, i.e. "Prove it". Maybe the classic Stereo Review blind test should be noted again, especially the certainty of hearing differences which were described in open listening before the test compared with the random results shown during the testing. Again(and again, and again...)when the amplifiers have a flat frequency response and adequately low noise and distortion(all available at quite low cost)and the listening level is within 0.1dB for all, listeners can't distinguish between them, regardless of brand or cost. Where one or more of those factors are inadequate in some poorly-designed units(e.g. some tube amps)then a difference may be audible, but it would be as a result of measurable differences in those basic parameters, which instruments detect at levels far below human audibility.
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#116197 - 11/20/05 10:57 AM Re: Your argument is highly illogical, captain.
2x6spds Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
I know that for me, I've gone through a lot of equipment before coming up with systems I'm finally happy with.

I don't think the audio experience is about "proving" anything. You enjoy your stats and conviction that all CDPs, DVDPs and amps sound the same. I'll enjoy the music.


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#116198 - 11/20/05 12:03 PM Re: Your argument is highly illogical, captain.
tigweld Offline
buff

Registered: 10/14/04
Posts: 42
It would be interesting to see if the results changed if the listeners were picked based on their listening experience (such as amplifier or speaker designers). Individuals with ears trained to listen for details. After all, the top 3 percentage right scores in that test were from believers.

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#116199 - 11/20/05 08:27 PM Re: Your argument is highly illogical, captain.
michael_d Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/23/04
Posts: 3881
Loc: Up yonder
Might I suggest you look at the Harman Kardon 3480 and pair it up with the M60s.I think you would be better served with the bulk of the budget going towards speakers.The 3480 is a fine unit and will drive the M60s great.

After rereading this are you saying you already have M22s ? The wording is a bit confusing to me.

Rick

------------------

Cbee,

This was the best advise on this string.

While the rest continue fighting over perception and opinion, just get the combo Rick sugested and you will be a happy camper.
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#116200 - 11/21/05 10:59 AM Re: help with stereo choice
oz350z Offline
aficionado

Registered: 05/31/05
Posts: 562
Loc: Atlanta
Mark
Could you please link to any reviews or feeback on this unit. I am very interested in amplifying my signal from the computer to a bookshelf setup . I will probably go with Epos or M3ti's. I like the idea of a USB connection.
Thanks,
oz
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#116201 - 11/21/05 05:08 PM Re: help with stereo choice
cbee Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 11/15/05
Posts: 12
The Harman Kardon 3480 does look good. OK, yet another question. While the new outlaw receiver may be a little more than I want to spend (esp. if I want those M60s) it does have one feature I like: the usb input. This would save me about $100 for the separate usb dac. Now, the JVC RX-D201S is a 100 wpc (more than enough) surround sound receiver with a usb input for only $200, cheaper than the hk. Of course I would only be using this for stereo for now (read, next couple of years).

So, if (as the stereo review so controversially stated) all these receivers sound fairly alike, is there any reason not to go with this one? I get upgrade possibilities to surround, the usb input, and enough power for the speakers, all for $200. What am I missing?

Cisco



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#116202 - 11/21/05 07:59 PM Re: help with stereo choice
md55 Offline
local

Registered: 05/20/03
Posts: 284
Loc: Nevada City, CA
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#116203 - 11/21/05 08:55 PM Re: help with stereo choice
cbee Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 11/15/05
Posts: 12
But the outlaw is $400 more than the JVC. What am I getting for the extra money?

Cisco

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#116204 - 11/21/05 11:28 PM Re: help with stereo choice
oz350z Offline
aficionado

Registered: 05/31/05
Posts: 562
Loc: Atlanta
Sorry, you misunderstood me. I wanted links to reviews or this positive feedback that you mentioned reading on the reciever.
I had seen the company spec sheet the first time you posted it.
oz
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