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#16802 - 08/07/03 10:03 AM INSANELY BRIGHT?
littleb Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 08/03/03
Posts: 1235
Loc: Moorhead, Minnesota/US
Over at the sound and vision online forum, a gentleman has a review of the m22's, which he purchased. He calls them insanely bright, painful to listen to, saying that he must return them. He also questions whether this can be considered natural. I'm guessing that all axiom owners would not concur. Please address this issue before I order.

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#16803 - 08/07/03 11:25 AM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
MarkT Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/15/03
Posts: 79
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
Could you reference the specific posting?

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#16804 - 08/07/03 11:31 AM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4733
Loc: western canada
Quit reading magazine reviews and all will be fine.
Listen to them for yourself.
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#16805 - 08/07/03 11:33 AM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
curtis Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/28/03
Posts: 1501
Loc: Manhattan Beach, CA
It is not a magazine review and it is posted here:
http://soundandvisionmag.com/idealbb/view.asp?topicID=23150

I would also find out what electronics the poster was using as well. Because of the nature of the M22's there is definitely some receivers/amps that IMHO would not use with them.

Eventhough many magazine reviews are biased for advertisers, if you read between the lines there is almost always some good information.

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#16806 - 08/07/03 12:38 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4733
Loc: western canada
Curtis,
I would agree that reviews can still provide some information of use but i disagree that the amp/receiver used is going to affect the sound of the Axiom speakers to the point of making them laid back as opposed to bright. This poster even mentions he tried using different equipment. I personally have not noticed any significant difference in testing out my Axioms in-house with a Denon vs. my Onkyo vs. a Robertson amp. The speakers were still bright.
Chances are the listening material he used for the auditioning is the ultimate cause of an overdone high end. Short of using an equalizer of sorts, this will not change.

WARNING: short rant on the S&V poster is now to follow

The ensuing discussion on speaker break-in again leads me to raise my eyebrows with a sense of derision.The poster describes how a cymbal sounded with the Axiom speakers as being 'unnatural' and of course, the fall back evidence being he has some kind of musical background in which he 'knows' how a cymbal is supposed to sound. Well I also had a cousin who used to bang away on his drums and i never found a cymbal to sound anything but harsh and sharp to the ears so that IS what i would expect and certainly is what the Axioms reproduce.
I'm amazed at how some people hear a well designed speaker for the first time and actually complain b/c it is not a rolled off, over emphasized sound.
If a consumer does not like the bright, detailed Axiom sound, why keep questioning it? Return the speaker and keep shopping.
There are plenty of other speaker brands out there that one may find more appealing.
Axiom also has 3 other models that utilize a different tweeter. Many of the reviews i've come across where people have posted similar queries such as this S&V fellow have not heard the more laid back Axiom offerings. Judgement is often passed before enough information is really gathered to make an assessment.

END RANT
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#16807 - 08/07/03 12:43 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
curtis Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/28/03
Posts: 1501
Loc: Manhattan Beach, CA
chess,

If you hook up your Axioms to an Harman Kardon or Rotel, I bet you will find them to be not as bright as with a Denon or Onkyo. And I would not even think about hooking them up to a Yamaha. Just my opinion.

curtis

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#16808 - 08/07/03 12:58 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4733
Loc: western canada
curtis,
I have a H/K 380i stereo receiver that i use in my home office to drive some Tannoy Revolutions. I have not hooked it up to my Axioms but just out of curiousity, i might give that a try this weekend.
Maybe it is possible that H/K and Rotel use some kind of low level filter somewhere in the internal chain.
It's another thought.
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#16809 - 08/07/03 01:06 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
curtis Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/28/03
Posts: 1501
Loc: Manhattan Beach, CA
chess,
I don't know if it is a filter or not, but there is a definitely a warmer sound to the system. But when we did the budget speaker comparison 4 or 5 months ago, I also noticed it from my system to Mad Dog's. I definitely think that electronics also add or detract from a speaker's characterisics....I know....a whole 'nother debate.

curtis

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#16810 - 08/07/03 01:20 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
twodan19 Offline
aficionado

Registered: 12/20/02
Posts: 624
Loc: Pembroke, Massachusetts
chess, i have my 60's hooked up to yammi rvx1300, and usually have trebel (sp) set to max, with bass extension in off position. just recently set 60's to small as suggested and messed around with ep350 settings. sounds great either softly playing or cranked.
dan

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#16811 - 08/07/03 01:38 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
curtis Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/28/03
Posts: 1501
Loc: Manhattan Beach, CA
twodan,

You have the treble turned all the way up with your M60's?

curtis

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#16812 - 08/07/03 01:59 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
MIKEY Offline
devotee

Registered: 07/23/02
Posts: 331
Loc: ORANGE COUNTY CALIF
Axiom makes quaility speakers.. Proof: 1) Way too many happy owners.. 2) They would be out of business otherwise..
A poorly set up room can wreak havok with the best of systems.. (I know, I'm still tuning my own..)
As Chess pointed out, the only true test is to test them yourself, in your own home.. Hence the 30 day trial offer..

_________________________
LFE ! The rest is just details..

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#16813 - 08/07/03 02:36 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
sushi Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 1490
Loc: Dallas, TX
littleb,

There are so many speakers out there (especially in the low-three-digits price category) that are so laid-back in the "presence-region" and rolled off in the top octave. This is because these kinds of sound appeal to many people as pretty, mellow and relaxing. There are people who are so used to this type of speaker sound to the extent that they come to firmly believe that it is the "natural" or "neutral" sound.

Some of them might even claim that they have a "musical" background and knows how the "real" instruments sound. But you should be careful here -- unless this person semi-routinely listens to unamplified acoustic instruments in both near- and far-field, these claims mean very little to me. All amplified instrumental sounds, whether they are vocals, acoustic guitars, string basses, drums, piano, or winds/brasses, are electrically reproduced sounds. As a person who used to play in both classical and contemporary ensembles, I can tell you that the original instrumental sounds are VERY different from these amplified sounds to start with. And the reproduced sounds differ from each other, again hugely, even coming from the identical instrument/player, depending on the mic/amp/speakers used, and especially on the placement of the mic(s).

To me, the golden standard of naturalness/neutrality is still the sound I hear in the 100%-acoustic, live orchestral and chamber concerts in large and small venues. And even here, you find the sound character hugely different between a front-row seat on the orchestral floor and a back-row seat on the uppermost floor of the hall. And I can tell you that the Axiom sound is indeed neutral and natural, faithfully reproducing what the recording engineers intended for. It does not mellow down the recordings that use multiple near-field mics and intends to mimic the feel of the front-row seat; it does not brighten up the far-field recording that aims at reproducing the ambiance of the hall, either.

There is nothing wrong with liking a speaker sound with rolled-off highs etc; after all, it's completely up to his/her personal preference. And the Axioms may not be for people who are looking for a mellow, relaxed sound. But for any person who claims that the Axioms are "excessively bright" or otherwise non-neutral, I would suggest he/she should listen to a live orchestral sound (either a classical or pops program) in a choral terrace seat or a front-section seat of the orchestral floor -- he/she will immediately realize how "naturally bright" the live orchestral sound is.


curtis,

I still don't understand your argument on the "sound characters" of amps/receivers. After all, the vast majority of modern solid-state amps have a ruler-flat frequency/phase response and extremely low THD+N levels over the entire 20Hz-20kHz range and beyond, until you approach the maximum power output, where everything starts to degrade usually very rapidly. There are no measurable resonance and other time-domain aberrations, either. So, how the heck can the Yamaha receiver make it "brighter"??? -- I've seen the frequency response of the Yamaha and other receivers measured and published by HiFi News (UK), as well as many other solid-state amplifier measurements published in places like Stereophile, all of which are just FLAT, period.

I cannot imagine a possible mechanism(s) by which these amps make it brighter or warmer, while maintaining a ruler-flat measured frequency response. When it comes to the electronics (not necessarily for speakers), I firmly believe that we can measure EVERYTHING that is sonically relevant. I don't think there is a hidden "mythical" factor left there. Any ideas?


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#16814 - 08/07/03 02:57 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
twodan19 Offline
aficionado

Registered: 12/20/02
Posts: 624
Loc: Pembroke, Massachusetts
yup. try the new Lucinda cd or Beth Hart cd. don't know the names, they're in wife's section. i think the both sound terrific.
dan

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#16815 - 08/07/03 04:38 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
curtis Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/28/03
Posts: 1501
Loc: Manhattan Beach, CA
sushi,
All I can say is to give it a try. There were differences comparing my Marantz to my current HK, and from my Onkyo to Adcom setup with my previous system, and I have never heard a Yamaha sound good to me....the treble was always the issue. I don't have a good argument for what you believe or don't believe, but just like speakers, just give it a try. If you still do not hear the difference...then with you, my statement is not true.

curtis


Edited by curtis (08/07/03 04:40 PM)

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#16816 - 08/07/03 04:58 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
littleb Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 08/03/03
Posts: 1235
Loc: Moorhead, Minnesota/US
Curtis,

My son has a Yamaha rxv-596 which is a bright receiver, however I purchased the htr-5280 which is the twin of the rxv=800 or something like that and I have found that to be more neutral and possesses more tonal quality.

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#16817 - 08/07/03 05:33 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
curtis Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/28/03
Posts: 1501
Loc: Manhattan Beach, CA
littleb,

Thanks littleb. Perhaps I need to listen to that model. Sushi...do you give me any credit now?

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#16818 - 08/07/03 06:17 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10307
Curtis, et al; the speaker review mentioned is hopelessly out of touch with reality, but the "sound" of a receiver deserves some further comment. There certainly are many "bright" recordings in the pop area and a very live listening room can certainly have a major effect in not taming this, since well-engineered speakers have their drivers and crossovers designed for "typical" listening rooms. Tone controls and equalizers are meant to be used in such situations. Receivers, however, don't change the situation and are transparent, with no "sound" of their own unless driven beyond their designed operating limits. I'm sure that over the years both sushi and I have listened to setups with possibly hundreds of different amplifiers and at least I can say that as theory would indicate, a Yamaha doesn't make a speaker sound any different than say, a Marantz, when both are adjusted to exactly the same volume.

Unfortunately, despite the frequently heard mantra, you can't "just trust your ears" . Blind listening tests have shown that flat response, which nearly all receivers and separates have, is flat response and no difference can be heard, regardless of the nameplate or price tag.
_________________________
-----------------------------------

Enjoy the music, not the equipment.



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#16819 - 08/07/03 06:17 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4733
Loc: western canada
Well with a measured flat response across the entire sound range it would seem the hypothesis of internal filtering has been ruled out.
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#16820 - 08/07/03 06:20 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4733
Loc: western canada
Curtis, now you should know better.
Credit is given when peer reviewed papers are published with scientifically acceptable tests concluding in the electronically unmeasurable yet human detectable 'differences' in amps/receivers which has yet to occur.
I wonder why THAT is?

Another consideration to ponder...
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#16821 - 08/07/03 06:33 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
curtis Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/28/03
Posts: 1501
Loc: Manhattan Beach, CA
JohnK,

With the flat response curves of the amps AND speakers, how do you respond to speakers being "bright" as opposed to no sonic differences in receivers?

curtis

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#16822 - 08/07/03 06:42 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10307
Curtis, I don't, because if they're flat, they aren't.
_________________________
-----------------------------------

Enjoy the music, not the equipment.



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#16823 - 08/07/03 06:47 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
curtis Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/28/03
Posts: 1501
Loc: Manhattan Beach, CA
so something can't be explained, because the on axis graphs of the 170 and M22 are very close...yet the brightness of the M22 can not be denied as being there on M22...of missing from the 170.

curtis

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#16824 - 08/07/03 06:54 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10307
Curtis, if there's in fact a difference it has to be measureable. Instruments are far more sensitive than human ears, even "golden ears"(i.e. those who can hear the inaudible).
_________________________
-----------------------------------

Enjoy the music, not the equipment.



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#16825 - 08/07/03 07:04 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5214
Loc: Los Angeles
This is by far my favorite online audio group that I visit, but where some groups are overly interested in cables, amps, etc...this group seems to be just as overly dismissive of these things.

One thing I will add to this conversation is that though you suggest there should be no audible difference in amps, you go on to compare receivers. There's a difference. The amp is only one small part of a receiver. There's a hell of a lot more going on in that little box than sending power to the speakers. So even if all amps are sonically the same, all receivers won't be.
_________________________
"A nation cannot prosper long, when it favors only the prosperous." -President Barack Obama

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#16826 - 08/07/03 07:58 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
curtis Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/28/03
Posts: 1501
Loc: Manhattan Beach, CA
John,

All of us that have heard the CBM-170 and M22 hear a difference....especially in the highs. Are we imagining it? There is something that is not explained in the graphs.

curtis

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#16827 - 08/07/03 08:21 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4733
Loc: western canada
Again, those NRC graphs are plotted on logarithmic scale and are rather small to look at.
Those graphs are ANYTHING but flat and they certainly are NOT identical.

Talking about the frequency response of 2 receivers that ARE identical on these graphs would mean they both look EXACTLY the same and just as flat as this:
______________________________

until they trail off at the lower or upper end of the spectrum.

The brightness perceived in the Axiom speaker could be due to any number of varying peaks shown in those NRC measurements.
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#16828 - 08/07/03 10:56 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
curtis Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/28/03
Posts: 1501
Loc: Manhattan Beach, CA
OK OK...next topic. I also like this board, and do not want to reduce its value.

I hope the upcoming Ascend board is this good, and I hope that you kind Axiom folks participate where you see fit.

curtis

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#16829 - 08/07/03 11:16 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
cblake Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/21/03
Posts: 80
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Curtis,

Don't worry about it; you're not going to win this argument with these guys. Believe me, I've tried.

First of all, anyone claiming that there are no differences, audible or measurable, between amps is seriously misguided, as any audiophile knows. Technically, I believe sonic differences may have a lot to do with dynamics and transients.

Anyone can design a solid state amp that measures with a flat frequency response curve. But if you read the fine print, even in Stereophile, you will see that tests are typically performed at 1W into a constant 8 ohm load, 2W into 4 ohms, and 4W into 2 ohms.

Sure, those curves are flat because they go into a non-reactive test load. And speakers measure awfully flat when tested at a fixed volume (1W ?). However, impedance curves are far from flat, on any speaker. So what would happen if I took a fixed voltage and fed actual music to a speaker who's impedance varies from 4 ohms to 20 ohms (rated with a nominal impedance of 8 ohms)? Well the high impedances are pretty easy to deal with linearly, but as the impedance drops, the speakers demand much more power. To perform linearly, the amp must provide exactly double the power from 8 ohms to 4 ohms given a constant voltage. And quickly.

But wait a minute. Notice that the curves for the different resistive loads, while individually flat, are not at the same absolute level. 2 watts at 4 ohms will virtually always produce less than double the power than 1 watt at 8 ohms; the magnitude of the difference depends on how well-equipped the amp is to handle high-current / low-impedance. Okay so there's maybe a few-decibel difference at 1W. How about comparing 10 watts @ 8ohm to 20 watts @ 4ohm? What happens if a peak in the music demands instantaneous power of 300 watts for a tiny fraction of a second? Will it produce exactly double that power into 4 ohms? Will the relationship between resistive loads, non-linear or not, be the same for all frequencies? Of course not.

Additionally, Stereophile also tests amps into a "dummy loudspeaker load," which has a typical loudspeaker impedance curve. Amps always produce the same general freq. response curve, dipping where impedance drops, with the degree of interaction being dependent partly on the amount of amp output impedance. The slope of the loudspeaker impedance curve also has an effect on its load to the amp.

Back to transients. This is partly why a square wave is often used in testing amps. When there's a rapid change in the voltage signal, the amp has to quickly supply the current as well. Does the amp just go straight to that voltage/current, especially at high wattages? Depends on the amp. It may overshoot the increase to the top of the wave, then undershoot the drop to the bottom. Tube amps round off these square waves substantially, leading to a softer, warmer sound that many people appreciate or prefer.

Regarding distortion. Decades ago, amp manufacturers engaged in a THD war. Solid state was in, and so was negative feedback. Problem is that extreme use of negative feedback can have a very detrimental impact on sound quality. Sure, the 1W frequency response looks great though! Some amps run with little or no feedback, though the middle road today is to simply use it in moderation. It's also worth noting that when distortion levels, while maybe high in absolute terms (especially with tubes), decrease with each fundamental (2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc.), the result is subjectively pleasing according to research done some time ago. That's maybe one important reason why some people still prefer the sound of tube amps; solid state distortion does not have this characteristic.

If amps are imperfect dealing with varying frequencies and dynamics, then what about loudspeakers? What does a square wave look like from a speaker? How much does a speaker overshoot a voltage during rapid changes, when the tweeter is vibrating at 10,000Hz with 100W of instantaneous power? And is it not reasonable to expect these characteristics change after many hours of initial use?

Now what I will concede is that the net audible differences are not as catastrophic as I'm making them out to be. But audiophiles are in this game for the subtleties. Subtleties become painfully obvious when your job is to compare high-end equipment, or when you make a serious hobby out of audiophilia. Hey, I'm not going to go spend five grand for a nice amp at this point, but I won't fault anyone for doing so.

-Cooper

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#16830 - 08/07/03 11:25 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
twopecker Offline
local

Registered: 07/20/03
Posts: 290
Loc: Nebraska
I havent read that much since college....is there a quiz i have to take now? =)



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#16831 - 08/08/03 11:14 AM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4733
Loc: western canada
I almost missed this post.
Reading the forums too quickly this morning.

In reply to:

First of all, anyone claiming that there are no differences, audible or measurable, between amps is seriously misguided, as any audiophile knows.



Now Cooper, there is no reason to insult people with a different opinion. There are those in the industry far more experienced than you or I that question myths and principles of audio every day. I highly doubt they are all 'misguided'. I'm sure many are highly educated both through experience and academic training.

The term audiophile is one that no educational institution bestows upon any profession, so if someone wishes to call themselves an audio expert, there is really no one to argue against that.
Audiophile by definition is "a person who is enthusiastic about high-fidelity sound reproduction" (Merriam-Webster dictionary), not one who has to believe a set group of myths or half truths in order to merit the title.

In reply to:

Technically, I believe sonic differences may have a lot to do with dynamics and transients.
Anyone can design a solid state amp that measures with a flat frequency response curve. But if you read the fine print, even in Stereophile, you will see that tests are typically performed at 1W into a constant 8 ohm load, 2W into 4 ohms, and 4W into 2 ohms.



First off i would very much scrutinize the tests performed by a magazine review. Some are better than others, some are very much useless.
But this topic leads into exactly what sushi had iterated to long ago, expand the breadth of the tests to included MORE than just simple measurements or limited parameters (a full 1W-110W as opposed to just 1W as you say), more than one load, etc. etc. and then show the graphs/numbers that demonstrate how the changes affect the sound frequency curve (or other parameter) that makes the difference audible.
Out of the decades of research on audio, these tests MUST have been done somewhere, by someone already.
So where is the proof? Where are the graphs? The white papers?
That is all i want to see. A well designed examination of the principles.
Many theories have been put forth and yet left unmeasured, untested.

As for this statement, correct me if i'm wrong but are you referring to speaker break-in again?
In reply to:

How much does a speaker overshoot a voltage during rapid changes, when the tweeter is vibrating at 10,000Hz with 100W of instantaneous power? And is it not reasonable to expect these characteristics change after many hours of initial use?



If you are referring to speaker break-in, i have to ask, how can an item break-in and yet not continue to break-down?
Theoretically by this reasoning, the materials should continue to degrade over time with each use and hence have a constantly changing sound until the day they die. Metal molecules do not just settle into a comfortable bed after having vibrated for awhile. They can either take the stress or they cannot.

One thing we can certainly agree upon.
The difference that may exist at this level of signal reproduction is very SUBTLE, if any. This is why so often i would like to see the blind listening tests take place of the always used 'sighted, uncontrolled' listening sessions. Everyone would like to consider themselves to be superior in the area of determining signficant sound changes at the 'subtle, golden eared' level, but a more objective approach is required to remove any bias from human behavioural responses from the equation. We cannot do that consciously no matter how hard people may try.
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#16832 - 08/08/03 01:12 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
goldswimer Offline
newbie

Registered: 08/08/03
Posts: 3
Geez, didnt mean to stir the pot so much, I found the M22ti's to be much much brighter than any speaker I have previously heard, the sound felt very unnatural to me, but that doesnt mean it feels unnatural to you. Having had musical experience, I am generally familiar with the sound of instruments, and I felt that the cymbals were very harsh, yes, I am aware that cymbals produce very high, loud sounds, but no, I dont feel that the sound I got from the Axioms was producing this sound accuratly, to me it was very straining. I am using a Yamaha, which is typically a bright reciever, this may have a lot to do with the sound. I talked to Joe V on the phone and asked him about recievers, he said for someone in my situation (looking for a new reciever as well), perhaps a warmer reciever, a Denon or a HK would be a better match. I am not trying to rub anyone the wrong way, or say that Axiom doesnt make a good speaker, I just feel that for me, the combination I have, perhaps even my room, made the speaker sound unnaturally extended in the hi's. I have nothing but praise for Axiom and the assistance they provided, even after I decided to return the speakers. I dont want to discourage anyone from buying them, just throw in another opinion for them to consider. Perhaps insanely bright was a bit overboard, but due to the brightness, I couldnt listen to them for more than a few minutes. I guess thats about it, if you guys still have complaints/questions about em, feel free to email me, ill try to give you an unbiased analysis.

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#16833 - 08/08/03 02:17 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
cblake Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/21/03
Posts: 80
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Hehe.. well you just gave some of us a reason to grandstand. Don't worry about it.

If you still had your speakers, I would have advised you to break them in for 50 hours and listen again. Or even just 5 hours; I noticed that the treble started getting tamed after just a couple hours of loud use. Though rabbidly disputed on Internet boards, speaker break-in is very widely accepted, and usually associated with easing treble and deepening bass. People often just leave their speakers blaring while they are not at home, just to accelerate the process.

Chess, I provided several facts that might help explain amp differences to skeptics. What I didn't see was a refutation of any of my points. Pick up an issue of Stereophile sometime so you can examine the analyses first hand.

-Cooper

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#16834 - 08/08/03 02:24 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
MarkT Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/15/03
Posts: 79
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
I am surprised and pleased to say that I am also starting to see a taming of some of the treble on the M22s after about 10 - 12 hours of use. I don't care whether it is real or psycho-acoustic - all I know is that I am really starting to enjoy these speakers.

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#16835 - 08/08/03 02:29 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4733
Loc: western canada
goldswimer,
Speaker break-in is a myth.
It IS a psychoacoustic phenemonon that some ppl refuse to believe could possibly be true. There are valid journal papers on the psychoacoustic theory.

Cooper,
The refute of your theory is simple but you apparently do not see it or do not want to see it.
Stereophile is not a scientifically accepted publication. Magazine articles have not been reviewed by qualified peers and its conclusions are unnacceptable proof of anything.
Any scientist, including myself, can fill you in on the proper methods required to establish proper credentials on data before being able to claim a theory as 'fact'.

Feel free to send me a PM if you wish to discuss acceptable scientific methodology in more depth.
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#16836 - 08/08/03 02:35 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4733
Loc: western canada
MarkT,
Does this mean you've finalized your selection then?
Or are you still considering the M60s?
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#16837 - 08/08/03 02:54 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5214
Loc: Los Angeles
"I don't care whether it is real or psycho-acoustic - all I know is that I am really starting to enjoy these speakers."

I've made this point before but it always seems to get lost in the shouting back and forth that goes on when the subject of "break-in" comes up.

Who cares WHY it sounds different? Whether it's the actual speaker producing a different sound, or whether it's your brain adapting to the sound of a new speaker. Bottom line is - it sounds differnt to your ears. Oye...relax people!
_________________________
"A nation cannot prosper long, when it favors only the prosperous." -President Barack Obama

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#16838 - 08/08/03 03:45 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
twopecker Offline
local

Registered: 07/20/03
Posts: 290
Loc: Nebraska
thanks for the common sense post there spiff

does anyone actually just listen to their speakers to enjoy the music anymore? ...I do.

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#16839 - 08/08/03 03:57 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
Zarak Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/09/03
Posts: 1849
Loc: PA
I've been on the fence on this one, but now that I think about it I am leaning towards the "speaker break in" not ear break in side. Here's my reasoning. I was at Mark's listening to "Ride of the Valkryies" at high volumes, and the highs were starting to get to be a bit too much for me. I have listened to the same piece on my M22's, which I've had since March, and I am not bothered by the highs. I can only attribute this to one of two things. Room acoustics or speaker break in. Our rooms are somewhat similar in size and shape, but I realize there is more to it then that so I am not ruling that out as a possibility, but there was a difference to my ear two different sets of M22's.

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#16840 - 08/08/03 03:59 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
MarkT Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/15/03
Posts: 79
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
Chess,

I am definitely keeping the VP150, will be ordering the QS8s today and considering ordering the M60s to compare with the M22s I have at home right now.

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#16841 - 08/08/03 04:04 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
Zarak Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/09/03
Posts: 1849
Loc: PA
I'd suggest that if you can afford the M60's order them, try them, and likely ultimately keep them. If you already know that they are just out of your budget then just be happy with the M22 and don't torture yourself with the comparison.

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#16842 - 08/08/03 04:10 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16224
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
Speaker break-in (SBI) is this forum's favorite debate. Those on the pro side will quickly be crushed beneath the weight of the con's side two-ton gorilla.

The reason the "empiricists" get bent out of shape is that they have their work cut out for them. Let's face it: One of science's greatest axioms ( ) is that it's easier to prove something exists than to prove it does not exist. Those who believe in SBI don't need any proof other than their own experience.

I say let them eat cake.
_________________________
"I wish I had documented more…" said nobody on their death bed, ever.

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#16843 - 08/08/03 05:11 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
JohnnyCasaba Offline
buff

Registered: 06/25/03
Posts: 50
Zarak that is very interesting, because after the second session I was definitely suffering from "listener fatigue". But this was not a problem at the session conducted at your place. So as you said, this difference could come down to speaker break-in, room acoustics and heaven forbid (lol) the
electronics used.

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#16844 - 08/08/03 06:56 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
goldswimer Offline
newbie

Registered: 08/08/03
Posts: 3
Yea, when I first got them, I listened to them, then left them playing while I was at work, and when I came back the treble had toned down a signifigant amount, although any break ins I tried after that made no audible differance I could hear. Return shipping wasnt a lot, and I dont feel unsatisfied at all for those of you guys who are wondering about buying. There isnt a set of speakers out there that I have ever heard that comes close to the midrange performance, I ended up with some athena as-b2's which will have to tide me over for now, sound is good, but the defenition wasnt up to that of the axioms, the Axioms just beat the hell out of them in detail, the athenas have a very reccesed midrange and the axioms bring out all the midranges detail, I think I just found the Axioms way too sharp for my taste, while the Athenas are really so-so as far as their treble goes. Its not as sharp though, so at least I can live with these for now while I am saving to put some heavy cash into a referance system. By all means give em a try, better to do that and end up spendin 30 bucks sendin em back than to spend double/triple for speakers that sound the same or lesser than the Axioms....just my thoughts.

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#16845 - 08/08/03 07:31 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
cblake Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/21/03
Posts: 80
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Well there's no shame in not liking a speaker's tonal characteristics; and every piece of audio equipment will color the sound in some way or another. People's continuing fascination with tube and vinyl gear is, I believe, a testament to how preferences can diverge from naked accuracy.

One problem is that most of today's music is grossly compressed, with the treble boosted well above what is natural. This is an attempt to catch your ear when blaring over car stereos. While the brightness of my Paradigms sometimes annoyed me, I would completely forget about it on many recordings that were more neutral.

So I guess my point is that I think CDs are typically much less neutral than speakers, and if you listen to a lot of pop recordings you might want speakers that trim back the treble a bit. When you listen to a well-recorded bit of classical music, it's amazing how natural it sounds. Not to give you second thoughts or anything; but as you admit, it's hard to give up the detail of the Axioms! Good luck to you and trust your ears

-Cooper

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#16846 - 08/08/03 07:48 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
goldswimer Offline
newbie

Registered: 08/08/03
Posts: 3
Yea, I do believe all that to be true, problem is, I listen to everything, classical, jazz, rock, acoustic, dance, and I would say that it did bring out some nice charecter in pianos, and added extra energy to classical music, but it did still feel a bit over the edge, nowhere near the harshness of modern pop/rock though, but thats an issue with recordings and not speakers.......and since in my case I do own a ton of different genres, I need a little bit less treble to suffice all my recordings. Not as much accuracy I suppose, but I enjoy the music more that way, and thats what its all about.

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#16847 - 08/08/03 08:24 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5214
Loc: Los Angeles
Good point. As much as I love my axioms, many pop and rock cd's don't sound so great. But I know it's the cd, not the speakers, so I deal with it. Beside, I don't listen to very much pop/rock.
_________________________
"A nation cannot prosper long, when it favors only the prosperous." -President Barack Obama

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#16848 - 08/09/03 01:38 AM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
Saturn Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/21/02
Posts: 1041
Loc: Toronto Ontario Canuck
Hi Curtis;

I had my Dad's NAD 752, my Rotel RSX 1065 and my brothers HK AVR225 hooked up to my Marantz CD63 Special Edition CD player hooked up to my old Monitor Audio Silver S6 in the same room. At sound levels equal I could not tell the difference. All were damn bright. Silver S6 is bright, forward and has a floppy bass. I had the same Rotel above and the Onkyo Integra DTR 5.1 hooked up to a old crappy Toshiba DVD player into my old B&W 302 in the same room above. Couldn't tell the difference. Both were muddy and full in the bass. Due to the speakers of course.
I have now the same Marantz CD63SE hooked into PMC DB1 and tried with the Rotel RSX1065 and it sounded good. I hooked up my Bryston 4B to the preouts of the Rotel and into the PMC and the sound definitely opened up. I had a better sound stage and more resolution. I had my dad, my fiancee and friends come over during the last couple of weeks and ask if they could tell a difference. All of them said they did. I never mentioned about the Bryston. They don't know about stuff like this minus my dad. The sound when powered by the Bryston gave me the same dynamics and soundstage as I heard in the shop when the speakers were paired with a Krell KSA Integrated. Unfortunately I do not do scientific measurements.
This opinion is solely my personal view and all can take it with a grain of salt. I was a firm believer before that amps didnt matter. I was right in certain aspect but kinda wrong in certain ways too. I went out and tried it and all in the same room...my living room.
If you are using Denons, Yammys, Rotels, HK, Pioneers most will be hard pressed to find a difference in 2 stereo mode. The Pioneer is kinda funky in that surround stuff. It does a fantastic job with that MCCACC
The moment you go with Krells, Brystons, Conrad Johnson, Classe, Mark Levinson (all of which I have heard) ... amps that are considered Class A and pushing 150, 250, 350+ watts ... it is not necessarily better but there is a change in sound quality. When does that law of diminishing returns start kicking in for those individuals who pay 2K 3K 5K 10k for that added depth of stage and resolution over the sub 1.5k reciever/separates.
_________________________
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#16849 - 08/09/03 02:17 AM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
curtis Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/28/03
Posts: 1501
Loc: Manhattan Beach, CA
I have been thinking about this issue a bit. Maybe it was the quality of the amps/receivers that caused the differences that I heard. hmmmmmm

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#16850 - 08/09/03 12:42 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
Zarak Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/09/03
Posts: 1849
Loc: PA
I played the "Ride" again at my place this morning. We were listening at about 84dB at Marks. I cranked it up to around 90dB today. At 90, I started to hear a little bit of the high end harshness, and as we saw before it started to go away as I lowered the volume. So, there is still some harshness at the upper ends, but not to the extreme we heard it at Marks. Is this the room dynamics, other components, cables, speaker break in...I'll leave that for the rest of you to debate.

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#16851 - 08/09/03 06:54 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10307
Fletcher-Munson Effect, Jason.
_________________________
-----------------------------------

Enjoy the music, not the equipment.



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#16852 - 08/09/03 07:23 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
KC_Mike Offline
local

Registered: 01/11/03
Posts: 209
Loc: KS
I think the point cblake makes is a valid one. My brother has been in a band (Kill Creek) since the late 80's. At one point in time, they were signed with Mammoth records and toured the US and Canada.

Anyway, being the brother of a band member has some advantages. Over the years, I got to experience how music is recorded, mixed, mastered, etc. I was always getting copies of raw recordings, and then my brother would throw the first mastered versions my way for some feedback...but mainly because he knew I was dying to hear something. Often, songs were 'touched up' for a certain effect or to smooth out a 'bad spot' in the recording. Sometimes, vocals were touched up or digitally 'smoothed out' at spots in the song where the vocalist was going beyond his abilities (sorry Scott). So many effects and emphasis are used to add an 'edge' and to achieve that 'pop sound' the record executives insisted would drive sales.

Eventually, I would get to hear the final master that the record company was going to use on the album. Almost always, the end result was just as cblake suggested...a sound that is over-trebled and over-emphasized...among other things.

I guess that is why it always kills me when somebody says "I know what a cymbal is supposed to sound like...these speakers suck". If they only knew the transformation that takes place from the original recording to the final master...maybe they would consider the source more....especially on pop/rock music.



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#16853 - 08/09/03 09:14 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
Zarak Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/09/03
Posts: 1849
Loc: PA
I'm not familar with the Fletcher-Munson Effect. Can you please explain?

Thanks.


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#16854 - 08/10/03 12:03 AM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
Zarak Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/09/03
Posts: 1849
Loc: PA
Ok...so I decided to check it out for myself. Apparently at high volumes it is easier to hear the note at either end of the human hearing spectrum. So I play it loud, can hear the highs either, and that is why they bother me. This makes sense, but it seems that there still must be something else to it. I played the same track roughly 7dB louder (measured by SPL) at my house and the highs bothered me less at my house than at Marks.

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#16855 - 08/10/03 01:20 AM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
MarkT Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/15/03
Posts: 79
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
Why can't it be something as simple as the fact that you have an Onkyo and I have a Pioneer, and each receiver (not AMP) puts out a different sound?

Mark

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#16856 - 08/10/03 01:41 AM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10307
Mark, simply because there's no reason for one receiver to have a different sound unless the user has applied tone controls, surround modes, etc. to deliberately change it. The degree of liveliness of the two listening rooms is a variable factor.
_________________________
-----------------------------------

Enjoy the music, not the equipment.



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#16857 - 08/10/03 03:57 AM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
curtis Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/28/03
Posts: 1501
Loc: Manhattan Beach, CA
Uh oh...hear we go again!

I agree the room could be major factor. But can you two guys swap receivers and check it out?

curtis

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#16858 - 08/10/03 10:13 AM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
MarkT Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/15/03
Posts: 79
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
Sushi - Do you know if listening in STEREO mode on the 45TX (not DIRECT) applies any types of equalization changes to the music? I ask this because I notice a slightly different sound in DIRECT vs STEREO. And no, I did not have any of the tone controls or MCACC eq. turned on while we were listening in STEREO mode that night.

JohnK - I can certainly see where the dynamics of the rooms themselves can be a factor here, but if the receiver truly makes no difference in the character of the sound produced:

1. There are a huge amount of misinformed people out there (and I will humbly included myself in that group, although I will stand corrected).
2. The manufacturers of these receivers as well as magazine reviewers certainly push the concept of different types of sound - and I realize some of this is a marketing ploy.

Mark



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#16859 - 08/10/03 10:39 AM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
Zarak Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/09/03
Posts: 1849
Loc: PA
We aren't going to swap receivers, but if Mark decides to try out those M60's I'll be happy to bring my M22's for comparison purposes and we can hear my speakers in his room with him equipment.

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#16860 - 08/10/03 01:40 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
BigWill Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/01/03
Posts: 1951
Loc: Corona, Calif. USA!!!
Wow - long, contentious thread here. Might as well give my $.02.
I use 12 gauge garden lighting wire to supply my QS8s so I am certainly no audiopile, but I clearly hear a difference from one brand of receiver to another. The only way I could be mistaken is if every salesman, in every store that I have ever demo'd equipment in, was lying to me about which receiver he was playing at each moment. It is also possible that the receivers were displaying differences caused by set-up (treble knob boosted on one, but not the other; stereo mode vs. direct; and who knows what else a store might try to steer people towards a particular brand).

I'm completely with you guys in the de-bunking audiopile myths camp, but for whatever reason different receivers seem to have different sounds (at least for me).

As a side note: Why do people post on this board to tell us how much they prefer other speakers to Axioms? That BS annoys me.


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#16861 - 08/10/03 01:59 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
littleb Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 08/03/03
Posts: 1235
Loc: Moorhead, Minnesota/US
Personally,

I wish I never started this thread. Even, if the 22's are bright sounding speakers that doesn't make them bad. I've been to my local Paradigm dealer and have heard some incredibly sounding bright speakers. I'm thinking of ordering some Axiom speakers. They have to be better than most of what I have heard.

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#16862 - 08/10/03 02:03 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5214
Loc: Los Angeles
Starting the thread isn't the problem. Naming it in all caps "INSANELY BRIGHT" was what caused the ruckus. (likewise on the soundandvision board)
_________________________
"A nation cannot prosper long, when it favors only the prosperous." -President Barack Obama

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#16863 - 08/10/03 02:15 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
MarkT Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/15/03
Posts: 79
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
Littleb,

Don't sweat it about starting this thread. We have been down this road before on this forum on many topics. I look at it this way...it's an opportunity for all of us to hear each other's opinions and share our own without antagonism. In many instances in this and other forums, my perspectives have been challenged and often broadened.

Mark

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#16864 - 08/10/03 08:52 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
sushi Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 1490
Loc: Dallas, TX
Cooper,

Belatedly... Let's be a bit more precise here...

In reply to:

Sure, those curves are flat because they go into a non-reactive test load. And speakers measure awfully flat when tested at a fixed volume (1W ?). However, impedance curves are far from flat, on any speaker. So what would happen if I took a fixed voltage and fed actual music to a speaker who's impedance varies from 4 ohms to 20 ohms (rated with a nominal impedance of 8 ohms)? Well the high impedances are pretty easy to deal with linearly, but as the impedance drops, the speakers demand much more power. To perform linearly, the amp must provide exactly double the power from 8 ohms to 4 ohms given a constant voltage. And quickly.



So far, the argument is accurate.

In reply to:

But wait a minute. Notice that the curves for the different resistive loads, while individually flat, are not at the same absolute level. 2 watts at 4 ohms will virtually always produce less than double the power than 1 watt at 8 ohms; the magnitude of the difference depends on how well-equipped the amp is to handle high-current / low-impedance. Okay so there's maybe a few-decibel difference at 1W. How about comparing 10 watts @ 8ohm to 20 watts @ 4ohm? What happens if a peak in the music demands instantaneous power of 300 watts for a tiny fraction of a second?



If the power (or voltage) output of a solid-state amp decreases by as much as a few dB within audio frequencies when driving a 4-ohm load, the amp should be considered defective (unless it is a tube amp with a very low damping factor, i.e., high output impedance). This aspect is covered by the output impedance measurements over the frequency range.

The vast majority of today's solid-state amps have output impedances of well below 0.1 ohm, which stays low and ruler-flat up to (at least) 20kHz, where it slowly starts to rise. When driving a 4-ohm load, this translates to a power loss of less than ~0.1dB, NOT "a few dB" loss. And this is maintained until the maximum available power output (for the given load impedance) is approached, where the sonic degradation and its differences between amps becomes very obvious anyway.

In reply to:

Additionally, Stereophile also tests amps into a "dummy loudspeaker load," which has a typical loudspeaker impedance curve. Amps always produce the same general freq. response curve, dipping where impedance drops, with the degree of interaction being dependent partly on the amount of amp output impedance. The slope of the loudspeaker impedance curve also has an effect on its load to the amp.



Yes, and as stated above, those "dips" are only ~0.1dB deep or less. Even if one can reliably hear a 0.1dB dip in frequency response (highly unlikely), this does NOT provide a physical explanation for the alleged "brighter" sound of the Yamaha receivers on many different speakers (with wildly different impedance curves from each other). If you have any logical idea here, please tell me...

In reply to:

Back to transients. This is partly why a square wave is often used in testing amps. When there's a rapid change in the voltage signal, the amp has to quickly supply the current as well. Does the amp just go straight to that voltage/current, especially at high wattages? Depends on the amp. It may overshoot the increase to the top of the wave, then undershoot the drop to the bottom.



Again, if a solid-state amp exhibits an overt overshooting/ringing under a resistive or resistive-inductive (speaker) load, the amp should be considered defective today, period. Under a realistic load conditions (resistive/inductive combined with some capacitative components), the vast majority of current solid-state amps reproduce "text-book" square waves.

In reply to:

Tube amps round off these square waves substantially, leading to a softer, warmer sound that many people appreciate or prefer.



That is simply because, in many tube amps, the frequency response starts to roll off at 10-15kHz. No magic here -- and some tube amps have a definitive sonic character precisely because of this and several other reasons (whether it is subjectively good or bad). Anyway, my initial post deals with modern solid-state amps.

In reply to:

Regarding distortion. Decades ago, amp manufacturers engaged in a THD war. Solid state was in, and so was negative feedback. Problem is that extreme use of negative feedback can have a very detrimental impact on sound quality. Sure, the 1W frequency response looks great though! Some amps run with little or no feedback, though the middle road today is to simply use it in moderation.



I am not aware of a modern solid-state amp that runs with "little or no" NFB, say, less than a total of 10dB feedback (please show me if you know any such commercial designs). The open-loop characteristics of solid-state op-amps and power stages have come a long way in the last 3 decades, so that today's amps achieve, with moderate levels of NFB, a very low THD+N and output impedance over and well beyond audio frequencies, while maintaining a robust stability and load tolerance.

Bottomline: Your "technical" arguments still do not provide a good explanation for the alleged sonic characters of solid-state amps.


curtis,

Yes, I had instantaneous A/B compared, in several occasions, two current models of Yamaha receivers (the flag-ship RX-Z1 and a $1000-ish model, of which I don't remember the model number) in the direct stereo mode, with various other receivers including the Pioneer, Denon, H/K, Onkyo, and Marantz. After carefully ensuring that every processing is defeated and the listening level is within +/- 0.5dB, I did not reliably hear a sonic difference among them. This wasn't even a blind test -- I knew what I was listening to and was looking for the alleged, published "characters."

I personally suspect that, if any real sonic difference exists among these receivers, it resides in the digital-domain algorithms and/or the ADCs/DACs. I believe that it is fairly hard to hear the sonic difference among modern solid-state amps (or the amp portion of the receivers), although I do not want to claim or prove that all SS amps do or should sound identical. To my ears, they certainly do not provide a strong enough sonic signature to affect/modify the timbral characters of loudspeakers, which are, of course, highly audible in most cases.

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#16865 - 08/10/03 09:25 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
cblake Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/21/03
Posts: 80
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
In reply to:

Do you know if listening in STEREO mode on the 45TX (not DIRECT) applies any types of equalization changes to the music? I ask this because I notice a slightly different sound in DIRECT vs STEREO. And no, I did not have any of the tone controls or MCACC eq. turned on while we were listening in STEREO mode that night.




If you are using analog inputs from a CD player, Stereo mode is most likely still re-digitizing the signals and performing digital crossover work before converting back to analog. "Stereo" mode can still heed your speaker settings and hi-pass filter your mains while providing a low-passed signal to the sub.

Many amplifiers don't even have a direct mode: they are always digitizing your analog inputs, no matter what. Last I checked, ALL Yamaha receivers digitize all inputs. One generation back, all HK receivers did it: I emailed the company. Fortunately HK ended up giving a true bypass feature for the current generation.

Many people are unaware of the huge sonic penalty of an extra analog->digital->analog step. My Yamaha CD player has very good DACs, and I lose all the benefit if I were to to go Yamaha DAC -> Receiever ADC -> digital processing -> Receiver DAC. While I do have an optical output, I believe the Yamaha DACs are much better than the DACs on most receivers below $1500. This is a rough estimate of course.

-Cooper

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#16866 - 08/10/03 09:42 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
MarkT Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/15/03
Posts: 79
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
Might that explain the reason why the sound is perceptively better when a one of my CDs is played through my 3 month old DVD player vs. my 18 year old Pioneer 5 CD player?

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#16867 - 08/10/03 09:51 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
cblake Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/21/03
Posts: 80
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Nice and astute response to my rant, Sushi. I was trying to illustrate two points: 1) there are measurable differences between all amps, and 2) there are lots of measurements we take which are deceiving or simply absent.

You are quite correct that solid state amps typically have a very small reaction to the "dummy speaker" load in Stereophile. This is where I will again stress that it's done into roughly 1 watt with a simulated nominal impedance of 8 ohms. Probably almost any amp can cope with a tiny dip down to 4 ohms / 2 watts. But where we separate the men (big amps) from the boys (50wpc stuff) is when dealing with extremely high powers.

So if you take a 50wpc amp and a 300wpc amp, being equal except for power, we couldn't easily tell the difference at very moderate volume levels. Big amps are all about handling a symphonic clash or a cannon shot or some other dynamic peak. Turn up the volume and your 50wpc will sound quite loud during the song, but the big bang will fall short even if it's not clipping.

But I also believe that as volume levels increase, those dummy speaker results will get exacerbated. Why? Because that impedance linearity fades away under higher power. I own "the most powerful receiver Harman Kardon made in 30 years," the HK 3470. It puts out 100wpc into 8 ohms, but something like 130wpc into 4 ohms. A really good 100wpc amp would actually put out almost 200wpc into 4 ohms. The discrepency means that my amp gets progressively less linear, with respect to impedance, as power output increases.

In other words, if the music draws 100 watts for the 8+ ohm parts of the clash, then it's going to want to draw 200 watts for any sound frequencies that have 4 ohm impedance. But it won't be able to on my amp, which means during that burst of sound my amp will be several decibels lower at the frequencies where my speaker impedance dips. (130 W is a far cry from 200 W)

Some amps have an "instantaneous" power draw statistic, but those last for an extremely short amount of time during high current situations. So if the echo of the cannon blast continues for a second, you'll be relying on those continuous power ratings of 100wpc and 130wpc. This is why having a lot of overhead on power amps is so important: it helps you deal with tremendous musical dynamics and sound levels without losing neutrality or impact.

The bottom line is that most statistics rely on continuous signals, while the real challenge to an amp has everything to do with dynamics. I'm speaking in gross terms and I am no electrical engineer.

-Cooper

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#16868 - 08/11/03 01:14 AM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
sushi Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 1490
Loc: Dallas, TX
Mark,

The STEREO mode on the 45TX leaves all digital-domain processing turned on (obviously except for the matrix surround processing). For example, the MCACC level/delay/EQ adjustments for the front L/R will be used, and the high-bit/high-sampling feature will stay on if you have turned it on. Also, in my experience, the STEREO mode seems to play it 3-4 dB louder than the DIRECT mode.

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#16869 - 08/11/03 04:44 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
sushi Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 1490
Loc: Dallas, TX
In reply to:

But I also believe that as volume levels increase, those dummy speaker results will get exacerbated. Why? Because that impedance linearity fades away under higher power. I own "the most powerful receiver Harman Kardon made in 30 years," the HK 3470. It puts out 100wpc into 8 ohms, but something like 130wpc into 4 ohms. A really good 100wpc amp would actually put out almost 200wpc into 4 ohms. The discrepency means that my amp gets progressively less linear, with respect to impedance, as power output increases.



Cooper,

We need to separate two distinct issues here: (1) impedance linearity of maximum available power, and (2) power-level dependency of frequency responses under realistic loads. We should not mix these up together.

(1) Yes, most moderately-priced receivers/amps cannot provide a linear increase of maximum power when the load impedance is reduced. This is simply because there are limits in maximum current draw in these amps, as well as limits in power-rail voltage regulation under high-current situations. Also, as you said, there are definitive differences even among the amps/receivers with similar maximum stationary power outputs as to how well they handle transient peak power demands (so-called power researve or "crest factor"). These differences are certainly measurable, and can be audible when one tries to drive an insensitive/inefficient pair of speakers (such as the Magnepans) in a very voluminous room. But when you are driving speakers of decent sensitivity (like the Axioms) at moderate volume levels in a moderate-sized room, the amp will hardly put out more than a few 10's of watts in 99.9% of music passages. My point is, these max power-related differences CANNOT render the "sonic character" of the amp, which supposedly is present constantly through the music.

(2) These limitations in current draw and power-supply regulations seen in many moderately priced amps DO NOT result in a modulation of the frequency response until the actual power output approaches the maximum available power. For example, the frequency response of your H/K 3470 under a realistic speaker load will be virtually flat (except for the tiny dips due to the finite output impedance as explained earlier) when driven at 1W, 10W or 100W into 4 ohms (until it approaches the 130W limit). The frequency response DOES NOT dip more when it is putting out 100W, as compared to the response at 1W.


So, I do agree with you that the dynamic power handling measurably differ from amp to amp, including the amount of transient power reserve as compared with the amp's sustained maximum power, and the gracefulness of distortions when the maximum power is reached. These attribute can be an important factor under certain situations where you do actually encounter a three-digit power demand frequently enough so that the difference is audible.

However, my point remains that these attributes related to the maximum available power output CANNOT explain the alleged "sonic signature" of the amps/receivers.

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#16870 - 08/11/03 10:22 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
cblake Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/21/03
Posts: 80
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
In reply to:

We need to separate two distinct issues here: (1) impedance linearity of maximum available power, and (2) power-level dependency of frequency responses under realistic loads.



The impedance of any speaker varies dramatically with frequency, regardless of the power output. It becomes a stronger factor as power levels increase.

In reply to:

the frequency response of your H/K 3470 under a realistic speaker load will be virtually flat (except for the tiny dips due to the finite output impedance as explained earlier) when driven at 1W, 10W or 100W into 4 ohms



That is a good point. However, I don't believe it's as clear cut as you're indicating. I have to fall back on my argument about transients. I think this is where the differences get revealed, because even if you're not sustaining 100wpc, music is very dynamic. Every single cymbal clash and kick-drum whack will instantaneosly demand a huge rate of current draw. You can calculate exactly how many farads of energy are stored up in capacitors, and how long it could supply energy at a steady voltage, but how does that current draw affect the nature of the sound, and is there a kind of hesitance in your wall current supplying the sudden jolt?

One very well-established, but counterintuitive, observation in high-end equipment design is the effect power supplies have on the sound of a component. I'm not just talking about amps; even preamps and digital sources are affected. The more "overhead" the power supply has, the less constrained the sound. This is one of the reason high end components weigh so much. It's oh-so-easy to measure continuous current draw situations, but with dynamics... well, remember the wonderful world of derivatives? If the current goes from 1 amp to 100 amps in .001 seconds, what does the current graph look like? A straight line?

This goes back to the square wave. Many amps do not actually produce great-looking square waves. It has to do with amplifier bandwidth: how high the frequencies go before the response tapers off. On a $9000 100wpc Linn Klimax Twin, Stereophile measured a 3dB rolloff at 58kHz. I will quote from the article: "This curtailed ultrasonic response also rounds off the leading edges of a 10kHz squarewave, but the waveform is refreshingly free from overshoot or ringing." The graph indicates this very obviously, and it also has an interesting curve when dropping down to the low part of the signal.

I'll stop here, as I can no longer make a strong assertion about exactly what causes the frequency-specific variation. But most measurements vary greatly with frequency, such as channel separation (by 10s of decibels), noise floor (often by 10s of decibels), and other things. Given the fact that plenty of people on Audioreview will comment on the "brightness" of a $400 Yamaha amp or the "warmth" of a Harman Kardon, I am inclined to believe there is some cause. But I'm pretty much out of steam on this argument, so maybe we can call it a draw?

-Cooper

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#16871 - 08/12/03 03:20 AM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
sushi Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 1490
Loc: Dallas, TX
In reply to:

But I'm pretty much out of steam on this argument, so maybe we can call it a draw?



Hehe... Cooper, this is only starting to get interesting.

In reply to:

The impedance of any speaker varies dramatically with frequency, regardless of the power output. It becomes a stronger factor as power levels increase.



I don't know what exactly you meant by "a stronger factor." But as you stated yourself, the speaker impedance curve essentially stays the same regardless of the power output. It does NOT suddenly become more important from amp's perspective above certain power output levels, as I explained in detail above.

In reply to:

That is a good point. However, I don't believe it's as clear cut as you're indicating. I have to fall back on my argument about transients.



It is indeed as clear cut as I indicated -- there is nothing hidden or mystical here. The hard fact is, if the amp can maintain an essentially flat frequency/phase response at continuous 100W output with a real-world load, then it will maintain the same frequency/phase response through the highly dynamic music playback, AS LONG AS the transient power peaks do not exceed 100W. In other words, the problem of power-supply regulations, dynamic current draw etc. are already covered here when measuring at steady-state 100W output, as a worst-case scenario so to speak.

Now, if the dynamic power demand overtly and frequently exceeds 100W (or whatever maximum available), that is an entirely different story. But I strongly doubt that people (including the "expert" magazine reviewers) routinely put the SS amp into that kind of situation during a typical subjective listening test using typical music materials. In the vast majority of home audio settings, I would predict that your ears start to hurt way before the amp starts to exhibit stresses. As an example, my Adcom power amp (rated 325Wpc into 4 ohms) has nifty instantaneous distortion indicators; I have NEVER managed to turn them on even when listening to highy dynamic music/soundtrack materials at insane (basically intolerable) volume levels in my 5000 cu. ft. room.

In reply to:

It's oh-so-easy to measure continuous current draw situations, but with dynamics... well, remember the wonderful world of derivatives? If the current goes from 1 amp to 100 amps in .001 seconds, what does the current graph look like? A straight line?



The dynamic behavior of an amp is (unlike that of loudspeakers) in fact quite simple, again as long as you do not swing the amp beyond the maximum continuously available power. All you need to fully describe the amp's transient/dynamic behavior is the (complex) transfer function across the entire audio frequencies, measured at near-maximum power outputs. EVERY transient/dynamic behavior will be covered by this transfer function, including your example if the amp is actually capable of doing it. [incidentally, not many amps can ever do it in the first place, because 100A into 4 ohms and 8 ohms correspond to 40kW and 80kW, respectively.] An important fact here is, the transfer function of an amp can already be fully determined by obtaining simple power/phase response curves over the entire audio frequency range. There are many ways to do this, including the classical frequency sweeps, pink noises, square waves, and more fashionable impulse and step responses, but these are in fact 100% equivalent to each other when measuring amps (again, they can derive totally different results when it comes to loudspeakers, because they produce so much time-domain aberrancies).

In reply to:

One very well-established, but counterintuitive, observation in high-end equipment design is the effect power supplies have on the sound of a component. I'm not just talking about amps; even preamps and digital sources are affected. The more "overhead" the power supply has, the less constrained the sound. This is one of the reason high end components weigh so much.



I do NOT think that observation is "well-established" outside the audiophile marketing machinery for expensive audio gears. I fully agree that the more expensive the equipment is, the bigger, more over-spec'ed power supply it tends to boast -- this is important because they have to justify the higher cost in some ways. I, for one, love to look at the beautifully built innards of some of those expensive gears, which alone would hugely boost the pride of ownership for me. But I am NOT aware of any reliable (subjective or objective) reports convincingly demonstrating that these over-spec'ed parts actually produce a better sound quality. Let us not forget that ALL audiophile magazines operate within the realm of the huge marketing machinery (in fact, they ARE perhaps the most important part of the whole marketing mechanisms).

In reply to:

On a $9000 100wpc Linn Klimax Twin, Stereophile measured a 3dB rolloff at 58kHz. I will quote from the article: "This curtailed ultrasonic response also rounds off the leading edges of a 10kHz squarewave, but the waveform is refreshingly free from overshoot or ringing." The graph indicates this very obviously, and it also has an interesting curve when dropping down to the low part of the signal.



This is an entirely expected, "text-book" example of beautiful squarewave response. Of course, if the amp's high-frequency pole is at around 60kHz, it will NOT perfectly reproduce a 10kHz squarewave; its 7th harmonics is already down significantly. These sort of things only reinforce my assertion above: when it comes to electronics, all these seemingly different measurements are in fact functionally equivalent. Indeed, I am NOT aware of any modern SS amps/receivers that behave badly or unexpectedly on squarewaves (if squarewave overshoots or rings, there must be a peak(s) in the frequency response, somewhere in the treble-ultrasonic region, which I've never seen these days).

In reply to:

I'll stop here, as I can no longer make a strong assertion about exactly what causes the frequency-specific variation. But most measurements vary greatly with frequency, such as channel separation (by 10s of decibels), noise floor (often by 10s of decibels), and other things.



Yes, these measurements (especially noise floor) can vary wildly across audio frequencies. But, unless the amp is defective, it is a variation from, say, -120dB to -90dB -- it remains essentially inaudible in most modern SS amps.

In reply to:

Given the fact that plenty of people on Audioreview will comment on the "brightness" of a $400 Yamaha amp or the "warmth" of a Harman Kardon, I am inclined to believe there is some cause.



Now, we are finally back to the "faith" domain. I fully respect your faith on these anecdotal reports. However, my own version of faith here, faced with this same assortment of reports, is that the listening impressions of many of these people might well be already influenced and pre-conditioned by the very widespread notion of the "Yamaha brightness." I simply cannot convince myself with these reports, especially given that I myself do not hear the alleged brightness on the Yamahas, and because I do not see any (measurable) physical foundation for the Yamaha's brightness.

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#16872 - 08/12/03 12:41 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
pmbuko Offline
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I have a semi-related question that I'm sure anyone with the slightest knowledge of EE can help me with.

When reading specs for some higher-end amps, I often see the term "slew rate," given in volts per microsecond. What is this spec and what does it tell me about the amp?
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#16873 - 08/12/03 04:49 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
JohnK Offline
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Posts: 10307
Peter, since semi or sushi haven't had a chance to jump in on this and you did say "slightest knowledge", let me say that slew rate is the rate of change of its output voltage(in volts per microsecond,as you indicate)that an amplifier is capable of. The significance is that the maximum frequency which an amplifier can reproduce with negligible distortion is proportional to the slew rate divided by the peak output voltage which the amp has to supply. So, slew rate is an important engineering consideration, but once an amp can reproduce at least 20,000hz with low distortion at its designed peak output voltage(which any properly designed amp can do), the slew rate is necessarily shown to be high enough for audio purposes. In particular, a higher slew rate doesn't mean that an amp is "quicker" in reproducing music and isn't of any particular significance in the real world.
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#16874 - 08/12/03 07:43 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16224
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
In reply to:

a higher slew rate doesn't mean that an amp is "quicker" in reproducing music and isn't of any particular significance in the real world.



That is what was bugging me. Thanks for the explanation.
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#16875 - 08/12/03 09:30 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
cblake Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/21/03
Posts: 80
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
In reply to:

As an example, my Adcom power amp (rated 325Wpc into 4 ohms) has nifty instantaneous distortion indicators; I have NEVER managed to turn them on even when listening to highy dynamic music/soundtrack materials at insane (basically intolerable) volume levels in my 5000 cu. ft. room.



I put some calculations into a spreadsheet and came up with the following:
Note: this assumes a speaker sensitivity of 88dB/W/m.

8 ohm, 3 meters, 29 dB loudness = .001V, .001amp, and .00001W. This would be a really quiet passage. 85 dB, close to my average loudness level, would be 6V, .75amp, and 4.5W. Say I crank it really really loud and the peaks bring the music to 100dB. This would mean 34V, 4.25amp, and 145W of power! So as you increase power levels, the instantaneous peaks of required power grow exponentially.

Then don't forget that full-range speakers demand a lot of low-impedance current to power the bass. The "8ohm compatible" Paradigm Reference Studio 100 v.2 has an impedance hovering around 4 ohms for most of the frequencies below 80 Hz. When dealing with very low bass, it becomes feasible to hit 105, maybe 110dB in total power for a moment. Now you're well into the hundreds of watts. Don't forget how many subwoofers have their own power source of 100, 300, even 1000 watts of power.

Boiling frogs
In reply to:

...There are many ways to do this, including the classical frequency sweeps, pink noises, square waves, and more fashionable impulse and step responses, but these are in fact 100% equivalent to each other when measuring amps



100% equivalent?! Absolutely not. Manufacturers choose very different ultrasonic frequencies at which to begin rolloff; some begin the rolloff below 20kHz, even with solid state amps. The resulting square waves can be virtually square with super-high bandwidth amps @ 10kHz, whereas the lower the rolloff, the more rounded the square wave.

At this point we have established that all amps measure differently, though typically the resulting frequency response should be within a decibel. 1.5dB or so is considered close to the threshold of just noticeable difference (JND), right? Well you inspired me to delve into a psychology book. This threshold is usually determined by providing one stimulus, hiding it, then incrementing or decreasing the intensity and showing it again. It can also done by slowly but continuously altering the intensity; this is how you boil a frog without it noticing.

Moving pictures
But what happens if you are staring at a light bulb and it instantly increases in brightness by 1%? Even if its below your "JND" threshold, you can easily notice an abrubt change. Consider color depths on your computer screen. 24-bit is typical, which is 16 million colors. Some people go even higher to 32-bit if they do lots of image work; that is over 4 billion colors. Yet my psychology book says that humans can discriminate about 7 million different colors. Why the difference? Our senses are tuned to use contrast whenever possible; in the real world, colors are not broken into 16 million discrete colors. They are continuous. On the computer screen, an artificial contrast or step is created between each quantum, and our visual system accentuates this difference, so we see a line if we look closely.

Have you ever seen LEDs that seem to flash when you walk by them? When we stare at a fixed spot of pulsing light, it begins to look solid I think in the hundreds of hertz. However, when that light source moves, our threshold jumps to the kilohertz. So in our quantified world of man-made pulses and lines, we need to increase the numbers several-fold in order to properly fool us into sensing continuity, be it vision, hearing, or other senses. I believe this is why DVD-audio and SACD are noticeably better than CD: they up the numbers almost to the point where it sounds no different than the continuity of an LP, but without the low resolution.

Impossibly conclusive
SOOOO, for those of you still here, I will hypothesize that with constantly changing music, our sensitivity to frequency response is higher than with fixed tones. If we can hear a symphonic peak clearly, at 11 million times the power level of a whisper, and if we can distinguish both within a second of each other, then perhaps we can hear all those subtleties that many engineers would love to dismiss. For those of you who have heard the differences (I'm pretty low on the audiophile scale), then this will resonate well with you.

-Cooper

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#16876 - 08/13/03 01:22 AM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
sushi Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 1490
Loc: Dallas, TX
Peter, as John has nicely explained, slew rate is essentially another way of describing the top-end frequency response of an amp. As long as the amp's frequency response is quasi-flat up to 20kHz, you don't have to worry about the slew rate.

In reply to:

100% equivalent?! Absolutely not. Manufacturers choose very different ultrasonic frequencies at which to begin rolloff; some begin the rolloff below 20kHz, even with solid state amps.



Cooper, the third sentence above is, of course, entirely true. Accordingly, I never stated that all amp designs are 100% equivalent at all. What I stated was, various methods of deriving the formal "transfer function" of an amp are 100% equivalent from each other. Some of these methods use steady-state test signals; others use transient/dynamic signals. But in the end, they derive an identical transfer function for a given amp. This is mathematically guaranteed. My whole point is, as far as we are discussing the amps, their dynamic/transient behavior can be accurately predicted from the measurements that use steady-state test signals. This is almost counter-intuitive but true, AS LONG AS we do not go beyond the maximum continuously-available power.

In reply to:

So as you increase power levels, the instantaneous peaks of required power grow exponentially.



Of course. That's the very definition of the dB unit, which is based on the logarithmic raw of human auditory perception. Your calculations are accurate, except for two rather unrealistic assumptions: (1) An in-room sensitivity of 88dB/W/m is really close to the bottom end (you are assuming something like the Maggies). For instance, the Axiom M22 is rated at 93dB/W/m in-room. This alone cuts the power demand down to one third. (2) The sound level does NOT decrease with distance in accordance with the inverse square law in a typical listening room and position (since it is not strictly "near-field"). So, at 3m distance, the sound level will NOT drop by -9.5dB -- it will realistically be more like -6dB (exact figure depends on the room size, reflectivity, speaker placement, etc). This cuts the required power output further by half. So, the realistic power demand at 100dB musical peaks would be more like 25W (rather than 145W). And then, all this assumes that you are driving only one channel. If you are talking about a 2-channel stereo system, the power demand per channel will further decrease by 2-3dB, down to 15W/ch or so. Therefore, if you have a good-quality 100W/ch amp, you will still have a healthy ~8dB headroom. In fact, this is exactly why some astute audiophiles are perfectly comfortable with a 30W/ch "pure Class A" power amp, when combined with relatively efficient speakers.

In reply to:

At this point we have established that all amps measure differently, though typically the resulting frequency response should be within a decibel.



I agree, EXCEPT that the resulting frequency response (with a real-world load) would be, in the worst case, within 0.1-0.2dB for today's SS amps. And this is indeed an important fine point: I don't know what your psychology textbook has to say, but people with well-trained ears can discern a 0.5dB hump on the frequency response (and, perhaps, a 1dB dip), if the hump/dip is broad enough to encompass 1-2 octaves.

In reply to:

SOOOO, for those of you still here, I will hypothesize that with constantly changing music, our sensitivity to frequency response is higher than with fixed tones.



Your analogy with the human vision is nice, but unfortunately, it is a wrong analogy. The human visual and auditory systems work very differently in many aspects [one example is the "intra-scene" concurrent dynamic range: the visual system easily handles ~1,000,000:1, whereas the auditory system can do only ~1,000:1 at best]. In fact, on the contrary to your hypothesis, our sensitivity to deviation of frequency response is BETTER when we are listening to a steady-state, wide-spectrum tone. Alan will tell you that a pink noise is a perfect example; try it if you are in doubt. Trust me, I do systems neuroscience as my day-job, when I am not loitering in this forum.

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#16877 - 11/08/03 05:53 AM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
DJ_Stunna Offline
aficionado

Registered: 10/09/03
Posts: 604
Loc: Baltimore. MD. USA (but born a...
In reply to:

They are continuous. On the computer screen, an artificial contrast or step is created between each quantum, and our visual system accentuates this difference, so we see a line if we look closely


But this is because of lateral inhibition / the whole center surround receptive field of the retinal ganglion and visual cortex (and arguably also the horizontal cells and the amacrine cells, as they begin to sort data in between the different cone and rod cells before the ganglion cells touch it). In other words, contrast is REALLY perceptible in the visual system; it's meant to be that way. Our brains rely on contrast for vision, not so much the actual image; so much so that the magnocellular cortical layers are much thinner than the parvocellular layers. (Magnocellular is basically motion, wheras parvocellular is color and form, both of which get a huge deal of information specifically from contrast.)

In reply to:

SOOOO, for those of you still here, I will hypothesize that with constantly changing music, our sensitivity to frequency response is higher than with fixed tones. If we can hear a symphonic peak clearly, at 11 million times the power level of a whisper, and if we can distinguish both within a second of each other, then perhaps we can hear all those subtleties that many engineers would love to dismiss.


Well, true, but not like we'll be able to do this much; as after that second, there will be data sent from your Medial Superior Olive to the outer hair cells that cause them to lenghten (and comically produce a funny otoacoustic emission of that same frequency in the process, but this is besides the point) and thus make their selective frequency quieter (by bracing the basilar membrane at the corresponding frequency) and decrease the loudness. Plus, I wouldn't imagine it to be too clear until this is happening, and even if it was, you'd be damaging your stereocilia. Even if you don't damage the inner hair cells, damaging the outer hair cells is bad for day to day life, as the noise control is needed for discerning every day sounds from important ones (ie. detecting and understanding voice in lyrics over the loud compuer I have in front of me.)
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#16878 - 11/08/03 05:55 AM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
DJ_Stunna Offline
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Registered: 10/09/03
Posts: 604
Loc: Baltimore. MD. USA (but born a...
In reply to:

Trust me, I do systems neuroscience as my day-job, when I am not loitering in this forum.


YEAH! for systems! It's such a growing area (engulfing so many other fields - lol). Who'd wanna be cogsci or cell/molec anyhow? They just seem so boring in contrast.
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#16879 - 11/08/03 10:17 AM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
sushi Offline
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Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 1490
Loc: Dallas, TX
Well, DJ... I strive to integrate the systems approach with molecular genetic strategy. I don't think either one alone would bring truly powerful advances in neuroscience.

If you are interested, here is an HHMI bulletin featuring some of my recent work (although it is in lay language).

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#16880 - 11/08/03 10:31 AM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
DJ_Stunna Offline
aficionado

Registered: 10/09/03
Posts: 604
Loc: Baltimore. MD. USA (but born a...
(from article)
In reply to:

...Masashi Yanagisawa had discovered the gene for a neuropeptide that binds to this receptor...


Heh - wow.

And you're right about just strictly systems alone won't be as powerful as a combination of that with something a bit more fine tuned. That's why systems people generally do more than strictly circuits, which systems is by defenition.

Alternatively, even cognitive can integrate to a certain degree with systems and be powerful, don't you think?

Edit: LOL - I'm no longer a vet, and am now a local - lol.
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#16881 - 11/08/03 11:29 AM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
sushi Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 1490
Loc: Dallas, TX
In reply to:

Alternatively, even cognitive can integrate to a certain degree with systems and be powerful, don't you think?



If you mean by "systems neuroscience" the circuit- and neuroanatomically-based approaches, then the cognitive people have certainly been using the systems approach for a long time, especially those working with primates.

The fundamental problem is, many meaningful experiments in cognitive neuroscience require humans or primates, in which the techniques for genetic manipulations are next to nonexistent right now. We need a big methodological breakthrough here...

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#16882 - 11/08/03 01:11 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
littleb Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 08/03/03
Posts: 1235
Loc: Moorhead, Minnesota/US
This thread which I STARTED will live FOREVER, it seems. I AM FOREVER DOOMED TO SEE those 2 WORDS. WOE IS ME!

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#16883 - 11/08/03 07:22 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
gem41573 Offline
veteran

Registered: 11/21/02
Posts: 171
Loc: Northern NJ
LOL littleb. Funny this thread has revived because I was just thinking this morning that the threads about brightness in the Axioms, about using the resistors, etc. had died down dramatically in the last couple of months.

I think that the whole brightness thing took on a life of its own at some point, and it started becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy-people heard what they thought they were supposed to hear. I mean, I used the resistors in my M22's for a couple of months because it seemed like the thing to do. I got rid of them several months ago and will not go back to them. The M22's are best left alone.

Now, the consensus seems to be, that Axioms are not inherently bright, but rather portray the recording that it is fed. They certainly don't mask the high end, but the clarity and detail of the Axioms now seems to be more celebrated than harped on. Hopefully, this thread will die again.

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#16884 - 11/09/03 09:24 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
sushi Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 1490
Loc: Dallas, TX
Well... it is true that there are lots of folks who prefer a laid-back, sweet, relaxed, polite and mellow speaker sound, who genuinely feel that such speakers are the ones that sound accurate, correct, neutral and natural. For many Axiom fans, however, these speakers sound dull, distant and unclear. Certainly in my personal opinion, these former folks don't really know how live music sounds.

To my ears, Axiom speakers sound neutral and accurate, but for those people, they are "too bright." So, who is right??? In fact, it is often darn difficult to objectively describe which speakers are more "accurate," and that is what makes the whole thing very interesting. Ian and Alan will immediately tell you that a flat on-axis frequency response is only a small part of the whole story -- in the actual listening room, you hear a lot of reflected as well as direct speaker sound, so the ensemble of off-axis frequency responses are almost equally important among many other things. And the vast majority of loudspeakers available today (including the Axioms) are VERY rolled-off in off-axis treble response.

So, there is still much room for the speaker designer to "voice" his speaker so that it sounds "correct" for him. What constitutes an "accurate" or "correct" sound may well differ from designer to designer. On top of this, quite a few brands, for whatever reasons, intentionally voice their speakers so that they deviate significantly from what the designer thinks is the "accurate" sound.

This is indeed an interesting topic...

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#16885 - 11/25/03 06:39 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
Anonymous
Unregistered


would an HK receiver and work well with axiom speakers since it also seemsbrighter on its own or would the combo be too bright?

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#16886 - 11/25/03 07:18 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
pmbuko Offline
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Posts: 16224
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
(This is the thread that never dies... It just goes on and on...:) )

newconvert,

While some people might consider Axiom speakers to be bright, please keep in mind that "bright" is an extremely relative term. You have to ask yourself "Brighter than what?" For example, I had Paradigm Monitor 9 tower speakers before I purchased my Axiom M22s. Yes, they are definitely brighter than the Paradigms, but that is a very good thing. Allow me to explain...

I have come to equate the term bright with the following desirable qualities: detailed, airy, uncompressed, revealing.

In contrast, speakers that are not bright get the following terms: veiled, compressed, laid-back, and bleck (to use spiffnme's term).

Also, don't pay any attention to the brightness reputations of solid-state receivers. It's a myth. As long as the receiver has enough power to drive the speakers, it will sound fine.
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#16887 - 11/25/03 07:46 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17696
Loc: NoVA
Addendum to Peter's (pmbuko) comment. All currently shipping H/K receivers have sufficent power to run any Axioms. I would venture to guess that most of H/K's line for many years has had sufficient power to run Axioms.
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#16888 - 11/25/03 08:32 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5214
Loc: Los Angeles
I've heard the M22ti's played through an H/K 525. It sounded just fine. One reciever or another isn't going to make all that much difference. Yes, they'll sound a bit different, but not so much that you'll want to avoid one speaker brand or another.

And yes..."Bright" is the negative way of saying "clear, detailed, and forward".

Much like "laid back" speakers are often called "veiled" or described as sounding like a damp towel has been laid over the speaker.

What sounds terrific to one person sounds like crap to another. Axiom owners enjoy detailed, clear audio. We like to not only hear the guitar strum, but the pick striking the string. You'll hear everything with a pair of Axioms. If that's to your liking, you'll love them.


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#16889 - 11/25/03 08:38 PM Re: INSANELY BRIGHT?
Anonymous
Unregistered


thanks. i agree, i too prefer bright in a positive sense. it's just when i read various reviews that talk about bright turning into irritating or female vocals sounding too shrill etc, that's when i become a little concerned that bright could be overdone. i'm probably not using correct terms, i just want the best of both worlds, clarity, detail and also that needed bass when appropriate. thanks for the continued help :-)

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