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Re: Help me build my first serious music (stereo) system

Reply #25
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But which ones do more than simple EQ?

Audyssey and Dirac claim to.  Audyssey talks about time and frequency "transforms", but it is proprietary and they are short on details.  On my AVR it represents the correction with a simple EQ-looking graph with no mention of other factors, other than speaker-to-LP distance.  I've no experience with any other system.

Re: Help me build my first serious music (stereo) system

Reply #26
Are you planning on replacing this AVR, and if so why?
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: Help me build my first serious music (stereo) system

Reply #27
On my AVR it represents the correction with a simple EQ-looking graph with no mention of other factors, other than speaker-to-LP distance.
Is there an option for running front LR only correction?
Loudspeaker manufacturer

Re: Help me build my first serious music (stereo) system

Reply #28
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: Help me build my first serious music (stereo) system

Reply #29
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Are you planning on replacing this AVR, and if so why?

Not for the foreseeable future.  And if I do, it will likely be only because I decide I need some feature or another, probably video related.  Or it breaks or gets stolen...

Re: Help me build my first serious music (stereo) system

Reply #30
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Is there an option for running front LR only correction?

No, but there is an option for doing just the opposite, it's called L/R Bypass.  It runs the correction, but you have five output modes (Off, Graphic EQ, Audyssey Flat, Audyssey [not flat] and L/R Bypass).  The first two disable correction altogether and give you tone controls instead.  The last disables the correction on the front main speakers.

It also gives you the flexibility to use different modes for different inputs, so for example you can set the correction to "OFF" while listening to your SACD in full DSD, then to "Audyssey" when you select the Blu-Ray player for movies. 

Re: Help me build my first serious music (stereo) system

Reply #31
bdunham7, thank you for your input. That's certainly something to consider.
I just always thought that AVRs are made for processing video and having so many channels (6, 8 or even 10) would sacrifice the quality of the components, especially considering how inexpensive those AVRs are... At least for me it's hard to imagine that a stereo amp that cost $1000 would have the same components as a 7.1 receiver that costs only half of that. Or am I wrong?

Also, question about adding a sub to a stereo system? Back in the day, i believe this was frown upon by most audiophiles. Did the view on this topic change?

Re: Help me build my first serious music (stereo) system

Reply #32
bdunham7, thank you for your input. That's certainly something to consider.
I just always thought that AVRs are made for processing video and having so many channels (6, 8 or even 10) would sacrifice the quality of the components, especially considering how inexpensive those AVRs are... At least for me it's hard to imagine that a stereo amp that cost $1000 would have the same components as a 7.1 receiver that costs only half of that. Or am I wrong?
There are economies of scale to an AVR, since they're mass-market items. Stereo amps, on the other hand, are (nowadays) the preserve of a minority, relatively speaking. You may get better components in a $1000 stereo amp versus a $500 AVR and they may make a difference, audibly. Likewise the reverse is also possible and even IF they are better components they may not be audibly so. There's a huge amount of snake-oil in "better" components so I'd do your homework.

Also, question about adding a sub to a stereo system? Back in the day, i believe this was frown upon by most audiophiles. Did the view on this topic change?
Depends on your definition of "audiophile". If you mean the sort with golden ears that frown on tone controls or solid-state devices and so on, yes, probably they still do. However, who's listening to this system, you or them? If there's a benefit to a sub and you can afford it, who cares about the audiophile's approval?

Re: Help me build my first serious music (stereo) system

Reply #33
Listening to or looking at?

The most vocal audioplacebophiles I've encountered are older men who are lucky to hear up to 10kHz.

It is all too often that people who have tasted the idiotic "audiophile" koolaid come here with preconceived notions. Quality being proportional to price is perhaps the most common.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: Help me build my first serious music (stereo) system

Reply #34

Depends on your definition of "audiophile". If you mean the sort with golden ears that frown on tone controls or solid-state devices and so on, yes, probably they still do. However, who's listening to this system, you or them? If there's a benefit to a sub and you can afford it, who cares about the audiophile's approval?

Fair enough :-)

Re: Help me build my first serious music (stereo) system

Reply #35
You may easily hear better than they do and with any luck you'll realize that their subjective opinions usually aren't born from reality.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: Help me build my first serious music (stereo) system

Reply #36
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At least for me it's hard to imagine that a stereo amp that cost $1000 would have the same components as a 7.1 receiver that costs only half of that. Or am I wrong?

The answer is marketing.  I don't know if the $1000 amp would have the "same" components as the $500 AVR, but the issue is performance, not components.  The market is such right now that $500 or $1000 (or in my case, $2000) AVRs are very competitive and they have to give value for the money. Stereo amps, on the other hand, are often sold for much, much more than their performance would seem to merit, and are marketed based on other factors.  The receiver vs separate components (amps) has been going on for as long as receivers have existed.  The audiophile line is that putting the components in one box cheapens the product and introduces interference and noise between the systems.  That hasn't been true for high quality receivers for 40-50 years now.

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Also, question about adding a sub to a stereo system? Back in the day, i believe this was frown upon by most audiophiles. Did the view on this topic change?

I'm not an audiophile, despite trying to be one once, and I'm not the least bit concerned with what they frown upon.  I've realized the idiocy of that crowd since they "frowned" upon linear tracking turntables.  Audiophiles have historically frowned on new technology, such as 33RPM vinyl LPs, transistors, digital audio, etc etc.  If they had gotten their way, today we'd be debating over which organically grown cactus needles worked best for our 78RPM shellac records and if electrically driven turntables were good enough to replace mechanical windup drives.  The true 'philes would insist on hand cranks. 

Subwoofers can be a good way to go, depending on your room.  Most of your audible frequencies are somewhat directional, meaning the speakers generally need to be in front of you and positioned in a certain way.  Subwoofer frequencies (80Hz and below) are omnidirectional, but they often excite "room modes" and it is very handy to be able to position them separately from the main speakers.  In other words, the ideal location for your LF speakers may be different than for the MF-HF speakers, but if the two are attached, your options are limited.  Having a sub or two doesn't mean you have to have small satellite speakers, either.  My full-range speakers have a (corrected) in-room response down to 18Hz, and I'm considering building a separate sub.  So, it may or may not work for you, but don't hesitate to consider it.  Just don't go too small--you want the sub crossover point as low as practical, IMO.

Re: Help me build my first serious music (stereo) system

Reply #37
I have a very big room actually. The room is connected to the hallway and the kitchen (open floorplan) so it's not purely rectangular, plus very tall ceilings (15 feet and sloped)...
I should probably get a sub and see how it works in my space. Not sure why I haven't tried it yet :-)

Re: Help me build my first serious music (stereo) system

Reply #38
Where are you (geographically)?


Re: Help me build my first serious music (stereo) system

Reply #40
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Midwest

OK, then you have no problems getting stuff!  I'm not sure what else to advise you, other than to keep an open mind and check out as many alternatives as possible before you throw down your cash.  Do you currently have a system in this space and if so, what is it?

Re: Help me build my first serious music (stereo) system

Reply #41
For what it's worth, I recently purchased a Marantz NR1608 cinema receiver, and it has a number of useful features:

It's Audyssey room correction can be used with as few as 2 speakers.

Speaker-minus outputs are all tied to chassis ground, and chassis isn't tied to earth - am thinking this may be particularly helpful combination of features when pairing with active speakers via home made speaker-to-line adapters such as those suggested by Genelec here.

I got mine at a considerable discount because a newer model had just been released. I could have saved even more by opting for the less expensive NR15xx-series which supports a maximum 5.1-channel configuration, but I thought I might like to fuss with Dolby Atmos at some point, so I opted for the NR1608. Current NR1609 adds Amazon Alexa (ugh) and a phono input, neither of which seemed like they were worth a $250 premium.


Re: Help me build my first serious music (stereo) system

Reply #42
Do you currently have a system in this space and if so, what is it?
Currently I have Denon AVR-1613 receiver with Klipsch F-30 tower speakers. To be honest, I do not like the way they sound. I can't really explain it but they sound a little harsh...

Re: Help me build my first serious music (stereo) system

Reply #43
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Currently I have Denon AVR-1613 receiver with Klipsch F-30 tower speakers. To be honest, I do not like the way they sound. I can't really explain it but they sound a little harsh...

OK, so you already have a 'real' system, but you aren't happy with it.  That's actually a good place to start.

So, a bunch more questions:

1) Do you have a carpet in the room?
2) Have you run the Audyssey room correction?
3) If so, do you have the option of viewing the results in a menu (it will look like a sort of rough EQ graph) and
4) Do you use the Audyssey, Audyssey Flat, L/R Bypass or Off settings? (if you have them)
5) To the extent you can tell, is the harshness in the upper-midbass region 150-250 Hz or midrange 1-2Khz?  Or elsewhere?
6) Does it change if you get up and walk around, sit on the floor, etc?
7) Lastly (for today), how old are you and do you have any hearing problems (tinnitus, etc) or are you exposed to loud noise?


Re: Help me build my first serious music (stereo) system

Reply #44
So, a bunch more questions:

1) Do you have a carpet in the room? No carpet. But there is another smaller room that is carpeted that I could move my music system to.
2) Have you run the Audyssey room correction? Yes, and it does seem to help a little.
3) If so, do you have the option of viewing the results in a menu (it will look like a sort of rough EQ graph) and No, my AVR doesn't seem to have this option...
4) Do you use the Audyssey, Audyssey Flat, L/R Bypass or Off settings? (if you have them) Just Audyssey
5) To the extent you can tell, is the harshness in the upper-midbass region 150-250 Hz or midrange 1-2Khz?  Or elsewhere? Highs
6) Does it change if you get up and walk around, sit on the floor, etc? I don't know as I usually don't walk around while listening.
7) Lastly (for today), how old are you and do you have any hearing problems (tinnitus, etc) or are you exposed to loud noise?
Mid 30s, no hearing issues other than my ears are very sensitive - hence I prefer to listen to music at low to mid volumes :-)



Re: Help me build my first serious music (stereo) system

Reply #45
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Klipsch F-30 tower speakers.
I don't know anything about those but Klipsch has a good reputation.    There's probably nothing "wrong" with them, but it might be a matter of taste.

I'd suggest you either take your speakers to the audio/video store so you can A/B them with other options.  Or better yet, see if you can take one or two pair so you can compare at home.   When you compare, make sure to match the volumes as best as you can!  

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5) To the extent you can tell, is the harshness in the upper-midbass region 150-250 Hz or midrange 1-2Khz?  Or elsewhere? Highs
Have you tried simply turning-down the treble?   I don't know anything about the EQ/tone controls on your receiver but that would be a good place to start and it costs you nothing..


Re: Help me build my first serious music (stereo) system

Reply #46
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1) Do you have a carpet in the room? No carpet. But there is another smaller room that is carpeted that I could move my music system to.
2) Have you run the Audyssey room correction? Yes, and it does seem to help a little.
3) If so, do you have the option of viewing the results in a menu (it will look like a sort of rough EQ graph) and No, my AVR doesn't seem to have this option...
4) Do you use the Audyssey, Audyssey Flat, L/R Bypass or Off settings? (if you have them) Just Audyssey
5) To the extent you can tell, is the harshness in the upper-midbass region 150-250 Hz or midrange 1-2Khz?  Or elsewhere? Highs
6) Does it change if you get up and walk around, sit on the floor, etc? I don't know as I usually don't walk around while listening.
7) Lastly (for today), how old are you and do you have any hearing problems (tinnitus, etc) or are you exposed to loud noise?
Mid 30s, no hearing issues other than my ears are very sensitive - hence I prefer to listen to music at low to mid volumes :-)

OK, first, I want to be clear that I'm not an audio engineer or professional acoustician or anything like that.  I certainly wouldn't want you to buy expensive equipment or remodel your house on advice from me!  However, I've solved similar issues on my own -- a perception of poor sound quality from a system -- and the solutions usually surprised me a bit.  Some of those solutions would have been nearly impossible to find by trial and error, but others I discovered accidentally--or mistakenly.  So I'll ask questions and give you suggestions.

1) First suggestion--you need to have some way of evaluating the frequency response of  your system at the listening point.  You said you don't see an Audyssey results menu, but could you look again?  On my similar (Marantz) AVR, you would go into the setup menu, then "Speakers", then "Audyssey Setup", then "Check Results" and finally "Equalizers".  Also, you use a PC attached to the system, right?  Go to www.audiocheck.net and www.onlinetonegenerator.com, bookmark those pages and have a look at them.  There's no need to get to sophisticated right now, but see if you can try the tone sweeps and see if there are spots that sound harsh to you, or have sharp dips or peaks in volume.

2) Second suggestion--check your ears.  This is a common insult among the audiophool crowd, but the reality is that anyone my age (mid-50s) that thinks their ears are still golden is either delusional or exceptional.  Exceptionally delusional, that is.  Between military service and too much Van Halen, my ears are a bit ragged and roll off over 8kHz.  At 10kHz and up I can't hear anything at any volume below painful.  However, while that isn't a really a problem, certain midrange frequencies will sound like broken glass in a garbage disposal if they go over a certain volume.  Your statement that you avoid loud volumes because your ears are sensitive leads me to think  you may have a similar issue.  So you can see what it is that your ears are sensitive to by running the tone sweep tests at the links I provided.  Run them at a volume somewhat higher than your normal listening level to find your upper hearing limit and see if any points sound exceptionally harsh.  If  you find a point that irritates your ears, recruit a test subject to listen and see if they hear the same harshness.

3) Last suggestion for today--reflections.  I wouldn't move the system to a different room, but you might try throwing a rug or pillows or something on the floor in front of them, between your chair and the speakers.  Your room is odd-shaped, so it may be difficult to evaluate for reflections, but if there are hard surfaces that will reflect sound directly back to the listening position (a "first" reflection), this may cause a perception of harshness.   I would also try moving the speakers around a bit, just to see if things change a lot or not.  For example, I think Klipsch recommends pointing the horns directly at the listening position.  You can try that and then toeing them out a bit at a time to see what changes.  If there are radical changes with each repositioning , reflections may be an issue.

You aren't the only person I've heard observe that the lower line of Klipsch seem "harsh", so there may be new speakers in your future.  I would just suggest that you use what you currently have to learn as much as you can.  I cringe to think what an audiophoolish hi-fi salesman might try to sell you given your concerns and your budget.

Re: Help me build my first serious music (stereo) system

Reply #47
Foobar has a 31 band eq plugin that can easily be used to nip the highs a bit. 8k centered and then a bit above is a prime target for reducing "harshness"
Loudspeaker manufacturer

Re: Help me build my first serious music (stereo) system

Reply #48
Speaking of speakers...     The biggest difference in "sound character" between different speakers is frequency response, and you can adjust that (to an extent) with equalization.    (AJ might have a bit more to say about on-axis & off-axis response, etc.,  and he's more of an expert than I.)

There are limits to what EQ can do, especially at low frequencies where the laws of physics come into play.    i.e.  When you boost the bass, you can end-up overdriving the speaker or amplifier.   And, there are room acoustics issues that can't be corrected with EQ.


Re: Help me build my first serious music (stereo) system

Reply #49
Speaking of speakers...     The biggest difference in "sound character" between different speakers is frequency response, and you can adjust that (to an extent) with equalization.
Yes, the frequency responses aka polar response, the FRs in every direction, are the most correlated to SQ. We hear a combination of direct (on axis) and indirect (off axis/reflections).
EQ is a sound power adjustment. Whenever you cut or boost, both the on and off axis is affected. Beware, especially if based off single point pressure measurement.

There are limits to what EQ can do, especially at low frequencies where the laws of physics come into play.    i.e.  When you boost the bass, you can end-up overdriving the speaker or amplifier.   And, there are room acoustics issues that can't be corrected with EQ.
The key is not trying to fill any nulls by boosting. Cutting peaks, judiciously, is fine. Boosting the overall bass a bit for lower volume listening is fine. As a matter of fact, the Yamaha I mentioned earlier has a clever variable loudness control for just that. Also, boosting the low end of a tower to extend it a bit at low to medium volume is fine. You could counter by cutting say <20hz to keep  excursion in check, especially with vented systems which most home speakers are.

cheers,

AJ
Loudspeaker manufacturer

 
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