The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event - Page 79 - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #781 of 1075 Old 11-16-13, 09:18 AM
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Re: The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event

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Mike0206 wrote: View Post
I'm getting the sense that the dynaudios and I'm thinking paradigms are going to be the top dogs of this eval although not a shootout. It seems the comments earlier about brightness in the svs ultras may just tilt favor towards the paradigms. Hmmmm........ I thought the Maggie's would be received better as I did the emerald physics.
It bears repeating that our "deep soundstage" goal pushed us to do things placement-wise that were a little out-of-the-box. Dipoles especially are affected more dramatically by off-axis aiming, which we relied upon to get that effect.

Both the EP's and the Maggies had a LOT of great qualities. The panel speaker sound has a lot of appeal to me. But those models just did not stack up for the way I like to listen.

The high end from the Maggies was too laid back for me. The response plot from up by the wall confirms that it was not just flaky placement. And the distortion thing - having heard it I would be either listening for it or riding the volume to avoid it constantly. That is no fun. Lots of great detail and clarity, no doubt about it, but a couple of deal breakers. And the soundstage, gotta be able to get that or I will not even bother with a speaker.

Our personal preferences have been stated. It is totally understood why those speakers have lots of fans, they just did not do what we were looking for. Too picky? Maybe. And maybe not. We just called them as we saw them.
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post #782 of 1075 Old 11-16-13, 09:27 AM
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Re: The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event

It would be great to have a fan of each speaker who knows it well in each session to report from that perspective as well as from our own, but that is simply not practical.

The fact is that dipoles and planar speakers do not make up a large market share in this price range, relative to other designs. That is for a number of reasons. The niche that really loves them can overlook most of the limitations that we observed and enjoy them and that is great. Like Wayne says, we have all tried to be very open about our experience, preferences, and biases, and we continue to discuss them to give context to our reviews. I think we all tend more to speakers with better dynamics and large, deep, precise sound stage reproduction. Others are welcome to post their experiences.

We all have liked speakers with less obvious dynamics and dipoles. The Dynaudio and Martin Logans are examples. These seem to be better compromises as a whole than the Magnepans, IMO. And of course, as has been said many times, speaker design is always a series of compromises.

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post #783 of 1075 Old 11-16-13, 09:36 AM
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Re: The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event

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theJman wrote: View Post
Going in, I thought the order of preference would end up like this...
  1. SVS Ultra Towers
  2. Dynaudio DM 3/7
  3. Paradigm Studio 60
  4. MartinLogan ElectroMotion ESL
  5. Arx A5
The edge I gave to the Ultra's was because of the bass; I've heard those in person, and they do have a lot of bottom end.
Funny thing on that bass, Sonnie's room will give us very little below 45 Hz. Don't know if you saw these curves yet (post #9). I, too, expected more deep bass from the SVS Ultra's, not sure where it disappeared to, but I did not hold that in particular against them. Oops, that has not be posted yet, has it? Coming shortly.

Their low end (SVS) was very impressive at RMAF.

And the Martin Logan ESL's will still get their chance.

FWIW, from what I have heard of them on several occasions now - some of which I cannot reveal because of the conditions we placed upon ourselves for this evaluation - top secret and all - fear of death and suffering - fear of the death stare worst of all - any time you put the Arx A5's at the bottom of a list, you will probably be wrong. My personal opinion.
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post #784 of 1075 Old 11-16-13, 09:38 AM
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Re: The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event

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The Magnepan 1.7 review is now posted here.
Yep, and there needs to be one correction. The 1.7s aren't really 3-way speakers; they are 2.5-way. I think you also discovered why I'm something of a heretic among Magnepan owners, because my setup includes this.

Attachment 45068

Full range, they positively drink power. Once relieved of the heavy lifting, they do loud, rock music just fine - without any of that fuzziness you guys noted. The preamp on top of the crossover is between the XO and subs - for setting the sub level remotely. Unfortunately, there is a dramatic variation of bass level from one recording to the next. Also, there is quite a dramatic difference between the quasi-ribbon and the proper ribbon tweeter.
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post #785 of 1075 Old 11-16-13, 10:27 AM
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Re: The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event

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Sonnie wrote: View Post
It looks like Jon might not have been too happy with how that dude conducted his speaker comparison/evaluation, which is does look a bit suspect, not that any of us are perfect. That might actually explain his hesitance in sending us the A5's and why it was like pulling hind teeth to get him to send them.
This is true. That comparison broke the fundamental rules (and offers to assist before the fact went unanswered. The user eventually emailed after the event and expressed some doubts, but that too dead-ended.)

What's gratifying about the HTS events is that the basics are included.

-One speaker at a time. Please.

-Optimize each speaker in the room. This is so important as to go almost without saying. (I love that you're using the Cardas method when you can, Sonnie.)

-Only good quality amplification and sources. Cheap low current receivers sound like cheap low current receivers, which is a shame because inexpensive high current receivers can be had. Owing to the affordability of some of our products I hate to admit it in public, but the truth is if you're really going for sound your speaker budget shouldn't be two-thirds your total expenditure. It should be about a quarter. Ten thousand dollars of front end into even $200 in very well executed DIY stand monitors can sound spectacular...they just won't play loud or deep.

-No weak links in the system

This may be a time to mention that in some circles, this not being one, myths endure. One is that frequency amplitude as a measurement is all you need to know. (Probably no worse harm to good sound above the HTIB level than this exists).

Another: electronics sound identical unless they're tubed at which point they're whimsically colored so unscientific listeners can artificially sweeten the sound. And another is that the room is nearly all important and first arrival from the speaker is not at all important. (The best sound I ever heard was in the single worst acoustical environment I've ever seen. It all worked because the system was out of this world, especially in the front end and amplification.)

While speakers have much more measurable distortion than amplifiers, for instance, great, dialed-in systems have the ability to somehow push the speakers nearly entirely out of perception. When a system really starts to work, the upstream components start to predominate and the speakers become just their tools. Sounds odd, doesn't it?

It's really enjoyable to be part of this forum. I can't count the number of times I've nodded reading comments in these threads. There's a fundamental difference between really getting into immersive sound on the one hand, and speculating about how things should sound or what they should do on the other. Effort yields rewards.

Bravo!

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post #786 of 1075 Old 11-16-13, 10:27 AM
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Re: The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event

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kevin360 wrote: View Post
Yep, and there needs to be one correction. The 1.7s aren't really 3-way speakers; they are 2.5-way. I think you also discovered why I'm something of a heretic among Magnepan owners, because my setup includes this.

Attachment 45068

Full range, they positively drink power. Once relieved of the heavy lifting, they do loud, rock music just fine - without any of that fuzziness you guys noted. The preamp on top of the crossover is between the XO and subs - for setting the sub level remotely. Unfortunately, there is a dramatic variation of bass level from one recording to the next. Also, there is quite a dramatic difference between the quasi-ribbon and the proper ribbon tweeter.
It is great to hear from a Magnepan owner/lover. I see you run 3.7's and MMGC's. I'll bet that is one fine sounding system.

First of all, the specs came directly from the Magnepan web site. I have no doubt you know the products but, all due respect, we should leave it the way they state it, "3-Way, Full-Range, Quasi-Ribbon." Your extra info is much appreciated, though.

Heretic or no, I could probably be an absolutely delighted Maggie owner running them the way you do, assuming the 1.7's could be brightened up a bit. The manual talks about replacing a jumper with a resistor to attenuate the high end, the 2 upper drivers together I believe. But our panels started out with jumpers - I saw them as we were packing up - so there seems to be no way to brighten them easily. Maybe a different model would take care of it. THEN - do like you have and cross them to a sub - or a sub per panel to keep it a music-only 2.0 system for purity's sake - could be the makings of sonic nirvana.

The Maggies seem to image a little differently, but I think I could get over that. I like a sharp image and panels seem to image a little softer, but as long as it is stable, I could make a teeny bit of an imaging sacrifice for all that clarity and definition. Of course the soundstage depth is a must, and they can do that. It would not take too much of an arm twist to get me there.

I will be working with some Martin Logan ESL's in a week or two, am excited about that. Do you have any ML experience, any comparisons to make?
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post #787 of 1075 Old 11-16-13, 10:30 AM
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Re: The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event

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theJman wrote: View Post
Going in, I thought the order of preference would end up like this...
  1. SVS Ultra Towers
  2. Dynaudio DM 3/7
  3. Paradigm Studio 60
  4. MartinLogan ElectroMotion ESL
  5. Arx A5
The edge I gave to the Ultra's was because of the bass; I've heard those in person, and they do have a lot of bottom end.
and the funny thing is that i thought it would be more like

Emerald Physics
Maggie
ML
SVS
Paradigm
Dynaudio

even as a dynaudio owner, i didnt expect the 3/7s to impress the panel as much as they have. they happen to be one of my least favorite dynaudio speakers, i actually like my DM2/6s that i use as surrounds moreso then the 3/7s. however i did think that the bass of the 3/7s was gonna impress the panel, however i cant understand the bottoming out issue, especially when i can play that track without issue on monitors.

Dynaudio Focus 260, Focus 210C, DM2/6
Marantz SR7007, NaimUniti2, Pro-ject 2xperience, Naim Stageline N
Oppo BDP-103, Hsu VTF2.4 subwoofer
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post #788 of 1075 Old 11-16-13, 10:40 AM
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Re: The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event

As usual, context is everything, and the correct answer is nearly always, "it depends." Given Rad-byte's application of the Magnepans, as Wayne says, it is likely a completely different experience. We have to keep in mind, however, that we were comparing products in a particular price range with a single amp. In the same way that Mark makes the point that his speakers are not so expensive when you consider not having to have discrete amps in the system, we have to compare apples to apples in these evaluations.

We can never match the conditions in the evaluations to even a few user's room/equipment/preference conditions, so we do what we can to keep the playing field even. That means that the context that is consistent might not be useful to any individual but it is a starting point.

Jon, I appreciate your comments and the confidence you have expressed in us. As we have discovered and discussed before, you and I have similar priorities in speaker performance (I still can't wait to play with those Swans but it will have to be next year) but I do tend to be a little more conservative on the notion of differences between electronics and their impact on the sound in the end. I do believe there are differences, but somewhere between the degree that you describe and the very pervasive "all amps sound the same" view. The differences between competent amps and pre-amps is small and one does not need to spend lots IMO to get nearly transparent sound. That said, "competent" is harder to define than many believe, IMO.

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post #789 of 1075 Old 11-16-13, 10:43 AM
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Re: The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event

And Jon,
please weigh in on the conditions for any shelf speaker events. We have a thread for that, unofficially, now where I hope to get a starting point. This is one of my projects for next year and I would like to see the Arx and the Swan included. There are even more questions for this than the free standing speakers IMO because of the wide variety of ways that they are used. We will have to make compromises and settle on some standard practice, and I would love your opinion on how to do so fairly and be the most informative to the respective user cohorts.

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post #790 of 1075 Old 11-16-13, 10:57 AM Thread Starter
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Re: The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event

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rab-byte wrote: View Post
Ribbon and ESL panels often do need more power then you might expect. Some time before you return/sell/giveaway (&#128521 the speakers you should give another listen with more power. Use tubes or NAD or something with some teethe.
They are gone.

The Anthem 225 is certainly no slouch of an amp... check out their design... it is every bit as good or maybe better than NAD. Also... we used a Rogue Cronus Magnum Integrated Tube Amp with the MG12's, but they fluttered with it as well.

I think crossing them over is the only solution... just as the writers at TAS suggest... the Maggies will not do bottom end at higher SPLs.

What would be interesting is to see some hybrid Maggies... crossed over at 150Hz or so.


Quote:
kevin360 wrote: View Post
Full range, they positively drink power. Once relieved of the heavy lifting, they do loud, rock music just fine - without any of that fuzziness you guys noted. The preamp on top of the crossover is between the XO and subs - for setting the sub level remotely. Unfortunately, there is a dramatic variation of bass level from one recording to the next. Also, there is quite a dramatic difference between the quasi-ribbon and the proper ribbon tweeter.
That is the key... relieve them.


Quote:
theJman wrote: View Post
Going in, I thought the order of preference would end up like this...
  1. SVS Ultra Towers
  2. Dynaudio DM 3/7
  3. Paradigm Studio 60
  4. MartinLogan ElectroMotion ESL
  5. Arx A5
The edge I gave to the Ultra's was because of the bass; I've heard those in person, and they do have a lot of bottom end.
You might turn that upside down and be closer to right than not... with the exception of the ESL's, which we have not reviewed yet. However, I am not ranking them... but it is kind of fun to see others try to rank them for us. Of course you are not actually ranking them either... just stating what you thought going in.

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