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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Why is it that people select Hi End speakers vs PA style speakers? When you go to a Concert they are using PA Speakers for the voice, and instruments... Not High End speakers. Wouldn't it be more like the original sound to use PA Speakers?
 

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Re: High end speakers or PA style speakers?

The concerts I go to don't have any speakers. :)
(Unless they are cleverly hidden like LARES).
But yes, that's quite the paradox. The vast majority of audiophiles I've met, do not listen to live acoustic music and thus do not use it as a reference. A live show for them would indeed be via PA speakers. Yet their systems sound nothing like that. Their reference is purely imaginary, perhaps what they have conjured it sounded like in the studio...and thus there are a lot of different takes on what sound is best.
It's all preference anyway, chose what you like.

cheers
 

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Re: High end speakers or PA style speakers?

The way I see it, the goal of home audio is to play back a recording as it was engineered/heard in the studio. So in theory the best home audio system is the one that adds the least color to the recording, regardless of what type of electronics are used. If we're talking about a home audio system's ability to accurately reproduce a purely live sound... well that's a different story...

edit: and on the topic of a concert with PA system, wouldn't you still rather be close enough to hear the artist's un-amplified voice and un-mic'd/un-amped instruments? With the obvious exception of electric guitar, bass, etc. But even then, I'd rather hear the raw amp sound than have it come through a mic and PA system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Re: High end speakers or PA style speakers?

The concerts I go to don't have any speakers. :)
(Unless they are cleverly hidden like LARES).
But yes, that's quite the paradox. The vast majority of audiophiles I've met, do not listen to live acoustic music and thus do not use it as a reference. A live show for them would indeed be via PA speakers. Yet their systems sound nothing like that. Their reference is purely imaginary, perhaps what they have conjured it sounded like in the studio...and thus there are a lot of different takes on what sound is best.
It's all preference anyway, chose what you like.

cheers
Yeah, I used to be an Audiophile years ago, and it just dawned on me that no matter how great the audiophile speakers were... They didn't sound like the original since 99% of what i listen to is amplified music. Now that i am more into HT it is even more so. The only reason i can see for going to a non PA speaker for audio is space, or that you only listen to non amplified music as a source.

This also brings up the same type of situation for amps... How many Groups or recording Studios run Mark Levinson, Krell, or other Audiophile amps in their Studios? They are running pro amps as far as I know... So to me it makes more sense to run pro where ever possible in my system to have it sound as close to the original as possible.
 

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Re: High end speakers or PA style speakers?

This also brings up the same type of situation for amps... How many Groups or recording Studios run Mark Levinson, Krell, or other Audiophile amps in their Studios? They are running pro amps as far as I know... So to me it makes more sense to run pro where ever possible in my system to have it sound as close to the original as possible.
And when they want to change the sound, they don't buy different speakers, try adding ultra-expensive interconnect cables, etc. they simply apply EQ. Good enough reason to do it on your home system too if you ask me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Re: High end speakers or PA style speakers?

And when they want to change the sound, they don't buy different speakers, try adding ultra-expensive interconnect cables, etc. they simply apply EQ. Good enough reason to do it on your home system too if you ask me.
Exactly! Not to mention it save you a lot of money, and IMO looks great in a rack too... Granted you don't have the custom machined enclosures, but I can live without them since i hide my equipment anyway (Even if i didn't hide them... I think my Yamaha amps look great too).

Strange how we change as we age... Back in the late 1970s i purchased my first pair of La Scalas,and i loved them. I visited the local High End Shops, and read the Magazines and moved on to ML Sequels, and loved the way they sounded, but never really thought about whether or not they sounded like the band would have been in my room... They just sounded so spacious and clear. Now with my new setup (which is not even tuned with bi-amps yet)... Everyone that listens to my setup is floored by how it sounds (even my DJ friends who of course are used to Pro Sound). All of my wiring comes from Monoprice, and I see no need to buy expensive cables anymore either. I have a new Peerless rack arriving tonight that will allow me to have a much nicer finished look for my setup plus i can actually mount the amps as they were intended to be used.

I am anxious to see what other have to say about this too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Re: High end speakers or PA style speakers?

The way I see it, the goal of home audio is to play back a recording as it was engineered/heard in the studio. So in theory the best home audio system is the one that adds the least color to the recording, regardless of what type of electronics are used. If we're talking about a home audio system's ability to accurately reproduce a purely live sound... well that's a different story...

edit: and on the topic of a concert with PA system, wouldn't you still rather be close enough to hear the artist's un-amplified voice and un-mic'd/un-amped instruments? With the obvious exception of electric guitar, bass, etc. But even then, I'd rather hear the raw amp sound than have it come through a mic and PA system.
If you have the opportunity to hear the music in a small club where they are not using any amplification, but i think in general amps are used.

In a recording Studio or a mixing studio for movies the speakers, and amps are still Pro are they not?
 

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Re: High end speakers or PA style speakers?

If you have the opportunity to hear the music in a small club where they are not using any amplification, but i think in general amps are used.

In a recording Studio or a mixing studio for movies the speakers, and amps are still Pro are they not?
What I'm saying is, if you're going to listen to someone sing, the most natural way to hear it is to be close enough to hear the singer's voice directly. That is very difficult to reproduce with any type of speaker. I personally find most concert PA systems to sound pretty awful, especially when it comes to vocals. Maybe I've never been to one that was mixed well. In general, but maybe to a lesser degree I would say the same about instruments - i.e. piano, acoustic guitar, violin, things that don't need to be amped. A concert PA system's purpose is usually just to be really loud.

When you say "PA style speakers" do you just mean high sensitivity designs? There are plenty of high end speakers that make use of high sensitivity drivers and designs.

As far as studios I completely agree. I'm sure there are exceptions but in general they're going to be using pro style equipment - speakers, amps, monitors, EQs/mixers, cables, connectors all likely taken from a catalog. The real benefit of a studio IMO is the ability to pick ideal speaker/listener placement and apply all of the necessary acoustic treatment without the room layout or aesthetic constraints typically associated with home audio and home theater installations.
 

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Re: High end speakers or PA style speakers?

PA systems for concert venues are designed to cover a large area that usually has very poor acoustics so Line arrays are mostly used. High volumes are needed 110db or more so as to reduce the noticeable echo that is reproduced in these arenas. High end or at least good quality home speakers are much better used in enclosed spaces and in reality will reproduce sounds much better.
Also remember that PA speakers are generally very efficient but at a cost of less low end and the need for active EQs to control the sound.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Re: High end speakers or PA style speakers?

When you say "PA style speakers" do you just mean high sensitivity designs? There are plenty of high end speakers that make use of high sensitivity drivers and designs.
What I meant of for the speakers was... For HT using Pro Speakers like the Genelec, Yamah, JBL etc. . In my particular situation I am using the same horns that are used in the local Theater... Granted i am driving them with way under 1 watt for reference levels but they sound great to me. The one thing i am not seeing is the 10' deep soundstage of the Electrostats... I am hoping that once i get the MiniDSPs setup that i might be able to get my soundstage deeper. For Movies, and Music Videos it sounds awesome... We will see what the fine tuning does.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Re: High end speakers or PA style speakers?

PA systems for concert venues are designed to cover a large area that usually has very poor acoustics so Line arrays are mostly used. High volumes are needed 110db or more so as to reduce the noticeable echo that is reproduced in these arenas. High end or at least good quality home speakers are much better used in enclosed spaces and in reality will reproduce sounds much better.
Also remember that PA speakers are generally very efficient but at a cost of less low end and the need for active EQs to control the sound.
Currently I am just letting the Denon calibrate it out and it sounds great... My DTS-10s take the bass down nicely (not as far as the Triax but they do a nice job). When i go active i hope it takes me to the next level. Another nice thing was I save a lot of money going with the Pro vs High End Audio Speakers, and Amps.
 

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Re: High end speakers or PA style speakers?

Yeah, I used to be an Audiophile years ago, and it just dawned on me that no matter how great the audiophile speakers were... They didn't sound like the original since 99% of what i listen to is amplified music.
It really doesn't matter whether you compare amplified or unamplified performances with their reproduced versions. A single driver or any combination of drivers (PRO or not) can't possibly be expected to recreate an original performance from a recorded facsimile. A vibrating cone/diaphragm/etc cannot transcend the laws of physics to mimic a physical instrument/vocalist/etc. The closest you can hope for is access to the master tape/file played back on the original equipment in the original room (at the same atmospheric conditions.... and after eating the same lunch ...frame of mind and all that). :D

Are you saying you compared live events directly with their recorded versions? Does that mean you auditioned the production master in the studio as the recording engineers intended it to be heard? Was that source material created primarily for decent sound on just about any audio system? How about the intended playback environment--all perfectly the same, right? More likely, the amplified/re-amplified event was produced to sound good across abroad range of mediocre car stereos and MP3's, because that's what most people listen on (if they're listening at all). And "most" is what sells. Bottom line, yeah baaaybaay! :spend:

This also brings up the same type of situation for amps... How many Groups or recording Studios run Mark Levinson, Krell, or other Audiophile amps in their Studios? They are running pro amps as far as I know... So to me it makes more sense to run pro where ever possible in my system to have it sound as close to the original as possible.
PRO gear isn't going to magically transport you closer to a live event. Know what will? Better production, mixing, and mastering. Think about the work (or lack of it) that went into the disc you pop into the tray or plop on that platter. How can a PA system driven by PRO amps (or any combination of reasonably-priced high end gear) possibly suspend disbelief when trying to reproduce material that doesn't resemble the original event in the slightest? :ponder:

Sure you can EQ some blemishes, but those are overshadowed by heavy-handed limiting, compression, and excessive DSP. By the time they reach the mass market, most amplified performances have the life squashed out of them to the extent they're more an embarrassment than an art. It's a wonder performer's allow such horrid representations to exist. Do they not listen to their releases? Or is it that performers who were brought up in an MP3 society innocently mimic those sonic qualities? How sad. :sad:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Re: High end speakers or PA style speakers?

It really doesn't matter whether you compare amplified or unamplified performances with their reproduced versions. A single driver or any combination of drivers (PRO or not) can't possibly be expected to recreate an original performance from a recorded facsimile. A vibrating cone/diaphragm/etc cannot transcend the laws of physics to mimic a physical instrument/vocalist/etc. The closest you can hope for is access to the master tape/file played back on the original equipment in the original room (at the same atmospheric conditions.... and after eating the same lunch ...frame of mind and all that). :D

Are you saying you compared live events directly with their recorded versions? Does that mean you auditioned the production master in the studio as the recording engineers intended it to be heard? Was that source material created primarily for decent sound on just about any audio system? How about the intended playback environment--all perfectly the same, right? More likely, the amplified/re-amplified event was produced to sound good across abroad range of mediocre car stereos and MP3's, because that's what most people listen on (if they're listening at all). And "most" is what sells. Bottom line, yeah baaaybaay! :spend:



PRO gear isn't going to magically transport you closer to a live event. Know what will? Better production, mixing, and mastering. Think about the work (or lack of it) that went into the disc you pop into the tray or plop on that platter. How can a PA system driven by PRO amps (or any combination of reasonably-priced high end gear) possibly suspend disbelief when trying to reproduce material that doesn't resemble the original event in the slightest? :ponder:

Sure you can EQ some blemishes, but those are overshadowed by heavy-handed limiting, compression, and excessive DSP. By the time they reach the mass market, most amplified performances have the life squashed out of them to the extent they're more an embarrassment than an art. It's a wonder performer's allow such horrid representations to exist. Do they not listen to their releases? Or is it that performers who were brought up in an MP3 society innocently mimic those sonic qualities? How sad. :sad:
No what I am saying is...The Studios, and live bands are using Pro equipment not Audiophile equipment so how can you be listening to music or movies the way they were intended to sound if you use audiophile equipment? Audiophile equipment is trying to bring out nuances that are in the recording, but I do not believe that they were heard (nuances) when it was played back, whether it was in the studio or live. Does it sound better with Audiophile speakers, and amps... Might very well sound better, but is it as truth full to the Studio or of the live sound? Granted Pro Amps are made to be beaten daily where as the Audiophile Equipment is designed to sound a certain way, whether it is a warmer sound, more air, etc.

I have noticed in another forum where a lot of the members are Musicians, and they use Pro speakers, and non audiophile amps... They appear to have not bought into the Audiophile lifestyle of equipment. I am not saying that the Audiophile equipment doesn't sound good, just that i don't believe it sounds like it was intended to sound when it was mixed.

Will a Pro amp, and speakers magically convey the sound to a live event... I agree it will not, but neither will Audiophile equipment. I agree the master mix is where the big dif is to be made. If a mix is made to sound good (not a lot really are)... Wouldn't using a speaker that accentuates the sound one way or another be for mainly listening preference rather than true to the original? Do all Pro speakers sound the same... I don't think so, but I think they are closer than the consumer Audiophile market is.

Bring DSP into the picture and now they all sound much closer to the same.
 

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Re: High end speakers or PA style speakers?

Define "pro audio" is it because it has Speakon connectors on the back, a different brand name on the box, carpet on the enclosure or a horn tweeter instead of ribbon? I think in the end its not so much about the difference as a speaker is a speaker and so is an amp they are all designed to reproduce the sound as best as possible. Most studios use nearfield monitors and usually no sub. Home theater mixing is a whole different ballgame. "High end speakers" can be simply a boutique brand that only have a few hundred made and a fancy badge. Im not sure that there is really any difference other than price and the look.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Re: High end speakers or PA style speakers?

Define "pro audio" is it because it has Speakon connectors on the back, a different brand name on the box, carpet on the enclosure or a horn tweeter instead of ribbon? I think in the end its not so much about the difference as a speaker is a speaker and so is an amp they are all designed to reproduce the sound as best as possible. Most studios use nearfield monitors and usually no sub. Home theater mixing is a whole different ballgame. "High end speakers" can be simply a boutique brand that only have a few hundred made and a fancy badge. Im not sure that there is really any difference other than price and the look.
:T
I think "Pro Audio Speakers" would be some thing like these, or these. Pro Audio speakers could be powered or unpowered but the same type that is used in Studios, and live sound applications. I would be interested to hear whether anyone has taken Pro speakers, and compared them to Audiophile speakers after running Audyssey, and if they sounded different. I am thinking that once Audyssey is run (in a treated room) the differences between Audiophile, and Pro will come down to how much money you want to spend and the look you want. Take away the Audyssey, and I think they can sound dramatically different... Which one is correct, I tend to lean toward the pro, but if you want a particular sound... Then I say the Audiophile could very well win.

I started this thread to see what others thought (we already have the do all amps sound the same thread, so here is a little different take)... In the end it is each persons decision as to how to spend their money, and as to which they believe sounds the best to them for their application. You may not agree with my rationality, and I may not agree with yours, but I try to have an open mind. So post up what think, and we can all discuss what the merits are for each. :T
 

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Re: High end speakers or PA style speakers?

I have noticed in another forum where a lot of the members are Musicians, and they use Pro speakers, and non audiophile amps... They appear to have not bought into the Audiophile lifestyle of equipment. I am not saying that the Audiophile equipment doesn't sound good, just that i don't believe it sounds like it was intended to sound when it was mixed.
That's amazing, isn't it! I've often wondered why the people who make music, generally don't seem to care much about their listening systems. I don't mean to say their systems are substandard or mediocre; I mean they just don't obsess over them like a lot of music listeners.

So do musicians generally use pro gear because it's what they're constantly exposed to and familiar with? Could it be that most have never heard a properly set up audiophile system playing top notch source material? Or do they just accept that no system comes close to live sound, so why bother chasing a dream?

In the end I agree pro gear may be able to reproduce more of the "live feel" that musicians and audiences experience. Wouldn't it be great if music was distributed inmultitrack format so each instrument could be fed to its own specialized amp and speaker, just like on stage! :hsd: :D

:T
I think "Pro Audio Speakers" would be some thing like these, or these. Pro Audio speakers could be powered or unpowered but the same type that is used in Studios, and live sound applications.
Wow! I'm living the reverse of what I said above about musicians being blind to the audiophile world. I honestly had no idea such speakers existed. Intriguing! Want to learn more :reading:
 

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Re: High end speakers or PA style speakers?

Yeah, I used to be an Audiophile years ago, and it just dawned on me that no matter how great the audiophile speakers were... They didn't sound like the original since 99% of what i listen to is amplified music. Now that i am more into HT it is even more so. The only reason i can see for going to a non PA speaker for audio is space, or that you only listen to non amplified music as a source.

This also brings up the same type of situation for amps... How many Groups or recording Studios run Mark Levinson, Krell, or other Audiophile amps in their Studios? They are running pro amps as far as I know... So to me it makes more sense to run pro where ever possible in my system to have it sound as close to the original as possible.
You my friend are a lot like me!!! I still listen to music - but most of the music I've listened to is performed in large churches or auditoriums and they are always amped (generally with Klipsch, BagEnd, Yamaha, JBL, or Yorkville speakers). I've explained this before - our references are very different, depending on what type of music you've grown up with. I've had experiences with acoustic un-amplified music and I know how it sounds - but I also know what a "Mass Choir" sounds like (always amped). This isn't a Klipsch plug - but I wondered why I've always came back to Klipsch Heritage....its because they shaped my listening paradigm. Churches were full of them, concerts had them, I've own many speakers from VMPS, Snell (one of my favorites), and many many others - there's only one brand that I've owned multiple times - Klipsch. I've owned at least 5 sets of Heresy speakers at different times in my life - this time, I kept a pair ;) !
I enjoy many different speakers and what they bring to the table - but my sound was shaped by amplified music. It's really all about preference and your personal listening paradigm.
 

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Re: High end speakers or PA style speakers?

Define "pro audio" is it because it has Speakon connectors on the back, a different brand name on the box, carpet on the enclosure or a horn tweeter instead of ribbon? I think in the end its not so much about the difference as a speaker is a speaker and so is an amp they are all designed to reproduce the sound as best as possible. Most studios use nearfield monitors and usually no sub. Home theater mixing is a whole different ballgame. "High end speakers" can be simply a boutique brand that only have a few hundred made and a fancy badge. Im not sure that there is really any difference other than price and the look.
I think there are multiple categories here.

The thread subject mentions PA style speakers, which I associate with stage/arena sound. Horn loaded and designed for max SPL, probably not very "accurate". Then we have studio monitors (still under the "pro audio" umbrella) which are generally going to resemble traditional cone and dome (with exceptions, yes) speakers that are designed for good frequency response and very low distortion. Similar to home audio speakers but often these are active or self-powered and can accept 1/4" or XLR inputs like the ones Ron linked to. Finally the high end or hi-fi category, which seems to cover the whole spectrum of design philosophy these days. Anything from horn loaded to plasma tweeters, all geared toward the purest reproduction of the input signal, with almost limitless possibilities in terms of extravagant materials.

They are all a different mix of maximum output, minimum distortion, connection/convenience features, materials/build quality, and aesthetics. I would argue, as others have said, that they all struggle to re-create a live performance due to their own limitations and the limitations of recordings. The way a voice, or a piano string, or a cymbal creates sound is very different than what a speaker does to reproduce it, so we can only get so close. And some hifi companies are happy to take lots of our money in the process :sarcastic:
 

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Re: High end speakers or PA style speakers?

And when they want to change the sound, they don't buy different speakers, try adding ultra-expensive interconnect cables, etc. they simply apply EQ. Good enough reason to do it on your home system too if you ask me.
+100!!!! :) Excellent comment!!!!
 
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