Home Theater Forum and Systems banner

181 - 200 of 251 Posts

·
Plain ole user
Joined
·
11,121 Posts
I think it really depends on how one listens and the speakers. Frankly, I have found my Onkyo receiver to be fine for my HT system, but I rarely listen very loud. I have an amp driving the subs and can play the system loud enough that the rattles in the house become the limiting factor. I run the 2 channel system full range, so it would be more of an issue, I think, but I have components for that system anyway. At some point I want to do some blind comparisons with the Onkyo and my components on that system.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,454 Posts
I agree the speakers are the deal. I A/B'd my Arx1'c with my Klipsch KSF 8.5 speakers & the power requirement was bigger than I expected. And those are the bookshelves...the A5's may need even more. If I remember correctly, we used a 100 watt amp in the 1st eval, and that seemed to drive them well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
201 Posts
Here are the frequency responses for the amps that were compared to the Denon, with the exception of the Behringer. For some reason I could not find it, but there were no noted meaningful differences at the time. I am sure we have it somewhere.

Note that the levels were matched carefully in each comparison, but there were slight differences between those pairs. I have matched the levels at 500Hz for this comparison.
Is that the response from the main listening position and at least in the ballpark of what people heard? I ask because, no offense, the response seems terrible. More than 15db difference between lows and highs, with mainly the highs just dropping like a cliff. And the huge 10db notch at 2k right where our ears are most sensitive.

I get that from a pure measurement difference things are all relative and shouldn't matter. I was thinking more from the subjective testing standpoint if this reflects what people were hearing.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,838 Posts
Discussion Starter #184
Leonard has the patience of a Tibetan Monk, only he's a lot funner to be around. (All due respect to Tibetan Monks - actually I have never met one, they might be quite the party boys, although somehow I doubt it.)

I sent him mdat files containing the Behringer amp data. So much to keep track of, I probably missed them before somehow.

Thanks, Leonard, for sifting through all that data. Fantastic job!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,838 Posts
Discussion Starter #185
Is that the response from the main listening position and at least in the ballpark of what people heard? I ask because, no offense, the response seems terrible. More than 15db difference between lows and highs, with mainly the highs just dropping like a cliff. And the huge 10db notch at 2k right where our ears are most sensitive.

I get that from a pure measurement difference things are all relative and shouldn't matter. I was thinking more from the subjective testing standpoint if this reflects what people were hearing.
You raise good questions.

First of all, in-room response measured at the LP without any equalization is usually a bit uglier than anyone wants to look at. Room effects, nodes, etc, can lead to some big variations at lower frequencies. You can certainly see the source of the "tubbiness" that was mentioned earlier.

We set up the M1s for soundstage and imaging, which were very good. The arrangement of objects and surfaces in the room changed somewhat for Saturday, to accommodate the "blind" part of the process, and that reduced image clarity somewhat, as Dennis mentioned in his comments. But that probably did not show up in the FR curves.

As mentioned, we set the M1s a bit wider than we probably would have to avoid moving the ESLs, which were perfectly placed. I made that choice, setting up before the others arrived. Two things that might have been done differently: the ESLs could have been moved and the M1s place more optimally in the room, and we might also have experimented with placement to get better frequency response. As it was, placement took several hours, and in all honesty there would not have been time to do much of that experimenting.

The notch at 2 kHz is an artifact due to reflection from the chair back behind the microphone position. And that is with a blanket in place to reduce the reflection. Coincidentally, in preparing some information for another thread, I have been doing measurements around the back of my own chair yesterday and today, and that kind of notch at around 1 to 2 kHz is a harsh reality of having a high back chair. With the microphone moved to where that notch is not created from the reflection on the chair back, the frequency response no longer represents the listening position accurately in the midrange. With the listener sitting in the chair, the effect is not as drastic, I believe anyway, I'm still experimenting to see how much difference that makes. I would not put too much emphasis on that notch at this point, knowing its source, and knowing it to be at least somewhat different with the listener sitting in the chair.

It was important for our exercise that no EQ be used, nothing that might add another variable that could detract from the amplifier differences we were listening for. The high-frequency roll-off also is a little of a mystery, because the response for the speakers themselves was quite flat to 20 kHz, and the listening position was right on axis. Distance and air absorption had to be the cause. Another harsh reality.

I'm sure that none of this is news to you, and it does not change the fact that you are correct about the frequency response being far from ideal. And I am NOT making excuses, only giving explanations the best I can. Other than the tubbiness previously mentioned at low frequencies, I do not believe that frequency response was a significant detractor for any of the listeners. if anything, having worked with Leonard and Joe in the past on speaker evaluations, and knowing that neither of them was crazy about speakers with really strong high frequencies, we might have had complaints had the highs been a lot stronger than they were. No one ever commented that the high frequencies were low or week, and I do not believe it was a problem for what we were there to accomplish. Listener fatigue is another potential problem to be avoided with work like we were doing, and the somewhat rolled off high frequencies may have spared us all more fatigue than we already ran across from time to time.

These are just comments and observations, not disagreeing with your point at all.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,539 Posts
Did y'all see this ?

Denon X5200 AVR
Compared to other amps, several observations were consistent. The Denon had somewhat higher sibilance, was a bit brighter, and while it had plenty of bass it was noted several times to lack definition found in other amps. At high levels, it did seem to strain a bit more than the other amps, which is expected for an AVR compared to some of the much larger amps. Several times it was noted by multiple reviewers that it had very good detail and presence, as well as revealing ambiance in the recordings.

We actually listened to the Denon more than any other amp, as it was in four of the blind comparisons. It was not reliably identified in general, so one could argue that it held its own quite well, compared to even the most expensive amps. The observations from the blind comparisons that had some common elements either between blind and sighted comparisons or between observers are below. The extra presence and slight lack of bass definition seem to be consistent observations of the Denon AVR, but everyone agreed that the differences were not a definitive advantage to any one amp that would lead us to not want to own or listen to another, so I think we can conclude that the Denon held its own and was a worthy amp to consider.

Compared to Behringer
- bass on Denon had more impact than Behr, vocals sounded muted on Behr
- vocals sounded muted on ML compared to Denon
- Denon: crisp highs preferred compared to Behringer which is silky.
- Denon is more present, forward in mids and highs than Behringer.

Compared to Mark Levinson
- Denon seemed to lack low end punch compared to ML.
- Denon is smooth, a certain PUSH in the bass notes, cellos & violins sounded distant, hi-hat stood out, distant vocal echo stood out, compared to ML.
- Denon bass seemed muddy compared to ML which is tighter.
ML more distant strings than Denon.
- Denon is slightly mushy and fat in bass. String bass more defined on ML.
- ML seems recessed compared to Denon.


Compared to Pass
- vocals sounded muffled on Pass compared to Denon
- crisp bass on Denon compared to Pass
- Denon & Pass both even, accurate, transparent, natural, no difference, like both
- Pass seems soft on vocals but very close.
- Denon has a bit more punch on bottom, maybe not as much very deep bass, more mid bass.


Compared to Van Alstine
- bass on Chant track was crisp for VA while Denon was slightly sloppy
- sibilance not as pronounced on VA as it was on Denon
- VA super clarity & precision, detailed, space around strings, around everything compared to Denon which is not as clear, liked VA better.
- sibilanceon Denon, VA has less “air” but more listenable, both very good
- Very deep bass more defined on VA, overall more bass on Denon.



Read more: http://www.hometheatershack.com/forums/home-theater-receivers-processors-amps/115674-home-theater-shack-2015-high-end-amplifier-evaluation-event-reporting-discussion-thread.html#ixzz3YFvULf3M
 

·
Plain ole user
Joined
·
11,121 Posts
I have been having some issues with editing the first thread so I'll start posting more results here and when we sort it out, we will include them there as well.

Wyred 4 Sound ST-500 MK II

In the sighted listening we compared the ST-500 MK II to the Van Alstine Fet Valve 400R. The assessments varied but were generally closer to no difference. The Van Alstine got comments of being fatter on the bottom. The Wyred 4 Sound was noted to have slightly better bass definition but apparently less impact there, and slightly less detail in the extreme highs. Most comments about the midrange were not much, if any difference. An interesting observation here was by Wayne, noting that he did not think he would be able to tell the difference in a blind comparison. Considering the ST-500 MK II is an ICE design and the Fet Valve 400R is a hybrid, we expected this to be one of the comparisons that would yield differences if any. As I am always concerned about expectation bias, this was one that I was particularly concerned with. Van Alstine is a personal favorite for a couple of us so I expected a clear preference for it to be present in the sighted comparison. I felt that the Wyred 4 Sound amp help its own with the much more expensive and likely to be favored VA.

In the blind comparisons, we compared the ST-500 MK II to the Emotiva XPA-2 and the Sunfire TGA-7401 in two separate sessions. Of course, in these sessions we had no idea what we were listening to until after all the listening was done. In the comparison to the Emotiva, some notes revealed not much difference and that these were two of the best sounding amps yet. The ST-500 MK II was noted to have the best midrange yet, along with the Emotiva. It was described as having less sibilance than both the Emotiva and Sunfire. Both the Emotiva and the ST-500 MK II were described as unstrained in terms of dynamics. In comparison to the Emotiva it was noted to have solid highs, lively dynamics, rich string tones, and punch in the bass. The overall preference in comparison to the Emo was either no difference to preferring the W4S.

In comparison to the Sunfire, comments ranged from preference for the W4S to not much difference to preference for the Sunfire. The Sunfire was described as having more presence in the midrange, while the Wyred was noted to be shrill, lifeless, and hollow by comparison.

These comments varied a lot, but the points of convergence were generally around the similarities to three amps that would be expected to be most likely to be different, if we found any differences at all. The objective results is that we failed to identify the amp in ABX comparisons to two other much more expensive amplifiers. I would have to conclude that based on the results, the ST-500 MK II represents one of the best values and certainly should satisfy most listeners.
 

·
Plain ole user
Joined
·
11,121 Posts
I have a few notes left, but there is not a lot of correllation left to justify saying much in the same way that I have for the ones thus far. I may take my observations and put them in a new post dedicated to purely subjective and uncorrelated comments. There are a couple of things left to add on the blind listening, but frankly I was hoping to see some discussion of what I posted to help determine what people are interested in or think is valuable from the stuff that we already have. There has not been much discussion at all since we posted what we did.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
Sufficiently stimulated by Leonard's above comments, I will try to further this discussion......

1. It seems in this comparison that there are small differences between amps, some of which may be consistently observed and thus may be preferred by certain listeners that wish their amps to "perform" in certain ways ( better bass control, more detailed midrange, etc).....it may help others trying to trial or purchase said amps if multiple listeners noticed a consistent feature associated with them to use as a criteria for purchase, if possible.....besides the comments made for the Denton and the Wyred Sound amps ( and indirectly the VanAlstine), any other aspects of the other amps on sighted evaluation stick out?

2. It seems the need for headroom or increased power does come into play at louder volumes approaching reference levels and beyond, especially with less efficient speakers. It also seems at lower volumes this need becomes less so. Is this kosher? Those of us just listening at moderate to low volumes can probably use the Denton to excellent effect and obviate the need for an additional amp. Those wanting to experience "live venue" sound or "movie theater" volumes probably need an amp with more power....which any of the other amps in this comparison could provide...

3. With the use of powered subwoofers in multichannel audio systems and home theater applications lowering the power need for the rest of the system, is an amp providing multiple hundreds of watts/channel really needed? By the by, how much IS the power lowered in a system by using a subwoofer to reproduce the lower octaves?

Hope this helps to reenervate this thread....
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,539 Posts
I don't see consistency in the comments indicating any particular sound signature for any particular amplifier. If part of the test included switching between the same amplifier against itself and the listeners made comments about differences heard in that scenario that would be particularly interesting as would comments indicating the same amplifier switched against itself sounds exactly the same. If the amplifier compared to itself sounded different to the listeners then clearly expectation bias is affecting what is being heard. If that amplifier compared to itself was deemed identical but differences were identified when compared to other amps then clearly there are differences and that would be a very interesting observation. My conclusion from the published notes is, in a real world listening environment if sound quality improvement is the goal of spending money then the money is best spent on speakers or possibly acoustic treatments.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
Charlie, I agree wholeheartedly with your comments, and, yes, there does not seem to be any consistent comments about a "sound signature" with any of the amps noted ......just wondering if there were any consistencies with any of the other amps not already discussed in detail...
 

·
Plain ole user
Joined
·
11,121 Posts
Hence, my problem. What to report about the experience with each amp. The comments about what we heard don't have much consistency left. Yet there were some consistent comments across the sighted and blind tests and between listenters. These are mostly in the amps where there were multiple comparisons. I think this points to the need for more extensive listening and more trials on a particular amp to identify any potential differences.

So are the uncorrellated comments on each amp of value? Considering how things are taken out of context on the internet, I am very hesitant to publish them, as those who have an agenda to promote could easily use them for such, and attribute statements to us that out of the context of the whole event may not be our intent.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
Totally understand your comments, Leonard.....too bad everyone couldn't take off work for 2 weeks to really flesh out any consistencies between amps by having those multiple trials....think such a study would qualify for a government grant under the auspices of audio health??
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,539 Posts
I truly enjoyed this evaluation.
It was (is) an undertaking of significant efforts from all of the participants and those efforts are fully appreciated.
If Sonnies' sell off of gear is any indicator... he took on significant $$$$ to get this accomplished, special thanks goes to him.
I can only guess that report writing straws were drawn and you ended up with the short straw because I cannot see anyone willingly saying, "Oh oh me me, please let me write it up".
This is pretty much an impossible task, which I think you have handled quite nicely.
Yes, I am curious to know every comment that was made. But I was not there, I heard none of it. One off comments with no other correlations serve little purpose.
I would let the published results stand as is, and be proud of the effort.
 
181 - 200 of 251 Posts
Top