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Islander

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Everything posted by Islander

  1. I usually use these four CDs: Rickie Lee Jones (the first, self-titled one), The Essential Leonard Cohen, The Cure Greatest Hits and Hana, by Tak Matsumoto. On Rickie Lee Jones, there are a number of top musicians and every instrument is easy to hearand well-separated in space. Track 3, Night Train, has great vocals and delicate chimes. Track 4, Young Blood, has great percussion. Track 5, Easy Money, has an acoustic bass intro that lets you know if your system can realistically reproduce the sound of a string bass, plus some nice brass. Rickie Lee has a vocal style that's almost like mumbling, but with the La Scalas , I could make out almost every word for the first time, and I was pretty impressed. On the Leonard Cohen CD, I listen to Track 3 of CD1, Sisters of Mercy. It has some sort of odd acoustic instrument that travels from left to right and back again, which is not clear on all systems. Perhaps someone knows what it's called. Track 8 of CD1, Famous Blue Raincoat, has background singers that are clearly located in space and their intake of breath between phrases is well-defined. On The Cure Greatest Hits, Track 5, The Lovecats, has an acoustic bass and percussion intro and Track 7, Close To Me, has an electric bass intro. Both of these tracks show the clarity of any good system. The CD also has lots of brass and catchy rhythms. I usually wind up listening to most of this CD whenever I put it on. Hana is a solo instrumental project by Tak Matsumoto, the guitarist from the Japanese rock band B'z. He mostly plays Gibson Les Paul guitars and was the first Asian guitarist to have his own Signature model. Gibson has since released three more Tak Matsumoto Signature Models (one of which incorporates his new specially wound TM-1 pickups), setting the current record of four. Wikipedia has a good entry about him. Anyway, the CD has lots of subtle background vocals, as well as over-emphasized bass drum on some tracks. Track 1, Koi-Uta, sounding traditional and modern at the same time, seems to reveal more detail with each listening. Track 2, #1090 - Asian Sun, sounds like it was mixed to sound best on a Walkman. It will give you a few kicks in the chest, though, if that's what you're looking for. Track 3, Hana, has a solo piano intro and "outro"(?) that lets you hear very subtle details of the strings and the heavy device inside the piano (can you tell I'm not a musician?) that's operated by the pedals. You can hear the faint thud on a good system, but it's inaudible on a lesser system. There's also an erhu solo, which works better than you'd think (the erhu is a 3-stringed Chinese "violin"). Track 5, Midousuji Blue, is a blues number with very clear fingering that lets you really picture the guitar strings. Finally, just to confuse your friends, Track 12, 2011, is a short jazz-blues style piece that sounds like it's playing on a fairly scratched-up LP. Well, that's my test set. Hope this isn't too long. Pat on the Island
  2. Another way to look at it is that those square corners and steps may cause localized eddying and unsmooth air movement. I'd think that would not help the sound, although the effects are probably minor. Pat on the Island
  3. Actually, I was thinking of wood inserts, like a strip of triangular wood trim with one right angle, which would go in the back outer corners of the LS bass bin, making the corner less sharp. Almost like a strip of quarter-round that goes onto a wall's baseboard, only flat (or even slightly concave) instead of round. As well, a slightly more complex shaped piece (135 degree edge on one side) would smooth off the step at the start of the LS bass bin vee. Just wanting to streamline the air movement, not dampen the sound. Hopefully neglible losses and reflections. The LS cabinets work, but look like little time was spent on the fine details of their construction. Pat on the Island
  4. As far as I know, the name is "Vega". The "V" has a shadow graphic that caused many people to misread it as a "W". Vega is one of the brightest stars in the sky and is bluish-white in color. "Wega" is meaningless. Pat on the Island
  5. Based on my limited experience, I suspect that most speakers (perhaps not Khorns) benefit from the assistance of a subwoofer, not just La Scalas. The "20-20k" speaker seems to be an advertising fiction, at least any that cost less than a nice car. Even some $80,000 speakers sound better with a sub, or so I've read. "What good is a PA that will only dig down to 100 Hz then fall off?" PAs are for speech, aren't they? Who's got a voice deeper than 100Hz? Don't mean to sound like I'm mocking you, but sometimes measurements can make you think that something you're really happy with is now somehow inadequate and not as good as it was before you measured it. For me, the La Scalas plus Paradigm sub sound more like live music than any other speakers I've ever heard. That's good enough for me. Pat on the Island
  6. Having unequal length lines would logically reduce sway since they have different vibration periods and might suppress vibration too, but what do those black tailfins on the platform do, other than look cool? Do they keep the platform from swinging against the wall? Pat on the Island
  7. Luckily, my sub is right beside the right speaker, and the left is not that far away, so localization is not much of a problem. With my bedroom setup, it was a problem, since the mattress absorbs so much sound, so I went with two subs in there. As for the "small" and "large" thing, I didn't take any measurements. The actual volume didn't seem that different, but the "large" setting seemed to produce a subjectively bigger sound, probably due to the extra eight square feet of two bass horns at work. Pat on the Island
  8. You're right about the La Scalas, Doc. Mine are down 4dB by 110 Hz, then down 8-12dB from 100Hz down to 50Hz, then they step down again, but there's less of a dip between 75 and 85 Hz. However, there aren't too many dips or peaks, so I'd call the bass response smooth, at least. After experimenting with various subwoofer cut-off points, I found the flattest response was with the sub set at 150Hz. I haven't checked the sub alone, but even though it probably starts to roll off somewhere below 150, it integrates well with the Scalas when it's set at that point. So much for setting subs based on published speaker specs! Out of curiousity, with the sub set to roll off at 120, I tried setting the La Scalas at "small", so the sub would carry the bottom end, but the sound was definitely better set at "large" with two K-33s supplementing the 10-inch sub. Pat on the Island
  9. It's surprising how much the room affects the sound of the speakers. Testing with a dB meter and test CD on my previous bass reflex speakers and my present La Scalas showed similar dips and peaks, although the speakers are quite different in design and sound. I recently did a re-test and found that the narrow 7dB peaks at 35 and 60Hz were now peaks of 10dB and 9dB respectively, but the volume dropped to within 2dB of reference level only 10Hz above and below 35 and 60Hz. Are such narrow peaks typical? Hadn't noticed them when listening to music... The only difference in the room between this test and the last one a few months ago was that I had uncovered a window (about 4ft x 3ft) that previously had a double layer of Cor-Plas placed in the windowframe, to darken the room for studio photography. Cor-Plas is that plastic stuff that's shaped just like corrugated cardboard and the window is to the right and a little ahead of the listening position. I should mention that those peaks only appear when the sub is switched on (with both types of speakers). The Audio Logics and La Scalas are both sort of low in volume at 60 and at 35Hz. Pat on the Island
  10. Welcome to the forum, sgking! With the sensitivity of Klipsch speakers, especially Heritage Series, an important factor in choosing your sources and amplification is low noise. Klipsches will let you know if your amp is putting out any hum or hiss. For example, I'm using a Yamaha RX-V750, which is very quiet as well as clear, but with the La Scalas, I can hear a very faint "click" when switching inputs which was not audible with my previous speakers. Other than that really minor detail, the receiver and speakers seem to work fine together. Clarity-wise, more power means more realistic transient sounds, even when you're listening at moderate volume levels. As others have pointed out, you won't have to turn up the volume very much to get plenty of sound, but it's good to have your amp running in its "comfort zone", without any stress or distortion. That's good for the amp and the speakers.
  11. ibanezhater, although I gave several examples, I only wrote two things in my original post. First, that shorter length, larger gauge speaker cable sounds better, and that the improvements are more noticeable when you go up at least two gauge sizes, e.g. 18 gauge to 14 gauge, or 12 gauge to 8 gauge. Secondly, I mentioned that Monster Cable Z1-R Reference cable made my system sound so bad I didn't want to listen to it. I won't dispute the view of your friend with the doctorate in physics that cheap and overpriced cables sound very similar. However, large and small cables, regardless of price, do sound different. There will be an optimum size for any system, and it may not be the largest. In this, as in many things audio, the best judge should be your own ears. Fifteen or twenty feet of generic cable is not expensive. Try some different sizes of cable and you may be pleasantly surprised. Pat on the Island
  12. Actually, the expansion chamber goes on the exhaust side, not the intake side, but you did describe its function quite well. I've never thought of an expansion chamber as a capacitor, but in effect, that's what it is. The plenum chamber that I mentioned would be the airbox. It allows incoming air time and space to become more coherent in its flow, improving performance. Although there is no turbulence in a speaker horn in the conventional sense, since the air sort of oscillates rather than flows, aren't there disruptions in air movement around irregularities in the horn, such as corners and steps like at the start of the La Scala bass bin vee? I wonder if adding a piece of filler material to smooth that step might be a good thing? Pat on the Island
  13. I'm trying to get these concepts clear in my head and I think it's starting to happen. To use an analogy from something I'm more familiar with (motorcycle induction systems), does the "rubber throat" function sort of like a plenum chamber that gives turbulence a chance to settle down, or am I still confused? Even though it's challenging, I really enjoy following discussions like this. Learning is fun when it's directly applicable to something you're interested in. Pat on the Island
  14. Banana plugs are very convenient to use, but I've switched to BFA plugs, since they have more contact surface and are a tighter fit in the binding posts. They're about the same price as banana plugs. Pat on the Island
  15. As Dr. Who pointed out, a stereo signal will send different sound to each channel. Have you tried testing your sound with a mono signal? As well, as Jay pointed out, you'd want to be sure you were the same distance from each speaker. Pat on the Island
  16. Joking aside, I'm not falling for any hype. If I can't hear the difference, I won't spend the money. I certainly heard the difference with the Monster cables, which is why I returned them. I was surprised that a cable of apparent decent quality could actually make my system unpleasant to listen to. The larger, but less expensive, Karma Kable brought back the good sound and improved on it. Perhaps with the high sensitivity of Klipsch speakers and resultant lower power demands the speaker cable used is less critical, but with my previous speakers, the improvements gained in going to bigger wire were very obvious. As for the really expensive "exotic" cables, haven't heard 'em, so have no opinion. Pat on the Island
  17. I've used several lengths and sizes of wire in my system and here's what I've found: 18 gauge zip cord, 20 ft long: baseline 14 gauge speaker cable ($0.50cdn/ft), 8 ft long: much more realistic transients, like handclaps and drumbeats, clarity slightly improved, bass slightly improved. 12 gauge "home theater" cable ($1cdn/ft), 8 ft long: a little better still, in the same ways. Monster Cable Z1-R Reference ($130cdn), 10 ft long, unknown wire size: unnatural, flat-sounding bass, unpleasant highs, returned to store after 2 weeks. KnuKonceptz Karma Kable ($1.65/ft usd), 8 gauge twisted pair, 6.5 ft (2 meters) long: improved clarity and more realistic and "solid" bass, allowing a small reduction in bass boost on tone control. The Karma Kable has been the best-sounding by a long way, and looks the business (that does count, admit it) with its spiral blue and silver half-inch diameter sheath. These cables were all used with Audio Logic A-750 speakers (two 10-inch bass/midrange drivers and two 1-inch dome tweeters per speaker). When I got my La Scalas three months ago, I was able to find gold-plated 8 gauge spade connectors at a car audio shop for a solid and clean-looking connection. With the La Scalas, the receiver's tone controls are bypassed and the sound is very good. As for charts of recommended speaker cable sizes, I think those values are fine for listening to test tones, but for actual music, which intermittently draws much more power for transients like drum beats, it appears to me that much larger cables are needed to remove any dulling of the sound and allow a natural-sounding crispness. KnuKonceptz.com were pleasant to deal with and have quality stuff at good prices. They also carry BFA plugs, which have more contact area than banana plugs, and are a tighter fit (almost too tight) in binding posts. Pat on the Island
  18. Thanks for the info, Dr. Who. You're a knowledgeable fellow. These speakers do seem to be more tinkerable than any others I've ever heard of. Even replacing the zip-cord (16 gauge?) lead-in wire from the back of the enclosures to the crossovers (my '74s have the crossovers mounted beside the squawker horns, not behind them) with 12 gauge speaker lead seemed to improve the bass response slightly, so that I was able to turn down the sub slightly. As I mentioned to some of my motorcycling friends, the La Scalas are sort of like bikes, in that you can see the parts, they're not intimidating to work on, they have many dedicated fans, and people actually make aftermarket parts for them. Finally, due to their sensitivity and ability to play really loud, the speakers are like a big sport bike: you don't back off the power because the machine is straining or making odd noises, you back it off because it's too damned windy! Pat on the Island
  19. Thanks for the tips, Dr. Who and gonzp. I agree that the bass horn sidewalls are pretty flexy and I've seen that a few people have put triangular braces in the horn to stiffen them. A few questions: do the braces make an audible difference? Also, while it appears easy to screw the outer edge of the brace to the enclosure (from the outside), attaching the inner edge to the horn vee looks less simple. So is it worth doing, and how is it done? Another approach would be to attach a sheet of plywood to the left and right sides of the enclosure, the same size as the side panels. It would stiffen the whole assembly and add visual weight to the bass bin, which looks a little spindly to my eyes, unlike the La Scala II bass bin. The stiffener sheets would have to be stained to match the enclosures and would make them an inch-and-a-half wider (with 3/4" plywood) as well as adding some damping weight. Does this sound like a good idea? Since I'm using a subwoofer to fill in the bottom end, would cabinet mods really be worthwhile? As for tipping up the speakers, I just put some plastic pads under them this afternoon, raising the bottom fronts of the speakers 2" off the floor. The bass seems unchanged, even when checked with an SPL meter, but the speakers seem brighter to the point of edginess. I'll try it for a day or two to be sure, but the initial impression is that they're harsh sounding, even with mellow CDs. Pat on the Island
  20. With my system, with a DVD/CD player, I have both the analog and the digital coax cables connected. For surround, digital is required, but for stereo, either is good. When playing CDs, I sometimes switch between DVD input (digital coax) and CD input (analog RCA) to see which sounds better. The difference is noticeable, but neither one is better all the time. A choice of flavours at the touch of a button. Pat on the Island
  21. The concept with spikes (or better, cones) is that they both lock the speakers to the floor so they can't move and decouple them from the floor since the sharp points provide a strong impedance mismatch, meaning the energy is not transmitted to the floor, but stays in the speakers. As for the amount of movement, on carpet at least, the cabinets barely move at all with a push of a finger, but can be made to jiggle. Not so much with large-footprint speakers like La Scalas, of course. That jiggle might be sufficient to disrupt microdetail info like, for example, the sense of the size of the room where the music is performed, reducing the transparency of the presentation. It's not a big difference, but the more revealing the system, the more the microdetails matter. I may try Vibrapods under my receiver. Not expensive, and there just may be something there. Pat on the Island
  22. Thanks for the answers, guys. One less job to do, one more opportunity to listen to music! Pat on the Island
  23. Looks like a rush job on the stain; there wasn't time to stain the inside back walls of the bass bin, or maybe they just didn't want to get stain on their hands. The speakers look to be in okay shape, though. Pat on the Island
  24. I'm well pleased with the sound of my La Scalas, but I wonder if putting them on cones or spikes might improve fine detail and imaging. My previous speakers were only twelve inches from front to back, and they were a bit wobbly on the thick carpet. I put some peel-and-stick cones under them (to avoid drilling into the cabinets) and was pleased with the results, after the sticky-backed foam pads bedded in after a day or so. They were only $3.95 each from Madisound and four of them work well on 55-pound speakers, but more might be needed on the 125-pound La Scalas. http://www.madisound.com/cgi-bin/index.cgi?cart_id=%Êrt_id%%&pid=1603 http://www.madisound.com/cgi-bin/index.cgi?exact_match=yes&product=TT&cart_id=%25Êrt_id%25%25 The La Scalas are two feet front-to-back and aren't as wobbly on the carpet, but there is room for improvement. Does anyone have any experience with or recommendations about using cones or spikes? Pat on the Island
  25. Cool! If you get a break from the conference, we could meet, maybe talk about Quebec. And speakers, of course! Last time I was there was in 1998, when I drove there from Toronto. I got to show the place to some in-laws from the West, and it was good to see the place again. Pat on the Island
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