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Islander

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Everything posted by Islander

  1. Here are some basic tips that you might not be aware of if you're not familiar with vinyl playback. First, a cheap turntable will sound worse than a cheap CD player, but a really good turntable can sound better than any CD machine, so don't go too cheap on your turntable. If it's a half-decent T/T, it could be worth upgrading to a modern cartridge. A good shop will install it for you, as it's definitely more complicated than changing a lightbulb. Your Yamaha RX-V2600 should have a phono input (I think all models from the RX-V750 or RX-V659 on up have one). You'll also need to ground the turntable to the receiver, by connecting the ground lead from the turntable to the GND terminal on the back of the receiver. The phono input is needed because record cartridges put out their signal at a much lower voltage than CD players, so the phono input normally has a small phono amp built-in, to bring up the volume. Even so, you'll need to turn up the volume knob fairly high to get your music loud enough. With my RX-V750, I listen to CDs at between -22 and -32dB on the volume, but with LPs it's more like -8 to -16dB to get the same sound level. That doesn't make the amp work any harder, since it's amplifying a lower-level input to get the same output. The tech on the customer service line at Yamaha confirmed this to me when I called to ask why the volume seemed low. There are two types of cartridge, Moving Magnet (MM) and Moving Coil (MC). The phono input on your Yamaha will have adequate boost for MM cartridges, but not enough for MC cartridges, which have a lower output. This should be mentioned in your owner's manual. MC cartridges require a step-up transformer or a phono amp, plus they are more expensive, so you may not be looking at an MC cartridge anyway. As for why records are "better" than CDs, analog recording preserves more of the detail of the music, but it takes good-quality equipment to retrieve it. Better quality equipment also causes much less wear on records. Records are much less convenient than CDs, typically only having 20-25 minutes of music per side and no skip or random play feature, plus it's a bit a of a ceremony to clean the record before each play and perhaps demagnetize it after, but that's cool in a retro way, and good records can sound more "live" than CDs. As well, you can pick up good used LPs for not much money. Finally, avoid any temptation to call a turntable a "vinyl player" unless you want to sound like a knob... Pat on the Island
  2. I have a 7.1 system (with 2 La Scalas) in the livingroom and a 5.1 system in the bedroom, and here's my take on it: it depends where your listening position is. If you're sitting with the back of your chair very near the wall, 5.1 is just fine. If you're sitting more than 5 feet or so ahead of the back wall, 7.1 is the way to go. The rear surround channels may be matrixed, not discrete, but they definitely help the sound in a large room. Also, some may disagree, but I don't think the surround speakers need to match the fronts. Having 7 Heritage speakers in the room seems logical and looks great if you have the space, but in most material there just isn't that much surround content. Applause, thunder, shell casings and broken glass bouncing on the floor, a knock on a door, that seems like most of what I hear. "Good enough" speakers seem to suffice most of the time. The main disadvantage of not having Heritage (or at least Klipsch) surround speakers is matching the levels. In my case, even with the furthest surround speaker at +10dB, I still had to set the Scalas at -4dB. But that's no big deal, and the system sounds fine. I should pick up House of Flying Daggers again, though, and have a listen to The Echo Game scene with the Scalas in the system. Pat on the Island
  3. My '74 La Scalas came with pie-slice logos, one very worn-looking and the the other missing (but the glue marks showed where it had been). The worn one was on the left side of the cabinet, but the mark of the missing one was on the right side of the cabinet. I ordered a set of 2006 Jubilee Logos, as they're called (part number 070249, $16.50Cdn) and installed them as soon as they arrived last Friday. Now the speakers look like a dedicated "left" and "right" with pie-shaped cool shiny badges. Pat on the Island
  4. Wintersong, the new Sarah Mclachlan CD, is pretty good. Pat on the Island
  5. DrWho wrote: Lol, any decent quality TT option out there that costs under $500? How bout under $200? Although the high-end turntables probably sound amazing, you can find a deck that will make you happy for much less money. Last year, I picked up a Technics SL-1400MK2 ('78 vintage?) for only $140Cdn. It came with a low-end Audio-Technica CN5625AL cartridge, the yellow one, and the sound was nothing special. Then I had a Shure M97Xe cartridge installed and the sound was transformed! I hadn't realized that vinyl could sound that good. Better dynamics and clarity and reduced surface noise were very noticeable. Now my friends could hear why I started to prefer LPs to CDs. There's a much more "live" feel to the sound, revealing fine details, that makes CDs sound "canned". The owners of high-end belt-drive units may roll their eyes at this, but I really like the quartz-locked direct-drive concept. It's unfussy and very reliable, with dead-accurate speed control. 45rpm LPs? Just push a button to change the speed. In a way, the Technics DD turntables are a little like Klipsch speakers, in that they sound great and are built to last nearly forever, even in daily use by DJs. Pat on the Island
  6. My "visual ruler" suggests that the top strip of veneer is 1-inch, while the other front strips are 7/8-inch. If the veneer is 1/8-inch thick, plus the 3/4-inch plywood, that would add up. They do look pretty good. Pat on the Island
  7. If you're just starting to build a system, you might want to think about whether you may upgrade in the future. In that case it could make sense to get one component that's a step or two above the rest of the system in sound quality (and price, too, unfortunately), so that in a year or two, you can bring the other parts of the system up to that level. However, if you just want a system to enjoy and don't want to get on the upgrade ride, get a system that works in harmony (that's that synergy thing you sometimes hear about) and fits your budget. Happy listening! Oh, and contrary to what some people think, some Heritage owners do like to listen loud at times and like powerful amps (well, over 50 wpc anyway). Pat on the Island
  8. Set them up and listen. Measure how much they're toed in. I use a string elastic across the front (taped to the outside corner of each speaker) and measure the gap between the inside front corner of each speaker and the elastic and note it. Use whatever method is simple and repeatable for you. If they're directly facing you, you may find that the sweet spot is really small. When I first set up my Scalas, the sweet spot was just the width of my head. Not too convenient. I opened them up and it got a bit wider, reduced the toe-in a little more and it got wider still. Reduced the toe-in some more, and suddenly the impact ("punch", "slam") was almost gone, so I increased the toe-in back to the previous amount and stayed with that. Less toe-in generally gives a wider soundstage, but you'll have to experiment to find what sounds best to you in your room. Pat on the Island
  9. Not exactly, but sometimes I call them "the lads", as in "The lads are sounding good today." When I shut down the system at bedtime, I tell them, "Good work, boys!" Maybe I should spend less time at home... Pat on the Island
  10. Good one, colterphoto! I thought of that later. I saw The Tubes live four times in Toronto, the first time in 1977, the last time in 1993. Fee Waybill rules! Pat on the Island
  11. Briefly put, I choose an amp that has, first, realistic sound and pleasant tone, and second, adequate headroom to play at any volume I care to listen at. Pat on the Island
  12. All amps have some kind of tone. Many years ago, a roommate and I each had a stereo. One had a Technics receiver driving BIC Venturi speakers, the other a Yamaha receiver driving Dynaco A-25s. Just for curiosity, I swapped the components back and forth and was amazed to find that the receivers differed more in their sound than the speakers did. Higher-end gear may have less variation in tone than low-end or mid-range stuff, or does it? Bottom line is buy what sounds good to you. As in many things, there are no absolutes or ultimates, or how could this year's model be better than last year's "ultimate"? Pat on the Island
  13. Forget Spoons, there's only one. But add Deep Purple. And Television? This is fun! Pat on the Island
  14. Spoons, Symphonic Splash Pat on the Island
  15. Scissor Sisters, Jets Overhead, Cornershop... Pat on the Island
  16. ka7niq, thanks for sharing your story of meeting PWK and telling about your granddad. It was a pleasure to read. Where did his Klipschorns finally wind up? Pat on the Island
  17. Stuck on Vancouver Island? Hah! This is the Florida of Canada. We don't want a bridge, cause it'll bring even more tourists than we already get! Seriously, thanks for your hospitable offer, the invite is much appreciated, but I'm north of Seattle, and can see Port Angeles from my south windows, across the Juan de Fuca Strait, so it would be one heck of a long road trip. It would be great to see and hear your Jubilees, but for the forseeable future I'll have to satisfy myself with imagining how good they sound. Thanks again! Pat on the Island
  18. One basic concept that's often been mentioned is that all three dimensions of the room should be different from each other, and should not be multiples of one another. Some examples follow. The worst shape would be a room that is literally cube-shaped. A square floor plan is not good, nor is a room that's twice as long (or half as tall) as it is wide. If you're designing from scratch, you might consider making the walls non-parallel. I'll let the more knowledgeable take over from here. Pat on the Island
  19. Perhaps I should add that both speakers are about 6 feet from the side walls. Pat on the Island
  20. Last night, I was listening to some music (Berlin, SSQ, Buggles, Steely Dan, it was an '80s groove night...) and got out my SPL meter. The level was around 85dB on my sofa, 8-and-a-half feet from the speakers, but I was surprised to find that it was also around 85 dB only a metre (39.37in) from the speakers. Only when I put the meter within a few inches from the speakers did the reading go up, to 103-105dB. The listening room is 18 feet wide and 19 feet long, but opens toward the dining room, making the left half 26 feet long. The right Scala is a foot from the front wall, while the left Scala is about 10 feet from the "other" front wall. The sofa's about six-and-a-half feet in front of the back wall, and the speakers and sofa are placed at an angle to the walls. Big sound in a big room? BTW, DrWho, have you ever heard Big Electronic Beat, by SSQ? It's on the Playback album. ('80s synth-pop stuff) Pat on the Island
  21. coytee wrote: For those who think a LaScala is big... the HF horn on the Jubilee is actually LARGER than a LaScala, so imagine a LaScala turned on it's side, as your tweeter alone Yeow!!! (But I think a pair of Jubilees may be in my long-term plan...) Pat on the Island
  22. Go Heritage!!! (If you've got the room...) Pat on the Island
  23. There's a big article in this month's The Absolute Sound about Class D amps, comparing around 9 or 10 of them. The "D" is a class designation. One of the writers in the magazine mentions that they are not digital amps and are actually analog in nature. The switching type operation doesn't make them digital. Pat on the Island
  24. About $100 extra to get the current model? Sounds like the better bet. Pat on the Island
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