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PeteVoxx

LS II's - Not sounding as good as I thought

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2 hours ago, russ69 said:

 

 

 

 

I hate to even say this but I personally would not pick a SS pre-pro and an Emotiva amp for LaScalas. I don't want to step on too many toes but a nice tube amp is just what you need. I've been wanting to try a PrimaLuna integrated but I already have too much equipment laying around. I think the LaScalas are showing the sound signature of your gear. Often when buying new speakers it requires changes to your system as the weak links get exposed. This hobby is frustrating sometimes but working on getting better results is always worthwhile.

I agree that the La Scalas can expose the weak link(s) in an audio gear chain. It looks like PeteVoxx is using a digital music source, Sonos Connect through Deezer (had to look that up BTW) to the Marantz AV7005 pre/pro, out to the Emotiva XPA5 then ultimately to the LSIIs. Having been through this with my version one La Scalas, I'd start with what's converting the digital stream to analog, the DAC in the Marantz AV7005. Might even be the Sonos Connect doing the conversion depending on how it is connected to the Marantz. Directly or wirelessly? I'd recommend a good seperate DAC. Schiit, Benchmark (I have a Benchmark DAC3L) or any of the others. The La Scalas then have a music stream that is converted at a much higher net bit resolution. I'm not talking about the potential resolution of the original FLAC file. I'm talking about the actual output resolution of the DAC. This will provide a greater potential for better sound. Next thing I'd do, is not run stereo music sources through a pre/pro designed for home theater sound reproduction.  Either get a DAC that acts as a preamp (I tried this but decided on a separate preamp with BASS management features) or a separate preamp. After these changes have been implemented, I'd look at the amps. Amps reproduce the signal fed them. They don't magically make the source better. Garbage in, garbage out. 

 

Mark

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On ‎1‎/‎4‎/‎2017 at 6:35 AM, PeteVoxx said:

LS II BEFORE MANUAL EQ

https://www.dropbox.com/s/8ulg1g58n2cit26/LS II Demo.mov?dl=0

 

LS II AFTER MANUAL EQ

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ljkgk0cng4pyxs5/LS II - manual EQ.mov?dl=0

 

I haven't had a chance to listen with headphones but will when I get to work.  Opinions?  Hopefully you'll hear a difference!  

 

UPDATE: I had a chance to listen to these two videos and my second one which I did earlier today was recorded at a much lower volume.  I will re-post another "after" video this evening as I plan on putting my "new" speakers through their paces... again :)

 

I could not hear much difference on laptop. But did notice they are sitting on smooth floor. I would ask  you to try putting Grippers on the bottom of one speaker and A/B them. HDBR told me about these years ago.

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12 hours ago, dtel said:

Wonder if it's the kind of music you like, or your speakers, frowney face would be boosting the midrange I would think, listen to a lot of vocal music ?

Yes, exactly.  I like the human voice to sound natural and lifelike, and I'm sensitive to sibilance from the voice or boomy sounds off the bottom end.

 

I wonder now if I have a hearing deficit I've always had that I didn't know about?

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5 hours ago, cincymat said:

I agree that the La Scalas can expose the weak link(s) in an audio gear chain. It looks like PeteVoxx is using a digital music source, Sonos Connect through Deezer (had to look that up BTW) to the Marantz AV7005 pre/pro, out to the Emotiva XPA5 then ultimately to the LSIIs. Having been through this with my version one La Scalas, I'd start with what's converting the digital stream to analog, the DAC in the Marantz AV7005. Might even be the Sonos Connect doing the conversion depending on how it is connected to the Marantz. Directly or wirelessly? I'd recommend a good seperate DAC. Schiit, Benchmark (I have a Benchmark DAC3L) or any of the others. The La Scalas then have a music stream that is converted at a much higher net bit resolution. I'm not talking about the potential resolution of the original FLAC file. I'm talking about the actual output resolution of the DAC. This will provide a greater potential for better sound. Next thing I'd do, is not run stereo music sources through a pre/pro designed for home theater sound reproduction.  Either get a DAC that acts as a preamp (I tried this but decided on a separate preamp with BASS management features) or a separate preamp. After these changes have been implemented, I'd look at the amps. Amps reproduce the signal fed them. They don't magically make the source better. Garbage in, garbage out. 

 

Mark

Hey Mark... my Sonos is directly connected using analog inputs on my pre/pro.  Sonos has bass/treble/loudness controls; those are set flat and loudness is OFF.  I have NO issues at this point with the quality of sound.  They're tighter in the low end and smoother up top than my 1978 La Scalas.  The on-board DAC of the Marantz is of decent caliber and sounds perfectly fine.  If anything, my room could probably benefit from some acoustical treatments.  Things get a bit muddy at the higher volumes - WAY higher volumes than what I would ever listen to them.  Thanks for your input though :)

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50 minutes ago, PeteVoxx said:

Hey Mark... my Sonos is directly connected using analog inputs on my pre/pro.  Sonos has bass/treble/loudness controls; those are set flat and loudness is OFF.  I have NO issues at this point with the quality of sound.  They're tighter in the low end and smoother up top than my 1978 La Scalas.  The on-board DAC of the Marantz is of decent caliber and sounds perfectly fine.  If anything, my room could probably benefit from some acoustical treatments.  Things get a bit muddy at the higher volumes - WAY higher volumes than what I would ever listen to them.  Thanks for your input though :)

PeteVoxx,

 

If the Sonos is connected to the pre/pro via the analog inputs, then it's the Sonos doing the digital to analog conversion (DAC). It would have to be a digital connection (USB, coaxial, TOSLINK) to the pre/pro for it to do the DAC function. 

 

Anyway, glad you like what you're hearing. 

 

Mark

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3 minutes ago, cincymat said:

PeteVoxx,

 

If the Sonos is connected to the pre/pro via the analog inputs, then it's the Sonos doing the digital to analog conversion (DAC). It would have to be a digital connection (USB, coaxial, TOSLINK) to the pre/pro for it to do the DAC function. 

 

Anyway, glad you like what you're hearing. 

 

Mark

Not true - I confirmed with Marantz that ALL inputs are put through the DAC.  

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11 minutes ago, PeteVoxx said:

Not true - I confirmed with Marantz that ALL inputs are put through the DAC.  

That's interesting. Never heard of an analog digital input. Learn something new everyday around here.

 

Mark

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If the Sonos is connected to the Marantz via analog inputs, then the Sonos is doing the D-->A conversion, sending it to the Marantz that, in turn, does an A-->D conversion to send through its internal DSP chips, then does another D-->A conversion before sending it to your speakers.  That expensive turntable or external DAC you have connected to your AVR gets its analog signal converted to digital and then back to analog by the chips inside the AVR.

 

Most AVRs are 100% digital inside.  Some have various "direct" modes which are marketing terms for "we still convert everything to digital but don't apply any DSP, tone controls, bass management, or room EQ."  A few (Anthem, Arcam, Emotiva, maybe the lower end McIntosh Pre)  promote their "direct" mode as avoiding any sort of A-->D-->A conversion for certain analog inputs.  I'm no expert in this area but just parroting what I've learned on the internet, and of course we all know you can't put anything on the internet that's not true.

 

The bottom line is if you want to ensure an all-analog signal path, go buy a refurbished integrated amp from the 1970s or early 1980s - or one of the tube amps that many talk about on this forum.  This adds complexity and cost to a combo home-theater and 2-channel setup, but many do it with switch boxes or components with HT bypass modes and the like.

 

Now the question is, for luddites like myself, can you tell a difference if an AVR does a "neutral" A-->D-->A conversion internally?  So far I can't tell a difference.  And, hopefully this doesn't get me banned, but a well implemented AVR (acting as a PRE only with a good amp) can potentially improve the sound over the 2-channel 100% analog approach using room correction and other modern features.  

 

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12 minutes ago, pbphoto said:

If the Sonos is connected to the Marantz via analog inputs, then the Sonos is doing the D-->A conversion, sending it to the Marantz that, in turn, does an A-->D conversion to send through its internal DSP chips, then does another D-->A conversion before sending it to your speakers.  That expensive turntable or external DAC you have connected to your AVR gets its analog signal converted to digital and then back to analog by the chips inside the AVR.

 

Most AVRs are 100% digital inside.  Some have various "direct" modes which are marketing terms for "we still convert everything to digital but don't apply any DSP, tone controls, bass management, or room EQ."  A few (Anthem, Arcam, Emotiva, maybe the lower end McIntosh Pre)  promote their "direct" mode as avoiding any sort of A-->D-->A conversion for certain analog inputs.  I'm no expert in this area but just parroting what I've learned on the internet, and of course we all know you can't put anything on the internet that's not true.

 

The bottom line is if you want to ensure an all-analog signal path, go buy a refurbished integrated amp from the 1970s or early 1980s - or one of the tube amps that many talk about on this forum.  This adds complexity and cost to a combo home-theater and 2-channel setup, but many do it with switch boxes or components with HT bypass modes and the like.

 

Now the question is, for luddites like myself, can you tell a difference if an AVR does a "neutral" A-->D-->A conversion internally?  So far I can't tell a difference.  And, hopefully this doesn't get me banned, but a well implemented AVR (acting as a PRE only with a good amp) can potentially improve the sound over the 2-channel 100% analog approach using room correction and other modern features.  

 

I guess this was directed at me? If so, I'll bow out of this discussion. Way too many D to A and A to D then back to D to A conversions to contemplate. 

 

Mark

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On 1/4/2017 at 4:35 PM, PeteVoxx said:

Current manual EQ setting...  interesting compared to what Audyssey set it.

IMG_3248.JPG

I could be wrong, but, compared to the midrange frequencies (500 Hz and 1K Hz), your Manual EQ setting has even "hotter" treble than the settings Audyssey came up with (as seen in your first post for the left channel, with Audyssey).  Your manual setting for 1K is - 6, and Audyssey used + 2 for 1K.  There is nothing wrong with either of those, but that puts your 16K Hz manual setting of +2 at a full 8 dB above the upper midrange frequency of 1K, and even farther above the middle midrange frequency of 500 Hz.  The same sort of thing is true of 8K, reading + 1, which is 7 dB above the upper midrange 1K, compared to Audyssey's mere 4 dB (reading +6) .  As you know, 8K is in the upper part of the so-called presence range, and there are many shimmering overtones between 8K and 16K.  No wonder your LSIIs now sound better and more live!

 

Sometime in the future, after you live with manual EQ and get some room treatments, give Audyssey a try again, with all 8 mic positions, clustered around your head position if you listen alone, or spread out if you don't.  The 9 octave sliders on the Marantz (I own the same model) are no match for the hundreds of EQ points Audyssey uses.  If you prefer more bass or treble, use the tone controls (not the virtual sliders, which can't be used with Audyssey) after using Audyssey.  After any experimenting, check to make sure the Audyssey light is on.  Stay away from "base (not bass) copy," which provides a very crude and inaccurate copy of Audyssey settings.  I think Chris K,. the CTO and co-founder of Audyssey has it right when he calls "base copy" "useless."

 

I use my ("our") Marantz pre/pro with NAD power amps for the front channels, and get sound as good as I ever have had, especially with Audyssey.  My old Luxman might have given the Marantz/NAD a run for the money, but I doubt it.

 

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1 hour ago, garyrc said:

I could be wrong, but, compared to the midrange frequencies (500 Hz and 1K Hz), your Manual EQ setting has even "hotter" treble than the settings Audyssey came up with (as seen in your first post for the left channel, with Audyssey).  Your manual setting for 1K is - 6, and Audyssey used + 2 for 1K.  There is nothing wrong with either of those, but that puts your 16K Hz manual setting of +2 at a full 8 dB above the upper midrange frequency of 1K, and even farther above the middle midrange frequency of 500 Hz.  The same sort of thing is true of 8K, reading + 1, which is 7 dB above the upper midrange 1K, compared to Audyssey's mere 4 dB (reading +6) .  As you know, 8K is in the upper part of the so-called presence range, and there are many shimmering overtones between 8K and 16K.  No wonder your LSIIs now sound better and more live!

 

Sometime in the future, after you live with manual EQ and get some room treatments, give Audyssey a try again, with all 8 mic positions, clustered around your head position if you listen lone, or spread out if you don't.  The 9 octave sliders on the Marantz (I own the same model) are no match for the hundreds of EQ points Audyssey uses.  If you prefer more bass or treble, use the tone controls (not the virtual sliders, which can't be used with Audyssey) after using Audyssey.  After any experimenting, check to make sure the Audyssey light is on.  Stay away from "base (not bass) copy," which provides a very crude and inaccurate copy of Audyssey settings.  I think Chris K,. the CTO and co-founder of Audyssey has it right when he calls "base copy" "useless."

 

I use my ("our") Marantz pre/pro with NAD power amps for the front channels, and get sound as good as I ever have had, especially with Audyssey.  My old Luxman might have given the Marantz/NAD a run for the money, but I doubt it.

 

Thanks for the info!  How are you able to use the bass and treble along with Audyssey?  I was under the impression that wasn't an option.  I really would love to have access to physical sliders on a 7 (or more) band EQ.

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6 hours ago, pbphoto said:

Now the question is, for luddites like myself,

Good word :emotion-21:  :cool:

 

can you tell a difference if an AVR does a "neutral" A-->D-->A conversion internally?  So far I can't tell a difference.  

 

And, hopefully this doesn't get me banned, but a well implemented AVR (acting as a PRE only with a good amp) can potentially improve the sound over the 2-channel 100% analog approach using room correction and other modern features.  

 

I won't argue because I don't know, but from everything I've read the AVR's do not make good pre's with good external power amps.  The way to do that is to have a tube pre coupled with a big horsepower SS amp.

 

Now back to supporting you:  I bought my Onk 717 (mid-priced AVR) with the idea to do exactly what you just said.  I haven't implemented that yet because the Onk does everything I want it to and it sounds just fine.

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2 hours ago, garyrc said:

Sometime in the future, after you live with manual EQ and get some room treatments, give Audyssey a try again, with all 8 mic positions, clustered around your head position if you listen lone, or spread out if you don't. 

 

For two channel listening?  My vote would be to go for ONE position. 

 

Maybe I'm wrong but I like Audyssey for making 5.1 speakers play nice together.

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5 hours ago, PeteVoxx said:

Thanks for the info!  How are you able to use the bass and treble along with Audyssey?  I was under the impression that wasn't an option.  I really would love to have access to physical sliders on a 7 (or more) band EQ.

You can't use the sliders (without the Audyssey EQ being turned off), but you can use the "true" tone controls, which can be used only if DEQ is not.on.  These bass and treble controls provide up to 6 dB boost or cut, on top of whatever Audyssey does.  The Marantz manual is pretty terrible, but I think you can find this section by looking up tone controls in the index.  Make sure the Audyssey light stays on.

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4 hours ago, wvu80 said:

 

For two channel listening?  My vote would be to go for ONE position. 

 

Maybe I'm wrong but I like Audyssey for making 5.1 speakers play nice together.

Even for two channel, Audyssey works well for me, using 8 mic positions either closely surrounding the one main listening position, or spread out some.  For 5.0 or 5.1 music it's good, as well, and, of course, with movies.  Maybe I'm lucky in that Audyssey works so well with my room and Khorns for 2 channel or Khorns + Belle + Heresy II surrounds for 5.1.  I use separate power amps and a pre/pro, and use the attenuator method of Audyssey set-up (see my post on page 1 of this thread).

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