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Reaching total system satisfaction - bittersweet like much in life!

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My gear has been entry level but I have enjoyed two very different systems (Martin Logan and Klipsch) and have heard a third I’d like to come close to (Proac).  My latest kick is more vintage used gear.  There’s lots to try out there!

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18 hours ago, MC39693 said:

My gear has been entry level but I have enjoyed two very different systems (Martin Logan and Klipsch) and have heard a third I’d like to come close to (Proac).  My latest kick is more vintage used gear.  There’s lots to try out there!

Like a wise man once said: "There are more toys, out there, than I have money to buy."

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And many wise men have said, more money than brains... but for me, it's taken some... expenditure... to get where I wanted to be.

 

Now that there are no more pro type jubilee available,  I doubt I will enter into that foray.

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13 hours ago, Fido said:

I am well aware that everything in life is temporary. LOL 

Even life itself.........."this is only a temporary situation"...I keep telling myself.

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7 hours ago, Fido said:

these things are critical as if they are all life and death decisions

 

I must admit there have been periods in my life when acquiring another piece of gear was very obsessive - I even dreamt of it - but now, when I look back, I must admit that it was irrational and out of proportion, even compulsive, and kind of filling an 'emptiness' in my life. Once that emptiness is filled by something else, the obsessive side of it goes away, and one starts enjoying music in a more normal way. In my case, acquiring the two amps I mentioned earlier, brought rest and calmness (nirvana?) to my life, and it allowed me to pick up my life long ambition of writing novels. Now the writing is filling that emptiness, together with a lively wife and 3 teenager household, and a full time job, of course.

 

 

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16 hours ago, Schu said:

I want to add... never did my system sound bad or did it have poor performance, I was just looking for that 'special' spatial sensation with great instrument separation. A system that disappears and that creates a great dimensional sensation is very rewarding.

 

I got really tired of being punched in the face by the 'wall of sound' sensation.

 

Like when you wanted a system that could put the Rolling Stones right there  in your living room, only to find that you don’t really want the Stones in your living room, except on very rare occasions?

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17 hours ago, Fido said:

Truth to truth.

 

You’ve just reached a plateau.  I’m there myself right now.  You’re very happy there.  Your system has never sounded better, and it puts a big smile on your face every day.  However, as time rolls on, you gradually cross that plateau, until one day you get to the far side, and see the mountains on that side.

 

You look up the mountain, with its promise of still better sound, and then you see how much it will cost to move up that mountain, even just a little way.  You’ve been travelling this road long enough to know that there’s no limit.  A $200,000 system sounds better than a $100,000 system;  not twice as good, of course.  Maybe 10-20% better.

 

At that point, you’ll either decide that life on the plateau is really good, and turn around, so that the mountain is no longer in your field of view, or you’ll start trying to find a path that will take you a little way up there, for an amount of money that doesn’t seem totally crazy.  Then you hope that the next plateau is not too far up...

 

Your choice.  I’m pretty happy on my current plateau.  I think I may spend quite a while here.  There’s still some dialling in to do, and I’m thinking of getting some sheets of smooth plastic to slide under the speakers, so that I can reposition them by myself, when I want to experiment with their location and direction.  With the big Jubilee 402 tweeter horns and K-691 drivers on top of the cabinets, they weigh over 90 kilos/200 lbs, and they’re sitting on plush carpet, so moving them is a bit of a job.

 

That’s small stuff.  I’m facing away from the mountain, and enjoying what I’m hearing.  I suggest you try that for as long as you can.

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Oh...it has become longer than I thought, but maybe one or the other reads it...even without fee for reading:) Perhaps the reason is because the OP brings an almost philosophical theme, and also a psychological one. I would like to contribute with my post from my point of view, even if the approach is somewhat circuitous.

 

For many years I have not thought about the sense of increasing the performance of a single "ideal" system. In my experience, there is no goal of a single "best" system. This applies above all to the principle of the transducers. Sources and amplifiers can make a difference, but I think it is more valuable to have found such equipment that suits me personally than to have it be the next new amp because everyone is praising it in the reviews.

With transducers it's comparable in the sense that I don't need to replace a conventional speaker with a similar one, because that would be a short-term false satisfaction.

But sometimes a change of principle is an interesting journey of discovery. My changes of speakers are rather long-term over several years.
From 2008 to 2018, the Pro Jubilees with K402/TAD/Yamaha SP2060 were my constant speakers. They are not sold but stored and when I change again, then back to these. Why did I want to change after 10 years? Well, I can share all the good and impressions that are known about the Jubs.

 

But my room is 5.3 m x 6 m. Even if it is known that the Jubs work very well in such small spaces, it is rather the imposing impression of large very good headphones. In other words, the sound is outstanding but it doesn't blend with the room so good in first place if you know what I mean. I had forgotten that for a long period of time because the Jubs are so good.
From 2018 until just a year ago I had BBC LS3/6. Here I had rediscovered the inclusion of the room. I was very taken by the richness of color and beautiful tonality of this LS3/6. Only...these criteria are not everything I expect from a speaker. After 2.5 years, other important criteria began to lack more and more. Especially the liveliness, the lifelike dynamics, the beautiful impulses. 
So I exchanged the LS3/6 for my Tannoy Canterbury, which I have also owned for 21 years. Here I must say that I was somewhat disappointed. All the merits of the Tannoys are there, especially this authority of the real thing, a vibraphone sound as if from a single mold. But, they can't map a stage, everything is next to each other on a two-dimensional string without depth effect. They will leave my collection and will be sold. Perhaps even for them my room is too small. It was better 20 y ago in a longer but narrower room.

 

Well...since four months my old LaScala from 1977 are playing again. Next to the Jubs (but they would need rather the size of a classroom for the same effect of engaging and including the room) and next to my small LS3/5a (not to be confused with above mentioned LS3/6) they will continue to be my long term speakers.

Of course, Lascalas don't have the room-filling fantastic quality of the K402, they don't reach as deep as the Jub Bass but they are reminiscent of the Jubs in their way of being a full horn. However, because the LaScala are smaller and the K400/K77 don't radiate as much room filling wide as the Jubs I have more of an impression in the sweetspot that my room is more included. At least that's how it sounds to me.

One sentence on what the difference is for me. "Room filling" means that the speaker irradiates the whole room, but it focuses on the recording and the information it contains.
"Room enclosing" should mean that the speaker is the source of the music, which then interacts with the room, its reverb, its reflections. 
Those are two very different things in my perception. In other words, the Jubs perform in my medium-sized room, subjectively comparable to a nearfield monitor at one meter distance…with all pros and cons.

 

And unlike the large Tannoy, the LaScala simulate the impression of a stage. Who wants to hear how the sound engineer should buy studio monitors. Those who want the music to flow into their room might be much happier with Klipsch Heritage Speakers.

 

I would also like to say that I appreciate LaScala even more for its features than I did 20 years ago. I have matured. I forgive the LaScala its weaknesses and I am even more enthusiastic about its ability to transform music into listening space.

As a result, how the music "illuminates" means a lot to me. And that's where a change can make sense.

Back to the initial topic. It doesn't make much sense for me to invest in a supposedly much better and more expensive LaScala, Jubilee or BBC box each. Of course I like to optimize and fine tune as part of the hobby but not under the compulsion of the supposed increase.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, Islander said:

 

Like when you wanted a system that could put the Rolling Stones right there  in your living room, only to find that you don’t really want the Stones in your living room, except on very rare occasions?

except when performing acoustic sets...

 

I don't really listen to that type of music that often any more. my personal preference has been trending towards balance and not impact.

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9 hours ago, Islander said:

 

Like when you wanted a system that could put the Rolling Stones right there  in your living room, only to find that you don’t really want the Stones in your living room, except on very rare occasions?

Got a Blue Ray Stones concert which, showcases them as the SLOPPIEST band in the business, but too much of Mick strutting like a stuck up Peacock, puts in clearly in the HATE column!

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On 6/6/2021 at 10:21 AM, mikebse2a3 said:


Your human so give it some time and the desire to change things will return.... 😄

 

miketn


Ha ha, almost exactly what I was going to say. 

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10 hours ago, ClaudeJ1 said:

Got a Blue Ray Stones concert which, showcases them as the SLOPPIEST band in the business, but too much of Mick strutting like a stuck up Peacock, puts in clearly in the HATE column!

 

I was referring to the Stones just as an example of a loud high-impact band, one that can be exciting to hear, but not all day long.  You can substitute any other similar band and my point remains the same.

 

As Schu posted, he doesn’t listen to that kind of music very often anymore. Once your system reaches the level where it can present a band with nearly the full impact of a live performance, your taste may change to more mellow performers, because their full impact is just as pleasant, without being overpowering.  And that last sentence refers to a generic “you”, not you in particular.

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46 minutes ago, Islander said:

 

I was referring to the Stones just as an example of a loud high-impact band, one that can be exciting to hear, but not all day long.  You can substitute any other similar band and my point remains the same.

 

As Schu posted, he doesn’t listen to that kind of music very often anymore. Once your system reaches the level where it can present a band with nearly the full impact of a live performance, your taste may change to more mellow performers, because their full impact is just as pleasant, without being overpowering.  And that last sentence refers to a generic “you”, not you in particular.

Drums, piano, upright bass, saxes, and trumpets. I forgot acoustic guitar. Jazz recordings are way better than pop or rock stuff. Although I was mesmerized by a 5 channel DSD mix of Allman Brothers Live at the Fillmore East. The effect of a wide and deep panorama of instruments in their glorious clarity speaks well of the recording techs that day in NYC~

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7 minutes ago, ClaudeJ1 said:

The effect of a wide and deep panorama of instruments in their glorious clarity speaks well of the recording techs that day in NYC~

 

Have you heard the newly released, stereo-remastered albums of the Beatles? I have the White Album on vinyl and Abbey Road on CD. Both sound excellent and subtle, with great channel separation. I can't compare with the Rolling Stone, because for some unexplicable reason, I don't own one of their albums.

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This is an interesting topic turn that is also relevant in my view. While I mostly listen to jazz and classical, the Stones remain part of my test recordings to see if I find a system good enough. 
I become very skeptical when a system with Oskar Peterson "Nicght Train" or similar is presented, be it a show or private. This is a kind of music that sounds good on any system. But woe is me when it rocks and rolls and clangs and clangs. Then a system has to prove that it is really good. If you have an expensive high end and your favorite rock band only sounds good on the BBQ sound cube, you have done something wrong on your journey to the high end heaven of "total system satisfaction"…in my view.

 

For me, of all the rock, rock jazz and blues bands, it's always the original mixes  (that's another worthwhile topic - the remixes, which in my view are often mighty messed up, they very often steal the soul and organic balance from the music as it was intended. E.g. a Steely Dan remix album. Horrible, antiseptic and almost dead.. ). If you like it as a in my view good example of sound...I recently found the Tidal MQA version of the original mix of Little Feat's "Time loves a hero" album. "Red Streamliner" is my favorite song. The recording is just as old as my Lascalas.

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2 minutes ago, KT88 said:

the remixes, which in my view are often mighty messed up, they very often steal the soul and organic balance from the music as it was intended.

 

You are right, but one should generalize here. Some remixed do have 'added value', but not always.

 

And how about this: for some reason, mostly for copyright reasons, artist sometimes re-record their own work. The most recent example of this is Taylor Swift. I can't compare her new albums with the original recordings, though, but I 've read that it is interesting to compare both.

 

Another example is Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells. The original dates back to  the mid 70s. He re-recorded it 2003. In Part 2, there is a section called 'The Caveman': kind of a practical joke, being the only voice track on the whole album. While the original was really fun and convincing, the 2003 voice is of a professionally schooled singer, doing his utmost best to improve on the original, and he fails big time. The caveman inside me hates this 2003 version!

 

70s original

 

2003 version

 

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19 minutes ago, KT88 said:

This is a kind of music that sounds good on any system. But woe is me when it rocks and rolls and clangs and clangs. Then a system has to prove that it is really good. If you have an expensive high end and your favorite rock band only sounds good on the BBQ sound cube, you have done something wrong on your journey to the high end heaven of "total system satisfaction"…in my view.

 

 

Good point.

I think you don't need to throw a lot of money at it to achieve a flexible system. Apparently (I don't own one), the Puffin (phono) preamp is a very versatile tool that will make any music sound really good, provided you know how to tweak the settings.

https://audioxpress.com/article/fresh-from-the-bench-the-puffin-phono-dsp-by-parks-audio 

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1 hour ago, MeloManiac said:

 

Good point.

I think you don't need to throw a lot of money at it to achieve a flexible system. Apparently (I don't own one), the Puffin (phono) preamp is a very versatile tool that will make any music sound really good, provided you know how to tweak the settings.

https://audioxpress.com/article/fresh-from-the-bench-the-puffin-phono-dsp-by-parks-audio 

Very interesting tool, this "Puffin". It is also worth its own thread. Just very briefly in advance about the Puffin. A great idea, incredibly versatil, looks very nice, „musical“ like a guitar distortion pedal.
I used to have the tilt function on a Quad 34 preamp and it was one of the best tone controls...as subtle as it was effective.

Only...I am old school and look forward to vinyl sound that keeps analog. May be, Puffin is really good for some recordings and I must not use it for all recordings but can bypass it, then it makes also a lot of sense for me, not to adapt the cartridge but some of the records only.

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2 hours ago, MeloManiac said:

 

You are right, but one should generalize here. Some remixed do have 'added value', but not always.

 

And how about this: for some reason, mostly for copyright reasons, artist sometimes re-record their own work. The most recent example of this is Taylor Swift. I can't compare her new albums with the original recordings, though, but I 've read that it is interesting to compare both.

 

Another example is Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells. The original dates back to  the mid 70s. He re-recorded it 2003. In Part 2, there is a section called 'The Caveman': kind of a practical joke, being the only voice track on the whole album. While the original was really fun and convincing, the 2003 voice is of a professionally schooled singer, doing his utmost best to improve on the original, and he fails big time. The caveman inside me hates this 2003 version!

 

70s original

 

2003 version

I wasn't aware that it could be partly legal reasons why artists remix themselves.

When it comes to vintage recordings, whether rock or jazz, I have yet to find a remix that I like better than the original. Especially a very good sound system doesn't care much if the bass is pumped up, the treble sounds louder (but often harsher) and the instruments are positioned differently to achieve a more "modern" stereo effect. Most of the time this makes the song more upfront and bold. With some recordings e.g. old records of the Beatles it belongs for me to the cultural history like the original sounds. The sound is part of the music and my memory.

 

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7 hours ago, MeloManiac said:

 

Good point.

I think you don't need to throw a lot of money at it to achieve a flexible system. Apparently (I don't own one), the Puffin (phono) preamp is a very versatile tool that will make any music sound really good, provided you know how to tweak the settings.

https://audioxpress.com/article/fresh-from-the-bench-the-puffin-phono-dsp-by-parks-audio 

I have a Puffin and I love it. Besides being very flexible with my different turntables and their respective cartridges the ability to dial in so many parameters is amazing. From air and tilt to balance and bass and treble to Clean. Most of my vinyl is in pretty good shape after over 40 years of listening but the Clean function makes them sound  like brand new pristine vinyl. Almost no ticks or pops but no degradation or compression of highs. 
 

The Puffin makes the performance of my old Duall 1229 and old Technics 1200 MKii sound like much higher end turntables.

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