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Coytee

"perfect " demo?

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I've read how revealing K-horns are, not just of the music, but of every compoent in the food chain, all the way back to the electronics used to record said music.

I don't know that I recall the above properly, that's just what my memory says I've heard.

I don't want to start any arguments. I might be asking something that has no real answer and if that's the case, I apologize upfront and withdraw the following question.

Ok.. so if the above is true and a K-horn will show virtually ANY "flaw" in the system, then to have "perfect sound" out of the speaker, one must have a "perfect" starting point? no?

so, can we all agree on a demo cd that has "perfect" sound? By that I mean (primarily) dead quiet background, along with very nice spatial qualities.

For my question, the music doesn't have to be GOOD from a tap your toe perspective. My angle is... if you with golden ears can all agree that "this" is a dead quiet, perfect demo cd, then someone like myself can go get it and use it as an accepted starting point to then go through system and switch/swap items out to try to extract said quality sound from cd, through speakers and into ears. Rather than hear some noise, go buy new CD player and have same noise there, because I used a "bad" cd all along.

Make sense?

Thanks for any thoughts

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My experience with K-Horns, is they seem to mask flaws in the chain. They pretty much fill the house with that tight, bright, klipschorn sound. You can change things around, it will change the sound, but ther 104db 1 watt pretty much takes over on its own.

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There have actually been a couple of CDs out there produced for this very purpose. The one I'm thinking of has a huge booklet that tells you what to listen for and what things you won't hear on a lesser system and all that. It has all sorts of tracks with descriptions of the recording techniques used. I can't remember the name of it off the top of my head, but I have a friend who has the CD so I'll see if I can't get the details from him. Keep in mind that the use of such CDs are better suited for direct comparisons between two systems (or two components). It is almost impossible to determine the quality of a certain component without having first heard something of better quality.

There is a fundamental idea behind your post on which I would like to comment. You are striving for the most accurate system possible. In fact, it seems like everyone on this forum is always talking about achieving "accuracy" in their music playback. When I read posts saying, "the khorn is a revealing speaker" I can't help but notice how much it sounds like they're trying to justify a crappy sound. The rebuttle to my statement is that the recording or upstream equipment is at fault and thus should be upgraded. Well let's say that you achieve perfect upstream equipment, now you're left to saying that the recording is at fault. I find it ironic that the same people that boast about how revealing their khorn is, also complain about how crappy the majority of recordings are. Now to avoid flames, I just want to say that I love the sound of the khorn and I would agree that the majority of recordings are crap. However, I also KNOW that the crappy recordings can sound freakn AMAZING on "less revealing" speakers. I like to think of them as "concealing" speakers.

My question then is this: Should our music playback systems strive to reveal flaws or should it conceal them? Is it possible to have a concealing system that plays back a perfect recording just as well as a revealing system? If so, then why not strive for a concealing system and allow yourself a wider selection of music?

I know this is a bit tangent to your original question, but I think it is a fundamental factor that needs consideration.

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To me, they reveal flaws that people look for. There is Listening to music and there is listening to Components.

One has to separate the two.

I use Bach, female vocals , guitars - acoustic and electric (Clapton), and Doctor My Eyes as tests.

Doctor My Eyes has Browne's nasal voice, and toward the end, a crescendo in which I listen for the separate notes of the bass, and separation of the drums. If either blur, I look for what Component is causing it in the store and change.

dodger

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On 12/16/2004 6:58:03 PM dodger wrote:

There is Listening to music and there is listening to Components.

----------------

Ah yes, I must confess that I often forget to listen to the music. 15.gif

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On 12/16/2004 7:06:19 PM DrWho wrote:

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On 12/16/2004 6:58:03 PM dodger wrote:

There is Listening to music and there is listening to Components.

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Ah yes, I must confess that I often forget to listen to the music.
15.gif

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When one works in sound, there are points where forgetting the reason for all of the financial outlay and what we are trained to do takes over.

When we have learned what the flaws are, or may be, in our systems, it is time to sit back, ignore any flaws and relax. At one with the music.

The music is the reason for obtaining Components, P. A. Equipment and working with musical groups. It is in us, around us and a part of our brain. I give thanks for music that I enjoy. And also for music I may not care as much for, but others do.

dodger

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Perhaps I was vague, or maybe I'm simply making more of it than I need to...

Primarily, I'm thinking of hissing noise. I'm under the impression that "some" amps will play "black" quiet. In oher words, when cd starts, zero hiss. Just the music, even with ear near speaker.

How many accoustic guitars playing in front of you ALSO have hiss?

So, am I making a mountain out of mole hill, or did I ask the wrong question, or do I just need to shut up and go back to my disco at 120 db....over time, I suppose THAT will get ride of me hearing hiss? (last part is a sick joke)

Anyway, that's more of the angle I was thinking. By using a known "dead silent" disk, if I have hiss, then I'll KNOW it's cd player, or specific amp and can adjust accordingly.

Beyond that, I DO just try to relax & enjoy what I hear, but with the new (to me) K-horns, I just want to set them up to succeed as best I can from the git go while I might be buying new parts for them.

1.gif

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On 12/16/2004 6:54:43 PM DrWho wrote:

My question then is this: Should our music playback systems strive to reveal flaws or should it conceal them? Is it possible to have a concealing system that plays back a perfect recording just as well as a revealing system? If so, then why not strive for a concealing system and allow yourself a wider selection of music?

I know this is a bit tangent to your original question, but I think it is a fundamental factor that needs consideration.

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Drwho (who are you) lol (The Who)

ok, that was stupid... anyway, you are making me think outside the box a bit and that's good (for me).

as my last post... my upshot is, I want it to sound good, but I want it to be quiet with no hiss at idle.

I guess that's the basic angle of my comments/concerns

Why? I dunno... probably because I had SS feeding my LaScalas for 24 years out of ignornace & now I want to over compensate 3.gif

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I know some of my LP buddies will disagree. I think many CDs are darn good. I prefer Telac mostly for a variety of fun programs. The recordings are top rate.

My fun favorites are Symphonic Star Trek, Round Up, and Happy Trails.

As far as using K-Horns, there may be a number of issues.

First, I believe that ordinary speakers put out distortion and this masks problems of all sorts.

Second, there is an issue of amp noise and DSP noise. You will hear this sometimes on K-Horns.

Third: Probably people turn down the volume when ordinary speakers start getting cranky. With K-Horns, you can go for much higher raw acoustic output. In doing so you tend to reveal the subtile parts of the music and recording. That can be good in that you hear more. But the more of what you hear might be good or bad.

I don't wish to imply that K-Horns set impossible standards for the chain before them. LPs can be very good (except for surface noise, clicks, etc. I just couldn't keep them in good shape 30 years ago and things ain't getting better).

In my view, a good CD player doesn't cost much.

People favor tube amps. I use low power old (and new) SS oriental amps with good results.

Best,

Gil

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wow, i hope i didn't read to much into your original question. If you're mostly concerned about hiss, then there are lots of easy things you can do to find the culprit in your system making all the noise.

If you want to test the actual silence of a CD playing, then you could make your own CD after recording silence on the computer. Burn a CD and then play it in your CD player and this should give you an idea of the quietest your system will play. If you want, I could produce this file for you if you're not comfortable with the whole computer thing. You gotta be careful recording silence because you don't want to actually record hiss instead 2.gif

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On 12/17/2004 3:29:08 AM DrWho wrote:

If you want to test the actual silence of a CD playing, then you could make your own CD after recording silence on the computer. Burn a CD and then play it in your CD player and this should give you an idea of the quietest your system will play. If you want, I could produce this file for you if you're not comfortable with the whole computer thing. You gotta be careful recording silence because you don't want to actually record hiss instead
2.gif

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Perhaps I can go back and listen to Simon & Garfunkels "Sounds of Silence"?

(sometimes I just can't help myself & my sense of 'humor')

I beg forgiveness 15.gif2.gif

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I have some CDs (the titles of which escape me at the moment) that were recorded on analog and eventually released on CD. You can hear the tape hiss right before the music starts on each track. A good editor woudl have it cut a bit tighter, so that the music would have started and the hiss would have been masked by the music.

You should find that almost all well recorded digital discs are going to have no hiss. Of course, that would also depend on the music. A crappy guitar amp or effects box might have hiss or other undesirable artifacts that get into the final product.

What is bumming me a bit is that I just finished reworking my Dynaco ST-70. The amp is quiet, but the only preamp I have to use with it at the moment is not. So the system sounds way noisier with tubes than it does if I use my Sony receiver. It is obvious that it is the old preamp that is the problem. It needs work, but it isn't worth it to fix. I just need a new tube pre, or a new SS pre that I can be satisfied with. I can temporarily borrow my son's NAD, which has a bad poewr section bu the pre is great (only cost him $5 at a garage sale too).

Marvel

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In my experience, there are many well recorded CDs capable of test CD duty. I generally use specific songs that I have found are difficult.

One is Jeff Beck's "Blow by Blow". The whole CD is VERY well recorded and highly detailed. "Cause We've Ended as Lovers" is particularly useful. However, the room must be extremely quiet and the whole audio chain excellent. You should be able to hear the drummer brush his snare. With good headphones it is possible to detect the pattern he traces on the drum head. I have several versions of the recording, but have kept MFSL gold CD and MFSL LP.

I use the Seal recordings to test midbass. His voice will be a bit boomy on La Scalas because of the bass horn vibrates.

I use Loreena McKennitt for both female vocals and complexity. From "The Visit", "Between the Shadows" has a hand played animal skin drum in it that will sound like what it is, if the system is up to the task.

Pianos and female vocals are always tough to reproduce, so I kill both birds with the Holly Cole Trio.

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Well ya know, I just had a light bulb go off this morning...

Question: Can't I just disconnect my cd player and if I then hear hiss at 'idle', then I know my amp is doing it?

Question 2: If above answer is no hiss at idle, then if I plug in / turn on cd player and I have hiss... then I've located culpret as the cd player?

seems reasonable to me

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If you're trying to determine which, if any of the "upstream" components are noisy then you don't need to play a CD, tape or record. Simply turn on your system, turn up the volume and put your ear next to the speaker. You'll most likely hear some noise (usually hiss or hum) on high efficiency speakers like the Khorn but if the noise doesn't bother you then you can proceed to playing music regardless of the recording and you'll have a reference level of the system's noise.

If the noise does bother you then chances are that you have a problem in one or more of the "upstream" components. First, try switching between the sources listening for changes in noise and the levels to determine which one needs attention. If the sources seem OK then proceed with disconnecting them from the preamp and listen again. Finally disconnect the preamp from the amp(s). If you still hear noise, then the problem is most likely with the amp. Once you isolate the source(s) of the noise, you can address such things as the power cords, connections, ICs, tubes (if any) even the gears' location relative to the rest of the system may be affecting the noise level. If all your efforts don't improve the sound then perhaps the component itself is to blame. Most gear isn't designed or tested with HE speakers in mind and may sound fantastic hooked up to speakers like B&W 801s but are dreadful-sounding when played through sensitive speakers like Khorns.

In general, audio gear that is designed for HE speakers tends to utilize better quality parts to reduce noise and in some cases, provide more detail and resolution.

I would suggest that you play a recording that you're very familiar with and listen for something that you haven't heard before - vocal, instrument details, separation, imaging, extented frequencies, etc. Khorns will reveal details and artifacts that can't be heard through a lot of speakers. For example, while most speakers will do a good job of reproducing a saxophone, cone speakers tend to smear the notes a bit while the Khorn will distinguish between each note and add the keys clicking and the player's breath. On better systems, you can even tell if the musician had a cold.

Bottom line is getting to the music and most enthusiasts want to hear as much of the music as possible. To that end, the Khorn does an outstanding job of resolving the music and revealing details that few other speakers can approach. The downside is that to get the most from the Khorn, the "upstream" system has to produce the details and resolution at a very low noise level. Its always a compromise and its a matter of balancing what you want out of your system and how much you're willing to experiment, tolerate and spend to get there. Have fun -Bryan

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Okay you have made this easier. First if you have a GOOD set of headphones, take a BLANK recordable CD. Put that in after listening to the CD Player idling for a few moments.

You may or may not notice changes.

If you hear "hiss" at idle, it will come through.

Now if you are testing the entire system:

1. Disconnect all components.

2. turn amp on, listen for change, make written notes so that you don't have to repeat the procedure.

3. turn amp off, connect pre-amp. Have Pre-amp in Aux at first, then go through each input and note what input, any changes. This is after turning both on, and noting any changes when pre-amp is introduced.

4. Hook a good CD unit into the Pre-amp, listen for changes. Have 2 or 3 good cds. Dr. Who mentioned what to look for.

5. Hook a good tuner in.

Repeat process with all inputs. Write down any changes with each component introduced.

This will let you know the noise floor of the Components, but NOT whether they are good sounding or not.

There are points at which you may have to accept some hiss from a good sounding Component. They should be rare, but manufacturers do have a tolerance for noise - LESS than xx db. Well one unit can be less than 98 db, another of the same make and model can have less than 95 db.

Slightly audible. Within manufacutering tolerance. Also as Components age, the noise floor - what you can hear with nothing playing changes. Components usually gain some some hiis, hum as they age.

Nothing is perfect. It is the basic amount of noise, if any, that you hear when nothing is playing.

When something is playing and you hear noise, you have a defective unit, or cables not hooked correctly, or a ground hum.

Very seldom do you have all components that when turned on will sound as dead quiet as your speakers do with all shut off.

I believe you may misunderstand what is meant when the statement K-Horns will reveal all flaws. Hiss, hum, distortion, some overload, flaws in the recorded material ITSELF are what is meant. Rarely are the flaws of hiss, hum loud enough to wnat to junk the units while at idle.

PM me if you have any questions about this.

dodger

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Micheal, First get yourself a Blueberry or a Peach preamp. They are steals for the money IMHO. With the Blueberry and Wright Mono 10s there is no, repeat no, audible hum or hiss from the "Big Ole Horns" (2.gif Craig) and the line level inputs, once I lifted the ground from the power cord. Only on the phono inputs with the very high gain is there any noise at all. Then you can hear the electrons in the 12AX7s. This is normal.

Hiss is much more present in SS amps than tube because the idle current in a tube amp is going through a transformer rather than DC coupled to the outputs. The slight losses in the transformer seem, to me a non-engineer, to absorb the very small noises.

Rick

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Rick is correct.

At a minimum ANY Component is utilizing 110 A.C. current. Transformers, capaicitors, all can add noise.

But the equipment he recommended wil definitely keep it to the lowest level.

As I said, don't be afraid of K-Horns because of their ability to show flaws, most ARE talking of flaws in the music or definitive flaws in the Components.

dodger

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Thank you both (all)

My current mindset, is to get an amp (perhaps a 2A3 variety??) that will bring the depth out that I auditioned these with, AND, with my getting better educated, I can (hopefully) end up with an amp (or integrated) that will ALSO be as quiet as possible. I just hate having to buy this kind of stuff (not inexpensive) sight/sound unseen.

Hmm... I just had another revelation

I've always intended on looking at/acquiring a 2 channel setup... but with all this chatter going on here about a 3 channel setup, perhaps monoblocks WOULD make more sense in the longer term.

Sigh, my wife is soooooooo going to kill me before I'm done 10.gif

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On 12/17/2004 12:36:32 PM Coytee wrote:

Sigh, my wife is soooooooo going to kill me before I'm done
10.gif

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That's ok, it'll just mean more equipment will be available on the used market for us to get our hands on 2.gif12.gif

As far as blind purchases go, I bet there are some members on the forum in your area that might let you swing by and hear their systems. Or perhaps you could try hosting a party and making them all come to your house instead (this way you get to hear what it sounds like in your room as well) 2.gif

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