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can you go to far?


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Exactly why I have two systems! One has all modern tube gear front to back and side to side of course with Klipsch Heritage speakers. The other has a modern tube power amp with a vintage preamp of one brand or the other at all times again with Klipsch Heritage speakers. Right now the vintage preamp is a McIntosh MX-110 but my favorite is my Scott LC-21 with some serious rebuilding and tweaking under the hood for this more polite system. The system with the vintage preamp sounds great with anything you throw at it. The modern tube based system can be a good measure more picky at what you play but if the recording is top notch the system will drop your jaw.

Neither system is tuned for ultimate accuracy though. You absolutely can go to far with that aspect....in fact way to far.


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"I'll probably be flamed for this or put in the "he's one of those guys" camp but it's really about enjoying the music and anything you do to make all your recordings sound better will work better than concentrating on just a few recordings. "

Flamed? Sounds reasonable to me

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I'm seeing how poorly recorded alot of the cds/albums were over the years. Not very enjoyable when you can hear just about every error in the sound. Maybe its time to backtrack......

No Tom, some recording are crappy, while others are just awsome. I want to hear what recordings he's talking about.

With that said, why don't you list some of the albums and CD recordings you think sounds EXCELLENT and then some you think sound like CRAP. Then others hear will be better able to serve you.

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I'm beginning to question my audio search. For the last 30 years I've been looking for that 'sound'. I've tried dozens of different speaker types, different apllification etc always looking for a sound I heard during my college days in the 70's. About 8 years ago I ran across klipsch, and realized that was the sound I'd been looking for. The last 8 years now i've been 'tweeking' my system, adding this/that, messing with tubes, different interconnects, rewiring, recapping, horn wrapping, you name it. If I saw it on the forum and it sounded plausible i'd try it. Now I think my system has gotten to the point that it is just to darn revealing. I recently started picking up mac equipment because it seemed well thought of and because of this I"ve been going back through my cd/vinyl collection relistening to all of my old source material. The conclusion I've reached is that only about 30% or so of my CDs/vinyl really sounds decent. The rest of them just plain out sound like crap. Has anybody else run into this dilema? The recordings now that don't sound so good sounded fine on other setups. Now I have a system that sounds fantastic, but only with the best source material. I'm not so sure this is a victory. Any thoughts from you guys?

Hi Dave,<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

I think we've all been where you are at one time or another. Lord knows I have during the past 20 years. We mustnt forget one of the most simple of explanations, not the only explanation, mind you, but perhaps one of the more plausible ones... as we grow older our hearing changes; as does our taste in music and in the way we appreciate and/or tolerate certain things. With some, this change is prominent, while in others it can be more gradual. As we age our ears (or ear-brain) become less tolerable of certain music, noises, (people) etc., than when we were younger; however, our memory, or perception, of that music or sound can still be as vivid in our mind as the day we first heard it.

I loved the answers that Mas gave, and if I read him correctly (Mas, please correct me if I am wrong) he suggests that we sometimes chase a perceived sound that was based on some event, or time in our lives when, for whatever reason, we may have had a heightened sense of fulfillment that allowed us to enjoy a particular sound or piece of music that when heard today, bothers us.

Which leads to my second possible explanation: As humans we associate different sounds, or music, with a certain event (or period) in our lives, good, bad, or indifferent. If the event carries a strong enough emotion with it, then so does the sound or music associated with it. Hence, these audio pegs can send us reeling back into yesteryear the moment we hear them, or strike up any number of different emotions that are attached with them.

In relating all this to an audio system and the way it sounds, are we trying to duplicate a particular sound we enjoyed at some time in our lives, or the emotion we felt when hearing it? Another word for this anomaly is nostalgia. Sometimes, we find ourselves listening to a particular piece of music or album more often than others (I sure do) because of the way it makes us feel, and when our ears or system can no longer duplicate this music the way our ear-brain remembers it, whether due to excessive component swapping or tweaking, we become annoyed and/or disappointed with the system playing the music, if not the actual actual song or music itself. In this case, and in the case of your own dissappointment, perhaps an "untweaking" of your system is in order.

The discussion then leads into actual engineering aspects of recordings, where others offer their possible reasons for your concerns. IMHO there is little one can do except minimize the damage through tone shaping and/or sound masking. Poor recordings, such as Gilbert pointed out, do exist, and we must simply learn how to coexist with them. We have no control, short of being in the business, over what the recordinging industry feeds our sources. Cherish the good recordings and tolerate the poor, but most of all try to relax and enjoy what music you do listen to. Sometimes we just need to remove the golden ears and simply bath in the beauty of what music can do for our souls.


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"How are people measuring accuracy? "

A sensible question.

There is no accurate system, especially given that speaker designers don't even agree on what a perfect loudspeaker would do much less make one.

Is flat frequency response accurate? On axis? Yes? And then how far off axis? 15 degrees? 30? 45?

Or is rolled off frequency response and flat power response accurate?

And in what room?

Which is the more accurate of two speakers if one has flatter response on axis but the other has lower distortion?

Which is more accurate, the better transients of a sealed box or the lower distortion of a vented one?

What really happens is that loudspeaker designers make speakers according to their favorite notions (for whatever reasons) and call the results accurate. Then audiophiles buy the speaker that has the least obnoxious flaws to them (different people being bothered by different flaws) and say they have an accurate speaker.

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Excellent post, William!

I'm sure many of us have memories of hearing a certain record and with it all kinds of life associations. I know I can have a flood of memories just pulling out some record or other, looking at the cover, and thinking about where I was, what I was doing, and who I was with 30-35 years ago.

It doesn't matter in the least that I heard the records back then through just average equipment. I'm not trying to re-create the sonics of what I heard back then but some of us might be under the mistaken illusion that if we could re-create the sonics that it would make us feel more like we did back in some day or time long past.

But anyway, as you mention, many people have hearing damage and many post here on the Klipsch Forum. That's one reason to read everything with some understanding of where the person might be coming from, for instance, if someone has hearing damage he may be ultra sensitive to high frequencies and like bass-heavy equipment. Someone with undamaged hearing would have a different opinion hearing the exact same record played on the exact same equipment in the exact same room.

As far as poor recordings, sometimes it's as simple as what playback system the producer had in his mind as being what the average listener would be likely to use. Phil Spector is a classic example of wanting a huge sound out of a transistor radio or a car radio. His records sound better that way than listened to through an audiophile system. Beatles records, pretty similar--they knew that their fans listened to their records mostly on little portables.


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I consider it a real treat when I get great music and superb recording quality together. Lately I have been listening to lots of recordings from the 30's to the 50's and they are not the best quality but the music is so good. I'll never talor my listening to recording quality as it would exclude to much music but it does make me appreciate the engineers when they make it just right.

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"There is no accurate system, especially given that speaker designers don't even agree on what a perfect loudspeaker would do much less make one."

You hit the nail on the head. We are so far away from the sounds in the real world, we have to accept that our systems are going to be a compromise. I prefer to compromise my system towards the "fun to listen to" side. Your comments are VERY insightful.

Thanx, Russ

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Excellent post, William!

Indeed, Excellent post, William. In fact, you stole my thunder...well, sort of...I just want to reiterate that I think it has a lot to do with growing up, growing wiser, and more atune to the finer things. We are less tolerant of many things, we are more serious, and we expect more bang for the buck. My hi-fi system is just beginning to evolve, so I have a lot of growth potential in that area, and I am excited about that. However, my music listening habits have progressed, and really taken a 180 over the last couple of years. Not that I don't listen anymore, but the classic rock I grew up with is now somewhat boring, and I am seeking other genre to spark my interest. Along with other genre comes a different quality....generally speaking from my limited experience, jazz, for instance is (across the board) arguably better recorded than most of the music I enjoyed in the past. Therefore, I am on a steady climb upward and I have a ways to go before peaking.

My reply does nothing to pacify Dave's situation......well, look at it like this...most of us would love to have your delimma (read - the perfect system)


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Larry and Kaiser

I've tried all the combinations that I currently have plus some that I don't still own. The 1280 is one of the nicest SS amps I've heard. I've also had a Sansi g7700 and a g9000. Both of those were good but not as nice as the pioneer. In build quality and sound I'd put it pretty close on par with my MA6200 only more juice. The one I have I haven't used in about a year. I'm probably going to let it go. Right now I've settled in on the mac stuff. Its nice stuff, but for the money the scotts and eicos are just about as good. I always liked the sound of the 7189's. And the tubes are a heck of alot cheaper. Later.


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Anytime Phil. Just let me know and I'll pm your my phone. I live on the nw part of town out 460. I'm sure i've got something you'd be interested in. none of it is junk. I've really been lucky with my buys. crossing my fingers. Probably shouldn't have said that. terry dewick has an mx110 of mine that I haven't seen yet. He's looked at it, but will put it on the bench this evening. I'll know more about it on monday.


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Screw audio. Audio should serve the music. If it doesn't, you've become a fan of technology rather than a lover of art.

Paul, monitors are almost always the last thing you want to hear if you're after a good representation of what the band hopes to produce. They give each musician what they need to perform - nothing more. The last thing you want is to hear the mons.

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Just a small comment.

I reject this notion that there is no accurate reproduction system. And saying, as many have, that many do not agree, misses the point.

It is not measured by electronic devices, nor in any particular manner except to say that an accurate system reproduces the original sonic event as accurately as possible. It doesn't improve or degrade the sound.

And this is not some solipsism. It means that, engineer and recording technique be damned, that what was recorded is reproduced. In its most overly simplistic form, the playback of the piano sounds like the original piano. What goes in comes out - unaltered.

In electronic terms, one might say the transfer function from one end of the system to the other is unity - it is identical. It is, perhaps, an extrapolation of the 'straight wire with gain' notion.

Now, plenty of elements in the recording process conspire to alter this. And I am not so naive as to think that this is an easy thing to achieve, nor do I go about refusing to listen to systems that fail to accomplish this.

So in one respect, I guess I have maybe higher standards than some, and in practical terms perhaps I am more realistic than others, as while I think you can use that standard to judge a system, it is not a necessary pre-requisite to your enjoyment .

Heck, I still find some of my best moments re-listening to old live mono board transfers that are a delight from back in the day when we were using the old Heil and modified Harrison consoles.

Are all recordings done well? Sure, they are all perfect! (do I have to mention a bit of sarcasm there?) If so, I have some pristine beach front property on Mars that I might interest you in...

But I really wonder just what idea or expectation someone was deluding themselves with if they began listening with that unrealistic expectation to begin with. (Meanwhile I will try to construct a sentence with more constructs ending in prepositions!)

And if that is the issue, the problem is not in the recordings nor in the equipment.

It is funny in that I often obsess over esoteric physics issues in acoustics. But I just don't seem to have the same crises that some seem to have. The extent of my crises in music is that sometimes I just don't want to listen to music, whereas at one time there was never any question. But I don't see this as a crisis as much as an interesting observation. As more and more I simply enjoy the silence...just the silence that constitutes the noise floor in this world of which I am left alone with my sense of wonder.

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Someone said earlier that good sound in the past could be more of a notion than what one actually heard. The picture of the small truntable brought that to life for me.

My grandmother used to manage a record store. She would bring home 45's of Elvis and all the others. When we would visit her I would play those records on some little crappy turntable. I say crappy because I remember now as an adult what it was. As a kid it was musical heaven!

I have always wanted to A/B the same music in both LP and CD form on the same system to see if there is indeed a difference. I'm sure some have done that here and I would be interested in the results.

For me I go through phases. We all need hobby's. When I am tired of one interest I move onto another. I got out of music (still enjoyed my system) tweaking for a little over a year. At that time I toyed with guitars. I am now close to that piont again. I have decided to buy a larger telescope and play with astronomy for a while again. I am also going to set-up a 2 channel system and have thought very seriously about monitors for the speakers. I am in the middle of collecting and tasting top shelf scotch...for what I don't know. I also collect (find) fossils, camp, fish, etc....

When I get into one of my other interests for a while and come back to audio I find I have a greater appreciation of my system.

Sometimes you have to step away for a little bit!

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Screw audio. Audio should serve the music. If it doesn't, you've become a fan of technology rather than a lover of art.

Paul, monitors are almost always the last thing you want to hear if you're after a good representation of what the band hopes to produce. They give each musician what they need to perform - nothing more. The last thing you want is to hear the mons.

Amen, I was just to reply along this same vein. Perhaps we're spending too much time on the equipment, or thinking about the recordings, or analyzing the engineer, or heaven forbid (I'm one of the worst offenders) TALKING about it all too much.... [pause for reflection]

Everyone reading this please LOG OFF NOW and go listen to some music.

Not necessarily good or bad music, just some tunes that you enjoy.

Some old band you haven't heard for a while.

Or something new to your collection.

Be thankful that it is there for your enjoyment,

no matter how well or terribly recorded it is.

Enjoy it for the pure artistry of it.

Just live and breathe.

Talk to ya Monday, k?


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I may have missed this point in someones comments and if I did please excuse me...I am getting older along with my ears. Trying to recreate a sound we remember or thinking the music sounded better back when could have something to do with our point of reference. My first reciever was a Bellewood with tiny speakers that I bought from a furniture store. It had a built in 8 track player and I thought it was great. It couldn't have been great but it was a step up from a transistor radio. See where this is going? So in 1971 or there about I bought a Pioneer SX-780, a Pioneer PL-12D, and Radio Shack Nova 8s? and later added a Teac 3300S reel to reel. This too sounded great. I thought I was on the cutting edge. From there A Pioneer SX-1280 and Mcintosh ML-1Cs, and a AR tt. Then a Denon cd player was added and the AR was sold (mistake). By then the disco 80s were here and I quit listening.

About five years ago I started trying to ressurect a system or put together a new one by buying back the reel to reel I had given to a friend. I gave him 4 classical cds and he gave me the Teac back. I still had the 1280 in storage and dusted it off. Then I bought a Denon DP-1250 and ordered a Clearaudio Virtuoso Wood cartridge. I sent the reel to reel off for repairs and had the McIntosh speakers reconed. Everything sounded okay but not the improvement that I had heard going from car radio to the Bellewood.

So now I am on my second set of LS, tube preamp, mono amps, tubed cd player, record vac, stylus force gauge, silver interconnects, hepa filter to control the dust and a dedicated music room.

Know what....it sounds great but the difference is less noticeable than the difference between the car radio and the Bellewood to my then twenty something ears. The quantum leaps were made in the early stages and now they are less dramatic and cost much more for incremental improvements.

BTW ....I had glass cut for the top of the McIntosh speakers and they are doing duty as end tables in my music room. The Teac 3300S now rebuilt joins a X-10 Teac and both are played daily.

So Dave.....take a break as Phil suggested...go for a hike on the AT, collect or drink Scotch, or whatever...I am sure your system sounds wonderful and will when you come back to it...maybe not as good as your first system did in your minds eye...but still very good!


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In answer to the question, "can you go to far", I say
no. I think that the better you can make your very best
recordings sound, the more enjoyable they become to listen
to. Perhaps the problem with "poor" recordings then becomes one
of comparison. Once our ear/brain gets a taste of something
really good, it is hard to go back to lessor recordings and not somehow
make that comparison.

I have never tried this but why not install
some kind of DSP into the tape loop of our sytem to use to "mellow out"
some of the nasties on the poor stuff? For the good stuff, simply
bypass the tape loop. Just a thought...


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Yup, you can easily forget the point and "become a fan of the technology instead of a fan of the art" as Ben said. I certainly have been through all this.

My two cents:

1. I may get flamed for this, but, I'm more of an "an amp is an amp, wires are wires, a CD player is a CD player", especially at the level of quality you are at. I focus on the speakers and the room in combination. The speakers/room combination is 1st order, everything else is second order.

2. Audio is an "illusion" and the "perfect sound" is even more an illusion. That "sound" you remember may not really exist anywhere except in you memory.

3. We don't like to admit it, but most of us older folks do not hear as well as we used to. I know I don't. Sad but true.

My advice:

1. To recapture the feeling of your early audio days, look forward not back, don't dwell so much on those old recordings and memories. Spend a half a year focusing on nothing but new music, or music you have not heard before. That's exciting.

2. Stop tweaking your electronics, they're good enough. If you must tweak, focus on the speakers and the room acoustics. But really, try focusinging on finding new (to you) artists and recordings for awhile.

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