My Journey to find the "perfect" speaker... - Page 17 - AVS Forum
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post #481 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

That canard has been plucked and roasted before. Whatever your hearing is, you hear real events, including music, through it. Thus, your personal references are filtered by it and so, too, will your audio system. It is a constant, either way.

Very true. Only when your *memory* says that what you hear daily is wrong, does a little EQ help.

John
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post #482 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by JN99 View Post

We don't have neutral hearing (most of us at any rate). Therefore, a neutral speaker will not sound neutral to most people. If you are truly after a neutral sound (note I did not say speaker) you have to start with your own hearing FR chart... It won't be flat.

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Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

That canard has been plucked and roasted before. Whatever your hearing is, you hear real events, including music, through it. Thus, your personal references are filtered by it and so, too, will your audio system. It is a constant, either way.

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Originally Posted by JN99 View Post

I have read, re-read, and then read a few more times your post and damned if I can understand what you wrote.

Me too. Sorry, but you lost me there.

Yes, it is worth noting that generally the older one gets the less high frequency sounds one can hear. And this further demonstrates that everyone tends to have their own preferences.

I have seen a few system with older gentleman that were a little too bright in the high frequency response for me. And lots of younger folk note the same thing. Often older people tend to build brighter systems to compensate for their hearing.

It does seem that I have above average hearing in the upper frequencies. Just this week I was in a room at a meeting that had a wall heater with the fan starting to die. It would intermittently emit a high frequency squeak. After 20 minutes I was going nuts and on my way to a big headache. When asking for the fan to be shut off it turned out only 2 people in the room out of 40 (including me) could hear the sound. And yes, it was driving the other person nuts too.

kw.....
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post #483 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by syswei View Post

So I guess pros like those at EMI, Abbey Road, Decca, Deutsche Grammophone, and Lucasfilm must either "like that kind of coloration" or "aren't truly astute listeners"? I guess the pros at those places aren't as astute listeners as you, since they use B&W?

No, the "pros" are smart people. They know every speaker has coloration. However, they also *know* the coloration inherent in B&Ws and kevlar and ported speakers and they *know* how to mix around it. They're used to it. They're comfortable with it. Remember, the mixing speaker doesn't *directly* impact the mix, especially when the engineer is aware of the coloration. Plus, do you think that movie producers put Coca Cola in their movies because they are in love with Coke and think there is no better drink in the universe? Nicely regurgitated from a press release though!
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What well-known studios use NHT's pro gear like the M60Xd or M80Xd?

No, no one at all....

http://nhthifi.com/2006/p-users.html

Also, keep in mind that M60Xds just came on line a few months ago and M80Xds are just now in the process of shipping. The basic Xds kick the *crap* out of B&W 800Ds. And if you heard M80Xds, you'd utterly understand why I'm so confident in my opinions. And most anyone who has heard them would agree.

Also, FWIW, if I were not a dealer, just a consumer, the speaker of choice for me, cost no object, not an NHT, would be the Revel Studio2 or Salon2. Certainly not a B&W.

John
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post #484 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Nuance View Post

Which ones? I had every Harman white paper saved on my old HD, but it crapped out. I might be able to find them again, but I dunno. I think there were like 5 or 6 of them. They mainly dealt with loudspeakers, room acoustics, proper setup and electronics. It was all very good stuff. I'll snoop around and see if I can find them, LTD.

thanks!

A Multiple Regression Model for Predicting Loudspeaker Preference Using Objective Measurements: Part IListening Test ResultsSean Olive
A Multiple Regression Model for Predicting Loudspeaker Preference Using Objective Measurements: Part IIListening Test ResultsSean Olive

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post #485 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by jostenmeat View Post

Hmmm.. maybe compare it to viewing? Maybe the same "blue" color to you is perceptually darker to you than it would be to me, like a certain freq dip is lower/higher at 1khz for you than for me. The point is, say on a TV, you want that particular blue to look exactly as it does to you in real life. Then it will look realistic anyhow. It will also look realistic to me, but just as a "ligher shade of blue", because that is what I know as "true". Does that fly? Well, I tried!

Yes it does and thanks for trying! So all things being neutral in a speaker (well, in an entire system) we will all hear it differently but it will still sound "accurate" i.e. neutral to us all.

I guess the question is, do we want accurate as we hear it or accurate as a reference - such as mapping a speaker's FR to our hearing FR? In other words, do I want to boost the FR where I know my hearing is poor to achieve the truest sound?

Back in the day when everyone one had an EQ in their chain, wasn't that what we were doing, tailoring the sound to our preference and also perhaps unknowingly boosting the frequencies for which we had less (or more) sensitive hearing?
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post #486 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by jostenmeat View Post

LTD02,

I appreciate your inputs to this thread. I have some Martin Logans that I chose because I felt they gave me the closest thing to "realism" that I have heard (at least in my decent budget).

I am glad I wasn't choosing by way of graphs. Or, at least, I am glad that they did not share your same embarrassment over any particular graph to the point of not trying to sell their product. I would be less happy for it. The mid-range transients, low level detail, lack of tremendous sibilance/hiss, imaging, all conspired to make me feel this way.

I will admit there are plenty of compromises. I wish they were as timbrally consistent as BW's, but I find them still to be good enough with this particular quality to my ears, even if they are hybrids indeed. Any rare aberration (to me) would be easy for me to forgive, if only for all the other wonderful things they do. You should hear the Tallis Scholars sing Josquin on them. I've never heard the tenor line, amidst 6 voices, sound so.... (too many descriptions...) ... "real"? Not even on $90,000 Dynaudio Evidences or Focal Utopias. At least not to my ears. Cheers.

sometimes i'll make a comment representing a particular view, which may or may not represent my view, in order to elicit feedback from the counterview. it's just a quick way (for me) to get to the good points; and you've got several. i appreciate your thoughtful perspective and will considerate it going forward.

btw, i've listened to a couple of martin logans, although that was sometime ago, and i thought they sounded great. in the end, almost all the speakers discussed here are going to be tremendously pleasing. i'm glad that you've found your "perfect speaker".

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post #487 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

That canard has been plucked and roasted before. Whatever your hearing is, you hear real events, including music, through it. Thus, your personal references are filtered by it and so, too, will your audio system. It is a constant, either way.

it's only a "canard" if he was being disingenuous; i didn't get the sense that he was.

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post #488 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by JN99 View Post

I have read, re-read, and then read a few more times your post and damned if I can understand what you wrote.

Constant, perhaps (though doubtful due to the changes in our auditory system as we age) and even if constant, still not neutral.

My statement should have been posed as a question, sorry. I had some hearing tests a few years back and remember the results included a drop within a particular frquency band (the one I jokingly tell my wife represents her vocal range ) and so it got me to thinking about how that maps to the way I hear various speakers.

i started a thread called something like "why not eq your ears first" where this topic was discussed in quite some detail. check it out, if you are so inclined.

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post #489 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Alimentall View Post


Also, keep in mind that M60Xds just came on line a few months ago and M80Xds are just now in the process of shipping. The basic Xds kick the *crap* out of B&W 800Ds. And if you heard M80Xds, you'd utterly understand why I'm so confident in my opinions. And most anyone who has heard them would agree.

Also, FWIW, if I were not a dealer, just a consumer, the speaker of choice for me, cost no object, not an NHT, would be the Revel Studio2 or Salon2. Certainly not a B&W.

well, it's hard to argue with:
Frequency Response 55Hz-20kHz +/-0.5dB
has anyone verified that?

it's interesting that you would note the revel salon2 as potentially "the" speaker. you have arrived at that conclusion based on experience. i would put that one on the same short list just based on a collection data and understanding of engineering method. hhmm...

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post #490 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 04:22 PM
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nht is using deqx on m-60xd? that means they are using eq to get that flat response, right?

i'm not saying that is good or bad, just trying to clarify what they are doing.

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post #491 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 04:31 PM
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Yes, although DEQX is more than FR response correction. It basically corrects for FR, time/phase *and* to a certain degree, distortion. And it implements less lossy, more effective digital crossovers.

John
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post #492 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Alimentall View Post

Yes, although DEQX is more than FR response correction. It basically corrects for FR, time/phase *and* to a certain degree, distortion. And it implements less lossy, more effective digital crossovers.

how does it correct for distortion? is it servo?

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post #493 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 04:58 PM
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Well, it can't correct for dynamic distortion, but, for instance, if there is a certain amount of distortion at the measured level, it will measure that and attempt to correct it. It doesn't see it as distortion, only as a deviation from the test tone in dB or time.

John
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post #494 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 08:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alimentall View Post

Also, keep in mind that M60Xds just came on line a few months ago and M80Xds are just now in the process of shipping. The basic Xds kick the *crap* out of B&W 800Ds. And if you heard M80Xds, you'd utterly understand why I'm so confident in my opinions. And most anyone who has heard them would agree.

Also, FWIW, if I were not a dealer, just a consumer, the speaker of choice for me, cost no object, not an NHT, would be the Revel Studio2 or Salon2. Certainly not a B&W.

Im not sure if the original xD beats out the 800D, but it did sound better than the 802d which had an annoying bass hump to me. Of course, the xD costs 1/3 price of 800D, but to me I could "live with" either one of them except that the xD that I heard (I dont know which firmware) didnt have as good integration with the subwoofer unit as I would have liked. The new 3-way nht corrects for this, at least on paper, although my local dealer no longer sells nht sadly.

Those Revels are nice...
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post #495 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 08:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alimentall View Post

Also, FWIW, if I were not a dealer, just a consumer, the speaker of choice for me, cost no object, not an NHT, would be the Revel Studio2 or Salon2. Certainly not a B&W.

Amen....I just bought a pair of the Salon 2's. I heard them one day and had an entire Paradigm Sig 8, 4 system up for sale the day after that.

Russ
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post #496 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Jonomega View Post

Im not sure if the original xD beats out the 800D, but it did sound better than the 802d which had an annoying bass hump to me. Of course, the xD costs 1/3 price of 800D, but to me I could "live with" either one of them except that the xD that I heard (I dont know which firmware) didnt have as good integration with the subwoofer unit as I would have liked. The new 3-way nht corrects for this, at least on paper, although my local dealer no longer sells nht sadly.

Well, I should say that they kick the crap out of them in the ways I find important - dispersion, detail, bass quality. But you're right, Xds aren't perfect either, so people will disagree with me. The B&Ws do some things a little better than Xd too.

John
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post #497 of 6914 Old 11-10-2007, 03:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Russdawg View Post

Amen....I just bought a pair of the Salon 2's. I heard them one day and had an entire Paradigm Sig 8, 4 system up for sale the day after that.

If you have them now, please share any further experiences! When you decided on them, did you also get a chance to audition the Studio2?
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post #498 of 6914 Old 11-10-2007, 07:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syswei View Post

If you have them now, please share any further experiences! When you decided on them, did you also get a chance to audition the Studio2?

I've had them about a month now, I have posted some of my thoughts on them over in the Revel thread. I never bothered listening to the Studio's.
I knew there would have been the possibility of going thru the "I should have just bought the Salon's" and I didn't want to go thru that so I just sucked it up and went for it.

Russ
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post #499 of 6914 Old 11-10-2007, 09:51 AM
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For those buying for stereo, it seems to make sense to buy the Salons. For those buying for HT, it seems to make more sense to buy the Studios. The Revel Voice/Gem is more matched to the Studios and the extra bass capabilities wouldn't be as important in a subwoofer based system.

John
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post #500 of 6914 Old 11-10-2007, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Alimentall View Post

For those buying for stereo, it seems to make sense to buy the Salons. For those buying for HT, it seems to make more sense to buy the Studios. The Revel Voice/Gem is more matched to the Studios and the extra bass capabilities wouldn't be as important in a subwoofer based system.

Exactly the way I'm leaning, for HT, though there are additional reasons: saving $6k list, and having a better vertical height match between the L/R and C tweeters.
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post #501 of 6914 Old 11-10-2007, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alimentall View Post

For those buying for stereo, it seems to make sense to buy the Salons. For those buying for HT, it seems to make more sense to buy the Studios. The Revel Voice/Gem is more matched to the Studios and the extra bass capabilities wouldn't be as important in a subwoofer based system.

Height of the tweeter seems quite a bit high in the Salon2. Does that tweeter have good vertical dispersion, or do people just sit very far away from it so the angle is small (or buy higher chairs?). Seems like it would be a good foot higher than typical ear level when sitting down (roughly 36-40")
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post #502 of 6914 Old 11-10-2007, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Alimentall View Post

Very true. Only when your *memory* says that what you hear daily is wrong, does a little EQ help.

what about the nht speakers that use eq in order to flatten freq resp?

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post #503 of 6914 Old 11-11-2007, 10:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Gentlemen:

The event at Craig's was awesome! It was thoughtfully setup, well executed and I can safely say that all three of us enjoyed ourselves...except for the flat tire of course (see Craig's floor standing thread concerning that).

Craig is one of the most hospitable gentleman I have ever met, and his wife is just the coolest lady. We are truly grateful for being welcomed into their home and treated like royalty. And not only did we have a blast, enjoy some good drinks and take a bunch of speakers and gear home with us, we were also fed like kings by the Chase family and had the luxury of taking the left overs with us (which came in handy for sure). This trip was well worth it just for the good company and conversations!

It was a pleasure finally meeting you Craig; you are just as classy in person as on AVS. Thanks!

P.S. The real Impressions will come later; we're pooped. However, I will say that there were certainly some duds in the group, and others that really shined. A quick summary is that the Salk Song Towers were tied for first with the Rocket 850 Sig's for two out of three of us listeners. Plenty more to come, but those were the overall top two out of the six combos that we listened to blind.

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post #504 of 6914 Old 11-12-2007, 09:18 AM
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It was an exciting trip out to Craig’s house, as is any trip with Nuance and his brother.
However it was a very enjoyable trip, as some how, it also always is with Nuance and his brother.

Craig was the greatest of hosts and provided a very well done and worth while blind speaker test. The trip, for that alone, was well worth it.

We made great time there and all seemed to be going as perfect as possible. Until Nuance decided he did not want to leave and slashed one of the tires on the van. :O

But seriously Craig was the most honorable of gentlemen and we all had a great time.
Like Nuance mentioned we all had some what similar opinions on the speakers. I enjoyed the 850’s and SongTowers very much. The 850’s had tight bass and mid bass imo. The songtower had great range, and the Deftechs had the best bass of the group, if a slight dip in mids. I personally was also impressed with the Swans, but did feel the bass was a bit boomy. I’ll leave the rest of the comments to Nuance.
Thanks again Craig! It was a great experience.
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post #505 of 6914 Old 11-12-2007, 09:57 AM
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Many speaker discussions remind me of a comment by a windsurfing magazine editor some years ago. He noted that while he was sitting on the beach with his friends waiting for the perfect wind, a bunch of people who really did not know what they were doing were out on the ocean having a blast. He decided that something was wrong with that picture: the lack of the perfect wind was no reason to sit on the beach not having fun.

The same is often true with audiophiles: many audiophiles seem to prefer mucking with speakers, etc. in an effort to get the perfect sound. They spend more time doing that they they do listening to music or watching movies. And while they are doing that, others who don't know anything about sound are perfectly happy listening to music and watching movies on their easy to set up Bose system.

Now, I am not recommending that anyone go out and buy Bose. But it is worth remembering that most of us probably have this hobby because of our love of music or movies, not because of our love of speakers or audio components. We should act accordingly.

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post #506 of 6914 Old 11-12-2007, 09:59 AM
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just buy a used pair of Yamaha NS-10M speakers and be done with it...
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post #507 of 6914 Old 11-12-2007, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tnilsson View Post

But it is worth remembering that most of us probably have this hobby because of our love of music or movies, not because of our love of speakers or audio components. We should act accordingly.

I actually don't think that is correct. The reality is that boys like their toys, and "music" is the excuse to shop. One area where men and women are surprisingly similar...just different stores involved.
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post #508 of 6914 Old 11-12-2007, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tnilsson View Post

Many speaker discussions remind me of a comment by a windsurfing magazine editor some years ago. He noted that while he was sitting on the beach with his friends waiting for the perfect wind, a bunch of people who really did not know what they were doing were out on the ocean having a blast. He decided that something was wrong with that picture: the lack of the perfect wind was no reason to sit on the beach not having fun.

The same is often true with audiophiles: many audiophiles seem to prefer mucking with speakers, etc. in an effort to get the perfect sound. They spend more time doing that they they do listening to music or watching movies. And while they are doing that, others who don't know anything about sound are perfectly happy listening to music and watching movies on their easy to set up Bose system.

Now, I am not recommending that anyone go out and buy Bose. But it is worth remembering that most of us probably have this hobby because of our love of music or movies, not because of our love of speakers or audio components. We should act accordingly.

You do make a valid point, though I will add that those same "audiophiles" love to tweak and audition many brands of speakers as much as they love to intently listen to them.

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Originally Posted by nostatic13 View Post

I actually don't think that is correct. The reality is that boys like their toys, and "music" is the excuse to shop. One area where men and women are surprisingly similar...just different stores involved.

Interesting theory, one of which I cannot truly argue. You may be correct. I will reiterate that we love to tweak and compare as much as we love to listen. However, I do not consider myself an "audiophile." I am just passionate about my hobbies.

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post #509 of 6914 Old 11-12-2007, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Russdawg View Post

Amen....I just bought a pair of the Salon 2's. I heard them one day and had an entire Paradigm Sig 8, 4 system up for sale the day after that.

While I am under a similar predicament in regards to a deal on Signature 8s versus a pair of Revel F32s (the S8s half off MSRP!), I was able to audition the Salons only as pure whimsy and was stunned by their sound. They ARE brilliant as many posts have indicated, offering an unprecedented soundstage as vast and natural as anything I have ever heard with vibrant dynamics. Not just a neutral/"dry" speaker as some have commented on the Revel lineup, but the Salon's were able to separate out copious amounts of detail in each recording while still maintaining an incredible strain-free stamina - solidly earning their price point and perhaps much exceeding it.

I heard them mixed with a pair of JL f113s and we popped in a few classical pieces (1812) and some Nemo for the HT portion. To my ears, the dynamics offered by its beryllium tweeter down to the 3, 8-inch woofers are drop-dead as full range as it gets. If I had the money it would be an instant sale simply on musicality alone...and the Fathom's certainly pulled their weight for all of Nemo's base-crushing SPLs. The depth charges scene offered the Salons and Fathoms a chance to flex their collective muscles at blending and separating out high and low-range frequencies as effortlessly as playing a single tone. brilliant
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post #510 of 6914 Old 11-12-2007, 11:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Audition # 4

Saturday morning at 4 a.m. began the beginning of a 20 hour roundtrip (of driving) to Craig(sub)'s home to partake in the first tier of a blind floor standing speaker get together. Although we immediately hit an unexpected detour in downtown Miwaukee, underwent a flat tire, had to sleep at a crappy motel with the worst beds on the planet, and had to wear the same cloths for about 40 hours, the trip was well worth it.

We arrived at Craig's home at just about 3 p.m. Eastern Time on the button. What a beautiful home Craig has!! We were greeted by Mr. Chase himself and a very large, friendly dog named Tex. After being introduced to Craig's wonderful family (especially his sweet wife), it was time to begin the listening tests. We were encouraged to make ourselves at home and get familiarized with the score sheets while Craig set everything up. After a few minutes we were called down into the mancave.

We each chose one of three available seats (of which we remained for all 6 rounds while listening) and got comfortable. To ensure a true blind test occurred we sat in complete darkness minus the small glow of the front end gear LED's. The speaker grill material was also placed over the speakers being listening to, just in case our eyes adjusted to allow us to be clued into what speakers were playing. All audio gear was McIntosh (plenty of juice to ensure no clipping, odd distortion or compression occurred).

The audition material consisted of a live Jazz-like piece that was heavy on the female vocals but was also a truly perfect song to determine the speaker's ability to achieve proper microdynamics and separation of instruments. The second part of the audition material consisted of the same CD that AJ (my brother), Justin and I spliced together before we started our auditions a few weeks ago. We used an audio program to cut and splice our favorite parts from our favorite songs into one 19 minute track. It consisted of some heavy rock/metal (in order to test dynamics and bass slam), classic rock, heavy piano and vocal based music such as Josh Groban and Live and some progressive rock (a good genre to test separation of instruments). It should be noted that much of the progressive and heavy rock had a ton of classical influence, sometimes even sound as if a symphony was playing along with the band. All in all the audition tracks pretty much covered all the bases that we wanted.

While listening to the first set of speakers I was pleasantly surprised. They had good separation of instruments, a lush midrange and decent bass. The middle to upper frequencies may have been a bit forward, but not too bad. Bass extension was decent, but could have gone lower. The soundstage was pretty decent and gave me the they are here feeling. I thought to myself Heck, these are the first pair of speakers5 to go, and I wouldn't mind just taking these home with me. They were certainly musical but could have had tighter bass. I was certainly impressed, but being as they were the first speakers and much comparing was ahead, I knew it was plausible that they probably wouldn't remain at the head of the pack (I was for the most part wrong).

Being as this was the first speaker we had audition blind, I tried to use it as a reference and go back to it when comparing to the others. It remained the reference speaker until the third round.

After each round we were sent upstairs so we could fill out our score sheets while Craig got the next pair ready. Each category had a maximum of 10 points and a minimum of zero (0 being the worst and 10 being the best). Without giving out scores we all agreed that speaker #1 (whatever brand it was) was a good one to start with. It did many tings well and only a few wrong. Of course, after listening to the other 5 we knew that our perceptions could change, but stillgood stuff.

Here are my scores as indicated after the first round of listening:

Definition - 8.0
Continuity of Soundstage - 7.5
Width of Soundstage - 7.0
Impression of Width/Depth - 7.5
Abnormal Effects - 1.5 (lower is better)
Ambiance-Spaciousness - 8.5
Dynamics - 8.0
Overall Rating - 7.8 (averaged and rounded without the abnormal effects score)

Speaker number 1 was the Swan Diva 6.2's run full range in stereo mode.


This is certainly a good speaker for the price. If it had a little more bass depth and tightness it would have scored higher marks. Even though I had read that the tweeter used on the Swans is a poor performer, this is not how I felt. And even if this is true, the engineering made up for it because it was not evident during the listening tests.

Round two commenced and not even 3 minutes into it and I began to get squeamish and fidgety. The high frequency of this speaker was piercing and shrill. The midrange, though not as forward as the upper frequency, was still overpowering and very un-engaging. There was virtually no bass depth or punch. Needless to say this made it difficult to hear the separation of instruments, especially when a half dozen were playing at once. Voices sound thin and too in your face; there was nothing lush or captivating about it. Although the treble was so overpowering and forward, the speakers still lacked detail, especially subtle nuances. The soundstage was small; very easy to determine where the sound was coming from. When pushed to higher levels, they sounded thinner - worse. This speaker proved to be the worst rated speaker of the day.

Here are my scores pertaining to the second round of speakers:

Definition - 5.0
Continuity of Soundstage - 3.0
Width of Soundstage - 2.5
Impression of Width/Depth - 2.5
Abnormal Effects - 4.5 (lower is better)
Ambiance-Spaciousness - 5.5
Dynamics - 5.5
Overall Rating - 4.0 (averaged and rounded without the abnormal effects score)

Speaker number 2 was the Acculine A3 run full range in stereo mode.


While up stairs writing down my thoughts on this speaker I remember thinking to myself Oh manplease God don't let those be the Rocket 850 Sig's that I planned on taking home. Fortunately, they weren't, but I didn't know this until many hours later. In lieu of the above, I cannot recommend this speaker to anyone, though please remember they were the cheapest pair of the group.

It was time for round three and we were all eager to get swinging. Much to my delight this speaker immediately made me forget my worries about the former speaker. This speaker had the best midbass slam and reached the deepest of all the speakers listened to thus far, something of quite the opposite of the Acculine A3. The midrange was engaging and slightly warm and the treble was airy and detailed but in no way fatiguing. This speaker had good separation of instruments with no details being overlooked. I would describe this speaker overall as very balanced. This was the first speaker that, with certain tracks, sent chills down my spine and made the hair on my arms and the back of my neck stand up, especially while listening to the Josh Groban piece. I knew I could relax and listen to this speaker all day long. It was also the most dynamic speaker of the day thus far (when cranked, it just kept going without compressing or sounding thin or harsh). At the end of the round we all agreed we had heard and felt bass that we hadn't thus far. So far this speaker gave the fullest sound.

At this point the three of us would have been happy to take speakers 1 or 3 home. This isn't to say they were perfect, just the best so far with speaker number 3 having the slight edge in overall performance.

Here are my scores pertaining to the third round of speakers:

Definition - 8.0
Continuity of Soundstage - 8.0
Width of Soundstage - 7.5
Impression of Width/Depth - 7.5
Abnormal Effects - 1.5 (lower is better)
Ambiance-Spaciousness - 8.0
Dynamics - 9.5
Overall Rating - 8.1 (averaged and rounded without the abnormal effects score)

Speaker number 3 was the Onix Rocket 850 Signature. Edit: AV123 is a crooked company, as the President is now serving jail time for stealing supposed charity money. Buyer beware!


After enjoying some refreshments it was time for round 4. From the beginning this speaker was very engaging. It had my utmost attention from song 1 and it kept getting better from there. This was the most detailed speaker of the bunch with a midrange that took second to none in the clarity department. Every detail was reproduced but clearer than any of the other speakers so far. Separation of instruments was a cinch. Near the middle of our listening session (perhaps 10 minutes in) I started to feel that this speaker was this engaging because it may have a slight forwardness to the midrange. Whatever it was, I didn't mind it at all but came to the conclusion that it may not be for everyone (some may get fatigued by it). However, I really did love how every detail was present without having to strain or really focus to hear it. Whether this was an accurate presentation or not, I don know. What I do know is that I liked it. Moving on to bass: this was the one area that I was a little disappointed in. The bass was tight and fairly balanced, but it didn't extend low or have that midbass slam that the third speaker did. If this speaker would have had that attribute, it may have won by more than it did (this could have been the room acoustics at play, though). My other quandary with this speaker was that they lost some of their magicality when pushed to higher levels (very loud). However, if you don't listen at ridiculous reference levels this may not be an issue. Also, when paired with a sub it may be resolved.

Here are my scores pertaining to the forth round of speakers:

Definition - 9.0
Continuity of Soundstage - 8.5
Width of Soundstage - 8.5
Impression of Width/Depth - 8.5
Abnormal Effects - 1.5 (lower is better)
Ambiance-Spaciousness - 9.0
Dynamics - 8.0
Overall Rating - 8.6 (averaged and rounded without the abnormal effects score)

Speaker number 4 was the Salk Song Tower run full range in stereo mode.


Yup, Craig fibbed about what speakers were going to be involved just to keep us honest. I remember while listening to the Salk's thinking hmmthese don't sound anything like I've read concerning the speakers that Craig said would be involved. In the end, they were a pleasant surprise. I was shocked by their mere asking price of $1500. Congrats, Jim; you have a fine product on your hands.

After a short 5 minute break our second to last round was underway. The very first apparent thing was that these speakers now took the deepest and most impactfull bass title away from contender # 3, though not by a lot. The bass line on the jazz piece just sounded right. My friend plays a string bass and it sounded most realistic on this speaker (which was what I previously had thought about speaker # 3). The difference between 3 and 5 wasn't huge, but the bass extended a little lower and was slightly more impactfull. It made for a very full sound. While listening to the next series of spliced tracks the speakers almost gave me a feel that they weren't floor standers but rather a pair of bookshelf's crossed over to a subwoofer. Justin was actually the first to make this deduction, one of which I was believed more and more the longer we listened. The reason we both felt this is because the midrange seemed to have a suckout, perhaps at the crossover point. The mids weren't as engaging and didn't present an open and large soundstage. When I focused it was impossible to try to determine where the singer may have been on stage. Finally, the vocals came from a small window between the speakers; if I moved my head left or right it quickly shifted in that direction. This made for a small soundstage and less than ideal imaging (in comparison to the other contenders). Lastly, the treble was not too hot nor too laid back, but it just didn't give me an I'm there feeling. It almost seemed to come from behind the midrange and bass, as if the tweeter was placed further back in the listening room.

Here are my scores pertaining to the fifth round of speakers:

Definition - 7.5
Continuity of Soundstage - 7.5
Width of Soundstage - 7.0
Impression of Width/Depth - 8.0
Abnormal Effects - 1.5 (lower is better)
Ambiance-Spaciousness - 8.0
Dynamics - 8.0
Overall Rating - 7.7 (averaged and rounded without the abnormal effects score)

Speaker number five was the Definitive Technology BP10B.


I was almost sure this was a bookshelf sub combo due to the well tuned bass and slight midrange suckoutI was wrong. For $1000/pair, they certainly aren't bad at all. In fact, they were my brother's favorite speaker (I'll let him comment on them later).


The last round of the night was an interesting one. When the auditioning began the bass was full and big, but the mid's and treble sounded lifeless and recessed. Perhaps the bass overpowered them. While continuing to listen we found ourselves talking amongst each other because the mechanical sound coming before us wasn't engaging. A word that I used to summarize these speakers was stale. We all agreed they weren't very impressive but that the gobs of bass may have added to that. After the contenders were revealed we gave speaker # 6 another listen after better fine tuning the subwoofer. They certainly sounded better than before, but they were still stale and fairly un-engaging. We just couldn't get into them especially after listening to a sub $200 pair of bookshelf speakers that defeated speaker # 6 in dynamics, clarity and overall appeal. These were certainly a disappointment; however they didn't quite meet the criteria of the floor standing speaker GTG (an explanation of that below).

Here are my scores pertaining to the sixth round of speakers:

Definition - 6.5
Continuity of Soundstage - 7
Width of Soundstage - 7
Impression of Width/Depth - 7
Abnormal Effects - 3.5 (lower is better)
Ambiance-Spaciousness - 6
Dynamics - 7
Overall Rating - 6.8 (averaged and rounded without the abnormal effects score)

Speaker number six was the NHT classic 2 crossed over to an eight inch subwoofer.


After the listening tests the speakers were revealed with my favorite being the Salk Song Towers. I think we were all shocked at how poor the Acculines and NHT's performed, which is one reason were gave the NHT's another listen. While they did sound better after some careful tuning, they still left us uninterested. If I had to re-score them they would receive a 6.5 or so overall.

While having to deal with a flat tire, cheap hotel, minimal sleep, a $110 tire replacement and our entire Sunday being ruined sounds terrible, the trip was well worth it for me; I consider it a success. Meeting Craig and his family was truly a pleasure! And his homewow; what a beautiful place to be! It's one of the nicest homes I have stepped foot in.

To conclude, I really enjoyed our road trip. Things certainly got a little hairy, but now we have fun stories to tell. I now have a system in my home that will keep me more than satisfied until I one day find my perfect system (I think/hope Justin will say the same thing as he took home a pair of Rocket 760's and a Bigfoot center channel). AJ now knows what speaker to save up for, so I am sure he'll start squandering what he has until that day comes. Within our stated price range of $1500 or less for speakers, ID really does offer an amazing bang for buck. I would certainly choose the Salk Song Towers over the Paradigm Studio 100's I auditioned a few weeks back. And oh, what's this? They are quite a bit cheaper too! It's good to know that I can put my faith in some of the ID offerings, even if it does mean I'll be called a fan boy of that brand. Say what you like, but I've put a lot of time into this hobby, not to mention a lot of miles, and I can safely say that the Salk Song Towers and the Swan 6.2's are the real deal.


Thanks for taking the time to read this insanely long post.

Things to note before I take off:

I gave each speaker a 1.5 for abnormal effects simply because all speakers exhibit distortion and none are perfect. I used 1.5 as the basic maximum and minimum unless that particular speaker exhibited some out of the ordinary stuff. And in all honesty, I have only heard one speaker that simply disappeared and gave me the sense that I was truly experiencing the artist rather than their reproduction. In lieu of all this, 1.5 was the base line. I probably should have used .05 or 1.0, though, but that rating wasn't factored into the overall score anyway. Take it how you want to.

It's amazing how honest a blind test will keep you. No, it wasn't leveled matched, but we didn't care. All the speaker's strong suits (and most of their faults) were still very apparent whether we listened at 60dB or 90dB. In fact, this was part of the scoring (micro vs. macro dynamics). Upon re-listening to a few of the speakers under sited conditions, our impressions didn't change. There was no bias whatsoever! IMO, it's a great way to find a speaker that is right for you without letting the unimportant things get in the way (such as brands). Sure, I realize that some brands have better reputations than others, but does it really matter if the speakers are perfect for you?

Feel free to check and perhaps correct the math involved in my scoring. I am really out of it right now, so there may be an error or two.

Finally, this hobby is a great way to meet and make new friends. I strongly encourage you to either host or partake in a GTG such as this. I have no regrets or reservations and would love to attend future GTG's. This hobby is great, but the relationships you build because of it are even better.

Okaymy head hurts. Time to get some rest

P.S. - Edit: Having had the opportunity to listen to all of these speakers again, either at Craig's or in another room entirely, I have adjusted the scores. Room interaction played a role when auditioning at Craig's, thus I felt it necessary to update the scores based on what I heard there and in other rooms/showrooms.

My journey to find the "perfect" speaker
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