Polk S15s sound better than S50s - Page 14 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #391 of 440 Old 10-01-2019, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
Thanks, I don't mind the Rhythmik price at all since I don't want to upgrade again soon, i.e., I'd like the best music sub for $600 now. As for the KEF fronts and center, yep I'll research more. I don't mind the $600 center if the KEF Q150s are great. I have the $$ and would just like great sound (of course not $3000 speakers). The s30 center fits all my needs right now and I can wait a year or two to upgrade that to the KEF center. I just read that svs sb1000 is a bit dated and comparable to RSL but outperformed by Rhythmik. So I'm leaning towards Rhythmik. It also depends whether L12 will noticeably be better than the RSL in my open floor plan 13X13 room. May sound the same.

The annoying thing about audio seems to be that more $$ does not equal happiness with the sound. Cheaper warmer speakers than the Polk s15 may have worked for me. I may not be able to tell the difference between the s30 and more expensive centers. Hence, I don't know if I'll be able to tell the difference between the L12 and the RSL.
Well, IMHO a sealed Rhythmik is the best choice.

When my sealed servo 15" 1250 watt sub dies I'll replace with two 12" sealed servo Rhythmiks.
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post #392 of 440 Old 10-01-2019, 03:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, IMHO a sealed Rhythmik is the best choice.
To add wireless to the L12, is the SVS wireless kit the best option?

Hey, Google says Rhythmik is located in Cedar Park, TX (20 min from my home). Is this true? I could easily visit them if they do any demos! From the grammar on their website, I assumed they were overseas.
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post #393 of 440 Old 10-02-2019, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
To add wireless to the L12, is the SVS wireless kit the best option?

Hey, Google says Rhythmik is located in Cedar Park, TX (20 min from my home). Is this true? I could easily visit them if they do any demos! From the grammar on their website, I assumed they were overseas.
I would fire off an e-mail to them, and arrange a time to possibly demo the L12 (at least).
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post #394 of 440 Old 10-02-2019, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
To add wireless to the L12, is the SVS wireless kit the best option?

Hey, Google says Rhythmik is located in Cedar Park, TX (20 min from my home). Is this true? I could easily visit them if they do any demos! From the grammar on their website, I assumed they were overseas.
Yes, the SVS is the wireless kit I'd get.

BTW, HTD is near you as well and they make fine speakers as well.

https://www.htd.com/Products/Speaker...three-speakers

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post #395 of 440 Old 10-02-2019, 11:30 AM
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Thanks and sorry pase22, I want to get it right this time, I hate returns, and I have the $$, so a few more...
I see the SVS SB 1000 is $499 (Amazon) and the Rhythmik L12 is $549, within my budget. The RSL is $449 with wireless. Which would you choose for music with Polk Signature fronts?I'm sure the RSL will be very good and I'll like it but will the SVS or Rhythmik be a step above or a noticeable difference for music? (Not LFE). If it will make a difference that I won't notice, I'll go by cost. But if it means years of happiness, I'll get the SVS or Rhythmik.

I also see the HSU VTF-2 MK5, and VTF-1 MK3 in my budget.

I plan to get the KEF Q150 after the sub.
Keep in mind that the HSU VTF-2 MK5 will excel with HT, but can be run as a sealed sub and will perform quite well. Rhythmik are said to be excellent musical subs. if size isn't an issue get the LV12F rather than the L12 because you will appreciate the low end rumble a ported sub has to offer when you do watch movies. If you really want a sealed sub, go with the Rhythmik L22. The SVS-SB-1000 can't even compete with the other two.

I think you'll like the Q150's, especially with a good sub.
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post #396 of 440 Old 10-02-2019, 11:54 AM
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Keep in mind that the HSU VTF-2 MK5 will excel with HT, but can be run as a sealed sub and will perform quite well. Rhythmik are said to be excellent musical subs. if size isn't an issue get the LV12F rather than the L12 because you will appreciate the low end rumble a ported sub has to offer when you do watch movies. If you really want a sealed sub, go with the Rhythmik L22. The SVS-SB-1000 can't even compete with the other two.

I think you'll like the Q150's, especially with a good sub.
An AVS member who wanted a musical sub bought the LV12F and the L12 and preferred the latter.

Good news is the OP is near Rhythmik so can compare them side to side.
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post #397 of 440 Old 10-02-2019, 12:58 PM
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An AVS member who wanted a musical sub bought the LV12F and the L12 and preferred the latter.

Good news is the OP is near Rhythmik so can compare them side to side.
The L12/L22 would likely be better musically. A visit to their facility is a great idea. They will be able to educate him on the different subs (sealed vs ported) as well as give some tips to optimize performance.
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post #398 of 440 Old 10-05-2019, 07:59 PM - Thread Starter
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The L12/L22 would likely be better musically.
Could a power conditioner like this or another type of power conditioner reduce the shhhhh noise I'm hearing when playing music on the s15 in 2.0? The noise is like traffic noise on a highway when driving with the window down and other cars pass you at high speed (not engine noise or honking but "shhhhhhh").

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_299SP8...ax-SP8-AV.html
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post #399 of 440 Old 10-06-2019, 12:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
Could a power conditioner like this or another type of power conditioner reduce the shhhhh noise I'm hearing when playing music on the s15 in 2.0? The noise is like traffic noise on a highway when driving with the window down and other cars pass you at high speed (not engine noise or honking but "shhhhhhh").

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_299SP8...ax-SP8-AV.html
That wouldn't be because of the speakers, afaik.
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post #400 of 440 Old 10-06-2019, 05:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
Could a power conditioner like this or another type of power conditioner reduce the shhhhh noise I'm hearing when playing music on the s15 in 2.0? The noise is like traffic noise on a highway when driving with the window down and other cars pass you at high speed (not engine noise or honking but "shhhhhhh").

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_299SP8...ax-SP8-AV.html
SHHH like sibilance when music is playing or more of a buzzing or static sound even when nothing is playing?
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post #401 of 440 Old 10-06-2019, 08:46 AM - Thread Starter
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SHHH like sibilance when music is playing or more of a buzzing or static sound even when nothing is playing?
Shhhh like sibilance, especially prominent, when particular songs are playing. The particular songs are typically live rock and roll performances (Sweet Home Chicago by Luther Allison - Live and Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd - Live). Like discordant cymbal noise. When played at lower volume, the shhhh drowns out the midrange a bit.

I hang blankets at first reflection point and on coffee table as gajCA said, and tried very different toe-ins.

I was reading about power supply noise and hence felt it could be that.
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post #402 of 440 Old 10-06-2019, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
Shhhh like sibilance, especially prominent, when particular songs are playing. The particular songs are typically live rock and roll performances (Sweet Home Chicago by Luther Allison - Live and Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd - Live). Like discordant cymbal noise. When played at lower volume, the shhhh drowns out the midrange a bit.

I hang blankets at first reflection point and on coffee table as gajCA said, and tried very different toe-ins.

I was reading about power supply noise and hence felt it could be that.
Is it in the vocals or the other instruments? I listened to Sweet Home Chicago on YouTube - didn't hear any "shhh" sound anywhere (keep in mind, again, that I have - by all accounts - brighter-sounding speakers than the Signature Series). There was nothing in the vocals that I heard - are you conflating the natural sound of the snare drum/high hat as sibilance?
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post #403 of 440 Old 10-06-2019, 01:46 PM
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Hmmmm...

Ok playing Luther Allison from Sweet Home Chicago from Live at Montreux on Spotify on my S15s. I wouldn't say it is a super good/clear recording to begin with, there is a high frequency sound almost continuous shortly after the song starts ...from the cymbals (I think). It might sound like a whoosh. The last minute sounds better than the start. the same song from his "bad news is coming" album sounds much better.

Sweet Home Chicago live on my S55s sounds better with more mid bass and a little better definition in the cymbals. But the amplifier and music streamer are much better on this setup too and the room has a better setup with room correction on. I'm not a huge fan of this recording overall. Honestly Listening to Max Roach Lonesome Lover on each the cymbals sound pretty good and I think this song is a much better test.

Did you try listening to Luther with headphones on to see if you could isolate the sound you don't like?
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post #404 of 440 Old 10-06-2019, 01:54 PM
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I am using a class D SMSL AD18 to run my S15s when I turned down the trouble by one or two dBs it sounded much better
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post #405 of 440 Old 10-06-2019, 09:05 PM
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Ok playing Luther Allison from Sweet Home Chicago from Live at Montreux on Spotify on my S15s. I wouldn't say it is a super good/clear recording to begin with, there is a high frequency sound almost continuous shortly after the song starts ...from the cymbals (I think). It might sound like a whoosh. The last minute sounds better than the start. the same song from his "bad news is coming" album sounds much better.

Sweet Home Chicago live on my S55s sounds better with more mid bass and a little better definition in the cymbals. But the amplifier and music streamer are much better on this setup too and the room has a better setup with room correction on. I'm not a huge fan of this recording overall. Honestly Listening to Max Roach Lonesome Lover on each the cymbals sound pretty good and I think this song is a much better test.

Did you try listening to Luther with headphones on to see if you could isolate the sound you don't like?
I think I found the same live recording of the Sweet Home Chicago song (if you had a YouTube link to confirm, I can verify myself if it's different) - I *think* I heard what the OP was saying in that recording, but it's just a s***ty recording, so not even anything you can blame on the speakers. What it sounded like, to me, was the same kind of wispy garbling that occurs when a vinyl record has been played too much or a cassette tape that has been stretched too much or a live recording that was recorded using bad equipment. If anything, the speakers are just revealing the poor quality of the source material more than his $9 pair of headphones/cheap factory radio. Live recordings, especially, are pretty awful, and I would never really use those to test speakers or as any kind of measure of a speaker's capabilities - the studio version of the same song was *way* better.
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post #406 of 440 Old 10-07-2019, 07:47 AM
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I hope so. It's making the s15 sound like the old Polk R50 towers I had, which I think are now renamed T50. I'll run experiments as meurich and you suggested and hope it's just Google Play Music selecting bad quality recording when I speak or type search for a particular song. Thanks for your help.
Definitely not the speakers at all. The T50 is an old model. The only thing I've seen, just now actually, is that they added an "e" at the end (i.e. S55e), which could mean a newer version of the Signature series.

It's not even Google Play, it's the recording itself. Live recordings are never "good", especially old ones. Don't judge your speakers based on those recordings.
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post #407 of 440 Old 10-07-2019, 08:10 AM
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How goes your subwoofer search, by the way?
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post #408 of 440 Old 10-07-2019, 08:18 AM
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Definitely not the speakers at all. The T50 is an old model. The only thing I've seen, just now actually, is that they added an "e" at the end (i.e. S55e), which could mean a newer version of the Signature series.

It's not even Google Play, it's the recording itself. Live recordings are never "good", especially old ones. Don't judge your speakers based on those recordings.
I am guessing it has to do with the way they had the drums mic'd in that recording that you are hearing along with a slight flaw with the S15 being a little on the brighter side at that specific frequency. Ryan is correct about live recordings, I wouldn't judge sound by playing live performances although there are a few live recordings I really like Joe Bonamassa comes to mind. I ran sound for a while and I always hated micing drums it is tricky to get the sound perfect without using a lot of expensive equipment.

I have heard that "e" designation for S55e is a European distinction.
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post #409 of 440 Old 10-07-2019, 08:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok playing Luther Allison from Sweet Home Chicago from Live at Montreux on Spotify on my S15s. I wouldn't say it is a super good/clear recording to begin with, there is a high frequency sound almost continuous shortly after the song starts ...from the cymbals (I think). The last minute sounds better than the start. the same song from his "bad news is coming" album sounds much better.

Honestly Listening to Max Roach Lonesome Lover on each the cymbals sound pretty good and I think this song is a much better test.

Did you try listening to Luther with headphones on to see if you could isolate the sound you don't like?
OK this was really helpful. Yes, Sweet Home Chicago on "bad news is coming" sounds better than Live at Montreux. Live at Montreux is what Google Play was sending me automatically when I requested the song. I tried Max Roach but don't listen to that kind of music so can't tell. My headphones are also better with Live at Montreux. Although they're $9, the Panasonic seems pretty good and gives cleaner separation of instruments and noise suppression, increasing midrange and bass.

My problem is I threw away my CDs last year :-( is there a better streaming service than Google Play that would not have bad recordings? I fear Goggle being Google may try to store every possible recording on earth and compress them further. I also fear their machine learning uses features other than quality of recording to determine which recording to send me.
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I am guessing it has to do with the way they had the drums mic'd in that recording that you are hearing along with a slight flaw with the S15 being a little on the brighter side at that specific frequency. Ryan is correct about live recordings, I wouldn't judge sound by playing live performances although there are a few live recordings I really like Joe Bonamassa comes to mind. I ran sound for a while and I always hated micing drums it is tricky to get the sound perfect without using a lot of expensive equipment.

I have heard that "e" designation for S55e is a European distinction.
I would still see that as just being how the recording is rather than a flaw in the speaker. That isn't to say that a warmer-sounding speaker wouldn't mellow out that garbling on that specific recording, though. Either way, I think the recording itself is the culprit of the extraneous/unpleasant sound he's hearing.

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My problem is I threw away my CDs last year :-( is there a better streaming service than Google Play that would not have bad recordings? I fear Goggle being Google may try to store every possible recording on earth and compress them further. I also fear their machine learning uses features other than quality of recording to determine which recording to send me.
I was on the verge of getting rid of my CDs, too, but thankfully my procrastination saved me from doing that considering that I'm now establishing a music area that will involve vinyl, CD, and streaming from iTunes.
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With respect to Max Roach....there are a number of websites out there that list good tracks to test your speakers with and this is a common one. The thing to listen to is the way the cymbals sound. There is a wide variation of sounds they make and each one should have a distinct pattern with a beginning and end. It should not all blend together as a single sound you should be able to pick out all the different sounds the drummer was making. Getting familiar with some test tracks will help you evaluate speakers and set up your system. (You don't have to like the track to learn what to listen to.)

This will describe more https://www.whathifi.com/us/features...-your-speakers
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With respect to Max Roach....there are a number of websites out there that list good tracks to test your speakers with and this is a common one. The thing to listen to is the way the cymbals sound. There is a wide variation of sounds they make and each one should have a distinct pattern with a beginning and end. It should not all blend together as a single sound you should be able to pick out all the different sounds the drummer was making. Getting familiar with some test tracks will help you evaluate speakers and set up your system. (You don't have to like the track to learn what to listen to.)

This will describe more https://www.whathifi.com/us/features...-your-speakers
I will personally check out those songs to see how they are on my system, which will slightly change yet again as I - just 30 or so minutes ago - bought an HSU ULS-15 MK2 subwoofer. My wife is going to kill me...
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post #413 of 440 Old 10-07-2019, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Ryan Statz View Post
I will personally check out those songs to see how they are on my system, which will slightly change yet again as I - just 30 or so minutes ago - bought an HSU ULS-15 MK2 subwoofer. My wife is going to kill me...
I hope she lets you live long enough to enjoy the new sub a little and let us know what you think of it
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post #414 of 440 Old 10-08-2019, 08:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ryan Statz View Post
Is it in the vocals or the other instruments? I listened to Sweet Home Chicago on YouTube - didn't hear any "shhh" sound anywhere (keep in mind, again, that I have - by all accounts - brighter-sounding speakers than the Signature Series). There was nothing in the vocals that I heard - are you conflating the natural sound of the snare drum/high hat as sibilance?
The speakers sound hissy in general and suppress the midrange. It's not a constant shhh component that is added to the music. The music itself sounds hissy on the s15.

What are snare drums and high hats? Something like cymbals? When I play better studio recordings, it does improve but still a little hissy. As Pase22 said, s15 may just not suit me. The Signature set continues to be great for HT (but I'm also fine using TV speakers for HT).
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post #415 of 440 Old 10-08-2019, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
The speakers sound hissy in general and suppress the midrange. It's not a constant shhh component that is added to the music. The music itself sounds hissy on the s15.

What are snare drums and high hats? Something like cymbals? When I play better studio recordings, it does improve but still a little hissy. As Pase22 said, s15 may just not suit me. The Signature set continues to be great for HT (but I'm also fine using TV speakers for HT).
But you're using live recordings to judge your speakers... and using source material that isn't the best (not the streaming service, the actual recording). Also, what settings do you currently have set with the streaming software you use? If you're hearing a constant hiss, then that could be your app's settings (too much treble or something).

I have never seen anyone describe the S15s as being hissy (not even the pretty fair review here: https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-sp...-speakers.html )

The snare is the main drum in a drum kit. There's a bunch of little "wires" on the bottom side of the drum that create a "rattling" sound, which you tend to hear, say, during a drum roll. The high hat is like a cymbal - it's pretty much the other main component in a drum kit. There's a pedal that open/closes it, and it makes a TSSS sound, which can be long or short-sounding depending on whether the high hat is open or closed.

It's difficult to pinpoint the issue because: 1. It could be your space 2. You're perhaps not using the best source material 3. Your streaming app EQ settings might be to blame (possibly even the EQ settings on your AVR?) 4. You're possibly conflating naturally-occurring sounds from the instruments with sibilance/hissing 5. You're comparing the S15s with $9 headphones/factory radio/sound inside your car, and are just used to speakers/components that lack the clarity that the S15s are producing by comparison.

Ultimately, if you're not happy with the S15s, get rid of them. Truly. Sell them, and replace them with something else - the KEF Q150s might be more to your liking or even the Wharfedale Diamond 10.2s or Elac Debut 6.2s or Polk LSiM 703s. It's honestly a bit of an exercise in futility to try to shoehorn the S15s into something you're happy with when you have all of these concerns.
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post #416 of 440 Old 10-09-2019, 07:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ryan Statz View Post
Ultimately, if you're not happy with the S15s, get rid of them. Truly. Sell them, and replace them with something else - the KEF Q150s might be more to your liking or even the Wharfedale Diamond 10.2s or Elac Debut 6.2s or Polk LSiM 703s. It's honestly a bit of an exercise in futility to try to shoehorn the S15s into something you're happy with when you have all of these concerns.
I understand, thanks. Would it help if I used only downloaded studio albums on Tidal for $19.99 / month?

It's not the live that is the issue. Speakers improve but are a bit hissy on studio albums too and good quality 2019 pop albums, so it could be Google's compression and 328 rate, which may be bottlenecked somehow to even less when streaming. To compare, I tried downloaded only and its better but still not CD quality that I used to have.

Settings on streaming software is reset so it's not the issue. It's not the space since I tried in different rooms now. The AVR's EQ is off(*). I'm not conflating naturally-occurring sounds from the instruments with sibilance/hissing.

(*)I do intend to upgrade. My plan is as follows. I'd appreciate any feedback:
Rhythmik L12 as soon as I have a chance to visit them. Select between Wharfedale Reva2, Martin Logan LX16, Q Acoustic Concept 20, KEF Q150, ELAC unifi, any other you recommend in $500-$1000 range for warm musical bookshelves? Denon X3500H to get room EQ ability. My Sony has only two EQ settings (Engineered/Off) that doesn't do anything.

Also, would appreciate any feedback on my Tidal question above.
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post #417 of 440 Old 10-09-2019, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
I understand, thanks. Would it help if I used only downloaded studio albums on Tidal for $19.99 / month?

It's not the live that is the issue. Speakers improve but are a bit hissy on studio albums too and good quality 2019 pop albums, so it could be Google's compression and 328 rate, which may be bottlenecked somehow to even less when streaming. To compare, I tried downloaded only and its better but still not CD quality that I used to have.

Settings on streaming software is reset so it's not the issue. It's not the space since I tried in different rooms now. The AVR's EQ is off(*). I'm not conflating naturally-occurring sounds from the instruments with sibilance/hissing.

(*)I do intend to upgrade. My plan is as follows. I'd appreciate any feedback:
Rhythmik L12 as soon as I have a chance to visit them. Select between Wharfedale Reva2, Martin Logan LX16, Q Acoustic Concept 20, KEF Q150, ELAC unifi, any other you recommend in $500-$1000 range for warm musical bookshelves? Denon X3500H to get room EQ ability. My Sony has only two EQ settings (Engineered/Off) that doesn't do anything.

Also, would appreciate any feedback on my Tidal question above.
Not sure whether Tidal will make any difference if it happens to be the source material.

Is the hissy thing throughout the recording or only when specific things are being played in the song (I'm sorry if I've asked this already - I don't recall seeing a reply on that unless I've just completely overlooked it!)? does it get louder when you turn the volume up?

If any other recommendations, I think most people would urge you to look into Ascend Acoustics - perhaps their Sierra 1 Reference Monitor, which currently sits at just under $721.00 USD (even for their nice wood finishes), so right in the middle of your budget.

Don't discount the Polk LSiM series, either - they are said to be very good for music, and a huge step up from the Signature series (even from the RTiA series). There are also killer sales on them for ~$450 USD per pair at some places, so a little under the bottom end of your budget.
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post #418 of 440 Old 10-09-2019, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
Will Tidal sound better if it is not the source material at issue? The hissy sound does come on studio albums and FM too but less. The hissy sound is throughout the recording. It gets louder with the volume. Ascend Acoustics Sierra 1 looks good but is it warm? I don't think I'll get the Polk LSIM due to size. I'll start new thread later for bookshelves. Since the s15 can't be returned now, I'll play every studio album I know of and like and test them out with the sub.
I couldn't answer anything regarding Tidal vs. Google since I don't use streaming apps to listen to music.

Is there any other bass/treble adjustments in your AVR? What cables are you using? It almost sounds like it could be gain noise. I haven't scanned through, but check this thread: https://sound.stackexchange.com/ques...mp-to-speakers

The Ascends would be warmer than the S15s, and I've seen them described as neutral, which isn't a bad thing.

Edit:

another possible link to look at? https://sound.stackexchange.com/ques...speakers/25474

Do you have a different AVR you can try out?
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Last edited by Ryan Statz; 10-09-2019 at 01:47 PM.
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post #419 of 440 Old 10-09-2019, 05:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ryan Statz View Post
I couldn't answer anything regarding Tidal vs. Google since I don't use streaming apps to listen to music.

Is there any other bass/treble adjustments in your AVR? What cables are you using? It almost sounds like it could be gain noise. I haven't scanned through, but check this thread: https://sound.stackexchange.com/ques...mp-to-speakers

The Ascends would be warmer than the S15s, and I've seen them described as neutral, which isn't a bad thing.

Edit:

another possible link to look at? https://sound.stackexchange.com/ques...speakers/25474

Do you have a different AVR you can try out?
OK just had to write this. I'll circle back to your questions later but bottomline: I see an improvement in noise reduction and bass by not streaming. I used Google's download feature and downloaded a bunch of albums to my phone. Then I played them without streaming. The earlier issue appears to be when I streamed over WiFi and also used WiFi to broadcast from phone to AVR. I suspect if I connect my phone by USB to the AVR, it'll get even better. Downside is I must always download an album first before listening and cannot just say "OK Google, play me x."
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post #420 of 440 Old 10-10-2019, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
OK just had to write this. I'll circle back to your questions later but bottomline: I see an improvement in noise reduction and bass by not streaming. I used Google's download feature and downloaded a bunch of albums to my phone. Then I played them without streaming. The earlier issue appears to be when I streamed over WiFi and also used WiFi to broadcast from phone to AVR. I suspect if I connect my phone by USB to the AVR, it'll get even better. Downside is I must always download an album first before listening and cannot just say "OK Google, play me x."
Are there quality settings in the app similar to, say, Netflix? Though, it doesn't surprise me one bit that the sound quality is better from downloading and playing directly from your device rather than streaming it via WiFi. It's a shame that you don't have any of your physical media left to be able to do any further testing.

The only time I've ever done any kind of streaming has been using airplay from my laptop connecting to my AVR via iTunes. It worked beautifully, and didn't notice (at the time) any degradation in quality.
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