Lower / casual listening volumes and Goldenear/MartinLogan/DefTech
Hello all! I am building out a 5.1.4 media room/home theater suite that will be mostly home theater (85%) usage, powered through a Yamaha RX-V2085. Very few "blow out the walls" sessions, but don't want to compromise if I can avoid it. One thing that I've been looking for is very good off-axis listening and a wide soundstage to help equalize the experience for everyone in the room, and that is one of the biggest factors that led me to investigate Goldenear. I've also really liked the Martin Logan Motion 40/20, and the Def Tech 8060/9060-ish series bipolars. Other brands I've listened to but haven't seemed to align with have bene the Klipsch, ELAC, B&W. Haven't heard Airmotiv, Chane's, and many others which are oft-mentioned. Budget for towers is going to be $1k-$2k range +-, and enjoying the good values on the secondhand market.
I auditioned all three today, but it was my first time with the Goldenears. I listed to a set of Triton 5's, and while I loved everything we listened to at higher volumes through an Anthem receiver, when we turned it down to a "casual netflix watching" level (where you can make easy comments/conversation during the movie/show), it totally seemed to lose it's dynamics.
The rep offered that the Anthem receiver doesn't play well at low volume whereas Japanese receivers normally do, and that putting on "night mode" on the receiver would resolve this in the real world. Online I've read a comment about that for the Triton 5's, and in general I've heard that antidotally about speakers with passive radiators (though I don't put a lot of value in that, worth bringing up to clear or confirm that out of my subconscious). It did, however, get me thinking about the fact that I haven't been auditioning speakers at lower volumes, only medium-high or high. I'd like feedback from those that use towers from the list about for daily use and often play low casual volumes, and whether there's a different experience for that. Would be especially interested in those who have the Goldenears (3+/5/7) or the DefTechs (9060/9080/8060/8080) with the passive radiators. Thanks!
Lower / casual listening volumes and Goldenear/MartinLogan/DefTech
To answer a few questions.
It’s actually your hearing that causes you to lose dynamics with lower volume.
No, changing your receiver/amp will not fix this.
No, it’s not due to the passive radiators.
Next, if you had moved around while listening to the ML’s and Goldenear’s you would have seen that the sound changes greatly (more than that of a dome or horn). This is due to the limited dispersion of the AMT. This is not great for theater as you’ve pointed out, you need wide dispersion, good off axis response for multiple seating positions.
Also next, the powered subwoofer/passive radiators on the Def Tech/Goldenears are pretty useless IMO. You’ll be including actual subs in your theater, yes? Those will outperform those wimpy built in “subs” and can be placed in drastically better positions in the room for better response. Not to mention if you cross at 80hz, they are almost not used/needed.
So why pay the extra price (overpriced even) for something you won’t even use! Lol.
Whatever setup you go with, make sure you have a quality sub or two. That makes the biggest difference in any setup. You’ll have a crappy theater experience without bass. It’s just the way it is. Unless you like romance movies with no action. Then you can probably get away with crappy or no subs.
Anyways, definitely have a look at more speakers. Klipsch RP series is a good one.
Kef has some good stuff, their UniQ tech provides good and uniform off axis response (something you’ll need).
Revel has some good stuff also.
Ascend, Chane, Emotiva all have good stuff but will not be found at a dealer so it’s slightly harder to demo.
I use them in a secondary room which has 6 seating locations across the room in a 3.2 configuration and sound is good at all of them.
As the other poster mentioned, it's our ears that perceive low and high frequencies differently at different volumes, which is why amps/receivers used to have a "loudness" button back in the day. Nowadays, different manufacturers call it different things, such as "night mode" or "dynamic EQ" or something else. It's designed to bump up low and high frequencies at lower listening volumes to make up for our ears' 'deficiencies.' :)
I have the 9060s for movie listening and can vouch for their nice wide soundstage. The built in 10" woofers provide several benefits, even with a separate subwoofer and 80hz crossover...so the previous poster is not exactly correct. You want the headroom and ability to play down low still, especially since crossovers are sloped -12dB per octave, so you would still play down to 40hz. The 9060s -3dB point is about 32hz in my room. Crossed at either 60 or 80hz with my HSU VTF15-MK2, they play clean and beautifully.
I've had a pair of Triton Fives for more than a year and ABSOLUTELY LOVE THEM.
Mine are powered via Tubes 4 Hifi ST-120 tube amp.
Imaging is great.
Sufficient bass without drawing to much attention, not lacking.
I have them roughly 12' apart with the rear of each cabinet roughly 18" from the wall.
I cannot say I've noticed anything lacking at lower levels but, as noted above, the human ear loses dynamics with low signal source.
The Triton Five has the same sound signature as the upper level Tritons but does not have powered subs - for more on that, continue reading.
In my room I get below 30hz from the right speaker.
Due to room shape and placement the left has a couple room issues resulting in nulls at 33hz and 65hz at the listening position.
The right speaker does not have these issues, thus I know it is the room causing them - this would be the case with ANY speaker in that location; physics!
For this reason I dont think I would ever get a speaker with integrated powered sub.
I built a pair of sealed 12" subs to solve my null issues.
I initially placed them adjacent to left and right speakers and had the same result. Right side was great, left side had issues at 33 and 65hz - stupid room.
I could move the left sub around a bit but still had some remnant of the issue. I have not exhausted my sub placement options but currently, they are both
in the right corner of the room, I get a flat response below 25hz.
My point about the subs, the ability to locate the subs without regard to left and right channel speakers allow them to be a tool to correct room issues. If they are built into the main left and right speakers you lose this ability.
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