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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

I heard a Devialet Phantom gold 2 days back (in a showroom with lots of empty space and glass on the sides) and i couldn't help notice how much "faster" the music was. The music was rising up and dying down as fast as the next note came. It was making me tap my foot, not to mention make me feel bad about how much lesser my system sounded (though the percussion instruments are definitely more accurate in my system).

So i want back and listened to the same song in my setup and i could notice that the music was noticeably heavier and felt somewhat slower for lack of other words. I know from some measurements i have done in my room that the bass is high and treble a lot low due to the messed up bass integration i have.

But i was not sure how that would cause the music to be sensed as 'slower'. So when i looked up the words tempo and the audiophile terminology i ended up with 'PRat' - the descriptions seemed to match what i sensed.

I was wondering if what i described is indeed the same and what causes the seeming difference in the music's pace? I am hoping it cannot be due to the speaker since they are well reviewed. Since Devialte is a class D and can produce probably lots of juice for a speaker, and mine might not be doing the same, is that what is causing the percieved fastness for the music or is it just lack of treble in my system?


ps : My setup

Pair of KEF R500 with a single SVS SB2000, playing in a 13x12x9 bedroom
Amp - old yamaha DSP A2070 used as amp + volume control + to feed LFE to the SVS
Dedicated Chinese DAC being fed by
chromecast audio or an allo digi one (basically a linux pc with a supposedly good coax digital out)

12,008 Posts
In terms of bass, woofer-size or subwoofer-size and the quantity of them directly correlates to the headroom, dynamics and THD. (The-bigger and the-more, the better.)

If you have to choose between more bass cones and more watts, more cones almost always wins.

For 1-40hz you need high excursion, and a stiff cone, and a big magnet (width and depth), also the biggest possible box.
For 40-20,000hz you need high sensitivity, high power handling, low cone mass and a stiff cone.
The box needs to be thick and well braced in the 40-9000hz region to avoid distortion, and maximize SPL.

49% of the sound you hear is the room (and lack of treatments), 50% of the sound is the drivers used, 1% is the electronics, (and the wires don't even make up 1% *if* they aren't turning green/black and are at least 14awg...)

The drivers can have a huge impact.
As you have noticed, some have low inductance, a strong motor, and low mechanical noise, and the coil has good ventilation/cooling design. Those drivers tend to sound effortless, dynamic and transparent.

Crappier drivers and/or no treatments can kill a system's potential SQ quickly.

As long as the amps aren't clipping or overheating (and are built within the last ~10 years), then you should be fine. (Few amps have clipping or level indicators so it's hard for the user to tell how stressed the amp is or how hard the speakers and subs are being driven.)

Generally the ears like the sound when it is fairly flat from 100 to 22000hz, where the top end is just a few db lower.
Below 100-200hz the ears like it when the bass is 10-20db hot (house curve, all the way to 1hz or as low as you can get...)

Ear damage occurs as follows:
1-20hz 150-170db
50-500hz 125-130db
>500hz 105db

The SPL minimums are:
1-10hz 150 to 110db
10-20hz 110 to 70db
These are minimums. i.e. 70db @ 20hz = 1db @ 1khz, if your treble is at 75-85db you'll need at least 100db @ 20hz to get close to matching it.

Otherwise the system will sound unbalanced (too much treble and/or not enough bass).

For THX, it requires 85db average @ -20dbFS from EACH speakers AT the seat.
For THX, it requires 95db average @ -20dbFS from EACH sub AT the seat.

With 20db of headroom between that level and clipping of the amplifier (without bottoming.)
20db is a 100x increase in power.
Most systems fall FAR short of hitting the 20db figures without using 100db/w/m speakers and multiple large subs.

Most speakers and subs are measured spec'ed at 1m. But you lose ~12db in the first ~12ft so you gotta consider that.
Otherwise the speaker will be stressed out, or the amp will be clipped, both of which will sound horrible or fry the equipment. The only solution is to "turn it down", well below THX level if it can't.

For movies, the center is the MOST important speakers. (All the dialog and 80% of the action.)
For music, the mains are the MOST important speakers. (All the singing and instruments.)
The subwoofers are 2nd place. (All the bass.)
The surrounds and heights and mains are just for absence in movie-mode, 3rd place.

HiFi DAC's have low-noise (often -110-140db SNR), while also performing a high voltage swing without clipping or having any gross THD, often using balanced cables. This CAN be audible. Entry-level equipment tends to sound shrill, noisy and distorted and have low voltage drive; some people can hear these differences, others struggle too... it's really subtle (the last 0.1% of performance...)
If the song is of low-quality or the room is untreated or if the speaker is of low quality, you generally won't be able to tell a difference in electronics. Even in ideal conditions it is nearly-impossible to tell.

I'm one of those cursed golden-ear/trained listener types that can instantly tell if the SQ is off.
My reference equipment is balanced HD800 headphones powered directly from a Sabre Ref DAC.
My speakers have Fostex super-tweeters and high-end subwoofers, near the top of the data-bass.com list etc.

I tested myself with the HK trained listener software, and found that I could hear less than 1db differences in amplitude or balance (level 8-13), and that is with non-young/fresh ears. (When I was younger I used to be even more "golden-ear'ed", of course...)

It's a blessing and a curse...

Test yourself with their software, see what you can score. If you have young ears you "should" be able to beat my scores in each category if you are true "golden-ear" material.
The tests are fully double-blind with ABX probabilities to avoid cheating.
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