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Seeking advice regarding low-volume listening.

996 Views 3 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Piquet

My first post here!

I'm coming from a headphone setup and I'm used to getting a nice full sound at low volume levels through my headphones with the help of my equiliser, a Behringer DEQ2496. I listen to music 95% of the time at levels no louder than 70-75dB. The rest of the time, I turn the music up to 'feel' it a just bit more.

I'm now going to be buying my first speaker setup for my very small, but partially acoustically treated room of 2.8m x 3m room.

I'm assuming all floorstanders are too large for my room so I've stuck to auditioning bookshelf speakers only. After testing a few, my selection is down to four speakers (in order of preference):

1. Vienna Acoustics Haydn Grand

2. Dynaudio Focus 110

3. Opera Mezza

4. Q Acoustics 1010

Of the four speakers, the Haydn Grand is or the Focus 110 are IMHO head and shoulders my preferred choice above the Mezza and 1010. However, the problem with the Haydn and Focus 110 is that at the low volumes (65-70dB perhaps, 7-8 o'clock on the volume dial), the (apparently capable amps) at the audition seem to lose control of the speakers. The bass becomes weak and most significantly, the mids become 'wobbly' and inconsistant. My guess is that the amps are not putting out enough power to properly control the drivers. I know about the Fletcher-Musomething curves but I'm sure the 'wobbly' mids can't be solved with my DEQ because it's probably distortion instead of just a simple tone problem.

By contrast, the Mezza and 1010 offer a full, controlled sound at the low volume levels I playback at. The downside is that they lack dynamics and are not as fun especially when the volume is turned up.

Well my query is this: Would my low-volume 'wobble/distortion' problem with the Haydn and Focus 110 be solved if I:

1. Attenuated my source signal from the conventional 2V output to something less

2. Compensate the reduced source signal by turning up the volume dial of the amp so as to bring the speakers back to 65-70dB? Because the amp is at a higher output level, does this mean it's 'gripping' the speaker better for a more accurate performance? Afterall, if I turn up the volume to play orchestra pieces with peak loudness of 90dB and with quiet passages of music dropping to 65dB, won't these quiet passages not be distorted?

Hope you get what I'm getting at! Please let me know if I need to put my words in a more simple sense!
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Help please? Have I posted this thread in the wrong section?

A rephrase: To stop the Haydn Grands from distorting and producing an inconsistant mid-range at very low volumes (65-70dB), can I attenuate my source signal and then increase the volume dial of the amplifier so that the speakers are back to 65-70 dB? This will drive the speakers better because of the added driving power of the amp right?
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A preamp or receiver that has a parametric equalizer will accomplish the same end. However, personally, I would continue my search for a suitable speaker that does not have these issues.
Thank you for the response! I've bought the Haydn Grands and did what I mentioned: (Reduce source signal, increase amp power) to get the spakers to be more controlled and even at low volumes with some tone adjustments too.

I do have a parametric equiliser and will use it more when I get a microphone to do RTA... Thanks again for the response!
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