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Does anyone else fret about their speakers?


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Found this recently, in a new setup for a new house… And also a new amplifier, and new speaker “cables”.

  1. Put on a CD and the sound was stronger in the right channel than the left (OMG!)
    • So I twisted the left channel knob of the pre amp up a about 1-2 degrees of rotation.
      • Thought that maybe I should use REW to check whether the speakers were outputting the same level
    • Next 2-3 CDs required the left side to go back to 12 O’Clock on the nose. 
  2. Listening to Joe Jackson’s “Stepping Out”, and the bells or triangles came out of the LHS… (OMG is my RHS tweeter blown?)
    • How can this be? Is my hearing shot in the upper registers?
    • Threw on the Cowboy Junkies “Best of”, which sounded good.
    • Put on the JJ again, and maybe the section around 2:25, seemed like it might have been left. 3:00 to 3:15 seemed left.
      • But then, like a dog with worms, I scootch slightly across the sofa and the bells seems to move either to the center or somewhat towards it.
    • I am convinced that my hearing is OK, and the speakers are working. But what is happening for clear tone bells?
      • Or is it something with harmonics and maybe the LHS if higher? And I need to measure them both…
        • Or maybe I should change amplifier channels? 
          • But then the next Joe Jackson track “Breaking us in two” has the bells in the right place again.

The sound stage is not overly wide, but it has a depth. Some albums are pretty wide, and there is no wall on the right hand side... and some recording seem less  spread out left to right.
Basically it seems pretty perfect most of the time, but then when the sound moves near a speaker it get me saying, “What is happening here?” 

Is it just that some recordings are bad? And that I sort of forgot since the system was unused for a year+ ?
(The Doug McLeod “Live in Europe” is stunningly good)

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LOL. Yeah, this is the downside of a highly-resolving system. I go through the EXACTLY same emotional rollercoaster. Throw vinyl into the mix and you have a whole 'nother set of variables to fret about. 

 

I wouldn't say "some recordings are bad". Yes, it's true. However, it think it's more fair to say "most recordings are good, but we gravitate to great recordings / production." Appreciate the recordings for what they are, because, that may be how they're supposed to be.

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3 hours ago, nrenter said:

LOL. Yeah, this is the downside of a highly-resolving system. I go through the EXACTLY same emotional rollercoaster. Throw vinyl into the mix and you have a whole 'nother set of variables to fret about. 

 

I wouldn't say "some recordings are bad". Yes, it's true. However, it think it's more fair to say "most recordings are good, but we gravitate to great recordings / production." Appreciate the recordings for what they are, because, that may be how they're supposed to be.

The better the systems gotten over the years, the more I appreciate it. My speakers are not even set up properly at the moment. I mean they’re in good shape but I don’t think I have a 4 inch window more like a 2 inch window for time in face correct. Again I’m comfortable where I’m seated and will fine-tune when someone can come help me. Years ago when I could move the speakers myself and do proper set up it was so much easier and I did concern myself with getting the perfect set up all the time. I guess the priorities now we’re just listening to more great music and appreciating the time that I have to do so. But that’s just me.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Lol! At first when I read the topic of this thread I answered "no".  Then I read through the strings and changed my answer.

About a week or two ago I had played with the toe in on my Model 2 Sig 3's. The setup was like an equilateral triangle. Then I played some new 2xDSD classical recordings. As the symphony swelled and went to full crescendo, the sound stage collapsed and sound beamed loudly at me. I had never heard my system do this before. Yes, I fretted then got over it. Decided back to the drawing board. I read about toe in my owner's manual. The advice was similar to what my dealer setup. So I reset and adjusted toe in and the soundstage stabilized as the symphony blossomed. Treble and everything else improved too.

I then started to adjust he HRS dampers for my power amp. This really affected the treble. I realized the optical output on my Sony 4k TV doesn't have the best sound, but it is optimized. Playing video discs are just fine. Some of my digital recordings aren't the best. My system has enough resolution to discern which aren't and doesn't sugar coat. I found a resampling setting on JRiver MC27 that sounds best for PCM to me. Eventually I'll break out the vinyl and start listening to favorite records. I've yet to play vinyl since my upgrades.

I am now enjoying more detail and resolution from my summer upgrades. Setup really makes a difference.

Cheers!

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Yup, set up is key.

I just came back from the 7xtrm demo at Audioconnection, and more than one attendee mentioned how following Mr. V's setup protocol let things snap into place.

 

One thing I did notice at the demo was that when I was sitting front in the 'sweet spot', I didn't like it. (And, those speakers were toed in quite a bit). It just sounded compressed to my aging ears.

If I sat one or two rows back, it seemed everything was dialed in.

I know I like reflected sound, so maybe that has something to do with it.-As well as aging, dodgy ears.

Bob

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So bummed I couldn’t make it. Just didn’t feel safe driving both ways as it was a tough weekend. Heard it was Ana awesome event. So glad for that. Was told that the system was dialed in nicely. I’ll get down to hear it in the next few weeks if Im up for it. 
 

again so glad it went great. 

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  • 10 months later...

Both AI modulus and the Jazz preamps now need a slight twist of the balance to the right.
It is subtle and slight, but noticeable, so maybe ~1dB??

Before it was to the left, so I’ll see if I swapped the RCAs and the speaker cables. (I think I might have…)

 

I was thinking it might have been the speakers… but then I read this here https://www.stereophile.com/content/primaluna-dialogue-premium-power-amplifier-page-2 … which says: 

Quote

During my listening, I did note that the left channel seemed slightly louder than the right, but I attributed that to the preamp's volume pot; in the event the amp was also at fault, that will show up in John Atkinson's measurements.

 

And I found the subwoofer XO for the 2W sub, so I can put that into the system.
I put in a new (used) DAC (RME - ADI-2 DAC fs) and it sounds pretty ok.

 

Often I have the door open… and it was ~90F yesterday and today is ~65F.
Seeing and hearing a helicopter here is pretty rare, but it occasionally happens.
I heard one the other night coming in from just outside of the left hand window, and I muted the movie… and it disappeared from existence. 😎

Edited by Holmz
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2 hours ago, Stringreen said:

..this is what we audiophiles do......how many check and recheck the vta or anti-skate on the turntable...or change the wall plate of their power socket,  elevate their cables,  change their tubes, move a picture on the wall to hear the effect,   etc., etc.

Nope, don't do it. No elevated cables, only adjust preamp balance as the tubes warm up. Turntable has been set-up correctly. Let's enjoy the music we love.

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Speaking of balance, I just had my Richard Modaffari restored & modified MAC1500 receiver over my buddy's house to diagnose a channel imbalance.

Short story, it was the driver tube!  The vintage 50 year old Telefunken 12AX7 still tests strong, but has a slight imbalance per side.   

So, I can try other vintage Telefunken tubes I have or live with it...  

My buddy told me he can see why I like my old 1967 McIntosh so much. It tested superb on the bench and the sound is glorious. 

(one pic has my shirt reflected on the dial glass)

mac 2.jpg

mac 1.jpg

Edited by DC-93
clarity
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Memories of when I first got started in audio.  I learned about Mac in 1971 at The Stereo Shop in Hartford.  It was the second audio store I even went to.  The shops owners were first cousin's with one of the first Mac partners up in Binghamton. I remember all that as a kid as that's where Mom grew up and where she met my dad.  I got to take a factory tour when I was really young. The same tech guy (Richard) is still there.  He has always had a wall of used and fixed Mac gear.  I don't even remember the speakers they used with them early on.  I do remember over the years, them using only Mac speakers with the Mac gear.  It was amazing as a kid to hear that type of sound.  

Thanks for the memory boost.

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On 9/27/2022 at 7:07 PM, GdnrBob said:

I don't see it.

And, do you use 3 in1 oil on the amp?😉

Bob

From the left side to about 107 on the dial in the second pic. Compare the glass to the top pic...

3 in 1 is very handy!  Just did some hinges in the house.  That old can is close to empty.  New ones are plastic!

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10 hours ago, Stringreen said:

..when I was just a tot, Macs had a traveling lab ...they invited all to bring their equipment to compare the specs to Mac equipment.   I brought my HK Citation solid state amp which tested with less than half the distortion and a  ruler flat output.  ...so there.

I'm sure it did. But when it did distort, it's odd order harmonics!  I know, I owned one about 15 years ago. 

Tubed Mac stuff will distort in even order harmonics.  So called "soft distortion".  Easy on the ears. 

Most of the FM and input tubes are original in this MAC1500. I changed the 7591 outputs last year using Westinghouse branded tubes. (Same as Mac used)

The original ones finally tested weak!  I rebiased them to .5v instead of .7v so they will last longer, per Richard Modafferi.   

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On 9/27/2022 at 9:02 AM, DC-93 said:

Short story, it was the driver tube!  The vintage 50 year old Telefunken 12AX7 still tests strong, but has a slight imbalance per side.   

So, I can try other vintage Telefunken tubes I have or live with it...

I run modern matched Mullards in the VTL poweramp, vintage Telekunken in the VTL preamp, vintage Bugle Boys in the Manley phono phonostage. Monitor those little rascals AND don't abuse them, they are irreplaceable. Tubes can be magical. 🙂

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The forum template would not allow a considered edit, thus, let's try this again...;

"I run modern, matched Mullard's in a vintage VTL poweramp,

Vintage, matched Telekunken's in a vintage VTL preamp,

Vintage, matched Bugle Boy's in a modern/current Manley phono phonostage.

 

You must monitor these little vintage gems, don't take them for granted, they are irreplaceable.

Appreciate them while you can as tubes can be magical. 🙂"

 

Cheers,Cody

Edited by Oregon
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Fretting about speaker placement is what you do when you aren't a millionaire. It's the best free value.

I do it every other month. It's a real real pain,  but I learn a lot from my mistakes. I also have many treatments. And so it's all synergistic.

At the moment, I have two full round tube traps in the doorway that used to have French doors. I vaguely remember this strategy from somewhere,  where sound must pass through tube traps on its way from one room to another.  It's also used in the ASC attack wall I believe, where a wall of traps with spacing between them is used to create two pressure zones, one where music is recorded and another on the other side.

It sounds pretty amazing, but then again,  I'm always finding fake magic when I'm drunk or stoned only to realize a the next day or a week later something is out of balance.

So yeah,  fret away. Only good things can happen as long as you don't have a mental breakdown

 

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3 hours ago, Ipspam said:

Fretting about speaker placement is what you do when you aren't a millionaire. It's the best free value.

There's much truth in that. Having fiddled about-with/learning speaker placement over the years, having discovered the elusive "sweet spot" for my room, and, "settling" on my equipment assemblage, I can look my maker in the eye; I enjoy my stereo, it makes me smile.

 

:^)

 

Cody

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