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Thread: So, When Do You Know Your System sounds really good?

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    Senior Member maxwedge's Avatar
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    So, When Do You Know Your System sounds really good?

    I make all these changes to my system from day to day or so and usually, with me anyway, I think "ok, well...not sure if it made any difference".

    When I notice that it sounds really good (or bad??!) is usually the time when I'm not paying any attention and messing around with something else. I think to myself "damn, that sounds really good!"

    I also play different types of music to get a better idea of how my system is performing.
    I'm mostly a punk/hard rock type but I like playing some jazz now and then, as an example, because a lot jazz has solid clean sounds and I can evaluate my speakers better. Funk too...

    Just wondering....

    EDIT: I just have to say that I posted this at 4:26 today and that's a 426 Maxwedge in my avatar, LOL. Weird

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    Senior Member SEAWOLF97's Avatar
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    I know its not convenient , but you should only make 1 change at a time before re-evaluating ...otherwise you dont know which made the improvement ..

    make notes ....label leads ...small details can make big changes.
    Idealism is what precedes experience, and cynicism is what follows


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    Senior Member maxwedge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SEAWOLF97 View Post
    I know its not convenient , but you should only make 1 change at a time before re-evaluating ...otherwise you dont know which made the improvement ..

    make notes ....label leads ...small details can make big changes.
    Yeah I agree but I don't always follow it in audio, although I should.
    I used to be into overclocking PCs for about 5 years straight and you have to follow that rule 100%. Make 1 change and test, then another and test. What a waste of money that hobby is! Still have a high end PC though.

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    Senior Member SEAWOLF97's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxwedge View Post
    Make 1 change and test, then another and test.
    yeah, I learned that while working at Intel.
    Idealism is what precedes experience, and cynicism is what follows


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    Senior Member MikeBrewster77's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxwedge View Post
    EDIT: I just have to say that I posted this at 4:26 today and that's a 426 Maxwedge in my avatar, LOL. Weird
    Glad you didn't post at 4:20 ... I can only imagine what weird coincidence that might have evoked. Nonetheless, a great motor if there ever was one, but I digress from the question at hand...

    Quote Originally Posted by maxwedge View Post
    So When Do Know When Your System sounds really good?
    When I'm not thinking about whether or not my system sounds good!

    While that's a bit of a tongue-in-cheek answer, there's a large element of truth in it for me. I know that my system sounds good when I'm able to fully focus on the music itself, rather than the reproduction of it. When I'm not thinking about things like depth, image, tone, timbre, soundstage, clarity, resolution, etc., but am actually wholly engrossed by the music emanating from the tools used to produce it, then things are good. After all, that's all this stuff really is -- mechanisms to achieve an end.

    I also like to go out every once in a while and "cleanse my palate" by listening to other systems, or actual live (un-amplified, if at all possible) music. The systems I try to listen to are the TOTL I can audition, even if they're unobtanium; it at least gives me a frame of reference for the apex of the art, and allows me to identify deficiencies I may be able to correct in my own system/room.

    Other than that, I try not to obsess over it. It's a fine line between enjoying the music, and enjoying the mechanics of its' reproduction. I find more enjoyment in keeping myself primarily focused on the music side of the equation...

  6. #6
    Senior Member maxwedge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeBrewster77 View Post
    Glad you didn't post at 4:20 ... I can only imagine what weird coincidence that might have evoked. Nonetheless, a great motor if there ever was one, but I digress from the question at hand...
    I guess I'm dense! I don't get the 4:20 part LOL. The only thing I can think of, if it's automotive, that's close is a 421 Pontiac.

  7. #7
    Senior Member maxwedge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeBrewster77 View Post

    When I'm not thinking about whether or not my system sounds good!

    While that's a bit of a tongue-in-cheek answer, there's a large element of truth in it for me. I know that my system sounds good when I'm able to fully focus on the music itself, rather than the reproduction of it. When I'm not thinking about things like depth, image, tone, timbre, soundstage, clarity, resolution, etc., but am actually wholly engrossed by the music emanating from the tools used to produce it, then things are good. After all, that's all this stuff really is -- mechanisms to achieve an end.

    I also like to go out every once in a while and "cleanse my palate" by listening to other systems, or actual live (un-amplified, if at all possible) music. The systems I try to listen to are the TOTL I can audition, even if they're unobtanium; it at least gives me a frame of reference for the apex of the art, and allows me to identify deficiencies I may be able to correct in my own system/room.

    Other than that, I try not to obsess over it. It's a fine line between enjoying the music, and enjoying the mechanics of its' reproduction. I find more enjoyment in keeping myself primarily focused on the music side of the equation...
    That's a good answer and that's what it's all about, enjoying the music.

    I went out to a club last Saturday to see a band that I thought I would like but the sound in the club was just terrible. Still liked the band but it was a bummer night mostly because of booming bass. I think it was mostly a room problem but I'm sure the booming could have been reduced.

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    Senior Member Ducatista47's Avatar
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    I couldn't agree more that live listening to unamplified music is a touchstone with no replacement.

    The criteria I use to detect success is actually the absence of something. If nothing happens to take me out of the experience, that was a great sounding session. It is exactly like watching a motion picture. Of course the scene is not really in front of you, but you buy into the illusion or you don't. It is called the willing suspension of disbelief. Sometimes poor acting or filmmaking jerks you out and you are again looking at a screen instead of immersed in the scene, as if physically there.

    I think that is why so many experienced digital source listeners don't enjoy vinyl. On errant pop or click and you jump out of the experience. Long time vinyl listeners have learned to ignore the sounds, like most musicians are not startled by finger noise on guitar strings. It all goes to show how subjective and personal the listening experience is. The mind is always capable of filling in the missing fidelity if you don't listen like an engineer - or an audio equipment hobbyist. I have been listening for many decades, and love music. So I can become immersed in an mp3 of a scratchy 1930s record.

    Clark
    Information is not Knowledge; Knowledge is not Wisdom

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    Quote Originally Posted by maxwedge View Post
    I guess I'm dense! I don't get the 4:20 part LOL.
    4:20 is a reference to Marijuana. There are many interpretations of the meaning but my earliest recollection is April 20, which was considered the beginning of the outdoor planting season in NoCal.

    Bob W

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    Senior Member maxwedge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeBrewster77
    Glad you didn't post at 4:20 ... I can only imagine what weird coincidence that might have evoked. Nonetheless, a great motor if there ever was one, but I digress from the question at hand...
    Quote Originally Posted by maxwedge View Post
    I guess I'm dense! I don't get the 4:20 part LOL. The only thing I can think of, if it's automotive, that's close is a 421 Pontiac.
    Quote Originally Posted by rgwalker View Post
    4:20 is a reference to Marijuana. There are many interpretations of the meaning but my earliest recollection is April 20, which was considered the beginning of the outdoor planting season in NoCal.

    Bob W
    Yeah, I did some searching and found all that.
    My pot smoking days are over because my job is much more important to me.
    I have about 10 years to go for retirement and then???

  11. #11
    Senior Member jcrobso's Avatar
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    When you go to a hi-fi store and,,,,

    Quote Originally Posted by maxwedge View Post
    I make all these changes to my system from day to day or so and usually, with me anyway, I think "ok, well...not sure if it made any difference".

    When I notice that it sounds really good (or bad??!) is usually the time when I'm not paying any attention and messing around with something else. I think to myself "damn, that sounds really good!"

    I also play different types of music to get a better idea of how my system is performing.
    I'm mostly a punk/hard rock type but I like playing some jazz now and then, as an example, because a lot jazz has solid clean sounds and I can evaluate my speakers better. Funk too...

    Just wondering....

    EDIT: I just have to say that I posted this at 4:26 today and that's a 426 Maxwedge in my avatar, LOL. Weird
    ,,,you realize that you would rather be at home listing to your JBL speakers.
    I rarely go out and listen to speakers any more, no point, I can't afford the BIG $$$ new JBLs and lower cost ones don't compare to my vintage ones. I'm not saying that the newer ones don't sound good, I do have some for other rooms in the house. I was a FRYs a few weeks ago, to get new HD for a PC and stopped by the "high end" room.
    The room was populated with mostly Polk Audio and few others and one set of JBLs latest tower offerings with dual 8" woofers. Since there was no one else in the room I decided to play around a little. Didn't take me long, the JBL still sounded the best.
    If you can remain calm in a crises, you don't understand the situation!

  12. #12
    Senior Member maxwedge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcrobso View Post
    ,,,you realize that you would rather be at home listing to your JBL speakers.
    I rarely go out and listen to speakers any more, no point, I can't afford the BIG $$$ new JBLs and lower cost ones don't compare to my vintage ones. I'm not saying that the newer ones don't sound good, I do have some for other rooms in the house. I was a FRYs a few weeks ago, to get new HD for a PC and stopped by the "high end" room.
    The room was populated with mostly Polk Audio and few others and one set of JBLs latest tower offerings with dual 8" woofers. Since there was no one else in the room I decided to play around a little. Didn't take me long, the JBL still sounded the best.
    Nothing wrong with Polk, I have 7 of them (2 cheapies!) for my HT system. The center channel is the CSi A6, nice speaker, and I have four of the RTi A3's for the rear surrounds. The cheapies are at L&R for the family. I have my big JBL's there for me!

  13. #13
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    When it sounds and feels like the Empire Leicester Square, it sounds right! I’ve got a good sound memory when it comes to film sound which unlike music doesn’t have any reference what so ever!

    Reference means that you have an image accompanying the sound or sound accompanying the image. With music you just have music there is no visual reference its like blind listening!

    I can pick some references from the films I’ve seen at the local before I was given the extraordinary JBL gift at the Empire with its original JBL THX spec to its newest JBL THX spec.


    When Sulu is blown from the helm in STAR TREK II the wrath of Kahn the Foley impact of body falling to the floor was felt with sheer realistic impact from 20 meters away, centre/line of the cinema in the circle.

    At the local the feel of it was just not there? Maybe the loudest moment might have been felt as tickle but I don’t recall the film ever being as felt, like the Empire did it for 70mm Dolby Stereo A type 6channel magnetic.

    In the home I can get the feel! But the rest of the mix goes haywire it gets way too loud on the lows and ether needs special EQ or some audio compressors to tame the loudness down a few db as high SPL db isn’t good for the ears over long periods of time.

    Even the phaser shoot at one of the Regular1 scientists was felt in the Empire at home its more of shrilly high end! I can see what’s happening on the RTA I can even see more on Spectrum Lap waterfalls moving the scale higher up for bass mid range.

    Even the ending of the film rumbled deeply as Spock narrates “Space the final Frontier” the James Horner score in most homes I bet it plays softly. It should rumble the room but never getting once out of hand.

    Empire’s original JBL 13KW THX was designed to play beyond the most rumbling of soundtracks.

    I think audio compressors is the answer to cut around the issues in small living room where I can’t accommodate

    JBL 4675-A even if x3 was given to me for free! I just can’t fit them in the room! Large subs yes as smaller bookshelf compact yet made of real plastic can be easily installed to manage a cinema like sound in tiny room.

    I remember Earthquake (1974) when (George Kennedy) Slade punched me, at the local ABC cinema screen1 in Sensurround. he punch was felt in the chest mildly after Sensurround was uninstalled the cinema sounded like it was back in the 1927 with a Vitaphone running the entire sound system.

    Dolby Stereo 70mm only sounded a bit louder but the richness of the Foley music and effects was diminished.

    So Empire is JBL reference listening sound system to me that says, huh this is how its suppose to sound and feel like! What I’ve been missing at the local for years…sigh

    I only did another EQ balance early today. I aimed to cut peaks and get the LCR flat and smooth with what I have on hand. I’m still waiting for my second 1/3 31 band EQ to turn up around mid April.

    The GEQ3102 is handling the centre channel at the moment while some bands on the DCX2496 centre on bands that I can only see on my Technics SH-8055. I’d have to wait till I get a DEQ2496 to act as only RTA I might use it for a few channels but chances are most of the EQ will be done with FBQ3102, due to fact the DEQ2496 costs nearly £300.00 and I have 11 channels to EQ! The FBQ3102 comes in at £87.79 that sounds good enough!

    I’m using the FBQ2496 as left/right EQ till the FBQ3102 arrives then I’ll place it back on the subs and might by x2 more so I can aim for an even extreme flatter response, by daisy chaining or looping the FBQ2496 together as 120 band EQ and that’s just for one sub in the chin for LFE.1 I’d need more of the same for the LCRS sub bass extension.

    Behringer makes some affordable audio compressors a x4 channel model Multicom PRO-XL MDX4600 I need at least 16channels for my set up. I'll be going for my first unit sometime around late this month when the shipment arrives in the UK from China in your hand. Nothing wrong with China!

    So if you have truly honest favourite cinema with JBL THX or maybe HPS-4000? I bet you must strive to meet the same levels or near enough I mean, I doubt the neighbours would like cinematic SPL db blasting from your home during day or night!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ducatista47 View Post
    I couldn't agree more that live listening to unamplified music is a touchstone with no replacement.

    The criteria I use to detect success is actually the absence of something. If nothing happens to take me out of the experience, that was a great sounding session. It is exactly like watching a motion picture. Of course the scene is not really in front of you, but you buy into the illusion or you don't. It is called the willing suspension of disbelief. Sometimes poor acting or filmmaking jerks you out and you are again looking at a screen instead of immersed in the scene, as if physically there.

    I think that is why so many experienced digital source listeners don't enjoy vinyl. On errant pop or click and you jump out of the experience. Long time vinyl listeners have learned to ignore the sounds, like most musicians are not startled by finger noise on guitar strings. It all goes to show how subjective and personal the listening experience is. The mind is always capable of filling in the missing fidelity if you don't listen like an engineer - or an audio equipment hobbyist. I have been listening for many decades, and love music. So I can become immersed in an mp3 of a scratchy 1930s record.

    Clark
    Well Put!

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