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Thread: Different Definitions of Quality

  1. #1
    Senior Member Ian Mackenzie's Avatar
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    Different Definitions of Quality

    Some say that in the world as it stands at the end of 2011, if both are properly set up, a $10k Pass amp will be markedly lower in fidelity than a $2k A/V receiver. Why? The latter will have sophisticated and useful room correction processing, such as Audyssey MultEQ XT32. Considering this is the JBL forum we're talking about fairly efficient speakers. A 96dB/W/m speaker (like my 12" Tannoys) doesn't need a kilowatt in a domestic living room. 100W is more than enough.


    This post was edited as it poses a good question, but as it was originally posted it could be considered an inflammatory attack on a fellow forum member.


    Widget

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    Senior Member Lee in Montreal's Avatar
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    I think that some parameters about what makes sound hi-fi may not have been taken in account. It goes along some thoughts from the thread about taking measurements. Some amps are fast, others are slow. Some are blurry, some are well defined. Room correction will not fix that. Separation, depth, imaging, etc, cannot be fixed with room correction devices. Sure, sound can be pleasing, but t doesn't mean it will be a proper rendition of the original recording. Bose's counter top systems would be a good exemple of crappy, yet "pleasing" sound.

    Basically, a $10k Mark Levinson amp offers more than just a flat frequency response...

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    Senior Member jerry_rig's Avatar
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    I routinely alternate powering my 96dB efficient speakers off of my high-end amps (using a Pass Labs XP-20 pre) and a $4K Denon AV receiver with Audyssey. No one would suggest, after careful listening, that the Denon is in the same league. As much as we'd like it to be the case, it just ain't so.

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    Senior Member richluvsound's Avatar
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    I bet Papa is in tears .... . I'm now on my second Pass Labs amp , XA 160 mono blocks and don't look back with regret !

    I have heard and owned few amps, I have owned and used room correction -NONE OF IT MASS PRODUCED .... With my present set up I don't feel the need for room correction. I didn't like the the digital tone - sterilised sound .My speakers are efficient enough not to need volumes high enough to excite the room .


    Rich

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jerry_rig View Post
    I routinely alternate powering my 96dB efficient speakers off of my high-end amps (using a Pass Labs XP-20 pre) and a $4K Denon AV receiver with Audyssey. No one would suggest, after careful listening, that the Denon is in the same league. As much as we'd like it to be the case, it just ain't so.
    I sell Denon, Marantz etc. AVRs and pre-pros... none of them sound as good as a decent '70s two channel rig from Audio Research, Threshold, etc. These modern AVRs and processors do a lot of amazing things, but for pure audio enjoyment, I doubt anyone would pick one of them over an all analog high end piece. That said, I did do an Audyssey calibration for a customer who had such a bad room and terrible speakers that the calibration took it up to a tolerable level... the best analog gear in the world couldn't have helped here.


    Widget

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Mackenzie View Post
    A 96dB/W/m speaker (like my 12" Tannoys) doesn't need a kilowatt in a domestic living room.
    Which Tannoy model do you have?

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    Senior Member Ian Mackenzie's Avatar
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    Not me, see other thread on cables.

    Ian

  8. #8
    Senior Member Ian Mackenzie's Avatar
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    > if both are properly set up, a $10k Pass amp will be markedly lower in fidelity than a $2k A/V receiver.

    I have a new Pioneer Home threatre amp 83 model 2nd from the top.

    While the in built equ and room correction is not exectly the same as Audyssey MultEQ XT32 the end use is the same.

    The intent being to improve muli channel audio in the the context of a HT experience

    I have used both in the same room withe following result.

    With the Pioneer following the Eq routine there is no requestion it improves the movies audio sound track.

    On audio cd play back switched in and out the audio quality is effected in a way that is difficult to quantify but I prefer the EQ off and overall the experience is very good

    With the Pass labs set running stand alone there is an impovement in overall fidelity that quite obvious.















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    Widget may have answered this in his post, but I thought I would ask the question anyway. What if you were to combine a modern higher quality home theater pre-pro with a good main amp for 2 channel and an av amp for the surround stuff. I was thinking of something along the lines of the new Marantz, Anthem, Mcintosh pre-pro. This way you could combine the room correction with a high quality amp for 2 channel (as well as the home theater stuff for those of us that are trying to do both).

    You would have to think that at some point, technology would allow the two paths (digital room correction vs pure analog path) to cross, or at least come close. Maybe technology isn't at that point, but logically you would have to think that it will be possible. Especially when you consider that my room (along with most other folks) aren't sonically perfect, that using room correction may be a better way to go than a pure analog path. Maybe this isn't practicle yet.

    I'm been thinking about this lately, and was looking to demo some various stuff and see what i found. If i could find a nice easy to use, family friendly, pre-pro to do it this way, and only sacarfice a minimal amount in stereo audio quality, I would seriously consider it.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts.
    Brett

  10. #10
    Senior Member Ian Mackenzie's Avatar
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    What I did find was that some mild room treatment the apparent audio playback reproduction of both the Pioneer and the Passlabs improved beyond differences made by the Pioneer room correction.

    In terms of power the Pioneer is 190 watts per channel 6 ohms and the Pass labs 250 watts channel 8 ohms.

    I have not used a 100 watt per channel amp since burning out some tweeters about 10 years ago.

    100 watts per channel does not seem to cut it on the 2245H woofers. Hence the statement would appear invalid

    In John Eargle's book Sound Recording that calculated minimum power in an example of a JBl monitor is 150 watts per channel bi amped

    On the assumption that 1000 watts Passlabs amps were used I would need to install additional air conditioning to evacuate the 600 watts of thermal heat per 1000 mono block.

    Aside from reducing the risk of clipping and subsequent damage to voice coils more power brings with it a robust and life like reverbant quality to the entire sound stage.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Ian Mackenzie's Avatar
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    Brett great post.

    I was asking the same vexing question when I recently built a new home.

    In my own way I rationalised the question by deciding on the end useage of the room and equipment.

    I tend to use my rumpus room for movies and Blue Ray music concerts.

    The Pioneer and 55 inch Led Samsung is a no brainer for convenience and it does quite a good job.

    For more intimate and more sophisticated playback of analogue recordings where the focus is on analogue only I decided to move the Pass labs gear to the lounge room with the vista view of french doors and adjoining alfresco outdoor dining area.

    P

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    Quote Originally Posted by brett_s View Post
    Widget may have answered this in his post, but I thought I would ask the question anyway. What if you were to combine a modern higher quality home theater pre-pro with a good main amp for 2 channel and an av amp for the surround stuff. I was thinking of something along the lines of the new Marantz, Anthem, Mcintosh pre-pro. This way you could combine the room correction with a high quality amp for 2 channel (as well as the home theater stuff for those of us that are trying to do both).
    I do this. My AVR has pre outs, so I run FL/FR as pre outs to an input of my 2 ch preamp, and the center and rear surrounds off the amp outs of the AVR. When watching a movie, just get the 2 ch pre amp level set and use the volume of the AVR to control the whole shebang. I can then just switch inputs on the 2 ch pre amp to listen to albums, CDs, digital, TV, whatever.

    This makes it seamless between TV, BluRay/DVD, albums, CDs, digital media, everything.

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    I have a Yamaha HT system and I have always run it with outboard power amps for the subs and the fronts. Surrounds and rears are run from the yamaha as there is not a lot going on in those channels. Just running separate power amps makes a huge difference in fidelity jus from the simple fact that there is a heap more power to drive the system accurately. Now I am about to do away with the big amps and I am building a three way amplifier and crossover for each cabinet in the system. These will be placed at the speaker cabinets and I may even drive them wirelessly. Interesting project.

    Allan.

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    I was expecting more thoughts or debate on this. Not quite as many as in the "high cost wire and cord" thread, but at least a couple more.

    Is technology just not this far along yet?

    Brett

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brett_s View Post
    Is technology just not this far along yet?
    It is, but precious few consumers care enough so the offerings that are full featured surround capable and sonically excellent are few and extremely costly... even the $35K Mark Levinson No. 502 which sounds very good, probably doesn't sound as good at "simple" two channel reproduction as the $10K No.326S. I'd like to do the comparison, but we no longer have the No. 326S in stock. I hope we get another one so that we can compare.

    I'm sure the prices would drop considerably if high performance sonically superior processors were in demand and mass produced. On the other hand, simply feeding the output of a surround processor into the Aux input of a high quality preamp isn't that big of a hassle and keeps things pure when you want purity.


    As for opinions... I don't think gobs of watts are all that important. AVR's amps are generally pretty poor sounding and using an outboard amp will help, but I think the line level and DAC circuits are where most of the grain and general ick comes from.

    Widget

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