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P3ESR and a small amp - bass capable?

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  • #16
    Burn-in = brain adjustment time

    Originally posted by Takis View Post
    Excellent! This is the "break-in period" for every hi-fi component, that so many audiophiles believe...

    Brain adjustment...
    100% correct. There is no real physical or electrical 'burn-in' (aside from a few hours of softening of the speakers suspension). What's called 'burn-in' in audiophile circles is entirely a mental issue of becoming acclimatised to a new experience. Of that I am absolutely and utterly certain.

    Failure to accept this as fact demonstrates a basic lack of awareness of how the human mind works in all areas of observational experience, from engineering to love.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

    Comment


    • #17
      Random thoughts - how familiar are we with 'real sound' ?

      Originally posted by A.S. View Post
      .... but once our mind is absorbed with the whole experience, we lose the ability to be critical. ...
      Yes, you said it well. Once we are absorbed with the music we are not only non-critical but also shouldn't be critical. It defeats the purpose of listening to music.*

      *Also, how many audiophiles actually experience live musical sound to have a valid means of comparion?*
      That's what I have been telling. We (some of us like myself) just do not know what a live unamplified sounds like in a proper venue. We do not know how a real high quality violin, piano or a woodwind is suppose to sound. If I am a musician and my sound reaches 90% of the listeners would I want change my music to be technically correct so that I meet the standard which is only recognizable by 10% of the listeners?

      Some used to say the guitar sound in my room is like coming from nylon strings. i know they are referring to reverbs so I covered about 30 percent of the absorber in my room with aluminum sheets. The results was a "real" guitar sound even though it is colored with reverbs and I do not like the vocals due to the high reverbs but to others it was perfect.

      Honestly, despite being pointed out to me about the *reduced reverbs in the clips I still cannot hear the difference. Is it because the music played in a venue that I have no prior reference. *Can a westerner tell if a veenai or a sarod or a gamelan's sound is correct or you could readily hear the trailing reverbs? But we live in a world where Louis Armstrong's voice is gift from god despite normal humans never sound like that.

      Just my random thoughts .

      ST

      p.s. I have no idea why the asterisk appears in my posts. Must be something to do with my IPad.

      Comment


      • #18
        Topic moved to new thread ....

        I suggest that we move this topic to another separate thread as we are some way from the original theme of this one.

        I've duplicated the last few posts so we can pick-up again with ease.

        Discussion continues here ....
        Alan A. Shaw
        Designer, owner
        Harbeth Audio UK

        Comment


        • #19
          Soft clipping?

          I'm wondering if the Leben amp isn't "soft clipping" the bass signal in the manner of old valve compressors such as the Fairchild (I think it was).

          Use of this latter when mastering old singles was to give music more "punch" but without sounding obviously "squashed." I've used re-built Quad II power amps with P3ESR's and although the sound was lovely, it's not as purposeful or "strong" as it is with a more powerful amp of high quality.

          The "clipping performance" of many low powered valve amps is what makes them usable at all these days I think.

          Comment


          • #20
            Staying away from bass boost!

            Originally posted by DSRANCE View Post
            I'm wondering if the Leben amp isn't "soft clipping" the bass signal in the manner of old valve compressors such as the Fairchild (I think it was).

            Use of this latter when mastering old singles was to give music more "punch" but without sounding obviously "squashed." I've used re-built Quad II power amps with P3ESR's and although the sound was lovely, it's not as purposeful or "strong" as it is with a more powerful amp of high quality.

            The "clipping performance" of many low powered valve amps is what makes them usable at all these days I think.
            Don't know mate on the soft clipping issue, but listened to the same Cold Play tracks yesterday without the Bass Boost but the music did sound distorted, I'm thinking its the recording because my usual audiophile stuff sounded just fine!

            Anyway bass or no bass , I will stay away from the Bass switch for now !

            Comment


            • #21
              Possibility of woofer damage?

              I have a question about "woofer damage" as discussed above.

              Would playing a bass heavy piece of music, such a those by Christian McBride, at a moderately loud volume cause "woofer damage" to the P3ESR?
              Thanks

              Comment


              • #22
                Bass power

                Originally posted by yankel View Post
                I have a question about "woofer damage" as discussed above.

                Would playing a bass heavy piece of music, such a those by Christian McBride, at a moderately loud volume cause "woofer damage" to the P3ESR?
                Thanks
                I don't know the music in question, but I assume that it is modern pop music. What do you think is the answer? What does common sense say to you?
                Alan A. Shaw
                Designer, owner
                Harbeth Audio UK

                Comment


                • #23
                  An audio salesman's torture track?

                  Well I heard a track from the bassist Christian McBride. It was used by an audio salesman to demonstrate to ability of a certain bookshelf speaker to handle low frequency.

                  It sounded to me that the bass was loud and actually potentially damaging to the woofer as I listened to it. Almost buzzing in nature. It sounded to me that it was something that I would not want to play on any speaker that I owned. The track was Christian McBride playing "Night Train."

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    QUAD tilt

                    Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                    What Peter Walker didn't know about the speaker/room interface isn't worth knowing.

                    >
                    The Quad Tone controls do provide some basslift as well as cut, but it is very carefully crafted

                    {Moderator's comment: Alan's already plotted these tone control curves. The site you link to in this now edited post was unwilling to permit a link from HUG so he measured the curves himself. The site subsequently profusely apologised when they appreciated the HUG request was genuine.}

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Double bass v. small speaker

                      Originally posted by yankel View Post
                      Well I heard a track from the bassist Christian McBride. It was used by an audio salesman to demonstrate to ability of a certain bookshelf speaker to handle low frequency.

                      It sounded to me that the bass was loud and actually potentially damaging to the woofer as I listened to it. Almost buzzing in nature. It sounded to me that it was something that I would not want to play on any speaker that I owned. The track was Christian McBride playing "Night Train."
                      OK, I found a picture of the album cover here.

                      I cannot comment on the specifics of the demo you heard (because I wasn't there) but it sounds to me as of the speakers were being played too loud. A mini-monitor, no - actually any speaker, has a performance capability which is absolutely related to the electrical power input, the frequencies that are contained in whatever music is thrown at them and their electrical to acoustic conversion efficiency, typically around 1%: yes, that bad: worse than a coal-fired steam train.

                      Take a look at the picture I've made, roughly to scale. Let's assume (correctly) that low frequencies are omnidirectional, and logically (and actually) they will be reproduced equally by both loudspeakers. That gives the benefit of doubt to the speaker because the burden of reproducing the bass notes is equally shared by the left and right speakers. I've taken the album cover and superimposed two 5" woofers of the sort you'd find in the P3, P3ESR, LS3/5a and many other small, high quality hi-fi speakers. Every part of the double bass structure (outlined in yellow, and about 30cms deep) is set into sympathetic resonance by those long, powerful strings, so much so that you can clearly see them in motion from one or two metres away.

                      What must be very obvious is that the instrument itself has a tremendous sound generating capacity that will fill the hall, and even two, tiny little 5" bass drivers have a radiating surface area perhaps only one fiftieth (or less) of that of the double bass (which itself radiates sound from the front, back and side panels) and the air volume inside the instrument is also vastly grater than the volume of a small speaker cabinet. Taken together it is in inescapable fact that to effortlessly reproduce that instrument at a life-like volume and without distortion, it's probably going to need many pairs of small speaker working together or a few, huge cinema-size woofers in suitably large cabinets.

                      How can we get anything even approaching a satisfyingly "lifelike" sound at home from two small speakers then? What do you think?
                      >
                      Attached Files
                      Alan A. Shaw
                      Designer, owner
                      Harbeth Audio UK

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Another rethoric question?

                        It is possible, for a Harbeth user, to get more from their speakers in terms of sound quality than the designer intentions?

                        Or Alan get the most out of the speakers and then users trying to reach that point?
                        Cheers
                        m

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Rephrased question

                          Originally posted by micron View Post
                          It is possible, for a Harbeth user, to get more from their speakers in terms of sound quality than the designer intentions? Or Alan get the most out of the speakers and then users trying to reach that point?
                          Cheers
                          How can you get 'more out of' what is by far the weakest element of the hi-fi replay chain? Speakers are so poor by any objective measure that they set a performance limit on the whole chain. Sad but true.

                          The question really should be 'with the best of modern speakers with their %%% of distortion, coloration, limited power output, non-flat response, erratic dispersion, poor phase response, power compression and inefficiency is there any point in spending much time, money and anxiety upgrading any component in the preceding hi-fi chain beyond a certain standard of excellence?.

                          I'm not proud of the way things are believe me. A generation from now I hope that speakers will be replaced by brain electrodes and then we can really hear music as it was in the studio. But until then, we have to do our very best with the materials and tools available to make best possible quality electrodynamic speakers. There is absolutely no way you can improve the performance of any speaker regardless of shape, size or brand beyond the performance of an identical pair used by anyone else anywhere on earth. If you could it would be like saying that my Canon EOS-7D SLR is capable of better, sharper, more detailed images than your Canon EOS-7D SLR. It can't be. The performance is sealed into the camera - or speakers - and no influence on performance can be applied by any external conditions except voodoo. Or kiddology.

                          What really sets a performance maxima for reproduced sound is not the equipment or the speakers or any other part of the home set-up but the recording microphones, where they were placed and the acoustics of the hall and of course the listening environment. We at home have no influence over the studio variables at all, and we know that commercial microphones are a long way from being perfect transducers: they have the same problems as loudspeakers, as they would. They are mirror transducers. The mic converts motion into electricity and the speaker electricity into motion. No surprise then they they are both bedevilled by very similar engineering challenges. There is no logical reason to spend one cent more on reproduction equipment at home than the technical limitations of the microphone will justify.

                          No amount of money thrown at home hi-fi gear will 'upgrade' or revitalise a dud recording. A 78 can never, ever, sound like a CD not even on a million dollar system. Your system can only be as good as the inherent capabilities of the weakest part of the chain, anywhere along the chain. If that weak point is the microphones, then the best speakers in the world won't counterbalance their deficiencies. If the weak point is the room or speakers - it's likely to be - then that's the performance ceiling. My P3ERSs used on a budget amp are no more or less capable than your pair on a huge, expensive amp; you won't 'reveal' some magic I can't. I've got the full fat real deal here, just like you have.
                          Alan A. Shaw
                          Designer, owner
                          Harbeth Audio UK

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Further question

                            Suppose you are going to travel around the world to hear your creations, working in various homes/studious and play the same records used in design process , on various setups. What would you expect? Could you be amazed in a positive way and discover that there is a potential in your creations still undiscovered?
                            Cheers
                            m

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              A father talks

                              Originally posted by micron View Post
                              Suppose you are going to travel around the world to hear your creations, working in various homes/studious and play the same records used in design process , on various setups. What would you expect? Could you be amazed in a positive way and discover that there is a potential in your creations still undiscovered?
                              Nope. Not possible. I know my children inside out. Unlike the consumer and just like a good father, I know their strengths, weaknesses, good points, not so good points, potential upgrade paths for future developments .... everything. Whenever I listen to my children sing, I have one question in my mind: if I created another baby could I make it sing better. Maybe I'll attempt it, maybe not. There are no obvious loose ends and I don't undertake a new design unless I truly feel there is a 95% chance of complete success.

                              A factual answer to your question is that I don't hear the speakers, I hear the room in which they play. You have adapted to that room, and your brain has done a brilliant job of hearing through the terrible sonic influence of the room to hear only music. I would need time to do that. Days, weeks maybe. So I don't hear greatness, I hear compromise, because almost nobody is willing to treat their listening room (with absorbers) to really remove the room sound from the home audio sound. So, if I want to hear my speakers as I intended, that can only be in my reference space at The Old Barn, using a selection of serviced but long obsolete British amplifiers, budget 6-disc CD player, cheapest speaker cable I can buy, cheap interconnects that come free with audio equipment, no power conditioner, no exotic connectors, just a stack of beautiful music discs and a cup or three of fresh tea. The tea and the discs are the most important elements.

                              My personal dream would be to visit an air conditioned listening room in some far away, exotic country where money had been invested not in fancy equipment, but in room treatment. Now that would impress me. I have been in one or two (the best, by far, was in Indonesia, a listening room the size and volume of a western house) and the sound was breathtaking; the speakers were not Harbeths. The listening room is hugely important.
                              Alan A. Shaw
                              Designer, owner
                              Harbeth Audio UK

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Unison

                                I am using the P3ESR's with a Unison Research Simply Italy, 12wpc and sounds punchy with good bass. Trust your ears!

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