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Thread: Liking the wrong sound? High intesity over natural sound?

  1. #1
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    Default Liking the wrong sound? High intesity over natural sound?

    I just wanted to share what I think may shed some light on some listeners preference.

    I took my 12 year son to my friend's place to listen a few tracks of his favorites. He made a very astute statement that took me by surprise. He recognizes that the sound of vocals over Harbeth as very natural. While the sound over Dali speakers to be slightly high pitched (he probably meant that to be colored) but he somehow preferred that colored sound despite he acknowledged that it wasn't natural like Harbeth. He was more influenced with the hard hitting bass. His description of Harbeth is as gentle and Dali'a as aggressive.

    How and why he preferred a sound that he was never exposed to before is shocking to me *because he was exposed to natural unamplified music since his childhood.

    Could it be that it is humans natural habit to like something to be different then we are usually accustomed to?* No wonder it is common for some pop songs to use voice box to alter the natural voice.

    ST

  2. #2
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    Jan 2011
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    Default Some listeners just prefer Kodachrome

    It's fascinating to see peoples' reactions to different audio reproduction systems. The other night, we had some friends over who were keen to do some listening. We had them listen to three different systems. Everyone agreed that the Harbeth/McIntosh system provided the most realistic sound reproduction. What surprised me was that some of those who recognized the superior neutrality of the Harbeth system found more visceral enjoyment in the DIY single ended 6L6 amp with the high efficiency FRD speakers and the "Kodachrome" character that pairing imposes on the sound more.

    If you're an avid photographer, you'll recognize that your new digital camera reproduces color much more accurately than your old Leica loaded with Kodachrome. Of course, you appreciate the digital camera's neutrality and accuracy. But the colorations and character that Kodachrome brought to a scene were also something to enjoy. There's a place for both.

  3. #3
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    Default A curious switch from 'BBC sound' to a sonic torture ....

    Some years back I came across this guy who made the switch from Spendors to Japanese fullrange spks & has never looked back since. He told me he initially wanted to upgrade from Spendor to Harbeth but the moment he heard the fullrange spks, there was simply no turning back. Up till today, i am still baffled by his decision to move away from the BBC sound to something so vastly different.

    He invited me to listen to his fullrange spks & within minutes, i told him to stop the music as it was simply unbearable for me. Vocals & strings esp were deemed as totally unacceptable. Too thin, nasal, screechy & very very shouty. Though the fullrange spks sounded lively, open & very transparent, but it's too coloured in the midband to even sound realistic.

    I am really amazed at those who can listen to such spks playing rock music at elevated SPLs over extended sessions.

  4. #4
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    Default A puppy at heart ...

    Quote Originally Posted by STHLS5 View Post
    ....How and why he preferred a sound that he was never exposed to before is shocking to me *because he was exposed to natural unamplified music since his childhood.

    Could it be that it is humans natural habit to like something to be different then we are usually accustomed to?* No wonder it is common for some pop songs to use voice box to alter the natural voice.
    It is strange isn't it. I wonder if this is a generational thing.

    I'm reminded of hearing quality audio after many months away from it just listening on transistor radios or similar. It sounds so soft, so distant, so remote. It's only after attending a concert - even a small one in a church at Christmas - that you appreciate that the best seat in the house is definitely not in the front row where everything is overblown and superficially exciting but further back where the acoustic and the performers blend harmoniously.

    But just as a young cat or dog is on a constant mission to find thrilling new experiences, the older pet is quite content letting the world go by: seen it all, chased it all, tasted it all and heard it all before!

    The golden rule must be to let them fully explore these new avenues until they are satiated. Then to introduce them to a wider and more enduring experience, but only when they are ready.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  5. #5
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    Default Perverse satisfactions

    Quote Originally Posted by jplaurel View Post
    It's fascinating to see peoples' reactions to different audio reproduction systems.... found more visceral enjoyment in the DIY single ended 6L6 amp with the high efficiency FRD speakers and the "Kodachrome" character that pairing imposes on the sound more.
    There certainly is a place for both. The thing that I cannot grasp about conventional speakers driven by minuscule amplifiers is the reverse-logic. It is as odd to me as someone rejoicing in owning a large and heavy car with well damped suspension with a lamentably under sized engine: a massive BMW 7 series or Mercedes E class hauled about by a 500cc engine, struggling at every gradient. It just does not make any sense and will probably shorten the life of the speakers, and certainly not permit the car (speakers) to perform as intended.*

    Yesterday I popped into a small music store in historic Lewes, the county town of East Sussex. On the counter was a large box of brand new, sealed, '180 gramme' vinyl records for sale. I asked the owner if he'd sold any - he had - and why anyone would want to buy them. Quick as a flash he said 'for emotional reasons'. Probing him he revealed that the thrill would/had quickly faded after the surface noises became irritating after a few plays and that even he, a music fan, couldn't be bothered with the whole performance of cleaning and playing. He did admit that the margins were three times that of the average CD!

    *I have another analogy for a tiny amp + big speakers ..... a very large portly man being conveyed up a mountain pass astride an anaemic, under nourished, reluctant greyhound and being thrilled with the novelty of the experience! Hey ho - it's a funny old world isn't it.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  6. #6
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    Sep 2009
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    Default Inherited values?

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    ?.......
    But just as a young cat or dog is on a constant mission to find thrilling new experiences, the older pet is quite content letting the world go by: seen it all, chased it all, tasted it all and heard it all before!
    ........
    I am an old dog by Asian standards and I disagree that experience decides what's best. It is inherent. When I was a puppy I always disliked a subwoofer for my car audio and frequently meddled with the treble control to be higher than my bass control. Now, my super well damped room (double walled and 4 inches thick Roxul rockwool certainly qualifies it as an over damped room) is covered by several stripes of aluminum foils which gives better highs. (Interestingly, if the stripes is 12cm wide, I hear a prominent echo of my voice. But if it is 4 to 6 cm then the echo disappears.)

    I can still sense smearing but the tones and texture of the sound is what I am accustomed to hear in real life. My 8 year old daughter candidly said "now the sound is natural". When I asked her whether she was telling a lie when she said she liked the sound before? Her answer was "how would I know? I have never heard this sound over the speakers before!.

    It seems more of an art than science to bring the room to sing along with the speakers. A journey that may take longer to some. The big question is do you tune the sound for an hour listening or longer time. Intensity is attractive for shorter term but for longer term I always liked the sound to be unflavored for many hours of listening.

    Could the future generation in a fast moving world would be inclined to short term ecstasy over a genuine representation of real sound?

    ST

  7. #7
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    Default The full-circle of audio experience ...

    When I was in my twenties, I sold some good Spendor BC1's for a well reviewed and far more expensive "subjectively selected" speaker. I loved the fantastic "kicking" bass and apparent "detail" in the sound, but at the time couldn't understand why vocals sounded so "tubey" and that the orchestral concerts I regularly attended back then sounded nothing like the "HiFi."

    It took a good while to wean myself off that kind of presentation and after a few years with (far too large for my domestic situation) active pro monitors of some distinction (nearly twenty years ago now), I slowly returned to a sound balance that, given today's good sources (yep, even vinyl has had a shake-up), I can now get the clarity I had, but with a far more natural and pleasant presentation, especially at the low volumes I now listen at.

    As Alan suggests, the owners of the over-etched sounding stereo's may well come full circle in years to come. Maybe it's ageing ears not being able to tolerate screechy distortions any more, I don't know...

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