Can revealing speakers be bad?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Tommy_N, Jun 12, 2003.

  1. Tommy_N

    Tommy_N Stunt Coordinator

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    Hello all,

    I’m almost ready to upgrade my speakers and I’m interested in both the B&W 600 series and the CDM 9s.

    I’ve heard that the CDM line is very revealing. I understand that it will show any flaws in the rest of the audio chain, but what exactly will that mean or more specifically, what will it sound like?

    A lot of the CD’s I listen to are poorly recorded. I listen to a lot of old Blues, distortion filled hard-core, and on occasion mp3’s & poorly recorded live albums. For HT I also play some old VHS tapes that have some audio dropouts.

    Are these going to sound worse with the better quality speakers?

    For the next 6-12 months they will be powered by a Denon 3802, then I will upgrade to a separate amp. My CD player will probably also need to be upgraded seeing as that it is almost 15 years old.

    Thanks
    Tom
     
  2. Steve_Ma

    Steve_Ma Second Unit

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  3. ross ish

    ross ish Stunt Coordinator

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    A very 'revealing' speaker would work fine with any system. The speaker would not sound worse from one system to the next, it's just that its potential may not be fully realized.

    B&W have a tendancy of being bright. Stay away from brighter sounding ss amps such as Denon and Yamaha. You can tame the brightness somewhat by swapping out for cables that are more warmer sounding.

    As you enter into the high end arena, be prepared to experiment with different sources and components. The realm of high end audio is a hobby of continue upgraditis; in search of the ultimate sonic sensation.
     
  4. Tommy_N

    Tommy_N Stunt Coordinator

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    Steve,

    You bring up some good points. I'm not sure if the benefit I would get by using the CDM9 vs 604 is worth the difference in price.

    Ross (or anyone) do you have any suggestions for trying cables? Personally for my ears I don't think I would hear any difference. But I am willing to try it out. However, I do not want anything too $$$. The $$$ is better spend towards actual electronics.

    Thanks

    Tom
     
  5. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    I listened extensively to the 604s and CDM9s.

    They really are very different speakers.

    Very revealing speakers to me don't really sound "bad". Even with mediocre recordings they still sound "good". But they'll start to show a "electronic" sound with poor source components.

    Somehow it doesn't sound quite like music. You can hear it wanting to come out but it stills sounds like a stereo and not a performance.

    Then you get a good source, pre-amp and amp and POW! Band's playing in your living room.
     
  6. Cagri

    Cagri Second Unit

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  7. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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  8. Cagri

    Cagri Second Unit

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    Well, the thread shall continue without getting hijacked. I wouldn't like to see that happen, I hadn't realised this was a matter almost similar to 'can same spec amps sound different' debate until doing a search about it.

    I can't think such cables would possibly exist though. Good quality cables/poor quality cables ----> change in sound quality, OK, but warmer/brighter cables? I don't buy it.
     
  9. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Maybe you need to arrange for an audition in your home. Appears that you may've not even heard the speakers yet.
     
  10. ross ish

    ross ish Stunt Coordinator

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    Tommy,
    Would not get into the cable debate, but it does not hurt to audition cables and find out for yourself. Most on-line cable retailers offer trials. Also local dealers may loan out cables for evaluating.

    There is no empirical data that proves or disproves cables changing sonics. But there are interactions between cables and components. Check it out or email me.
     
  11. Marc H

    Marc H Second Unit

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    I like John's response and agree.
    The CDM9 will work fine on the Denon and sound decent but once you upgrade the source, you will say 'Wow'. [​IMG]
     
  12. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    I don't get the thing about using a "warm" sounding amplifier to counteract "bright" sounding speakers. If the speakers are bright, the speakers are bright. If the amplifier produces distortion, you will notice it more. Has anyone ever recommended a "bright" (which to me sounds suspiciously like "bad sounding") amplifier for use with any speaker?

    Don't worry about your wires, but after getting speakers you could consider changing the other components.
     
  13. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Personally speaking, I'll take a revealing speaker any day over one that massages the sound so everything it reproduces sounds "good".

    Their seems to be a trend this past decade to consciously build dull (warm, velevety, etc) sounding components. And I think many high-end companies are the worst offenders in this regard. For some reason, many audiophiles are offended by any sound that has a sharp characteristic to it, even if it sounds that way in real life. So I guess these high-end manufacturers are catering to their intended client's delicate senses. [​IMG] As a result of this, in certain high-end magazines I've noticed that any component that has a smooooooth sound is thought of as a quality item, and the "crappy" stuff is described as brash, overly forward or bright.

    That's their opinion.

    Well, from being in this hobby for over twenty years, I've found that the brash stuff is what reproduces music most accurately. The down side of this is that badly recorded music sounds really bad: my new Surrealistic Pillow CD by Jefferson Airplane sounds great on my $40 Altec/Lansing computer speakers, but pretty lifeless (little bass & restricted highs) on my Technics/Boston Acoustics rig. The good side of a--ahem--"bright" system? Good recordings sound awesome. Detailed, clean & lifelike. Coldplay's Parachutes and Sarah McClachlin's(sp?) Fumbling Towards Ecstasy are great examples of this. On recordings where the album was recorded with tube equipment to give the music a relaxed feel, my system is capable of revealing this. If the music was supposed to be an in-your-face type of recording, like my MXPX or Rollins Band albums, then I can hear that too. And if it's too in-my-face, then I just turn down the treble control (I'm not afraid to use tone controls. And my Technics' is centered all the way up at 20kHz so it doesn't mess with the important midrange frequencies).

    And if a cable actually softens the system's sound, then IMO something is wrong with it and it shouldn't be used.

    Now obviously, there is a point where sound can be too bright: ever play a $30 boombox in bathroom with no carpet? Ouch! So I'm not saying a sizzly sounding rig is a good thing. There is truly such a thing as a grainy or etched sound, which I can't stand (IMO many of Yamaha's speakers at Best Buy exhibit this nasty quality. And most speakers using piezoelectric horn tweeters sound this way too, but even louder).

    So there's my two cents.....well, more like a dollar I guess [​IMG].

    LJ
     
  14. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Occasionally when something is too revealing it makes it difficult to pay attention with your ears.

    [c][​IMG][/c]
     
  15. Frank Zimkas

    Frank Zimkas Supporting Actor

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    To answer the original question....
    A good system can make some recordings simply unbearable. I've got a few older Cd's that do nothing more than gather dust cuz I just can't handle the sound now! Too many flaws in the recordings to handle I guess. I've even got a few newer copies of some Count Basie and Duke ellington that are just horrible as well.
     
  16. Tommy_N

    Tommy_N Stunt Coordinator

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    Originally posted by LanceJ
     
  17. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    Lance, I like bright sound too, but there has been some association recently of that word with "harsh" and "fatiguing." For example, what the heck does it mean to say an amplifier is "bright"? The only explanation I can think of would be that it's producing unpleasant sounding, high frequency distortion. A bright and exciting sounding system does not have to be harsh and fatiguing! (Although, unfortunately, with today's components and recordings, sometimes it is.)
     
  18. Doug BW

    Doug BW Stunt Coordinator

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  19. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    I don't think good speakers make bad equipment and cds sound WORSE than they did before. If you have a wonderful system, you get used to fabulous sound on well-recorded cds. You put a POS cd in there, and it will sound like crap. Sure, it sounds different than on the speakers on your TV, or whatever old crappy boombox you might have used before, but it's still crappy sounding. It just seems worse than it did because you get used to such great sound. In reality it's probably better than what it used to sound like, but when you have system where the crappy cds sound just as crappy as the really good ones, you don't notice anything at all.
     
  20. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Michael said:

     

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