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M/C hi-res or movies: Which drive m/c amps harder?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by PaulDA, Dec 3, 2004.

  1. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    Yesterday, I had the house to myself for a rare moment and decided to inaugurate a new SACD of Schubert and Dvorak from Telarc. Recorded at a live venue in England, in DSD, I assumed a high quality recording. I decided to push the volume level beyond my usual -25dB from reference (calibrated w/spl meter on my THX Select Integra DTR 6.4--I point out THX only because the test tones are pre-programmed at 75dB on the receiver, as per THX instructions in the manual). I've read about people listening to classical music at "performance" volume so I pushed the volume to -15dB. The sound was not very good and the instruments seemed smeared. At lower volume, everything was fine. I tried some other discs and, with one exception (Alison Krauss and Union Station-Live), none of them sounded great at that volume. The receiver didn't clip but seemed to run "out of breath". Could this be because some m/c music discs make greater use of several channels simultaneously, thus straining the amp in ways no movie has yet done? Are my amps a lot weaker than I believed? Could it be the player (Marantz DV6400)? Are the speakers (rated to take a lot more than my receiver dishes out) not up to the task?

    I ask, not because I intend to listen at that volume on a regular basis, but because I believed the greater dynamic range of hi-res music allowed for a clearer, cleaner sound at louder volumes than regular CD.
     
  2. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    The recording is not so great after all.

    I listened to some of this disc again, this time in two channel (to see if my theory about straining the amps is correct). The same noise and "running out of steam" effect came through. I then ran Alison Krauss and Union Station-Live (another direct to DSD recording of a live performance, though obviously not the same music--although all instruments in AKUS Live are acoustic). I ran it in two channel and multichannel to -8 dB on my receiver (don't want to go deaf). No signs of noise, "lack of steam" or fatigue with either two or m/c mix. I've often said the AKUS Live disc is the best recorded disc I own (and heard) and this experiment only confirms my opinion.

    As to my original question, I am still curious. However, it's clear, in this instance, that the recording is not up to par (I looked up a few reviews and they all complain of an annoying background noise, one that sounds exactly like the noise I heard--which made me think something was wrong with my gear). I am surprised, as Telarc has a reputation for excellent recordings, but no one is perfect.
     
  3. JackS

    JackS Supporting Actor

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    Maybe the Telarc recording is a re-mix and as good as Telarc could get it. If true, it is probably the best recording available. If not, who knows.
     
  4. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Paul- Here's how I think about it (but, I listen to mostly just "rock and roll"; classical and others *can* be more dynamic):

    The overall level of a music disc will be more constant. A movie soundtrack will be more dynamic. (Differences between soft passages and loud passages.)

    I don't listen to music that loudly. Depending on the recording, I rarely go louder than -25 dB to ref. Usually, I'm more like -30 to -35 dB. (That's for CD. I don't listen to SACDs or DVD-As often enough to know off the top of my head those volumes. But also, different players output levels are different too for hi res.)

    For movies, it's -10 dB to -15 dB.

    I do know this though, my amps do run hotter after watching an action flic than for music. [​IMG]

    If you got just a separate 2 ch amp, would give your receiver more power for the other channels.
     
  5. Dave Milne

    Dave Milne Supporting Actor

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    Paul,
    As they say... "Loud is beautiful, if it's clean"

    When I'm seriously listening, it's usually pretty loud - something like -14dB to -9dB. It takes decent amplifiers and speakers to stay clean at Stentorian levels. Cheaper amplifiers especially tend to get brittle-sounding when pushed. I use a single Bryston 4BST (around 400 wpc @ 4ohms) and a pair of large/efficient (91dB @2.83v) Dynaudio speakers for music listening - sometimes with the front sub (and separate 600w bridged Adcom amplifier), sometimes not.

    I also love to crank up a good concert video (like Eric Clapton's "One more car, one more rider"). -9dB with this DVD requires pretty much all that seven Dynaudio speakers, two subs, and 4KW of amplifiers can deliver [​IMG]

    Oh and by the way, I LOVE Telarc recordings. I have pretty much their entire library (some 100 CDs) except for some of their classical titles.
     

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