Semi-rant: Can you go back to piston speakers after electrostatics?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Javier_Huerta, Jun 24, 2002.

  1. Javier_Huerta

    Javier_Huerta Supporting Actor

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    I can't! Can't, won't, will never! [​IMG]
    Here is the story. I listened to some MartinLogans some 6 years ago. It was a revelation. I could still remember their sound years after listening to them. So I began saving. And finally got a set a couple of months ago (Scenarios).
    At first, it was confusion. The speakers were boring, dull and lifeless. Blame it on a dead spike supressor [​IMG] Still, the system sounded quite dull afterwards.
    3 months of break-in later, I'm hooked. And not as in an "I like this" kind of way. I mean, as in "if you DARE even think something bad about them, I'll rip your heart out with my bare hands while playing some acoustic "The Cure" with them" [​IMG]
    These things are magical. Superb. Incredible. Can't even think of enough good things to say about them. They are astronomically superior to my older "nice" speakers (some JBL LX-66 towers), and miles ahead of my other "audiophile" (???) loudspeakers (a Definitive Technology bipolar set).
    Yesterday, I was listening to the latest Marcus Miller recording in them (M2 - highly recommended), then decided to do a test. After listening to them for about half an hour, I went upstairs and tried the disc on my Definitive Technology setup.
    I am not kidding when I say my ears hurt after barely 1 minute of them playing. The sound coming out from those speakers was undescribably bad. It had piercing highs, screeching mids, loose lows. And all this time I thought they were great!
    Now, the question that begs to be answered. If I tried, say, a set of Energy Veritas speakers would I change my mind about piston speakers?
    Or, once you experience electrostatic technology, you never go back?
    What's your opinion?
     
  2. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    General consenus is once you go planar you'll never own a box speaker again. Planar not just limited to electrostats, just all planar speakers (ribbon, maggies, other stats).

    I'm hooked on my reQuests and don't think I'll ever go back. I'd love to get some small magnaplanars for another room but don't have the power to drive them.

    BUT, there are those that don't like planar speakers and will never own them. Some love horns (*cough* sarauv *cough*) and would never own a dome tweet.

    All in what you like. I love mine in the sense that I'm in love with music even more.

    ps - they will reveal more than you'd ever wanted to know about your other components as I'm unfortunately finding out.
     
  3. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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  4. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    [​IMG] Well you actually admitted you liked some martin logans. What's the world coming too? You realize of course that I put your name in there because from what I gathered you are on one extereme of the spectrum.
    "awesome amps with insanely efficient speakers"
    I'm of the "whatever sounds good and is a good balance of power and dynamics" camp. I'm not too keen on using brute force to muscle "insanely inefficient" speakers ala thiel and magnapan although they do sound quite sweet.
    As another aside I'm starting to have an epiphony on Music and Stereo. I read in a science section of our paper today about a study on hearing. The test subjects were professional musicians, amateurs musicians, and non-musicians. The pros had significantly larger sections of their brain (something to do with hearing) and much, much more activity in said sections while listening to music. The amatuers had the same although to a lesser degree and the non-musicians had "normal" levels of activity in this section.
    Makes sense to me, a 25 year amateur musician, started at 6. Everybody hears, listens, focuses on something different...that is my epiphony.
     
  5. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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  6. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    in younger years violin, cello, clarinet, oboe, bass clarinet, piano. Then later bass guitar and keyboard. Strange mix really. Half-way decent at all of them but never notable.
     
  7. Miles_W

    Miles_W Second Unit

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    Well,
    I love mine too...
    I am just waiting for Ling_W to come thread crap here... any second now [​IMG]
    Miles
     
  8. Tom Brennan

    Tom Brennan Screenwriter

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    Javier---Well ESs are hardly perfect and have several problems among them not very extended highs (any number of cheap dome tweeters go higher, low mass ESs have but they also have very weak motors), poor bass extension, limited dynamics and willy-nilly dispersion. Where most ESs shine is in clarity and low distortion within the dynamically limited range they work well in and within that range they can sound very clear indeed. I've come close to buying ESs several times over the last 30 years but the dynamic limitations were too much of a problem for me. There's a guy down the block wants to sell me some Acoustat Monitors for $500, I might take him up. IMO ESs are FAR superior to planar-magnetics and cone-dome type speakers and are only surpassed by the better horns; VOTs, JBLs, Edgars and such.
     
  9. rodneyH

    rodneyH Supporting Actor

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    I have been given some magnapans that don't come close to my B&Ws or even my vanderseens in another room, so they stay in storage, they just never sounded exciting enough for me, personal choice of course
     
  10. Manuel Delaflor

    Manuel Delaflor Supporting Actor

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    Hola Javier!

    I share your feelings, once you are accustomed to a certain sound, it is painful to go back to normally driven speakers. Im in the same wagon, but hooked on Horn Speakers.

    Saurav,

    Can't agree more with what you said. I would only add that dynamics can be translated as "more alive".

    Tom Brenan,

    Agreed, in fact Im curious about those speakers "VOTs, JBLs, Edgars and such."

    Where can I buy them? Ebay? To your knowledge, is there a place in NY or close? Oh yes, and how about prices?
     
  11. Javier_Huerta

    Javier_Huerta Supporting Actor

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    Tom, definitely. ES's have lots of weaknesses. Some of them can be fixed, some of them can't. For example, dynamics can be somewhat increased by the use of a subwoofer. Other than that, there are a couple of things you might not like about them - for example, their limited horizontal dispersion. When they say you have to sit on the "sweet spot", they really mean it! Or the fact that you have to give away so much space in your living room for imaging to be just right.
    Nevertheless, it all makes sense when you listen to a vocal piece, and you *feel* the singer singing next to you. It's so amazing it's eerie. Worth the price of admission? Absolutely. They sound like nothing else out there.
    Manuel, do you own Klipsch speakers? I was reading yesterday about an experiment that was made a lot of years ago by Klipsch, in which he tried to duplicate the sound of an orchestra with a set of Klipschorns and a 5 watt (yes, 5 watt!) amp. I guess a 105db/W efficiency rating really does wonders! [​IMG]
     
  12. felix_suwarno

    felix_suwarno Screenwriter

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    what is piston speakers?

    and what is plasma speakers?

    is there a planar, plasma or piston subwoofer?

    sorry to hijack the thread, so if the mods dont like it, can i open a new thread?
     
  13. Javier_Huerta

    Javier_Huerta Supporting Actor

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    Well... there can be a piston subwoofer, obviously, since piston speakers are "cone" or "dome" speakers. It's just another name for them.

    I don't think there is a planar subwoofer.
     
  14. Manuel Delaflor

    Manuel Delaflor Supporting Actor

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    Javier, yes I own Klipsch speakers, perhaps someday we should compare our equipments, just for the sake of enjoying good technologies [​IMG]
    And yes, PW Klipsch did that, I can tell you that when first exposed to a Horn driven with a few watts amplifier most people is skeptic, but when the big sound comes from "merely" 5 watts, then you understand! I drive mines with a 30 watts class a amplfier, and can't stand the sound at full volume.
     
  15. ling_w

    ling_w Second Unit

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  16. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    I think it can be easy to move away from Electrostatics. I wonder how some Wilson Audios sound in comparison?

    I've auditioned some Avantgarde Trios 3.0s which have a 120db sensitivity rating. They have horns that are like 6 feet in diameter and a tweeter with an enormous magnet. Teamed with the worlds finest Hovland pre/pro and Model 88 tub amps they sounded quite lovely.

    If I had to choose between an electrostatic and transistor amp or a Horn + tube amp it would probably be a tough decision.
     
  17. Matt_Briol

    Matt_Briol Agent

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  18. Tom Brennan

    Tom Brennan Screenwriter

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    Manuel---VOTs are the old Altec Voice of The Theatres, no longer made but many hornies consider them the best ever. They came in a variety of models both home and professional. Look at www.voiceofthetheatre.com JBL used to make very good horn speakers for the home and still does for the Japanese market. The old JBL horns like the Hartsfield, Paragon, L-200 and L-300 have a strong following and fetch high prices. Many hornies build DIY rigs using drivers, horns and sometimes cabinets from JBL Pro or with vintage JBL parts. this stuff is top-shelf. Bruce Edgar is a retired California rocket scientist who makes very good horn systems, he prefers to use vintage JBL drivers with Alnico magnets. There are lots of guys around Chicago using this stuff, we have a club even, there must be guys in New York doing it. Ebay is a good place to look for Altec and JBL systems and parts.
     
  19. Stephen White

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    Hmm, well I've got a set of Maggies and would never go back to boxes. I've listened to some boxes here lately that were around $5K and while they sounded ok they still had a boxed traped sound to them that I've grown to not like. I like maggies cause they sound to open, clear, and truely life like. I'll admit they are picky with room placement....actually picky is really an understatement as it makes a night and day difference. They also like power but look at why. Even the smallest Maggie (mmg) has probably 5x (or maybe more)more surface area than most box speakers. No wonder thay sound to good!!!!!

    They will also show you which groups, bands, recording lables or whatever just dont care about the recording quality. Some cd's I just cant stand to listed to....its not the fault of the maggies, its the fault of the junk recording. Thats why I'm getting away from cd and moving over to sacd and dvd-a. What a differance!!!

    If you dont believe me about the realism, pick up Eric Clapton's unpluged cd and listen to any song on it with good quality equipment and a set of Maggies!!!!! I promise you will see his fingers struming the strings in your head!!!

    STEPHEN
     
  20. Javier_Huerta

    Javier_Huerta Supporting Actor

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    Stephen, that's exactly what I was talking about. Planar speakers have an open, airy, eerie sound quality that I have never heard in boxed speakers (although the best I've ever heard is a pair of B&W Nautilus, I have to admit - which were almost 3X the price of my M-L's).

    Still, you are right. Feed them the wrong music (i.e., 80's pop) and you will be amazed at how you could stand listening to it on any other system. But play some Telarc acoustic jazz recordings and every hair in your body will stand up. These things (at least for me) have re-defined what "goosebumps" mean.
     

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