You are here

Log in or register to post comments
vincentvm
vincentvm's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 58 min ago
Joined: Jun 19 2014 - 5:58pm
Best sound on low volume

I currently enjoy my music from a very nice T+A R-system with ELAC speakers (25k+). They perform very well for my taste, but as I grow older, I have become more calm and enjoy more subtlety.
In my new reference system I would like to have the same enjoyment I have from my current system (but butter), but have it at lower spl.
I do not tend to listen to my music at high volume, except when I indulge.
I would like to be charmed by my new music system at all volumes.
Of course this is a speaker-amp matching question.
My ideal situation, is that I or my guests would be captivated by the quality of sound they would hear in the background.
Intrigued by Ayre and BMC, but stricty by theory.
Thinking 50k budget. Source would be computer.
Room is 40m2/430ft2

Catch22
Catch22's picture
Offline
Last seen: 14 hours 50 min ago
Joined: Nov 21 2010 - 1:58pm
Have you already looked through the Rec Comp section here?

If you haven't already done so, take some time to read the reviews of those that you would consider. I'm assuming you don't have access to a good dealer where you are...

commsysman
commsysman's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 hours 10 min ago
Joined: Apr 4 2006 - 11:33am
AMPLIFICATION

I am using the Audio Research LS-27 with a Musical Fidelity M6PRX amplifier (with Vandersteen Treo speakers).

The sound is to die for.

The preamp has tremendous flexibility and superb sound quality; all 7 input channels and 3 outputs are balanced, plus there are unbalanced inputs on all also.

It also has three selectable gain ranges for each channel and the volume control has 102 steps, which is very nice for fine adjustments at lower volume levels.

The power amplifier is one of the best I have ever heard, and it puts out over 300 watts per channel at 4 ohms.

wkhanna
wkhanna's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 hours 30 min ago
Joined: Jul 13 2007 - 1:46pm
Charmed Alliances

I have music playing at home nearly constantly. And in the vast majority of that time I am listening at well below 70 dB. So I not only share, but also require your desire for low level dynamics, detail, pace, liveliness & emotion without coloration. Or, as you so tangibly phrase it, the ability to be charmed.

I do not get to live with components from price levels you are considering. But I have spent significant time listening to such equipment belonging to fellow enthusiasts & friends, along with dealer & show demos.

Whenever I am evaluating any system or component, one of the V first things I do is appraise its ability to produce believable dynamics & detail, evenly throughout the entire frequency range, at low sound levels. I listen for signs of ‘life’. It is sort of like holding a small mirror from a woman’s compact to the mouth of an otherwise lifeless patient. While typical vital signs may be imperceptible, the formation of fog on the glass will provide evidence of a heart still beating. If all the characteristics I desire at more ‘normal’ or realistic sound levels are present in a whisper, then I can generally expect they show up at a roar.

This may seem counter-intuitive, but my experience is, to get the best SQ from your speakers at lower listening levels, the more important it is to have a powerful amp. But that power must be quick AND well controlled. Do not assume these are ubiquitous traits for all ‘powerful’ amps.

From the objective, specification side, my experience has revealed the amps with high damping factor ratings ‘tend’ to provide good low level dynamics & detail.

And, just to prove that specifications can often be a poor method of evaluation - all of the many different models of Odyssey amps I have listened to recently exhibit fine low level performance. This, despite some meager power ratings that would tend to lead the unsuspecting consumer to brands offering twice the ‘rated’ power, but with nary better performance in nearly every area.

Old audiophile saying; “It is all about the 1st watt”

Bill - on the Hill
Practicing Curmudgeon & Audio Snob
- just an “ON” switch, Please -

vincentvm
vincentvm's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 58 min ago
Joined: Jun 19 2014 - 5:58pm
Thank you, Bill

Thank you all for the comments. The First Watt will be indeed the clincher, I think, in combination with the speakers. I guess all comes down to the marriage between those two. Speaker sensitivity and the first watt.
I guess it would be nice to have some input which amps excel at that first Watt and which speakers do well with that first Watt. Most companies do loud music well. Just curious which companies do soft well. Some speakers just need to be goosed to let them shine, and some amps need to be be loud to shine.
Me, I'm looking the other way; looking for good sound on the down-low, but filling.
Can Maggies be goosed in a way that they release all the information and sound at a low spl? Or should I be looking for a hybrid solution?

wkhanna
wkhanna's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 hours 30 min ago
Joined: Jul 13 2007 - 1:46pm
Location, Location, Location

I suppose at this point, it would be time to consider your room.
What size (length / width) and what amount of flexibility in placement and treatments are you working with?

Regards,

Bill - on the Hill
Practicing Curmudgeon & Audio Snob
- just an “ON” switch, Please –

commsysman
commsysman's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 hours 10 min ago
Joined: Apr 4 2006 - 11:33am
AMP AND PREAMP.
vincentvm wrote:

I currently enjoy my music from a very nice T+A R-system with ELAC speakers (25k+). They perform very well for my taste, but as I grow older, I have become more calm and enjoy more subtlety.
In my new reference system I would like to have the same enjoyment I have from my current system (but butter), but have it at lower spl.
I do not tend to listen to my music at high volume, except when I indulge.
I would like to be charmed by my new music system at all volumes.
Of course this is a speaker-amp matching question.
My ideal situation, is that I or my guests would be captivated by the quality of sound they would hear in the background.
Intrigued by Ayre and BMC, but stricty by theory.
Thinking 50k budget. Source would be computer.
Room is 40m2/430ft2

I have a system that uses Vandersteen Treo speakers with a Audio Research LS-27 preamp and a Musical Fidelity M6PRX power amplifier.

The sound is to die for. It took me 40 years of listening and experimenting to arrive at this system, and I am looking no further. I have arrived at my version of audio nirvana.

The total cost for the amplifier and preamp is around $11,000. The speakers are $6500.

I have heard systems that are a little better in one way or another, but the cost would be well over $100K for those systems.

The Audio Research LS-27 preamp has the most flexibilty I have ever seen in a preamp, plus incredibly good sound quality. It has 7 input channels, and each can be connected to a balanced or unbalanced source. It also has 3 gain ranges for each input channel, plus a 102-step volume control for precise fine tuning of the output level. It also has 3 balanced or unbalanced outputs. The display is large and can be easily seen from across the rooms, and has seven brightness levels, plus OFF. The remote controls everything.

The power amplifier has excellent sound quality and puts out over 300 watts per channel, which is exactly what my low-sensitivity speakers need. It should drive 99% of the speakers ever made with no effort.

Of course, the right turntable, player, or other source is absolutely required; garbage in....garbage out. I use a Music Hall MMF-7 turntable with Benz Micro ACE cartridge and a OPPO BDP-95 player for my sources.

  • X
    Enter your Stereophile.com username.
    Enter the password that accompanies your username.
    Loading