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Headphones are great, but will never be speakers... - Page 3

post #31 of 179

Nearfields...

 

I went down that road.

 

They sound good.... with small ensembles.. Jazz for instance...choral music, 

 

But large orchestral works.. they run out of steam and bury the music in compression. Some say the Magico Mini is not of that Ilk...I'm not so sure.. I remember people saying the Revel Gem (a small-mid sized monitor)  was immune to that.. at the time they were out.. I was not convinced then... and now 20 years later...no one would stand behind that statement.

 

Some cool mini monitors..if set up right.

ProAc Response 1SC (incerdible bass for such a small driver if set up properly with Target lead filled stands) Owned 2 pairs

Spendor 3/5 Owned 1 pair (no low bass)

Red Rose Model 1 and others. (you will not believe the bass out of the 4" driver... stunning.. very extended ribbon treble)- Heard them with Mark Levinson, the Man.

Poor mans mini monitor for female high pitched vocals (Annie Lenox) -->Totem Model 1 (very limited output and goes into compression easily) -set up systems with these for offices.

 

BUT....ALLLLLLL mini monitors.. fail to energize the room. and Thus fall short of a recreating an authentic  musical experience. It's a shame... their very strength is their downfall..  Subs and Sats will not do the job... you need to move air.. and create a "wave launch" and have height...real height... yes the speakers have to be big. At least 50" tall. Sats  and sub are not tall...can not launch a wave/wall of sound and 1 sub just muddies it all up..time alignment gets off.. it's a mess.

 

If you have a crap room with crap acoustics.. (dorm room for instance or attic room) they might be your only option other than headphones. Honestly though... compared to the Stax Omega I head at my house at the LA meet... I'd rather own the Stax than any of the above mini monitors.

 

But if the Stax omegas did not exist and I had a mid size room with crap acoustics. I'd take the ProAcs or try to EQ a set of Red Rose Model ones to fix that lower midrange notched suck out. 

 

Last night..

 

Saw Roger Waters (Pink Floyd front man)  do "The Wall" at LA Staple Center (Last time he was there was 30 years, 9 months, and 27 days ago) .. Simply Amazing- spectacular..and everything I was promised from those who saw it before me....

 

.. and yes my audio system sounds better than Roger Waters' at the Staples Center and has enough slam..and is a lot clearer..  So now I have to wait for my Rowland Amps to arrive before I can play "the Wall" at volumes loud enough to loosen the sheetrock screws..and try to remember the insane visual spectacle that I saw last night at  the same time...and get this... it will sound more "live" than his own voice through his PA..which while it wasn't bad.... (ie wasn't as good as say Radio City Music Halls PA ...Saw "Devo" Halloween night in 1982..perfect amplified sound...)  it was still better than say 80% of other stadium PA's I have heard.

 

Odd concept..."more live than live".. yes it will be more accurate, the sound  staging will be more life like... you can beat rock concerts at sounding live. It's as if you upgraded their PA, so you could hear what those great guitars can deliver and how much better those expensive cymbals are, and just how great the singer's voice really is...  yes "more live than Live".  I've seen the Mingus Dynasty Band at the Bottom Line (Ironically I used to have the speakers that were the left channel of the bottom line in my Dorm room in Highschool  they were custom JBL Paragons with upgraded drivers the size of refrigerators...so I owned the speakers he played through live in 1980... and yes.... when I played Charlie Mingus through my Infinity system.... there was a whole new level of emotional contact... that was lost through even the Best JBL system. The horns had less glare... they were brassy but not shrill... it is better.

 

but you can never get more Live than hearing a live UNAMPLIFIED orchestra at a symphony hall.. because unamplified sound... is..LIVE.  It doesn't get any better.... unless  the orchestra gets more sleep..and tunes their gear better... and uses better instruments... in a better symphony hall, screw it... toss in a better conductor too... So unless te actual event improves.. you can't improve on live unamplified sound.. But where in the USA can you hear this outdoors?????  Aspen.... they will not use amplification at the music tent for classical music..... unless it rains. Indoors... Boston Symphony hall , NYC's Carnegie hall, etc... and other great halls.

 

You see..many peple make trade offs trying to make their system sound more "live" and some are willing to live with tradeoffs.. like no low bass (mini monitors) .. or nearfield (no room energy) , or fantastic midrange but limited extended treble detail  (Single Ended Triodes with efficient speakers) , or low volumes (quad ESL 63), or high volumes but no mid bass delineation because of oversized midbass drivers with high compliance and thick speaker spiders and surrounds) ...

 

Thats when people try to tell you "there is no wrong... its just what you like"  but respectfully In my huble opinion I say.."No that isn't it."

 

you probably meant to say... just pick the wrongs you can live with that you hate the least.

 

It's sad really...  so many stores/chains... Best Buy, Radio Shack, Bose, Crutchfield, Bang and Olufsen (I even worked at the biggest sales store- but I pushed their awesome video instead)...all promising something..that...ultimately they can not deliver. Reproduced music that sounds real.

 

Be careful that the road you select towards audio nirvana does not abruptly come to a dead end. Take your time to select the correct road from the beginning.

 


Edited by Golden Ears - 12/2/10 at 1:44am
post #32 of 179
Thread Starter 

Interesting comments about near-field rigs. I hadn't ever thought about getting an orchestra performing in all its glory in my living room as I don't listen that loud (I'm too polite to annoy my neighbours) and I mostly listen to jazz, so I'm thinking of doing the near-field thing with a small pair of Harbeth monitors which are sitting at a local s/h dealer. I did have a pair of Paradigms connected to an Audiovalve RKV MKII at one stage, which was just lovely.  If I was to go nuts in the future, I'd be those Harbeths along with a Woo Audio 5LE I think.  I don't know if that'd work out, as I'm making a bunch of assumptions in doing so.  

 

Less crazy, right now all I really need is the Harbeths and a power amp, or two small power amps. Something considerably better than the Parasound Zamp which I have now.   I need a better desk too, and a better apartment and all that.

post #33 of 179


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

Interesting comments about near-field rigs. I hadn't ever thought about getting an orchestra performing in all its glory in my living room as I don't listen that loud (I'm too polite to annoy my neighbours) and I mostly listen to jazz, so I'm thinking of doing the near-field thing with a small pair of Harbeth monitors which are sitting at a local s/h dealer. I did have a pair of Paradigms connected to an Audiovalve RKV MKII at one stage, which was just lovely.  If I was to go nuts in the future, I'd be those Harbeths along with a Woo Audio 5LE I think.  I don't know if that'd work out, as I'm making a bunch of assumptions in doing so.  

 

Less crazy, right now all I really need is the Harbeths and a power amp, or two small power amps. Something considerably better than the Parasound Zamp which I have now.   I need a better desk too, and a better apartment and all that.


Harbeths will not work with low powered tube amps. You would need a 50W tube intergrated or separates for those monitors. I am going to use a ^W Taboo but it needs speakers 89-98 DB to run properly. I will look at the Zu monitors and a Planar hybrid decware is making for my monitor setup. Until the will use a pair of Polk monitors for a little while. Maggie minis coming out but I would also ass8ume they need gobs of power.

post #34 of 179

Interesting follow-ups... Nearfields indeed have their strengh and weaknesses, but I have to say I´ve been quite suprised by the size/energy of the sound (don´t mean volume) coming from my Genelec 8020´s. I think the REF7+Phoenix is a major reason for that, as they are known for having a huge expansive soundstage. I´ll be testing some higher end ones (8040´s) in the near future, very interested to see how they perform. It isn´t the largest soundstage compared to hifi speakers, but the detail retrieval and imaging (I am talking exactly the kind where you can tell where a certain synth is in the air) is outstanding.

 

An added bonus is that they are quite usable in apartments too as you´re sitting so closely to the monitors you won´t have to turn the volume so high. I haven´t tried classical with them yet, but pop/rock/folk/prog (everything from Pink Floyd to Leonard Cohen) to me works very well at least. Just listened to Dark Side of the Moon last night and it translates very well on studio nearfields.

 

Currawong: I´d recommend auditioning at least the active nearfields by Adam (check out A7X), Dynaudio (BM series) and Genelec (8000-series). I think you´ll be pleasantly suprised... Oh and by the way, got an LCD-2 order confirmation mail as I forgot I had actually signed up a long time ago already :) I am very, very interested to see how well they do. As I´m a friend of the hyperneutral studio sound, I think I´ll end up liking them a lot! (HD 800 is heavily colored in the treble). Also by the way, why don´t you use the Phoenix as a preamp to active monitors? It does a fantastic job with Genelecs at least.


Edited by vrln - 12/3/10 at 7:52am
post #35 of 179
Quote:

snipped...

 

Just listened to Dark Side of the Moon last night and it translates very well on studio nearfields.

 

 

Actually DSOTM  translates well on almost anything.
 

post #36 of 179
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vrln View Post

 

Currawong: I´d recommend auditioning at least the active nearfields by Adam (check out A7X), Dynaudio (BM series) and Genelec (8000-series). I think you´ll be pleasantly suprised... Oh and by the way, got an LCD-2 order confirmation mail as I forgot I had actually signed up a long time ago already :) I am very, very interested to see how well they do. As I´m a friend of the hyperneutral studio sound, I think I´ll end up liking them a lot! (HD 800 is heavily colored in the treble). Also by the way, why don´t you use the Phoenix as a preamp to active monitors? It does a fantastic job with Genelecs at least.


I've had the thought of doing this too.  The idea of eliminating the need for the power amps and bulky speaker cables appeals to me.  Making a long pair of XLR cables would be necessary though. The Phoenix as a pre, even when I was using just the Zamp, throws quite a wide soundstage.  The RKV is long gone, by the way. It was purely an experiment.

 

What most concerns me is getting the right "sound" with the speakers, as I have far less experience doing that than I do with headphones. Buying just the Harbeths or a pair of active monitors I'd be flying blind somewhat. The safe option might be the Harbeths and a Luxman or Leben amp.   

post #37 of 179

I´ll be giving headphones one last chance - LCD2 is on the way. If it is everything it is said to be, then I´m happy and the HD 800 will be sold. If not, I´m probably selling both and going active speakers (with maybe a HD 650 as a backup)... To be honest I only have experience with Genelecs, but to me it seems already clear that active monitors are way easier to get right than headphones. Dynamic headphones, in my experience, are highly flawed in the treble area (All Sennheisers except 650, Beyerdynamics, Grados and so on suffer from the same issue). For those who cannot stand sibilance it is a very problematic medium. That said, the LCD-2 could just be my saviour.

 

I´d actually guess headphones are a lot harder to get right than any speaker setup...

 

PS: maybe adding tons of distortion with a tube amp after a neutral DAC stage is the way to go with most headphones? I haven´t tried a tube amp, but I recently picked up a used Beyerdynamic DT 880 for chip (ok for gaming, horribly sibilant and bright). As soon as I can afford it, I´ll buy a cheap very colored tube amp to see if it takes away the edge. 


Edited by vrln - 12/7/10 at 1:30am
post #38 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by triode12 View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Sneis View Post

Am I broken if I prefer to listen to headphones because of their more intimate experience?  I've walked into my share of boutique audiophile stores with buku bucks rigs in calibrated rooms only to find that I still prefer the comfort of my humble at home rig.

 

Maybe I just haven't heard the right setup yet!

 

 



You probably haven't and you don't need "buku bucks" to get that experience.

High End hi-fi in the 70s and 80s wasn't like it is now (or the crazy 90s) where the $$ to SQ ratio is/went seriously out of wack.

While (unfortunately) many manufacturers from the 70s/80s have gone the way of the dodo, there are still a few of them around that are still putting out products that are great value for money today. e.g. Magnaplanar, Eminent Technology, Audible illusions, RAM labs, Quicksilver, SOTA, Rega, B&K to name a few.

 

One can also purchase used examples of the products these manufacturers used to make for a fraction of their initial retail price. e.g. Apogee ribbon speakers, 80s Krell amps

So it is possible to put together a very high end system, both in build and sound quality on a very modest budget that will blow any away headphone rig in terms of imaging and soundstaging alone (binaural sources and the Smythe system excepted).

 

Once you have experienced the sonic "reality" that an optimised and synergistic 2 channel stereo system can reproduce, you'll understand why a headphone rig cannot come close.  (binaural sources and the Smythe system excepted).

 

 


I couldn't agree more - there's such a huge selection of used speakers, amps, and more that a stereo rig can easily compete with headphones in price/performance today, if you shop carefully.  AK and CL are your friends.  As everyone else loves to do, I'll use my main setup as an example.  It's far from perfect, but consider what I'd be able to get in headphones for the same money:

 

Infinity Renaissance 90 speakers: $600 - drove 1200 miles to pick it up, found on CL

Adcom GFA-555 amp: $220 - an hour drive away, found on CL

Carver TFM-15CB amp: $80 - Okay, I admit listed the cheapest (and most recent) of the three I've got, and it was found at the local used music store.

Carver C-11 preamp: $100 - an hour and half drive away, found on CL (got my first 15CB with this, paid $200 for the pair)

NAD 5325 CD player w/ upgraded caps: $60 - You can diss it (and the Carvers & Adcom) if you'd like, but give it a listen first.  The sole eBay acquisition.

12 Ga speaker cables & shielded interconnects: est. $20 - From Monoprice.  I'm not a cable believer...

 

Total: A measly $1080.

 

Say you put this together in 1992 when everything was available new ('cept the cable) - it would have cost around $6000 or so.  And that's in 1992, with (as far as I can tell) speakers today becoming progressively poorer value for the dollar among the high end - and inflation since then raising prices further.

 

Sure, I'd like to upgrade my amps - the Carver on top is pretty good, but I'd always like to try something different.  Infinity used to use ARC tube amps for the top end on their speakers when testing, so perhaps that's what I should go for.  The Adcom on bottom never has any need for more power, at least in my room.  With it alone driving the system, there was almost no bass - either indicative of how much power these need, or the state of the caps.  Probably both, and I'll recap them eventually.

 

But my point is that headphones aren't the only value out there...  I won't get into comparing them, although I prefer speakers - which may just have to do with the quality of what I've heard so far in headphones - HD 600/AKG K701/DT990 being the best I've heard.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Golden Ears View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by vrln View Post

Interesting post... Agreed! I´ve noticed something interesting lately after I got my Audio-gd rig fully running: I haven´t been listening to headphones at all. I had two old Genelec 8020B studio monitors that I decided to try the Phoenix preamp output mode with. 

Oh and not to mention any decent nearfield monitors will destroy any headphone in neutrality except maybe the LCD-2. As extremely neutral gear, they can easily be paired with high end sources and will reveal all their glory.

 


Funny.. I own Genelec S30d studio monitors.  I use them for DJ remixing.. quite impressive and 122db output.. My infinities leave them in the dust for detai and staging and presence.. (please note..most of the other infinities are not good AT ALL for SQ except the Infinity Betas, RS1-(a) and all the IRS series IRS I, IRS II IRS III and IRS V- there was no IRS IV as some Asian cultures think the number 4 is bad luck and many large format speakers are sold to Asia- so they skipped 4.)

 

 

 

I think I fixed the quote there for you.  I think.

 

Anyway, where did you ever read about an IRS II or III?  There's no such thing, unless there was some super-secret in-house reference system (or developmental system) at Infinity between 1980 and 1988...  They went straight from "IRS" to "IRS V" - with AFAIK the only difference being the updated woofer design - going from polypropylene coned drivers to the brilliant radial graphite drivers that the other IRS-series models (and the Kappa 9/8/7) used.  That'd be the IRS Beta (that you already mentioned) - the smaller (and more practical) yet not explicitly inferior speaker, and the IRS Gamma/Delta - even more practical, just scaled down and without the servo in the Delta.  The later IRS Epsilon, Sigma, and Omega are almost closer to my Renaissance 90 in design, and use different drivers altogether (updated versions of the EMIT and EMIM, and different woofers).

 

Now certainly, the pre-1990 IRS series, and RS-1(a/b), are mostly in a league of their own - but I can't fathom that the more practical Infinities with the same drivers are "not good AT ALL"...  The RS 4.5, RS 2.5, RS 2a/b, Renaissance 90/80, Kappa 9/8, Quantum Line Source, and even Modulus come to mind as being every bit as worthy from a price/performance/practicality standpoint.  All used the EMIT tweeters, most used the EMIM midrange, and most used the great Watkins woofers (except the Modulus servo woofer, similar to the IRS servo designs) - or in the case of the Kappas, the same exact woofer as the IRS models, just sans servo control (like the Delta).

 

Now, if you mean the hugely popular and astonishingly poor SM-series...  Yeah, I couldn't agree more.  The polycell tweeters and mid domes are horrible.  Unless all you care about is efficiency and PAR-TAY-ing.  Then they're every bit the equal of Cerwin Vega and JBL party speakers.  Oh, and they (along with the lackluster Infinity car audio stuff today) make searching for the good stuff on CL that much harder...  But if I was partying I'd want a pair of Klipschorns anyway - so much more class at only twice the price (or heck, less if you can find one at a church sale...).

 

The new Infinities don't do anything for me either - but neither do the comparable new Polk and Klipsch speakers.  Now, some brand new Klipsch Heritage speakers or Magnepans, on the other hand...


Edited by BlackbeardBen - 12/7/10 at 1:08pm
post #39 of 179

hear, hear (pun intended)
 

Quote:

Originally Posted by BlackbeardBen View Post
 

Now, some brand new Klipsch Heritage speakers or Magnepans, on the other hand...


 

post #40 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackbeardBen View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by triode12 View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Sneis View Post

Am I broken if I prefer to listen to headphones because of their more intimate experience?  I've walked into my share of boutique audiophile stores with buku bucks rigs in calibrated rooms only to find that I still prefer the comfort of my humble at home rig.

 

Maybe I just haven't heard the right setup yet!

 

 



You probably haven't and you don't need "buku bucks" to get that experience.

High End hi-fi in the 70s and 80s wasn't like it is now (or the crazy 90s) where the $$ to SQ ratio is/went seriously out of wack.

While (unfortunately) many manufacturers from the 70s/80s have gone the way of the dodo, there are still a few of them around that are still putting out products that are great value for money today. e.g. Magnaplanar, Eminent Technology, Audible illusions, RAM labs, Quicksilver, SOTA, Rega, B&K to name a few.

 

One can also purchase used examples of the products these manufacturers used to make for a fraction of their initial retail price. e.g. Apogee ribbon speakers, 80s Krell amps

So it is possible to put together a very high end system, both in build and sound quality on a very modest budget that will blow any away headphone rig in terms of imaging and soundstaging alone (binaural sources and the Smythe system excepted).

 

Once you have experienced the sonic "reality" that an optimised and synergistic 2 channel stereo system can reproduce, you'll understand why a headphone rig cannot come close.  (binaural sources and the Smythe system excepted).

 

 


I couldn't agree more - there's such a huge selection of used speakers, amps, and more that a stereo rig can easily compete with headphones in price/performance today, if you shop carefully.  AK and CL are your friends.  As everyone else loves to do, I'll use my main setup as an example.  It's far from perfect, but consider what I'd be able to get in headphones for the same money:

 

Infinity Renaissance 90 speakers: $600 - drove 1200 miles to pick it up, found on CL

Adcom GFA-555 amp: $220 - an hour drive away, found on CL

Carver TFM-15CB amp: $80 - Okay, I admit listed the cheapest (and most recent) of the three I've got, and it was found at the local used music store.

Carver C-11 preamp: $100 - an hour and half drive away, found on CL (got my first 15CB with this, paid $200 for the pair)

NAD 5325 CD player w/ upgraded caps: $60 - You can diss it (and the Carvers & Adcom) if you'd like, but give it a listen first.  The sole eBay acquisition.

12 Ga speaker cables & shielded interconnects: est. $20 - From Monoprice.  I'm not a cable believer...

 

Total: A measly $1080.

 

Say you put this together in 1992 when everything was available new ('cept the cable) - it would have cost around $6000 or so.  And that's in 1992, with (as far as I can tell) speakers today becoming progressively poorer value for the dollar among the high end - and inflation since then raising prices further.

 

Sure, I'd like to upgrade my amps - the Carver on top is pretty good, but I'd always like to try something different.  Infinity used to use ARC tube amps for the top end on their speakers when testing, so perhaps that's what I should go for.  The Adcom on bottom never has any need for more power, at least in my room.  With it alone driving the system, there was almost no bass - either indicative of how much power these need, or the state of the caps.  Probably both, and I'll recap them eventually.

 

But my point is that headphones aren't the only value out there...  I won't get into comparing them, although I prefer speakers - which may just have to do with the quality of what I've heard so far in headphones - HD 600/AKG K701/DT990 being the best I've heard.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Golden Ears View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by vrln View Post

Interesting post... Agreed! I´ve noticed something interesting lately after I got my Audio-gd rig fully running: I haven´t been listening to headphones at all. I had two old Genelec 8020B studio monitors that I decided to try the Phoenix preamp output mode with. 

Oh and not to mention any decent nearfield monitors will destroy any headphone in neutrality except maybe the LCD-2. As extremely neutral gear, they can easily be paired with high end sources and will reveal all their glory.

 


Funny.. I own Genelec S30d studio monitors.  I use them for DJ remixing.. quite impressive and 122db output.. My infinities leave them in the dust for detai and staging and presence.. (please note..most of the other infinities are not good AT ALL for SQ except the Infinity Betas, RS1-(a) and all the IRS series IRS I, IRS II IRS III and IRS V- there was no IRS IV as some Asian cultures think the number 4 is bad luck and many large format speakers are sold to Asia- so they skipped 4.)

 

 

 

I think I fixed the quote there for you.  I think.

 

Anyway, where did you ever read about an IRS II or III?  There's no such thing, unless there was some super-secret in-house reference system (or developmental system) at Infinity between 1980 and 1988...  They went straight from "IRS" to "IRS V" - with AFAIK the only difference being the updated woofer design - going from polypropylene coned drivers to the brilliant radial graphite drivers that the other IRS-series models (and the Kappa 9/8/7) used.  That'd be the IRS Beta (that you already mentioned) - the smaller (and more practical) yet not explicitly inferior speaker, and the IRS Gamma/Delta - even more practical, just scaled down and without the servo in the Delta.  The later IRS Epsilon, Sigma, and Omega are almost closer to my Renaissance 90 in design, and use different drivers altogether (updated versions of the EMIT and EMIM, and different woofers).

 

Now certainly, the pre-1990 IRS series, and RS-1(a/b), are mostly in a league of their own - but I can't fathom that the more practical Infinities with the same drivers are "not good AT ALL"...  The RS 4.5, RS 2.5, RS 2a/b, Renaissance 90/80, Kappa 9/8, Quantum Line Source, and even Modulus come to mind as being every bit as worthy from a price/performance/practicality standpoint.  All used the EMIT tweeters, most used the EMIM midrange, and most used the great Watkins woofers (except the Modulus servo woofer, similar to the IRS servo designs) - or in the case of the Kappas, the same exact woofer as the IRS models, just sans servo control (like the Delta).

 

Now, if you mean the hugely popular and astonishingly poor SM-series...  Yeah, I couldn't agree more.  The polycell tweeters and mid domes are horrible.  Unless all you care about is efficiency and PAR-TAY-ing.  Then they're every bit the equal of Cerwin Vega and JBL party speakers.  Oh, and they (along with the lackluster Infinity car audio stuff today) make searching for the good stuff on CL that much harder...  But if I was partying I'd want a pair of Klipschorns anyway - so much more class at only twice the price (or heck, less if you can find one at a church sale...).

 

The new Infinities don't do anything for me either - but neither do the comparable new Polk and Klipsch speakers.  Now, some brand new Klipsch Heritage speakers or Magnepans, on the other hand...


Great post.. in regards to IRS III

 

Talk some time to enjoy this cool visit to a speaker repair legend.

 

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/roadtour13/roadtour13.html

 

I also was not aware of other series other than the IRS and IRS V until this review and talking with Bill.

 

IMHO having any particular driver EMIM or EMIT or whatever  doesn't mean you will have a great speaker.. it may mean you will have  good frequency response or good measured off axis response.. but it doesn't mean it will sound good or real.

 

Having a good crossover will help... but there is so much more to making a speaker.

 

For instance you could have great drivers but the wrong cabinet volume for a bass relfex design.... or the wrong size port (diameter or length) ... or a poorly located port, or edge defraction,,,, or  a destructive resonance from the cabinet.. (or in the case of some cheap but good sounding designs..oddly...resonance that helps a crappy speaker driver in a  resonant cabinet sound more full).

 

For instance.. why the heck did ProAc Response 1SC sound so good??..and why did they let Wes Phillips (IMHO the king of never a negative review) have them for review. I assumed they were junk that he ascribed a good review to like so many other things...(the Sennheiser 600s also got a good review an were great but I almost passed them up).

 

http://www.stereophile.com/standloudspeakers/386/

 

IMHO the EMIM and EMIT drivers work best with the RS1 designs and hearing the RS2 was a major disappointment. (I wished they had sounded 1/4 as good as the RS1).

 

but hey YMMV and I just offer my opinion as you do yours and I love reading reviews and comments like those - which certainly are very knowledgeable... perhaps there was no IRS III...and Bill was pulling my Leg. I would rather read reviews by someone as yourself than by 95% of the others.


Edited by Golden Ears - 12/8/10 at 7:50pm
post #41 of 179

For many headphones will be a better solution for people. I got into cans two years ago and really do enjoy the intimate approach to music. I still love a great speakers system and IMO everybody who has the room and the finances should have a decent 2 channel system. For me I listen more to the headphone system than the Maggie system I have mostly because I am on my computer for many hours. it will interesting when I get my new amp how the system will become with nearfield listening with speakers but I fear that more dough will be needed to get the right speaker for the low wattage system. But I do love my headphone but it cost me as much as my 2 channel rig.

post #42 of 179
What a great thread. Glad it got bumped as I didn't see it the first time around.

Fwiw I agree speakers are the apex of recorded music reproduction but headphones offer a lot more than portability. Wasn't their portability a relatively late development anyway along with the walkman?

1. Quieter. I like to stay up late listening to music and a decent listning level. That would be inconsiderate with speakers.

2. Smaller and easy to change. You can have a desk covered in headphones and casually swap them for different flavours. Not so easy with speakers.

3. More intimate - bit of a subjective one this.

4. Cheaper. Yep the biggest till last. I simply could not afford a speaker rig to an equivalent quality as the headphones I can afford.

I hope one day I will be able to afford great speakers, power amp, preamp as I agree that in so many ways they do things headphones only dream of, but in the meantime thank god for headphones, wonderful headphones.
post #43 of 179
Quote:

Originally Posted by Golden Ears View Post

 

 

Great post.. in regards to IRS III

 

Talk some time to enjoy this cool visit to a speaker repair legend.

 

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/roadtour13/roadtour13.html

 

I also was not aware of other series other than the IRS and IRS V until this review and talking with Bill.

 

IMHO having any particular driver EMIM or EMIT or whatever  doesn't mean you will have a great speaker.. it may mean you will have  good frequency response or good measured off axis response.. but it doesn't mean it will sound good or real.

 

Having a good crossover will help... but there is so much more to making a speaker.

 

for instance you could have great drivers but the wrong cabinet volume for a bass relfex design.... or hte wrong size port... or a poorly located port, or edge defraction,,,, or  a destructive resonance from the cabinet.. (or in the case of some cheap but good sounding designs..resonance that helps a speaker driver).

 

for instance.. why the heck did ProAc Response 1SC sound so good..and why for did they let Wes Phillips (IMHO the king of never a negative review) have them for review. I assumed they were junk that he ascribed a good review to like so many other things...(the Sennheiser 600s also got a good review).

 

http://www.stereophile.com/standloudspeakers/386/

 

IMHO the EMIM and EMIT drivers work best with the RS1 designs and hearing the RS2 was a major disappointment. (I wished they had sounded 1/4 as good as the RS1).

 

but hey YMMV and I just offer my opinion as you do yours and I love reading reviews and comments like those - which certainly are very knowledgeable... perhaps there was no IRS III...and Bill was pulling my Leg. I would rather read reviews by someone as yourself than by 95% of the others.


 

Hmm...  I'll be darned - if you go to Infinity's website to look up models, they have "IRS Series II" and "IRS Series III" listed, plus "IRS V" (no "Series" in the name) - but no "IRS" or "Infinity Reference System".  There's no documentation for the Series II/III but there is for the V.  Googling brings a few references to Series II/III and even one recollection by a former dealer employee of a "Series IV" after reference to a "Series III" - but I'd believe that's just a mistaken recollection.  I don't think Bill was pulling your leg, or even mistaken.

 

Oddly enough, I found quite a bit of info at a Honda forum!  Right here.  Also some from AV Guide.  Of course, it'd be prudent to confirm all this with Infinity - better yet, Arnie or Gary.  But what it seems like is that the III switched to neodymium magnets, and that in addition to switching woofers the V may have upgraded the bass amp from 1500 watts to 2000 watts (and switched to lighter EMIM diaphrams as stated here).  There's nothing on the difference between the original IRS and the II - but I bet the II is the adaptation for commercial production - leaving the IRS as the original prototype/Infinity's first internal reference system using this design.  I come to that conclusion based on the lack of an "IRS" model on the Infinity website and the knowledge that the original was developed as an internal reference system.

 

Very interesting to say the least.  It's not the only time Infinity has made minor changes to a model - the various RS a/b versions, Kappa X(a), Kappa X.1 (Series II, or X.2) all got minor revisions and amended names.  Perhaps because of their rarity the IRS revisions (other than the V) just haven't been documented as well? 

 

Generally speaking, the best Infinity reference page online is Infinity Classics - which admittedly doesn't say anything about the IRS revisions beyond the V, and doesn't really explain the Kappa X.1 revisions either.  Yeah, it's in German, but the models and specs are all in English - and there's good photos for reference as well.

 

Speaking of different, this guy who owned both was so disappointed with the RS 1b compared to the IRS V (the crossover that sent different frequencies to the same drivers) that he did significant mods to them - replacing the EMIMs and changing to a more standard 2-way crossover.  Goes to show how much people differ...

 

Like Bill and his Kappa 7.2 speakers - considered by the general online Infinity community to be inferior to the original Kappa series - which is are in return considered to be inferior to the RS 2/2.5/4.5 and Renaissance speakers - which apparently sound great far in excess of what one would expect based on their original price.

 

Now I admit - the almost all of the Infinities that I've heard are my own (Renaissance 90, Kappa 8, & RS 5; having only otherwise heard a new (but unimpressive) TOTL Prelude 40 at a dealer and a friends' abysmal SM 155), and beyond those I've only heard a relatively small sampling of other speakers (Klipsch, Polk, Mirage, and smattering of others).  In other words, I'm sure I would be blown away by the RS 1.  I can't say anything about the RS 2, honestly - but I've never heard anyone say it's a disappointment...  Perhaps it's the shock of moving from a line source?  Another thing could have been poor acoustics/setup of the room - you can easily undermine a great speaker this way.  Then again, maybe I'm totally wrong.

 

Regarding cabinetry - Yes, it does indeed make a huge difference.  Especially for ported/PR designs - the difference between the different '80s/early '90s Polks that all use the same drivers is astounding, just based on the different cabinets (and often PRs) they use.

 

But I think Infinity put an immense amount of effort into designing all of their cabinets - although I can't really offer any evidence for their earlier models, there's a white paper here for the Renaissance 90 speakers I have that shows the extremely high level of design going into them.  Granted, the Renaissance 80 and 90 were the first of an entirely different cabinet design philosophy than before - which became the new standard for Infinity through the '90s among their high end speakers (Kappa X.X, IRS Epsilon/Sigma).  But I don't think that the cabinet design was ignored before Arnie left - perhaps just Gary wanted to try his own ideas out.

 

One thing I consider very important - practicality.  I drove from East Lansing, Michigan to Arlington, Virginia (spending the night at a friend's house in SE Ohio on the way there) to pick up the Renaissance 90 speakers - in my VW Golf!  I think I got around 31 mpg on the trip, and that's only because I left my bike rack on.  I would never have been able to pick up a pair of dual-tower speakers even if I had borrowed my dad's Land Cruiser - let alone my Golf - even if I could afford them.  A rental moving truck and hopefully the original crates would be what I'd need.

 

And that's not to mention amp'ing them.  You know what that entails, of course.  On the other hand, I'm getting by with all of $400 in amps & pre.  Granted, a pair of high end monitors plus a sub would be even easier...

 

Actually, for that reason I think the only reasonable upgrade for me any time in the near future would be the IRS Gamma/Delta.  Far less power (current especially) needed, and far easier to fit in a room.  We'll see, but I don't expect to buy a house for a few more years - and even then I wouldn't expect to get something big enough for dual-tower speakers.

 

And to be honest, I'm pretty much satisfied with the Renaissance 90 besides getting new grilles/spikes and trying a real high end amp or two.  When set up in my old apartment (they're in storage at the parents' house while I'm abroad studying towards a master's in mechanical engineering), I definitely had that "speakers disappearing" sensation, sound coming from all around the room (in a good way) beyond the speakers, and that "you're in the studio/bar/club/auditorium/arena with the artist" feeling and pinpoint imaging.  Seeing threads like the 14-page long "Were Renaissance 90s the best Infinity?" thread at AK, or the 35 unanimous 5-star reviews at audioreview.com (making it the highest rated speaker there) doesn't help my ego any, even though I certainly don't think they are the best Infinity speaker by a big margin.  The most practical of the high-end Infinities?  Perhaps.  I mean, I did fit them in my Golf...

 

But like I said, I'd love to hear a pair of the really big Infinities.


Edited by BlackbeardBen - 12/8/10 at 5:22am
post #44 of 179

Actually I do remember seeing the different versions of the IRS in old - Tech hi-fi - catalogs (a chain store) as each year progressed..

 

IRS IRS II and IRS III  I think they were $10,000 then later $20,000.

 

Cool shots of them in homes.

 

I heard many Infinity speakers except for the Betas which according to Bill LEgall (The speaker repair guy) were very difficult to keep running.

 

The RS1-b is hard to set up right... mostly  because the directions are wrong. Also it benefits from certain ceiling heights... because the bottom  4,5,6,7 EMIM and Top 2 EMIM s combine to extend bass response like a giant d'apollitto array. Similar to the way Dunlavys (also giant d'apollittos  when measured nearfield show lacking bass- but measured far field they benefit from boundary reinforcement of bass from the floor and ceiling to extend bass response (A neat Arnie Nudell trick - or perhaps luck).

 

I've found that people space the HF panels too far out..and don't toe then in enough...also the bass towers need to be toed out... this causes time alignment to happen beyond the width of  the speakers giving a large convincing soundstage. Also the toe in helps center vocalist focus.

 

 

If you toe in the woofers.. the air blast from them will hit the HF diaphrams and screw it all up. (this is how Lyric Hi-fi had it.demoed...)

 

 

post #45 of 179

Quote:
Originally Posted by EddieE View Post

1. Quieter. I like to stay up late listening to music and a decent listning level. That would be inconsiderate with speakers.

2. Smaller and easy to change. You can have a desk covered in headphones and casually swap them for different flavours. Not so easy with speakers.

exactly. although each computer has (tinny) built-in speakers, it's much better to have a nice well-amped headphone for work and play. and although I have speaker rigs for movies/tv and for stereo, there are hours (not just at night) when headphones are the better (and more considerate) way to go. - I doubt, though, especially here, that many would agree with your calling the head-fi way cheaper, EddieE! ;-)

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