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Final Audio Design Impressions and Discussion Thread - Page 69

post #1021 of 4531
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundFreaq View Post

1. I don't think people buy super hi-end audio systems to listen to Hip-hop, Trance, R&B and Metal. If you're into those genres, I wouldn't recommend you pick up a Stax 009. With Metal, you're not worried about the drum stick sound as it strikes the cymbal, and the way it resonates in the recording environment. You're not worried about the Upright bass timbre in Jazz, and hearing the sound resonate in the wood before exiting through the f-holes. In Metal, the bass is run through a distortion pedal, then an amp, THEN miked. Metal is about the power of the music as a whole, and you don't get caught in the nuances of the music. 

 

 

I know plenty of people who listen to hip-hop and metal on summit-fi systems. I myself do it.

 

Anything that is recorded well will sound just fine on the SR-009.

 

As for stuff that isn't recorded well: personally, I think the whole "highly transparent headphones demand the best recordings" thing is an exaggeration at best and at worst a total myth. In my experience it's headphones with more distinct colorations that sound bad with poor recordings. Granted, a revealing setup will make those flaws in recordings stand out all the more, and in that sense it sounds "bad." But it's the headphones with very distinct U shapes that make bad recordings sound painful. The SR-009 will make recording flaws stand out, but they wont sound offensive. It's obvious but still highly listenable compared to a lot of other headphones.

 

The whole system needs to be considered. It's all about the sum total based on your tastes. People who call the HD800 and SR-009 thin, bass-light, and "unmusical" for example tend to be those who don't pair them up with the right equipment in my experience. Both are very chameleonic of upstream gear. The SR-009 for instance can sound more thin and analytical on something like a BHSE or KGSS, yet sound much fuller and more lush on an LL or WES.

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundFreaq View Post

2. Genres like Trance and Hip-hop are not well produced. Though it's getting better, I, as a fan of trance music, have gotten further away from it as I get into higher end audio, because it's usually produced horribly. Independent producers are different, but I'm talking DJ mixes. Even DJ's with Money, like Armin Van Buuren, produce mixes that are usually bright and not well done. Not to mention, it's a compilation of many producer's music, all mastered in a different way, then mastered all over again to be consistent within the mix. I get way more satisfaction out of trance by not listening to it on a quality system. For trance, I often go "mid-fi" to get the most satisfaction. 

 

 

A generalization regarding production values.

 

But even granting that on the whole these genres have less in the way of good quality recordings, I still find a proper high end setup renders them perfectly listenable (unless it's really awful. In which case they will sound just as bad on mid-fi stuff if not worse).

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundFreaq View Post

3. The very best headphones in the world, are they terrific all-rounders? Or are they pretty good at most things, and excellent at a few things. Like 009. It will do anything. But acoustic, Jazz, Classical, instrumental, and vocal sound best. If you're a dubstep freak, you just don't dive into an 009. 

 

I'd rather have an HD800 and the right amp (ECBA, ZDSE, Stratus, etc.) for listening to electronica than any mid-fi headphone. Similarly the SR-009 paired with the LL sounds gorgeous with most electronica.

 

To go back to the FI-BA-SS which prompted your questions, I think the same thing applies: it sounds fine with electronica. By no means is it a "classical only" headphone.

 

Really, I find most of the music recommendations passed around by audiophiles to be terrible. Since we're on a role with generalizations here, it seems like so many audiophiles have terrible taste in music. Honestly, as soon as my gear starts dictating the music I listen to, it's time to quit. That's a very bad sign.

post #1022 of 4531
Quote:
Originally Posted by MuppetFace View Post

 

I know plenty of people who listen to hip-hop and metal on summit-fi systems. I myself do it.

 

Anything that is recorded well will sound just fine on the SR-009.

 

As for stuff that isn't recorded well: personally, I think the whole "highly transparent headphones demand the best recordings" thing is an exaggeration at best and at worst a total myth. In my experience it's headphones with more distinct colorations that sound bad with poor recordings. Granted, a revealing setup will make those flaws in recordings stand out all the more, and in that sense it sounds "bad." But it's the headphones with very distinct U shapes that make bad recordings sound painful. The SR-009 will make recording flaws stand out, but they wont sound offensive. It's obvious but still highly listenable compared to a lot of other headphones.

 

The whole system needs to be considered. It's all about the sum total based on your tastes. People who call the HD800 and SR-009 thin, bass-light, and "unmusical" for example tend to be those who don't pair them up with the right equipment in my experience. Both are very chameleonic of upstream gear. The SR-009 for instance can sound more thin and analytical on something like a BHSE or KGSS, yet sound much fuller and more lush on an LL or WES.

 

I definitely agree with you here about upstream equipment. You, and I have heard first-hand the difference. Others may not have had that opportunity yet. 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MuppetFace View Post

 

A generalization regarding production values.

 

But even granting that on the whole these genres have less in the way of good quality recordings, I still find a proper high end setup renders them perfectly listenable (unless it's really awful. In which case they will sound just as bad on mid-fi stuff if not worse).

 

 

A generalization it may be. But having come from a background of spinning vinyl for 10 years, then moving to digital systems, playing with producing my own music, I think I can firmly say that electronic DJ mixes absolutely generally are poorly produced. It's a special case, where you are taking many tracks, from many producers, with different production quality levels, and blending it all together into one mix, THEN producing that mix to be consistent within itself. It's a train-wreck. Transparency, if I may use that term generally, highlights for me the faults in the mix. Mid-fi glosses over it to an enjoyable extent. 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MuppetFace View Post

Honestly, as soon as my gear starts dictating the music I listen to, it's time to quit. That's a very bad sign.

 

 

For me, it's not that my gear is dictating my tastes, but that I am discovering new music based on how different systems render said music. I haven't given up anything. I just use different gear for different music. It seems our tastes differ on that. You'd still prefer a transparent system (HD800) to listen to poor electronic recordings and feel mid-fi and U-shaped are even more awful, and I don't enjoy that. You've never had a bright recording that got over the top on an HD800? 

post #1023 of 4531
Interesting thoughts MF and SF.

I am old enough to remember the days when ivor Tiefenbrun put forward the then heretical thought of source first system building rather than what was at the time speakers firsts and Amps generally a distant third ( least that is how it was in the UK back then).

Over the years and countless pieces of equipment purchased on that principal I have now come to a more holistic approach to system building in that each component if chosen well will highlight the strengths of its companions whilst making what not is great more palatable so that it does not effect musical enjoyment.

If done well and with time and thought it is possible to end up with a system that will play any genre well. Likewise for me a good system is one that will allow me to look past poor recording quality and still enjoy the music.

Where I do draw a line is EQ for a component needs EQ then for me either it is not matched well to its ancillaries or it is poorly designed in the first place.

I remember a few years ago here when Cowons ruled the roost to get a decent sound out of them one had to EQ the thing to death. To me that is something poorly designed from the outset as if you cannot tune it to your satisfaction by matching it with a headphone that allows you to enjoy the music then the thing is just not a good product in my books.

I will state I have never been a huge fan of the HD800 until that it I heard it with an amp that could let it show it's abilities to the full. Only then did it become musical to my ears and boy was it musical!


It was when I got the CLAS that the journey of system building truly started. That unit spurred me on to find better amplification, I got that with the Blackbird. Then came the PF's and that just raised the bar more than a couple of notches and I just knew what I was listening to was a percentage of what they could deliver and that it was the amp that was not delivering the potential.

Something kept saying to me tubes but what were around as far as battery powered were not doing it for me then came along Di-Ma and something just popped and I knew that even though I had not heard it his amp would be the solution and, it has and with tweaking tubes I feel I am at the point where I have achieved a sound that gives me similar emotional connection that the benchmark I have been carrying around in my thoughts gave me several years ago Which was a Wilson/Nagra home set up.

The system is now in balance. It will play anything well and give me full musical enjoyment. I can listen to a mono recording of Edith Piaff one minute the next some terribly recorded eighties piece of pop, then on to American roots or opera, full scale classical to chamber, folk to jazz and all points in between and no matter the recording quality or genre it all is musical and it all makes me want to keep listening.

And yes, the PF given enough good quality amplification will play full scale symphonies very well. likewise it plays the only metal album I own, Lateralous really well, likewise Eminem.

The PF's are not just for polite music or recordings though if listened purely from a DAP you would think that. Treat them to thoughtful system building and they will rise to the game!
Edited by ianmedium - 1/30/13 at 1:22pm
post #1024 of 4531
Will post later. Phone going berserk
Edited by SoundFreaq - 1/30/13 at 12:03pm
post #1025 of 4531
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundFreaq View Post

Will post later. Phone going berserk

Sorry for the late reply. Phone wasn't rendering the HTML well. I went to get my allergy shots and ended up having a reaction. Welps and rash all over my body + fever. I was in sad shape yesterday afternoon. All's good now, and back on track 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MuppetFace View Post

 

Really, I find most of the music recommendations passed around by audiophiles to be terrible

 
 
 
MuppetFace et al., I am very interested in how you define terrible music. I've had this conversation many times with friends and musicians alike, and have come to the idea that there is no terrible music. Despite my strenuous efforts to define it, I cannot. It is just tastes, familiarity and experience - completely subjective. I don't like modern, what I call "country-pop," and I could write for a while on the reasons why for me, it clearly is bad, unchallenging music. I have many thoughts, theories and ideas. But to keep this brief, I don't believe there is such a thing as bad music. Many people think my, what I consider to be, excellent taste in music to be horrible. I have reasons why mine is great and theirs is horrible. 
 
Your taste in music is based on too many things. Your culture, your history, your experience listening to music, how receptive your personality is to your friend's tastes, and so many variables, it's impossible, for me, to judge music. 
 
post #1026 of 4531
I agree, there is no terrible music, just different tastes. I remember hearing my first Audiophile recording at a HiFi show, usual plunky plonk stuff that is great at showing off HiFi, must admit it left me cold until a few weeks later I was in a cafe and said audiophile band were playing live said same plinky plonk stuff! This time however I could see they were into the music as much as the audience and bang! The heart connection formed, now I listen quite a bit to plinky plonk stuff as I can appreciate the genre more.

In fact, I think that is one of the greatest gifts good "HiFi" has given me, an appreciation of genres I never appreciated before. Mahler is a case in point. When I used to hear it come on Radio 3 ( A long standing source of not only mainstream but also esoteric classical music in the UK.. Thank God for the BBC and the internet as it can now be heard streamed!) on my radio it just sounded like a cacophony of cats having terrible things done to them but through a good playback system I have come to not only appreciate Mahler but love some of his music!

Mind, there are fails still that I try to find a way over, one of them if I say it will probably get me hung by the musical cognoscenti but here goes.. Bob Dylan, there, I have said it.. I just cannot "get" Bob Dylan! I have tried and tried and tried and yet it just does not gel for me. Friends in shock have recommend albums that I simply could not not like and I have listened and just not liked them. Heck, even the hits I don't like! Its not his songs, I love others singing his songs but I just cannot connect with his voice! I managed it with Neil Young why can't I manage it with Bob?? biggrin.gif
post #1027 of 4531
Quote:
Originally Posted by ianmedium View Post

I agree, there is no terrible music, just different tastes. I remember hearing my first Audiophile recording at a HiFi show, usual plunky plonk stuff that is great at showing off HiFi, must admit it left me cold until a few weeks later I was in a cafe and said audiophile band were playing live said same plinky plonk stuff! This time however I could see they were into the music as much as the audience and bang! The heart connection formed, now I listen quite a bit to plinky plonk stuff as I can appreciate the genre more.

In fact, I think that is one of the greatest gifts good "HiFi" has given me, an appreciation of genres I never appreciated before. Mahler is a case in point. When I used to hear it come on Radio 3 ( A long standing source of not only mainstream but also esoteric classical music in the UK.. Thank God for the BBC and the internet as it can now be heard streamed!) on my radio it just sounded like a cacophony of cats having terrible things done to them but through a good playback system I have come to not only appreciate Mahler but love some of his music!

Mind, there are fails still that I try to find a way over, one of them if I say it will probably get me hung by the musical cognoscenti but here goes.. Bob Dylan, there, I have said it.. I just cannot "get" Bob Dylan! I have tried and tried and tried and yet it just does not gel for me. Friends in shock have recommend albums that I simply could not not like and I have listened and just not liked them. Heck, even the hits I don't like! Its not his songs, I love others singing his songs but I just cannot connect with his voice! I managed it with Neil Young why can't I manage it with Bob?? biggrin.gif
Because he's known for bad recordings, and you have the equipment that magnifies that : )
post #1028 of 4531
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundFreaq View Post

MuppetFace et al., I am very interested in how you define terrible music. I've had this conversation many times with friends and musicians alike, and have come to the idea that there is no terrible music. Despite my strenuous efforts to define it, I cannot. It is just tastes, familiarity and experience - completely subjective. I don't like modern, what I call "country-pop," and I could write for a while on the reasons why for me, it clearly is bad, unchallenging music. I have many thoughts, theories and ideas. But to keep this brief, I don't believe there is such a thing as bad music. Many people think my, what I consider to be, excellent taste in music to be horrible. I have reasons why mine is great and theirs is horrible. 
 
Your taste in music is based on too many things. Your culture, your history, your experience listening to music, how receptive your personality is to your friend's tastes, and so many variables, it's impossible, for me, to judge music. 
 

 

You'll note I didn't say "terrible music," but instead that I found the taste of some audiophiles to be terrible. Taste is a completely subjective thing anyway, so my views on someone's tastes shouldn't matter much in the grand scheme of things. For me, "bad taste" in music has to do with the unwillingness of someone to explore new things and go outside of one's comfort zone. Sticking to a few genres and not having a diverse appreciation. I think appreciation for a variety of music can be learned by just about anyone.

 

That was the crux of my point: time and again audiophiles just pass around the same few recordings and recs, and it becomes stale and impotent.

post #1029 of 4531
Quote:
Originally Posted by MuppetFace View Post


That was the crux of my point: time and again audiophiles just pass around the same few recordings and recs, and it becomes stale and impotent.

Now, that I agree with. One of the reasons I like reading the UK magazine HiFi Plus is that they try to introduce new stuff to listen to rather than the usual stuff that one hears all the time. It was them that introduced me to my one and only Metal Album, Lateralus by Tool. They try to show that there are great recordings out there other than the usual suspects. I find HiFi News in the UK does the same, especially with classical music. They even have a really easy to understand rating system, one bar for the music, the other for recording quality.

However, I come back to what I wrote earlier and that is if the system is balanced then the recording quality though nice to have takes a back seat to the music.

CZQDTC, thanks so much for that explanation, it goes some way to explain but as i just said, I have plenty of badly recorded stuff that I still enjoy. It is odd as well as so many audiophile writers use Dylans albums as examples of how things should sound.

Mind, I did laugh, that Micky Fremmer sound video that floats around youtube and is very interesting to watch had as part of the round table discussion music played by CD then Vinyl so as to prove vinyl was the best. When it got to the dylan track I actually thought the cd sounded better!
post #1030 of 4531
I don't find Dylan's song to be attractive either.
I do like Bryan Adams and billy joe's song though, maybe they are more contemporary XD
post #1031 of 4531

Ian, you echo my thoughts. I have gained an appreciation for some music I did not have an appreciation for before due to my journey into hi-fi. 

 

HA! Ian, what exactly is plinky plonk music?!?!  biggrin.gif

post #1032 of 4531
Quote:
Originally Posted by MuppetFace View Post

For me, "bad taste" in music has to do with the unwillingness of someone to explore new things and go outside of one's comfort zone. Sticking to a few genres and not having a diverse appreciation. I think appreciation for a variety of music can be learned by just about anyone.

 

That was the crux of my point: time and again audiophiles just pass around the same few recordings and recs, and it becomes stale and impotent.

 

+100. Could not possibly agree more. Some of my very favorite stuff I did not like on first listen. But I have been rewarded swimmingly for my patience, and willingness to explore. And I wish that for others as well. 

post #1033 of 4531

Oh dear,

 

Ian, friends... finally got to putting in the Gold Lions into my Liquid Fire. I got a replacement from Cavalli after the one I had had a couple issues. Nothing but solid and professional help from Cavalli.

 

That aside...

 

I've put the FI-BA-SS aside, I've put the TH900 aside... I am rediscovering my Piano Forte's all over again with delight! Listening to some Miles Davis is truly a marvel. Through the Liquid Fire everything is so inviting and warm. The bass has more density and depth, reaching low, keeping incredible timbre. The mids, the horns are just lush and like a sip of a remarkable Cabernet while the warm candlelight glimmers off the crystal glass. The highs are sparkly and natural, comforting and refreshing like waking up refreshed one morning to a rising sun and brilliant blue sky, and feeling your mood escalate while you pour that first hot cup of french-pressed coffee. 

 

The PFs are all of life's little joys bundled up into one little tiny package of audio bliss. 

post #1034 of 4531
You know. Your describing what I am hearing with the PF's and TU-05 especially since I replaced the driver tubes with Mullards.
I was waiting for your thoughts on this mate and it just confirms to me that the PF's and tubes truly are a match made in heaven!

I keep trying to go back to the LCD's but each time I do I last maybe one track and am back to the PF's!

There is an album by Marc Cohn, a fantastic album, beautifully recored called Listening Booth, 1970 where he sings songs that inspired him in his youth, it is an amazing album and through the PF's and Tubes, well, it is like your in the room with him, your thoughts reminded me of that album!

This is a live version of one of the songs on that album, one of my favourite Paul Simon songs..
post #1035 of 4531

This morning I spent some quality time with the FI-BA-SS, both out of the A865 + UHA-6S and DX100.

 

To me, there's a purity that comes with the FI-BA-SS. It's like a snowy white landscape on a clear day. My white-cabled version is slightly warmer than the black-cabled one, so add to that picture some sunlight being cast across the white forest floor. The slightest feeling of warmth on the back of the neck, the soft purple shadows of trees adding strokes to the canvas like fine calligraphy.

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