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best stand mount speakers at low volume

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CnoEvil

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BigH said:
Its not just bass that gets lost at low volume.
Which is why I said in the post above, "I know some treble gets lost, but it may be less of an issue." I am aware of the Fletcher Munson Curve.

The OP has now said his music sounds "thin" and the body of the music is lost, which a Sub would greatly help mitigate IMO.
 

CnoEvil

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Romulus said:
Midrange and Treble?

 

 
IMO. A small sub, set correctly should make the sound "richer", as it's the bass that gets "lost" at low volume (but I'm happy to be proved wrong). I know some treble also gets "lost", but it may be less of an issue.

--------------------------------

With the correct isolation from the likes of Auralex, the sound going through to neighbours at low volumes can be kept to a minimum.
 

CnoEvil

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plastic penguin said:
I'm not point scoring but I suggested a sub or small floorstanders (hope Cno doesn't think that).
Of course you're not point scoring. I only mentioned the Sub as I missed the fact that you had already done so at the end of your reply.
 

S83 Trike

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BigH said:
S83 Trike said:
BigH said:
You maybe going about this the wrong way, Floorstanders are generally easier to drive and have more bass, small standmounts at low volume will not give you what you want.
With the ATC's being inefficiency and now sounding disappointing at lower volumes. I thought having good an efficient speaker (fb1) might be the answer.

I do have a very good power amp in the 909 to drive them.

I am also wondering if placing a layer of Cork over my dividing wall might be of helping sound proofing?
It may help but I think there are more effective methods. Depends how much room you have and how much money you want to spend. Also depends on the construction of the house. My last house had suspended wooden floors, bass seems to go along them and into next door. Also we had a fireplace on the adjoining wall so sound proofing was out of the question. Building a false wall is probably the best bet, with sound insulation and air gap, will cost a bit and may not be that effective depending on construction of building. Floor covering do make a big difference, thick carpets with decent underlay will no doubt help.

It maybe worth talking to your neighbours see what the problem is, is it bass or more general volume.
It's general volume, nothing to do with bass.

Hence why I am struggling with the ATC'S with lower volume.

The ATC's love being played hard (volume up) and once you hear them - they do sound fantastic, they do lose something with the volume turned down.
 

CnoEvil

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S83 Trike said:
It's general volume, nothing to do with bass.

Hence why I am struggling with the ATC'S with lower volume.

The ATC's love being played hard (volume up) and once you hear them - they do sound fantastic, they do lose something with the volume turned down.
Your description of the music sounding thin and lacking body when the volume is turned down is to do with bass (and treble). The cause may be the lack of volume, but the effect is as you've described. It's how we hear....mids are kept more intact, but bass and treble are diminished....check out Fletcher Munson Curve. The lack of body is down to the bass not underpinning the sound.

No speaker is going to sound as good when played quietly as when turned up...it's an old demo trick to make one system sound better than another.

More sensitive speakers can sound a little more exciting than insensitive ones at low volume and Floorstanders will generally give better bass while being more sensitive .

I have some small speakers (LS50s) and when played quietly, I use a sub which gives the body that you are after, as it stops the music sounding thin.

If you have speakers that you like, it seems a shame to change them without at least trying the sub option (as a dem).
The bass from a tiny sub that is put on an Auralex Subdude/Gramma, set carefully and used at low volume, won't be that much more neighbour-unfriendly than a multi-woofered Floorstander, but is much more versatile as it can be individually tailored to the recording.
 

CnoEvil

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S83 Trike said:
How will the sub connect to my system?
With BK subs, you get all the leads you need, either to go from a Pre-out on an amp, or a Neutrik High Level lead. http://www.bkelec.com/HiFi/Sub_Woofers/gemini_manual.pdf

The Microvee: https://velodyne.com/pdf/microvee/MicroVeeManual.pdf
 

CnoEvil

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S83 Trike said:
CnoEvil said:
CnoEvil said:
S83 Trike said:
How will the sub connect to my system?
With BK subs, you get all the leads you need, either to go from a Pre-out on an amp, or a Neutrik High Level lead. http://www.bkelec.com/HiFi/Sub_Woofers/gemini_manual.pdf

The Microvee: https://velodyne.com/pdf/microvee/MicroVeeManual.pdf
Pre amp out?

I use a Quad 909 power amp, fed direct from my Audiolab CD player
If you read both the manuals, they show how the Subs can be used either using Line Level or Speaker Level connections.

If you think this is an option, why not ring Bk Electronics and discuss what you are trying to achieve. You should find them straightforward and helpful.
 

plastic penguin

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@ the OP

This may sound really anal - or poke-in-eye obvious. A few years ago What Hi-FI, every January, do a review of all-in-one makes. Topping the list was the Quad 909/99 Preamp and 12L2 speakers. It beat very expensive Naim, Cyrus, Arcam. (I'll have a shufti through my archives tomorrow and see if I can find it), despite the speakers having a 4 star rating.

So basically, it might be worth checking Quads own speakers. Think this could be a synergy thing - thus Quad speakers could be the answer.
 

S83 Trike

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plastic penguin said:
@ the OP

This may sound really anal - or poke-in-eye obvious. A few years ago What Hi-FI, every January, do a review of all-in-one makes. Topping the list was the Quad 909/99 Preamp and 12L2 speakers. It beat very expensive Naim, Cyrus, Arcam. (I'll have a shufti through my archives tomorrow and see if I can find it), despite the speakers having a 4 star rating.

So basically, it might be worth checking Quads own speakers. Think this could be a synergy thing - thus Quad speakers could be the answer.
Yes, I had the 12L before moving up to the ATC's, the quads are great speakers but not in the same league as the ATC's.

Looking for the same impact at low volume as the ATC's at higher volume.

Sub as been mentioned as giving me some basic at lower levels, but last night the Misses has said no to more hifi in a room, so I am back searching for an inefficient speaker that sound great at lowish volumes?

Last night a mate suggested one of either the Neat or Harbeth range.....
 

Al ears

Moderator
plastic penguin said:
@ the OP

This may sound really anal - or poke-in-eye obvious. A few years ago What Hi-FI, every January, do a review of all-in-one makes. Topping the list was the Quad 909/99 Preamp and 12L2 speakers. It beat very expensive Naim, Cyrus, Arcam. (I'll have a shufti through my archives tomorrow and see if I can find it), despite the speakers having a 4 star rating.

So basically, it might be worth checking Quads own speakers. Think this could be a synergy thing - thus Quad speakers could be the answer.
Not a bad thought. Although I haven't heard them yet Quads latest S or Z range speakers might be deemed worthy of an audition.
 

S83 Trike

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Al ears said:
plastic penguin said:
@ the OP

This may sound really anal - or poke-in-eye obvious. A few years ago What Hi-FI, every January, do a review of all-in-one makes. Topping the list was the Quad 909/99 Preamp and 12L2 speakers. It beat very expensive Naim, Cyrus, Arcam. (I'll have a shufti through my archives tomorrow and see if I can find it), despite the speakers having a 4 star rating.

So basically, it might be worth checking Quads own speakers. Think this could be a synergy thing - thus Quad speakers could be the answer.
Not a bad thought. Although I haven't heard them yet Quads latest S or Z range speakers might be deemed worthy of an audition.
used to own a pair before the ATC's.
 

James7

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Jun 1, 2011
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This is something important to me as I do a lot of listening at fairly low volume. Bass and treble drop away and you need some way of correcting the issue. Tone controls can help here and replacing the QUAD with, say, a good Marantz amp that is so equipped would be one way to go, or adding a tone control equipped pre amp between your CD player and power amp. Alternatively, a small sub would certainly allow for the lost bass to be added back in, and this seems from your description to be the main issue, but it obviously won't help much with the treble. A bright sounding speaker, one that has been designed to slightly emphasise treble, might work better here than your ATC. Triangle perhaps?

i think I would be tempted, and this might be slightly over budget, to combine two of the suggestions above, and replace the ATCs with a pair of QUAD speakers AND a small sub. QUAD's latest S-series are a step up from the L series you have previous experience of, and while the smallest speaker in the range, the S-1, is not the weightiest, with a partnering sub and an amp like the 909 with which it should work very well I would expect a system that sounds good at both high and low volumes.

best of luck.
 

chebby

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Jun 2, 2008
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I have always enjoyed listening to my system at moderate to low levels.

My current speakers are the best i've ever owned for this. (And they thrive on being placed against the wall and near corners!)
 

S83 Trike

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As I have been told no to a sub by wifey, I might look to dispense with the ATC'S and stands and go for something like PMC GB1 small floor stander?

Sound decent at lower volume levels and when able to crank the speakers up they'll be OK as well?

I am getting there, i have a limitated ATC's plus sub now looking for possibly a floor stander.
 

plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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S83 Trike said:
As I have been told no to a sub by wifey, I might look to dispense with the ATC'S and stands and go for something like PMC GB1 small floor stander?

Sound decent at lower volume levels and when able to crank the speakers up they'll be OK as well?

I am getting there, i have a limitated ATC's plus sub now looking for possibly a floor stander.
Yup - GB1s are 87db into 8 ohms. Easy to drive and the vent is at the front. Likewise my TB2i are also very easy at 90db. I have no issues at low volumes with my 80 watt Leema.
 

Leeps

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BigH said:
You maybe going about this the wrong way, Floorstanders are generally easier to drive and have more bass, small standmounts at low volume will not give you what you want.
Sorry BigH, but in my experience your comment which seems sensible enough is not true in practice. My current speakers (Ruark Epilogue II's) are the best speakers I've ever heard at low volumes and certainly far better than my previous MA 270HD floorstanders, which although had too much bass for my new room (having a similar predicament to the OP, I moved house), they only seemed to come on song at higher volumes, unlike my Ruarks. The Epilogue II's are vintage speakers now, but an equivalent size to the Monitor Audio Silver 1 - firmly in the small standmounter category.

I'm not technical enough to understand WHY they're so good at low volumes though. But a friend who also has identical speakers commented on this ability (without prompting by me) after previously having much larger and much more bassy standmount speakers before.

I'd recommend them to the OP because they are all round fantastic speakers, but as they've not been in production for about 8 years or so now, it's not easy to find them in good condition. There are plenty that have been bashed about a bit. Looking on Ebay I don't understand how so many people can't seem to look after their speakers properly!
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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Leeps said:
BigH said:
You maybe going about this the wrong way, Floorstanders are generally easier to drive and have more bass, small standmounts at low volume will not give you what you want.
Sorry BigH, but in my experience your comment which seems sensible enough is not true in practice. My current speakers (Ruark Epilogue II's) are the best speakers I've ever heard at low volumes and certainly far better than my previous MA 270HD floorstanders, which although had too much bass for my new room (having a similar predicament to the OP, I moved house), they only seemed to come on song at higher volumes, unlike my Ruarks. The Epilogue II's are vintage speakers now, but an equivalent size to the Monitor Audio Silver 1 - firmly in the small standmounter category.

I'm not technical enough to understand WHY they're so good at low volumes though. But a friend who also has identical speakers commented on this ability (without prompting by me) after previously having much larger and much more bassy standmount speakers before.

I'd recommend them to the OP because they are all round fantastic speakers, but as they've not been in production for about 8 years or so now, it's not easy to find them in good condition. There are plenty that have been bashed about a bit. Looking on Ebay I don't understand how so many people can't seem to look after their speakers properly!
I think you are talking about old v new speakers and yes I have found that, my old Mission 780s were much better than many modern speakers at lower volumes, even at low volume they seemed to fill the room with sound and they were not that sensitive at 87db I believe. Having said that some floorstanders like the Epos did have similar qualities but the bass was too much and uncontrolled for me. I found my actives do not change that much with volume, just go louder or quieter, not sure if that is to do with the active/passive crossover or more to do with amp matching.
 

Electro

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S83 Trike said:
As I have been told no to a sub by wifey, I might look to dispense with the ATC'S and stands and go for something like PMC GB1 small floor stander?

Sound decent at lower volume levels and when able to crank the speakers up they'll be OK as well?

I am getting there, i have a limitated ATC's plus sub now looking for possibly a floor stander.
The GB1i's are a good call but if the wife would let you get away with the FB1i's they would be better still *smile*.

Don't write off the TB2i standmounts either they are better than the ATC's in all departments too, imo of course!

Any of the above would be considerably more than the equal of your ATC's at high volumes which is an added bonus , but at low volumes there is little to touch a transmission line speaker, they have the best qualities of a sealed box with the efficiency of a ported speaker plus the much more realistic undistorted deep bass that only a transmission line can supply .*smile*
 
Feb 18, 2015
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So it'll be the transmission line that makes my 21's sound decent enough at lower levels....it's odd that the whf review stated that they weren't very good at low level listening when I find......(out of any speaker I've owned)that the opposite is true.just don't be expecting miracles.lol.
 

matthewpiano

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Nov 23, 2007
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Auditioning is the best way. A lot of presumptions get made about whether or not a speaker will sound good at low volumes. Time and time again I've read and heard people suggesting Dynaudios need to be played loud to sound good, but mine are the best speakers I've ever had for low volume listening.

My experience with Quad speakers (11L) is that they weren't good at all at low volumes, sounding very veiled and somewhat disconnected, but the newer models may be different in this respect, and it does also depend on synergy with the amplifier and room.
 

MajorFubar

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I'm late to the party as usual but what you need above all else is an amp with a 'Loudness' switch, sometimes marked 'Contour'. This was exactly their purpose. In order to compensate for your low-level listening, you're talking about spending a lot of money on speakers to purposefully create a tonally-unbalanced system which potentially could sound horrid at anything except low levels. That surely is not the best way to tackle this problem.
 

Frank Harvey

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In my opinion, loudness switches make a system sound dull - too bassy and lacking information.

If people say Dynaudios need to be cranked, that's because they're using insufficient amplification to make the most of them.

Are ATC SCM11 and PMC TB2l comparable? Yes for size, but that's about it. Whilst both companies have a background in studio monitoring, ATC don't differentiate between studio monitors and hi-fi speakers. The only thing remotely domesticated about their SCM range are their cabinets, everything else is exactly what ATC do. The 7, 11, 19, and 40 have the same tonal balance as their studio monitors. PMC's i-Series didn't. They were designed specifically for home use. There are many reasons why the SCM11 and TB2i sound different, regardless of volume. That's not a negative towards either speaker by the way, they're just suitable for different people.

Speakers that represent an easy load to an amplifier generally sound more lively at lower volumes. Driving a speaker properly at lower volumes is just as much an art form as driving them to higher volumes.

Speakers that are highly efficient generally sound more lively at lower volumes. An amplifier doesn't need to work very hard to drive a high efficiency speaker, so at lower volumes, the amplifier is producing less distortion and has higher dynamic headroom available.

Speakers with larger drivers tend to sound better at lower volumes (as they're more efficient, as above) as they're not working as hard as small drivers to produce sound. In turn, the amplifier isn't working as hard, as above. Although some will say the real benefits of larger drivers are at higher volumes as they produce less distortion than smaller drivers due to lower cone excursion. The more work a smaller driver has to do, the more distortion it will be producing.

Speakers with a certain tonal balance can work well at lower volumes, but can become too bright and/or boomy when played at higher volumes.

The level of background noise in your room will affect low level listening.

The furnishings, or lack of, in your room will affect how well your speaker sounds at lower volumes. A well furnished room will absorb sound, and what you hear will rely more on the speaker for direct sound. A more reflective room won't absorb sound in the same way, and reflect sound around the room. You'll be able to turn a speaker down more in a reflective room and still hear what's going on.

And of course, an amplifier needs to be good enough for the speakers being used, otherwise the speaker just won't sound as good as it should do, regardless of volume. An amplifier needs a low noise floor to retain low level detail. Its dynamic capabilities will affect how the speaker sounds at any level, especially at lower volumes.

Bassy sounding speakers can smother detail, regardless of volume. Speakers with less forthcoming midrange can sound dull at lower volumes.

It's a balancing act. You can create a speaker that sounds as good as you can possibly get at higher volumes, but at lower volumes it can be a bit of a dog. Gear your speakers for low/average level listening and they can be tiring or boring at higher volumes. Get somewhere in the middle and be jack of all trades. Some manufacturers just design their speakers to be neutral, regardless of any other variables.

Car analogy? Sure. A Formula One car isn't very good around town, but stick it on a track and it'll annihilate a Fiat Punto. And vice versa. Unfortunately, more people are obsessed with price and specs than using their own ears to find out exactly what is needed to make the most of their own enjoyment of music.
 

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