Is musicality what you first thought?

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simonali

Well-known member
Aug 8, 2006
186
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18,620
I think my first post is apt here. With the Ruark speakers you are listening to the music and not the system. That's why it's more entertaining. You're not listening to them and wondering whether that latest expensive bit of wire you just added is actually making a difference to what you're hearing*.

*it isn't.
 
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Sliced Bread

Well-known member
Jul 28, 2010
315
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I think my first post is apt here. With the Ruark speakers you are listening to the music and not the system. That's why it's more entertaining. You're not listening to them and wondering whether that latest expensive bit of wire you just added is actually making a difference to what you're hearing*.

*it isn't.
Yes maybe.

There is a definitely something in the midrange that I prefer. The treble is sweeter and better integrated too as well as timing.

Im giving serious thought to starting again but this time with a new requirement 👍. Though I certainly hear your point that sometimes the hardware can distract from the music and therefore the whole point.
 
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12th Monkey

Well-known member
Aug 31, 2015
332
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Bit tetchy there, Dom!

I'm really not sure what to suggest, Sliced Bread. Demoing some other stuff sounds wise, but it's not the most constructive advice in the present climate! Do you have friends with half-decent systems?
 
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Sliced Bread

Well-known member
Jul 28, 2010
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Bit tetchy there, Dom!

I'm really not sure what to suggest, Sliced Bread. Demoing some other stuff sounds wise, but it's not the most constructive advice in the present climate! Do you have friends with half-decent systems?
Thanks 12th!

Yes I just need to get out there and start demoing, once it’s safe for us to venture back to the shops :) :)

I’m in no rush.
 

simonali

Well-known member
Aug 8, 2006
186
46
18,620
Is that a good idea? You've already spent many thousands on a system that is not satisfying your ears musically and you want to go jump down that rabbit hole again at the first opportunity?

My own home cinema set up cost a fraction of what yours did and sounds terrible with music so I just don't listen to music on it for that reason, but yours sounds like it could be capable of doing so with the right tweaks. Do you listen in 2.1 mode? Maybe switching off the sub and letting just the front pair sing will help? Do some experimenting. Get that old CD player out of the loft and hook it up. You may remember why you bought it in the first place!
 
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simonali

Well-known member
Aug 8, 2006
186
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Another option would be to try some music actually mixed for HC systems? Obviously I have no idea with regards to what you like to listen to, but this album is excellent value as it contains a full concert video with 2 subtly different surround mixes plus all the audio from the SDE of the previous album in 5.1 and hi res stereo versions.


This is how much the SDE sells for!

 
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12th Monkey

Well-known member
Aug 31, 2015
332
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5,070
I had a multichannel mix of Pixies Doolittle - I think it was a poor example of the breed, but it sapped all life from what is a pretty energetic album! Went on eBay...
 

simonali

Well-known member
Aug 8, 2006
186
46
18,620
I can imagine it did, some albums mixed into 5.1 afterwards don't always work, the Depeche Mode reissues a few years back are good examples of poor surround mixes, too, even though you'd imagine that their music would really suit surround sound if done well.

Some stuff really suits it however, but as I said it depends on what music you like. Punky stuff like the Pixies probably doesn't work well but other stuff definitely does. Surrounded by Tipper, for example, was written and mixed for 5.1 and sounds amazing, even when listened to in plain ol' stereo. I can imagine that classical music when mixed well sounds good, too.

Going back to the Pineapple Thief example above, two members of the band are studio boffins as well as musicians. The keyboard player is an expert in mastering and the singer/guitarist does the mixing and production. He also does 5.1 mixes for other bands.
 

Slothy

Well-known member
Oct 29, 2019
28
14
45
So I have been in and out of this hobby for many years. I started when I was just a teenager and I am now in my early 40’s, though my passion for HiFi goes all the way back to listening to my fathers Arcam system when I was a young child. I still remember to this day enjoying that lovely bouncing heartbeat at the start of Pink Floyds dark side of the moon which sounded so nice from those big sealed speakers.
Years later just after I left school I had my first “proper” budget Hifi. Bass was very light, but still usable and had lovely tones to it and it introduced me to what a good Hifi can do with vocals. Vocals on this system where delicate, fluid and had very nice low level dynamics.
Being a teenager though I decided the bass was not enough, so I sold it and bought an appalling midi system with overblown bass.
My music was ruined!
Years past and I listened to less and less music.

Then Dolby Digital came out and I was back in the game, but this time with a new requirement. I still wanted my long lost music, but I also wanted high octane Cinema in my home and I got the later and I *thought* the music too. It took 3 speaker packages, 5 receivers and thousands of pounds to get there, but now movies sound better then ever and I thought this true of music too, even though I was hardly listening to any. The midrange is transparent with realistic vocals and the bass is flat (ish) down to 25hz. In other words, it past the demo room test. The ingredients are all there and yet over time I listened to very little music on the system.

I thought I was just bored of my music.

Then the lockdown happened and I’ve been forced to work from home. In order to break up the monotony I installed a pair of little Ruark Mr1 Mk2’s:

https://www.whathifi.com/ruark-audio/mr1-mk2/review

They’re expensive for pc speakers but cheap in HiFi terms and a fraction the price of my main system. At first they left me a little cold but as they’ve run in there’s a non-showy fluidity to the sound that sounds natural and draws you into the music. Don’t get me wrong they’re not perfect by a long shot. Bass is dry and they do not work for every track , but there is something about the sound that is very enjoyable and I find myself listening to track after track. I can once again hear traces of that fluid midrange I enjoyed in my first HiFi. Stranger in Moscow is truly captivating with the vocals brimming with emotion. Stereo imaging is impressive too once positioned write. If I shut my eyes I could be back in my bedroom in my late teens listening to those tracks all over again.

And my point?

Why are these “cheap” little speakers with so much going against them so much more musically engaging than my main system which images like a champ, digs out the tiniest detail and can rattle the house when needed.

It’s made me reassess everything I’ve been searching for in this little hobby of ours.

Does anyone else have similar experience? What have you learned?
Know exactly what you mean
So I have been in and out of this hobby for many years. I started when I was just a teenager and I am now in my early 40’s, though my passion for HiFi goes all the way back to listening to my fathers Arcam system when I was a young child. I still remember to this day enjoying that lovely bouncing heartbeat at the start of Pink Floyds dark side of the moon which sounded so nice from those big sealed speakers.
Years later just after I left school I had my first “proper” budget Hifi. Bass was very light, but still usable and had lovely tones to it and it introduced me to what a good Hifi can do with vocals. Vocals on this system where delicate, fluid and had very nice low level dynamics.
Being a teenager though I decided the bass was not enough, so I sold it and bought an appalling midi system with overblown bass.
My music was ruined!
Years past and I listened to less and less music.

Then Dolby Digital came out and I was back in the game, but this time with a new requirement. I still wanted my long lost music, but I also wanted high octane Cinema in my home and I got the later and I *thought* the music too. It took 3 speaker packages, 5 receivers and thousands of pounds to get there, but now movies sound better then ever and I thought this true of music too, even though I was hardly listening to any. The midrange is transparent with realistic vocals and the bass is flat (ish) down to 25hz. In other words, it past the demo room test. The ingredients are all there and yet over time I listened to very little music on the system.

I thought I was just bored of my music.

Then the lockdown happened and I’ve been forced to work from home. In order to break up the monotony I installed a pair of little Ruark Mr1 Mk2’s:

https://www.whathifi.com/ruark-audio/mr1-mk2/review

They’re expensive for pc speakers but cheap in HiFi terms and a fraction the price of my main system. At first they left me a little cold but as they’ve run in there’s a non-showy fluidity to the sound that sounds natural and draws you into the music. Don’t get me wrong they’re not perfect by a long shot. Bass is dry and they do not work for every track , but there is something about the sound that is very enjoyable and I find myself listening to track after track. I can once again hear traces of that fluid midrange I enjoyed in my first HiFi. Stranger in Moscow is truly captivating with the vocals brimming with emotion. Stereo imaging is impressive too once positioned write. If I shut my eyes I could be back in my bedroom in my late teens listening to those tracks all over again.

And my point?

Why are these “cheap” little speakers with so much going against them so much more musically engaging than my main system which images like a champ, digs out the tiniest detail and can rattle the house when needed.

It’s made me reassess everything I’ve been searching for in this little hobby of ours.

Does anyone else have similar experience? What have you learned?
Know exactly what you mean. I’ve always been into HiFi and have had many different systems. In the early 90’s I had an Akai PJ35 boombox in red with detachable speakers that sounded just right. I used to prefer it to the system I had then. About 3 years ago I swapped my Roksan K3 for a Naim Atom and haven’t stopped listening to it since. There is nothing annoying about it’s sound it just boogies, making you always want to listen to the next track.
I also mainly listen now from Spotify, not bothered about missing the tiniest of details from CD quality files. So I’m in agreement with you, musicality beats ‘HIFI’ everytime.
 
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DomCheetham

Well-known member
Aug 6, 2011
587
160
19,070
I'm surprised you did that, but I guess it was the right thing to do. It's an incredible feeling to enjoy your tunes.
You jumped ship so to speak. I really want to try a Naim system, but alas I'm still not done with Roksan. It's a really sweet ride. Do you prefer Naim to Roksan?
 

Jez l

Active member
May 1, 2020
18
13
25
I think there is a fine balance.

I think I'm quite lucky, I seem to have a nice balance in my system, it's quite clean and fast sounding. I can listen to anything on it and I enjoy it.

I'm a bit concerned about going too high end in terms of component upgrades as I'm aware that some gear can become a bit more analytical and you lose the sense of fun that some lesser gear can provide.
 
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Slothy

Well-known member
Oct 29, 2019
28
14
45
I'm surprised you did that, but I guess it was the right thing to do. It's an incredible feeling to enjoy your tunes.
You jumped ship so to speak. I really want to try a Naim system, but alas I'm still not done with Roksan. It's a really sweet ride. Do you prefer Naim to Roksan?
I didn’t change out the Roksan because of anything fundamentally wrong with it’s sound although I could find it a bit fatiguing sometimes. I liked the look and features of the Atom when it was released and the drop in power wasn’t an issue as I never play that loud. From the moment I played the first track on it I knew I just preferred its presentation. I have quite a ‘live’ sounding room (you can see it in the ‘show you system’section) hence why the Roksan could sound a bit toppy sometimes.
 

Sliced Bread

Well-known member
Jul 28, 2010
315
12
18,895
Know exactly what you mean

Know exactly what you mean. I’ve always been into HiFi and have had many different systems. In the early 90’s I had an Akai PJ35 boombox in red with detachable speakers that sounded just right. I used to prefer it to the system I had then. About 3 years ago I swapped my Roksan K3 for a Naim Atom and haven’t stopped listening to it since. There is nothing annoying about it’s sound it just boogies, making you always want to listen to the next track.
I also mainly listen now from Spotify, not bothered about missing the tiniest of details from CD quality files. So I’m in agreement with you, musicality beats ‘HIFI’ everytime.
You know, I’ve really got to try one of these Atoms.
So many people are saying the same thing, that it’s got to be worth a home demo.
May I ask what speakers you’re using with it?
 

Sliced Bread

Well-known member
Jul 28, 2010
315
12
18,895
The best sound improvement I had was adding a BLXLS200 subwoofer and antimode.
I went down a similar path and added a Rel S3 SHO and an antimode.

They did actually help and it s the best lower bass my system has had. For films it’s superb, it’s just that extra something further up that’s missing. I think going back to 12ths earlier comments that it may be the timing. With music it just doesn’t get your foot tapping.
 

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