Speaker decision

admin_exported

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Hi all, I have to reluctantly change my speakers. My system is a pair of musical fidelity x-a50 monoblocks, x-pre preamp, a meridian go8.2 cd player and pmc gb1i floorstanders. Good quality connects link the whole and the sound is absolutely stunning, (i.m.h.opinion). The problem is I have had to move to a smaller house with a smaller listening room. The sound from my set-up is overpowering my room even at modest levels. This was not a problem before as I could allow the system "off the leash" as it were. I am already convinced to move towards standmounts as I believe that the tradeoff in dynamics would be replaced by detail and imaging. I have read several reviews of the spendor sa1 and this sounds like the way I should be headed. Any help would be appreciated. Ideally I would like to get a shortlist drawn up and then audition. Thanks in advance. Oh by the way my listening tastes are vocals and detailed music so a good middle and top-end are a must, also I like a well controlled bass.
 

Frank Harvey

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Jun 27, 2008
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When you say 'over powering' your room, do you mean that you're not getting very far up the volume scale before it's loud? Or do you mean that the bass is becoming overbearing?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hi and thanks for the reply post. What I mean is that the listener and the room is overwhelmed at quite modest levels. I appreciate that this is what some people might wish for and once in a while I might play say, Joe Bonnamassa or Pink Floyd at those levels. Unfortunately when I want to "listen" to my music, I want to "hear" the detail and subtlety not be assaulted by it. This was never a problem in my old listening room but that overall size is now reduced to 3.8m width by 4.5m length. My musical tastes are very wide but I favour female vocals, Mary Black, Jennifer Warnes etc. I am convinced that the PMCs are where the problem is by being very good at doing what they are famed for doing, this is not a criticism because until now I have been very happy with my system as it is. Finally regarding your comment regarding the bass yes the PMCs are extremely good at controlling the bass, I think the problem is they are too dynamic.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Unless your amp gives a really poor volume scaling when at low volumes, I don't quite see the logic in your post. Whether the sound is overbearing because of the positionning, like David hinted at I presume... or it just goes from inaudible to WHAM in one upscale. And I can't quite believe that. But if it so, should you not change the amp instead ??? Because clearly, if going from, let's say, "10" where sound is detailed but not quite satisfying, to "11" where it just WHAMS, is what's happening there, then you won't change a thing with another set of speakers. The sound will certainly change, even the dynamism... but the WHAM will occur nevertheless.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Thanks for your reply phil, this is not the case, the volume control is well defined as there is no "step" at all.

It is difficult to explain my gripe in writing, whereas it would be simple to demonstrate this in my room.

I think the best way to describe it, is it is the, "wrong", (too confident, too self assured, too much authority), sound for me now, in my new listening room.

There may be a clue also in the fact that for many years I used Epos es11 speakers in different rooms and I never experienced

this with those speakers. You may think that I am suggesting that the Epos were better than the PMC, I am not as they are

superior, except possibly for the middle which was glorious with vocals.

Perhaps I am destined to play music up to certain levels, or move to a larger house once again.

Anyway happy new year to you all.
 

richardw42

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May 2, 2010
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Does this sound daft ?

Is a pair of XA50s enough to have proper control of those speakers. Would have thought even for a small room there should be more wattage ???

Excuse me if this is a really stupid post.
 

tino

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Sep 29, 2011
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Try some Caste Knight 2's. You will find an illuminating review regarding treatment of acoustic tracks and vocals on another review site (just google).
 

oldric_naubhoff

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Mar 11, 2011
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colinpeter said:
Unfortunately when I want to "listen" to my music, I want to "hear" the detail and subtlety not be assaulted by it. This was never a problem in my old listening room but that overall size is now reduced to 3.8m width by 4.5m length.

hi. it's a shame you haven't mentioned how big was your previous room. but from your description I think you might have problems with early reflections from the walls. to solve it there are a few things you might do.

1. room treatment.

2. buy speakers with d'Apollito array, which is where tweeter is surrounded by by woofers/midrange drivers from top and bottom. this configuration reduces greatly early reflections from ceiling and floor, but you still have to do something with wall reflections.

3. get panel speakers. they are natural line sources, which means little radiation to the ceiling and floor, therefore no problem with reflections. and also, as they are dipoles there's little radiation to the sides, so reflections from the side walls are less an issue as well. if you can accommodate them some 1m from rear wall that'll be enough for them to breathe.

my room has similar dimensions as yours (roughly 4m*4,5m) and Magnepans MG12s are on their way as I write this. I wouldn't say that there's anything wrong with my current Dynaudios but I'm really curious what is it all about those panels, why they are so venerated and what the hell is this "boxiness" every panel speaker user is waffling about.

happy new year to all!
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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oldric_naubhoff said:
my room has similar dimensions as yours (roughly 4m*4,5m) and Magnepans MG12s are on their way as I write this. I wouldn't say that there's anything wrong with my current Dynaudios but I'm really curious what is it all about those panels, why they are so venerated and what the hell is this "boxiness" every panel speaker user is waffling about.

happy new year to all!

Oldric ol' son,
Pathos + Maggys sound like a great match, so keep us informed.

Interesting New Year ahead

Cno
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Everyone here is giving you different advice and I'm going to give you some more. I heard a pair of XA 200 monoblocks many years ago (I went for Audio Analogue pre power in the end) so I'm assuming they have the same family sound. What struck me about them was the lovely rich and powerful sound they produced but the tonal balance was quiet dark. I think the Spendors would not be the best match for your amplification, I own a pair and the treble region is slightly rolled off which may end up giving you less than ideal detail in that region. My personal opinion would be to pick up some Usher S520's (I own a pair of these too) which have a really nice tonal balance and great treble presence that highlights female vocals. Imaging and soundstaging is excellent and they still sound very good at low volume levels, the SA 1 needs to be driven quiet hard to extract the best from them.
 

oldric_naubhoff

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Mar 11, 2011
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CnoEvil said:
Oldric ol' son, Pathos + Maggys sound like a great match, so keep us informed. Interesting New Year ahead Cno

I surely will. I just hope the speakers will reach me in one piece... ;)
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hi David, you are very close to the mark when you say I can't get far up the volume scale, (about 08.30 on a clock face), before it's too loud. Whereas the bass is still very well controlled, but the whole soundstage is too loud. Not one thing but the music as a whole. Your advice would be welcomed.
 

Frank Harvey

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Jun 27, 2008
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Some amplifiers/pre-amplifiers have a lot of gain before the 9 o'clock position, which means you don't get particularly accurate control at low volumes, whereas others you might need to turn up to about 11 o'clock before you seem to get anywhere. There's no right or wrong here, it's just about the amount of gain you're adding - the level one amp produces at 8 o'clock may be the same as another amp at 10 o'clock.

If you pick speakers of a higher sensitivity (than you already have), you'll find that this will exaggerate the issue you're getting, but it is higher sensitivity designs that will sound better at lower volumes. The PMC's are fine in this respect. If you move to a lower sensitivity design, it might help your problem, but they won't sound as good when turned down.

It sounds like you need a pre-amp where it takes a while for the gain to really pick up - a 'slow starter', if you like. Finding one takes a bit of trial and error...
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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Hi CP

It's very frustrating to have a sound that you like and have to change it.

It sounds to me that you either have to alter the room acoustics to suit the speakers (if this is poss), change the speakers to suit the room, or get an amp that will control the speakers better.

ROOM.
If your room is very reflective/live, acoustic treatment can work wonders. This can either be done professionally (and subtly) by using measurements; or with rugs, curtains, plants, bookcases etc
If you have a suspended wooden floor, this plays havoc unless you isolate your speakers from it.

SPEAKERS.
I love the SA1s, but have a slight worry that your amps may not have the power to get the best out of them (though they do double the power into 4 Ohms).

PMC standmounts could well give you what your after, but you would need to check out the older models vs the newer Twenty series. This would keep the MF/PMC synergy.

AMPS
A more powerful amp with lots of current for better control is also a possibility, but probably the least favorite of my options.

CABLING.
More controversial, but imo, well chosen mains cables, ICs and SCs can have a beneficial effect. They won't sort out an ingrained problem but can help when added to other solutions (room acoustics).
 
colinpeter said:
Hi and thanks for the reply post. What I mean is that the listener and the room is overwhelmed at quite modest levels. I appreciate that this is what some people might wish for and once in a while I might play say, Joe Bonnamassa or Pink Floyd at those levels. Unfortunately when I want to "listen" to my music, I want to "hear" the detail and subtlety not be assaulted by it. This was never a problem in my old listening room but that overall size is now reduced to 3.8m width by 4.5m length. My musical tastes are very wide but I favour female vocals, Mary Black, Jennifer Warnes etc. I am convinced that the PMCs are where the problem is by being very good at doing what they are famed for doing, this is not a criticism because until now I have been very happy with my system as it is. Finally regarding your comment regarding the bass yes the PMCs are extremely good at controlling the bass, I think the problem is they are too dynamic.

My room is pretty similar in size: 13' x 17' with the speakers firing across the narrow gauge. Although I rarely turn my amp above 8.30 on the dial, it's great to have the extra kick, especially when playing films or watching TV. For some reason the TV and DVD player need a bit extra volume to equal the loudness of the CDP and tuner.

However, I have been looking at the dinky Totem Arro: They are such tiny floorstanders that they have off-putting dimensions. Alas, once fired up they defy the laws of science: They punch well above the size should allow. And having heard the Spendor SA-1s and other price compatible standmounts the Totems are a box of fun.
 

jaxwired

Well-known member
Feb 7, 2009
284
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I think the OP is saying that the midrange isn't balaced with the highs and lows. The mids sound too shouty. So when the volume is turned up at all, it sounds louder than it should at that volume. That is a function of the speakers and the room. Normally I would totally blame the speakers, but being a PMC owner myself this doesn't fit with the sound I'm familiar with from PMC. Room treatments might help, but new speakers are more likely the answer. I just don't know which ones to recommend. I think you'd have to home demo a few to figure it out.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Thank you all very much for your many (and varied) suggestions. I have bought and fitted rothwell attenuators at the power amp ends of the interconnects. Job done end of story! one of those "you had to hear it to believe it" times. Soundstage as black as night, imaging much sharper and soundstage tidied up. Now listening at 09.15 all the time with forays into 10.30.

The very best £40 I have ever spent. Regards, Colin.
 

Sabby

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Jul 22, 2009
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CnoEvil said:
oldric_naubhoff said:
my room has similar dimensions as yours (roughly 4m*4,5m) and Magnepans MG12s are on their way as I write this. I wouldn't say that there's anything wrong with my current Dynaudios but I'm really curious what is it all about those panels, why they are so venerated and what the hell is this "boxiness" every panel speaker user is waffling about.

happy new year to all!

Oldric ol' son, Pathos + Maggys sound like a great match, so keep us informed. Interesting New Year ahead Cno

Oldric you're in for a treat. The Maggies sound very different to box speakers. You will hear a very open and detailed sound, not at all like listening to a pair of boxes
smiley-wink.gif
.
 

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