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God ! I hate this obsession !

Discussion in 'audio' started by eisenach, Oct 23, 2020.

  1. eisenach

    eisenach #JeSuisProf

    What the hell to do with an amplifier that makes some tracks absolutely sublime and others absolutely sh*t, depending on the quality of the recording ?

    I've never ever heard such a transformation in the sound and presentation as when I recently installed a Primare A60 in the chain. It's sublime and absolutely sh*t all at the same time, depending on the recording. I'm not sure I can live with it. :( But then, I'm not sure I can live without it. :rolleyes: (That's HiFi hyperbole.)

    (Primare BD32 disc player; Gyrodec and Primare R30 phono stage; Primare Pre32 with MM30 card; Primare A60 power amp; EWA LS25 speaker cable; ESL63s)
    hifinutt likes this.
  2. hifinutt

    hifinutt hifinutt

    Yes real pain sometimes !!!
  3. eisenach

    eisenach #JeSuisProf

    The EWA cable was quite a stark change when I put it in a couple of years ago. So much clarity and detail. The A60 has done the same thing, but in spades. Too much, so I put some Talk 3 cable in this afternoon, which tamed the detail, but made the A60 sound like a £500 amp. Not quite the solution required. :(

    Some of my music I hardly recognise as the same recording.
  4. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    What sort of things is it making sound terrible? Give some examples. ESL 63s are superbly natural and balanced speakers, but also very revealing so they will let you know what was done well/badly.
  5. eisenach

    eisenach #JeSuisProf

    It just shews up the recording quality in all its stark detail. Detail is the word. I've thought before when I've made changes that I was hearing things I'd never heard before (as we all do!), but this is just ridiculous! CDs I've owned for 40 years are utterly transformed. Sometimes for good, with depth, warmth, detail and musicality, others sound scrawny, thin and hardly listenable. It's totally unpredictable. Savall's recording of Llibre Vermell de Montserrat has always sounded big, warm, a big wash of sound. Now I'm hearing instruments and detail that was hidden, but the timing is so good that the cohesion has gone and the big wash of sound is resolved into "detail".

    I'm listening now to some 70s, 80s French popular songs. Some sound great, others rubbish, whereas before everything was "acceptable".

    It's the same with all genres. It just lets the quality of the recording through. Some are beautiful; others aren't ! I've never heard it so starkly etched before, though.

    Put on a CD, and you never know what you're going to get. Same for all sources. Radio is probably best in terms of no surprises.
  6. marshanp

    marshanp ellipsis addict

    This might sound daft, but... have you tried listening to an old, mono, not-hi-fi but nevertheless good recording?

    For example, the remarkable Furtwangler 1940s German radio recordings (the 1942 Berlin Bruckner 5 on Testament being the perfect example). Definitely not "hi-fi" in any modern sense... but somehow essentially truthful. In my current system (which I know is less than perfect) they have a quality that enables you to forget their limitations and just listen to the music.

    If they work with your new amp, you will know it isn't the amp that is letting the side down.

    If they don't, you will know that a change should be considered.
  7. marshanp

    marshanp ellipsis addict

    Having now seen your latest post, I wonder whether you simply need to live with the system for a while longer before considering changes to it?
  8. eisenach

    eisenach #JeSuisProf

    I'm sure you're right.

    (As I was typing, a track was faded out. In the past, you could hear it gradually fade away. This was so obvious, it was like me robustly turning the volume control on a 1970s japanese amp !)
  9. marshanp

    marshanp ellipsis addict

    It's about what you want, isn't it?

    Ideally, what I want is a window into a concert venue (having said which, I can find other kinds of presentation rewarding on occasion, depending on the music). Other people want something else, and express their needs in terms (PRAT, slam, etc.) which I don't really understand.

    Recording engineers too have varying ideas of what listeners ought to want... so most recordings work less than ideally for at least some individual listeners.
  10. marshanp

    marshanp ellipsis addict

    Also (strewth, I'm on a roll here ;) )... we don't know what any recording sounds like. We only know how it sounds on the system we hear it on.

    Even the recording engineers who made it only knew what it sounded like on their studio monitors... and those aren't some epitome of truthfulness, despite the label "monitor".
    pickwickpapers and camverton like this.
  11. Eyebroughty

    Eyebroughty JohnC

    What you have is a well known issue.

    The better the HiFi the more it resolves.

    The best HiFi is the one you can live with without an issue like this.

    Some blame the recording, however it happens, does it on my systems, less when I use Shahinian speakers!

    Live with it or go back to something you can live with and enjoy.

    Not all upgrades are going to give you what you want.
    tenpercenter likes this.
  12. Gervais Cote

    Gervais Cote Predator

    I had a Primare CD player and an integrated in 2009 and kept both just a bit more than 1 year as they sounded analytical, electronic and acidic on some of my recordings (rock and jazz) to a point where I was no longer listening to some of my favorite CD. This is bad for me.
    Replaced with Naim CD5XS and Supernait, still have them and very pleased. I now listen to all of my recordings no matter the quality of sound.
  13. Gervais Cote

    Gervais Cote Predator

    No matter the price or the fabrication year, hi-fi gears have to be MUSICAL and this is something many manufacturers and audiophiles sometimes forget.......
  14. marshanp

    marshanp ellipsis addict

    We strive for ever-better reproduction; among those who listen to recorded music, we are a small minority.

    I sometimes think that it would be better to be a person who was perfectly happy with a kitchen radio (like some professional musicians I know) ...and then I remember how much pleasure my various systems have given me over many years.
  15. Gervais Cote

    Gervais Cote Predator

    I tend to agree with that...........
    But my kitchen radio back in the 90’s was a Linn Mimik CDP, Nait 1 and a pair of Kan 1 on Sound Organization wall brackets, does that count ? :eek:
  16. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    It sounds like something is way out of balance to me. I’d say I knew ESL63s pretty well, I’ve never owned a pair, but based on many listenings over the years they are amongst my favourite speakers. I’ve heard them mainly in a full-Quad environment or with valves in the mix somewhere, and I’m sure if I ever owned a pair I’d end up in that general area myself (likely a 909 power amp and my existing valve preamp).

    I don’t know Primare at all, I’ve never knowingly heard anything by them, but some modern kit certainly sounds hyped-up, bright and forward to my ears rather than neutral. Quad ESLs will unquestionably point that out should it exist. The ESL63 is also not an especially easy speaker to drive, it is fairly inefficient and produces quite a demanding load. Quad amps of its era (405/2 and later) were designed for it and are personally what I would choose along with good quality thick copper speaker cables (Mogami etc). My preference is for valve preamps, but don’t overlook a full Quad system, I have heard ESL63s sound truly superb in the context of a comparatively humble 34/405-2. Just open, natural and transparent, not ruthlessly analytical. At that time Quad knew exactly what they were doing IMHO.
    Zombie and PhilofCas like this.
  17. topa

    topa Sans CDPs

    Get rid of it.
    It‘s about music. If you can‘t enjoy all genres and recordings, you need to go back down the ladder until it‘s fun again.
    Fatmarley and Jono_13 like this.
  18. fegs

    fegs pfm Member

    My wife's like this^^^ she can listen to music and enjoy it on anything

    I envy her
  19. Woodface

    Woodface pfm Member

    The answer is obvious, try a quad power amp & move backwards from there.
    Darren L likes this.
  20. mandryka

    mandryka pfm Member

    I remember feeling this about my ESL 63s once, I was using a Quad 520 at the time, which is a sort of 606 or 405, I can’t remember. I haven’t felt it for a long time. The answer in my case was to avoid all quad amplifiers and buy a Krell KSA.

    There’s another thing to be aware of. ESLs sound different from different listening positions. Certainly the image can be dramatically changed. In my room, if I move sit in one chair, I sometimes convince myself that one speaker isn’t working - I have to get up and put my ear close to it to check! It’s worth experimenting with that. I think that when I was feeling the speakers were too revealing for comfort I was listening quite close. Moving a couple of metres further away seemed to solve the problem.

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