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God ! I hate this obsession !

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

  1. mandryka

    mandryka pfm Member

    There’s something attractive about your principle here - that the speaker should be tried with the amp used to design it. I’d like to try it with my Spendors, but I’ve never found out the amps they used when they were making the SP1. And neither of us, as far as I know, have tried it with JR149s. There’s a NAP 120 on eBay, but too beat up for me.

    That being said, in the case of the ESL63, I think that you can do better than the early quads, I’ve never heard a 909.
  2. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    Get rid of it. No question, no looking back, get it the heck out of your system.

    Over the years I've had or tried a few bit of kit that pulled that sort of crap. Probably the most memorable was a set of Partridge step-up transformers for the Denon DL103 cartridge. I bought them raw and built them into a case with switchable ground.

    The transformers made female vocals sound gorgeous. On slower, more openly spaced music they had a lovely naturalness to them, very tube-like, and I totally get why some people love them.

    Play dense and fast rock or Indie though and it wasn't such a happy story. They softened the edges, killed the dynamics and the timing was just a mess. Something very strange happened in the bass, something I've only ever heard elsewhere on one system driven with valve amps. I can only describe it as sounding like the occasional bass note was folding over on itself. A sort of 'flub' sound.

    All components impart some of their own character onto the music, it's inevitable. Theoretically the less the better but if you like what you hear then who cares. What you have with these Jekyll and Hyde ones are products either vary badly designed or designed by people who are only focusing on a very narrow range of performance attributes. Lots of Hi-Fi is like this, if that's what some people want then fair enough.

    But it's a trap! You buy into this wonky world and you'll end up with a stereo that decides what music you like. Is that what you want? You worshiping the system instead of it serving you?

    I sold the Partridge transformers years ago, never looked back, never missed them and never wanted to go there again. Plenty of products out there which make all of your music sound great. No need to put up with one-trick weirdos.
    Fatmarley and Sue Pertwee-Tyr like this.
  3. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I think it is more relevant here as the Quad ESL, either version, are very far from a conventional loudspeaker and Quad were very much a ‘full system’ company. Quad amps were designed to drive their speakers as the top priority.

    I’d love to hear the 149s driven by a Naim. It is a surprising combination given the high impedance of the 149s and the Naims usually being aimed more at the reactive low loads that were appearing. It would have to go some to beat the Stereo 20 it has to be said, that thing sounds amazing into them!
  4. eisenach

    eisenach #JeSuisProf

    I've had 63s (though not this pair) for over 8 years, so I know them quite well and have got the placement well sorted in the room and they're on stands. They're well over a metre away from the back wall, toed in and the seat is in the ideal position, bang centre.

    For many years I used them with a Quad 606II, which gave a big, warm, bold sound. I then got the Primare A30.2 that is currently for sale on here. For a few months, I couldn't decide which I preferred, the presentation being so different. The 606 as described above, the A30.2 giving much more clarity, a tighter bottom end (oo-er!) that particularly suited piano. After 6 months working for PGL in France, I came back to the system and decided that the Primare was staying and the 606 went.

    And for three years, very happy I was.

    This summer a bit of money came my way when my father died, and too much time on my hands has ended with me buying first a Primare A34.2 which I liked, and then the A60 came up at a very good price.

    I've still got the three amps. I'll play around with them for a bit, but I suppose what surprises me is just how different an amp can make the music sound. I'm listening to Radio 3 Record Review (Pergolesi Stabat Mater) and it sounds very good indeed, but I do wonder if the A60 (it's class D) isn't somehow putting out some high frequency sound, as I'm getting a kind of tiredness in my ears I don't normally have. It's just been serviced by Karma AV, so it's working perfectly.


    It just goes to proove, never put money anywhere near a HiFi nutter. o_O
  5. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    I think the problem is often more the lack of common sense, perspective and rationality ;0)
  6. eisenach

    eisenach #JeSuisProf

    Or just greed. The A30.2 sounds great, so the A34.2 must sound better (it does) so the A60 must sound better again. I'm sure it does, just maybe not in my system with my cabling and room acoustics.

    But, yes, I'm happy to own up to a lack of common sense, too.
    Mr Pig likes this.
  7. Joe Hutch

    Joe Hutch Mate of the bloke

    My first rule of hifi (which, needless to say, I've often broken): once you've got a system you're happy with, stop buying hifi mags, reading online reviews, and frequenting hifi forums. Otherwise you'll probably end up spending ££££s and cock everything up in the process.
    Tarzan, pjstarkey, Durmbo and 8 others like this.
  8. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    I think maybe audiophiles are guilty of that by definition! At least to some degree.

    Most normal human beings go into a shop, buy a stereo and just...listen to it. Never give a thought to upgrading it unless it is faulty or no longer has the functionality they want.

    Audiophiles? Nothing is ever finished. Always want better, more, bigger. Fekin idiots! ;0)
    fegs, effinity and Peter McDermott like this.
  9. eisenach

    eisenach #JeSuisProf

    At least the version of the Stabat Mater I have on my shelf won out ! Les Talents Lyriques on Decca, with Scholl and Barbara Bonney.
  10. evand

    evand pfm Member

    Forget the hifi, let the music wash over you and enjoy it fir what it is. It’s always sounded crap, you just learned to tune into what you enjoyed about it.
  11. leroyd

    leroyd pfm Member

    Primare are a brand that I am familiar with and in terms of reliability, build quality and customer service, they are A1.
    I have recently purchased the Pre 60 /A 60 combo. I have no knowledge of the OP's speakers but I run my Primare kit with System Audio Pandion 30's, one of the reasons being, that Primare tend to showcase their gear with System Audio speakers and visa versa.

    Living in a remote part of the west of Ireland, home demo and the like are not an option.

    I am very happy with my set up, though unlike the OP, I listen to rock music, as opposed to classical. As we know, much of what has been recorded in this genre, has suffered from 'the loudness war' and the Primare A 60 is very revealing. If it is a bad recording, there is no place to hide with my set up, however with well recorded and mastered music, it is bang on the money.

    Last evening I was listening to The Pineapple Thief's most recent album via Tidal and it was a fantastic listen. Beautifully recorded and will put any system through it's paces. Thankfully my kit passed with flying colours. However listening to The Red Hot Chile Peppers album 'Californication' this morning on CD was difficult to tolerate. It is just a really poor recording. Poor masterings are not the fault of the gear I am using.
    alan967tiger and eisenach like this.
  12. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    This should not be. All the more modern ESLs have large dispersion characteristics. My 2905s sound the same from either end of my 7' sofa. Maybe (a) you have them too close, or (b) don't have 3 or so feet behind, or (c) they're not toed in sufficiently. (side distance to walls is not an issue). Also (with any speaker) you listening position should be away from a rear wall; even a couple of feet gives more ambience.

    Purely from received wisdom and echoing another poster here, Primare amps are not noted for their mellifluous and understated presentation. I would doubt that they're a good match for ESLs. Your mention of Krell (or any class A) would be a guarantee of synergy, I'd imagine.
  13. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    read this after posting, so ignore my suggestions re. placement except that you mentioned a 'hot spot' which was the case with 57s but not so much afterwards
  14. eisenach

    eisenach #JeSuisProf

    I've spent all morning listening, successfully (!), and am coming to the same conclusion; the A60 just tells you what's on the recording. I listened to the Pergolesi, and it was fine. I've got some Bach on now, Disc 3 from the Café Zimmermann set called Concerts avec plusieurs instruments on the French label, Alpha. It's beautifully recorded (and played) and sounds just fine.

    The Savall disc I mentioned up thread surprised me because I've had it for over 30 years, thought I knew it very well, and thought it was well recorded. Maybe it is, just not in the way I knew it. :)

    I think a much longer period of acclimatisation is required. Funny old game, this HiFi thing. I played my wife a French song she likes from the 70s/80s that had once made it into the British charts: Butterfly. "Gosh, it sounds so different, and ... I can hear the words, all of them. I've never really known the words because I could never hear them !"

    Well, that's something, I suppose !
  15. eisenach

    eisenach #JeSuisProf

    Whilst definitely not of the rosy, warm glow persuasion, I don't think that this characterisation is really true. All the reviews of Primare equipment I've read use words like "neutral", "honest", for what they're worth.

    I also don't think that the 63s are ill matched (by the way, I don't think it was I that mentioned a 'hot spot', although I did say that my chair is in the ideal place), though the cabling may well not be helping, as the EWA LS25 certainly has a bright, clear, open balance that may now be over-egging the pudding. However, we don't wan't to get into cable tweaking, do we ! :)
  16. mandryka

    mandryka pfm Member

    For recordings which I think are very well engineered (this may not be your sort of music), try Huelgas Ensemble from DHM around 2015 -- The Treasures of Claude le Jeune, Le mystère de malheur me bat and Mirabile Mysterium,
  17. eisenach

    eisenach #JeSuisProf

    Thanks for the reminder. I've got Les trésors ... I'll dig it off the shelf.

    Which reminds me (I've no idea why !) of another disc I really like and think is well recorded: Homenaje à Revueltas by the Ebony Band on Channel Classics (SACD). Actually, a lot of Channel Classics discs are really well recorded.
  18. Robert

    Robert Tapehead

    Or get it checked out at least.

    It may have an issue, either a fault or just a characteristic it develops when driving the ESL load.

    Not all amplifier anomalies present as bad sound all of the time. For example, an amp with failing coupling caps can sound lightweight and this can make thick or otherwise muddy recording sound fresh better balanced.
    Similarly, something displaying non lethal (for the amp/'speaker) instability can add zing and sheen to otherwise dull recordings, while making brighter recordings sound harsh and brittle.
    Mr Pig likes this.
  19. leroyd

    leroyd pfm Member

    Never underestimate the wife's opinion. Given that my wife has perfect hearing, her comments and observation of my system are well worthy of consideration.
  20. S-Man

    S-Man Kinkless Tetrode Admirer

    Hyper detailed sound is almost always a recipe for not listening to music IME. Something is wrong.

    I believe the A60 is class D. Maybe the output filter is reacting with the reactive loading of the ESL63 at high frequencies?:

    Mr Pig and coredump like this.

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