LSAF 2013 - Listening Impressions and Comments

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Jonathon Janusz

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Re: LSAF 2013 - Listening Impressions and Comments
« Reply #20 on: 5 May 2013, 04:42 pm »
Bamberg, Round 3 - Phil ran into me at breakfast and told me that he had found one adjustment that needed be made to his system during a late listening session last night, and he really wanted me to stop back to hear it one more time.  I told him I would make the time, and did as my first room in on Sunday.  Even better, the demo CD he was playing was one that I had just been listening to - provided by another show attendee - late last night. 

The soundstaging today was great - not overly huge, but it just nicely filled the small listening room, and had depth just the same.  I will underscore what I thought earlier - sized "just right" for the room.  Execeptional layering and very, very good instrument placement.  The bass still had that taut, refined delivery I heard before, but it had scale and heft that finally locked on to really blend with the monitors. 

One Latin female vocal track in particular stood out.  In the room I heard the track in last night, it was large as life - the singer center stage in a concert hall for a large crowd.  Here, the performance was intimate - in the best sounding club in the world, a singer with a five piece ensemble, bare to the world, was standing just far enough away to reach out and touch, and she was doing her level best to bring you to tears.  My time table moved forward for today, so I didn't have a lot of time to chat, but after thanking Phil for asking me back in, the last thing I told him is, "Today, you got it."
« Last Edit: 6 May 2013, 05:44 pm by Jonathon Janusz »

Jonathon Janusz

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Re: LSAF 2013 - Listening Impressions and Comments
« Reply #21 on: 5 May 2013, 04:42 pm »
OddWatt - As they were starting to clean up, they most generously turned the system back on to give me a listen to some vinyl with the Series 1 monoblocks.  Vocals had good body but the tone just seemed a touch off to me - maybe just as much the tube gear needing to really warm up as much as anything else.  The upper mid and treble instruments sounded good, but the lower mid and bass has a resonant boom.  Soundstage was nice and wide with a good center fill that just didn't quite "lock" as tightly as some rooms, but was pretty flat due to the speaker placement. 

Based on some of the conversation heard in this room yesterday, I think these speakers would probably have been better served with one of the other pre/amp combos available to choose from as run in this room.  Nice to see a treatment panel used as a backdrop on the front wall, but the seating was against the back wall like many other rooms, addding to the boom I was hearing.  The simplicity, low tube count on the designs, the way these guys discussed where they are coming from with their designs and equipment, not to mention the results I heard in a variety of rooms running their gear this weekend kept my interest enough to pick up some literature to research their stuff further.  Thanks again, gents, for the improptu demo! . . .and the correction that the speaker I was hearing was similar to the one I heard in Denver, but an older discontinued model.  :lol:
« Last Edit: 6 May 2013, 04:45 pm by Jonathon Janusz »

Jonathon Janusz

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Re: LSAF 2013 - Listening Impressions and Comments
« Reply #22 on: 5 May 2013, 04:43 pm »
Raven, Round 2 - I got a chance to do a demo in this room!  Had a Sound Science Music Vault Diamond music server (the designer explained it as really a full-featured media server - blu-ray ripping, buffered playback, solid state storage, HDMI video functionality, RAID backup integration) 

"Gone" - Male vocals had detail and really got the height right.  Female vocals again clean and detailed but the soundstage is just more flat than I remember the LS6 I heard in the past - the space is set up nicely but I know these speakers can sing if pulled out into the whole, big room - the presenter yesterday agreed but mentioned they were having problems getting it "right" using the full space. 

"Glycerine" - This track reminded me of the size, scale, and weight I got in my room at home with my last "big" set of coaxial based speakers, but these speakers shined in what they do best - that effortlessness matched with a speed and more important their ability to "stop" when needed.  Maybe that tightness was a little too much of a good thing on this track, though - the big cone pro drivers just got me closer to "there" on rock music like this rather than presenting it as just a great studio recording. 

"Vilify"- The speed of these speakers just needs to be heard to be believed.  Even with the heavy stuff obviously compressed down, the often times blurred out vocals were clean and clear.  Again, tight bass that just stopped on a dime with little overhang.  I really appreciated the tube gear with this system; when I heard the smaller arrays on big solid state gear, similar tracks just glazed over and ran me out of an untreated room. 

I would seriously have to think hard about adding subwoofers to a system with these speakers; I'm not sure if subs would take away from some of what these speakers do well.  In this setup, however, the other thing that got me thinking is that there seemed to be some energy missing in the middle/bottom of the midrange; the right subs crossed high might have helped, might have hurt. . . still would have been a coin toss.  In this room, I could feel the tweeters starting to get to me, but it was still listenable thanks to the tube gear taking the edges off on the tweeters.  Good on them! 

Big thanks for just letting me play with with these big toys this morning.  :D  "Guilty" by Gravity Kills, "Touchin' on My" by 3OH!3, "Come Undone" by My Darkest Days, "Perfect Insanity" by Disturbed.  Yes, That. Just. Happened. . . at an audio show!
« Last Edit: 6 May 2013, 04:46 pm by Jonathon Janusz »

AJinFLA

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Re: LSAF 2013 - Listening Impressions and Comments
« Reply #23 on: 6 May 2013, 01:57 pm »
Jonathon,

Thanks for stopping in. You had a demo CD??? Who knew? :wink:

cheers,

AJ

Jonathon Janusz

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Re: LSAF 2013 - Listening Impressions and Comments
« Reply #24 on: 6 May 2013, 05:22 pm »
Just added some breaks in the text to make things more readable.  :thumb:  Will drop back in later to wrap up with some "final thoughts".

AJ,  :wink: :icon_twisted:.  On Sunday, when I was beating up on Danny's system a bit, I felt bad that I didn't just out and out ask you to somehow get some of my demo tracks into your system (or take the time to scan the music on your computer for some of them).  I won't tiptoe around it - I really liked the 1812s.  A lot.  As a tip of my hat to you, I wouldn't have otherwise just clicked away on my keyboard and so easily said, "Just impress me," with a silly little grin on my face.  :green:  So, playing some of my music might not have been as much a "critical demo" as either just me jamming out or continuing the revelation that is. . .

. . . Funny you should mention this, as I was thinking this morning about one thing I found at the show.  I never set out to make it so, but "Perfect Insanity" by Disturbed (kind of a fitting song title considering this hobby, no?) is now "officially" one of my personal reference demo tracks.  So far, I have listened to this piece on Dan and Lou's Daedalus/Modwright system, Danny's Serenity/Dodd/Pi/Triode Wire/dB Audio Labs set, and on the LS9 system running Raven/Music Vault gear.  On each system, I learned something new, and there is a lot on this track that allows me to make comparisons on a lot of fronts quickly and clearly. 

So, to anyone showing rooms that reads these kinds of things, I will say it plainly:  I am a "younger" (relative term) audio enthusiast.  I have (some) different tastes in music than what often seems a common thread at the shows.  I'm still working on finding some more "common ground" music that I enjoy to help others follow my critiques more easily, which works far better if everyone is on the same page as to familiarity with the music selections. 

That said, like it or not, this music kind of has to come along for the ride at this point if I'm going to be honest with myself (and others) when critically sampling systems.  I know these kinds of events are business venues, I understand what everyone who is presenting is trying to accomplish, and I will always strive to do my level best to not be "that guy" that seems to try to ruin the fun for everybody just for sake of being counter-culture.  Just don't be surprised when I sit down for a demo if something a little off the beaten path is on the list of things to do.  Consider it a compliment from me in highest regard.  It means that I am listening to your system at my most critical.  I would only even consider trying to play such music on the finest of systems, as with the company of systems this music has kept with me thus far, the differences are subtle and anything less than the best may not be able to bring out what I'm listening for in comparison. 
 :beer:



Did you say you were going to do RMAF, AJ?  You guys are really trying to make me figure out a way to fit Denver into my vacation time this year, aren't you. . .

AJinFLA

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Re: LSAF 2013 - Listening Impressions and Comments
« Reply #25 on: 8 May 2013, 02:24 am »
Right back at you Jonathon:


Did you say you were going to do RMAF, AJ?  You guys are really trying to make me figure out a way to fit Denver into my vacation time this year, aren't you. . .
CapFest yes, RMAF...maybe.

cheers,

AJ

seank

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Re: LSAF 2013 - Listening Impressions and Comments
« Reply #26 on: 8 May 2013, 07:47 pm »
Thanks for the excellent write up.  It soothes a little of the sting of not being able to attend.


Jonathon Janusz

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Re: LSAF 2013 - Listening Impressions and Comments
« Reply #27 on: 14 May 2013, 03:17 am »
So. . . naturally, I picked up some kind of cold on the plane ride back home.  I'm just getting back to "normal", mostly caught up with work, and thought I should wrap this up before everything I remember starts fading to grey.

First, as I haven't yet, I want to thank Wayne for putting on this event, and Trung for being a most gracious host and tour guide.

I'm grateful for all the things I learned on this adventure.  I cemented a "reference" track into my personal demo playlist.  I uncovered some great (and not-so-great) knowledge of the recording quality of some of the newer music in my collection.  I learned quite a bit about how little changes really need to be to either make, break, or shape a listening room to one's preferences - or change a poor room to great; in particular, the atmosphere at this show gave me more time and opportunity to spend time learning from those more experienced than myself when compared to the somewhat compressed timetable I ran through in Denver.  One last highlight, in regards to the hobby that is audio, I got to check off a very generous number of pieces of gear and speakers that I had on my "list" of things I wanted  to hear.  There were a lot of unexpected surprises among production gear I wanted to check out.  Also, at the risk of sounding like a fanboy, I got a chance to hear what is arguably the pair of LS9s by which all others are compared - this specific pair of speakers being one that I have wanted to hear for a very long time - and that I am very glad to have got the chance to both "demo" and just have fun with!

Now, on to the real reason I came to LSAF.  Last fall, back in Denver, I was hanging out somewhere around the door of the Serenity Acoustics. . . room, taking in the conversation in the hallway.  Somewhere in there, Danny told all of us there, "You guys have to come to Texas."  Well, I took Danny up on his offer, and am again humbly very glad I did.  In Denver, I got to "meet" a group of old friends for the first time.  In Texas, I got to make some more friends.  Moreover, I got the chance at this show to get to know some of the truly great folks I got to meet in Denver a little better. 

The music brings people together, but for me the people really make the effort chasing the music something more and better than just a self-enriching hobby.  The adventure through town looking for a chicken dinner, late night jam/listening/work sessions, and even later night quiet conversation about everything and nothing mean just as much to me as the time spent during the daylight taking a vacation from the real world and swimming around in the audio hobby for a few days.  I hope I was good company, and if nothing else at least entertaining, and I want to thank good friends for sharing their company for a weekend.

Thanks to the folks here for their encouragement regarding my thoughts and work in this thread.  Doing this sort of thing is fun for me, as it gives me a purpose and something active to do while at an event, and I'm glad to do what I can to give back a little to AudioCircle.  I get so much for so little from hanging around here, that it is the least I  can do.

I have all sorts of odds and ends I will catch up with individual folks over time, but two quick ones before I forget (because I forgot to spread the wealth before leaving the show. . .!):

Trung, here is the album you want to get that cello piece we were playing in Danny's room:

Inquisition Symphony - Apocalyptica

. . . and Danny, for you and the 'fam:

Firefly: Original Television Soundtrack, composed by Greg Edmonson.



. . . and although my vacation time for the year is already getting stretched pretty thin, I just couldn't NOT visit with everyone again one more time this year. . . I'll see y'all in Denver!  :green:

TrungT

Re: LSAF 2013 - Listening Impressions and Comments
« Reply #28 on: 14 May 2013, 03:35 am »
Jonathon
You are welcome.  :thumb:
Sorry we did not get in the "Boiling Crab", 2hrs wait is just too much.
Thanks for the track name.
Hope to see you again soon.

SoCalWJS

Re: LSAF 2013 - Listening Impressions and Comments
« Reply #29 on: 14 May 2013, 03:56 am »
Jonathon -
Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences and thoughts of the LSAF. Definitely sounds like a better opportunity to pick up insights on the finer aspects of getting some of that magic out of your gear through fine tuning and Synergy (for lack of a better term).
Glad you're planning on making it to RMAF again. I'm hoping to make it again this year, but we'll have to see. Real World issues may intrude this time.  :(