Harsh grainy vocals on Magnepan 3.7i

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Roger Gustavsson

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Re: Harsh grainy vocals on Magnepan 3.7i
« Reply #60 on: 6 May 2018, 11:43 am »
EQ is very helpful. Just a pity it it not widely available. I often use the equalizer within the Airfoil while streaming audio. Unfortunateley, loudness raced recordings cannot be corrected by any tool.

josh358

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Re: Harsh grainy vocals on Magnepan 3.7i
« Reply #61 on: 6 May 2018, 12:01 pm »
I think that one of the biggest mistakes we ever made was eliminating tone controls. In a perfect world, maybe, but there are a lot of bad recordings out there and tone controls provide a quick way to make them more listenable.

josh358

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Re: Harsh grainy vocals on Magnepan 3.7i
« Reply #62 on: 11 May 2018, 01:51 am »
Apropos of this discussion, I just read some comments by Bob Katz that I think describe the issue we've been discussing:

"Yes, it's true that it's impossible to get one transducer that sounds great with all recordings, unless you EQ. However, my masters which are designed to sound great on the most accurate system, will translate to a wider variety of transducers and so you will need less EQ with a good, translatable master, when using any loudspeaker or headphone.

"There are ugly-sounding, bright, harsh pop recordings. You all know them. They sound "acceptable" on cheap systems because the cheap systems hide the high end hype. But that doesn't mean that you have to hype the high end in mastering in order to sound right on a cheap system. I've learned that is not necessary and self-defeating. The only reason the myth that you have to hype the high end perpetuates is because when A&R hear a master in the making that does not sound like the current crop, they get nervous and ask you to turn the high end up. But it's self-defeating, these bright and harsh, clipped recordings sound worse on the radio and worse in streaming as well. If I get caught having to make one (and I've had to make my share, because the customer is the boss) I've observed that they don't sound as good everywhere and they don't translate to the widest variety of playback systems.

[ . . . ]

"A related issue is that the monitoring quality many years ago was inferior to what is available today, consequently, many older recordings are much brighter than today's recordings. The tendency today (for better or worse) has drifted towards brighter monitors than many years ago. So if you look at the trend over 40 years or more, recordings have been getting warmer and less bright so that they sound good on these brighter loudspeakers."

Read more at https://www.innerfidelity.com/content/katzs-corner-episode-17-perfecting-perfection#uclxyYHCHlSvDLIg.99

Bob says in his column that he's found that a target curve that's flat to 1 kHz and then slopes down to - 6 dB at 20 kHz works well with the average recording. Note how extreme the downslope is! A downslope is always needed for two channel stereo.

johnto

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Re: Harsh grainy vocals on Magnepan 3.7i
« Reply #63 on: 11 May 2018, 01:23 pm »
I called Magnepan yesterday and talked to Wendell,  he thought my speakers and amp were fine and suggested I try 2 ohm resistors on the tweeters and some diffusers behind the speakers. I'll order some 1.5 resistors too.

josh358

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Re: Harsh grainy vocals on Magnepan 3.7i
« Reply #64 on: 11 May 2018, 01:31 pm »
Sounds like a plan! Suggest you get non-inductive resistors like the Mills.

johnto

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Re: Harsh grainy vocals on Magnepan 3.7i
« Reply #65 on: 11 May 2018, 01:48 pm »
I still wish there was someone around the Boston  Ma or southern NH or RI area with the same speakers for some mutual listening.
I'm a little nervous about higher value resistors as I loved the 1.7 and 1.7i without for that nice high end.
Not knowing anything about resistors non inductive are better than ceramic that I asume are the kind with Maggie speakers? Is a 12 watt okay or should I stay with the 10 watt ?

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Harsh grainy vocals on Magnepan 3.7i
« Reply #66 on: 11 May 2018, 04:22 pm »
Give the Mills 1 ohm resistors a try.  They are much better than the type Magnepan supplies which I found a little rough sounding compared to the Mills and Deulunds. I would not go any higher than 1.5 ohm, too much roll off.  The Mills will definitely warm things up and give a smoother presentation.  I has similar issues with my Mag 1.6's in my listening area which is all windows and wood floor. I tried various resistors and preferred the Mills and Deulunds.  I ended up using the 1.2 ohm Deulund silver-carbons.  Believe it or not, the Mills and Deulunds sound different.

josh358

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Re: Harsh grainy vocals on Magnepan 3.7i
« Reply #67 on: 11 May 2018, 08:23 pm »
I still wish there was someone around the Boston  Ma or southern NH or RI area with the same speakers for some mutual listening.
I'm a little nervous about higher value resistors as I loved the 1.7 and 1.7i without for that nice high end.
Not knowing anything about resistors non inductive are better than ceramic that I asume are the kind with Maggie speakers? Is a 12 watt okay or should I stay with the 10 watt ?
The Deulund carbons were on sale a few days back at Parts Connnexion, you might check them out. The most important thing is that these are all non-inductive unlike the wirewound resistors that Magnepan includes. 

I disagree with Greyhound Fan on one particular -- I wouldn't hesitate to try the two watt resistors. The ones that sound right are going to depend on your room, if it's a bit bright, you're going to want larger resistors, and I'm inclined to try what Wendell says because he's had a lot more experience than any of us. Wattage can be higher, it won't affect the sound, it's only going lower that could be a problem.

You won't be destroying the high end. The worst that can happen is it will be a bit too rolled off for your liking and then you can put the 1.5's in. But remember that using the resistors doesn't mean there's anything wrong. Magnepan *expects* you to use the resistors, which is why they no longer ship the speakers with the jumpers installed. They were designed with enough of a range for rooms from bright to normal to dull and so the average room would use the middle resistor and a bright room would use a larger one, while a room with a lot of HF absorption (heavy drapes, furniture, carpets, etc.) would use the jumper.

It's been known for at least 50 years now that two channel stereo requires an HF rolloff -- the so-called house curve -- to sound right. The reason for this is that the ear doesn't respond as microphones do. The angle of stereo speakers corresponds to an HF boost in the ear's frequency response and also cardioid mics are forward facing which means you lose the ambiance which is lower in high frequencies, and close miking emphasizes highs because you don't have the natural HF attenuation of the air. And then you have producers boosting the highs to make records sound better on small speakers, etc. What it all amounts to is that you need a downsloped frequency response for a neutral tonal balance.

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Harsh grainy vocals on Magnepan 3.7i
« Reply #68 on: 11 May 2018, 09:50 pm »
The resistors basically decrease the tweeter output by about 1.5db per 1 ohm resistor if I remember correctly.
Each room is different but my room is a bright room with a lot of reflections and the tweeters on the 1.6's are not as smooth as the 3.7's for sure.  I found 1.5ohm resistors to take too much away from cymbals but YMMV.  If you go the Mills route, 2ohm resistors will too much IMO.  But again, it will be trial and error.

Emil

Re: Harsh grainy vocals on Magnepan 3.7i
« Reply #69 on: 11 May 2018, 11:22 pm »
Before you try the resistors, try listening without the tweeters by removing the fuse. If you still hear harshness then it's not the tweeters.

johnto

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Re: Harsh grainy vocals on Magnepan 3.7i
« Reply #70 on: 12 May 2018, 12:57 pm »
Thanks for the tip. I suppose just remiving the resistor would accomplish the same thing will give it a try.

nickd

Re: Harsh grainy vocals on Magnepan 3.7i
« Reply #71 on: 12 May 2018, 04:23 pm »
Good advice Josh,
The move away from user control over high and low frequencies was a loss for music lovers. That it happened as the industry moved away from analog was tragic indeed. I switched to a DSP controlled system because I listen to a wide variety of music now. Most often from net based streaming services.

No going back. Remote control of the frequency response is a luxury as important as climate control in the house. Temperatures vary beyond comfortable levels and so does recorded frequency response. Personally, I need to be able to tame both, in either direction.

josh358

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Re: Harsh grainy vocals on Magnepan 3.7i
« Reply #72 on: 12 May 2018, 05:13 pm »
Sounds like a good idea. I haven't gotten that far. I'm moving to Acourate, but haven't used it yet because I'm in the process of replacing my midrange drivers. Eventually, I'd like to have some curves I can call up to deal with the more troublesome recordings.

Elizabeth

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Re: Harsh grainy vocals on Magnepan 3.7i
« Reply #73 on: 12 May 2018, 06:08 pm »
An alternative I use on my 20.7s is to make my own coil to use instead of a resistor.
I had the Al Sekela tweak 'chokes' and thought them to much on the 20.7/ (though I used the smaller 5502 choke on the tweeter of my previous 3.6 for many years and liked it)

So I tried to roll my own choke with a 1/4 inch wood dowel wrapped with 31 turns of Kimber 20 gauge wire I had laying around.
Held the ends tight with tiny zip ties. Then wrapped them with Teflon plumbers tape.
Stuck the creation in the tweeter attenuation spot on my 20.7 Just right.
Very little attenuation, yet the tweeters sound smoother

Mike in NC

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Re: Harsh grainy vocals on Magnepan 3.7i
« Reply #74 on: 14 May 2018, 05:58 pm »
I'm not a Maggie owner, but I wonder about something that hasn't been considered in this thread yet. What is the room like?  Are you controlling first reflections and slap echo?

Moving to taller Maggies would mean tweeters are closer to the ceiling. Perhaps the speakers also have more extended treble response.  Both those things could make the sound a lot more sensitive to room acoustics. And slap echo and first reflections can harden up the sound, make it more irritating and harsh.

In those cases, EQ (whether with a resistor, cables, or an EQ unit) will help, and it may be necessary also, but it doesn't get the the root of the acoustics problem.

Just a thought -- hope it helps!



johnto

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Re: Harsh grainy vocals on Magnepan 3.7i
« Reply #75 on: 16 May 2018, 11:08 pm »
Waiting for 1.5 and 2.0 resistors to arrive in the mail.

ketcham

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Re: Harsh grainy vocals on Magnepan 3.7i
« Reply #76 on: 16 May 2018, 11:29 pm »
When I owned my M1.4? I had this exact issue. The diaphragm de-laminated.  Did you take the fabric off and check the status of your speakers?  Yes, it can happen to both sides simultaneously. 

johnto

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Re: Harsh grainy vocals on Magnepan 3.7i
« Reply #77 on: 17 May 2018, 01:08 am »
I hope that is not an issue here as the speakers were almost new when I purchased have only been used about six months by me . I was told they had under 50 hrs when I purchased them.

josh358

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Re: Harsh grainy vocals on Magnepan 3.7i
« Reply #78 on: 17 May 2018, 01:50 am »
Delam shouldn't be a problem on speakers made in the last 15 years or so, since they adopted the new adhesive.

johnto

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Re: Harsh grainy vocals on Magnepan 3.7i
« Reply #79 on: 22 May 2018, 10:07 pm »
Purchased 1.5 and 2.0 ohm resistors from Magnepan and just completed some listening, I felt these higher values sucked all the life out of my music, gone were the tambourine, cymbal rings and top end magic.
Maybe next will be consideration of a new amp.
Open to ideas.