Are spatial speakers more or less "forgiving" (of bad recordings)?

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Berner

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Something I hadn't considered paying attention to till I got a pair of of nice bookshelf speakers (for a 2nd system).  They are surprisingly good ($1300 LSA) but they make some of my old cat Stevens albums unlistenable.

Where do spatials fall on this spectrum?  I'm probably looking at M3 sapphires or X5s.

Thanks for your time.


Elizabeth

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aside from any brand of speakers.  Buying a speaker to hide or 'euphemise some sound is definitely going to alter all music. usually taking out what makes good recordings sound so 'real'.
I have a 'expensive system designed to be as revealing as possible, and it actually improves most recordings.
The one exception I discovered was a female artist I used to like I noticed the recording process clearly was putting her voice though some sort of 'fuzz box' which annoys me as it just ruins the beauty and clarity of her voice in favor of some sort of thickening darkening of her tone. (Tori Amos)
Aside from those few albums of one artist.. no problem.
Even listening to a radio transcription of a broadcast of Calas in Italy from the 50's, clearly taken from a radio playing over the air, LOL looking though the grunge at the power and beauty of that performance. and the audience interaction. thrilling.
Just my two cents.
The owner of this circle can remove my comments if he desires, no problem
(I own Magnepan 20.7 speakers.)

Berner

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Elizabeth,

I appreciate the feedback but you are making an assumption

"Buying a speaker to hide or 'euphemise some sound "

that is not what I'm looking for/or asking about.  Are bad recordings more or less conspicuous through spatial audio speakers is my question. 


Elizabeth

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Got it. I would guess open baffle might include Maggies...  :thumb:

jjss49

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i would say the m3 sapphires are on the more 'unforgiving'/truthful part of the broad speaker spectrum... lively tweeter, intolerant of upstream harshness in source or amplification

Something I hadn't considered paying attention to till I got a pair of of nice bookshelf speakers (for a 2nd system).  They are surprisingly good ($1300 LSA) but they make some of my old cat Stevens albums unlistenable.

Where do spatials fall on this spectrum?  I'm probably looking at M3 sapphires or X5s.

Thanks for your time.

Doublej

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Paul McGowan has some thoughts on this topic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9F_8fqe5sNw


Early B.

Don't expect any of your gear to make a bad recording sound better. Generally, the better the speakers, the worse your bad recordings will sound. On the other hand, good speakers make good recordings sound better. That's why audiophiles crave audiophile recordings.

ric

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I do not own the latest version (Sapphire, etc.) but with the M3TS, it seemed they were more forgiving, but I think you need to look at the whole picture which means source-amplification-cables-speakers. If a speaker is more revealing, that is a good thing, until (your) ears detect something off, which happens in every system depending on the recording. In my case, I enjoy what these speakers do well--huge soundstaging that sounds live, imaging that has the speakers disappear,great bass, etc.  I have spent a lot of time on tweaking, which IMO is the icing on the cake, which has transformed the system from good to sounding great.
   Perhaps the question should be, will getting these speakers force me to upgrade (amp, source, cables, tweaks). In my case they did and there are occasional crappy recordings, but the good one's sound great! Good luck!

Elizabeth

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I would say there are not a lot of crappy recordings.. the worst I know of Satriani Surfing With the Alien. it is unforgiving bad highs built in. (most likely his Guitar effects stuff) . I can put up with a lot but that is the worst recording I know of.
Generally the curse of audiophile recordings are totally mediocre performance with great sound.
I would add the usual complaint about highs is not the recording but the equipment. you want the highs to not be annoying. Highs being loud are not annoying in itself at all. just bad sound results of (mostly when with decent equipment.. bad AC power)

DaveC113

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Many folks blame the speakers but IME it's rarely the issue. Even Focal Grand Utopias sound great, and not too bright, in the right room with the right gear.

Besides the gear, room acoustics and AC power quality are very important to achieving good sound.

However, it is true there are many non-ideal recordings and I do think great systems will make their flaws evident, but IME few make it into the "unlistenable" category... this is pretty rare without other issues being present at the same time. You just need to manage expectations as far as recording quality... ;)  So it may be a little of both going on...

TomS

I have the X5's and I rarely find things that are just unlistenable, unless of course I just hate the music lol. The best thing I did was add room treatments as recommended by GIK and Clayton. I find no hints of harshness, though the X5's are very, very revealing, in a good way to me. Honestly, I enjoy most everything I put on these days, and find my listening sessions longer and more frequent since getting a few more break-in hours on them. I have 4 different amps in house at the moment (tube and SS), rotating through them. It's easy to hear what each one is doing, good and bad, but all of them are pleasant to listen to, in their own ways.

Overall, I find they are truly great speakers, regardless of what I throw at them.

Tyson

I find that good upgrades make every recording I have sound better, even the bad recordings.  Now, that won't transform a bad recording into a good one, but then again, nothing can do that. 

If you've upgraded something and it makes any of your music sound worse, you should reconsider your 'upgrade' as you've made a mis-step somewhere along the line. 

Spatial speakers, IME do not make any recordings sound worse, only better.  The great recordings benefit a huge amount, the bad recordings benefit less. 

jjss49

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everyone needs to find what they like on the resolving/romantic spectrum for speakers and supporting ancillaries

no right or wrong here, it is a personal aethestic choice

depends alot on source choice too... and what you listen to, how you listen, for how long each sitting etc etc

sockpit

Just my experience in my small room:

My M5 sapphires have made many, especially older, recordings less than pleasant to listen to. Can’t chalk it up to amp or cables (LTA and anticables) and my DAC (exogal) is just fine.

Three observations:

1) Now that I’ve heard what good recordings sound like, I’m spoiled and want that sound in all my favorite music. That’s my problem I guess.  I’m a perfectionist.

2) I’m in that camp that thinks most recordings are crap, or at least pretty mediocre in SQ and dynamics. When I listen to new music on qobuz, I can tell immediately if it’s a high quality recording, or just passable and produced for the car radio.

3) I’m learning with help of GIK that a bedroom size space needs treatment.  Adding bass traps has helped a lot with the harshness perceived on many recordings. Am waiting on six more for the ceiling.

Berner

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Thanks for all the replies (somehow I didn't get emails informing me of them).

Mr. Big

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Spatial will sound as good as the recordings are be they vinyl or digital. Garage in equals garage out. They can sound like a warm blanket, or bright and unmusical which is what you want in a speaker, if not you purchased a colored speaker. Set up is key, sidewall reflections, as well as the front wall, needs to be taken care of, no different than any other well-designed speaker. In my room, I enjoy them with the short spikes on, on my carpeted floor, but I love them with no spikes and just the feet sans spikes. Like any new speakers you buy, you must educate yourself on them and that takes some time to learn their interaction in your room. I just moved a wicker basket that holds a dried mix of reeds etc, and by moving that besides my audio rack the balance and bass improved from just that little addition, the opposite wall had a rubber-type plant and that speaker always sounded fuller, no longer equal. I've had mine now close to 3-4 months, and they sound better today than any time I've owned them. They have no personality, it is just what you feed them they give, down even a power cord change, they are even better if I had a tube preamp or amp and mix with my SS pre or amp. I had 2 subs with my Quads no longer with these speakers, in fact the subs hurt the purity of these speakers, you are in fact taken away what open baffle woofers do so well, even crossing the subs as low as 40Hz.





Berner

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Mr Big,

"sidewall reflections, as well as the front wall, needs to be taken care of, no different than any other well-designed speaker."

I wonder about that. I remember liking Ohms (omnidirectionals) 40 years ago and have been living with Mirage M3 bipoles for decades.  Mirages are a sealed box with dynamic drivers facing forward and back in phase.  Sidewall reflection is part of the package (as it is with omnis or was when I heard ohms).  If I wanted a tiny sweet spot, I'd buy maggies.  Mirages have a huge sweet spot, disappear and you can walk around the whole room.  I've recently discovered that box speakers with wide dispersion have some of huge sweet spot that I like.  Perhaps because of sidewall reflections?  The pure audio project guy said large sweet spot was true of his OB.  Spatials?


Thanks again.

Jean-Paul

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I can't comment about the new models but my M4 Turbo S can be rather too much on certain recordings. It can sound very brash and aggressive, especially on modern popular music. OTOH, it brings out the life in these recordings better than anything else I know. In other words, they have the defects of their virtues; or the virtues of their defects, if you prefer.
I do, however, strongly disagree with the poster who states that the better the speaker the worse bad recordings sound. I know this is a commonly held view but it overlooks the fact that even bad recordings generally have something good about them, if only the music. My experience has been that the better the speaker the more it brings out the good things about the recording, often to the extent that it becomes far easier to overlook the less attractive aspects. And it doesn't exaggerate the bad things, whereas lesser speakers often over-emphasize the bad stuff.

Mr. Big

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Berner,

Even the Mirage would sound better if the side walls had some diffusion or damping. Omnidirectional speakers are throwing sound all around, yes my speakers can sound much more open if I had no acoustic treatments, but also nowhere near how real music sounds, listen to the human voice when you speak with someone, does it sounds hyper-detailed, sharp? No, it sounds relaxed even if somewhat dull. Was told that years ago by Bill Dudleston of Legacy speakers. You can over damp a room, and then it sounds like a suction of all openness, and you can tell that when you walk into the middle of the room and your voice literally dies and sounds hollow. 2nd power cords make a huge difference, I can night and day change the sound of my system by just changing one power cord somewhere in the chain.  A bad recording should sound that way and a good one great, I use recordings made with tube equipment in the '50s and if they sound thin and bright I know something is wrong. I'm like all people I love my recordings to all sound great but they do not and they won't no matter the speaker, if I had a speaker where they did sound good, the great ones would not they would sound overly warm, it like cooking it the spices you like in your food, you season to taste. I don't know where the truth lies in this hobby because there are too many impacts on the final sound and the room is #1, built a system to your ear and taste then enjoy it.
« Last Edit: 31 Dec 2020, 02:36 pm by Mr. Big »

Grahamps

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I think I echo what Elizabeth says. Based on her description, she's hearing true fidelity, and that makes listening to everything more interesting and worthwhile. When a system is still possessing spurious peaks and valleys, setup issues, and resultant anomalies, that's IMO what is "revealed" as unpleasant and off-putting to hear.

This is why I enjoy physically playing with my stereo. I don't, put simply, buy my way out of listening issues, I adjust my way out.