Poll

Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?

Bright
18 (39.1%)
Neutral
25 (54.3%)
Warm
3 (6.5%)

Total Members Voted: 46

Voting closed: 12 Apr 2006, 11:54 pm

Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?

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jermmd

Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« on: 12 Apr 2006, 11:54 pm »
Before I bought my speakers, a friend mentioned that he had heard the Salk Veracity HT3's were bright sounding. I disregarded this because I had heard Zybar's speakers (albeit via Tact processing) and they sounded just right to me. I have now owned my speakers for a few months and I actually bump up the treble slightly because I believe my room/treatments decrease the highs. I would describe the speakers as neutral. They are also very detailed and I think sometimes that can be interpreted as bright.

My previous speakers were VMPS RM30's and I would also describe them as neutral and very detailed. I guess that's the sound I like. Neither VMPS or Salk HT3's are fatiguing to listen to IMHO. I associate brightness with fatiguing.

Now, for the second time, someone mentioned to me that an HT3 owner described his speakers as bright sounding. For those of you who have heard the speakers, what do you think?

pugs

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Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #1 on: 13 Apr 2006, 02:53 am »
I might be one that you are referring to saying the HT3s are bright.  I just received them last Friday so they I guess they have some break in left.  I did remove some GIK panels in the front corners last night which helped.  I originally had panels stacked from floor to ceiling, but I think that deadened the sound too much.  I took the upper panels off and now have more upper bass lower mid fullness.

With jazz, acoustic guitar, and vocals they sound really good.  Sometimes when the horns or vocals get loud, they can sound bright and hurt my ears a little.  I measured the SPLs at my listening position at the loudest I care to listen, and the max was 96db.  

The very big concern I have now is that anything hard that I like to listen to like System of the Down, Metallica, Queens of the Stone Age, Fugazi, etc., the sound is kind of thin and bright.  My wife likes rap and hip hop.  The Salks sound OK with that kind of music.  I know rap is a no no to most audiophiles, but that's what my wife likes.  I want her to be happy with the speakers too.

I had the Lorelei's for a month a while ago.  If I didn't have issues between them and my old room layout, I would have kept them.  The things that I wanted them to be better at were transparency, clarity, and detail.  That's why I thought the HT3s would be a great choice.

The things I loved about the Lorelei's were the rich, full bass, etherial holgraphic, non fatiguing, room/house filling sound, and the fact that they sounded good with every CD I threw at them.  The warmth sounded a little unrealistic to me, but maybe that is a compromise that I need to re-evaluate.

I also just got my Squeezebox back from Vinnie with the new analog mods including a new opamp and blackgates.  The Squeezebox with the older mods was more laid back than my Cary 303/200.  Now it is brighter sounding.  I have a lot of things going on with my system, but I'm not sure if burn in will fix all of my concerns.  

One thing I don't want to do is spend more money to make things sound better.  I went way over budget to buy the Salks hoping that they would be my last last purchase, and would be completely satisfied.

I am a little down, and I guess I need to chill out, let everything settle in, and re-evaluate in a couple weeks.  

BTW- I have more room treatments including GIKs in the back corners and first reflection points.  I also have Eighth Nerve Response treaments in some places.  My amps are Odyssey Extreme Mono SE's and Tempest pre.  Cables are Groneberg.

DMurphy

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Re: Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #2 on: 13 Apr 2006, 02:58 am »
I would be very interested in responses to your question.  Proper high frequency balance is one of the trickiest issues in speaker design.  One problem, of course is that so much recorded material has a hyped-up top end that will come crashing through in full glory if a speaker is flat on-axis and has wide disperion as well.  And then there's the issue of the room--lots of drywall and hardwood floors can produce a very harsh sound if the speaker is flat on top.  Fianlly, we don't really know how the ear processes on-axis and delayed off-axis refections, so there isn't any unambiguous truth to pursue.  About all I can say is that I've tested a whole lot of commercial and DIY designs, and at least 90% of them have had hotter highs than any of my speakers.  And, you can order a contour switch for the HT3 that will step the highs down significantly if you feel you might need this option.

jermmd

Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #3 on: 13 Apr 2006, 04:17 am »
Pugs,

yeah, you were the second person I mentioned. I have to admit that I've spent much less time listening to Metal and rap since buying the Salks. I've only recently discovered Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, and Natalie Marchant so I've spent a lot of time listening to jazz/blues/acoustic music. Maybe that type of music sounds better on the Salks? I think Led Zep sounds pretty damn awesome on my system though so I'm not sure. Maybe I just like a bright sound? I used to be a big Dynaudio fan and I always felt the Dyns had a warm sound (putting me in the warm is better camp).

What high end brands are known for a bright sound?

texas steve

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Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #4 on: 13 Apr 2006, 12:49 pm »
Quote from: jermmd
Pugs,

yeah, you were the second person I mentioned. I have to admit that I've spent much less time listening to Metal and rap since buying the Salks. I've only recently discovered Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, and Natalie Marchant so I've spent a lot of time listening to jazz/blues/acoustic music. Maybe that type of music sounds better on the Salks? I think Led Zep sounds pretty damn awesome on my system though so I'm not sure. Maybe I just like a bright sound? I used to be a big Dynaudio fan and I always fe ...


I have had my HT3s and HTC now only for 3 days.  I bleive what most of you are describing is the detail that the ribbon brings out.  And as mentioned previousy the room treatment, toe in, and other details of the room greatly affect the result.  Of course at 55 years old I would guess my ears might have someting to do with it as well!

Im VERY pleased with the quality of the sound (and build) of the HT3s.  The detail is astounding, and yes, in my opinion as well they sound much better with non "metalic(a)" music.  Im still working  on toe in and rear wall position, but so far they are wonderfull!

mpauly

Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #5 on: 13 Apr 2006, 01:14 pm »
Quote from: pugs
I also just got my Squeezebox back from Vinnie with the new analog mods including a new opamp and blackgates. The Squeezebox with the older mods was more laid back than my Cary 303/200. Now it is brighter sounding. I have a lot of things going on with my system, but I'm not sure if burn in will fix all of my concerns. .


I don't have salks, nor have I heard them, but I also recently got a vinnie modded SB3 with the new analog mods.  If you just received yours and you're using it as you source for speaker evaluation, it might explain some of the brightness.  For me, in my system, right out of the box the modded SB3 was terribly forward in the upper midrange and lower treble and there was some significant grainyness in the mid/upper treble.  From what I could find, my understanding was that this is typical with new blackgates, but I didn't expect it to be this bad.  It was almost unlistenable.  I left it plugged in and connected to my amp and let it play on repeat 24/7 for a few weeks without the amp turned on (when i wasn't listening to other music).

I'm in the process of remodelling much of my house and my system is now in a far from optimal room, so any real critical listening is out of the question, but the SB3 has mellowed out quite a bit.  The forwardness and grainyness I experienced are almost gone.  I can now enjoy it as my main source.   Hopefully I'll get a room properly setup soon so I can begin to truely enjoy my system again.

Again, this was only my experience, in my system so YMMV, but give it a little bit of time to break in.

Michael

pugs

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Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #6 on: 13 Apr 2006, 05:36 pm »
The squeezebox could be part of the problem.  So far I regret getting the new mods.  The old mods were really laid back and probably would have worked better with the HT3's.  I have about 100 hours on it with the new mods.

I just don't think any amount of break in is going to make these speakers work with punk, metal, or rap.  I don't want to stop listening to 25 to 50% of my music collection.  Punk is what I grew up on.  I played drums in a few bands for over 10 years and it will always be a part of me.   They sound great with everything else.  The are very good home theatre speakers too.

avahifi

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Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #7 on: 13 Apr 2006, 06:14 pm »
HT3s are as neutral as any speaker I have heard so far.  Of course that means that if your electronics are bright, the HT3s will tell you that.  If the electronics are extraordinary, the HT3s will be too, kind of music played not an issue at all.

Frank Van Alstine

pugs

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Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #8 on: 13 Apr 2006, 06:24 pm »
Quote from: avahifi
HT3s are as neutral as any speaker I have heard so far.  Of course that means that if your electronics are bright, the HT3s will tell you that.  If the electronics are extraordinary, the HT3s will be too, kind of music played not an issue at all.

Frank Van Alstine


I disagree.  I have Odyssey mono extremes and Tempest which are in no way bright.  I used my Cary 303/200 with the HT3's for a while and doesn't make much of a difference.  The Cary is not bright.

jermmd

Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #9 on: 13 Apr 2006, 07:39 pm »
Who voted for Warm and what equipment are you using? Like I said before, I actually increase the treble to my speakers because of room interactions.

zybar

Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #10 on: 13 Apr 2006, 11:02 pm »
Quote from: pugs
The squeezebox could be part of the problem.  So far I regret getting the new mods.  The old mods were really laid back and probably would have worked better with the HT3's.  I have about 100 hours on it with the new mods.

I just don't think any amount of break in is going to make these speakers work with punk, metal, or rap.  I don't want to stop listening to 25 to 50% of my music collection.  Punk is what I grew up on.  I played drums in a few bands for over 10 years and it will always be a part of me.   They sound great with everything else.  The are very good home theatre speakers too.


Ultimately, you need to have gear that let's you enjoy ALL your music.  If the HT3's turn out to be that great!  If not, you can probably sell them for a very small loss (not the ususal 50% reduction).  I don't listen to rap, but I do listen to some Metallica, Iron Maiden, etc... from time to time and I don't think it sounds bad on my HT3's, but it also doesn't sound as good as many other recordings I own.

George

DMurphy

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Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #11 on: 13 Apr 2006, 11:12 pm »
I'm not sure whether you're complaining about a bright treble per se, or whether you think the bass is too thin.  The two are related, but not the same thing.  I find it a little hard to believe the bass is thin.  Not with that woofer.  And not based on my listening experience and crossover experimentation.  If it's just the treble that's bothering you, it would be pretty trivial to remove the tweeter and insert a 2-3 ohm resistor between the positive terminal and the positive lead from the crossover.  I would check with Jim before you do that to make sure, since I really don't know how he has the lead to the + tweeter terminal connected, or how it is terminated.

pugs

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Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #12 on: 14 Apr 2006, 03:14 am »
Quote from: DMurphy
I'm not sure whether you're complaining about a bright treble per se, or whether you think the bass is too thin.  The two are related, but not the same thing.  I find it a little hard to believe the bass is thin.  Not with that woofer.  And not based on my listening experience and crossover experimentation.  If it's just the treble that's bothering you, it would be pretty trivial to remove the tweeter and insert a 2-3 ohm resistor between the positive terminal and the positive lead from the crossover.  I wo ...


It's almost like they are different speakers when playing that type of music.  The music is thin, flat, and kind of harsh.  There is no fullness to the sound.  Every other music I have tried, sounds great.  They are also great for Home Theatre which I use my system for often.

I guess I'll have to decide if it's a compromise I'm willing to make.  I don't know if I'll be able to live with them, because I'll have to cut out a large portion of the music I enjoy.

DMurphy

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Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #13 on: 14 Apr 2006, 03:24 am »
Well, the customer is always right.  But if you weren't a customer, I might suggest it's the program material that's thin, flat, and harsh unless warmed up by a speaker that has excess energy in the midbass.

brj

Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #14 on: 14 Apr 2006, 03:26 am »
For the purposes of this post, I'm going to equate "bright" with "a pitched up (non-flat) high frequency response".  If this doesn't fit the intent of the original post, please let me know, as what follows might then be best split out into another thread....


Dennis & Jim, when you went about voicing the HT3, what were the details of your environment and setup?


Background:

In the past week, I've read two articles in which a listener's setup or environment varied from the designer's environment enough to produce very non-flat high frequency responses in speakers that were designed to be flat.  These differences were both audible and measurable.  To be specific, I read:

1) The Sterophile review of the Dunlavy Audio Labs SC-IV/A, in which sitting closer to the speakers than the John Dunlavy's recommended distance of 10 ft resulted in a tipped up HF response.  (Specifically, see the "   Measurements part 2" page.

2) The 3rd installment of Building the Music Vault in which 0.25 inch Berber carpeting was shown to be rolling off the response of Wilson Alexandria X-2s above 16 kHz in a professionally implemented listening room.


What I find surprising about these articles is that they seem to indicate that it isn't always enough to have a "generically" good setup and room - it appears important to have an environment similar to the designer's, or, at the very least, an exceptionally detailed understanding of how your room and speaker placement is affecting your final sound.  (For this, at least, I suspect that measurements would be required for all but the most golden of ears.)  Despite this, I can think of very few speakers in which these intentions are spelled out for prospective customers in any real detail.

(I have occasionally seen distance and toe-in recommendations specified for some speakers.  Merlin speakers come to mind, as I know they actually ship with simple alignment guides to ensure proper toe-in.)

So.... with all of that said, can either of you (Jim or Dennis) comment on the details of the placement and environment in place when voicing the HT3s?

Thanks!



(I have to say that while resistor swapping works well for those handy with a soldering iron, I'm finding digital room correction more and more interesting regardless of the speakers under discussion...)

pugs

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Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #15 on: 14 Apr 2006, 03:40 am »
Does anybody know of high quality, not too expensive tone controls with a bypass?  I could use tone controls for the music I'm having issues with, and bypass it when listening to everything else.  That would solve my problem.

Nick B

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Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #16 on: 14 Apr 2006, 03:58 am »
pugs           I now have over 200 hrs on my RWA SB2 and the sound is mellowing more. It is a nice improvement  since the 100 hour mark. I presume you are using a very good power supply rather than the cheap stock switcher I'm still using. I have lots of poorly recorded music and for that reason, I may consider the AVA preamp in the future as one of the models  has tone controls.

avahifi

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Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #17 on: 14 Apr 2006, 12:35 pm »
The AVA EC series preamplifiers (Ultra EC and Omegastar EC) have nice switchable tone control circuits.

Frank Van Alstine

toobluvr

Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #18 on: 14 Apr 2006, 04:09 pm »
Quote from: jermmd
......Maybe I just like a bright sound? I used to be a big Dynaudio fan and I always felt the Dyns had a warm sound (putting me in the warm is better camp).

What high end brands are known for a bright sound?


I've always found the Dynaudio treble balance to be noticably forward leaning.  Certainly not in the warm speaker camp....to my ears, anyway.

Bright sounding speakers?
Thiel.

PS:  I agree with your statement "warm is better".

pugs

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Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #19 on: 14 Apr 2006, 04:50 pm »
Quote from: DMurphy
Well, the customer is always right.  But if you weren't a customer, I might suggest it's the program material that's thin, flat, and harsh unless warmed up by a speaker that has excess energy in the midbass.


I would think at least Tool or Metallica have decent recordings.  One of my Tool albums is HDCD.  Maybe I just like excess energy in the midbass.