Adventures in Treble (?) Sensitivity -- or my Harbeths Conundrum

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Eric Rosenfield, Jan 30, 2024.

  1. Eric Rosenfield

    Eric Rosenfield Facebook Friend

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    Sorry not sorry this will be long. Skip to the end for the TL;DR.

    I’ve known for some time that I’m sensitive to treble. This became clear for me on headphones known for treble, like the DT770, Grado SR60x, or Sennheiser HD800S. This isn’t to say that I don’t like the sound of those headphones—the HD800S in particular sound marvellous to me, but if I listen to them for more than say 10-30 minutes (depending on the day), I’ll feel a headache beginning to blossom.

    This was specifically frustrating with the HD800S—with the STR60x for example, I could apply an EQ profile and the headphone would cease causing problems. The HD800S, on the other hand, defied all my attempts to EQ it. I even embarked on a doomed attempt to apply the Maxx mod to them, which made them sound far worse, didn’t seem to fix the problem, and while undoing the mod I snapped the driver free of the unit and had to send it in to Sennheiser/Sonova for a repair.

    Anyway, I basically endgamed on headphones with the ZMF Atrium which sound perfect to me without EQ and I can listen to all day (provided I can put up with the physical weight, but that’s a separate issue).

    I came into a little bit of money recently and decided to upgrade the speakers in my living room and office. For the living room, where I’d been using a pair of Edifier R1700BT, I decided on a pair of JBL L82 which I listened to and loved at the JBL store and seemed like they’d be a lot of fun for the mix of music and TV/film they’d be used for. I also liked the fact that they have a treble knob built into the speaker, which literally allows you to turn up or down the tweeter (especially useful where they’re not hooked up to a PC and can’t be easily EQ’d). Another thing that sold me on the JBLs is that because of my living room set-up they have to fit on the shelves and they’re basically the perfect size—as long as they’re facing forward and not toed in at all. This worried me until I read that they have nearly 90° directionality. When they arrived my wife wondered why I wanted such large speakers (relative to the Edifiers certainly; the JBLs have to be turned on their side to fit on the shelves), saying we didn’t need to play any louder in our apartment. But getting bigger speakers isn’t about playing louder. In fact, and this proved to be absolutely correct, having bigger speakers paradoxically allows you to play softer, because you’re getting more of the sound directly from the speakers rather than from reflections, meaning that the sound is clearer (especially when you’re watching narrative media and need to be able to hear dialogue). And because the living room doubles as a dining room, that nearly 90° directionality became kind of magical; moving to either side of the speaker certainly changed the stereo image, but it didn’t change the tone at all, so no matter where in the room I was it sounded good and I wasn’t chained to a narrow “sweet spot”.

    [​IMG]

    For the office, meanwhile, I decided to replace the Kanto Yu 4” Passives I’d been using on the Harbeth P3ESR, which by reputation are supposed to sound midrange-focused and cozy and not remotely fatiguing. I did want to listen to the P3ESRs before I bought them but the dealer I went to only had the M30.2s, which I loved but are too big for my use case and far too expensive besides. He did get the P3ESR XDs later, but I’d read online that the older, non-XD version was more rolled off in the treble and midrange-focused and so instead of waiting for the dealer to get the XDs in, I blind bought a pair of SEs online when they came up for a good price.

    This was perhaps a mistake.

    [​IMG]

    To be clear, I love the way the P3ESRs sound. One thing the P3ESRs do that I haven’t heard any other speaker do quite as well, including much more expensive speakers I’ve demoed at dealers, is producing an almost spooky sense of realism. Listening to these speakers you can close your eyes and feel like the person is playing the instrument in front of you, there’s no other way I can describe it except that it sounds “real” and “natural”.

    I’ve seen online some people claim the P3ESRs are “inappropriate” for rock or other hard-driving music, and therefore only for people who want to listen to Jazz or Classical and the like. In my experience this is nonsense, silly even. Certainly you can find speakers that slam harder—my JBL L82s will “rock out” in a way that the Harbeths won’t—but the idea that rock sounds bad or somehow lacking or wimpy on these speakers is silly. Rock sounds great, even electronic and metal sound great. At no point do I put on rock music and think that it sounds anything other than awesome.

    But it is true that there’s something special about acoustic music on the Harbeths, that acoustic guitar or violin or piano notes sound organic and true and… I don’t know, resonant? They’re really special speakers, and honestly this would be the end of the story except…

    To my utter shock the P3ESRs set off my sensitivities and were causing headaches. How was this possible? These were speakers famous for NOT being fatiguing, for NOT having a lot of treble, NOT causing problems and allowing people to listen all day. What was going on?

    Indeed, I got a Umik and measured the speakers with REW, and the treble is measurably rolled off! In my room (which granted is NOT acoustically treated and has all sorts of problems) you could clearly see this:

    [​IMG]

    After struggling with EQ, toeing out, grills on, I was no nearer to figuring out what was going on.

    A clue however was offered by the JBL L82s, which ALSO seemed to trigger my sensitivities, but once I turned the tweeter down not as much. After doing some more Googling it seems like some people are sensitive specifically to metal speaker drivers. The JBL L82 has a titanium tweeter and the P3ESR has an aluminum tweeter. This suddenly made sense of my inability to EQ the 800S. It has an aluminum driver!
    [EDIT: EagleWings in the comments informs me that the driver is not aluminum, but the problem is "peak/ringing caused by the resonance in the ear cup"]

    Electronics also seemed to play a role; I bought an Audiolab 8300A to drive the Harbeths and that amplifier turned out to be shockingly sharp. Swapping it out for the Peachtree GaN1 I bought for the JBLs and the notes became far less aggressive.

    So I decided to try three things: I ordered a pair of Wharfedale Denton 80ths, which are supposed to have a similar warm sound but have non-metal drivers, from a place they could be easily returned; ordered a Schiit Aegir which is supposed to be as warm and rich an amp as they come (even if it didn’t have the feature niceties of the Audiolab); and finally I read about a simple mod for the P3ESRs where you could order a pair of soft dome tweeters and swap them out in an easily reverseable way.

    The Dentons arrived and they did not have any of the discomfort issues that the Harbeths had—except on the Audiolab, which seemed to make everything so aggressive that it hurts. (Ironically, the Audiolab I think otherwise sounded pretty good on the Dentons, refining their softer sound, if only they didn’t cause me physical pain.) The Dentons are warm and rich to a fault; the Aegirs which I thought would be a great match for them turned out to make the overly rich and thick, which could sound good on certain music but sounded kind of muddy on other music. The Audiolab sounded good, the GaN1 (which I’d begun to realize made the JBLs sound more dead than they should) sounded great on the Dentons, their coolness cleaning up the sound of the Dentons a bit while not robbing them completely of the richness that made them fun to listen to.

    Still, while I liked them a lot, the Dentons just weren’t on the same level as the Harbeths. They sounded great, but you didn’t get anything like that spooky realism and detail as you did on the Harbeths, and I missed it.

    The replacement tweeters arrived and the swap was about as painless as I hoped

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And when I started using them I was so relieved, because the stabbing, nagging sense I got from the old Tweeters was just gone. Suddenly, miraculously, I could listen to the Harbeths all day. (Also the Stereolab guy was right—the Harbeths do sound great on a single Aegir!)

    (As an aside, the biggest surprise for me was how great the JBL L82s sounded on the Aegir, which is well below their suggested wattage of 25 watts, but added fire and life to the speakers that the GaN1 couldn’t match. If the Aegir had a trigger I might have bought one (or two) for the JBLs, but I wanted a seamless experience in my living room.)

    Did the new tweeters sound as good as the old ones? Maybe not—certainly there seemed to be a precision that fell away, though some of the upper treble felt more emphasized so the overall felt a bit more balanced. Still, they still sounded amazing and spooky good. Certainly, as good as anything I needed or wanted.

    Here’s measurements for the speakers with the two different tweeters compared:

    [​IMG]

    Blue is unmodded, orange is modded.

    (Keep in mind these are not super accurate measurements. A lot of stuff went in and out of my room between these measurements, the toe-in was eyeballed so probably not exactly the same, and I found even the position of me and my chair could effect the response. So take these measurements with a grain of salt.)

    The differences here are small—some bumps smoothed out at around 1k and 2.5k and a bit of a bump from 7k to 10.5k. And yet the aggressiveness (which is not a word typically used to describe P3ESRs) was essentially gone.

    The Denton had one more revelation for me before I returned it. The Denton is ported, so I did something I never tried with my old Kantos and couldn’t do with the sealed Harbeths and tried plugging the port with some socks. The main effect was the bass got less present but the weirdest thing was that when plugged the Dentons started causing me a bit of very mild discomfort, like pressure in the back of my head. Very strange.

    And I noticed then that I felt the same discomfort listening to the P3ESRs. Still it was very mild and in the flush of victory over the metal tweeters I returned the Dentons and listed the Audiolab for sale. (It’s still for sale if anyone wants it.)

    But the discomfort kept bothering me, often not even enough to cause headaches but definitely enough to cause fatigue. I read on the Subwoofer 101 site that the guy who ran that had issues listening to sealed subwoofers vs ported ones. (He suggests this is connected to autism, about which well, I’ve never been diagnosed but does anyone else really hate the feel of flannel?) At the time I was using a sealed subwoofer, the SVS SB-1000 which I got to pair with the Harbeths, so I decided to try returning that as well and replaced it with a bottom-ported Paradigm V10. This did seem to relieve a bit of the discomfort (though one of the downsides of a bottom-ported speaker is that even though it’s sitting on a SubDude my wife started complaining that it was making the whole apartment shake and I had to turn it down). But the discomfort didn’t go away. And the more I listened, the more it bothered me. EQ helped, especially EQ’ing down the bump that the P3ESR has at about 150hz which is meant to compensate for how the bass rolls off entirely around 70 hz.

    Meanwhile, to replace the GaN1 in my living room I bought a Parasound A23+ and holy cow. I know the original A23 got some slack around these parts, but the plus version is supposed to fix the problems of the previous one. In any case, to me this amp sounded amazing. First I tried it on the P3ESRs and when I did I didn’t want to give it up. The amp loses some of the fire of the Aegir, the Aegir seems to have some kind of charge and energy it gives to music despite it’s relatively low wattage, and the A23+ is more mellow. However, perhaps due to its greater power, the P3ESRs sound more clear and dynamic and big, but without the cool analytical sense I got from the class D GaN1. And it was even more delicate on my sensitivities than the Aegir.

    I’d already listed the GaN1 for sale though and when it actually sold I ended up having to part the A23+ from my Harbeths. On the JBLs the A23+ again didn’t have quite the drive of the Aegir, but had far more dynamics and clarity while still sounding “alive”. If anything, the JBLs seemed to like the A23+ more than the Harbeths did, and I actually found myself turning the tweeter back up on the JBLs to make them sound their best without it really bothering my sensitivities much. (Also since I basically spend 8 hours a day listening in my office and far less on the living room system, the JBLs bothering me a little bit is much less of a problem than the Harbeths. And the JBLs are ported, so one apparent source of discomfort was gone. Still, if it wasn’t for that titanium tweeter I might consider replacing the Harbeths with their little sibling the L52, which I bet would sound aces on the Aegir.)

    This leaves me a bit disconsolate. I love the Harbeths, but I don’t think I can live with them.

    But what to replace them with? Wharfedale does have the Denton 85ths as an upgrade to the 80ths, but those are supposed to have much more treble and be sharp, according to reviews. They also have the Lintons, which I would probably love but are much, much too large for my office, where I need bookshelf speakers that can fit on the stands I have attached to my desk. (They’re too large even for the bookshelves in my living room.) I’d like to keep the costs down to say under $2k new or used.

    Other possibilities might be the Elac Uni-Fi Reference, the Dynaudio Evoke 10, or the Vienna Acoustics Hadyns.

    Piquing my curiosity now, though, are single-driver speakers, which are supposed to have a midrange focus like the Harbeths and further would probably run just great off my Aegir without requiring me to buy a second one (or more powerful Aegir 2s, once they’re released, or another A23+, or whatever). The Closer Ogy has great reviews and a good trial period, so I took the liberty of ordering a pair, but the wood finish I want is back-ordered and it won’t ship until sometime in early February (supposedly) and then have to get here from Poland.

    Other possibilities might be the Omega Alnico Minis, the Decware T6 or Tube Tots or Trapeziums (with only the T6 being single-driver but all being easy-to-drive), or the GR LGK 2.0 (though I’m not enthused by Danny at GR and the way he “reviews” speakers by looking solely at their measurements and components—like he dismissed the Harbeths because he says it has cheap components which to me only proves that cheap components might be all you need if you can make them sound that good). Though compared to the mainstream speakers like the Elacs or Dynaudios, these small-company speakers just have a dearth of reviews; the Decware T6 for example only has some folks on the Decware forum going “these sound real good”. I admit since they all have return policies I’m tempted to get the Alnico and the T6 and do a big comparison with the Ogys, but that’s a bigger outlay of money and time and effort. I might at least wait until the Ogy’s arrive first and see if it scratches my itch and if single driver speakers can actually provide the sound I want.

    I’m also very curious about Thomas and Stereo’s promised transmission-line version of his Voyager speakers (aka the Vanguard speakers that were a loaner here on SBAF) which are designed to sound similar to Harbeth and LS3/5a-type speakers, though those haven’t been released yet.

    I’m open to other suggestions as well, but I’d be lying if I wasn’t despondent at the idea of giving up the Harbeths because they just sound so good.

    I wrote to Zach at ZMF and said they should make a speaker that’s sounds like the Atrium. He said that’s a great idea but for now he’s been told the speakers that sound most like their headphones are… Harbeths. (He also said a pair of Decware open baffles sounded similar to him, but those are too big for my room.)

    TL;DR: Bought Harbeth P3ESR, best speaker I ever heard, but I seem to be sensitive to both metal speaker drivers and sealed boxes and my day is ruined
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2024
  2. Eric Rosenfield

    Eric Rosenfield Facebook Friend

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    As a follow up, here's some short reviews for those who might be interested.

    Short reviews of speakers mentioned here:

    Kanto Yu 4” Passives: For speakers that cost under $200 these are pretty spectacular. Very neutral, needs a sub. Paired it with the Kanto Sub6, which worked pretty well, though doesn’t go very low.

    Edifier R1700bt: Also unlikely to find powered speakers under $200 better than these. Smoother treble than the Kantos, but not quite as dynamic and detailed. Also very neutral. Sub not as necessary, but it helps.

    Wharfedale Denton 80th: Rich and warm almost to a fault. Paired the best with the class D GaN1 than any of the other speakers that I tried but sounded good on all the amps I tried except for the Aegir which was a bit too warm and rich for it and couldn’t quite bring out enough detail. Can do without a sub, though a sub doesn’t hurt.

    JBL L82: Super fun speakers, not the last word in detail or hearing the breath of the violinist during rests or whatever, but delivers everything in a fun, dynamic way that’s impossible not to find engaging, without any grit or harshness in the treble, and with fullness and character in the bass and mids. Sounded a bit dead on the GaN1, livened up considerably on the Aegir (though would probably benefit from a second Aegir or two Aegir 2s), sounds magnificent on the Parasound A23+. Tweeter knob is a blessing—why don’t more speakers have these anymore? Doesn’t need a sub.

    Harbeth P3ESR: Spooky realism, feels like the instruments are right in front of you, so much so it sends a chill up your spine. Not the most dynamic or slammy, but complaints about them not being suitable for rock music is highly exaggerated; they rock just fine. Sets off my sensitivities less after the aluminum tweeter is swapped for a soft-dome one. Needs a sub.


    Short reviews of amps mentioned here:

    Parasound Zamp: This was the amp I used with the Kantos and for those speakers they’re perfectly appropriate. Available on the used market for as little as $200. Sounded acceptable, if unremarkable, on the Dentons, a little wimpy (but not bad) on the Harbeths, but really struggled with the JBLs (much more than the Aegir did, despite this having almost twice the wattage rating). A neutral amp, it doesn’t particularly accentuate any aspect of the speakers they’re connected to. With the right speakers you could get this and never think you’re missing much, even if it doesn’t bring the “wow” factor of other amps.

    Audiolab 8300A: The only integrated amp in this list of power amps. Someone less sensitive to treble sharpness might appreciate the incisiveness this amp provides, but for me it was like knives to the brain. I’ve never experienced an amp—headphone or speaker—more stabby to me. Just ouch. This is unfortunate because it’s muscular and detailed and clear otherwise, and the feature set was excellent and flexible, with A and B speaker terminals, RCA and XLR inputs, trigger input and output, and different modes for using as just a power amp or just a preamp. But even as a preamp it brought the stabbification. Still you could see how this “hifi sound” might seem impressive at the dealer since it makes the speakers feel more detailed. Hooking this up the Kantos for example made them seem l like more expensive speakers because of the greater appearance of detail.

    Peachtree GaN1: Class D digital amp with a single digital input (coax), doing the digital-to-analogue conversion as part of its internal PWM. Good or bad depending on whether you want to be free of DAC nervosa or be able to tweak the sound using a DAC. Clean and clear sounding, and pretty when given delicate classical music and the like, but also with tight, controlled bass on harder music. Sounds cool and kind of dead on some speakers (like the JBL L82), pairs well with the warm and rich Dentons. May measurably increase treble on 8ohm speakers, but the treble isn’t sharp and hard-edged like with the Audiolab.

    Schiit Aegir: 20W wonder. Adds fire and life to dull speakers or not-so-dull speakers. Too rich on the Dentons, but sounds great on the Harbeths and the JBLs, though in both cases two Aegirs (or Aegir 2s) might sound better to give them more dynamics and clarity (judging by how they responded to the A23+).

    Parasound A23+: While the Aegir might be better on the right speakers, and two Aegirs probably even better on harder-to-drive speakers, the Parasound A23+ remains probably overall the best speaker amp I’ve personally tried and much more of an all-rounder than the Aegirs. Muscular and powerful without being edgy or sharp, clear and detailed without being cool or clinical, I doubt any speaker would sound bad on this amp unless it required significantly more power.
     
  3. EagleWings

    EagleWings Friend

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    Eric, thanks for sharing your experience and some quick thoughts on the amps and speakers. A couple of things though:

    - The driver on the 800/800S is not an Al driver. A major reason you can’t EQ out the sibilance of the 800 is that the peak/ringing is caused by the resonance in the ear cup, which can’t be fixed with EQ.
    - Not all metal drivers sound offensive or cause fatigue. I have heard inoffensive metal drivers and very offensive soft domes.
    - Whether the timbre of metal domes is good or not is a story for another day.
    - The fact that a closed enclosure is triggering some kind of fatigue is an interesting observation. I wonder what’s going on there.
     
  4. Eric Rosenfield

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    My mistake!
    What metal drivers have you heard that sound inoffensive?
    No idea. The only corroboration I have really from anyone else's experience is Subwoofer 101 where the guy says he flat out can't listen to any sealed subwoofers anymore despite being a subwoofer enthusiast. I wish I understood more.
     
  5. EagleWings

    EagleWings Friend

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    A Focal with Be tweeter, a B&W with Al tweeter and a Tannoy with Ti tweeter. A speaker with a metal tweeter can be tuned to sound inoffensive and a speaker with soft dome can be tuned to sound bright. Brightness nature aside, each material can have their own timbral qualities.

    You mention that you want to venture into widebanders (single-driver). I should warn you that widebanders can have unevenness in the treble region that may be offensive for a treble sensitive person, if he/she is not matching with upstream gear that are completely free of treble issues. So your Bifrost2’s lower treble stridency could come across more evidently on these. But again there are some inoffensive sounding widebanders too.
     
  6. Eric Rosenfield

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    I would like to hear those, but my suspicion is that there's something beyond merely tuning that bothers me about metal drivers, since the Harbeths are famous for being inoffensive and I'm sensitive to them.


    Thanks for the note! I just swapped the Bifrost out for a Cyan 2 and it seems to be less offensive to my ears (and sound pretty great besides). Having never tried the wideband speakers I'm very curious how I would react to them. It would be amusing to me though that since I prefer 1DD IEMs and headphones I would also prefer 1DD loudspeakers... I have heard that widebanders can be "shouty" though, I just don't know if it would be the specific way that would bother me or if I could deal with it with EQ. (The HD6XX is sometimes said to be "shouty" as well, and I have no issue with that.)
     
  7. futuresound

    futuresound New

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    OT but I’d love to hear your impressions of the Cyan 2 once you’re familiar with it.
     
  8. Eric Rosenfield

    Eric Rosenfield Facebook Friend

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    Yeah, Imma write it up somewhere but I want to let it burn in more before I do. So far the short version is that it seems better than the Bifrost in resolution, depth, and naturalness, but loses some of the "fun" factor of the Bifrost with its warmth and note weight (especially the 2 OG rather than the 2/64). The Cyan 2 also seems a bit "sharper" than the Bifrost so far, but paradoxically its still easier for me to listen to because it doesn't have the weird "treble fuckery" aspect. It's more "neutral" DAC and less "tubey" (if that's the right word), but I think paired with stuff like my Pendant with the Amperex power tubes and the Bifrost that makes up the difference and so I don't really miss it.

    Keep in mind though that I sold off the Bifrost before I got the Cyan 2, so I wasn't able to A/B them, so this is entirely from memory and you should take it with a grain of salt.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2024
  9. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Regarding your issue with sealed speakers, I think this is likely cabinet resonance causing pressure in your ear that you don’t like. Not all sealed speakers will react the same way in this regard.

    Widebanders, as @EagleWings says, could be a major issue for you since they tend to have significant breakup modes at higher frequencies. A downsloped response or EQ may lessen the problem, but then you of course lose a lot of top end info.

    Regarding your issue with the P3ESR treble, I suspect this has to due with the off-axis mid-treble peakiness in the frequency response, as well as a related slight ringing that is present when looking at the CSD plots. Both Stereophile measurements and GR Research video on the P3ESR mention this - could be you are sensitive to it. I wouldn’t assume would be the case for all metal dome tweeters, as others have suggested. As for timbre however, I do tend to prefer soft domes almost always. But ATC’s lower end SCM tweeters also have a peakiness that gets to me, and it’s a soft dome.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2024
  10. Eric Rosenfield

    Eric Rosenfield Facebook Friend

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    Thanks for all this, this is very interesting to consider!

    Given my tastes and sensitivities (and use case), are there any particular speakers you might recommend I should try? I'd love to get some more options and opinions.
     
  11. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Maybe Dynaudio? Emit 10 or Evoke 10? Be aware though that any ported speaker with decent bass extension, you are almost guaranteed to have to EQ down the bass due to proximity to walls, unless you can pull them out a fair bit (I.e feet). Dyns in particular tend to have a bit of a mid bass hump, so it’s almost definitely a requirement if they’ll be close to the wall behind.
     
  12. AdvanTech

    AdvanTech Friend

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    I've not had positive long-term experiences with hard material drivers either. I actually found Focal Be tweeters to be fatiguing with a less than ideal timbre. I had SB Acoustics Satori Be tweeters in a speaker build once that was much creamier/smoother but I still couldn't do marathon listening sessions without the slow creep of an incoming headache. I'm all about paper woofers and soft domes, now.
     
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  13. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Yeah for woofers it’s either poly or paper for me as well. Haven’t heard a metal mid/woofer speaker I’ve preferred either. Dynaudios use MSP which is a form of poly with silicate embedded, I believe to aid in stiffness. Dynaudio Special 40s had the creamiest mids and silkiest airy treble I’ve ever owned (actually not quite enough bite for me up top) with really strong punchy bass, although not the last word in detail or texture.

    Actually I lied about only liking soft domes - my current speakers (Graham Chartwell LS6) are actually a hybrid metal dome with a thick soft rolled surround - tweeter is made by Seas. This is my favourite tweeter I’ve heard actually, balancing attack/transients/bite with smoothness and timbre perfectly to my ears.
     
  14. Eric Rosenfield

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    my main misgivings about Dynaudio are (as you indicated) they’re known to like to be away from the walls and Zero Fidelity said you should sit at least 4 feet away from the Evoke 10s to get the proper driver integration. They seem less than ideal for nearfield, unfortunately.
     
  15. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Like I said, if you go ported, you pretty much have no choice but to EQ anyhow if you’re close to walls. And I love Sean, but I have a hard time believing the driver integration would be that challenging with these speakers given the size and separation between the tweeter and woofer, as well as the crossover point/slope.

    Another potential option may be the Q Acoustics Concept 30? Also as you mentioned, maybe try the JBL L52, or the Studio 620.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2024
  16. artur9

    artur9 Facebook Friend

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    I've owned those. I don't think you'd like them after having the Harbeths, VA romanticize everything, if I understand the lingo correctly. Their bigger speakers sound very good (I lusted after the Beethoven Baby Grand for years) but don't fit your use case. The Haydns, in particular, commit a lot of sins of omission.

    I have some BMR based speakers (Cambridge Audio and Philharmonic) that I like a lot. I don't have your treble sensitivity - more an odd sense for phase and those have been great for me.

    I'd add to your list Decware Radial (maybe) and Role Audio as single driver speakers.

    For electronics, if you decide to move on from the Parasound, I like my Ayre very much. It really "cleans up the static" while preserving all the details I can still hear. Between it and my PhilharmonicAudio BMRs, there's some noisy music that is now sounding quite good to me.
     
  17. k4rstar

    k4rstar Britney fan club president

    Pyrate BWC
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  18. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

    Pyrate BWC MZR
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    I've had tizzy sounding monocore wires before (copper in PVC).
    IME the insulation matters quite a bit. I much prefer my current tinned copper in cotton cables to the TC in PE I was using before. It's a lot smoother sounding and I feel there's less masking as a result.
     
  19. Eric Rosenfield

    Eric Rosenfield Facebook Friend

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    Closer Ogys have arrived
    [​IMG]
    Will report more once I've done some listening
     
  20. Eric Rosenfield

    Eric Rosenfield Facebook Friend

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    Closer Ogy measurements. Did 3 measurements with the same result.
    [​IMG]
    That's quite a spike in the mids there.

    What's weird is it sounds distinctly bright to me, but according to this it's... not
     

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