A Discussion About What Level Of Analog To Stop At

So this is a bit of a friendly discussion, a sharing of information, and perhaps a bit of a what if thread.

As we acknowledge, the rooms our stereo’s reside in are a significant factor in how our audio systems sound. Now this discussion takes place mostly in the arena of speakers, and perhaps amplification for those speakers. I don’t believe I have read threads where it comes up in context to our source components. But I am wondering if it should?

In terms of myself, I only run one system unless you count my headphone rig. Truth is I rarely listen to that and I wonder if it is worth the money I spent there. But I am a consolidator and climber when it comes to audio gear. I also have an understanding with my patient spouse that I keep the audio gear in one room. I suspect if I tried taking over another room with audio gear, she would bury me in a shallow grave in the back yard.

So I have run of the living room within reason. Now this is the best room for audio in the house, but it is by no means perfect. it is 16’W by 20’ L with 8’ ceilings that are textured with acoustic popcorn. The flooring is short pile carpet with heavy pad. There is a dining room off the left wall, so only a half wall on that side. The right wall has a picture window in it. 6’L and 5’T. The back wall has french doors with glass panes. There is a little notch in the back left corner about 3’L by 1.5’D, its where they put a small bathroom on the other side of the wall. Equipment rack is on the side wall under the window. The speakers on the short wall on each side of a fireplace. Listen chair is 4 feet off the french doors.

Stereo consists of:

Martin Logan CLX ART speakers w dual Velodyne HGS12 subwoofers

Classe Omega monoblock amplifiers

Trinov Amethyst pre-amp (the DSP functions are a prime consideration in buying)

Cen Grand DSDac 1.0 Deluxe DAC

BPT 2.5 Signature power conditioner

Now all the analog gear is where it gets messy, and my consolidation thoughts are kicking in

Turntable #1 SOTA Cosmos Eclipse/SME V/Transfiguration Audio Porteus

Turntable #2 Scheu Analog Das Laufwerk No2 with Schroder CB-1L and Ortofon Verismo. Second arm Dynavector DV505 that gets used with an Ortofon MC2000/Ortofon MC3000 II/Kiseki Blackheart

Phono stages are a BMC MCCI Signature ULN, a standard BMC MCI Signature, and Esoteric E-03. Have an Ortofon T2000 SUT to use with the MC2000.


As a consolidator I sometimes wonder if all of this is necessary. The money is spent and this is kind of my audio kitty funds. I tend to keep those monies separate and often save and then sell pieces being upgraded to afford that next step. The reality is that often I cannot have to expensive pieces side by side and decide which I like the best. Since I also shop Audiogon and USAM for used gear it’s not possible to listen to candidates. As a consolidation I look at what is out there. For instance, when I tally things up I could possibly afford a Walker Proscenium that happens to be on Ebay at the moment. I would be down to one table, one phono stage, and two cartridges. One thing that stops me is that gold on the Walker is damned ugly, secondly, I am not sure I got room for the pump assembly. My system is a bit large for this room as it sits.

As I am writing I wonder if this room can really support a higher tier of analog gear than I got. I think some would argue that this room is limited in ways to compromise even what I have. The sound is very nice, better than I hear at many shows, and in other audiophiles’ homes I have gone to. We have a local audio group, and I haven’t heard anything I like better. In the past I have used the MC3000 II cartridge as a casual listening tool, but with the CEN GRAND DAC the sound is so nice I really don’t need to do that anymore. Still need the Dynavector arm though if I want to play the MC2000. Now all of these cartridges sound very very nice, and I could live with any of them. Truth is I like the Transfiguration the least. Or I think so till I spend about a weekend listening to it.

One thought is to choose one table and sell it all off and maximize that one. The other is to keep the Verismo and probably the Kiseki. Buy the very best table and arm I can with all the funds gathered once I sell all that stuff. The question I cannot answer for myself is ...is this worth it given what my room allows this system to do? I have a small amount of room treatment with wood diffusers, ART series acoustic panels, and the DSP function of the preamp. But I cannot turn this into a full-on treated room because of the basic limitations of it.

I have probably made posts in the past in other threads putting ideas like this forward. But I don’t know if I ever made a comprehensive post with all these thoughts. laid out. If you feel its repetitive, I do understand. However, if you have thoughts or ideas, I would surely be interested in reading them. Take the conversation wherever makes sense, as this is meant to be a wide-ranging discussion. Thanks for any of your contributions!



With regard to the level of analog you should stop at, I would offer one thought. So many turntables and arms simply trade one sonic value for another. The question to ask is "does a given turntable and arm offer something unique in terms of technology that will take my analog to the next level?" The turntables and arms that do this are made by Kronos. Their technology of counter-rotating platters improves every aspect of TT performance. Not just different but better.

Dear @fleschler  : Sorry but I only was talking of the rig you posted that was analog. My reference to digital was only because the OP pass the analog signal through digital meaning is not more analog, at least is what I understand by his posts.

As you I like digital too and in several ways outperforms analog, specially in the bass range.

Today every one can enjoy both medium by separate.



@kennyc I had similar thoughts about the Walker, and all that brass is ugly! 

The Scheu turntable weighs 85 pounds, so it's kind of high mass


When I first bought it I emailed Scheu inquiring about arm board and lubrication. Never heard from them. Makes me reluctant about long term ownership, but for now it's a lovely table. 

@rauliruegas Absolutely incorrect.  I have 11,500 CDs.  I also use a digital recording deck and I have a DAT machine and tapes as well.  

It is wrong in my opinion (obviously) that manufacturers do not supply frequency response graphs.  The rising high end is why I do not prefer Ortofons or Lyras.  I prefer Dynavectors and many Audio Technica cartridges instead.  I have no problem with a flat high end cartridge.  I primarily listen to classical and jazz.  Rock and electronica are usually heard in the digital domain although I do have several hunder Rock LPs.  

I looked at a used Walker Proscenium, but my dealer talked me out of it citing its complexity. Also, IIRC the founder passed away, so don’t know about support.

The OP has a very nice rig, no apparent chain weaknesses. What level to stop at depends on your contentment, curiosity, and wallet. It’s a hobby, whatever you find enjoyable to do.

A turntable change may be beneficial, perhaps try high mass to get deeper bass. 

@fleschler  : but today cartridge manufacturers just give us no FR chaRTS AND MAYBE THAT'S STARTED HAPPENING DUE THAT NO ONE AUDIOPHILE ASK FOR OR CARES ABOUT.


Today audio items specs are almost with no true interest to audiophiles as in the old times when professional magasines as Audio, Stereo Review or High Fidelity made its audio items reviews with in deep live measurements.

Little by little the AHEE  said us that specs just does not matters but what says the ears and that's it.



Curious, Raul. I went from the BM Ruby 3 that the OP likes, to an Ortofon Kontrapunkt C. At first I thought it was "scratchy" so detailed was the top end, but after a while I came to like it, and still do. All that was before I discovered the magic of MI cartridges, but as you've read, I keep the K.C around, and maybe I should re-tip the Ruby 3. Problem is, I've run out of tonearms!

Dear @fleschler  : But for what you post you stay totally in the analog domain.


"" We also prefer flat frequency response cartridges with no rising high end.  ""


Yes, historycal almost all of us prefer flat frequenncy. In the old times all top cartridges ( and not top ones too. ) came with the frequency response chart 20hz-20khz and the channel separation in that chart, today no single cartridge comes with.

Ortofon comes with no flat frequency on purpose from several years ago when in its deep research with its golden ears panel made it " thousands of blind test with D2D LP recordings knows by the panel gentlemans whre in those test they listened the cartridge with flat frequency and that same cartridges ( differents ones. ) with up frequency from 19khz-20khz by around 2db and at the end all ´panel gentlemans prefered the those upper 2db in the cartridges. So it's not that Ortofon can't  offer its cartridges with flat FR.

That panel in many ways was and is rigth because those up 2db compensate for the fall down of the inverse RIAA eq. where HF " suffers " and we can listen that deep/fast fall and when we use ( phono stage ) the 3.18us RIAA pole we can attest it. I normally use that RIAA pole.




Okay, I'll bite.  I have a high system (room $150K, equipment $70K?, speakers $70K?)  I purchased a VPI VI, super platter on a Townshend seismic sink, VPI power supply, 1989 highly modified SME IV arm, Dynavector 20XL2 L, Zesto Allesso SUT, Grover Huffman phono ICs, power cables and custom phono pre-amp.  Why would I not use a higher end cartridge?  I used up a Benz Ruby 3 ($3K 2006).  Because, the cartridge permits me to enjoy nearly all of my 28,500 LPs.  I've heard many high end $7K to $17K cartridges.  They can extract the maximum signal from my best pressed/mastered LPs.  Often, they fail to provide satisfaction from 50s and 60s LPs, mono LPs and just not well mastered LPs.  My friends have a similar experience.  We also prefer flat frequency response cartridges with no rising high end.  Three best friends use the same cartridge and one regrets buying the Dynavector XX2 and wants to go back to the 20XL2 H, another wants the Karat 17DX as he loves the high resolution as opposed to the more balanced body/resolution cartridge.  

To each is own but I don't intend to upgrade unless I get a bigger pile of cash, then it's possibly a more exotic turntable such as a Kronos or other.  


My other turntable is a VPI 19-4 (originally 19-1),  Funny thing is the sprung base plate on springs around a rubber footer.  Works great in isolation.  

Dear @neonknight : " Level Of Analog To Stop At "


It’s weird that you ask " nalog " when your system is running digital. The fact that you or any one owns an analog rig and using digital process does not means you are really in analog because you are not.


Analog is analog if we are 100% using analog technology. I remember the indignation of audiophiles whe discovered that MoFy LPs was digital ! !


Anyway, is each one of us privilege to say " analog " even if we are not. It’s useless t you that I can tell you other changes down there when between other things you are using current phono with a voltage device as the cartridge, never mind.


At least my subs integration advise working for you.



@coltrane1 A vinyl Source, a acoustically treated room and nearfield experiences with a ESL Speaker in use.

This is Bliss, it is the one that got me totally immersed into Jazz, especially Live Recordings.

I dunno. I think of vinyl listening as eliminating unnecessary gear and leaving it to a very solid preamp, tube preferably, and phono preamp.

I’m not into anything digital into the chain, whatsoever, simply because you can do it. Vinyl was created when? But digital was created much later.

Different strokes for different folks, and each of us has different preferences. I have Electrostats in a smaller than average room that’s completely treated. I just wouldn’t consider having digital anything in the chain. But I respect that you obviously believe much differently. Best of luck!

I listened to 100 HZ as crossover and found the presentation to bee too forward and sometimes a bit hard. I then ran another sweep for 90Hz, and that one is below the threshold. So at this point I am going to listen to 80 Hz and 90 Hz and see which I prefer. The differences between crossover points are more profound than I would have expected. Given the nature of the speaker I can see this happening, its just a learning point of a different format. This is such an awesome hobby we have. 

Dear @dogberry  : I think we are not out of topic.

The OP thread answers are many dependent of each one of us.

My answer is that that question speaks only " analog "  that's only part of the whole room/system reproduction and " analog " depends of the  overall room/system.

From here my take is that we can stop when our room/system already were truly " fine tunned " at each single link in the overall audio chaIN. wITH OUT THAT " FINE TUNNING " PROCESS there is no satisfactory and precise answer.

That's why I analized the @neonknight  whole set up and my first post here was exactly the integration of those Velodyne subs through a HP filter to the main speakers and neon just did not took in count that post and I insisted with a second post and explanation and he said that the NATURe of the bass in planar vs woofer are different ( I think my self so whaT? ) but Martin Logan used woofers in several of its models and the original CLS model always was demoed by distributors integrated with subs Other planars too as Apoguee and not planar but way different to woofer as horns speakers. In that post I told neon that he need to try it before had his kind of answer and good that finally he did it not for my advise but because I posted that mijos has first hand experiences that I have too but not in my system.

Neon needs to make more test, needs to fine tunning those ML and subs.

@neonknight  , your subs quality signal level can be improved making these ( I own two HGS too. ): first that the input signal goes through its XLR input connectors due that the RCA connectors signal path in the circuit is way longer passing for stages that " affects " the input signal integrity. The other improve comes chaNGING THE WOOFER INTERNAL WIRING THAT GOES FROM THE WOOFER  output terminals to the input of the internal amplifier, I use there KCAG 4 by KK ( silver ), I did it other mods but more complicated at the input/crossover circuit cards. Neon, something that helps too is a top of each sub 30kg. of dead weigth ( please mijos don't come to tell again and again that Velodynwe " this or that " in negative way. Nothing is perfect. ).


I have at least other system change you need to do it from my point of view but I have no time rigth now to do it. 

Btw, IMD and THD always exist in any speaker at different levels.



You say potayto. I say potahto. What is your broad definition of IMD, besides one frequency modulating the accurate reproduction of other frequencies? So I say DD is a kind of or subset of IMD. All DD is IMD, but not all IMD is due to DD. This is why before one can claim to hear DD, one must eliminate other causes of IMD. Impossible to do while listening to music.

I listened to 80 Hz as the crossover point last night. Undoubtedly a better choice. Improved focus, soundstage expanded, most noticeably in terms of front to back depth. Immediacy and definition of singers and instruments has increased. No reduction in bass quality. 

I will listen to 100 Hz tonight and see what occurs. But if 80 Hz is going to be a final stopping point I certainly can accept that. The music is beautiful. 


Excellent, 48dB/Oct right? Linkwitz-Riley preferred. Pick a piece with an acoustic bass solo. Play at the right volume, as if the bass were right in front of you and compare. Then play a rock piece that does not have any synthesizer in it like, Little Feat The Last Record Album or a Steely Dan record like Gaucho and turn it up to 95 dB and compare. See how high you can go before distortion becomes obvious. Now try the same thing with a recording that has very low synthesizer or organ bass in it like Pucifier's V is for Vagina (sorry, I did not tittle the record) or Radiohead's In Rainbows. The acoustic bass is for accuracy and the rock pieces for power vs distortion. We wait anxiously for the results.


Lew, It is sort of like IMD but it is not. The change in pitch is dependent on the speed differential and direction of diaphragm motion which is frequency dependent. This motion is significant only at very low frequencies. It does not add side bands but causes a change in frequency (pitch) of the higher frequency. 

@mijostyn So this afternoon after work I hooked up the mic and ran calibrations with crossover points of 80 and 100 Hz. I have 58 Hz saved in slots 1-5, 80 Hz at 6-10, and 100 Hz at 11-15. 


Over the weekend I can listen and compare both configurations and see how things shake out. 

I have some data to talk about, but I need a real keyboard and I’m on vacation in Shelburne, VT. Like Wizzzard is fond of saying, I’ll get back to you. It’s an interesting question, Doppler Distortion. Can we agree that DD is a subset of IMD?

Holy crap, the question is a book, and so is at least one response. I have not had coffee yet, no way can I even start to read all that....good luck.

Seems we are going off-topic again! I used to subscribe to Gramophone, both for advice about recordings to buy, and for equipment reviews. In those days (1980's > early 1990's) it was a given that a serious UK listener owned a pair of Quad ESL63 speakers, but there was a good deal of debate about whether they might be teamed with a subwoofer. My answer to that appears above. Briefly, yes, and easy to do.

Next question?

@lewm ,

Ok Lew, All I can tell you is what you get rid of when using subwoofers under ESLs does not sound like typical IM or harmonic distortion and it is most definitely modulated by the bass. If this is not Doppler distortion then perhaps you can come up with another name for it.

Dear @mijostyn  : I refer to you because lew don't took in count my post to him, aniway here I come with you:


""" It is much less of a problem for two and three way speaker systems because the bass driver's range is limited. """


Not exactly " much less "  because in a 2-way speaker normally its woofer goes from 50hz-60hz up to around 2.5khz and this kind of speakers ( its woofer ) goes down to 40hz even if you don't noted so there exist a really high IMD kind of distortions that subs relief the bass down there and midrange and HF shines as never before. Same with 3-way speakers.


We can't just stop the developed IMD that as you pointed out modulates/color the whole speaker reproduction. Maybe we don't noted because we already are accustommed to that color/modulattion but when we add a pair of self powered true subs and through high pass filters only a deaf audiophile can't hear that new and lowered distortions " color " with ( between others ) additional advantage  that any amplifier will increment its headroom due that now is liberated of that main bass range.. If we like it the new " color " is not the main issue.



I never said it was a “theory”. But there is plenty of debate about its significance and audibility. The only reason it’s of particular importance for ESLs is because they tend to be full range or nearly full range sources. The best reason to use a subwoofer with an ESL is far and away relieving the main amplifier and the main speaker of reproducing extreme low bass frequencies, not because of Doppler distortion, in my opinion. Also, and with respect, you do tend to choose from a list of causes to explain a list of objectionable effects without much experimental proof of a relationship between the two. If you heard what you heard and it was fixed by adding a subwoof, that’s not proof you heard Doppler distortion.

@lewm ,

It is not a theory and there is nothing to debate. It is much less of a problem for two and three way speaker systems because the bass driver's range is limited. It is a huge problem for our ESLs because they are full range. It is extremely noticeable with bass below 40 hz which few recordings have, but it still modulates the sound up to about 80 Hz. You hear it as a warble almost as if the speaker is shaking at high volumes. I think some do not notice it until it is gone. It bothered me right away as I tend to listen to bass heavy material at higher volumes. This resulted in my getting RH Labs subwoofers, a Dahlquist LP 1 crossover, and a pair of used Kenwood L07 M amplifiers. In typical audiophile fashion went things are getting too hot you turn up the temperature. This was back in 1979 and I am still trying to get it right although I think I am very close, 95% of the way there. 


We had a lot of fun with the HQD system back in the day. Even though the Quads were crossed to subwoofers we blew them left and right giving demonstrations. I can still see Peter McGrath running back in the store room to come running back with a Quad on his shoulder, teeter tottering on a ladder replacing the upper unit. That people actually bought these things is beyond me. The Decca ribbon tweeter was even less reliable. I have no experience with modern quads because they are all point source speakers and I am a line source kind of guy. You might message skos and see what he thinks of the subwoofers and SLs. He has heard the system twice and is very opinionated. 

Dear @lewm  : Always will be an issue if the main speakers crossover 250-300hz or even a little lower and the speakers goes as the neonnigth around 30-35hz. It's a certain problem depending on that crossover frequency and yes depending of the quality of the drivers will be more lower/higher audibility, but the problem is there. Like it or not.


" low bass notes mixed w treble and nothing in between " this makes no sense to me: do you?  because harmonics are there.





The importance and in fact the audibility of Doppler distortions in loudspeakers is a hotly debated topic, not a certain problem. And definitely no big deal unless the music contains low bass notes mixed w treble and nothing in between. Moreover it’s the same issue or nonissue with electromagnetic speakers as with ESLs.

In my last post in this thread, I missed a area of using audio equipment that generates a stimulus. 

That is the being able to directly experience the work carried out by a few known individuals. Where they have applied their skillset to produce a design for micro engineering that is beyond a Typical approach. 

In a usual market place the Cost is constraint, it is a pleasure to experience items where cost does not constrain. 

Even though such a discipline is not limited to Audio only, when encountered in my World of Audio, there are levels of performance wanted to be aspired to. 

Sorry, but that is not true. ESLs will move their diaphragms in an attempt to make bass and if you take a very near field measurement they would seem to be very accurate... until you move away from the speaker. Because they are dipoles there are interference effects that cause amplitude issues and wors, the longer excursions of the diaphragm Doppler distort everything else the speaker is doing. Not only this but the longer excursions severely limit headroom because the diaphragm has a very limited space to operate in, about +- 3 mm.

My Quad 2905 speakers claim to output down to 28Hz, but I think that will be rather quiet. It suits me well to take the second output of my pre-amp via a Y-connector to an active subwoofer which handles the really low frequencies (crossover set to take over at 50Hz). It's well away from my speakers, low frequency sounds being pretty much non-directional to the human ear) and blends in nicely. So well, that if I were to do it all over again, I'd go for the 2805 or modern equivalent.

Back to the original topic: I've lived for a few days with my two best cartridges alone. I'm still going to add back the mono cartridge when I figure out how to make it stop humming. Likely all six arms will end up in play again, though I hope to keep the best cartridge and the mono cartridge getting the lion's share of the work, with the others for occasional entertainment. I still prefer the sound of my Quad 24p with a source switch box, to the MF NuVista Vinyl that handles five tonearms at once. I guess I'm lucky I have only to please myself with all the fine details, Mrs Dogberry being happy with any or all of it.


OK, the question is why? Is the sound more to your liking or is the environment in the living room more to your liking, more comfortable. 

I spend most of my listening hours in the shop on a mid fi secondary system streaming from the main system over the local network. Sounds OK but not stellar.I spend more hours in the shop then my listening chair for obvious reasons. 

I have a fairly elaborate system in one room. I can play vinyl, CD’s, Stream music and have Hi-Rez on a dedicated hard drive via a Bryston BDP3, Bryston DAC. Krell, Rel, Revel, CJ, Rega, Blue Heaven cabling throughout. Sounds great to me.

However, In my living room I have Amphion one speakers connected by Kimber 8tc cables to a Naim Unity Atom. That’s it.

I have lately found myself mostly relaxing in my living room and really enjoying the simple set up. I am reminded of that saying about the simple things in life.

I also forgot to mention that the Trinnov is trying to make the bass (350 Hz down) reasonably flat. Is is driving the MLs harder at frequencies where the level is not sufficient making the excursion problem much worse. It is also robbing you of power and head room. If you want a real head turner get a separate measurement system. It will display the frequency response of the system before correction. Your bass will be all over the place +- 5 dB or more!


Excellent. Remember, any change you make will require taking new room control measurements. You will need to do this for both crossover points then you store both of them in presets.(I think?) This is a PITA but it is the nature of the beast and will take up the better part of a Saturday morning. 

 Once you have it set up. Turn up the volume and see how loud you can go before clipping. Check to see if you can hear voice coming through. You should notice a big improvement. The subwoofers should be located between the ESLs. If the subs are still obvious than the issue is with the subwoofers. Make sure all the subs extra functions are bypassed. If you can't bypass the low pass filter in the subs turn them all the way up. By 1990 or so I had become so frustrated with commercial subwoofers I started making them myself and I am on the 4th version. The problem is that is is extremely hard to keep subwoofer enclosures from becoming musical instruments. Turn the volume up with a bass heavy piece and put you hand on a subwoofer enclosure. It will be vibrating more or less at different locations. It will also be shaking a little in reaction to the speaker cones movement. With the ideal enclosure you should feel absolutely nothing, no shaking and no resonance. It turns out this is a very tall order. Mass alone will not stop it although it helps. Using opposing drivers to cancel forces helps a lot but is not enough. The enclosure has to be so stiff that any resonance is at a frequency way above the subs passband so the driver can not excite it. This is a lot tougher than you would suspect. Magico does it by using a heavily braced Aluminum enclosure. Not very elegant, but it works. 

@mijostyn The Amethyst can do 48 dB per octave. I have to read the manual to find that menu. 

Interesting point about diaphragm excursion and unintended effects. Very reasonable points. 


Next weekend I will experiment with higher crossover points. I will look at 80 and 100 Hz. I can create curves for both and select between them. 



Sorry, but that is not true. ESLs will move their diaphragms in an attempt to make bass and if you take a very near field measurement they would seem to be very accurate... until you move away from the speaker. Because they are dipoles there are interference effects that cause amplitude issues and wors, the longer excursions of the diaphragm Doppler distort everything else the speaker is doing. Not only this but the longer excursions severely limit headroom because the diaphragm has a very limited space to operate in, about +- 3 mm. 

I cross at 100 hz because this takes all the long excursion frequencies away from the ESL increasing headroom and lowering distortion. My subwoofers are passive and use Corian layered with MDF for their enclosures. They are stiffer and heavier than any commercial 12" subwoofer. With digital bass management you can not identify the subwoofers and these are not as good as I had hoped. The next model is almost finished and will be a big improvement. I have been experimenting with subwoofers under ESLs since 1979.

Given your assessment I have to assume that either your Velodynes resonate unacceptably or there is something wrong with the Trinnov's programming. To crossover at 100 Hz you have to use a very steep slope, at least 48 dB/oct and it should be Linkwitz-Riley. I do not remember if the Trinnov can do this. All I can say was when I reviewed the Amethyst several years back I was disappointed in the flexibility of the bass management. Having said this, the only commercial subwoofers that are reasonably accurate are the Magico Q series subs. They are very expensive and HUGE. The best subwoofers otherwise are the Martin Logan Balanced Force series subs. They resonate less because the two drivers opposed each other canceling Newtonian forces. The Magicos do this also and there are two Balanced Force KEF subwoofers that are smaller than the MLs. I know you would be happier with the MLs under your ESLs. I will review the Amethyst's bass management and get back as to what I think would be the best way to set it up. If it can not due 48 dB/oct then you have to cross lower. You do not want the subwoofer getting into your midrange. At 24 dB/oct 80 Hz is pushing it. My old TacT 2.2X could do 80 dB/oct in 1 Hz increments from 20 to 320 Hz. And, you could change it on the fly. There is one simple test. Turn the main amp off and listen only to the subwoofer which are going to sound really bizarre. This is normal. You should not hear any voice coming through. If you do you either have to increase the slope, lower the crossover point or both.

Dear @neonknight  : Even that what you posted makes sense and is what we normally think things are that you really don't know till you test it.


@mijostyn , owns the top SoundLabs and runs with subs crossing at 100hz and using a high pass filter at more or less same frequency. I f he want it he can chime here about with first hand experiences that I have too but not in my system.



@rauliruegas The thing to remember is the NATURE of the bass. Planar open baffle style bass is different in terms of attack, harmonics, and decay than conventional woofers. Even if they are in sealed boxes and servo controlled. The higher you bring the crossover the greater the risk of hearing the difference in the nature of the speakers and subwoofers.

Dear @neonknight  : Thank's. So you are using the subs as bass reinforcement wider bass frequency, nothing wrong with that.


The bass subs wider frequency in that frequency range is not the main purpose of true subs ( as yours. ) but a side benefit. The main purpose for the room/system is try to lower the IMD and THD distortions levels from the main speakers.

Yours crossover at 360 hz and that means that the frequency range from around 35hz to 400hz is running in that part of the pannel developing those high distortions especially the Intermodulation and if you crossover ( high pass ) the main speakers at 100hz and from there the subs you will lower those distortions that certainly affects the integrity of the audio signal reproduced by the ML, so you can win a lot at every frequency range doing that: your system quality level performance will improves over what you have rigth now.

Yes, as you explain it you have to run that " involved process " but you can try and can attest the rewards. There is no way not to achieve those rewards. Of course that maybe you like the change or maybe not but this is a different issue.


I just saying because putting at minimum any kind of distortions in any room/system always put us " nearer to the recording ".



@lewm I don’t have the schematic to say at what stage the AD conversion occurs. Is it the first step, or does something else happen? So that is why I say at some point. We can say for sure that it occurs between before the output stage, and it me the exact point does not really become that large of a sticking point.

I can certainly experiment with different crossover points. I have just gotten things optimized for what I have now. What I do know is that anytime I make a change in configuration, and changing x over points will change dispersion patterns, this means I will have to run new calibrations, and that is an involved process. So its just not a matter of changing an input on a screen and saying this sounds better than that.


This is currently what I have set up. Top is before calibration, middle is after DSP correction.


With h the Trinnov and other high end digital preamplifiers, isn’t there a AD conversion as the very first step in any way you use the device? Not just “at some point”? Also, if 53 Hz is the bottom end for the CLX, wouldn’t you want to cross it over an octave or so higher, so as to make for a smooth transition? But maybe you’ve tried that before settling on 56Hz.

@rauliruegas A pair of Velodyne HGS12 subwoofers are controlled by the Trinov program. Crossover point is set at 58Hz and the crossover is a 4th order Linkwitz-Riley. I have other crossover types available to me, such as various Bessel or Butterworth. Martin Logan lists 56 Hz +/- 3DB as the bottom end of the speaker. There are separate EQ programs for each channel installed, so I can affect each subwoofers or main speaker. So, I can manually add a bit of extra boost in the small hole that is created by the half wall. I have yet to do so, as I really do not hear a need, but I imagine I will do that one evening to satisfy my curiosity.

Dear @neonknight  : Sorry to insist again how is your ML/Velodyne set up.


Thank's in advance,


@tvrgeek It is all a balancing act, and its a cost versus reward analysis. I tune the room the best I can with acoustic panels and speaker and equipment stand location. Actually the room measures almost ruler flat from 200 Hz on up. Then I allows the DSP to make small corrections, essentially fine tuning the set up. The thing with a quality DSP is if you make modest changes it does not intrude on the music, its when you make giant steps that processing becomes noticeable. Since this is not a custom built audio room and is off my dining room, it has a dual purpose of entertaining guests from time to time. Not frequently though. Its primary function is my music room. So this is the best arrangement I have had, and the Trinov is one of the more formidable DSP systems on the market. It does work well. But it does get the analog purist in a bit of a tither since an analog signal is going AD to DA at some point. 


Well, I have been listening to a lot of DACs and several amps. I find very large differences. Yes, the Benchmark amp is dead flat, super low distortion, but to me it sounds lifeless.  Just for fun, I grabbed a Fosi V3 ( also super low numbers) and at very low levels, not bad. Bring it up to moderate levels and it was terrible, well within 10W range on my desk. ( My 2W Rekkr does very nicely). So relegated to my garage system.   I find every class D amp either lifeless or something wrong I can't put my finger on, though they are getting much better. If return shipping was not so high, I would like to try a March. My JDS DAC sounds better  than my Topping or Schiit with traditional numbers a good 50% "better." as well as several much higher priced SMSL/Topping/Cambridge I have sent back and the internal DACs of some almost prestige level integrated amps.  I do want to play with a Qutest for a while. My specific area of concern is female vocal edginess. Not bass weight or some ethereal "air" I don't believe is in the recordings to start with. Maybe a Denafritz. Much worse traditional numbers. 

Simple SNR/IM/THD numbers are valid, but only part of the answer.  The missing component is how our brain processes the information. Also not determined by simple pure tone testing. Good data, but not the full story.  With a speaker producing 0.2% third harmonic, explain why our brain likes or dislikes differences in electronics of .000x.   It seems to, but we don't have an explanation. I propose masking is part of it.  If numbers were all of it, no one would fool with vinyl. We do because it sounds better in the preferences of some people. Clear differences even in a tone arm and we have no idea what measurement describes that. Personally, I found surface noise and ticks and pops to be more objectionable than even second generation digital so I switched. 

If you read my post more carefully, I am speculating on what DISTORTIONS possibly make our music more pleasurable and which make it less so.  Tubes are a prime example. Distortion from moving coils another. High noise floor and limited dynamic range from Vinyl? (OK, most CD's are super compressed too thank you loudness wars)  Something in most DSP I find objectionable. Testing through JRiver identified clipping due to filter overshoot to be one issue ( easily solved). Does pre-ringing mess up our perception of transients?  Don't know, but an easily measured kind of distortion. Lots of issues to explore. 

Again, if you have a better understanding of DACs and how digital filters work, you may not have the same " reads numbers" viewpoint. Reading numbers is only step one.  Even the cheapest dongles do some DSP. The A2D has just as many issues as do all the processing done in the mastering.  To avoid any DSP, well maybe an old Sheffield D-to-D lp.   The King James Version being one of my favorites. 

Where something is assembled is of course your choice. I prefer to select the product for it's merits.  I am tempted to get a Vidar and see how it compares to my own MOSFET.  So far few have equaled it.  It benches pretty well too, better than I can measure through a Focusrite. ( distortion added by A2D). I am not wealthy enough to buy "prestige" amps.  I am not convinced ( yes, I have borrowed some) are any better in any system I can afford. Drop me off a Levenson of Bryston if you wish :) 

We can agree, many PAs are terrible. Many venues are worse, but I find the musical experience to usually be better.  "Why?" is the question.  We did walk out of a MoodyBlues concert once as it was totally unlistenable. Why does a Strat into an over-biased Fender sound great live but a recording of it does not? Why can't we seem to record a single classical guitar or piano convincingly?   We don't know. 

Yea, the Anthem DSP is decent for HT.  Beats Audessy any day, though my old MXR310 is not exactly SOA amp wise. Have not had a MiniDSP with DIRAC to play with. ( digital in, digital out as their DACs are about an Apple dongle level). I do my eq on my main system by careful crossover design and let my brain sort it out without any processing artifacts. Our brain actually does a very good job of eq if it is not too far off.  ( component burn in I propose is 90% our brain getting used to it, 10% actual technical)

I think we are touching on an old conundrum: whether to take the Dionysian or Apollonian approach to pleasure? Which is to say, shall we visit as many flowers as possible and drink the nectar from many, or simply sit on the best of them all and enjoy that?

I was lucky in being guided to the cartridge I adore above all the others I have heard. I went off the rails when I thought it could no longer be rebuilt when John Wright retired. And now I find myself with six tonearms and cartridges, and most of the time I use the secondary cartridges as ways of delaying the stylus being worn out again on my favourite. This is unhealthy, and I am, in effect, denying myself the full pleasure of the sound I love, leading to the curious paradox of taking the Dionysian approach in order to delay gratification! I might be better off if I simply kept my best cartridge on my best tonearm and used it, maybe accepting that a dedicated mono cartridge on my second best tonearm could live alongside it. Then I could substitute a lesser cartridge when ever I have worn out the stylus, but replace the king whenever it comes back from its trip to the spa. I think this would be both rational, and maximise my listening pleasure.

No doubt, as a deleted post above suggested, some of us are in need of help!

@tvrgeek ,

That is a statement only an inexperienced person can make. I do not mean that as a negative. People who experience a system with a processor like the Trinnov Amethyst in place are, to a person, blown away by the improvement in sound quality. Just subwoofer matching is enough to justify the unit. You can put these units in bypass and compare processed with unprocessed sound and no person could possibly prefer the unprocessed sound. Analog signals are fragile. Anything you do to them creates distortion. The same is not true of digital signals. You can not distort the meaning of a number. You can do anything you want to them without adding distortion. This opens up a world of capability not available to analog systems. If you are old enough to remember analog cell phones then you have experienced the comparison. Purely because of digital transmission modern cell phones are as good as they are today. The DAC only reads numbers. It totally ignores static and other distortions.  

The Benchmark is deadly accurate and the Hegel is not. This is purely a matter of preference. With a processor like the Trinnov you can make the Benchmark sound like the Hegel and take advantage of its superior signal to noise ratio. Hegel is made in China and I personally think at this point we need to avoid subsidizing that country. A processor like the Trinnov allows you to program your system to sound the way you want without adding additional artifacts while providing superior imaging and bass management. 

Humans are extremely change adverse and Audiophiles are definitely worse in this regard than other humans. Digital processors have been around for over 25 years and they still are not utilized at a level their value would suggest. Most of the high end audio companies lack the engineers capable of designing equipment of this nature. The farthest they go are DACs, a very basic item in the digital playbook. Some companies do streamers but not analog equipment. Of the hundreds of audio companies out there only a handful are capable of engineering processors like the Trinnov or DEQX. Anthem is the exception. They are the only company I can think of that does it all. 

The sound quality at many concerts is hideous. Much of the horror is do to the acoustics of the venue and not the equipment. The best sound quality is in smaller situations where the instruments are not sent through a PA. 

Just a thought but it seems counter productive to focus on top notch vinyl and stick a DSP unit in the middle of the chain. Of course, we have no idea how many A2D and D2A happened before the record was mastered, just like the old analog tape masters that went through dozens of TLO74 or NE 5558 generation op amps and we fuss about one stage.  Maybe t is the masking from less than 65 dB dynamic range covering up all the lower level garbage that comes from CDs?  Maybe just as tube noise and high low order distortions cover up the higher order that seem to be more objectionable. 

Don't get me wrong, I am not denigrating vinyl or tubes at all!  Just want to know why we perceive these differences and why one or the other makes our brain happy.  Why does a Benchmark sound flat and a Hegel so musical?  Lack of masking noise?  Does a tube preamp swamp a CD or class D amp so we don't hear the noise floor modulation?  We go to a live performance and the background is anything but black and the Macke PA speakers with eq like a mountain range sound just fine!