High end speakers at low volume


After having got accustomed to my new Vitus RI-101 mk II, I came to the conclusion that I need to improve my system's performance at low volume to enjoy music more.

Current sources: LinnLP12, Holo Spring 3 KTE, Nucleus. 
Speakers: Avalon Idea. 
Shunyata Delta NR V2 and Hemingway Indigo PC, Tara Labs Forté, TQ 2 Black diamond IC.

I am looking at replacing the Avalon Idea with speakers that could improve the low volume listening experience. I listen to 60 / 70db, I can afford to go up to 85db for very short time (neighbours).

I am also considering to purchase a Loki Max which I understood being quite a neutral EQ unit.

I have selected a few speakers which should match my musical taste based on what I have read:

- YG Carmel 2
- Wilson Sabrina X
- Vandersteen treo ct
- TAD ME1

I don't have the chance to listen to them except the TAD ME1 which I have enjoyed very much but not in my apartment.

Budget max $15k new or used.

I am looking for speakers sounding musical, with wide soundstage, not cold, detailed yet not analytical.

I mostly listen to classic rock, blues and jazz.

The system sits at the end of the long wall in a living room measuring 33x13ft, listening position 8ft from the speakers.

Unfortunately I have to face a tough WAF putting several limits:

- speakers must have a clean design, not black, not too hifi looking... and not too big
- distance from the wall behind the speakers 25cm

I don't mind changing amplifier if it will be necessary to match the next speakers.

I haven't found a preamp that I could consider a good candidate except a very expensive CSport featuring a loudness button which works very well (tested at Ana Mighty Sound).

I would much appreciate some advice from who knows well the above speakers or who had similar needs.

ricco275

This Chase Remote Line Controller RLC-1 unit includes automatic and progressive LOW VOLUME compensation. It is like adding the Fletcher Munson ’loudness’ to a modern preamp that lacks that feature:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/144675075673?mkevt=1&mkcid=1&mkrid=711-53200-19255-0&campid=5338381866&toolid=10001&customid=81f8a786-0d0a-11ee-8eb4-386436396564

It can be used as a source selector OR single in/out from a preamp, OR optionally via a tape loop, or processor loop

The s/n 120db is true, no-one can tell if it is in/out of my 3 systems.

I simply use it for remote power to my Luxman in my office system.

.............................................

Setup:

a. turn on, Chase default volume has no loudness compensation.

b. turn on your preamp, adjust it’s volume for your normal (not low) volume. never use that volume control after that, you will use the Chase volume after a and b

c, Chase Volume (nice small incremental changes):

Increase, no loudness adjustments involved

Decrease (from a. it’s default volume). Loudness Compensation is automatically and progressively implemented, a bit, bit more, ...

It also has tone controls, I have never used them as I balance my speakers via their 2 level controls/spl/test tones.

Two identical outputs.

NOTE: must include the REMOTE, there are no controls on the unit.

"The RLC-1 was tested in Stereo Review and got good marks for its excellent specs and sonics. "

@ricco275 wrote:

my need is exactly to have presets to play music at a specific range of db, between 60 and 70db. The Anthem preamplifier seems to be a good solution with good feedbacks from users.

I understand that’s what you want, and my earlier reply to you also reflected that stance with reference to the DSP products suggested by poster @mijostyn.

My latest post however was referring to the approach I use myself, and what’s also more in line with what poster @lonemountain touched upon. I believe the most predominant takeaway with the Anthem or similar in your case is the aspect of digital room correction, rather than the usable outcome of different presets within specified ~10dB range, but that’s just me. It’ll be interesting to learn of your findings here, and what you prefer/find worth it.

@ricco275 

I'm with Phusis on this one.  The post from @elliottbnewcombjr seems to address the calibration issue, so that is interesting. Id like to look into that. 

Some believe there are "transparent" electronics one can use in an audio system, but I find that nothing is truly transparent.  Everything has a sound.  On that basis, the simpler the system the better.

Brad  

My listening experience with Avalon speakers was not that impressive. They seem a little slow and wooden sounding in the lower mid. The sound you say you are looking for, fast with high resolution, but not in your face detail, should also communicate the micro dynamics, often glanced over in the hunt for speakers. Some times the hope of finding a better sound from the same old wooden boxes ends up simply being new type of shiny drivers.

 

I would highly recommend Wilson Benesch speakers.  Heavily relying upon carbon fiber, not for driver use but rather to add the superb acoustical properties of carbon fiber to the cabinet construction. Carbon fibers are long and can be woven to both direct the energy away from the thinest part of the cabinet, the drivers, to the back of the cabinet which on some models an aluminum spine sheds the energy down into the spikes to the floor. The sound energy vibrates the billions of molecules and moving at 18,000 feet per second, away from the front of the speaker as that energy is converted to vibrational energy part of which is converted to heat. This is how stealth aircraft avoid radar. Converting the radar to heat not letting it return to the radar.

 

A little long explanation but with all this technology the fear is they won’s play music. This has been a very long term project for WB. A number of years ago they came out with a model that drew acclaim as the most accurate speaker available. I was not a fan. Only a few years later they found the sweet spot make music easily accessible.

 

Not sure on your electronics however it might be better to get your speakers let them break in before you change out other gear. You might make yourself crazy doing that.

 

Just read your post again.  If you live in an apartment the Benesch speakers are clean and fast. Where most speakers will double at 40 hz and the 80 Hz waves always seem to get the sheetrock moving and the neighbors complaining.

 

@phusis ​​@lonemountain 

I have been using digital room control (really speaker control) for 25 years and the really stunning effect is the laser focusing of the image. After the improvement in imaging the real benefit is in being able to tailor the amplitude response exactly to your taste. In the case of these processors the only thing that "sounds" is the analog section of the final DACs. In the case of a 2.2 system that would be 4 DAC channels. Once you are in numbers you can do almost anything you want without degradation assuming a 64bit  floating point operation system. Digital volume is the problem. You lose bits when you turn the volume down. If you start out with a lot of them you can lose a bunch of them without affecting sound quality. My old processor is slow enough that there is loss of detail at low volumes.

I will never live without digital signal processing. The affects on sound quality are such that any analog degradation is trivial, very trivial. In short you will greatly improve your image, you can make your system sound exactly the way you want and you can integrate subwoofers in a heartbeat with total freedom in placement. A really cool effect is, by placing the measurement microphone in various locations you can make the system image anywhere in the room. Obviously it is only at one location at a time but it is a really useful effect. My desk is at the left rear corner of the room. I have that location on a preset and use it when I am working. It is just like sitting in the listening position. 

The new DEQX series will be released shortly after beta testing of the software is completed. A number of us will be issued Pre 8s for testing at a reduced price. I was asked if I wanted to do this. Obviously yes, yes and yes. I have not heard back since. This was about 6 weeks ago. The Pre 8 has a complete 4 way digital crossover system built in along with full, computer managed digital signal processing capability. It looks like it is built like a battleship.