I owned a pair of AR-3 bookshelves back in the old days. Now I pretty much
stick to "el cheapos" at home, very much on purpose ... if a mix I bring
home sounds good over my Best Buy, mediocre system, it's generally going to
sound 'killer' over BAD's system.
Actually I run JBL down all the time, but I do a good deal of mixing over a
pair of JBL, self powered, near field monitors ... they're a good reality
check. We also have a pair of high end Nova Audio's near fields sitting next
to the JBL's on the console, which we were given to _audition_ a while
back... I don't want to give them back, and may not. :)
In the studio, it is not so much the quality/cost of the monitor as the
ability of the mix engineer to make the mix "translate" to the outside
world's speakers over whatever he/she is using ... that comes more with an
ongoing familiarity with a particular speaker, than with the quality of
same. It's a real subjective thing, which is why some of us fly around with
our favorite near field's in a flight case.
Just about any engineer worth his salt will tell you that the toughest part
is getting the bottom end of a mix right, so you don't want too little, or
too much bottom in your studio monitors, or you'll have too much or too
little, respectively, in your mixes.
Many an album as been mixed over those little $100 Auratones I was talking
about, or the old Yamaha NS10's with a piece of Kleenex over the tweeter to
get rid of the harshness ... someone even marketed a tissue holder for the
damn things at one point years ago. The ironic part is that some folks then
spend literally tens of thousands to play those very same mixes back at
Audiophiles are some of the most practiced snobs around, worse in some ways
than wine snobs ... well ... maybe not! ;>)
When I got my ADS's I labored long and hard over my choice: the
finalists were Dahlquists and the ADS's. I almost got the Apogees but
decided the vague sound staging from a panel speaker didn't make up for
the generally wonderful sound. The early Snell's also thrilled me, but
they were on the large side. I think I was listening to them before
Peter passed away. That rear facing tweeter was one of the few "tricks"
that I ever tolerated well. Must of the audio gimmicks just don't do it
for me like bass doubling (dbx) and dynamic range enhancements
(expansion OR compression), also dbx's claim to fame.
Imagine a pop music recording engineer mixing back in the 60's and 70's
when so much music was played over car radios with atrocious speakers
and almost no wattage, while on the other hand home systems were
starting to get pretty good! Nowadays an auto system can rival the
impact and clarity of a home system. I loved the sound of my Nak/ADS
system in my Olds. It was clear, smooth and LOUD! (biamped, of course).
The worst snob I ever met was a salesman at Garland Audio, San Jose.
Being an audiophile at the time, my idea of a great time was to visit
the local audio salons to find that "perfect" amp. I actually looked
for almost 2 years. I took home Threshold (the runner up), Bryston,
SAE, Macintosh, Adcom, Audio Research, Carver (what a joke -- a true
sonic POS, and no power switch. it was a small cube. remember?), and
some others that I've forgotten. Oh, yeah, and I was on the brink of
getting a Spectral preamp, but decided to set my sights lower and got an
Apt. Anyway, I digress: the point is that I had been in more than a
couple times to Garland and this joker of a salesman had the nerve to
tell me that I was a "fantasy buyer" who only looked and never bought.
The joke was on him because within a couple of weeks I'd bought a
Dragon, the Levinson, a Linn Sondek LP12 and of course none of it came
from Garland. Stupid me should have avoided the Linn because within a
year, CD players got a lot better than the first generation or two and I
went CD. No more cleaning LP's every play! And no more flipping them
over! I thought I'd died and gone to heaven, listening to Linda
Rondstadt's "What's New" album on CD, which is what I used to do my CD
comparison testing with.
Geez, hope I didn't bore the hell out of you!
Small world ... the company that now makes Threshold amps is the same bunch
that makes the Nova Audio speakers I have in the studio... one of the
principals is a good friend and current band mate. I haven't been able to
swing one of the amps yet, but I'm still trying. He just left this morning
for CES in Las Vegas ... hmmmm ... I wonder if they locked the shop ......
Not a bit. Bet Greg G is all ears also ... no pun intended! ;>)
Wow, it IS a small world! I was so enamored with the Threshold that I
took one home for more critical listening than one can ever hope to
arrange at an audio store that I took out my SX-70 and took pictures of
those massive caps. <g> (Don't tell your friend, but I unscrewed the
top of the case...) Ultimately I realized that the Threshold had a
noticeable issue with the highs and was crestfallen to know that my long
search for a suitable amp would continue.
I haven't heard the Novas, as they came out after I stopped frequenting
the audio shops. I used to get all the tweak mags like Absolute Sound
and Stereophile, but couldn't quite get into their thing of hearing
sonic improvements using Litz wire in phono connects and cones under
your speakers. I was just after equipment that had balanced sound and
plenty of power to shake the house when E. Power Biggs (or Virgil Fox)
hit the low notes.
Which reminds me: I made the mistake of picking up a couple of Dahlquist
13" subs. I placed them under the 810's. I finally sold them; every
time I'd listen to a Fleetwood Mac album I could hear distortion in the
vocals--I pinned it down to the cones in the DQ's were resonating at mid
frequencies, blurring the vocals. Plus the DQ's were way too slow. I
should've spent the money on a powered ADS sub that had the tightest
bass I've ever heard coming out of any home system sub. I was reluctant
to spend $1,200 or so on it, but like anything else, if you aren't gonna
pay the price, you won't get what you really want. In the end, I've
been happy with the 810's without subs and when I feel the urge to hear
a bit more bass I crank up the low bass control on the Apt.
Any idea how much a current Threshold goes for now? A couple of Mark
Levinsons nowadays are so out of my price range it's not funny: $32,000
for two mono amps!
Ahhh.... I missed all the fun. Had to finish an ASP program and
associated web page form for an office supply dealer. ;-)
But you did bring back memories of hanging around the REAL stereo
shops, reading about and spending too much money on 'phile equipment.
These days, I spend that money on tools! SWMBO has NO interest in
electronic equipment, and *her* living room TV is a 15 year old 25"
RCA console that I shot the CRT in to make it watchable. I have a 35"
Panasonic I've been saving for her, but she won't hear of it. I even
offered to build a nice corner cabinet. I'll have to go secretly pull
a few parts out before she'll even consider the 35". Go figure...
We watch the occasional DVD in my "AV room" (daylight basement) and
her comments consist of "the special effects are too loud, the bass
scares me, and the Mits BS is too big." :-|
Gee, I'm gonna commiserate with you a second time today! About the
missus not enjoying the hell out of watching DVD's on a big screen, I
mean! My wife and I LOVE watching movies on our BS; beats the heck out
of broadcast TV. We watched Seabiscuit a couple nights ago which was a
real visual treat; that sucker was probably the clearest, sharpest movie
we've ever seen. Cranked up the stereo to hear and feel the visceral
impact of those hooves pounding the track!
It's not that she doesn't enjoy the commercial free movies and great
picture. She just doesn't have much appreciation for loudish sounds
and such. I asked what she thought of the theater, and her comment
was, "it's too loud there was well". Jeeezz....
(She listens to an old Technics all in one POS - a stone dead ear if
there ever was one.)
I think the subwoofer is what gets to her the most...
The only time in recent memory that didn't elicit complaints about the
sound was while watching the French documentary film, "Miracles of
We don't watch network TV much, unless it's recorded so that we can
scan through the commercials - Good God, 10 minutes out of 30!
And, of course, Norm, NOVA and similar, on PBS. We watch more nature,
science and gardening shows than anything else. I watch a fair amount
of SF. Speaking of which, how do you like your new gubner? <g>
Last things first, Greg. Arnie is great! My wife and I were yelling
"Ahhnold!" when he was on. He's the MAN! He's not taking any prisoners
until he gets those legislative do-nothings to start listening to the
people for a change. He's already got them in a conciliatory mood, as
they know if they don't pay attention to him, they will hear from their
constituents. The downside to him being Gov is that there won't be a
T-4 in the works for a while (hope I'm wrong).
I love playing action movies loud too! My wife goes along with that
unless I overdo it (is that possible? :) ). We watch a LOT of comedies
Norm. Yeah. My wife is always watching the Discovery channel when we
aren't watching DVD's or the news. oh, and Dr. Phil. He's had too many
segments on obesity though. I like the "Dr. Phil family" shows to see
how they all interact. It's fascinating. In some ways both the girls
are smarter (although they act immature) than either parent. Reality
shows: we both HATE them. And thank God they got Regis off that insipid
Been a while since you watched, eh? ... it's more like 15:30 out of 30 now.
Some cable channels are worse, IME.
I swore up and down for years that I would never pay for commercials to be
beamed into my home, using a technology that my tax dollars paid for, by a
government sanctioned monopoly ... those who contribute to the estrogen
heavy atmosphere around here finally got their way a couple of years ago.
However, the ONLY thing I watch is David J. Marks.
BTW, I was always puzzled as to why a lot of folks were always saying how
"stiff" he looked and sounded because he always looked comfortable and
sounded fine to me ... guess I'd never seen any of his earlier shows. They
had one on HGTV a couple of nights ago where he made a curio cabinet out of
cherry and curly maple ... the set lighting was different, his hair looked
like he'd just been sheep sheared, and he was "stiff" as hell ... now I
Yes, it varies depending on the station. Norm's old shows are cut
down to 22 minutes on HGTV - I know only because I have them all
encoded on CD. Along with 3 seasons of David Marks' show. Norm is a
bit of a hack, but he seems to be a nice guy.
LMAO! I understand...
We have cable, a requirement of doing nationwide computer work at
home. Unfortunately, Marks in only on DIY at this time, and we're not
interesting paying even MORE for the DIY channel. HGTV was running
Marks' show, but not any longer. And Bruce Johnson is an idiot - hell
will freeze over before paying money to see more of his antics...
Some of his shows have him looking like he just rolled out of bed!
(Perhaps the bedroll he puts on top of the U.S.S Saratoga Jointer...)
A few even have him looking like he took a big toke of wacky weed
before filming - red eyes, stilted speech and mannerisms. I don't
really care what he looks like, I appreciate his creative approach to
things. I understand he has some trouble with his hands as well.
Carpal-tunel or something...
You say Mr. Tung Oil is back on HGTV? I have scanned the listings,
but come up with nothing. Heck, I can't even get all of Norm's new
shows on the local PBS station, because they pre-empt several shows a
season for their stupid beg-a-thons - positively reducing my desire to
contribute to nil.
I hear you!
I made the mistake of buying an expensive turntable and a
Signet/Shibata moving coil cartridge *just* before the tolerable CD
players hit the market. It is now sitting in a box, gently wrapped
for posterity, and nothing on the market even has a preamp that can
deal with MC cartridges. AND, I lost ALL of my massive record
collection in a fire. :-|
Ouch! Losing your collection of records must have made you miserable.
Sorry to hear that. My wife lost ALL her belongs in a fire years before
we met so I know how awful that feels. I keep 5 extinguishers around
the house just in case something happens while I'm home.
Getting back to the stereo stuff: included in my costly mistake was a
Koetsu Rosewood cartridge. I had to borrow a MC amp from the dealer
until I got a plug-in for my Apt pre-amp. You are right; there aren't
an MC inputs on mass produced pre-amps nowadays. After carefully
picking out the turntable, arm, cartridge and going through the ritual
of cleaning each disc before play with the Discwasher, as soon as I
found a decent CD player (Nakamichi OMS-7 IIRC), I realized my mistake
in buying all that "stuff". Just this weekend while cleaning out the
attic, I decided to throw out the Nak (it's been out of commission for
years; it won't recognize a disc). I let it fall from the attic to the
shop floor. No sense in bothering to sell it when it is old, broken,
and DVD players sound better than it anyway, at least one of mine does,
Jon, if I had to pigeon hole my sonic tastes, I'd have to say "East
Coast" sound. as in KLH, ADS, AR, Boston Acoustics, etc (pleasant,
smooth, balanced sound), as opposed to the hard edged highs and boomy
bass of JBL's (West Coast sound), Klispch (now there's a speaker that
hurts my ears--the old Cornwalls? -- have I got the name wrong, guys?
their horn tweeter was nasty )
Jon Endres, PE wrote:
I owned a pair of 810's back in the 70's. They were the best all around
speakers that I had ever listened to. I now own several pairs including the
ADS 1230's ( not in the same league as the 810's ). Maybe someday, I'll run
into another pair of 810's.
Bay Area Dave wrote:
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