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Apartment Audiophile: A ‘subjective’ review of D&D 8c speakers for pop, electronic and rock music fans (link)

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#1
https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/...rock-music-fans/?tab=comments#comment-1118731

The above is a 'subjective' review of 8c for pop, rock, and electronic music fans, especially for those living in small apartments in cities. How do all measurements mean for a rock music fan living in a small apartment? - it's the kind of question I asked myself and developed some answers for myself and probably people in similar situations.

A 'subjective plus objective' review, to be more exact.

My first post here, though I have been learning so much from here. I am not a professional audio person; I just happen to be a guy who likes a wide range of music and benefits from the pro guys who devote so much to deliver knowledge to the world.

Partly it's written to express my gratitude to this forum and its people. Thank you.
 

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MattHooper

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#3
https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/62373-apartment-audiophile-a-‘subjective’-review-of-dd-8c-speakers-for-pop-electronic-and-rock-music-fans/?tab=comments#comment-1118731

The above is a 'subjective' review of 8c for pop, rock, and electronic music fans, especially for those living in small apartments in cities. How do all measurements mean for a rock music fan living in a small apartment? - it's the kind of question I asked myself and developed some answers for myself and probably people in similar situations.

A 'subjective plus objective' review, to be more exact.

My first post here, though I have been learning so much from here. I am not a professional audio person; I just happen to be a guy who likes a wide range of music and benefits from the pro guys who devote so much to deliver knowledge to the world.

Partly it's written to express my gratitude to this forum and its people. Thank you.
Dude, first of all excellent review!

Second, when you say you are an "ordinary audiophile," well...you've gone in to Super Audiophile territory there :)

I'm sure the D&D speakers sound great. I'd love to hear them some day. (I've auditioned the Kii 3).

Still, your many comments on how rock/pop/electronica sounded "bad" and "strange" etc on other systems had me scratching my head.
I certainly know, like many audiophiles, that some systems can be set up to do one type of music well and will fall down on others. Or that some speakers are going to do things like "transparent, clear, boxless sound" but won't give wall shaking impact to rock or funk (e.g. Quad 57s).

But...your review gave the impression that "high end" speakers that sound good with rock/pop/electronica are unicorns, just super hard to find.
I certainly didn't find that to be the case. Most of the speakers I've owned sound amazing to me with those genres (I'm a huge fan of funk, disco, electronica, prog rock, rock, pop etc). My current two floor standing speakers, Thiel 2.7 and Joseph Audio Perspectives, both throw mammoth soundstages with great imaging, detail...ticking all those audiophile boxes...but they also to me elevate even my Kiss records. It sounds like I've got a seat in the studio and they are just hammering the music home!

Ultimately this will be quite subjective - what may be satisfactory to me may strike your ear as wrong and visa versa. But it did seem strange
to read that pop/rock and electronica just wouldn't sound good in any of your store auditions.
 
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PCMusic
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Thread Starter #4
So it's perfect except the soundstage?
The soundstage is excellent. My point is if you have to pull out the speakers so far away from the front walls and have the speakers placed rather close to the sidewalls, you may need to add absorption stuff for sidewalls. If you did, nothing to worry. That's normal practice for conventional speakers. Even Kii isn't particularly designed to tame wall reflections.
 
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OP
PCMusic
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Thread Starter #5
Dude, first of all excellent review!

Second, when you say you are an "ordinary audiophile," well...you've gone in to Super Audiophile territory there :)

I'm sure the D&D speakers sound great. I'd love to hear them some day. (I've auditioned the Kii 3).

Still, your many comments on how rock/pop/electronica sounded "bad" and "strange" etc on other systems had me scratching my head.
I certainly know, like many audiophiles, that some systems can be set up to do one type of music well and will fall down on others. Or that some speakers are going to do things like "transparent, clear, boxless sound" but won't give wall shaking impact to rock or funk (e.g. Quad 57s).

But...your review gave the impression that "high end" speakers that sound good with rock/pop/electronica are unicorns, just super hard to find.
I certainly didn't find that to be the case. Most of the speakers I've owned sound amazing to me with those genres (I'm a huge fan of funk, disco, electronica, prog rock, rock, pop etc). My current two floor standing speakers, Thiel 2.7 and Joseph Audio Perspectives, both throw mammoth soundstages with great imaging, detail...ticking all those audiophile boxes...but they also to me elevate even my Kiss records. It sounds like I've got a seat in the studio and they are just hammering the music home!

Ultimately this will be quite subjective - what may be satisfactory to me may strike your ear as wrong and visa versa. But it did seem strange
to read that pop/rock and electronica just wouldn't sound good in any of your store auditions.
Hi there

No no ... I didn't mean the unicorn statement you said. I only said very often rooms may be too reflective for playing pop, rock, and electronica, with reasons explained in more detail in the original review. Very high end capable speakers put in less than adequate reflective rooms could not play rock and so on, only because of the environment, not because of the speakers.

I agree many speakers you mentioned are excellent and kickass :) So you may already have good room-speaker interaction, which I didn't.

And I just say, 8c could reduce our work on room-speaker interaction to achieve better sound.

Also one context: in the place I live, dealers are not doing good business; many in my view have bad speaker placement; and many treated their room badly, or mostly done oriented for reproducing female voicals (very easy to impress people) or simple classica and jazz music.

So I may have exaggerated a bit. I remember there is really one shop reproducing a very polite but nice version of Depp Purple and Bolshoi (1980s UK) to me, with very good soundstage with Nordist speakers - but I noted that room is huge and have very good treatment.
 
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txbdan

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#6
Not totally sure I'm following you, but I don't think its true that high end speakers have more stringent room standards. Good speakers have good directivity and so their reflections should sound better than a less good speaker even in a reflective room. They also EQ better because the EQ will properly correct both direct and off axis response/reflections. Based on Erin's measured data, this speakers measures very well with good directivity which explains why its working for you.
 

Blaspheme

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#7
I'd also love to hear the D&D speakers.

I found the review interesting, partly for those views you originally accepted, then questioned, on music and reproduction (quoting) ...
  1. Almost all pop, rock or electronic music recordings are not real performances but multi-track studio mixes. Any studio mixes done to mimic real performances is artificial, second-rate.
  2. The dynamic range (DR) of pop, rock or electronic music recordings are insanely compressed. For serious critics, rock or electronic music are not ‘real music’ (with big dynamic range).
  3. The only listenable rock record is Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.
  4. The more high-end one’s audio system is, the more the owner will find rock, electronic or pop recordings ‘unlistenable’.
  5. In some cases, when an audiophile says ‘I don’t listen to rock now’ it almost means he is saying he gets a very high end system and only find classical music or jazz worth listening.
... to which my (completely personal) answers are in order yep, nope, no Dark Side ... is never listenable, not necessarily, and no classical and jazz are rarely listenable.

The first one I find interesting: everything that is anecdotally meaningful to (a certain cohort of) audiophiles about soundstage and imaging based on (well-recorded and mixed) live performance is largely irrelevant to my listening and my system selection and configuration. I don't care which side of the microphone Joni Mitchell is singing into, whether she is sitting or standing, etc. But image specificity and soundstage breadth/depth/height is a big part of enjoying even completely synthetic music, so "realism" and relevant system performance still matters.

In terms of dynamic range being absent from modern genres—yes and no—generalisations are often dumb. Here's a couple of different (fairly dynamic, but not unrepresentative) sections from La Dispute's 2008 post-hardcore epic The Last Lost Continent:

IMG_3514.jpeg


IMG_3506.jpeg


... there's a good 40-50 dB range there, mid-track (at the listening position, played moderately loud on a not-too-quiet afternoon, so ambient noise floor is up a bit). Serious critics my arse. The dynamic swings of post-hardcore are one of the most appealing aspects of the genre. And the idea that studio-assembled music is inferior to live music is an anachronism. No offence if you love classical or jazz, of course, they are fine genres objectively speaking. I actually can manage a bit of Miles every now and then.

Anyway, keep it up.
 
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dfuller

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#9
The first one I find interesting: everything that is anecdotally meaningful to (a certain cohort of) audiophiles about soundstage and imaging based on (well-recorded and mixed) live performance is largely irrelevant to my listening and my system selection and configuration. I don't care which side of the microphone Joni Mitchell is singing into, whether she is sitting or standing, etc. But image specificity and soundstage breadth/depth/height is a big part of enjoying even completely synthetic music, so "realism" and relevant system performance still matters.
[...]
Serious critics my arse. The dynamic swings of post-hardcore are one of the most appealing aspects of the genre. And the idea that studio-assembled music is inferior to live music is an anachronism. No offence if you love classical or jazz, of course, they are fine genres objectively speaking. I actually can manage a bit of Miles every now and then.
Audiophiles are strange in that respect. I think it's an elitism thing. "Oh, I listen to real music that you need a good system to appreciate, not that drivel the unwashed masses listen to." Even on this forum you get gems like this:
Is this a serious question? Klipsch is the Cerwin Vega successor. Speakers designed for the brainless. Get Klipsch if you're on a tight budget and only like Metal and Rap. Get Focal if you a true music lover.

Anyway, I've heard from people I trust that the 8Cs are just ridiculously good speakers. A lot of working mixers are using them as monitors because of how room independent they largely are.
 

AdamG247

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#11
Not sure if you are talking to me ... I didn't know why the word OP is on my personal picture. No idea at all.
Hi PCMusic,

The tag OP in your profile pic is because you are the “Original Poster” and/or the creator of this specific Thread.
 
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I agree very much with your opinion that 'generalization is often dumb' - well, may be saying "generalization may often simplify complicated scenarios" is better. There're a lot of very dynamic rock music. Even studio recorded and mastered electronic music could have high dynamic range. All could be non-real instruments, but were mixed to imitate 'realist' philosophy of soundstage presentation. Too many possibilities here.

Your example is really good indeed.

I'd also love to hear the D&D speakers.

I found the review interesting, partly for those views you originally accepted, then questioned, on music and reproduction (quoting) ...
  1. Almost all pop, rock or electronic music recordings are not real performances but multi-track studio mixes. Any studio mixes done to mimic real performances is artificial, second-rate.
  2. The dynamic range (DR) of pop, rock or electronic music recordings are insanely compressed. For serious critics, rock or electronic music are not ‘real music’ (with big dynamic range).
  3. The only listenable rock record is Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.
  4. The more high-end one’s audio system is, the more the owner will find rock, electronic or pop recordings ‘unlistenable’.
  5. In some cases, when an audiophile says ‘I don’t listen to rock now’ it almost means he is saying he gets a very high end system and only find classical music or jazz worth listening.
... to which my (completely personal) answers are in order yep, nope, no Dark Side ... is never listenable, not necessarily, and no classical and jazz are rarely listenable.

The first one I find interesting: everything that is anecdotally meaningful to (a certain cohort of) audiophiles about soundstage and imaging based on (well-recorded and mixed) live performance is largely irrelevant to my listening and my system selection and configuration. I don't care which side of the microphone Joni Mitchell is singing into, whether she is sitting or standing, etc. But image specificity and soundstage breadth/depth/height is a big part of enjoying even completely synthetic music, so "realism" and relevant system performance still matters.

In terms of dynamic range being absent from modern genres—yes and no—generalisations are often dumb. Here's a couple of different (fairly dynamic, but not unrepresentative) sections from La Dispute's 2008 post-hardcore epic The Last Lost Continent:

View attachment 132015

View attachment 132017

... there's a good 40-50 dB range there, mid-track (at the listening position, played moderately loud on a not-too-quiet afternoon, so ambient noise floor is up a bit). Serious critics my arse. The dynamic swings of post-hardcore are one of the most appealing aspects of the genre. And the idea that studio-assembled music is inferior to live music is an anachronism. No offence if you love classical or jazz, of course, they are fine genres objectively speaking. I actually can manage a bit of Miles every now and then.

Anyway, keep it up.
 

echopraxia

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#14
@PCMusic Thank you for this review!

What is really interesting to me is that it seems you independently discovered something that I and a few others have been speculating about for a while: that the perfect speaker “beam width” and/or degree of side wall reflections actually varies a lot depending on the type of music.

I have both medium beam and wide beam speakers, and I also love music from an extremely wide range of genres. Like you, I find that the narrower beam and more “dead” rooms (less sidewall reflections) often sound much better for rock, EDM, etc. (what I call the “amplified music” genres). On the opposite side of that, I find that recordings of orchestral, jazz, voice, etc performances (what I call “unamplified music”), sounds best on the wider beam speakers and in rooms that are less “dead” in order to sound most real to an actual live performance. Also like you observed, I find that a medium beam sound system will still sound quite good for these “unamplified” genres, more so than an ultra wide beam sound system will sound for “amplified” genres. But still, neither will sound ideal for the other.

Whatever the acoustic reason, I think the causal reason is actually quite simple: amplified music is generally created and performed via amps/speakers and in venues where the sound is very energetically directional. If it’s performed this way, this is the way it’s meant to be heard — and everything about the music is created and tuned to sound best via this style of acoustic delivery.

Similarly, real instruments and voices do not have the same kind of directional beaming that you get from e.g. PA speakers or concert speaker arrays. Their directional properties are much more complex in theory, but in general tend to be more convincingly reproduced by wide beam speakers in somewhat more “live” rooms where there wall reflections aren’t overdamped.

I also agree that high dynamic range is not an intrinsic good, despite what many audiophiles say. Rather, if a song was meant to have low dynamic range via heavy compression, then that’s great as that’s the way the art form was expressed. But conversely if a song was meant to be performed with high dynamic range, then anything else is a compromise and a corruption of the artist’s original intent. Now sometimes this is indeed necessary, e.g. due to real world constraints of someone’s speaker system or even the need to tightly control volume so as not to disturb neighbors. But it doesn’t change the facts regarding what is the best way to consume the music as it was intended.

Only thing I disagree with is what you quoted presenting a postmodern intersectional social-political interpretation of dynamic range compression, which IMO is complete and utter nonsense:
The article in this link even use a socio-political approach to discuss DRC and I find the argument very compelling: https://www.its-her-factory.com/201...tions-of-the-loudness-war-and-its-criticisms/
Dynamic compression and range isn’t just about music, or hearing, or audio engineering. The aesthetic and technical issues in the compression-vs-range debate are local manifestations of broader values, ideals, and norms … Dynamic range, or the ability to responsively attune oneself to variable conditions and express a spectrum of intensity is generally thought to be more “healthy” than full-throttle maximalization–this is why there are things like “digital detox” practices and rhetoric about “work/life balance” and so on. At the same time, range is only granted to those with specific kinds of intersecting privilege. Though the discourse of precarity might encourage us to understand it as an experience of deficit, perhaps it is better understood, at least for now, as an experience of maximal loudness, of always being all the way on, of never getting a rest, never having the luxury of expressing or experiencing a range of intensities.
If we want to philosophize about the parallels between a song's dynamic range presentation and sociopolitical commentary on the "intersectional privilege" of some people to rest versus others who have to work all the time, that’s fine and can be appropriate in the context of a particular piece of art if and only if the artist was trying to convey that particular message.

But it is incredibly pompous, pretentious, and presumptive for the quote's author to try to broadly paint this particular sociopolitical message across an entire industry spanning a wide spectrum of artists whose perspectives and artistic expressions/messages are no doubt very diverse and individually varied -- which makes it deeply wrong for the author to generalize their postmodernist sociopolitical interpretations of dynamic range compression across all who employ it, which as a tool/instrument is in reality merely one channel among many through which artists can express whatever message they wish.

In fact, I would argue that this author's view of the role of dynamic range compression in the musical arts is beyond merely incorrect in most cases; it's a fundamentally misguided perspective through which to interpret anything in life; in general, trying to imbue meaning from patterns without commensurate “checks and balances” to ground the interpretations to reality, is a recipe for self-delusion because it permits virtually any and all interpretations to be “believed”. IMO :)
 
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Blaspheme

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#15
@PCMusicI have both medium beam and wide beam speakers, and I also love music from an extremely wide range of genres. Like you, I find that the narrower beam and more “dead” rooms (less sidewall reflections) often sound much better for rock, EDM, etc. (what I call the “amplified music” genres). On the opposite side of that, I find that recordings of orchestral, jazz, voice, etc performances (what I call “unamplified music”), sounds best on the wider beam speakers and in rooms that are less “dead” in order to sound most real to an actual live performance. Also like you observed, I find that a medium beam sound system will still sound quite good for these “unamplified” genres, more so than an ultra wide beam sound system will sound for “amplified” genres. But still, neither will sound ideal for the other.
I'm finding this analysis (here and in another thread where I had much the same response) makes sense. I appear to prefer (based on my purchases at least) narrow directivity speakers, and I listen to electronic, certain rock genres, etc but very little acoustic, jazz, orchestral.

@PCMusicI also agree that high dynamic range is not an intrinsic good, despite what many audiophiles say. Rather, if a song was meant to have low dynamic range via heavy compression, then that’s great as that’s the way the art form was expressed. But conversely if a song was meant to be performed with high dynamic range, then anything else is a compromise and a corruption of the artist’s original intent. Now sometimes this is indeed necessary, e.g. due to real world constraints of someone’s speaker system or even the need to tightly control volume so as not to disturb neighbors. But it doesn’t change the facts regarding what is the best way to consume the music as it was intended.
Yes, absolutely.

@PCMusicIf we want to philosophize about the parallels between a song's dynamic range presentation and sociopolitical commentary on the "intersectional privilege" of some people to rest versus others who have to work all the time, that’s fine and can be appropriate in the context of a particular piece of art if and only if the artist was trying to convey that particular message.

But it is incredibly pompous, pretentious, and presumptive for the quote's author to try to broadly paint this particular sociopolitical message across an entire industry spanning a wide spectrum of artists whose perspectives and artistic expressions/messages are no doubt very diverse and individually varied -- which makes it deeply wrong for the author to generalize their postmodernist sociopolitical interpretations of dynamic range compression across all who employ it, which as a tool/instrument is in reality merely one channel among many through which artists can express whatever message they wish.
No, sorry. There are intentionalist and anti-intentionalist approaches to art history/theory. You are declaring the former, I find the latter more persuasive. But beyond our preference, there absolutely no consensus that the artist's intention is determinative. You can blame Saussure and semiotics perhaps, but if you are interested here's a solid discussion.
 

echopraxia

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#17
No, sorry. There are intentionalist and anti-intentionalist approaches to art history/theory. You are declaring the former, I find the latter more persuasive. But beyond our preference, there absolutely no consensus that the artist's intention is determinative. You can blame Saussure and semiotics perhaps, but if you are interested here's a solid discussion.
That is completely unrelated/orthogonal to my point. Here is another way of describing it: If I compose and mix a song while employing dynamic range compression, it would be inappropriate, incorrect, and pretentiously presumptive for anyone else to declare that my use of dynamic range compression is in any way related to whether I or my audience is working class or not, overworked or underworked, able to rest and 'detox' or not, a beneficiary of 'intersectional privilege' or not, etc. It is possible that such an interpretation makes sense in some contexts depending on some songs, but it is fundamentally wrong to apply this line of reasoning to all songs indiscriminately, which is what the quote attempts to do.
 
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Dialectic

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#18
Interpretive theories aside, dynamic range compression is generally applied because the musicians who recorded the music demand it from the mastering engineer. In many cases, they literally sit in the mastering studio admiring the fancy speakers during the session and ask the mastering engineer to make it louder, please.

You know who does not ask for dynamic range compression but has to deal with it anyway? Classical musicians. Classical recordings are not mastered with compression, but if you hear them on the radio, they've nearly always been run through a compressor so that they are listenable in a noisy car.

This line of inquiry is useful only for college papers.
 

Blaspheme

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#19
That is completely unrelated/orthogonal to my point. Here is another way of describing it: If I compose and mix a song while employing dynamic range compression, it would be inappropriate, incorrect, and pretentiously presumptive for anyone else to declare that my use of dynamic range compression is in any way related to whether I or my audience is working class or not, overworked or underworked, able to rest and 'detox' or not, etc. It is possible that such an interpretation makes sense in some contexts depending on some songs, but it is fundamentally wrong to apply this line of reasoning to all songs indiscriminately, which is what the quote attempts to do.
I expect this disagreement won't be progressed or resolved. You are still talking about the artist's intention. I like the idealism, but lean toward realism.

Interpretive theories aside, dynamic range compression is generally applied because the musicians who recorded the music demand it from the mastering engineer. In many cases, they literally sit in the mastering studio admiring the fancy speakers during the session and ask the mastering engineer to make it louder, please.
Yes, and why do they ask for that? (A hint: examine the conditions of the marketplace and the putative listener.)
 

Dialectic

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#20
I expect this disagreement won't be progressed or resolved. You are still talking about the artist's intention. I like the idealism, but lean toward realism.

Yes, and why do they ask for that? (A hint: examine the conditions of the marketplace and the putative listener.)
Because they have decided they like it.

Is Rick Rubin oppressed? Is he a poor person with a bad stereo? That man loves dynamic range compression, and I think he likes it because he likes the way it sounds. It does have a distinctive sound. If you're a musician, and you prefer it, that's fine.

Not my cup of tea.

Alright I'm getting out of here before I get in trouble in this thread, too.
 
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