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How far have ss amps really come in the last twenty years??

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Thomas savage

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I can't say lest @Thomas savage ban me for obscene speech.
I was going to suggest your enquiry would be best serviced by some direct subjective experience of your own.

I mean your all very close friends right...
 

BigRez

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Yes to the former.

As to the latter, well, here's a list of all demonstrated auditory phenomena which were not easily measurable:






Quite a list!
I have to disagree. Not only do we not have all the answers, we don't even know all the questions. Some day there will be more tests available and still we will not have tests for everything that contributes to sound quality. This is my opinion, and you are free to respectfully disagree. In NO WAY am I saying that listening will tell you more than measurements. Please don't misunderstand my point. I believe measuring equipment is the best way to tell if it's any good. I'm simply saying that there ARE things related to sound quality that can not current be measured and there always will be these intangibles "phenomenon". It's why some pairings of speakers, amps and placements just don't work well and others are magical. Is there a way to measure and correct for a very cold room vs a very warm room? Yes, bit it's not very practical. What if the speakers are still warm but the room is now cold because someone opened the door. What about a new piece of furniture? What if I move that furniture closer to the speaker or throw a pillow on it? Do I measure again if there are a lot of people in the room? Are these things that can and should measure constantly or are they possibly phenomenon that we don't have a good way to measure and adjust for constantly? I could probably come up with a good list of technical things that are hard to measure as well. I feel like impedance is a pretty complicated one that's hard to measure because it's different at different frequencies. It can be measured but do we really know everything those measurements mean to sound quality or could there be some phenomenon in there that our understanding of measurements doesn't cover? I bet there will be a better way to measure impedance in the future to gain further knowledge of sound quality. If you still believe there are no auditory phenomena that can not be easily measured, that's cool.
 

Sgt. Ear Ache

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I have to disagree. Not only do we not have all the answers, we don't even know all the questions...

You seem to be ignoring the gorilla in the room...blind ABX testing. It's all well and good to talk about mysterious sound properties that can be heard but not yet measured. However, if we are talking about two components - A and B - and you feel that there's just something about component A that sounds different/better than component B that causes you to prefer it but when you put that feeling to the test (blind ABX) it turns out you actually can't distinguish one from the other - then the qualities you feel you are hearing actually have nothing to do with the sound being produced by the component - which would explain why those qualities can't be measured.
 

Sal1950

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I have to disagree. Not only do we not have all the answers, we don't even know all the questions.
You seem to be ignoring the gorilla in the room...blind ABX testing.
All the same subjectivist BS we've heard 10,000 times on almost as many websites.
There are magical properties that we don't yet know how to measure for and that their golden ears can hear.
That is until you turn out the lights, then that claimed magic dust disappears like a line of coke at a AA meeting. LOL
Same ole, same ole, same ole. BLAH
 

anmpr1

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All “dynamic” really means is that the speaker gets loud without heavy distorting or linearity issues.
That's a pretty big 'all', actually. Paul Klipsch argued that for realistic levels in the living room you needed a speaker that could provide at least 115 dB without appreciable distortion. That was his argument. Most people turn their system down due to distortion (in the speaker) than because of loudness, per se. Drew Daniels (former applications engineer at JBL Pro) came up with a highly sensitive horn loaded do it yourself speaker project (not inexpensive) which was very low distortion. He advised purchasing an SPL meter when listening, because, "These speakers make so little distortion that you will be tempted to believe that the 120 dB sound you are listening to is only playing at 90dB. You could lose your hearing." I find that with my horn loaded speakers I often play music louder than I ever did with my non-horn speakers. It's really too bad that we have all these low distortion program sources and amplifiers, but our loudspeakers are so far behind the curve in that department.
 

Sal1950

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I do not find the horns to be more dynamic than the Epilogs despite their 109dB/watt sensitivity
Frank, in reading your post I would only add that I don't think anyone claims that horns are the only speakers capable of strong dynamics. Only that most often they exhibit the technical properties that contribute to good dynamics.
I have always thought dynamics were a linearity issue with speakers which do not sound dynamic being limited either by low efficiency leading to amplifier running out of steam or the speaker itself being non linear from a relatively low SPL. The former and plausibly the latter have been present in the speakers which I have found lacking in dynamics. Spendor BC1 for example were impressive on low level speech and string quartet but were truly pathetic on a Mahler symphony when I auditioned them 40 years or so ago.
Exactly. ;)
 

Krunok

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Paul Klipsch argued that for realistic levels in the living room you needed a speaker that could provide at least 115 dB without appreciable distortion.
Is that really so? I typcally listen music for 3-4 hours every day and I'm supposed to crank it to "at least 115dB"? And how much is my hearing supposed to last with that kind of SPLs?

If you want to realistically reproduce levels at rock concert to make impression you're near the first row that is certainly true but for the rest of the music genres hardly so.
 

Blumlein 88

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Is that really so? I typcally listen music for 3-4 hours every day and I'm supposed to crank it to "at least 115dB"? And how much is my hearing supposed to last with that kind of SPLs?

If you want to realistically reproduce levels at rock concert to make impression you're near the first row that is certainly true but for the rest of the music genres hardly so.
I don't think he was wrong. Realistic levels being the key phrase. He also didn't mean listening to anything at an average level of 115 db. Just that momentary outputs like that would be required for real levels of sound. Nor did he mean you needed to always listen with peak levels reaching that SPL.

One reason I liked Jazz clubs in my late 20s and 30s is you can go to one, have dinner with friends, spend time and listen to the music for at least a couple hours without ear damage. Just don't sit right at the stage near the sax player. :)

Now levels in such clubs weren't at background listening levels, but were a far cry from a club with a rock band or going to a rock concert.

Going to classical music concerts, they were often louder than jazz clubs, but not like rock and not continuously loud to the point it seemed like an ear assault. At times the SPL peaks way on up there. Now if your speakers are good it can also do polite chamber music just as well.
 

Jim777

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Again, not at all. In the words of Sean Olive, the top 3 important parameters for any speaker are frequency response, frequency response and frequency response!
Some would have said location, location, location. But when you think of it, location in the room does impact frequency response ;)
 

Krunok

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I don't think he was wrong. Realistic levels being the key phrase. He also didn't mean listening to anything at an average level of 115 db. Just that momentary outputs like that would be required for real levels of sound. Nor did he mean you needed to always listen with peak levels reaching that SPL.

One reason I liked Jazz clubs in my late 20s and 30s is you can go to one, have dinner with friends, spend time and listen to the music for at least a couple hours without ear damage. Just don't sit right at the stage near the sax player. :)

Now levels in such clubs weren't at background listening levels, but were a far cry from a club with a rock band or going to a rock concert.

Going to classical music concerts, they were often louder than jazz clubs, but not like rock and not continuously loud to the point it seemed like an ear assault. At times the SPL peaks way on up there. Now if your speakers are good it can also do polite chamber music just as well.
Well, I must admit I don't go to rock concerts anymore unless wife twists my arm to accompany her. I also have to admit I don't carry SPL meter when going to jazz clubs but I'm pretty sure that peaks don't reach 115dB. And even if they do, and let's assume you are getting app 90dB of average SPL when sitting close to the players, you don't really need highly efficient horns to reach those peaks.
 
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Juhazi

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About this spl-capacity. I have never wanted to have high spl and I've been happy with 20-50W amps since '70s. Now during last 6 years I have met many new "hifi" friends and visited vice-versa. Almost all of them want to listen so loud that I must walk out of the room! I can't give any quality assessment with that high spl, peaks measured around 105-110db. But, obviously I am the weird guy representing minority...
 

Krunok

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About this spl-capacity. I have never wanted to have high spl and I've been happy with 20-50W amps since '70s. Now during last 6 years I have met many new "hifi" friends and visited vice-versa. Almost all of them want to listen so loud that I must walk out of the room! I can't give any quality assessment with that high spl, peaks measured around 105-110db. But, obviously I am the weird guy representing minority...
Normally I'm listening at app 70-75dB of average SPL. I'm sure my speakers can reach 105-110dB SPL and they do it without any noticeable distortion so after a few minutes your hearing adjusts so you don't perceive it to be that loud, but I very rarely crank them to the limit.

But when I do, next morning I have to pretend not to notice my neighbours giving me "the look". :D
 

Frank Dernie

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I really do think people feel the sound is "loud" when a certain distortion is reached, and turn the system down even when the SPL is not excessive.
I have an SPL app on my phone which I look at in concerts and when listening to hifi. I would say very often the hifi sounds loud even when the SPL is considerably less than i get in a concert (mainly choral and orchestral un-amplified).
 

DonH56

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Compression drivers coupled to horns can produce very high volume with low distortion when driven by much less power than most (probably the vast majority of) conventional speakers. So, a few watts, a little turn on the volume control, and they get loud quickly and continue at levels far beyond what a conventional, typical, speaker/amp combo will do. More undistorted output with less power = more dynamic to most consumers. They use "dynamic" in a different way than I typically do, but then again I can understand them (usually) and they often cannot understand me.

Such is life - Don
 
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