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NY Times visits Ojas

DonR

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You are correct - these systems are totally and completely mis-matched to the size of the space (and it looks like a rather reverberant space at that). The multicell horns are also something which was designed for large movie auditoriums where it was important to get sound up into balconies and to every corner of the theater.

I have Altec A-7-500s in my 20' x 30' room, and they are pretty well sized for the space. All of the VOTT series speakers start to roll off around 50Hz, so I have four 18" JBL subwoofers to fill in the low bass region. I have a turntable in the same room about 10' in front of the speakers and I had to build a turntable mount on the wall otherwise there was excessive LF sensitivity to things like foot falls and if the volume was turned up high enough, acoustic feedback. The wall mounting of the turntable cures that problem.
I oddly experienced the same thing with a CD player in the 90's where the lack of isolation meant that a deep bass thump would actually cause the laser to lose tracking. Turning down the volume cured that.
 

MakeMineVinyl

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I oddly experienced the same thing with a CD player in the 90's where the lack of isolation meant that a deep bass thump would actually cause the laser to lose tracking. Turning down the volume cured that.
Wow, I've never experienced that. I've seen microphonic capacitors in a CD player though.
 

L0rdGwyn

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I saw this guy's interviews on Steve Guttenberg's YouTube channel a while back. Seems like a chill, down-to-earth guy who is passionate about making high sensitivity speakers and tube gear. Looks like a cool system, I'd love to hear it.
 

mhardy6647

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Anahata is one of those Veda things that "certain type of persons" have picked up, and he cannot in any way relate it to his business of loudspeakers and so on. Suggesting some association with his "Natural Sound" theme, an esoteric way of saying "cosmic sound."
Yamaha might want to have a word with him if he starts touting Natural Sound.
1659206409036.png

I am just sayin'...

 

mhardy6647

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Not so fast! Have you actually heard a well set up Altec Lansing Voice of the Theater horn system in the flesh? If done well, they can compete with anything made today, and they have the advantage of extremely high sensitivity.
I'm a fan.
And then there were the RCA electrodynamics...
but now we're really gettin' hip.
:cool:
 

Jimster480

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Executive brown interconnects (for hipsters of course)? Unique belden black and white speaker cables? $3000 for a speaker which must be wood to be hip, but then finished in some gray bland color? I don't think I can call it art. Fashion seems about right. Here are a couple examples of fashion in clothing. As seen at the Vogue ready to wear fashion show. It may be ready to wear, but I don't think I'm ready to wear it.

View attachment 220528
View attachment 220529
Yes many of the mainstream are into these Tastefully tasteless decor and items. Just like how in Miami everybody is into everything being white. People make entire houses 100% white in and out with every room in white paint only with white cabinets and white doors. Then they add in a couple modern black colored furnitures and they absolutely love it.
My wife and I think he looks terribly sterile. They have now expanded their Horizons by adding in A Touch of Gray here and there. These Trends are how things like this sell so well
 

mhardy6647

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Speaking of wood... :)

Full disclosure. This kind of stuff (although, in my own case, at a slightly less rarefied level of cost -- and quality) is what I listen to most of the time.
While I am amused (and a bit bemused) by the fashion aspect of the stuff, I am generally OK with the whole scene.
One exception, though -- it kind of weirded me out to see that some sort of faux finish is applied to the loudspeaker cabinetry to make it look like... well... what it appears to be (i.e., wood). That doesn't seem terribly authentic. ;)

1659207177999.png

image sourced from: https://hifihaven.org/index.php?thr...und-practices-fashion-djing.7125/#post-202129 (speaking of disclosure!)

I feel like we're in IKEA territory -- or maybe this is some kind of irony that is so hip I am far too old and square* to understand.

_______________
* or... what's even less hip than square? Rhombic??
 
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DonR

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Speaking of wood... :)

Full disclosure. This kind of stuff (although, in my own case, at a slightly less rarefied level of cost -- and quality) is what I listen to most of the time.
While I am amused (and a bit bemused) by the fashion aspect of the stuff, I am generally OK with the whole scene.
One exception, though -- it kind of weirded me out to see that some sort of faux finish is applied to the loudspeaker cabinetry to make it look like... well... what it appears to be (i.e., wood). That doesn't seem terribly authentic. ;)

View attachment 221312

I feel like we're in IKEA territory -- or maybe this is some kind of irony that is so hip I am far too old and square* to understand.

_______________
* or... what's even less hip than square? Rhombic??
Oh my... I wonder if that affects the diffraction of higher frequencies? (/s for those who care)
 

MattHooper

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The picture alone shows us that the system is sonically inferior to many other mainstream offerings. Much of the technology being employed here was superseded 40-50 years ago so a museum is indeed a totally fitting venue.

I certainly think you can make that case, especially if you choose a very specific idea of what is "sonically inferior." If you define that narrowly as "sonic accuracy to the signal" then, sure. While I think that goal and approach is perfectly fine for anyone who adopts it, I personally find it too narrow and stifling.
I prefer to think of sound systems in terms of "sound quality" and the perceived experience they can produce. (Which isn't to dismiss the relevance of measurements and engineering).

An ASR member may very well be happy with his little KEF LS50 meta and may laud it's nice frequency response. But I would wager the Ojas system, or something very much like it, would produce aspects of the recorded performance - scale, power, dynamics and presence - that the KEF couldn't even dream about. And some will reasonably see that as "superior sound quality" in terms of giving them what moves them more. In that sense the newer KEF did not "supersede" what was possible with the older technology. (And, again, in my experience I mentioned before, the most convincing reproduction I've heard of orchestral sound came from "old technology" horn systems used for some great movie theaters in my city. I have not heard anything new in consumer offerings - including for instance Revel Salon 2s - Kii 3 or whatever - that "supercedes" what that older speaker system could do, in terms of it's particular strengths).
 

restorer-john

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The NYT article will not open for me, it says my quota is all used up. I don't remember reading another NYT article, but then maybe one was too many.

Just dump your NYT cookies in your browser cache, that will reset the article count.

Or you can subscribe like I do. It's so ridiculously cheap. I pay AU$2 (USD$1.40) per month.
 

DonH56

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Just dump your NYT cookies in your browser cache, that will reset the article count.

Or you can subscribe like I do. It's so ridiculously cheap. I pay AU$2 (USD$1.40) per month.
Yah, I figured I could clear the cookies. It's amazing how many pile up.

I have no desire to subscribe to the NYT; not my cup of Scotch, and barely have time to read the local paper (I usually stick to the comics, which could be any section lately ;) ).
 

krabapple

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There is no New York hipster scene that was a decade ago they are all middle-aged with kids and jobs now
True. The 'hipster douchelords" I referred to from the NYT article were Mark Ronson and Don Was, neither of whom is a spring chicken.

The douchey part of this whole affair is the implication that one needs to indulge in very 'leet , very expensive, very performative retro audio fashioneering to get excellent home audio sound.

It's just another episode of high end wankery.
 

Waxx

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My conclusion on this is that this guy is just a hipster making overpriced hipster stuff with proven tech from the past. It probally sounds good as he is using parts that should sound good, but it's not as accurate as modern tech is. If that is a problem is a subjective preference, i would not mind as i like the old Altec speakers and tube amps. But in the philosophy of this site it's old obsolete and flawed technology (what it at the end also is from engineering side of view). And i'm definitly not the only one who like that "old obsolete and flawed tech", many do. That is why this guy (and many others who make those oldskool setups) are still selling a lot.

And i think you can get this kind of sound with modern tech also. I'm actually in the process of building something that should sound similar with big compression drivers in a horn and a midwoofer under it. It won't have the bandwith of modern speakers, but that is what the friend for who it is wants. But i use modern big compression drivers in big horns crossed low to an modern (mid)woofers in a reflex by a dsp and class D amps to get there (as the he wants it relative high power) and may add a solid state circuit that adds harmonic distortion (with a bypass) to get the "tube sound". It's still in dev phase altough (so no finished plans yet). The system i'm building will also be much cheaper than this overpriced hipster system.
 

DonR

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My conclusion on this is that this guy is just a hipster making overpriced hipster stuff with proven tech from the past. It probally sounds good as he is using parts that should sound good, but it's not as accurate as modern tech is. If that is a problem is a subjective preference, i would not mind as i like the old Altec speakers and tube amps. But in the philosophy of this site it's old obsolete and flawed technology (what it at the end also is from engineering side of view). And i'm definitly not the only one who like that "old obsolete and flawed tech", many do. That is why this guy (and many others who make those oldskool setups) are still selling a lot.

And i think you can get this kind of sound with modern tech also. I'm actually in the process of building something that should sound similar with big compression drivers in a horn and a midwoofer under it. It won't have the bandwith of modern speakers, but that is what the friend for who it is wants. But i use modern big compression drivers in big horns crossed low to an modern (mid)woofers in a reflex by a dsp and class D amps to get there (as the he wants it relative high power) and may add a solid state circuit that adds harmonic distortion (with a bypass) to get the "tube sound". It's still in dev phase altough (so no finished plans yet). The system i'm building will also be much cheaper than this overpriced hipster system.
As long as people know what they are getting there is no problem. I have tube equipment myself and enjoy the colouration that such equipment brings. I do take issue with this sentence from the website though:

"With a particular interest in high efficiency speakers and low powered tube amplifiers, Ojas audio equipment aims to bring realistic, natural sound to the listener."

Ignoring the undefinable term of "natural" sound, if he wants his system to be realistic, i.e. faithfully reproduce the source signal, he should not be using tube-based amplification. Sounds great? Probably (mostly due to the speakers I would guess). Natural? WTFK. Realistic? No.
 

MakeMineVinyl

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My conclusion on this is that this guy is just a hipster making overpriced hipster stuff with proven tech from the past. It probally sounds good as he is using parts that should sound good, but it's not as accurate as modern tech is. If that is a problem is a subjective preference, i would not mind as i like the old Altec speakers and tube amps. But in the philosophy of this site it's old obsolete and flawed technology (what it at the end also is from engineering side of view). And i'm definitly not the only one who like that "old obsolete and flawed tech", many do. That is why this guy (and many others who make those oldskool setups) are still selling a lot.

And i think you can get this kind of sound with modern tech also. I'm actually in the process of building something that should sound similar with big compression drivers in a horn and a midwoofer under it. It won't have the bandwith of modern speakers, but that is what the friend for who it is wants. But i use modern big compression drivers in big horns crossed low to an modern (mid)woofers in a reflex by a dsp and class D amps to get there (as the he wants it relative high power) and may add a solid state circuit that adds harmonic distortion (with a bypass) to get the "tube sound". It's still in dev phase altough (so no finished plans yet). The system i'm building will also be much cheaper than this overpriced hipster system.
The problem with the speakers he is building is that none of them follow the intent of the original Altec engineers when they developed the VOTT systems. Specifically, using a huge, very wide dispersion horn designed for huge movie theaters of the mid-century and before which is capable of covering way up into balconies and a driver which was designed to produce enough energy to accomplish that. That horn/driver combination mated to a small bass reflex cabinet which is nowhere capable of keeping up with the sensitivity of the HF components.

In other words, the HF and LF are grossly mismatched. On top of that, the original VOTT systems used a short LF horn so that time alignment between HF and LF was automatically accomplished by virtue of the driver's voice coils being on the same vertical plane. Below is the A-4 system which shows how these components were intended to be configured:

a4.jpg



The smaller A-7 and A7-500 were designed for smaller theaters, motion picture studio preview rooms, and homes with a lot of space. Below is the A7-500 (mine actually).

A7-500.jpg


Altec did make a couple systems which used the huge multi-cellular horn with non-LF horns, the A-9 and A-10, but these were designed for special circumstances of very shallow spaces behind the screen of the "shoebox" theaters of the 70s, and were frankly a severe compromise.

What this guy is making conforms to none of how the original designers intended these components be used. Now I'm sure someone here is going to bitch and say that I'm just being an old purist, and to some degree that is correct. But being an ex-Altec engineer and seeing the components be used more as pandering to style and in systems which are going to sound like the worst that the components are capable of - I need to call bullshit.

This guy will have his museum show and have his 15 minutes of fame, and then he'll go back to making skateboards or whatever he did before. And the people who build these systems for real will go on laboring behind the scenes.
 

MattHooper

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As long as people know what they are getting there is no problem. I have tube equipment myself and enjoy the colouration that such equipment brings.

Ok, then we are brothers-in-tubes, so I hope you'll take my disagreement kindly :)


I do take issue with this sentence from the website though:

"With a particular interest in high efficiency speakers and low powered tube amplifiers, Ojas audio equipment aims to bring realistic, natural sound to the listener."

Ignoring the undefinable term of "natural" sound, if he wants his system to be realistic, i.e. faithfully reproduce the source signal, he should not be using tube-based amplification. Sounds great? Probably (mostly due to the speakers I would guess). Natural? WTFK. Realistic? No.

"if he wants his system to be realistic, i.e. faithfully reproduce the source signal,"

As I've pointed out many times when these subjects come up, accuracy ("faithfully reproduce the source signal") does not entail "realism." They are entirely separable. Most recordings are not realistic. If you play them on an accurate system, you will not get realistic.

As for "natural" as a sonic description, I don't see why that concept would be mysterious or hard to understand. It means, in the case of audio, "sounding more like X sounds in nature, in real life" vs "sounding artificial."

For instance, if you take a balanced recording of a human voice played back on an accurate system, you can play with EQ in all sorts of ways to make it sound "less natural." You can emphasize the sibilant region so they sound utterly electronic and colored, you can scoop out the warmth region to make them sound too thin and lacking body, etc. "Natural" is of course a reference to how the human voice tends to sound "naturally" rather than after having been altered mechanically/electrically/acoustically in a recording and playback scenario. Dialogue editors and movie sound mixers are working all the time to ensure dialogue "sounds natural" - restoring 'natural sounding' warmth when needed, dialing back exaggerated sibiliance, etc.

And of course each time you have to "fix" a sound like that, you are deviating from the original signal, which is just another example for how "accurate" does not equate to "natural" or "realistic" and in fact manipulating the sound can actually enhance natural/realistic factors.

So there's nothing odd at all about the idea that a deviation from accuracy can, in principle, enhance the sense of "natural" or "realistic" sound.

When it happens, does it always happen is certainly up for debate. And since very, very few recordings and playback systems would sound truly "realistic," and most references to real life will show compromises, it's reasonable people will differ on which compromises they find to sound "more natural."

I find, in my system, that my tube amplification tends to make recordings sound more "natural" and "realistic," especially the human voice. Someone else may disagree. But though I haven't heard the Oja system, in principle I would not dismiss that certain tube amps with those speakers may sound more "natural/realistic" to my, and other people's ears.
 
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