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Yet another Elac Debut reference thread!

Stereotuber

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Hi all - noob here and this is my first thread on ASR so please be gentle :)
Mods, if this needs to be merged with another thread please fire away.

So, after all the research I took the DBR 62 plunge. These are setup in my partially treated living room which measures about 12X20 feet with a 9ft ceiling. I've got them on good stands (which are 28 inches tall) and about 30 inches from most walls (the very best I can do). For this setup I'm only doing Qobuz from a rpi via usb to Topping E30 (both powered by Allo Shanti lpsu) which then plugs directly into my custom built dual mono block AB power amp which measures (as per the builder) 195wpc at 8ohms.

I love everything about the Elacs, except low volume performance. I had a day with REW but forgot to save my readings (though iirc nothing "exceptional" showed up in measurements). Anything below 65 db and they sound dull and lifeless. Above that level the Elacs start to really shine. From my very basic understanding, my options to solve this (without breaking the bank) are:

  • Get a "better" class D amp like the ncore or purifi builds. I'd love to experiment with these but I'm in a geography where shipping + duties push the price up by 50-80%
  • Some fellow Dbr 62 owners who've used the E30 suggest moving to E50 or even the DX3 pro+ as they work "better as preamps"
  • Add a dedicated preamp and use the topping in dac mode only
  • Add a sub
  • Correlate this phenomenon to speaker design and either use one of the above "fixes", live with the compromise or (..gasp!) replace the 62s
I've tried several other speakers (more efficient ones) with this setup and in other chains in the same room but never really felt this issue with a complete loss of dynamics at lower volumes. There are bits and pieces of some of the info I'm seeking all across ASR and the internet but I haven't found any definitive answers - hence the thread.

Any help would be most appreciated!
Tube preamp. Neutral speakers sound better with tubes. More loudness at low volume, more realistic sound at high volume. Musicians use tube amps. Ever wonder why? I use tubes. But not on v shaped speakers. Only monitors or reference speakers.
 

StevenEleven

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There’s no shame or error in turning up the bass and treble a little to taste if you are usually listening at less than reference level (which most normal people do In my experience).

Floyd Toole advocates for using tone controls in this way.

You can either just literally turn the bass and treble up a little at the volume you like the best
(65 db I guess for OP?) until it sounds just right to you personally, or you can find some fancy way to do it like a variable loudness control or dynamic EQ or whatever, but I think you are more likely to get it right if you just set things at your normal listening volume and turn the bass and treble up a little until you are digging it.

If a speaker sounds perfect around reference levels (75 to 80 dB in the home I guess) it’s going to sound a little less zingy at lower levels in my experience. I have the bass and treble both up a little, I have the DBR-62s with bass and treble up in the 2 to 4 decibel range, usually listening at normal people (significantly less then reference) levels, usually bass more than treble.

Just do it how it floats your boat. IMHO & etc. There’s no objective answer to how much is just right at the lower volumes, but it is well known and researched that we lose some bass and treble subjectively as the volume goes down (Fletcher-Munson etc.). It’s not a settled question as to exactly how much compenation is needed.

i see no reason why a DAC or a preamp or a tube amp, etc., would help. Unless they are broke or designed defectively or are grossly misused those stages of your system, whether integrated or separate, should be audibly transparent, and if they are not audibly transparent, they would for this purpose be a grossly inefficient and imprecise and overpriced and inflexible tone control. IMHO & etc.
 
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Steve Dallas

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Tube preamp. Neutral speakers sound better with tubes. More loudness at low volume, more realistic sound at high volume. Musicians use tube amps. Ever wonder why? I use tubes. But not on v shaped speakers. Only monitors or reference speakers.
Precisely how does this work? What magic in tubes makes more loudness at low volume and more realistic sound at high volume? Tube preamps have flat frequency response curves. I know. I happen to be the designer of several back in the day. What tubes bring to the table are noise and distortion. Perhaps those are pleasing to you, but they do not contribute to what you claim, other than some untrained listeners equating distortion harmonics with various subjective changes in treble response, e.g. "brighter," "sweeter," etc.

I have also designed and built dozens of tube amps for pro musicians and studios. The reason they use them is for their distortion profile and "feel" in terms of compression, "touch sensitivity," "sag," "bloom." These are functions of the power supply and variances in output impedance vs. frequency vs. speaker impedance and have nothing to do with tube preamps.

What the OP was dealing with is "accurate speaker syndrome" compounded by the Fletcher Munson Curve. Solutions are to break in a listener slowly over time and/or apply dynamic equalization depending on SPL. The former solution worked for the OP.
 

levimax

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There’s no shame or error in turning up the bass and treble a little to taste if you are usually listening at less than reference level (which most normal people do In my experience).

Floyd Toole advocates for using tone controls in this way.

You can either just literally turn the bass and treble up a little at the volume you like the best
(65 db I guess for OP?) until it sounds just right to you personally, or you can find some fancy way to do it like a variable loudness control or dynamic EQ or whatever, but I think you are more likely to get it right if you just set things at your normal listening volume and turn the bass and treble up a little until you are digging it.

If a speaker sounds perfect around reference levels (75 to 80 dB in the home I guess) it’s going to sound a little less zingy at lower levels in my experience. I have the bass and treble both up a little, I have the DBR-62s with bass and treble up in the 2 to 4 decibel range, usually listening at normal people (significantly less then reference) levels, usually bass more than treble.

Just do it how it floats your boat. IMHO & etc. There’s no objective answer to how much is just right at the lower volumes, but it is well known and researched that we lose some bass and treble subjectively as the volume goes down (Fletcher-Munson etc.). It’s not a settled question as to exactly how much compenation is needed.

i see no reason why a DAC or a preamp or a tube amp, etc., would help. Unless they are broke or designed defectively or are grossly misused those stages of your system, whether integrated or separate, should be audibly transparent, and if they are not audibly transparent, they would for this purpose be a grossly inefficient and imprecise and overpriced and inflexible tone control. IMHO & etc.
This
 
OP
A

Audiofool1Q84

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Thanks @Steve Dallas @StevenEleven for those helpful suggestions & reflections. I've been experimenting more with light peq filters for lower spl listening but with patience & brain burn in realised that at least for me apart from some minor modal corrections below 100Hz these Elacs sound simply excellent as is.
 
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