Author Topic: G2G at Rich's 8/25  (Read 16814 times)

Offline Carlman

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Re: G2G at Rich's 8/25
« Reply #30 on: August 28, 2007, 12:07:19 PM »
It appears to be universal that the Reality cables were not favorites. Am I reading correctly that these were speaker cables, and not IC's? Were Reality IC's used at any point?
It also appears that the SP Tech speakers were deemed 'forward' by most. Were the Manley's the only amps used?
Thanks,
WEEZ

Yes and yes, I did not bring my reality IC's... didn't think of that.  :duh 

The Manley's were the only amp on tap.  We had plenty of other gear, though... More than we could've compared over 2 days.... This comparison wasn't meant to deem anything a winner or loser... it wasn't a shoot-out, just a comparison... Rich is still dialing-in his system and what works best in his (complex) room.

I'm really happy Rich settled on the speaker cables he has now... The JPS work better than anything I've heard in his room so far.  The Reality's simply weren't a good match in this one instance... which surprised me given their tremendous detail, depth, and 'reality' in my system/room.

-C
« Last Edit: August 28, 2007, 12:11:49 PM by Carlman »
I really enjoy listening to music.

WEEZ

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Re: G2G at Rich's 8/25
« Reply #31 on: August 28, 2007, 12:40:55 PM »
Thanks for the clarification, Carl.  :oops: After re-reading the thread, I should have caught that myself.

Guess I'm surprised the Reality's didn't 'relax' the forwardness of the Timepieces....and still provide detail and ambience. Who-da-thunk-it?

WEEZ

Bigfish8

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Re: G2G at Rich's 8/25
« Reply #32 on: August 28, 2007, 05:05:22 PM »
Guys:

I have read all the reviews from our G2G over at Rich's several times.  I have also gone back and conducted some research on past comments about SP Tech. Timepieces.  Everything I can read indicates that these speakers require lots of power with a minimum sized amp of 75 watts.  I recall the other evening the digital volume reading on the Oracle being in the range of 32 or 33 with the Timepieces versus around 15 when we switched to the Legacy's.  I realize I am the newbie here but the engineer in me tells me that this is an indication that significantly more power was required to drive the Timepieces.  Do you think the difference was 3 DB or possibly as much as 6 DB in power required from the amp (double to four times the required power)?  I am wondering if the Manley's were powerful enough or had enough headroom to make the Timepieces perform at their best?  In hindsight I wish I would have wrestled my big Odyssey Mono SEs to the G2G and I would not be asking this question.  Some of my comments are based on a gentlemen on AC that has a stereo Odyssey amp (which still is over 100 watts per channel) and he was biamping the Timepieces and still did not have enough power to properly drive them. 

Hopefully, at sometime in the future, we can have a G2G at my place where you will have the opportunity to hear the Timepieces again and this time driven by the big Odysseys.  I am not implying anything negative about the Manley's or about their capabilities.  Just based on what I have been reading they are probably not powerful enough for the Timepieces, especially in a room as large as Rich's.

Ken
« Last Edit: August 28, 2007, 05:13:20 PM by Bigfish8 »

Offline Carlman

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Re: G2G at Rich's 8/25
« Reply #33 on: August 28, 2007, 07:12:35 PM »
Ken,
It's entirely possible that the SP Tech's need something different than the Manley amps at Rich's to sound best.  I thought about bringing my amp (McIntosh MC402) and C220 preamp to this gathering but I didn't have a chance to ask Rich if he'd like that or get myself organized enough to bring them if he wanted me to.  ;)  I would think 400wpc would be adequate power in Rich's room, not excessive, on the Timepieces...

I heard Lonewolf's Timepiece 2.0's connected to 2 Butler 2250 amps in a smaller room and it was better overall. 

I think you could be onto why things sounded the way they did...  And to me, potentially explains why the Reality's weren't a good match... They may have been the highest capacitance of the bunch, causing even more struggle from the amp-to-speaker at the peak of the Manley's current output, I could see how that would've changed the sound significantly.

So, are you volunteering to host the next gathering?! :)

-C
I really enjoy listening to music.

Offline richidoo

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Re: G2G at Rich's 8/25
« Reply #34 on: August 28, 2007, 07:29:29 PM »
Excellent question Ken, because low powered amps can indeed make a speaker sound like crap. ALl I know is that the Legacys are notorious current hog due to the low impedance dips at 30Hz and across 70-80 where it reaches 1.9 ohms. The SPs are nominal 8 ohms and relatively flat impedance curve from what I've read. Timepiece efficiency is 88dB?/W/m (8ohms) whereas Focus is 95dB/2.83V/m (4ohms) or 92dB/W/m. This efficiency difference explains the different volume settings.

I have found the Manley Snappers to be quite stout in the lower octaves where routine current demand is much higher than Timepiece would demand at those freqs or any freq due to Timepieces nice flat impedance curve, the mark of a well designed speaker from engineering POV. Jim's Adagio is also very flat 6? ohms and is one of my all time favorites. But Focus has multiple large drivers in series, which drives down the impedance, and given enough power, it is a huge deliciously natural and realistic bass. We didn;t get to play much bass heavy stuff on Sat, I never remember to pull out the Organ music or 1812. Maybe next time!

Snapper's output transformer is optimized for 5ohm load, where it makes 105W, quiet a lot of power for a tube amp. No clipping, no compression, nice detail and texture easily apparent, even on cannon shots played at SB's full volume. Thats well over 110dB. That same track (1812 overture)played at SB full volume was enough to cause thermal shutdown on Nuforce 9SE, rated at 160wpc with supposedly >1000W available into low impedances. But that is not a valid comparison due to Nuforce quirky behavior, just a real world observation.

Music we were listening to all night Saturday was moderate volume, uncompressed, mostly acoustic recordings with very low current demands. On the speaker cable comparisons the orchestral bass drum was probably the current peak of the night, and there was no compression or loss of incredible Timepiece detail at all. That said, they certainly could have sounded even better with more power - most speakers of all stripes do, because it allows faster delivery of current even when the current demanded does not approach the amp's maximum. It just sounds "easier." In high end audio we strive for the effortless presentation so the maximum current is much less important than the speed at which normal music power can be delivered. No doubt even my speakers would sound a lot better with 200 tube watts, or 400 SS watts, but then my budget would be different too :) Clean sounding tube watts are expensive!!

Since tubes clip far more gently than transistors, tube watts can feel like they are "more powerful" than SS watts, although there is no direct correlation or ratio, just a thumbnail observation based on the fact that normal music playing requires only small power, less than a couple watts. But peaks require more, and tubes handle overload peaks more gracefully than transistors so it seems like they can play louder on less watts without audible clipping noise, even if they are in fact overloading. Of course all this depends on the power supply being able to deliver current very quickly too, which is not always the case, and why it is important to have power reserves into lower impedenaces. Tubes are notoriously bad at increasing power into lower impedances, note Snapper's 100W>8ohms, and 105 watts>5ohms. Not exactly Krell. But good enough for the old man... hehehe

But much of the comments about the Timepieces made were not relating to peak power, and Snappers (IMO) have enough power to show off the general characteristic of the speaker which was evident even in low volume material. No compression or distortion of any kind was noticed by me, but I didn't pay close attention all night, only on the second half and the loud stuff at the end. :)

It would be awesome to hear your Odysseys on the Timepieces and maybe even on the Legacys in the future.
Great question!! I hope I didn't get anything too wrong or too far out or make it even more confusing. I hope others can jump in too.
Rich

Offline Carlman

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Re: G2G at Rich's 8/25
« Reply #35 on: August 28, 2007, 07:46:33 PM »
Rich's comments makes me think more strongly about my original statement... Manleys + SP Tech's aren't as good of a match as Odyssey's  + SP Tech's... I gar-on-tee Ken put a lot of time and thought into selecting each piece to be in balance or trying to find that 'synergistic match'...  And I know Rich has been doing the same. 

Plopping someone's speakers into another guy's system is a tough situation.  Especially in this situation where Rich has poured a ton of time and energy into a specific recipe yielding the results he craves. 

I've heard older Odyssey monoblocks and they didn't sound as 'exciting' to me as the Manleys... Maybe the SP Tech's just don't need excitement?  I don't know.. just sayin'... ;)

-C
« Last Edit: August 28, 2007, 07:49:00 PM by Carlman »
I really enjoy listening to music.

sp pres

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Re: G2G at Rich's 8/25
« Reply #36 on: August 28, 2007, 07:51:14 PM »
Gentlemen,

My first time here so... Hello!  :D And best wishes to all.  Thanks Carl, for letting me in the door.

Thought I'd stop in and offer some possible insight regarding your experience with Ken's Timepieces.  If the Manleys are 100 w/ch (?), then all I would need to do some calculations would be the SPL and distance from the speakers the measurement was taken at.

Regardless of the exact numbers, I'd like to ask if you guys are familiar with what the results of amplifier clipping are?  I don't want to "talk down" to or offend anyone, but I'll take liberty and elaborate a little.

First, be it tube or solid state...ALL amplifiers turn musical signal peaks into "square waves" when they are driven into clipping.  Square waves examined under  under Fourier analysis (a mathmatical process) are equivalent to an infinite series of odd-ordered (1/3, 1/5, 1/7 etc.) harmonics with decreasing amplitude as the harmonic order increases, starting with the fundamental tone that has been "clipped."  This is a very ugly thing to hear.

Now...a fast rising transient can be clipped without the listener ever detecting it as such.  Only when severe clipping (i.e., gross distortion) occurs is the listener fully aware that the amplifier is being over driven.  Short duration clipping on the order of 1 or 2 millisecond long transients are virtually never detected by our hearing as "obvious" distortion.  Rather, as very slight clipping begins to occur (once every few seconds) the listener wil virtually never know - regardless of hearing accuity.  Such small amounts of clipping occur on virtually all systems of less than several hundred watts of power when playing back the wide dynamic range music being provided by todays digital formats.

It is not uncommon for a signal to be anywhare from 10 to 20dB higher in amplitude than the "average" signal level that our brains unerstand as "volume" or SPL.  10dB peaks require the amplifier to put out 10 times the power as that required to achieve the average volume.  A 20dB peak would require that same amp to put out 100 times the power!  So...say your cruising along at 10 watts average power and a 20dB signal comes along (remember...it only lasts maybe for 1/1000th of a second).  Now that same amp has to produce 1000 watts to keep from clipping that signal.  You can see where I'm going with this. 8)  Fortunately, 20dB peaks aren't really all that common, but 10dB ones certainly are - very common in fact. 

Now, your having a little rave and you swap out one speaker (95dB SPL @ 2.83V/1M) for another and the new speaker is about 10dB less efficient/sensitive (85dB SPL @ 2.83V/1M) than the other.  There goes 10dB of amplifier headroom right out the window.  Oh...and lest you start comparing impedance curves, the 8-Ohm rating/output voltage ability of the amp is all that really matters.  A 1 millisecond wide peak is equivalent to 1/2 cycle of a 500Hz tone.  Few 4-Ohm rated speakers are actually 4-Ohms at 500Hz - they're usually closer to 8-Ohms (even ours).  A 2mS wide transient is equivalent to 1/2 cycle at 250Hz - still out of the "low Z" region (bass) for most speakers.  In any case, the issue of clipping is far more voltage dependant than current and hence sensitivity of each speaker at 2.83V is more indicative of the difference between models than their actual 1 watt rating.  Even if we compare watts to watts, in this case that means we loose "only" 7dB of headroom.  Ask any amp manufacturer if he would like "only" another 7dB of headroom in his amp at no extra cost. :rofl:

So now you're not clipping once every few seconds - you're clipping maybe several times a second.  Still short duration pulses - but far more frequent.  Now many more of those "odd-ordered" harmonics begin to "splash" all over your nice clean "average level" signals.  What do you suppose that would sound like?  That's right...it creates a presentation that is somewhat bright and forward.  Now, how much the more so would this be evident in a speaker that is KNOWN for being extremely revealing and offers a flat response out to about 24KHz?

Then, you put the original speaker back in the system and remember...it's at least 6dB more sensitive.  All of a sudden that bright, forward quality is gone and a "laid back" sound emerges.  Ooops!  Crap!!! AFTER we turn the volume back down, that is.  Gotta remember to turn that knob down first next time.  Thank God we didn't blow that higher sensitivity speaker. 

Yeah... that's a real good indicator as to just how much you were pushing that amp.  But... seeing that you guys learned that lesson many years ago, that event never took place.  Instead, you're an experienced audiophile now so you always turn the volume down first before you change anything in the system.  And in so doing...you don't have that blast or ear shattering volume to make you realize just how hard you were really pushing that amp.  That darned lower sensitivity speaker is just too bright and forward sounding - that's the problem.  Sorry, just not my cup of tea.

NOW...you know why I have recommended a pretty big amp for the Timepieces for years now.  Without that, they often get the blame.  I'm just thankful you were using a tube amp with it's "softer" clipping characteristics or all of you would have run screaming out of the room.

Sorry, don't mean to offend anyone - that's just been my experience with our speakers on many occasions.  I can't stand to even listen to the TPs on less than about 150w/ch of SS amplification.  100 watts of tube power will work...but back off on your SPL expectations.  Either that...or sit closer.  :roll:

Oh well, maybe next time. 8)

Take care,
-Bob

Offline Carlman

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Re: G2G at Rich's 8/25
« Reply #37 on: August 28, 2007, 08:09:16 PM »
Hey Bob, thanks and welcome to AN...

I don't think we were clipping and we did do SPL readings to make sure we were pretty close when swapping cables and speakers around... Plus, Rich pretty much covered that the material was mostly easy stuff. 

Please keep in mind this wasn't a shoot-out, just a buncha guys playing around with gear... The SP's sounded fine to me, just not a good match in this system/room with minimal setup.  I know Shane mentioned there was some attention to setup but... It takes me weeks, sometimes months to get speakers where they sound best in a room.  So, they were essentially 'plopped down' in my opinion.

The SP's enjoyed the room they had to work with... and at about 20' away, they sounded really good... I'd love to hear these speakers in a huge room just for the fun of it... I bet they'd be great in a ballroom... just room-filling dynamics for all... :)

Speaker ratings are weird... I had 91db efficient speakers before and 400wpc was just right for them... and now I've got 89db and I feel like 500 would be better...  :lol:  We'll see what happens.  More clean power is always better... But in a casual gathering of hobbyists, we do what we can.

-C
I really enjoy listening to music.

Hantra

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Re: G2G at Rich's 8/25
« Reply #38 on: August 28, 2007, 08:33:06 PM »
low powered amps can indeed make a speaker sound like crap.

Affirmative  :idea:

No doubt even my speakers would sound a lot better with 200 tube watts, or 400 SS watts,

Ohh how I wish we could get a McIntosh over to Rich's place, and not tell him if it was tubed or solid state.   O:)

but then my budget would be different too :) Clean sounding tube watts are expensive!!

 :rofl:  This from a guy with $3,200 speaker wires. 


I think we may be onto something with regard to the SP's.  More power would certainly relax things, as paradoxical as that may sound. 

« Last Edit: August 28, 2007, 08:34:39 PM by Hantra »

lonewolfny42

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Re: G2G at Rich's 8/25
« Reply #39 on: August 28, 2007, 10:17:03 PM »
Quote
More power would certainly relax things, as paradoxical as that may sound. 
Thats true B....and thats what the TP's demand....and why I use two Butler amps...800 watts in mono form.
I'm sure it sounds like a lot....but after hearing so may different speakers, that extra power always comes in handy....its better to have more than less on quiet a few speakers...
Too bad there were no MAC's there.... :(

              Chris

Offline richidoo

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Re: G2G at Rich's 8/25
« Reply #40 on: August 29, 2007, 08:17:04 AM »
Well this is EXACTLY WHY....


God invented tomorrow.  hehe

With Ken's continued enthusiasm, I'm hope we'll get another chance to hear Timepiece!! I hope it's soon. Then I'll bring the Snappers, Ken can bring Oddyssey, and somebody can bring the BIG iron and we'll see if there's a noticeable difference. I will offer to help Ken move the Timepieces with my minivan. I know it is a big hassle but there was tremendous interest in hearing the speakers this month, so maybe that will carry over again. Timepiece Audition part two, "Unlimited Power!" I would love to put my Snappers up against MC402, bring it on, sucker!  :rofl:  I'll even bias the tubes for the occasion ....   ;) Maybe I'll get some oscilliscope software to view the amps' outputs across the speaker terminals to see if any of the amps are indeed clipping as suspected.

All that said,  :roll:  I will reiterate my impression of the Timepieces after festering in my mind for a few days. I am thinking seriously about making changes to my system based on the midrange clarity that they gave. I never heard that compromised at all due to amp distortion, and I have a rather tender ear when it comes to midrange tone and microdynamics. I was very impressed with the sound of Miles trumpet and the details of recorded ambience laid down by the Timepieces. With RichardS' baby blue "Sword" speaker cables I heard perfect trumpet and clarinet sound back deep in the stage of a wailing orchestra that certainly put some heat on the amps. Subtle differences in speaker cables were easily heard at peak volumes. That is not the sign of a clipping amplifier. After hearing Timepiece (and WATT/Puppy 8 in same week), I want that midrange clarity for my own system, but I gotta have tube amps or something of equivalent emotional transparency.

I venture my opinion that the sound of ultra clear treble of the Manleys and other modern PP tube designs is different than most SS amps, and is one reason many people prefer powerful tube amps. SS treble is usually not clear enough for me. I like the refined, extended treble detail of a well designed tube amp. The waveguide tweeter design of the Timepiece is very revealing of treble and I assume was voiced to sound ideal with SS amplifiers. Using a tube amp that is not your typical rolled-off antique design might be something that just doesn't sound good on Timepieces due to their unique tweeter design, even though it sounds fine on my Legacys with ribbon tweeters, BG Z7 ribbons, and on Quad 2805 - the only other speakers on which I have heard them played. Actually treble did sound like shit on Infinity CMMD tweeter, but that's a $150 speaker.

I'm even willing to believe that until I heard high treble of the Snappers on the ultra revealing Timepieces I never knew how offensive the amps sounded. I'm willing to accept any explanation, but also not willing to rule any out based on textbook estimations - the experiment rules. I would just like to understand what's really happening, and why a few people with ears I trust all said the same thing about speakers that have such a strong following. As I said, I'm in the speaker market again, and SP is certainly a candidate. If SS amp makes the difference, I wanna hear that!! SS power is usually cheaper than tubes so I'm all for it if the sound is there. But I also want to shield the Snappers from being blamed for insufficient power and clipping under normal use unless that is shown by measurement to be true. Then I will jump right on board. I lived with clipping tube amp for a long time and I know what it sounds like. I did not hear any trace of that with Timepieces/Snappers.

It is great to see you here Bob, I hope you will make a regular appearance. No need to worry about offending anyone here. Congrats on your great design and success. I am really looking forward to hearing it again, "as the designer intended."
Rich

Hantra

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Re: G2G at Rich's 8/25
« Reply #41 on: August 29, 2007, 09:29:18 AM »
Quote
I gotta have tube amps or something of equivalent emotional transparency

That's precisely why I went through 3 dozen amplifiers in the past 3 years.  I'm looking for emotion.  I used to think emotion would come from a smoothness, but I was just an amateur audiophile back then.  I realized on my quest that emotion (from hifi) comes from true transparency and dynamic contrasts.  That's when I found the 402.  When I had the opportunity to upgrade to the 501, I was doubtful it would be much better, but what the heck. 

I'll be glad to bring those for the comparison.  Monoblocks shouldn't be compared with stereo amps.   :rofl:

But I HAVE to bring some music this time.   :duh

jrebman

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Re: G2G at Rich's 8/25
« Reply #42 on: August 29, 2007, 09:50:23 AM »
that emotion (from hifi) comes from true transparency and dynamic contrasts.

I think so too.  That's in essence what I heard with the Kharma speakers I mentioned in the "Humility" thread.

Update on the Reality cables:  I've been back and forth with Gregg a couple of times and we both agree that with my speakers so close together, a still not broken in amp, etc., that I really need to wait until they are 10 feet apart (instead of 6) and have some more time on eveything.  However, for about an hour or so for each of the past couple evenings I've been able to play the system pretty cranked up and they sound significantly better now.  It almost sounds like there was a clog in the line that needed to be pushed out, which I know from an engineering/physics perspective is nonsense, but something has changed, and for the better.  Cymbals are getting crisper, voices are moving forward to where they are supposed to be (though not quite there), and overall things are starting to sound very interesting.  Gregg said that even though he burns the cables in, it still probably takes another day or two to really open up, and I don't even think I have 20 hours on these yet.  I'm going to do my best to not be the impatient audiophile here and wait until I have things properly setup before making any final judgments.  The one thing I feel pretty confident in right now is that the Grovers and the Realitys seem like they could be a good match for each other in my system.

-- Jim
« Last Edit: August 29, 2007, 09:52:04 AM by Carlman »

Offline Carlman

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Re: G2G at Rich's 8/25
« Reply #43 on: August 29, 2007, 09:57:21 AM »
That's precisely why I went through 3 dozen amplifiers in the past 3 years.  I'm looking for emotion.  I used to think emotion would come from a smoothness, but I was just an amateur audiophile back then.  I realized on my quest that emotion (from hifi) comes from true transparency and dynamic contrasts.  That's when I found the 402.  When I had the opportunity to upgrade to the 501, I was doubtful it would be much better, but what the heck. 

I'll be glad to bring those for the comparison.  Monoblocks shouldn't be compared with stereo amps.   :rofl:

But I HAVE to bring some music this time.   :duh

Man you're making me feel bad... ;)  I had a stack of CD's... we listened to 1 from that stack... I couldn't find my Alice in Chains live album... or my Pearl Jam... but they're around... and will soon be in a box. :(

Please bring the 501's... I agree we should have them battle "mono a mono"  :lol:

The 402 (along with the rest of my big rig) will be boxed up for a long time soon. :(

-C
I really enjoy listening to music.

Offline richidoo

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Re: G2G at Rich's 8/25
« Reply #44 on: August 29, 2007, 11:09:54 AM »
I don't think emotion comes from smoothness either, but from low distortion, accurate tone, wide dynamic range, macro and micro. Hear exactly what the artist is doing and feel as he did. That's why I like tubes, I can hear that better than any SS amp I have yet heard. :) But not with that "tubey" smooth obscuring sound most people think of as tube amp sound. I didn't think that the Timepieces sounded tubey or overly smooth with Snappers.

Monads might wanna get in on this monoblock rumble too? haha
Guess I better run some more dedicated lines.
Rich