Education For Novice Enthusiasts In Separates/RS87's Blog

RS87

Member
Not so much difficult tracks but whole albums because of compression. I'm talking exclusively about CDs. Anything by Haim and Paloma Faith. They are so compressed that it's painful on the ears. My Elicit and KEF R300 combination just doesn't like those two artists at all. Even worse on headphones.

If you're worried about sharp high notes then most of the tracks on Joni Mitchell's marvelous Blue album will give your system and your ears an outing. The Elicit can really control those highs and the KEFs respond accordingly. It's something than can fatigue with the wrong combination but I'll happily put all my Joni albums back to back. They are really well recorded.

I'm not sure we can blame that on Rega and KEF :)

RS87, I too feel cheated when I find an album that suffers from compression and the loudness wars...
Another one that I find difficult is deliberate clipping and/or volume cycling...
Low's Double Negative and Bon Iver's I,I are recent examples.
I like the albums despite BJ Burton's treatment, not because of...

Of course none of this can be fixed by Hi-Fi gear...
The quality of the source is paramount.

It's not the angle I was going for :D but it does bring me on to a subject I was going to broach a little later, that I have stumbled across quite a bit recently, and that's the 'Dynamic Range Compression' and Loudness Wars.

My favourite website I have been using a lot recently has compiled a databased of a lot of albums based on different media/"Source" showing the dynamic range of the album and also the loudness of the published recording in decibels (db) when you click on a specific album:


The gist of the issue is that the music is compressed onto the media more and more from the mastering process meaning music is sounding flatter, harsher and muddled. This is generally coupled with the fact that when CD's were released in the 80's, the recording was generally accepted, across the industry, to be released at -20db (off top of my head), give or take. However, during the 90's, the loudness war began and publishers began increasing the db on the CDs in an attempt to out-do each other. This loudness had a direct impact on the quality of the music when being replayed by the end consumer in the form of frequency clipping (imagine the spikes in the top and the bottom of the frequency graph having the points chopped off, therefore missing that final piece of sound). On low level systems, this may have seemed ok but the moment the music was played on any system even remotely capable of revealing quality music, the inverse happened... the poor quality was revealed.
 
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gibbsy

Moderator
Been using the dr.loudnesswar site for many years now. Good place for information even on some SACDs.
 

RS87

Member
Been using the dr.loudnesswar site for many years now. Good place for information even on some SACDs.

Good to hear, that's a bit of positive reinforcement to what I have found on my travels of the interweb and the view I have recently built, thanks.

From what I have read too, I wouldn't treat it all as gospel, since it is a user/community-uploaded database, just use as a good guide to keep one on the right track (no pun intended).

Hopefully this helps a few others in time, that may stumble across this.
 

Hianholland

Active Member
Hi,
@RS87, just a brief response after having the unit back for about 2 weeks now. Very pleased with the results of the ARC room correction and the overall sound achieved. Bass management is excellent with a smooth integration of the lower frequencies via the sub. All 'boominess' has gone. Overall sound clarity is superb, bass is there but subtle and not overpowering.
Room correction data is attached and the system has set a cross over at 80Hz, which seems fine to me. There are many adjustments I can make but for now I'll stay with the current setting and maybe begin tweaking in a few weeks. With the Arcam I had cross over set at 100Hz.
As the preamp has HT bypass, it's very easy to do a comparison of the bass control with the Arcam RC, which was obviously more geared towards HT than stereo music. Overall integration is much more refined with the Anthem and more suited to music.
I'll circle back in a few weeks when I've played about a bit more.
 

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RS87

Member
Hi all, sorry for such a delayed absence. I have been otherwise occupied with various twists and turns in life.

Since January, I have a significant development due... a home extension which will result in a full house refurbishment. With that, the wife has been duplicitous in her belief that the front room should be a 'luxury' room and one that is virtually out of bounds for day to day 'living'. With the extension, we are now planning a lounge area at the rear of the house where basically my current setup will migrate either wholly or predominantly to the new lounge at the back.

So the great news is, I will be investing a decent portion of my savings into the 'luxury' front room. This means at the very least a new integrated amp, a new CD player and new AVR with HT bypass. (FYI my savings will remain untouched because remortgaging will finance the extension)

With the complete refurb of the front room, I aim to tackle room acoustics, I shall insulate the door in the room to attempt to give the perception of being one continuous wall but my biggest hurdle is dealing with the large bay window on the RHS of the room. I am hoping the carpenter can be inventive to make some kind of discreet 'hinged shutter boards' that, again, will attempt to close the aperture of the internal window to feel like a wall, failing that, some kind of thick heavy curtain might have to suffice. Therefore, I should have 4 bricked walls, one with a bay window 'insulated boarded' up and a door in the front left corner, also insulated. The other issue to consider is the hollow ceiling. Floors will be carpeted. Sofas will be about 2/3 towards rear of 4x5m room (with 5m being the front to back viewing length).

No further attempt to correct room acoustics with diffusers, isolators etc before setting up the new equipment since I wont know what the new characteristics are like, which I hope to be adequate improvements on there own.

So, with all that in mind... my first three instincts for new integrated amps to try are the Rega Aethos, Denon PMA-2500NE and the Yamaha S-2100. The Denon at first glance appears to provide the biggest bang for my buck and the matching CD player would go nicely. I do however love my Elicit-R which should indicate I would like the Aethos but for pure aesthetics, the Yamaha wins by a million miles and the sound is decent too.

Anyway, that's my update, it's early doors but that's where my head is at right this minute. I have changed the title of this thread to add that it is my blog because I feel a little bit of a fraud in the sense that now my new project is certainly not 'affordable', as first stated in my OP, however, the topic is still firmly on separates and all help, advice and suggestions are more than welcome.

Hope everyone has been well in the last 6 months, be good to hear of any component upgrades and why.
 
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RS87

Member
Blog update.

Extension has only just begun this week. Well behind on the original plan, however, I am enjoying my current separates setup for one last night before it gets packed up for a few months and it is Human League’s Greatest Hits (Virgin Records - HLPCD1) that is really making me put this post up and it’s track 08 - Being Boiled that is absolutely smashing it for me!

I’m on the foot stool for the sofa and am leaning and out at all sorts of angles for the perfect stereo sound and right now I’m sag rather close to the speakers and leaning right in and the stereo sound coming from Being Boiled keeps making replay the song on repeat!

I keep leaning forwards and backwards on the foot stool to play around with the stereo ‘imaging’, if that’s the right word and I can’t help but lean right in between the speakers and fully immerse myself into the track! The rest of the album is more laid back…. But this track…. It’s full on lean in mode! :D

Anyway, well overdue blog update over, loving the separates! Back again when the next significant phase happens. FYI I’m listening to Marantz CD6006UKSE with the above Human League CD. I know Greatest Hits CD’s aren’t supposed to have the best dynamic range in general but for whatever reason, that track really stands out with depth, character and it’s own personality above the rest of the tracks on the compilation… to me at least.

Last blog before the major refurb, see you on the other side. FYI, listen to Being Boiled… it’s fantastic!! I keeping listening on repeat!
 

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