1. Join Now

    AVForums.com uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

HC vs Music....

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by tan1415, Apr 10, 2003.

  1. tan1415

    tan1415
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    I was last in a specialist high end Hifi shop to test a subwoofer. And they showed me a HC set by Sonus farber. They played the LOTR Ext V.
    I was also testing my setup with this DVD just this weekend and I was surprise how weak the sound was.
    So I watched the opening scene of the LOTR...and my suspicions was true. The sound was MUCH better with my homesystem than their system.
    Ít was not because my system was better or more expensive. But my system was just setup as a HC system, while they setup theirs from a musical standpoint.

    The Hifishop setup there system as a music first system...so realistic natural sound was first priority. So the Sub was very weak. You can barely hear it.
    Of course you don't need to hear the sub all the time...but when the soundtrack demands it...teh sub can't be shy.

    IMO in a HC system it's all about effects. Reality is a distant priority. With a HCsystem the pint is not to give you an natural sound....but to give you the feeling that you're right in the middle of the action. While Tom Hanks is storming Normandy, you must have the feeling that you're right next to him on teh beach..and not at home on your couch.

    This doesn't mean that with cheap high powered speakers and big powerfull amps is all you need to have a dream HC set.
    In contrary...the difference between a high quality HC system and a low quality HC system is ACCURACY.

    Loads of Bass and power is just not enough, your speakers must be accurate. I am not sure this is the right word.What i mean is that when teh bullets fly around you...you must be able to hear the bullets fly PAST you. Most cheap or badly setup HC systems only setup there system for max amount of bass or max amount of effect. Not only must your amp be able to give the correct signals..but your speakers AND subwoofer must be able to play it correctly and accurately.You nust be able to hear the effect that teh filmmaker wanted you te feel.So it must not be like you're assualted by sound...
    Of course unlike with music with homecinema there's the all important centerspeaker. Probably teh most important speaker because this is the main source of dialogue.Unheard of in stereo hifisetups.

    What I want to say is that I think that it's very difficult, maybe even impossible to have a setup that's equally good with HC and with music. A good musical speaker or amp doesn't automatically produce a good HC system.
    The needs are just to different IMO.
    On the otherhand..these means that while getting a system that does both well is impossible or very expensive, but getting a system that does one well is not that difficult or expensive.

    So when you are looking for a HC sub for example...how important is that it's musical or not? Isn't SPL and down right grunt more improtant? The prime example in this discussion is the Yamaha YST W800.(I know it's just 250 rms) What hifi gave it 5 stars...maybe too much. But i truly believe it that it's an ideal HC sub. It's maybe not a star musically...but it's more than able to produce the neccessary effects not only effectively but ALSO Accurately.
    The same argument goes with HC amps/receivers...why must they be musical? It must not sound like crap...but it must be able to play the soundtrack effectively and accurately.

    Imo if you really want a HC and Stereo..it's maybe much cheaper and easier to buy two seperate systems.
    And when auditioning stuff...DON'T FORGET WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING FOR!! HC of Music...two imo totally different beasts.


    Anyway i am curious about the views of you guys... It's just theory
    But I found it very interesting how contrasting our views and approach was to HC with the HIFI guy.
    I was all about effects,accuracy and realism...and he was about natural sound and such.
     
  2. dunkyboy

    dunkyboy
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2002
    Messages:
    633
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +6
    Hmm, you say music requires "realism" and a "natural" sound, and HC requires "accuracy"... Sounds to me like they all require the same thing. :)

    Actually, I do believe a system can be ideal at both music and movies. It can be expensive, but it can be done, and without too much difficulty. I do agree with you, however, that you can get a system that sounds good with music, and not so good with movies. BUT, I hasten to add that I feel that a system that does both well will sound better in music than a "music" system, and better in HC than an "HC" system. Why?

    Well. The way I see it (and believe me when I say this is all IMHO), musical systems have needs that home cinema systems don't *necessarily* require, and vice versa. A musical system thrives on subtlety, microdynamics, timbral accuracy (smooth, accurate treble, natural midrange, controlled, tuneful bass). A home cinema system doesn't need these qualities as badly - what it needs most are macrodynamics (the ability to "bang" and "thump"), especially in the bass, and clarity, particularly for dialogue and effects (when I say "clarity", as in "unmuffled", I don't necessarily mean "resolution", which isn't such a high priority for movies IMO).

    For not too much money (maybe £2-300 per component?), you can get a system that does very well with one of these categories. For a bit more (£5-600 per component) you can get a system that excels.

    But what happens when you get into the £1000+ per component range..? In my opinion, for that kind of money you can get systems that excel at *both* the music requirements and the cinema requirements. And the thing is, a music system that has excellent macrodynamics, strong, powerful bass, and good clarity, is going to sound a lot better, IMO, than one that doesn't. Likewise, a movie system that has subtlety, microdynamcs, and timbral accuracy will sound a lot better than one that doesn't. These qualities aren't the prime requisites for either category, but they do enhance them tremendously, and in my opinion a system that does both well will sound better with both than a system that does only one well.

    BTW, please do take my price estimates with a pinch of salt, as I was basically making them up off the top of my head, based on my experiences. :)

    And, in case you're wondering, yes I do think I have a system that excels at both, *almost*. :D It's based around ATC Actve speakers (3 ATC Active 10s in the front L-C-R, and an ATC Concept 2 sub), which are just phenomenal, in both music and movies, *because* they excel at all the qualities I mentioned. They can be a tad harsh if partnered badly (or badly positioned), so for music I use a Meridian 507 CD player, which has such a sweet, beautiful, natural sound that the ATCs just thrive, and for music my system is just amazing (recently bought my frist Chesky CD, the 'Ultimate Demonstration Disc', and it's REALLY shown my what my system can do! :eek: ). Sadly, the weakest link in my system is surround sound - I desperately need a quality AV processor to bring it up to snuff, but I won't have the cash for that for a while... :(

    Anyway, I'll stop blowing my own horn (does anyone else think that's a rather rude thing to say...?) I'm also curious what others think of course. :)

    Cheers,

    Dunc
     
  3. Steve.EX

    Steve.EX
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2001
    Messages:
    3,096
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    68
    Ratings:
    +69
    I would most certainly agree in part with Duncan.
    For me it is ALL in the detail (i AM a detail freak!).
    Whilst i recognise what it is you are saying, to me there is NO difference (other than the ACTUAL resolution coming off of dvd is not anything like the match of 16 bit pcm) between the two.
    That finite detail that lives on a cd/sacd/etc i want, i also want that detail off of the dvd!
    I want to hear it as close to mixing engineer/directors view point as possible. I do NOT want overblown bass, i do NOT want pumped up rear channels, i do NOT want artificial "imm ersion" just because there are 7 speakers on the wall etc etc etc.
    IMHO if any set up performs musically then it will have a good start in life for HC
    I feel the inconsistantsy's in lfe level's etc etc are the bane of dvd audio performance.
    Just my HO of course.

    Steve
     
  4. tan1415

    tan1415
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Duncan...you explained it well. better than me.
    Not sure what you paid for your setup. But i bet it's kinda expensive. :)

    But when I watch/listen to movies...I want it to sound as close as possible to a cinema experience.
    Is that different to what Steve Ex means with how a mixing engineer/director meant the sound to be?
    A cinema with a top THX soundsystem...will sound awesome with movies. But how good will it be when you play regular music over it?

    Also I think with movie...to clear or to detailed is not a good thing. I mean unlike with music...audio with movie is secondary to the film. It's used to enhance your movie watching experience. You're not actually listening, but experiencing it. With this i mean you are concentrating on the movie and the sound enhances your experience while you watch it.

    PS according to the hifi guy..real hifi is when you use analogue. So LP players. he says that it's even better than any of the digital sources for music.
     
  5. simon1967

    simon1967
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2002
    Messages:
    622
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    SE London/Kent
    Ratings:
    +8
    Ah, the holy grail - sports car or stationwagon - both get you from A to B but the experiences are totally different.

    I have been looking to upgrade my set-up for some time now and have yet to find a set-up that has made me go wow - that sounds amazing in both HC and music (regardless of price). Admittedly, I am not particularly up on what is the latest kit to have but prefer to go on what I am listening for when listening to music and HC:

    On music, I only listen in stereo and love it when the vocals are suspended mid air where you swear the vocalist would be standing. The instruments are placed in various positions around the speakers, some to the left, some to the right. With my eyes closed, you can literally place where the individuals are on the stage. That is what I am primarily listening for - I love the way the Monitor Audion Gold reference 20's sound, accurate, crisp with this imaging that I love. THe bass is deep and the sound is just so crisp without being bright that I could listen to my CD collection over and over again - which is how it should be.

    On HC, I want the pod racers to go left to right seamlessly and to place effects accurately from all speakers. The M&K 150 speaker set-up immerses you in sound from all around the room. The only disapointment was the sub as I could tell where it was positioned in the room but my guess is that it was set-up incorrectly or just too loud.

    So this is where the confusion sets in, why do the Monitor Audio Golds that sound so accurate with music sound so diffused with HC? Why does the sound not flow from left to right as accurately as on the M&K's? And why does the M&K set-up sound so thin and strained when playing Massive Attack. Where is the bass, the imaging and where's the meat on the music. Bear in mind that these are both 4-5K speaker set-ups and came away from the demo's no clearer than when I went in.

    I am thinking of buying dedicated separates for music and for HC because you almost always end up with a compromise. Yes Sir, this is an excellent DVD player that plays CDs well. It should be because it costs £2000!!! Surely, I am better off buying a really good £800-£1000 DVD player and buying an excellent CD player for £400. Now this isn't really an option on speakers but to be honest I have thought about it - an M&K discrete in-wall set up for HC and two really beautiful looking and sounding floorstanders for music duties. To be honest, I will keep looking and have an appointment at the Batcave tomorrow. So who knows, maybe I will find the holy grail tomorrow?

    Keep looking

    Simon
     
  6. dunkyboy

    dunkyboy
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2002
    Messages:
    633
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +6
    Ahh, I expect Uncle Eric will show you just how good the M&K's can *really* sound, with both movies and music. :)
     
  7. alexs2

    alexs2
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2002
    Messages:
    13,895
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,674
    I agree with a lot of what dunkyboy says in that a system can do both very well,if the right components are chosen,and matched carefully,but in many,if not all cases,it equates to paying a lot of money to get one system which really can do well with all types of input,music or HC.

    Mine cost a fair bit,like dunky's,and can produce excellent dynamics thanks to the speaker/amp combination,with sufficient bass extension and grunt for films also,and like his,uses separate digital sources for DVD and CD.

    It's certainly true that once you get into the realms of the stunningly expensive(Krell/Wilson/Levinson etc)you can get outstanding performance whatever you put into it,but in the lower price ranges I think it usually comes down to compromises,with finding something you can live with for both....IMHO
     
  8. deckard

    deckard
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2002
    Messages:
    425
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    leicester
    Ratings:
    +0
    Couldn't disagree more about this. IMO realistic portrayal of the soundfield is where AV is at. Whilst impressive in the short term, having rockets and things flying across the room soon becomes fatiguing. I'm most impressed when a system takes me into a movie and I am no longer aware of the speakers around me. That's the measure of a truly excellent setup.
     
  9. alexs2

    alexs2
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2002
    Messages:
    13,895
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,674
    Spot on,deckard...a system is at it's best when you aren't aware of individual components....just the sound as a whole,and without listening fatigue due to emphasis of any one part of the spectrum.
     
  10. grainge

    grainge
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Iam very new to this and i must admit i went for the Arcam AVR200 and the Arcam DV88 both of which will be running mission M73 fronts ,M5ds rears and i have not and wont be getting a sub for a while. Can you possibly give me a brief idea of what you mean by accuracy of the system / speakers. is this meant about how you set up the speakers because i have not a clue. can you give me some pointers as i have the last couple of pieces ariving next week and I need to set it up in a room 3.5mx3.5m and my tv is in the corner of the room. Thanks for any info.

    Nick
     

Share This Page

Loading...