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What causes tiredness when listening speakers?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by cribeiro, Feb 16, 2004.

  1. cribeiro

    cribeiro
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    Hi!
    I am wondering what characteristics in a speaker (or other component of a hifi) cause that one needs to stop listening music, apart of the high volume levels, of course.
    I experience with my present speakers (Magnat Motion, some low entry level hifi stuff) a sort of tiredness after a certain time listening to them, and I read that depending on your system, you get that very early, or later on.
    My personal feeling is to relate that sensation to brightness, but I don't know if that is right.
    I am very concerned about that because I very like Klipsch RF series speakers, and they are quite bright in the sound. I didn't listen to them for a long time, so I don't know if they'd cause that.
    Do you have any opinion to share about it? Thanks.
     
  2. GaryB

    GaryB
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    As you suspect, an overbright sound often causes this. Excessive upper midrange can also do the same thing. I read many years ago that this was because such frequencies were similar to that from a crying baby and we are programmed to try and stop them crying. Maybe I dreamed that bit.
     
  3. cribeiro

    cribeiro
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    Wow! That is really interesting. That means I will be a good dad someday :)
    I see. Well, I read also that systems easy to listen to are not the best suited for Sheer Rock Music, action movies, etc... Does it mean I need two rooms with two systems depending on my mood, on what I listen to, etc?
    I'd go for it someday (as soon as I become rich), but I find it strange, and actually I always thought that a good system would simply deliver what recorded, but now I see that each component you choose will give a certain character. Knowdledge makes us igorant!-cause we realize the little we know :)
     
  4. Dean

    Dean
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    It's true, you need to get the balance right when system matching, cables make a difference too.
     
  5. cribeiro

    cribeiro
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    Well, that means I can start giving up, until I have money to buy some high end stuff, because most of dealers do not worry about giving you all chances needed to really find the system you want in the mid-priced range.
    I have just phoned a shop that has Wharfedale because I am interested on hearing the Diamond series, and he didn't sound friendly at all, but I bet it would be different if I was talking about 10 thousand euro stuff...
     
  6. Dean

    Dean
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    Try a different dealer, there is plent of excellent midrange kit available at the moment :smoke:
     
  7. Nimby

    Nimby
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    Hi cribeiro

    The term you are probably looking for is "hardness" (to the sound).
    Usually a bright sound tires much more quickly than a duller presentation. This is probably a result of the tweeters. (the high frequency units) They may be resonating at a particular frequency rather than smoothly reproducing sound over the entire high frequency spectrum that they normally handle. Or they might have a rising frequency response. Which will quickly remove enamel from healthy teeth.

    You could try hanging a thin cloth over the front of the speaker to cover only the tweeters. (If they are at the top of the front baffles). This will filter some of the high frequncies depending on the thickness of the cloth, how many layers etc. Make sure you don't let the cloth actually touch the tweeter domes.

    As this damping trick doesn't cost anything you can experiment with all sorts of cloth until more satisfied with your sound.

    It's a good idea to leave the front cloth grill on the speakers. Rather than have bare units when a bright speaker irritates or is tiring to listen to. It keeps inquisitive fingers away from the delicate units as well.

    Remember: There is always another dealer. Don't put up with any nonsense. It's your money and you want some service in return for their handsome profit.

    Always do your homework. Read as many reviews as you can (online & in the mags) to sort the runts from the litter <before> you go on an equipment shopping spree. The more people like a unit the better chances they are right. But don't believe just one glowing review and always trust your own ears. If it sounds crap to you then it is crap. Look elsewhere for well reviewed units in your price range.

    Never assume that the next one up in the manufacturer's line is better unless you've read lots of reviews saying that it is. It may be the dud of the range despite being much more expensive. But you knew all this anyway.

    NIMBY :)
     
  8. cribeiro

    cribeiro
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    Hi Nimby! Thanks for the clear explanation. I think I got it now. Maybe I will try those tricks at home, but I am afraid I can distort the sound more than improve it, because I have no reference to know what I should look for...
    Anyway, it is so easy that it deserves a try.
    I have learnt a lot about speakers, and fortunately it is not like with electronics, which are "old" in some months... Now I have a rather long list of speakers I should try to listen to, and also a rough evaluation of the characteristics they'll present, so I know what would go better with my amp, which is rather bright.
    Ok, I'll try to get the best!
    Thank you!
     
  9. micb3rd

    micb3rd
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    Equipment may not be your problem, room setup could be an issue.

    Examine you listening environment.

    Do you have loads of reflective surfaces like glass or hard objects? Do you have carpet?

    Do you have your speakers right neer a wall or corner? Doing this will over exite the mid bass region and this can lead to a bad experience.

    Can you post a picture of your room so we can see what you are up against?

    New kit may not change much if the speaker setup is compromised or your room is overly bright etc.
     
  10. cribeiro

    cribeiro
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    I don't have any right now... But the truth is that I moved 4 months ago, and I didn't finish yet with the furniture... I am missing some carpets and curtains, that will for sure reduce reflections, and also some extra shelves and pictures on the walls...
    The speakers are positioned according to the rules given by the manufacters, so I don't think that can be an issue.
    If it were up to me, I'd load the room with sound absorbers, but I bet my girlfriend will be against that...
    But hey, thanks for the comment, I didn't realize I should do the auditions at home once I have everything full equiped. Anyway, that will take some time...
     
  11. Nimby

    Nimby
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    Girlfriends like big cushions & nice curtains don't they? Scatter as many cushions about as seems reasonable. Curtains, carpets & rugs and a cloth covered settee (sofa) work wonders at absorbing high frequencies. No need to even start thinking about specialist sound absorbers until the room is nicely sound absorbant from perfectly normal furnishings.
    Do a clap test. Clap you hands and see what the room sounds like. Bright? Echoing? If it doesn't sound a bit dull it may need some more soft furnishings.
    Minimalism and sound reproduction aren't easy things to balance successfully. If you don't like fitted carpets use rugs scattered about.

    NIMBY
     
  12. cribeiro

    cribeiro
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    Hey, thanks for the answer... Ok, I'll do that.
    Up to now the only problem was financial, since we had spent all the money in basic furniture, but now we have some savings again :) It's cushion time!
    Cheers,

    Alberto
     

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