Is your system too “lean & clean sounding” ?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Khorn, May 4, 2021.

  1. Khorn

    Khorn Dynagrunt Thread Starter

    Is it possible to assemble a system thats attempting to be so accurate to the source it’s too “clean” (in many cases “dead”) sounding?
    Can a system “clean the soul” out of the very music it’s trying to reproduce?
  2. ArneW

    ArneW Senior Member

    Cologne, Germany
    What does „clean“ mean"? If it‘s a synonym for „slightly less bass and pronounced high frequency“ then yes.
  3. Bingo Bongo

    Bingo Bongo Music gives me Eargasms

    Ottawa, Canada
    I find cranking the Volume does wonder to clean sound...… :shh:

    Ok, I shouldn't comment, I have a cheap system. ;)
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  4. geezin'

    geezin' Forum Resident

    Keyser WV
    Don't have the means to answer that question accurately. If anyone is willing to fund the search by all means please contact me. :D
    Khorn likes this.
  5. If a system makes it easy to differentiate between two acoustic guitars with different scale lengths, say a Martin 000 and a Martin OM (exactly the same body construction, just a marginally longer scale length) then it's a good thing.
    That's only possible with a really clean sounding system.
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  6. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    The ATX
    I believe the reviewers’ term for that is “clinical”.
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  7. Khorn

    Khorn Dynagrunt Thread Starter

    Could we use the term “accurate” in this instance?
  8. Khorn

    Khorn Dynagrunt Thread Starter

    Clinical conjures up an image of “coldness” to me.
  9. Accurate, clean, whatever.
    I haven't heard many systems capable of doing it.
    Mine isn't clean enough, although it is pretty neutral.
    Big Blue likes this.
  10. tIANcI

    tIANcI Wondering when the hifi madness will end

    I like a smidge of grit in my system. Just a teeny weenie bit. That’s why I won’t own something like a B&W 805 D3. It’s just too clean sounding for me.

    Live music is not that clean sounding. Be it un-amplified or amplified (club or concert).
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  11. gakerty

    gakerty Forum Resident

    Can a system be too accurate? Not really IMO, but if one's preference are for amplification induced 2nd or 3rd harmonics (for example), this and other euphonic distortions could be removed by an "overly accurate" system. I admit I like some coloration as long as the original music and all detail is preserved.
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  12. Khorn

    Khorn Dynagrunt Thread Starter

    Whacked the nail right on the head there!
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  13. Juan Matus

    Juan Matus Reformed Audiophile

    I could probably use a sub.
  14. jupiterboy

    jupiterboy Forum Residue

    Buffalo, NY
    I suspect for most the answer is yes. For my taste, I'm kinda on the hairy edge, but I think it is tight, articulate bass and midrange that can so separate each element of the recording that the music sometimes fails to gel. That said, my speakers are designed as monitors. What's funny is I'm using a tube amp, it just happens to be a fairly robust tube amp with some negative feedback. It sounds more lean, accurate and less lush. It is driving some odd 4 ohm speakers, which also are fairly efficient (92 dB). The sound can absolutely be too dry. Part of this is the TPX drivers and acoustic suspension part of the design so you get drivers with a very fast sound and fast recovery. What I have to tune is the signal tubes where lush sounding tubes are absolutely fine and in midbass coupling—I have to keep the speakers a bit closer together than some so the midbass blends a bit. It all can fill in nicely, but I feel like I'm just able to pull it off. The wrong signal tubes or speaker positioning and the penalty is too large. I like listening to recordings, but I also like listening to music.
    Khorn likes this.
  15. I went to an Antonio Forcione Trio gig a few ago, and the sound of them playing live was not world's apart from what I hear of them from recordings at home.
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  16. Khorn

    Khorn Dynagrunt Thread Starter

    I’ve heard too many systems that murder the “ambience” factor. It’s so important to the perception of “reality” in reproduction of music.
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  17. tIANcI

    tIANcI Wondering when the hifi madness will end

    In all honesty, i have listened to systems up to $400k. It don’t give me the buzz that I get when I set up a concert for a mere 3,000 pax.

    It’s the sense of scale, the large room, the way the sound engineer wants the band to sound ...
    Khorn likes this.
  18. At this gig the PA reinforcement was minimal.
    And at one point the PA was turned off because the percussionist had managed to break the contact pickup on a stringed instrument he also played.
    So the trio just played to the room acoustically.
    It was pure magic!
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  19. Khorn

    Khorn Dynagrunt Thread Starter

    Just make sure they’re quick and musical.
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  20. tIANcI

    tIANcI Wondering when the hifi madness will end

    It’s an intimate set up. That must have been hair raising. I love their music. I really envy you!
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  21. mcbrion

    mcbrion Forum Resident

    Yes, a system that is very, very low in distortion, but also has a dip in the "power range" (100-400 hZ) will sound "lean." And by "dip" I mean both weight and dynamic range. Additionally, if the tonal quality is "bleached out (which can happen with some "low distortion" systems, it might also sound lean. And, worse, if the upper midbass is lean, than most definitely, that will produce a feeling of leanness. If you've got all three, the effect is highly pronounced. But the amplifier is a strong part of this particular type of "sound-of-leanness."

    I don't find that not having enough "highs" produces "leanness." That is more likely to produce a "dark-sounding" musical presentation. But I agree with ArneW about the bass frequencies, along with, as I said, a slight depression in the upper bass/lower midrange (power range). Not having enough "weight" in the bass will do that, just as, conversely, having a fantastic mid-bass will make images seem very solid. Early David Wilson speakers did that - the first generation WATTs (circa 1986) without the Puppy, sounded a bit like that, unless situated on Entecs or the special panel he used to increase those frequencies. But then, Dave used the Rowland Coherence 1 in the design of the WATTS and nothing beat the Rowland in those days for having tremendous linearity from the lower midrange down, exactly where the WATTS were "anemic. So, Dave "compensated" for the WATTS' weakness by using a preamp that filled in the missing frequencies - to pretty stunning effect, too. But that leanness, I'm convinced, is what drove him to introduce the "Puppy" woofer system two years later.

    One of the reason I have kept my ASL Hurricanes for so long (18 years - longer than any other amp I've ever had ) is that they were/are superlative in the midbass. I knew it within the first 10 seconds (literally!) I heard them in my system (although not when I was auditioning them at Lyric Hi Fi in 2003, where they sounded unbelievably bad).
    Last edited: May 4, 2021
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  22. tIANcI

    tIANcI Wondering when the hifi madness will end

    We use at least >40 units of 2x18 subs for medium small rave events. Hehehe ... you don’t hear it, you feel it.
  23. allied333

    allied333 Audiophile

    No. I rid system deficiencies long ago.
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  24. Khorn

    Khorn Dynagrunt Thread Starter

    I was only planning a max of 2 units of single 18” in a previously planned home system.
  25. tIANcI

    tIANcI Wondering when the hifi madness will end

    My listening space can only handle a single 12” for the little Harbeths. The floorstanders don’t need it.
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