Speakers for low level listening.

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by jlhi2001, Sep 16, 2020.

  1. Boltman92124

    Boltman92124 Fish tacos.

    Location:
    San Diego
  2. coolhandjjl

    coolhandjjl Member

    Location:
    Appleton, WI
    It’s not so much Fletcher-Munson, rhe loudness button or whatever. Some speakers just don’t come alive until they’re getting a few watts. Others sound great with just 1/2 a watt.
     
    Robert M., Slimwhit33 and Helom like this.
  3. Helom

    Helom I'll take the monkey coffins

    Location:
    U.S.
    Yup, it's called sensitivity for a reason.
     
    Slimwhit33 likes this.
  4. jeffmackwood

    jeffmackwood Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ottawa
    But the thread is about low level listening, not low power listening.

    The former is constrained; the latter is not.

    Low level to the OP must fall into some (perhaps narrow) SPL. The power needed to reach that level can vary widely from speaker to speaker.

    But unless that speaker embodies some form of actor level/EQ that in essence mirrors the effect of a loudness function, it will be subject to our perception of it (and not the required power level) . ie. the Fletcher-Munson curves.
     
    timind likes this.
  5. coolhandjjl

    coolhandjjl Member

    Location:
    Appleton, WI
    Ok. So the same speaker that sounds superb delivering 80 dBs may not sound so hot delivering 60 dBs no matter what the amp EQing is.
     
  6. jlhi2001

    jlhi2001 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    boston
    The Proac's work best 3 or more feet away from the wall. In my situation that places them about 1/4 - 1/3 of the way into a 12' space. This won't be practical. I've had the Proac's near the wall which diminishes performance. I should have captioned the post to include speakers that can be used close to a wall. You right that the new Heresy's are rear ported, so they might not work. But I am looking for suggestions as to what speakers might work in my situation. The low level consideration is separate.
     
  7. jlhi2001

    jlhi2001 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    boston
    I do have an older Pioneer GR-777 10-band remote controlled equalizer. I have used it to compensate for loss of volume at low levels. I was hoping to be more minimalist. The Naim 5i I have has Tape In/Out, however the circuitry isn't the same as that found in the older receivers/integrateds where all signals passing through a tape deck or equalizer could be monitored. The Naim permits recording the source but not the monitoring of the recorded/equalized signal. Any source component would have to pass through an equalized first. The Pioneer has two inputs that could pass a signal to the Naim.
     
    timind likes this.
  8. jlhi2001

    jlhi2001 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    boston
    I have an older 10-band Pioneer GR-777 equalizer. There does seem to be a small amount of coloration even at the flat setting. But it's still a very usable component. Something more neutral would be of interest. The Naim's tape loop doesn't permit monitoring so I'd have to connect any source component directly to the equalizer. Speakers that work well against a wall coupled with some equalization capability is probably the best solution.
     
  9. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Read my earlier post again for the strong recommendation given for the Totem Sky (standmount) and Totem Sky Tower (floorstander). Both versions of the Sky are very well designed to be used as close as 4" away from the wall behind them. Again, designer Vince Bruzzese typically sets up the Sky speakers that way at audio shows and exhibitions. Truly wonderful speakers, small form factor, and superbly musical, with taught and detailed bass, an accurate midrange that you can listen to for hours, and a treble extension that is really attractive. They also don't need much power to get them fully going at moderate volume levels. Consider putting the Totem Sky on your audition list.
     
    bhazen likes this.
  10. Fishoutofwater

    Fishoutofwater Forum Resident

    works for me. Love it
     
    Manimal likes this.
  11. Bill Hart

    Bill Hart Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin
    I currently run two very different systems- one, a horn based SET driven system that is extremely sensitive but requires that you give it some volume to energize it- particularly the bass- in a large room. The other system is based on a pair of vintage Quad ESLs (aka '57s) which I have owned since around 1973. I had this pair restored a few years ago and use them with a pair of Quad II tube amps, which put out a grand 15 watts each. The Quad will deliver a surprisingly lifelike sound at a reasonable volume, and despite its reputation as being bass shy, the bass that is there is very realistic, taut, dimensional and surprisingly "big" because of the panel sizes. The normal quibbles-- will not play loud, rolls off at frequency extremes-- would not interfere with low level listening. These remain a first tier listening experience in spite of their age (although you really must have a pair that was properly restored).
    Drawbacks- you need to get them away from the back wall, and have the ability to toe them in- the sweet spot for high frequencies is very narrow. They are a wonderful listen, and taught me how to listen back in the '70s. They languished for a few decades in boxes until a few years ago when I had them brought back to life. In a situation where you are looking to hear all the music at low volume levels they might offer a solution if you can accommodate them.
    [​IMG]
     
    bhazen, Swann36 and sean3089 like this.
  12. jtw

    jtw Forum Resident

    You got it. You have 2 completely separate issues.
     
  13. jtw

    jtw Forum Resident

    As mentioned, he's not talking about holding wattage (volume knob) constant. He's talking about constant sound level.

    So, yes, if you want a speaker that sounds best when your volume knob is held at 1, it will be the most efficient speaker, which will therefore be the loudest. That's due to Fletcher-Munson.
     
  14. Ntotrar

    Ntotrar Nope

    Location:
    Tri-Cities, Tn.
  15. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles CA USA
    That is surely a fixed boost which is crap. The intelligent version of that is variable loudness, solely done by Yamaha AFAIK. OR you could swing another way and get active Buchardts like a friend who wanted better low level listening bass (and room EQ) just as you do. So far he likes them very much.
    - How much do you want to $pend???
     
    Dan Steely likes this.
  16. Helom

    Helom I'll take the monkey coffins

    Location:
    U.S.
    Heresy IIIs are still available through multiple dealers. You could probably get a good deal on a pair since they've been superceded. They'll meet all your requirements unless your room is a concrete bunker.

    What you're experiencing with the Proacs is going to be the case with at least 95% hi-fi speakers on the market (probably closer to 99%). In contrast, the H-IIIs are as dynamic at 50db as they are at 70db. When I'm not feeling headphones late at night, I can play my H-IIIs at near whisper levels and not feel I'm missing anything. The secret sauce is the large paper woofer with fabric surround. It's designed for bass definition and transient efficiency rather than extension. For most music a sub is not a necessity.
     
  17. TerryB

    TerryB Forum Resident

    Location:
    Calais, VT
    Another headphone to consider in that moderate budget ($400-500) is the Shure 1540.
     
  18. jtw

    jtw Forum Resident

     
  19. Helom

    Helom I'll take the monkey coffins

    Location:
    U.S.
    What I wrote regarding the Heresys has little to do with the Fletcher-Munson curve. I’m very familiar with the Munson phenomenon (and the more accurate Equal-Loudness Contours). The Heresys simply produce more bass at lower SPLs where most speakers have too stiff of suspensions, and/or too small of cones. It’s an input to output ratio. With most other speakers, the mids and highs dominate at low SPls because those frequencies require lesser cone movement and amplifier power — there is less suspension resistance to overcome for the higher freqs.
     
  20. Manimal

    Manimal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Southern US
  21. Manimal

    Manimal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Southern US
    Me too, getting one.
     
    Fishoutofwater likes this.
  22. scoobyscrappy

    scoobyscrappy Active Member

    Location:
    94544
    I recently purchased the Charney Audio Maestro speakers. They are full range speakers using Voxativ drivers and they use Tractrix Horn design for bass reproduction down to 38Hz. These speakers work well in small rooms like my 10'x10' room and the speakers are up against the wall. I like to listen to my music at low volumes. I mainly listen to jazz and pop vocals. I am currently listening with a cheap Class T amp but I am waiting for my 300b tube amp to be built.
     
  23. murphythecat

    murphythecat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    Low level listening = tone control. solves every problem.

    there's not a neutral speaker in the world that will compensate adequately from the loudness curve. Boost that treble and bass
     
  24. jlhi2001

    jlhi2001 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    boston
    I think this is the best solution for me. I can then focus on speaker placement issues independently. I've been trying Roon which has a built-in parametric equalizer DSP. I also have Audirvana which can utilize plugins for DSP.
     
  25. Ctiger2

    Ctiger2 Forum Resident

    Location:
    US
    Klipsch are ideal low level listening speakers.
     

Share This Page