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  #111  
Old 04-21-2017, 07:19 PM
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I haven't heard better vocals, but I keep wondering if some speaker manufacturer out there could make them sound even more realistic. Perhaps the limitation comes down to the various filters (i.e., "spit shield") they put between a singer and their microphone? Don't know. Just wonder if I could get slightly more realism one day. But I'm very happy for now.
Yes, you're getting there when things start sounding real. My reference standard so far is the JBL 435 Be compression drivers I had for a while. They had a large 3" Beryllium diapragm and were something like 110dB@1w. I had them in a JBL horn, from the Array 1400 speaker. The vocals coming out of them were amazing, but I could never find the 045 tweeter I needed to round out the top end.

They are very hard to find, and I paid $1,100 for the tweets and another $600 for the horn bodies. So, yeah.

Fingers crossed my Gedlee do the trick.

If you have a Magnepan dealer, I'd recommend checking those out. They are planars, so they are large to quite large, and therefore unlikely to get past the wife. But for strings/piano/vocals, they are amazing. The sound is a mile wide, and very realistic. And they start at $600. I ran a pair of Magnepan SMG with a sealed 10" B&W sub for a couple years and loved the sound. And, now I want another pair.
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  #112  
Old 04-21-2017, 10:34 PM
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Oh, man, why did you have to mention Magnepan? Now THAT is probably the best vocals I've heard from a speaker. I forgot about those bad boys.

You say you had an SMG. Is that a model they no longer carry? I don't see it on their website.

Right now, I've got $1600 tied up in speakers (including the sub), all returnable. I enjoy the sound better without the sub, so I'm wondering if I messed up there by going ported. I like wide soundstage and realism, probably my biggest criteria. I'm going to quickly use up my 30 days with these 3 speakers, so I need to make a decision pretty quickly.

Looks like I'm 2 hours from 2 different dealers...
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  #113  
Old 04-22-2017, 12:47 AM
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Oh, man, why did you have to mention Magnepan? Now THAT is probably the best vocals I've heard from a speaker. I forgot about those bad boys.

You say you had an SMG. Is that a model they no longer carry? I don't see it on their website.

Right now, I've got $1600 tied up in speakers (including the sub), all returnable. I enjoy the sound better without the sub, so I'm wondering if I messed up there by going ported. I like wide soundstage and realism, probably my biggest criteria. I'm going to quickly use up my 30 days with these 3 speakers, so I need to make a decision pretty quickly.

Looks like I'm 2 hours from 2 different dealers...
The SMG were the predecessor to the current MMG. I definitely started as an audiophile on a budget. I bought the Maggies on eBay for $200, then spent $300 on an NAD integrated amp. Some time later I added the sub and added an NAD CD player. The whole setup was about $1,200, and it sounded really good.

The MMG are outstanding. At $600 they are such a great bargain, if you can live with the size.
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  #114  
Old 04-22-2017, 07:51 PM
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I pulled out the 580s today. The female vocals were FAR better than on the 590s. But that's the only thing they did better. I lost realism for lots of other instruments. That's just way too much trade-off.

In my experimentation with the 580s, I found they sound best when they were as close to the wall as I could get them. That would normally fly completely in the face of any advice one would normally get about speaker placement. However, my TV is on a corner unit, and the towers have to flank it. Since the back wall is thus at an angle, I wonder if the normal placement rules are all tossed out the window, in a sense.

So I tried this same placement with the 590s, and suddenly female vocals got a whole lot better. Still very slightly veiled, but acceptably so. I've lost a slight amount of realism for some instruments. Basically, I think I've landed on the best compromise across music genres, instruments, vocals, etc. Come to think of it, I seem to remember that choosing speakers is similarly all about trade-offs ... although I thought one of those trade-offs was simply how much you're willing to pay, and eventually one can get the perfect sound. But I'm guessing that's not realistic.
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  #115  
Old 04-23-2017, 01:10 AM
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Oh, and I use the subwoofer with my Studio 590 towers. I'm surprised it makes a difference, as I have them crossed over at 40 Hz. I guess it's just enough relief of the main speakers to free them up to really sing.

I'm still going to check out the Magnepans before the 30 day trial is up on the JBLs.
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  #116  
Old 04-23-2017, 12:37 PM
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Oh, and I use the subwoofer with my Studio 590 towers. I'm surprised it makes a difference, as I have them crossed over at 40 Hz. I guess it's just enough relief of the main speakers to free them up to really sing.

I'm still going to check out the Magnepans before the 30 day trial is up on the JBLs.
Have you played with the crossover frequency? Really, anything below about 100Hz is omnidirectional, so it doesn't much matter whether it's coming from the mains in stereo or coming from a single sub.

That said... I've found it more challenging to get higher crossover frequencies to sound quite right. And I don't have objective data on why, if I'm being honest. But, the more bass you take off the mains, the less distortion you'll get from them. Asking a speaker to produce both bass and treble leads to intermodulation distortion, particularly at higher SPL.

As you said, it's all about trade-offs. There simply isn't one perfect speaker.

Definitely check out the Magnepans if you can. I've actually owned them twice, SMGa and SMGc. And I suspect I will buy another pair at some point. They are a pain to set up - finding the best placement. And they are large, so not super-easy to live with. But if I found a deal on some MMG or maybe even the 1.7, I may do it!
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  #117  
Old 04-24-2017, 12:40 AM
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I talked to a Magnepan dealer. When I told him about the room I plan to put these in, and the fact that I would need to place them around a TV that is situated in the corner of a fairly large room - and thus the speakers would be at an angle to the walls - he said that I really should try to spring for the 1.7s. He said they are less finicky about placement, and can give me that wide soundstage in less-than-ideal circumstances. He said that the lower cost models, while delivering very good sound, require a fairly small room and really specific placement.

Interestingly, Magnepan is doing an in-home trial deal right now on the 1.7s, where they will pay you $100 if you decide you don't want to keep the speakers. And that's on top of paying freight both ways.

http://www.magnepan.com/model_17

Then again, it's a $2,000 pair of speakers. But my wife has given me the approval to sign up for the in-home trial!
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  #118  
Old 04-24-2017, 12:41 PM
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I talked to a Magnepan dealer. When I told him about the room I plan to put these in, and the fact that I would need to place them around a TV that is situated in the corner of a fairly large room - and thus the speakers would be at an angle to the walls - he said that I really should try to spring for the 1.7s. He said they are less finicky about placement, and can give me that wide soundstage in less-than-ideal circumstances. He said that the lower cost models, while delivering very good sound, require a fairly small room and really specific placement.

Interestingly, Magnepan is doing an in-home trial deal right now on the 1.7s, where they will pay you $100 if you decide you don't want to keep the speakers. And that's on top of paying freight both ways.

http://www.magnepan.com/model_17

Then again, it's a $2,000 pair of speakers. But my wife has given me the approval to sign up for the in-home trial!
Maybe I don't have a really good set of ears. I've heard the SMG, MMG, 1.6, 1.7, 3.6, and 3.7 - I don't think I've ever heard the really huge ones. And I just don't hear much of a difference, outside of the fact that bigger ones have more bass. The ribbon tweeters on the 3.6/3.7 are a tiny bit nicer, but you're getting up there in cost.

I'm trying to think why the 1.7 would be less picky about placement, and I'm not seeing it.

Honestly, I'd save a grand and get the MMG, and add a sub. You could use the Outlaw, or maybe try out a sealed sub. I really liked my B&W ASW-600, the current model is the ASW-610 I think. Worst case, you can sell the MMG to me if you hate them.
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  #119  
Old 04-24-2017, 03:10 PM
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Is the SMG something different than the MMG Super? The Super is a "souped up" version of the MMGs, plus comes with a separate bass panel that they describe as being more of a separate woofer than a subwoofer. So it still only goes down to about 40 Hz. But they're saying it's pretty considerably better than the MMG.

But if you don't hear a difference, then maybe I won't...

On the Magnepan website:
Quote:
No, the Super MMG is not an MMG with a Bass Panel. It is more than just better bass. The basic MMG has been "hot-rodded" for better sound. The Super MMG essentially adds the Bass Panel and converts the system into a 3-way speaker---giving better bass, midrange and highs. No, it is not the sonic equal of the 1.7, but for $1199, the Super MMG is a great bargain that is easily mail-ordered.

The Bass Panel is analogous to going from a 12-inch to a 15-inch woofer. But, don't think of it as a subwoofer. Yes, it provides deeper bass in a larger room than a MMG because the total bass radiating area gets a better "bite" on the air. It is a similar principle as the MMG bass section---just more of it.

Last edited by Egghead; 04-24-2017 at 03:21 PM..
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  #120  
Old 04-24-2017, 03:53 PM
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Is the SMG something different than the MMG Super? The Super is a "souped up" version of the MMGs, plus comes with a separate bass panel that they describe as being more of a separate woofer than a subwoofer. So it still only goes down to about 40 Hz. But they're saying it's pretty considerably better than the MMG.

But if you don't hear a difference, then maybe I won't...

On the Magnepan website:
The SMG was the predecessor to the MMG, I think they stopped making the SMG in the 1990s.

The MMG Super has the same panel as the MMG. They tweaked the crossover so the bass goes to the bass panel(s). I've not had a chance to hear the Super MMG. Taking the bass out of the main panels should clean up the sound for sure.

It's a bit of a tough call. Magnepans are dipoles, and physics says dipoles don't do well with deep bass, unless you want a panel that's 12' x 12', and I doubt that you do. You see that in the specs, 40Hz is about it. The bass that Magnepans do make is really, really good. You could see about using the Outlaw for the 20-40Hz region and it might work well.

Cheap option is the MMG plus a sub. And if you spent some time playing with the subwoofer level, crossover point, and maybe the phase, you could do quite well here.

If it were my money, I'd go MMG and a sub. I used to run the SMG full-range, with a sub crossed around 40Hz. Had 180w/channel from an NAD amp. That setup sounded great, had pretty solid bass, and would get to pretty decent SPL. I don't think I changed anything in that setup for 2-3 years once I got it put together, it was really nice.
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