February 20, 2012

Technical Audio Devices Compact Reference Loudspeakers TAD-CR1 - Part 1


Let’s first get one thing out of the way – at RM148,000 a pair, the Technical Audio Devices Compact Reference (TAD-CR1) loudspeakers are very expensive.

This matter with their price is further exacerbated if an audiophile insists that there must be a direct correlation between price and size, i.e., the higher the price the bigger the speaker should be. The TAD-CR1 being a standmount defies this expectation. It is, as far as I know, the most expensive non-floorstanding hifi loudspeakers at this point in time.

However, if anyone were to judge the TAD-CR1 based on its size and price without hearing how they actually sound, that would be a great pity.

AV Designs, TAD’s exclusive dealer in Malaysia, told me that at this price the TAD-ST1 speaker stands dedicated to the TAD-CR1 are included, they are not an optional item like in some other countries.

While the TAD-CR1 is not a floorstander, calling it a bookshelf loudspeaker will be a total misnomer. Anyone taking a first look at the TAD-CR1 will know there is nowhere for it to go (definitely not on a bookshelf) except on its dedicated stand, in account of its bulk and its weight. The two of them are so one-piece that I can’t imagine using the TAD-CR1 without the TAD-ST1 stands. Set up in this way, this loudspeaker system occupies a footprint not smaller than a mid-size floorstander (think Wilson Sophia or Magico Q3 for example), though visually they don’t look quite big.


Technical Audio Devices Laboratories Inc. or TADL is a subsidiary of Pioneer. Incorporated on October 1st 2007, this Pioneer subsidiary aims “to elevate the standard of performance for high fidelity audio equipment. This new company will represent the highest expression of Pioneer technology in all categories evolving what TAD™ has meant in the professional recording studio for over 30 years to the world of high-end home”.

TAD is not exactly new, Pioneer said that “TAD has been a department within Pioneer for the past thirty years, dedicated to providing the highest-expression of audio technology. Pioneer is leveraging its 70-year history in speaker production with the official incorporation of TAD as a subsidiary designed to introduce studio quality loudspeakers for high definition home entertainment. TAD Labs Inc. will undertake the development, manufacturing and commercialization of new high-end speakers and electronics.” For more on TAD Laboratories’s corporatization, refer to Pioneer’s press release here.

TAD is Pioneer’s entry vehicle to the high-end. Pioneer needs to differentiate its high-end offerings from its mass market products, and just like its compatriots in the automobile industry, where Honda set up Acura, Nissan has Infiniti and Toyota has Lexus, Pioneer brought out its TAD brand. TAD is Pioneer’s ‘Lexus’ entry into the high-end marketplace.

However, as mentioned earlier, TAD is not a new set up, the TAD name has been in existence for 30 years but unknown to the audiophile consumers like us. Why? It is because TAD was active only in the professional arena. TAD’s speaker units and studio monitors are widely used in recording studios, concert halls and movie theatres. If you go to TAD’s website (http://tad-labs.com/en/index.html), it has a ‘Professional’ section that lists its studio monitor model (the TSM-2201-LR which Big E wrote about a few months ago) and a range of their raw speaker units.

With this pedigree in pro-audio, TAD is now bringing its technical excellence to consumer audio. For us at Hifi-Unlimited, it has been a fantastic journey with TAD. If you are a regular here, you would know that we had been time and again impressed with what TAD had brought out over the last couple of years.

TAD’s entry to the high-end is spearheaded by Andrew Jones, Director and Chief Engineer for TAD Laboratories. Andrew Jones is a familiar name to many audiophiles, he is previously the Chief Engineering at KEF, the venerable hifi loudspeaker manufacturer from the UK. The two TAD loudspeakers, the big brother Reference One (TAD-R1) and the Compact Reference (TAD-CR1) are Jones’ designs.


Talking about TAD and Andrew Jones, there are 2 wonderful interview articles on Ultra Audio’s website, these are must-reads for insights into TAD the company and Andrew Jones the Designer:

Searching for the Extreme: Andrew Jones of Technical Audio Devices -- Part One

Searching for the Extreme: Andrew Jones of Technical Audio Devices -- Part Two

Next, I'll talk on the design of the TAD-CR1.
(to be continued…)

Contact James Tan of AV Designs at 03-21712828 to listen to TAD

119 comments:

Ken said...

I won't correlate price with size but on the ability of the item, be it cd player, amps or speakers.

If a manufacturer is going to put a hefty price tag onto any of their wares, they must make sure that the price commensurate the sound esp. one that costs as much as a Camry or Accord.

Puchong wong said...

帅兄:

任道重远,
人在江湖,
身不由己,
引你为耀,
哈哈!

Erik said...

黄兄:

人在江湖,身不由己;

任重道远,以你为荣!

OdioSleuth said...

Puchong Wong师父,

好说,好说。
吾当鞠躬尽瘁,死而后已!哈哈!

OdioSleuth said...

Ken,

I agree with your view that it is the sound quality that counts.

Though I suspect if the loudspeaker is six feet tall, weigh 300 pounds, have a quartet of 12in woofers it will have one less hurdle to cross with some audiophiles. :-)
And possibly that manufacturer can charge not just the price of a camry or an accord but a bimmer or a merc! :-D

Anyway, most important is we enjoy the music lah!

Puchong wong said...

哇!师兄你好伟大哦!牺牲小我完成大我!好让我们这班鸟龟有机会品尝TAD喇叭的风采!只会在后面做先家!哈!
师兄!我又羡慕你又嫉妒你!唉!
TAD是一个让我听了会跳上天花板的喇叭
音质!精准,精准,还是精准!
音色!通透无味!
细节!多到满天星星!
动态!哇哇哇哇!
频宽!天下无敌!
大师一副神气的模样说这个还要你来讲啊!这个全世界的小孩子都知道啦……哼!
价钱!哇……
大师又在后面暗笑!你都吃朦了啊!你有听过又平又亮声的喇叭吗?
下面是各个高手的评论!
1)哇!好厉害的喇叭哦!听什么歌都可以!
2)这个喇叭好容易推哦!如果不讲你的Power 60 W我还以为是200 W!
3)嗯!声音很理性,多一点感性更好!
4)这样小个可以做王了!
5)Puchong Wong你的Wilson可以打包了!
6)你知道吗?TAD的声音是好像乐器弹出来的,Wilson是打出来的……
7)师兄这喇叭听了好精神哦!
8)Tan我看这喇叭你发潜到40%罢了!
9)如果你喜欢听摇滚音乐你一定要买这个喇叭!

Ken said...

Aiyo Odiosleuth,

If I hv RM150K to spend, I will look at other brand of similar priced items to compare.
There are so many choices and I may even change other hardwares in my system.

Having a flurry of drivers is no use if you do not hv enough power. A hifi system is just as good as its weakest point!

OdioSleuth said...

Dear Ken,

I think it is rather clear that I was putting things across in a light hearted manner with the smileys. Still, if people think I spoke seriously, then let me say it unequivocally that I was speaking half in jest. So, peace.

Since it is your rm150k, you are of course free to decide how you want to spend it in the manner you deem most fit. I shall not get into any discourse on something that is as personal as another person's private choice. :-)

Ken said...

Odiosleuth,

I think you misunderstood me.I am not against you or your choice.

What I am trying to say is that there are aso many choices to be had esp at the price that the TAD costs.
Audiophiles should look at what's available. They should listen to the TAD and then some other similarly priced speakers and then decide what is the difference.
1. Do the other brands offer more?
2. If so, in what ways?
3. Are those differences important to me?
4. Would it make more difference if I upgrade something else in my setup?

BTW, if a manufacturer wants to charge a hefty price for their wares, they would expect stiff competition from others. And if I hv RM150K to spend, I will be like the kid in the toy store. Which one to buy???

Again, YMMV.
You see, these are the reasons why hifi is so intriguing. There are so many routes you can go. Not only one way but so much more.

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Ken,

That goes without saying right?

If one had RM150k to spend, TAD would definitely be one of the must listen, among others.

If I am not mistaken, OS did listen to and considered other system. I think JM Lab was his top choice.

I may be wrong. OS?

Ken said...

Capernaum,

TAD would probably one to listen to but definitely not what I would buy.

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Ken,

I used to say that too about TAD. It just seemed ridiculously expensive for what's on offer.

I agree that for the full bandwidth of any music piece to be portrayed correctly, a full range (normally floor standers) would potentially do the job well.

However, the dimunitive CR1 creates sounds which betrays its size. While not a aplomb as some beefier speaker, the presentation is well balanced and no less weightier than some speakers costing much much more. Being a stand mount has given the CR1 and added advantage of good 3D sound imaging and isolation making a superbly transparent soundstage.

When I last heard it at OS's place, it was nothing less than sublime.

If I had RM150k to spare, I would buy the CR1 and probably look lustingly at the Reference 1 or now the newer Evolution 1.

Just out of curiosity, what was it about the CR1 sound/performance which made you decide that you won't want one?

OdioSleuth said...

Dear ken,

I find your advice and suggestion on Hifi shopping and selection logical and am sure many people will agree to it too. Of course shopping around and comparing is not limited to expensive items but applicable at all price ranges. 

My point in my previous post is that my personal attitude is laissez faire toward another person's own decision. So i'll not suggest how one is to choose his meat or poison. 

So I think there is no misunderstanding, just different personal philosophy. 

It is your right to definitely not choose TAD. I cannot be so presumptuous to think my choice will be anyone else's choice too, and I hope people take it that the reverse is also true.

Come to think of it, I am privileged to be writing for Hifi unlimited. Over the last few years, many dealers have generously trusted me with their gear so I could listen in my personal comfort, and with the visits I make to the showrooms and shows, I have evaluated a lot of equipment and indeed has been like a kid at the toy store, to borrow your words. So I believe my upgrades give me the best bang for my own bucks. I am not looking for any endorsement from anyone and I don't need any. My upgrade decisions are mine and mine alone. 

I don't like to get into the specifics as to my journey to arrive at TAD. I just aim to share my enthusiasm for our hobby on this blog.

So, to each his own. I shall get back to our normal broadcasting. :-)

Ken said...

Capernaum,

First of all, I would like to say that the TAD CR1 do sound nice but then you would expect that from a RM150K speaker. The strong points about the speaker
1. highs are well extended
2. resolution is very good even with complex music
3. imaging stable
4. less hifi-ish sound compare to Marten speakers

Things I would like more
1. bass do not have the wallop or the oomph (this is quite pronounced esp with classical music stuff)
2. overall sound is a tad dry (not voluptous as I'm used to)
3. the 2 combination above make the sound of vocals less involving though instruments only type of music is less affected
4. imaging could be more lifelike (I find the imaging size small which is typical of smaller speakers) - audiophiles who listen to big speakers would know this
5. depth is so-so though can be improved with placement and/maybe hardware

Maybe I am nit-picking but wouldnt anyone be if they are purchasing RM150K speakers.

In terms of bass presentation, the best speaker I heard is Genesis II.5. Once you heard it, you will not forget. The best highs is still from the JM Lab Utopia series speakers. The highs of Marten speakers are extended but tend to on the hard side of neutral.

Hope this explains my prejudice.

OdioSleuth said...

Ken, Felix,

thank you for your observations of the cr1 at my place. These inputs help to point me the direction to optimise my system's performance. 

If I say that the cr1 are performing at the max at my place already, i would be pompous and deaf. :-)
But they have surprised me time and again as to how much more they still have to give. And that is where my admiration and love for them come from. 

The sound you heard is also a function of the equipment upstream and my room, so any observation cannot be laid squarely on the shoulder of the cr1. They just honestly portray what they are fed with and the condition they work under. They have studio monitors pedigree so being truthful is their job!

In my constant effort to improve, I ll strive to preserve the positives and deal with the negatives. They are so sensitive that anything done upstream elicited significant changes to the overall sound, that i believe you have experienced during your visits. 

Ken, you heard the cr1 about 2 months ago, I can assure you that the sound has moved on since.  If you are keen and free, you are most welcomed to listen to them again. 

Finally, to use an analogy, I think I have a six lane highway with the cr1 and everything else in my current system is a two lane road. I ardently hope that in the future I'd be so fortunately to upgrade them all into six lane highways too, with the cr1 serving as the foundation. That would be the day. :-)

Ken said...

Hi Odiosleuth,

I will pop in when I'm free.

I would not be surprised that you are improving the sound of your system since I last visit you.

As for my nitpicking, I don't think you can improve every aspect. It is physically impossible! But I like to be proven wrong ;-)

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Ken,

Wow...Thanks for the description you have posted. I could never dissect sound like the way you have. I just know whether or not a speakers conveys music intimately and convingly enough.

Reading your post, I am curious now...Out of these speakers, which would you buy?

Genesis II.5, JM Lab Utopia, Marten and TAD, which would you buy?

Ken said...

Capernaum,

I would not buy any of the brand of speakers you mentioned.
Cause I can't afford them, ;-)

But if I hit the Toto, then my choice would be JM Lab Utopia, which to me fulfill all the requirements that I need because I find it well balanced with extended highs to go with a sweet vocal and reasonably extended bass.

I love the Genesis II.5 but one would need a huge size room to do justice. Even when the bass is being churned out, it does not overpower the room which is mind boggling to me. But then again if the speaker gone kaput, where do I get the parts as this speaker is old.

Currently, I am relying on my trusted ATC SCM100, a giant size monitor that every complains is an ugly brute ;-( that sound great.

I have an eclectic taste in music ranging from Tina Turner, Janet Jackson, Usher, Maroon 5 to Pink Floyd & Metallica to chinese and western classical music. I love the Sister Drum cd that I do not dare to bring to test other systems for fear of wrecking their bass drivers.
I have approximately 1000 cds of music of various genre.

OdioSleuth said...

Some asked what puchong wong's earlier comment was about. I'll attempt to translate it here minus some bits that defy my attempt. Proceed with caution......:-)
 
"TAD is a speaker that made me jump up to the roof after listening!
Sound quality! accurate! accurate! And accurate! 
Tonal colour! transparent and flavour less!.
Details! So much, like a sky full of stars!
Dynamics! Wa wa wa wa!
Bandwidth! Unequaled!
Big E said "all these need you to tell?! The whole world's children also know lah... hurrumph!"
Price! Wah.....
Big E snickering, 'are you dumb or what?! You heard any loudspeaker cheap and so great sounding ah?!"

Following are comments from a few hifi masters:
1)Wah! A very capable speaker! Can play all types of music!
2)this speaker is easy to drive! Wah! If you didn't tell me your power is 60w I'd have thought it is 200w!
3)hmmm...the sound is very sober! A little more sensual will be better!
4)can be the king of small speakers already!
5)Puchong Wong, you can pack up your Wilson already!
6)you know, sound from the TAD is like coming from the real instruments. 
7)this speaker sounds very energetic!
8)Tan, i think so far you only get 40% out of this speaker only!
9)if you like rock, you must buy this speaker!

Big E said...

Odiosleuth,

Please allow me to join the party here?

We are awed and imspired by your hifi adventure and journey. We are blessed to have some one of your calibre and generousity to share with us a TAD set up out side the showrooms.

Please forgive us, for we are also just a little bit envious and jealous at the same time. Envious only because the TAD speaker is the stuff of dreams, realised to beautiful reality. Jealous only because it's beyond the reach of us mere mortals.

We are only cheer leaders at the sidelines, marveling at your new found joy. We are confident that this is your first step to a whole new level of exalted audio performance.

Congratulations!, to a fine choice and may the "audio" force be with you.

Ha! Ha!

OdioSleuth said...

Big E,

huh...oh...umm...hmmm...urr ...but...ah...

I give up.
Hehe.

Puchong wong said...

Psychoanalyst say if you tink you hifi better then all you can seep very sweet! ha ha ha !!

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Ken,

Wow..the ATC SCM100. It is a popular speaker. A bit over the top for playing 80s music no? :-)

I heard many good things about the 100. Do you know how it compares to the SC150? There was a blogger singing high praise about the 150. Do you think it is an upgrade path for owners of the SCM100?

Since we are comparing, how does the TAD CR1 compare to you ATC SCM100?

Ken said...

Capernaum,

I don't think I will upgrade to SCM150. The reason is because I would 1. need a more powerful amp
2. a bigger place to house the speakers
Anyway, the tweeter and mids are the same for both SCM100 and SCM150. Only the bass driver is different with my SCM100 having a 12" driver and the SCM150 having a 15" driver.

Also I don't think Usher is 80s music. A good hifi system should be able to play most types of music well. Don't you think it is boring if you just have to listen to audiophile music all the time.
I know of audiophiles who own a system of above RM200K but own less than 20 cds. What is the point?

Anyway, I don't think you should compare my ATC to the TAD CR1. The price is around 9 times more expensive. As Odiosleuth would say, the "points of diminishing returns kicks in".
The difference, in my opinion, are as follows:
1. highs of CR1 has better resolution than the ATC
2. mid of ATC is seldom beaten and I find the mid more seducing and "lifelike" than the TAD
3. the lows of my ATC wins hands down due to the bigger size driver
Again this is my opinion, of course others would disagree. But like all audiophiles would say, I am the owner and as long as the speaker makes me happy, that is the most important thing!

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Ken,

I have heard quite a lot of good comments about the SCM100 and thanks for your feedback. Curiously, I also realise that there are a group of people whom are rather not for the ATCs.I heard them for myself and personally I can agree with both camps. The ATC can sound dreadful in some system. I wonder why? The only answer I postulated are perhaps system synergy and also the abilities of the owner themselves. Not everyone can or know how to make the ATCs sing.

How do you think the TAD CR1 will perform in your system? Do you think it may perform better than what OS has done and OS also conceeded that he isn't even up to 40% mark. I was just thinking, if OS 40% mark has better high definition than your SCM100s, then maybe at 90%, the other areas may catch up and superceed the SCM100 as well? Afterall we are talking about 9x the price. Surely it isn't all profit.

If someone were to give you a pair of TAD CR1 for free with the condition that you must trade in your SCM100, would you?

Please don't get me wrong, I am a fan of the ATCs although I am fearful I can't get it to sing.

Ken said...

Capernaum,

You must see, if some people does not like the sound of a said item, then you should
1. find out what aspect that they don't like (I love curry but I have friends who never touch it)
2. check what hardware that they use (just like the CR1, if the equipment is not up to par, then the sound will also be so).

The reason the sound of the ATC can sound dreadful in some places is because it is
1. showing the weakness of other hardware in the system (I have heard a system consist of ARC Ref 2 MkII, Ref 600 amp, Eggleston Andra with Transparent cabling sounding so blur thats mind boggling)
2. the ATC speaker is faulty
3. the listeners do not like the sound of the speaker
I have a friend whose ears I trust who own a planar speakers who love the sound of my setup and truth be told that our system sounds very different.

I find that the ATC SCM100 is also sensitive to quantity as well as quality of watts that is available.

It is not hard to make the ATC sing if your equipment is up to par. And it is also easy to make the ATCs sound poor. If an owner of ATC can mess up the sound of that speaker, then he should not own ATC but go for less revealing speakers.

If someone would be bold enough to give me a pair of CR1 on the condition that I dispose of my ATC SCM100, I would do so to obliged the person.
But what I will do is that I will listen to the CR1 for a short while (probably 6 months) and dispose it to return to the ATCs and have the remaining money to keep in the bank. Because I know I will be missing something from the ATC that the CR1 cannot give me.

Can I get the CR1 to sing better in my place than OS? Maybe! This can be very subjective as some people may not agree.
I do not agree that the CR1 is only showing 40% of their capability. You may improve the sound along the way if you upgrade your system further but you can't improve it by 2 to 3 times!!

OS can tell you that when I visited him before CNY this year, I commented on the sound of the CR1 then. He has re-tweaked his system on the spot. And I find everytime, he re-tweaked his system, the sound improved (to me). I think he knows then what I was talking about.
You see, when you listen to a setup, it is very easy to veer towards one extreme without noticing it. To avoid this, you need people to listen to your system to comment on it and also for you to listen to other system to hear what you maybe missing!

Hope this answer your questions.

Puchong wong said...

Odiosleuth,
I believe if you play the ATC SMC100 in you room, it will sound a lot of better than TAD !!! ha ha ha !!!

OdioSleuth said...

Hi Ken,

Quote:"I do not agree that the CR1 is only showing 40% of their capability. You may improve the sound along the way if you upgrade your system further but you can't improve it by 2 to 3 times!!"

I personally am not for using a % number to describe sound improvement, because no such measurement method exists. However, I beg to differ with the meaning of your statement above. I know for a fact the performance of the TAD-CR1 can be substantially improved from what I get from my own system because I have heard it myself. That was with a complete TAD system from cdp, pre to power, and some top notch Wireworld cables. I believe other brand combinations commensurate with the TAD-CR1's class will also elicit such substantial leap in performance.


After you mentioned how you were so impressed with the Genesis II.5, I googled and found a review on Stereophile. Robert Harley said in the measurement page that "The curve could be summed up as "flat, with lots of bass" (http://www.stereophile.com/content/genesis-ii5-loudspeaker-system-measurements, please read the page and also the review for the complete analysis). I take it that those are the sound characteristics that you like.

I understand now, we are actually on divergent paths. What I look for in sound is not for you, and
vice versa. So let's agree to disagree then.


One last thing - Honestly, I find using words to describe sound to be inadequate (despite my blogging), nothing beats a real listening session. I am sure Felix (Carpernaum) and a few others are intrigued enough with your description to want to hear your system in action, esp the ATC SCM100. My last visit to your place was 4-5 years ago, it is time too to update my memory. Will you be so kind to allow a few of us to visit you for a listen, at your convenience? Looking forward to it.

OdioSleuth said...

Puchong Wong,

If one day I get to borrow a pair of ATC SCM100 to play in my room, I'll sure ask you to come listen!

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Ken,

Thanks for your explaination and sharing your thoughts on the ATCs.

I agree with you comments about maximizing the ATCs. I suspect it applies to most speakers too. Esp, high end speakers. To date, I have not come across any speakers which isn't dependent on system matching. Personally, the ATC does have some monitor or studio pedigree. If someone is fortunate enough to own one and can't make it sing, I would ask him to keep trying. If you can't make the ATCs sing, then you won't like the TAD CR1s.

Apart from myself, there are 5 other person lucky enough to hear and bear witness the full potential of the CR1 at OS's place. These 5 people walked away humbled. I did. Needless to say, we were envious of OS.

What is nice to know that OS's existing system can keep up with the CR1s. I was surprised that his equipment does come through quite charmingly so. With every piece of equipment added in one by one, we could hear very clearly the exact characteristics and contribution it made on the sound. Even cable matching was quite definitive and made easier due to the transparency of system through his TAD CR1.

After that night, all of us, esp OS know what has to be done to bring the CR1s to maximum potential. The way I look at it, its a matter of time. It is nice to have a clear knowledge of where one's system is at, how far it can go and what may be done.

Since we are on the topic of improvements, what do you think that you can/may/want to do to your system to further improve on your ATC SCM100? You sound extremely happy with the sound. I would gather that your setup would be a good reference to the sound of a maximised SCM100. It has been a while since I heard it and I would be happy to tag along OS if the invite is open. I was not too impressed with the SCM150 but I know that the setup wasn't perfect.

Ken said...

Hi OS,

I think I better stop the thread here because I sense it is not going to the direction I want it to go.
Our likes and dislikes are bigger than I envisioned it to be. As such, it is very hard to just discussed openly.

Also I have to agree with you that using numbers to explain the differences are not the best way to quantify the improvement or change in the sound. That is what I am trying to explain to Felix. Maybe the way I explained is not correct, I don't know.

Lastly, I have to say that it is not fair to summarise a review by using just 5 words. And then using those words to deduce my preference is definitely incorrect.
The reason I say this is because if you read the whole Robert Harley review of Genesis II.5, you will find he is impressed with the sound of the speakers. But he had to do something extra to hear the speaker at his best, like adding a pillow to his seat to sit higher to get a better sound.
I think you are also trying to do the same with the CR1. It was apparent during my listening session that with the removal of some of the tweaks, the sound have improved, IMO. I think with the CR1, you will start to change your hardware in your chain to maximise this speaker. My advice to you is to get a more powerful amp first. From my experience, the sound you will get if you hooked good speakers to an amp that can produce quality and quantity watts will be different. If you want me to summarise, then the word "effortless" can be used!

As for Felix, I think it is better that I explain to him in person rather than thorugh blogging. I do not want people to miscontrue what I just mentioned.

Thanks

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Ken,

You need not worry about me. To me, you explained yourself well enough.

Personally, I would not pitch the TAD CR1 against the SCM100 as I think they are of a different league to begin with so you can imagine my surprise when you mentioned that you wouldn't change your SCM100 for the CR1. I just wanted to learn more about the ATC SCM100 from a proud owner like yourself. No other intentions intended.

From unanimous decisions that fateful night, most of us felt that upgrading the Source/Preamp made the most impact, redefining the sound and giving good results across the board. If anything it was a debat of which one should be upgraded first. Source or Preamp? Adding a better power amp as it was does give better grip, dynamics and transparency but it also magnified problems from upstream making "flaws" sounding even more prominent. If you think about it, it sort of makes sense.

I just thought you'd like to know as our actual findings and unanimous decisions is quite the opposite of your recommendations to OS about upgrading his power amps.

OS, I hope you don't mind me sharing about your system so openly like this.

Regardless of my sentiments about the CR1, I am a fan of ATCs as well and at this point, I am just curious how the ATC SCM100 stand against the CR1 since you brought up the comparo.

Ken said...

Felix,

I think I better discuss with you offline. It would better this way to explain to you the reasons for my choices.

Also I would not say that the CR1 and the ATC are different leagues. I think the correct word would be different camp.

I like the CR1 very much but I would not sacrifice what I have with the ATC to get it.
No offence to anyone.

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Ken,

I don't think we need to go offline for this discussion. You can agree that our exchanges so far is very civilized.

And you really don't have to explain your choice of speaker to anyone. I am personally quite happy for you and your passion for the ATCs.

I didn't use the word "camp" as technically they are the same type of speakers. 3 drivers and port loaded. Only thing is, the ATCs are much bigger. While the ATCs revel in their big bass and voluminious delivery, the TAD is supreme in its refinement at 32-100kHz response as opposed to ATC's 32-22kHz. Both speaker go very loud altho at 115dB, the ATCs will appear to be louder.

We can jostle words if you like but I am really only interested in a direct A-B comparo between the TAD CR1s and ATC SCM100 to hear how far off are these 2 "camps" of speakers.

Well, in this blog we have both speakers and we also have both owners. What do you think?

Btw, I forgot to ask. Are yours ASL or SL?

Half deaf said...

Hi OS,

Thank you for letting me having a listen to your system.

I was blown away with the resolving power of your system. Dean Peer's Ucross is an excellent bass guitar album. Your system allows me to hear the inner details, the fine nuances (the vibes of guitar string and guitar body resonance) and the coherency is absolutely out of this world. I credited these to the "Point Source" and the awesome highs.

Bundled with lightning transient and vigorously energy, it is truly a SOTA.

SOTA is never a matter of cost/performance. It is about performance and performance only, IMHO.

I was having troubles going back to my shameful system.

Ken said...

Felix,

Like I said earlier, we can meet up when both are us are free.

I don't want to spend my time writing long post which could not be fully understood.

Big E said...

Half Deaf,

I like your nick! but I know you're one of the most critical(if sometimes misunderstood) guys in the local hifi scene.

Your observations on the TAD speakers is very much on the same broad page as mine, Felix, and OS.

Perhaps we have more in common than once thought?

Ha! Ha!

Puchong wong said...

Haif deaf,
Wa! u on one haif deaf listen like this powerful, if u on two ear listen heng heng....!! ha ha ha!!

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Ken,

This thread was started here and I strongly feel we should conclude it here too. Taking our discussion offline would not benefit anyone. There is little point in you and I understanding each other when others don't. Consider it a privilege returned to our kind hosts for tolerating our nonsense.

These posts aren't about you or me but more about everyone's take on the TAD CR1, which is being "evaluated" here.

We have all heard OS's take on the TAD CR1 and most of us have listened to his system and concurred.

We have also read your postings of quite a different opinion on OS's system with his TAD CR1. And since your ATC SCM100 was mentioned, I hoped for a listen to understand where you may be coming from.

Better still if we can have a TAD CR1 vs. ATC SCM100 shoot out.

From what I read from your posts, I am quite certain both speakers will fair quite well.

How about it?

OdioSleuth said...

Hi HD,

It will be a great injustice if I were to address you with your full nick, because your listening skill is anything but.

I am glad to know that you enjoyed listening to the TAD-CR1 in my system.

I know you to be a no nonsense person, so I am truly humbled by your comments.

I am still working on some aspects of my system, hope I'll be able to bring much more out of the TAD-CR1 in the months to come.

Thank you very much.

Ken said...

Felix,

Since you say it like that, then I will continue.

I want to put on record to say that the CR1 is a good sounding speaker. Its strongest point is its resolution which is very good yet not clinical. Not easy to achieve! The Beryllium tweeters works!

My ATC SCM100 which is a P version (not the later SL or the Active SL version) will never beat the TAD CR1 in resolution. But then again, I would say that for about 98% of speakers out there.

The reason why OS partnering gear gels well with the CR1 is because his system is already of a high standard before the arrival of the CR1. What I am trying to say that there the partnering gear is well balanced. When you have that, it is hard to find one specific weakness. Of course, if you change the hardware to a much expensive and better quality, it will improve further. And if he does that, he can easily hear it with the high resolution CR1. I can say that because after I commented on his system when I listened to it before CNY. During that session, I told him that that the bass is thin. Then he started to remove the tweaks that he was using. And every time he does that, the bass presence improves. So if you can hear the difference when you are playing with tweaks, then you can hear the differences even more easily with hardware changes.

When I upgrade, I always will do so on the hardware which I perceived as the weakest point. To me if OS can change his amp from the Pass XA60 to the XA200, it will help open the sound more esp the bass. He will also perceive a much more stable imaging and depth though he has told me that that was not his priority. That’s OK with me. I feel that when you change the source and preamp, what you will mainly get is the another notch upwards in resolution which his system is already good in the first place.
You see, I belong to the hifi camp that values imaging, depth and sound. You can call me greedy but I want to listen to the music as though the singer is in the room. I am not going for a 50 cent mouth size but a believeable size with presence which I seldom perceived in a lot of system.

A lot of people think that I chose the ATC over the CR1 to mean that I say that the ATC is a better speaker than the CR1. I DO NOT MEAN THAT.
Some people love Elizabeth Taylor and found her irresistible. For me, I much prefer Marilyn Monroe who really knows all about seduction. And it is the ATC that has seduce me with its ability to handle vocals and also all types of music. As I have told you, I have an eclectic taste in music. For a speaker to play only 1 genre well but sucks at others is not what I want. And again I want to say that the CR1 can do that as well. But not the same way that ATC does. It is just different.
So that is why I prefer to use the word camp.

You did ask me what I would choose if I want to upgrade my system. I would say that I would change almost all hardware except the ATC. But before everyone thinks ATC is the best, again I would like to reiterate that it is not. You can just as easily muck up the sound of this speakers. One example is during the hifi show. I have never heard ATC sound so bad!

I don’t think I would want to do an A-B comparison of the ATC-CR1 because of the logistical nightmare. My ATC is about 55kg per side. I know the CR1 also weighs about the same with the stand. And also the fact that I have played with the positioning of my speakers which I now felt to be optimum. You and OS can come for a listen when we have the time arranged.

Hopefully you are happy with my explanation. Please ask if you want to know more!

OdioSleuth said...

Ken,

Excellent! I'll contact you to arrange a session to listen to your system at your place.

You listened to the TAD-CR1 at my place in mid-Dec last year, just for the record. :-)

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Ken,

Rest assured, I know your preferrence for the ATC over the TAD. I understand and fully accept that.

The A-B comparo was just so that we get to hear it in similar environment and system. Without which, we would only be evaluating the sound from the resident system and not comparing the sound of the speakers. But I agree, it was a logistic nightmare. I was hoping we would be crazy enough...

My curiousity was piqued with you post. My experience with the TAD CR1 was an eye and ear opener for me. Regardless of how one thinks of the sound, the technology behind the developement of the TAD CR1 was, for the lack of words, rocket science. I understand that not everything is about technology but one has to admit that the technique they used to built the CR1 was cutting edge. Lots of patent and methods never used before simply because the technology to do so just wasn't available.

I used to live with the Celestion SL6000 with its dipole subs for a brief time. At that time, I thought there is no way anything could get better than that. Copper tweeters and Aerolam (think space shuttle) technology.

Boy, was I wrong. My recent revisit to the SL6000 left me feeling how "dated" the SL6000 sounded. Still a very capable speaker system but it was way behind what I heard on the CR1 (without subs).

My personal opinion is that one has to move with technology somewhat. Which lead me to think that no matter how you looked at it, the SCM100 is a relatively dated design. Not yeat a classic but not really new eaither.

Believe it or not, I am all for David vs. Goliath and I was really wondering (and in some ways hoping) if the ATCs could turn out as David. Victorious.

Last but not least, thank you for your gracious invite. I will check with OS when is the best time for a visit, when it suits everyone.

Lastly, I do encourage you to have more listening session with the TAD CR1s. Its a speaker which tells a story, only if you want to hear the truth.

Ken said...

Felix,

I don't think that I will do an A-B comparison with the ATC and the CR1. I do not want to hog my speaker to Tan's place nor do I want to bring his to mine. Getting too lazy for this sort of thing. All the work for a couple of hours of listening.

Yes, compared to the CR1, my ATC is old. But in terms of overall technology, I don't think it will lose to the CR1 by a lot. Just look at PMC and Wharferdale. they are copying the 3" mids of the ATC. If it is dated, nobody would want to copy this. And I can say that after listening to that 2 speakers, the 3" mids of the ATC are still tops!
And I would also say that my ATC can stand proud when compared to other speakers costing many times more. To be frank, my "old" ATC is 1/10th the price of the CR1 when I bought it. Lets hear and then judge whether it is 1/10th the sound or can it beat the CR1 in some areas? Some people would say diminishing returns and I somewhat concur.

I don't agree with your statement "Lastly, I do encourage you to have more listening session with the TAD CR1s. Its a speaker which tells a story, only if you want to hear the truth".
How do you know that the sound that you hear from that speaker is the truth??

Finally, please do share with me what hardware do you have in your setup.

Puchong wong said...

It'great idea,we all can interact the music on each other.

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Ken,

To be honest, I had intended my previous post to be my last and I was already looking forward to visiting you with OS.

We have both voiced our opinions and truly, I respect yours.

Reading back, my last para may have sounded strong. I apologise to you and anyone else if it came across like that. However, if you read it again, there are actually 2 sides to the statement.

My equipment is very old school, nothing close to yours or that of OS's. That is why I ask so many questions.

There is nothing wrong with an "old" and tested design. The midrange "hemispherical" dome was created by AR back in 1958 and is still being used by many speakers company today. ATC did great justice with its commercial production of the soft dome midrange back in the 70s.

Speaking of which, which PMC/Wharfedale model with midrange dome did you listen to?

Ken said...

Felix,

I think its time for me to say that you cannot stop here ;-P

The statement that I most disagree is your last statement which to me implies that only the CR1 is capable of giving you the truth.
That is why I ask you how do you know if the sound produced by the CR1 is the true sound?

The reason I ask this is we have no way of knowing if the sound produced by the CR1 or any other speaker for that matter is the "correct" sound. It is only our own opinion that decides whether the sound we hear is correct or not.
It's like food, how do you know if an assam laksa from a restaurant or any other dish for that matter, is the most authentic dish that you have tasted? You will never know but what is important is that you like the dish at that restaurant better than any other that you have tasted. It is like that with hifi.
You see, a good sounding system is a system where 80% people who have heard it, likes it. OS's setup with the CR1 belongs to the good sound setup. The only query for me is that would you expect more with the amount of money that it costs? That what happens when your system costs is much higher than the norm. You have to judge it from another level of criteria!

On another note, a speaker may use another type of technology and just because it is been devised ages ago does not mean that the sound is worse off. If that is so, nobody would buy secondhand and the secondhand stuff would be dirt cheap. And we all know that it isn't so. The most important is if that technology used has improved over the years! You see, a good technology once devised can only be improved in smaller steps compared to poorer designs.

It is OK that your setup may not contain highend stuff. I started out with a system that cost around RM2K with an LD player as the source. And I reached my present state over a period of 15 years. One must learn to walk before starting to run! Only this way that you can hear the improvement and appreciate the changes in the sound of your system when you change gear. Which is what OS is experiencing ;-)

The PMC IB2 is the speaker that I have listened. I am not impressed with the sound but I just put it down to the fact that it was the hifi show environment. But I could say the same about the ATC SCM50 that I hear is the same show!

Hope to hear your reply.

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Ken,

As with all forum chats, I will stop when I feel that it is no longer enhancing to the topic being discussed. I seldom veer from thread topic, which is the TAD CR1 being evaluated. This is also in respect to other readers who may not want to know too much of our personal opinions, at least mine.

My reference is studio based. If I were to mix a track, I would look for speakers like the Yamaha NS10, PMC MB2 XBD and if need be, the TAD CR1. All these speakers share one thing in common, good linearity in within its working bandwidth. Nothing jumps out to shine but everything works cohesively and in tandem. To me, that is important and it represents balanced bandwidth playback. From my experience, this usually gives the most realistic playback whether in a recording studio or in a home hifi. This has become especially important in our digital age when we are handling ultra high resolution software. Older speakers with limited HF bandwidth suffers from earlier cone breakup with some hires sources. This harmonic distortions work backwards to skew things at the lower frequencies. In a favourable scenario, this usually manifest themselves as a "likeable" emphasis. On a not so ideal scenario, you tend to hear peakish mids and sometimes, loss of detail. Most of us are used to this kind of distortions in one way or another as they are inherent in most tweeter designs. In fact, our ears expect to hear it. You can call it, a favourable conditioning.

I did not want to get into detail or draw too much attention onto the ATCs but if I were to look for a reference speaker, I may not go for the ATCs. As much as I like them and how they sound, their design is no longer ideal for my application.

I state a few obvious limitations of the ATC. Firstly, their freq response is 32-22khz +/-6dB and only 65 - 12kHz +/-2dB.

Clearly, there is a midband emphasis.

2ndly, the fact that the bass drivers are conventional 12" variety, there will be some lagging in the bass, especially when close monitoring is in requirement. This also give rise to some complaints I heard about them having a "fat bass" or "lumpy" bass. This is all due to phase coupling issues between the woofer, port and midrange, however little there may be. Physically, a 12" will always be slower than an 8". The laws of physics applies here regardless of what you and I think.

PMC has addressed this issue quite successfully with their NOMEX woofers and excellent TL coupling. The CR1 has made their 8" woofer as "invisible" as possible to allow the rest of the bandwidth unrestricted projection. The fact that you hear "less" bass and more notes usually means that there are less distortion at the nether region. Cleaner, if I may.

To counteract this anomally, ATC owners usually go for more and more power to drive their speakers. Most of the times it does work as power means more grip and improved damping for the woofer. Hence, when you recommended OS to upgrade his power amp, I knew where you were coming from.

As I am planning a "retirement" system, size and weight is always an important criteria for me so, beefy amplifiers are a no no.

If at all, I were to choose an ATC, I would go straight for their Monitor series. The added 5kHz bandwidth to a +/-2dB at 17kHz is a welcome improvement giving a more linear bandwidth which I believe will give better tone, especially in classical music which I am beginning to listen to a lot off.

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

So Ken, time and again when I listen to the TAD CR1, it always give me this impression that the bandwidth is complete and totally free. Low distortion, fantastic linearity and no peakiness anywhere. As a result, I actually hear more and can easily pick out every single type of instruments being played. What is also impressive is the with the even bandwidth is that it enables me to appreciate the element of virtuosity in the musicians. How hard or soft they pluck or play. In fact, the lack of obvious but superfluous midband emphasis has enabled me to truly listen to everything else as how a real life orchestra would sound.

Like some of us here, I had to re-learn my listening skills.

I don't expect you or anyone else to take what I say for granted which is why I encourage you to listen more to the CR1. This also, in no way that I am insinuating that your choice in the ATCs is wrong. What works for me may not work for you and that is perfectly ok.

Like every system I have listened to, I always learn something new. I am hoping to do the same with yours.

Ken said...

Felix,
If a reader does not want to hear/read an opinion, they do not need to go to this blog. Everybody has a choice. It is OK to sometimes veer off topic, which I feel adds interest to the overall topic.

Firstly, you are using a bandwidth to argue your case. As stated, the frequency response of the ATC SCM100 SL is as below:
Amplitude Linearity ±2dB :
65Hz - 17kHz
Frequency Response -6dB :
35Hz & 22kHz
whereas the TAD CR1 is as stated:
40Hz–20kHz, ±3dB (frontal average response)
I am sure that you know that the bandwidth is measured in an anechoic chamber and no listening room that I know of, is built like an anechoic chamber. And when the listening room is different, would you expect the frequency response to be different, especially when you have other things in the room like sofa, table etc?
Secondly, since our listening room is very different from the anechoic chamber, would you expect emphasis and/or suck out at certain frequencies? That is why you will hear the peaks, the bloat etc. You cannot totally eliminate this but over time, a good audiophile would know how to minimise all these.
Thirdly, can anyone seriously tell me if they can hear anything above 16KHz? I would say most of us can’t! The typical redbook cd goes to 44KHz, some good cds are now mastered at much higher frequency. But your amp and speaker can't give you this number!And even if it can, will you be able to appreciate the difference?

You mentioned that our ears can become accustomed to “peakish mid and loss of details” and come to expect that from their hifi. I don’t think I can or will accept these drawbacks. If the sound is poor, I will say so.

Ken said...

That is why I say that the TAD CR1 has good resolution. You can easily hear it. You cannot know this by looking at the frequency response. A measurement can only tell certain aspect/ behaviour, not every aspect, of the speakers. If you still believe implicitly on the measurement, then you can read that the TAD CR1 is not exactly an easy speaker to drive. A high capacitive phase angle at 34Hz means that the speaker need to be driven with high current amp to give you good extension at that frequency. That is why I hear a lower amount of bass from certain type of music in OS’ setup.

If the ATC has poor linearity, no studio would ever use them but they are used by loads of musicians and studios as stated below.
http://www.atcloudspeakers.co.uk/clients1.php
http://www.atcloudspeakers.co.uk/clients2.php
If you have a dated design, again nobody would want to use your brand anymore but the ATC client list tells you that this is not the case. Furthermore, the NS10 is also an old design which has been discontinued in 2001.
You mentioned that a 12” bass driver will lag behind a smaller driver. True only when you have a power amp which is of low wattage. And you also need to know the material used to manufacture the driver. If you have a powerful amp, you will not have that problem. It is just common sense that if you have a big car, then you need a stronger engine. If you still want to use a less powerful engine you will not feel anything missing until you go up a hill. Likewise, you will not hear anything wrong until you listen to challenging passage of some music, notably the climax of the music. If 12” or 15” drivers are as poor as you have said, then no manufacturer would ever use it. But you have a plethora of manufacturer who uses these sizes of their drivers, namely JM Lab, Wilson Audio etc etc. And even PMC in their model of MB1, even with their TL built in. So I feel your argument is not valid.
If you do not want big powerful amps, then you should go the other route of SET with high sensitivity horn speakers. Just a few watts would drive them to some serious dB level. There is nothing wrong if you want to go this route for hifi. But I don’t mind having big beefy amps because if you can’t move them, you can always get someone to do it for you ;-P
The only question is why you need to move it when it is already well placed.

Like I said earlier, the CR1 is a good sounding speaker. I am also not saying that the ATC is a better sounding speaker than the former. I will not be doing an A-B comparison because it will not be fair to my ATC which costs so much more cheaper. But when I listened to the TAD CR1, I will be more critical because of the price level. Wouldn’t anyone be?

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Ken,

I am going to keep this post short and sweet. What we are discussing here is not new and have been discussed before many times over. Hope you don't mind.

Our hearing range above normal human range dabbles into psychoacoustics which I feel meither you or myself are qualified to discuss.

Our adaptive listening also falls into both biological and psychoacoustic conditioning which I strongly believe we have no conscious way of controlling and no way of knowing for sure without the aid of complex measuring instruments. Apart from the descriptions I disclosed, I wouldn't be able to tell otherwise. If you could, you are probably one of the few ones who can.

Not all 12 or 15" woofers are made the same. I used the term "conventional variety". JM Labs, MB1s, just to quote your examples, woofer varieties are far from conventional. If you looked closely, the woofer construction and placement of the TAD CR1 is mechanically time aligned making the CR1 superbly time coherent across the 3 drivers. Something you can never do with conventional designs or drivers.

Most manufactures of amplifiers are now moving towards 100kHz upper frequency limits. Even my AV amp is 100kHz able. I do believe that all of us can perceive the difference. It also gives a very linear platform for its working frequencies making sure harmonic distortions are way above our normal listening range. It makes good sense to do that.

John Atkinson measured the -48 degree, 34Hz capacitive phase angle at 5 ohms as opposed to 7.5 ohms nominal across the entire frequency range. Which is the singular frequency that will draw more current from the amp. Most amps will be able to handle this.

Readers can read for themselves and draw their own conclusions.

http://www.stereophile.com/content/tad-compact-reference-cr1-loudspeaker-measurements

"The CR1's farfield response, averaged across a 30° horizontal window centered on the tweeter axis, is again superbly flat from the midrange through to the high treble.........the TAD's horizontal dispersion is textbook (fig.4), being wide and even, with no off-axis hot spots or troughs. This behavior always correlates with stable, precise stereo imaging, the early reflections of the speaker's output from the room's sidewalls not having a different character from the direct sound".

Everyone knows (myself included) that ATCs are tested and proven design and they are good speakers used in studios worldwide.

I never said that the ATC SCM100s were not good speakers. In fact, I do like them. What I am saying that the TAD CR1 is a superb speaker and that I am very happy OS is the proud owner of one.

Cheers.

Ken said...

Felix,

Again I disagree with your comments. Whats new, right? ;-P

Your AV amp maybe 100KHz capable but are your speakers as well?

Also if your speakers are 100KHz capable, are your cd player able to send this signal?

What about the format of software used?

What about the room absorbance and reflectance?

The TAD CR1 maybe 7.5ohm across the board until that capacitive angle which looks like an easy load. But I am sure that when OS had the TAD amp which is more powerful, the sound has also improved. For this, it can still be argued that the TAD maybe better quality.
I am always impressed of the changes of the sound when you move from an "adequately powered amp" to a "more powerful amp". That is why I never reviewed. The overall sound just open up.

Lastly, you are correct that all 12" drivers are different. I have heard a lot of newer designs and quite a lot just sound different, not better!

What I am trying to get at is
1. each of us has their own likes and dislikes
2. each of us must know how to maximise their setup to perform their best
3. each of to just use measurement as a guide , not to just rely on it as a capability guide of the hardware.

Till we meet up one fine day!

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Ken,

Let's just say, I am gearing to be 100kHz ready. HD surround materials are encoded in either 96 or 192kHz.

My AV speakers goes up to 54kHz.

I use both 44kHz and 192kHz software and I listen nearfield so, on axis frequency response for me is the most important. Also the same reason why I am looking at the TAD CR1 or speakers of similar performance. Sort of planning to be more future proof.

I agree with your last paragraph.

Its been constructive and would have been good if other readers offered more inputs.

Ken said...

Felix,

I will be surprised if anyone join us in our discussion!

tan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Tan,

Well said and I agree with your point about listening intelligence, also something pointed out by Mr. Jo Ki sometime back in another forum.

Ken,

Room absorbance and reflectance applies to all speakers, not only 100kHz able ones.

I actually did a check after you asked. Surprisingly, my amplifier goes up to 200kHz! And it is old school!

Specifications are always just a guide. I know of tonnes of equipment/speakers with conventional specs that sounds fantastic.

Ken said...

Tan,

A like minded individual!

I could not agree with you more. Listening skills is a must.
I have met quite a few audiophiles with highend stuff whose system is so blur I did not even dare to say anything when I listen to the system. No definition of any sort on the sound or on imaging!

And the scariest part about this is that these audiophiles has less than 20 cds collection for their 6 figure sum hifi setup.

Just think about it, these people can't even make their system sound good with a cd player which they can operate with a touch of button, how can they maximise the sound of a setup with turntable which need precise alignment?

Just my opinion!

tan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Tan,

Like you mentioned, listening intelligence is paramount before one can tune correctly. There is a difference between a sound that we like as opposed to a sound which is more correct. I spent years tuning to what I like but at the end, I realised that what I liked may not always yield what is correct. Once I re learned how to listen correctly, there is no turning back.

I am very privileged to have listened to good setups (whether high end or not) with correct approach and the reward is nothing short of breath taking. It is also worth mentioning that these systems can play an almost endless repertoire of musical genre.

Power conditioning, is essential. For those who can afford, I would recommend them before anything. For those who is on a shoe string, I would recommend at least some form of passive filtration and eventually a proper proper isolation device.

tan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mikelau.2 said...

Guys,

I think one should not use the word "correct" in hifi. There is no "correct sound", "correct listening skills", "correct sounding system" etc. Perhaps good listening skills, good sounding systems and good sound ?

mikelau.2 said...

Felix/Ken,

It was a good discourse between the 2 of you. I enjoyed both your postings.

Puchong Wong,

Basing on the price of the CR1, the technical specs, the build quality, the reviews etc, I'd like to think the speaker is able to sound fantastic provided its supported by equally good equipment, and set up well. As it was OS was like driving a BMW 6 series with 95 octane ? Yet you "jumped up to the roof" on listening to it ?

Wait till he feeds it with 97 octane and perhaps then you may jump up to the moon ?

I did notice OS shaking his legs when rock music was played. He was obviously in audio heaven...and that is all that matters !

Congrats OS

Puchong wong said...

Mike Lau,

Aww...... Don't be jelly...... You can shake your legs too if you want to.

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Tan, MikeLau,

Mike, what took you so long to join in? :)

Correct or good?

Previously I avoid using the word "correct", to be diplomatic, pollitically correct and ultimately, to be safe.

Then I realise almost ALL audiophiles "hide" behind the word, "personal preference".

If that was the case, the entire recording/music/hifi industry is never "correct".

Surely, someone, somewhere....must be correct. Be it a recoding engineer or a speaker manufacturer.

At some point, I feel that audiophiles must be "courageous" enough to throw themselves into the water, out of their comfort zone and pursue what is "correct" and not always hiding behind, "personal preference" and commiting excellence faux pas?

I've come across setups where most people agree that it is good. Surely this owner must be doing something more "correct" than others.

What do you think?

tan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mikelau.2 said...

Felix,

Just got my computer fixed, decided to after reading the interesting discourse on the CR1. Will touch a bit on that later.
Agree with you 100% on the "personal preference" thinge. Easiest way out in hifi and the reason is simple. Not all audiophiles including me have a good ear or the ability to listen intelligently.

But I have to disagree with you on the subject of "correct sound". Let's refer to a system that is excellently setup and with top-notch equipment reproducing "very good sound". Take a drum beat. How can one say the sound of the drum beat reproduced is "correct", even though it may sound very good to the ears ? Is it not possible that the actual drum beat recorded was different and not that "good sounding" as the one reproduced ? So how can it be "correct" ? Correct in the sense correct to the recording ? Or correct because the drum sounded "right,tight and good"?

I took note of the "balance bandwidth" you mentioned in one of your postings. (I happen to be in this camp too). And on OS's CR1 like to hear your take on this. Was the full/balance bandwidth portrayed well to your ears ? Maybe it was the music he played which were not familiar to me.

Rgds

Puchong wong said...

One malaysia famous hifi monk say!if u pary hifi sound not good, is not hifi problem is a owner have problem!!

mikelau.2 said...

Tan,

Rewriting this as my reply to you did not get posted.

"Sound fundamentally right" and "correct sound" are totally different in meaning. The former is a general response and has no reference to any one particular recording. But when one says "correct sound" it must have a reference and that reference is the sound made at the recording studio. Is that not so or is it a reference to a well known sifu or guru ? If this be the case then the opinion becomes subjective, right ?

Take a drum beat. The sound reproduced from a top-notch and well setup system will sound different to the actual sound at the recording studio/event. It is possible the reproduced sound from the top-notch system sounds better than the actual sound. If so can we say that the reproduced sound "is correct" ?

Rgds

mikelau.2 said...

Felix,

On reading your postings the second time you did mention about the balanced bandwidth of the CR1.

Apologies.

Mike

tan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mikelau.2 said...

Puchong Wong,

Your famous hifi monk is truly very wise.

Can you ask him to tell us what he knows about "correct sound" ? I know the monk is very close to you.

Puchong wong said...

Eminent monk say if utink u hifi sound not good,please go study u hifi knowledge& ear!! ha ha ha !!!

mikelau.2 said...

Tan,

Yes, let's enjoy the music.

Cheers,

Mike

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Mike,

I try to evaluate sounds and system with everything else in consideration. That way, I try to evaluate fairly.

My opinion is that OS's current system with the TAD CR1 is quite good to listen to, taking into account that his equipment list is all existing which he acquired for his previous speaker.

I don't know if it is a blessing for OS or not but we have heard his CR1 being matched up and pushed to near full potential sans final fine tuned setup/tweaks. And I would like to say that the CR1 can be pushed to extreme limits of my imagination.....maybe beyond.

Drums are a tricky business. All I can say is that "good" sounding drums may not necessarily be represented "correctly". And correct sounding drums will always sound good.

As a rule, I try to avoid drums as an evaluative software. I'd use them for kicks and fun but never to evaluate.

Big E would agree that during our days in IASCA, contestant who uses drum tracks to impress all the time almost always can't play any other music.

I am with OS on the subject of listening correctly. It took me many years to realize that and I am only envious of those who can or can do that naturally/automatically much more quickly than I can.

The ironic thing is, those who can, will listen to the same things, tune the same way, consistently, everytime. All without sharing notes beforehand. Eventhough the results vary due to different equipment, they know exactly what is missing or could be better.

junchoon2989 said...

Ken, CCSI,

maybe i am a newbie-low-fi guy when it comes to hifi, but...

the 96/192khz is actually refering to the sampling rate, not the frequency response.

for 100khz frequency response material, look for Akira Blu-Ray disc. also, the SACD standard allow up to 100khz, but was truncated at 50khz so as not to "damage" tweeters.

with even the "OLD" LPs producing above 20khz, it certainly more future-proof to have speakers with higher range on the tweeters - of course i am not discounting the other frequency ranges. but it a nice icing on the cake to have.

cheers,
wps

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

WPS,

Thanks for clarifying.

And yes, being more future proof for people who are in the process of setting up makes logical sense.

Scientifically, it is beneficial to.

OdioSleuth said...

Just to clarify, though I have the same surname, I am not 'tan' who was doing some good postings here. :-)

Ken said...

WPS,

Yes, u r right on the sampling rate but there are quite a bit of speakers that has that has extension of up to 100KHz bandwidth. You may need to know is that there is usually 3dB or 6dB below other frequencies.
That is not the problem. The main challenge is the fact our ears could hardly hear above 16KHz.

All,

As for the "correct sound" or "good sounding" or "personal preference", I am always of the opinion that if 80% of all the people who has listen to your setup loves the sound, then you are on the right track.
Whether we like it or not, one man's food is another man's poison!
I always believe that you cannot get an absolutely "neutral" sound. This is because the recording chain is also not neutral. You have an assorted recording equipment which is being passed to each other with an array of cables. Then it is remastered by an engineer who may have his own intepretation of a correct sound. This is then being played out with a variety of gear in different rooms/environment.

mikelau.2 said...

Hi Felix,

I'd like to think the CR1 can be very impressive sounding given the technology behind the making of the speaker. I had the opportunity to listen to it partnered with very good gears at AV Design but sad to say I was not impressed. Perhaps something is missing somewhere.

When I listen to a system I would evaluate using the speaker rating and its portrayal of the bandwidth.
To me I don't rule out any particular instrument even the drums. I am also a bass man and the lower octave/frequency is just as important.

In the Hotel California recording (Hell Freezes Over?) I believe congas, bongos and kickdrums were used. In different well setup systems the drums/bass will sound different from each other. So which is correct sounding ? All sounded good in their own way but different.

Now we move up to the higher frequencies say the mids and upper mids. I could be wrong on this. But I have a feeling manufacturers of speakers now 'tweak' their db driver settings and cross-overs so that they shine or portay a frequency spectrum (hope I am using the term correctly) to capture listeners, and usually the mid/ upper mids?. In doing so the balanced bandwidth that we know gets 'altered'. And when this happens do we say that the sound reproduced (mid/uppermids) from the newer generation speakers are "more correct" than the older speakers ? They will sound different ?

I use to think that the correct way to listen to music is by using the balanced bandwidth. I may be right But I can also be wrong. There are listeners who enjoys very much the shine of the upper mids with hardly any low octave. Can we say he is not listening to music intelligently ? Yes AND No?

But I still believe that if we have a speaker that goes down to say 35hz we should be able to reproduce the lower octaves to that frequency otherwise why pay/play that speaker ?

What is your opinion ?

My techno-langauge is poor but I hope my message can be understood.

I know the eminent monk will have something to say !

I can relate and agree with your last paragraph.

Cheers,

Mike

mikelau.2 said...

OS,

Thanks for clarifying.

I actually mistook 'tan' for you !

Rgds,

Mike

tan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Mike,

Funny you should mention Hotel California. That is another track I don't use. There can never be an agreement about how much bass the conga should produce. There has been heavy speculation that the low bass we so enjoy is actually added. How? I don't know.

I agree with you that the TAD CR1 did not sound its best during the launch. I have had the opportunity of listening to the CR1 many times (my continuous bugging of Mr. James Tan of AV Design paid off!)and I know exactly what you are saying. What made matters worse was the disturbing rattling from the overhead ceiling on the left of the seating area. I don't know if you picked that up.

My persistent listening session to the TAD CR1 has shown me that the sound "character" we sometimes love too much actually does impede us from hearing more of the music. I realise that the lack of obvious "character" from the CR1 or TAD system allows the character of the music to come through much, much easier. I heard things I never knew was in the recording simply because I didn't crowd my mind with the expected "warmth" or "bass" or "vocals", etc....I listened intently and without prejudice. It opened up a whole world of new audio experience for me. I heard more detail and music than I ever have in the past.

I must confess that the TAD CR1 isn't the only speaker system that allows me to do that. I have had the privilege recently to listen to another which has the same lack of characteristics which at the end, just simply lets music passes through...

The only thing I can recommend to you is to listen more to such systems.

junchoon2989 said...

Ken,

i did a test a while back which suggest i have about 16khz range. obviously they use pink noise stuff lah.

that's the problem - all these lab tests will not run in the context of an audiophile. they never seems to show how the > 20khz interact with human audioble range.

on a side note, when i used the Akira BD to test in James' showroom (entry level ht), it was such a dissapointment as his system is not able to decode 24/192. in contrast, i could really "feel" it when run the same disc in A&L Audio Bangsar, and only 2ch 24/192!

cheers,
wps

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

The notion that human beings can't hear above 16kHz is a misnomer. Some humans can hear beyond textbook 22kHz. Like all parameters in life, 20-22kHz is just a guideline. Most of us can detect frequencies below 15Hz albeit less efficiently.

In an open field, the rustlings of the leaves produces a myriad of frequencies, natural white noise. In there are frequencies beyond our textbook limit. Yet, we can perceive and be affected, soothed, so to speak.

So, 100kHz, it isn't a must but wouldn't you want it if you can have it?

mikelau.2 said...

Tan,

I tend to agree with all your 5 points mentioned. And in particular is point 5. That is also my finding.

As mentioned I am also a 'bass man', not a bass freak but essential as I play a floorstander. And talking about bass and music preference there are also very experienced audiophiles (not sure if we can classify them as intelligent listeners) who enjoys the emphasis of this lower octave over others. So, there is indeed a place for personal preference in hifi. At the same time there are instances too as Felix said which I agree of experienced audiophiles using this (any shortcoming) as an excuse. Sometimes aural orientation plays a part too.

There is another category of audiophiles - the eye fiers ! To this category anything with a high price tag sounds good or is good. Yet there is another class who will not listen to a system costing below say 100k.

(Any system below that will not be enough for the eminent monk to jump up to the roof!)

To passionate/extremist audiophiles there is often a tendency to feel one's sound is "more correctly reproduced" than others.

Tan, I feel we might be in the same camp. I am not sure if we have met but from the postings I think you enjoy the lower octaves like I do. I am particularly drawn to your 70hz bookshelf going down to 30hz ?

Is it possible for me to visit you and have a listen to your setup ?

Cheers,

Mike

HS said...

A blog article that somehow turns this blog into a mini forum. A breath of fresh air. Views are professionally articulated. Perhaps BigE should consider making a forum as a permenent feature with selected topics.

mikelau.2 said...

Felix,

I can relate to your 3rd para about music "easily flowing thro" giving a whole new world of experience. I have also experienced this. To me the Wilson Maxx and Alexandria does it even better. But I am not comparing this to the CR1. The mids and upper-mids especially is the one that captures your attention right ? But what of the rated low hz ? The full bandwidth ? One would expect the 10"/12" bass driver to deliver but often the low octaves as per speaker rating is seldom represented or reproduced.

In this circumstance its easy for one to get side tracked and perhaps jump up the roof !

What happened to our "listening ability" & our "listening intelligence" that we acquired over the years ? Is it no more relevant in this new world hifi ?

Felix, please don't get me wrong. I am not challenging you on your abilities & listening experience. Infact I hold you, Ken and many others in high regard on hifi matters. My knowledge and experience is nowhere near yours, Ken and many others. (Also the eminent monk's, hehe and only if he would stop beating around the bush and jumping up the roof!)

But please point out to me if I am wrong in this listening experience and our old way of listening is obsolete.

I'd like to hear the low octave of the CR1. Maybe OS need to explore further on his speaker placement ? I'd like to be proven wrong about my findings on the CR1. But if OS says the low octave is not that important then the chapter is closed and I can also accept that. Personally I do not think its the amplification.

Cheers,

Mike

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Mike,

Offence? Non taken at all. I try not to get too personal. I recognise that most people only ever say anything when they are genuinely passionate about the subject.

Like yourself, I am also here to discuss and learn so, I am no different from you. Please don't consider me otherwise. I can't speak for the eminent monk tho...

Wow.... I was in love with the Maxx for the longest time. I still love it very much. And the Alexandria...who can resist? Only our wallets can! Haha....

To be honest, when I first heard the TAD CR1 many years ago, I rather disliked it. No air, no bass. It was show condition but zero setup. I'd soon forgotten about it. It was only recently when a good friend prompted me to take another listen that I'd realise that there was more to the TAD CR1 than its dimunitive size and "hefty" price tag. In fact, it was more by being less.

In a good setup, I don't hear the CR1 at all. I can't dissect the high from the mids from the mid lows or the lows. In fact, I only hear the music. I do want to mention that good setting up is paramount.

I am very, very used to listening to Mr. Jo Ki's system, a master guise at dissapearing act. So, I was rather surprised that the CR1 could do the same and quite easily too. That's when I really paid attention. By disappearing, I mean not only in audible form but in sonic signature as well. It had little or had no sonic footprint which I find getting in the way of what's being played. I found this "lack of character" both intriguing and refreshing. My deduction is both methodology and materialogy. Somehow, the folks at TAD managed to make things which resonate very little or resonate out of our hearing range/perception. They employ the same phylosophy and technique throughout thier entire range. By adding more TAD components, you are subtracting more and more of its own "character". Its mind boggling to think but if you will, you'd find a new approach right in front of our noses all this while.

Don't add character but subtract.

To my ears, the CR1 does go very low. It may not match the SPL volume or speakers with larger drivers but what it had, it was both tuneful and very well defined. I love weighty bass but not at the expense of definition and detail.

No one is ever right or wrong. Hifi is a journey. Some are complacent and choose to stop while others pursue on. Either case it is ok. I only found it a bit incriminating for one party to call another "wrong".

tan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ken said...

WPS,

As you said , its an entry level HT so I am not surprised that it cannot decode the 24/192.

This is the reason why we have to be extremely careful. It is great if we have hardware that can pass on high resolution signal. The question is not whether we want it or not.
The question is whether the hardware can really pass this signal on. The entry level HT setup in AV Design shows you it can't but the thing is that our hifi setup cannot show us whether the signal that is passed through is of the highest resolution. I am just a bit apprehensive of hardware that claims but cannot perform!
Lastly, one must understand the difference between high resolution format and the resolving abilities of the hardware. There are 2 different things which a lot of mistakenly thought are the same.

Thanks

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Tan,

I agree with your comments.

Also, I never thought the CR1 had issues with low bass resolution. I liked the resolution of the CR1 across its entire working bandwidth.

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Ken,

If you are talking SS Hifi, Nowadays, most chips are capable of megahertz resolution. Way beyond HiFi needs.

In AV, commercial target segment and cost is usually the limiting factor. Not the technology.

Ken said...

Felix,

I know that they are capable but I have heard and seen a lot of setups could not decode the signal that is sent.

Also there are some cd player that claims to upsample and again I find that the high Hz extension is even worse off than my own redbook cd player. And this upsampling hardware are not exactly cheap!

I always feel that it is no point to get a gear that gives you all the great looking bandwidth but actually sound worse off than gear which actually offer typical 30Hz to 20KHz bandwidth. It is the quality that matters, not quantity.

Big E said...

HS,

Thank you for suggesting that we host a forum for readers to input their thoughts.

Will have to check with google if this is actually do-able under the blog format.

To all other contributors of this discussion,

I am very impressed with all who contributed to the discussion in an intelligent, matured and gentlemenly manner. All your conduct in this subject matter has been examplary.

Kudos to all participating readers!

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Ken,

I can agree with you and your sentiments are not unfounded, IMO.

I guess that gives really good products an edge over the others and a golden opportunity to rise above the rest.

junchoon2989 said...

Ken,

James was alien to both the concept of 5.1 Dolby TrueHD 24/192, and source material with actual frequencies touching 100khz. Can't blame him as Akira, afaik, is one and only BD that's has this feature besides some bd audio discs. he assume his system can decode. He's not alone as many showrooms are unable to replicate the same sensation in A&L Audio.

Thankfully the ones in this discussion seems to be a bunch that don't assume things.

Cheers,
WPS

mikelau.2 said...

Hi Felix,

Thanks for your inputs as always.

Its great your willingness to share and others too.

Cheers,

Mike

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Ken, Mike,

A phenomenon exist when one introduces a truly capable piece of equipment into the existing setup where, apart from making some improvement will also sound "worse" overall.

If you take photographs, this phenomenon occurs also when a photographer upgrades from a basic model to a full frame, higher end body with high resolution sensor.

In both cases, the initial results are normally disappointing.

Do we assume that the "high end" addition is not good or do we postulate that our existing equipment/skills are not up to scratch?

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

WPS,

Like Ken mentioned, not all equipment can decode 24/192kHz surround. I think most can do 24/192kHz 2 channels like what you heard at A&L. Most surrounds are encoded at 96kHz.

Just so we don't get too confused, I was referring to frequency response of an equipment/speaker and not about the ability to decode HD surround sound channels. The latter is about the decoding chip and nothing about the amplifier's ability to hit 100kHz frequency response. If you look at the specs closely, most amplifiers (even av amps) can hit 100kHz nowadays.

Ken said...

Hi Felix,

Looking at the specs is just one of the things audiophiles must do before deciding on the hardware to buy. Just note that specs can only tell you about the engineering aspect of the hardware. If we just look at specs alone, then SETs would have no more place in hifi because all of them measure poorer than SS. So does TT with its ticks and pops!

On another note, a hardware or system may decode and give you the great bandwidth but the sound can still be bad. I say this because there is no way a good AV system can beat a good hifi setup in terms of sound for music.

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Ken,

A good AV system is not meant to beat a good hifi system.

Conversely, can a good hifi system beat a good AV setup?

I think they were meant to do different things.

Specs are important no matter how you look at it. Granted the final sound plays the deciding factor but our bigger brain will dictate most things.

Assuming you are looking at 2 power amps. Both RM100k. One of them has a freq response of 2Hz to 200kHz and the other is 20 to 20kHz. Which would you consider more favourably?

FM Acoustics preamps has freq. response of 2Hz to 2MHz (@0.008% distortion)and valve based Nagra PLP preamp has 22Hz to 60kHz (@ 0/-1% distortion). If you know harmonic distortion, then you'd know why they made their amps to such high resolution. 2MHz? I don't think any of us would be able to hear that.

Awaiting your comments about the phenomenon I mentioned earlier.

junchoon2989 said...

Ken,

i think it depends on the source to say whether av can beat 2ch hifi or the other way around.

so what would happen if i want best of both worlds? for example 5.1 SACD sources? or plain old Nat King Cole in 3 channels without a dedicated LFE channel? it has no video to speak of, so it is not AV, but yet u can't say it is a traditional hifi in 2ch. at the same time NKC 3ch conform to what a stereo sound/source should be - stereophonic means 2ch or more.

how about mono SACDs and LPs? :)

but sadly, i have yet to hear a good 5.1 SACD systems. i did ask Felix if there is/was a 5.1 LS3/5A system, but tak ada lah, haha. don't think possible as how to use Joki's method of placing the AB1s?

cheers,
wps

Ken said...

Felix,

I don't place much importance in the specs when I look at a gear. The only specs that I look at is the
a. power rating for a power amp
b. power handling of a speaker
When I read Stereophile magazine, what intrigues me is the engineering employed into the hardware. But if you follow John Atkinson on the Measurement part, he is sometimes baffled by the measurements which shows poor engineering in certain conditions but did not produce any audible poor sound.

My usual practice when I review a gear is to take it home to review in the context of my system to hear if it gels and also improved the sound of my system.
Then I would evaluate whether the improvement is worth the extra cash I will have to pay to upgrade. You see, if specs is the ultimate thing we should aim for, then all tube gears should be banished and everyone would move to SS. Furthermore, everybody would go for brands like FM Acoustics with bandwidth that extend far, far beyond what the human ear can hear.

I did not comment on your comment about the "phenomenon" because I do not know what you meant by truly capable equipment. How do you define "capable"?
In my 15 yrs of audiophilia, I have heard some remarkable systems that has the typical bandwidth that we mentioned but I have also heard some expensive systems that sound poor. The gear in those systems are expensive, great bandwidth with great engineering (things you will like) but sound so poor that it surprises me.

We all can agree that a good AV setup should not better a good hifi setup but all AV amps have great bandwidth with latest decoding engines. Theoretically, it should sound better than a hifi setup but it doesn't. What I am trying to say is that specs is just something we look at, not rely fully on.

I think there are a lot of things that we do not fully understand.

Ken said...

WSP,

Do you mean that if we use a great source, the AV setup would beat the hifi setup for 2 channel sound?

I have to say I do not think so.

Anyway, I think if Jo really want to put his LS3/5 in a 5 or 7 channel setup, he can do it. He has enough speakers to do it.

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Ken,

I agree with what you are saying about spec not necessarily point to good sound. We have gone past that many times. And I think most readers/audiophiles already know that fact. What I want to establish here isn't about that anymore. I left that behind about 50 posts or so.

When I mentioned capable, I meant equipment like Clearaudio Statement or JM Lab Utopia.

If, I were to plonk a JM Lab Utopia EM into your system, do you think it will sound good? Why?

I can't comment about how the amplifier section of an AV amp will perform as they are really built for a few criteria in mind, transient speed, dynamic headroom and transparency. However, I would not go as far as saying that the core chipset of the amplifier isn't capable enough to produce good stereo sound. If an audio designer wanted to.....Anyway, I shan't go into further discussion about this as it is veering away from our main topic.

mikelau.2 said...

Felix,

I tend to agree with Ken on this. In hifi, figures do matter but it is not absolute when sound is concerned. Neither would it dictate the choice of sound. MONEY WOULD. One can be paying the sky for something 'not required'. But there are people who buy on brand and price. The more expensive the better ? Pride of ownership ? Sound is secondary. Do you believe that this group of people do exist ?

Lets take the measurement of time for instance. What do we look for in time ? - accuracy of time ? A seiko quartz costing RM 500 is as accurate, if not more accurate then the Patek Philippe which can cost above RM 250,000 ! There are people who would pay the price for pride of ownership.

Phenomenon ? To me I do not regard so but it depends on your definition. When one has been listening to the "same old sound" for a number of years it is normal for one to look for something different or 'extra'(normally when there is extra cash) which need not necessary be 'better'.

With all the new marketing media like youtube etc and the wealth of a sector of consumers..whaamm.

Hifi which lagged behind has reached the stage of luxury, class and designer brands like watches, handbags, clothings etc. There is room for this new class of hifiers/eyefiers. For the normal being the seiko quartz would still be the choice. This class which comprises the larger hifi community will still remain.

Passlabs is good example. The new amps are now Patek Pilippe class ! So are some of the other brands which I need not have to mention here.

Cheers

junchoon2989 said...

Ken,

If the source was meant for av then there is nothing wrong in suggesting it will sound good in av system. Trying to squeeze six channels of info into two might not be that great nor the other way around

Anyway I have no actual experience, for example, the NKC 3ch to sound better or worst than the 2ch. But I can say the mono beat the 2ch by several notches, even in my lau-yaa system. The web reviews seems to indicate 3ch> 2ch. Obviously in an av system to achieve 3ch.

Waiting-for-OS-to-buy-5.1-TADCR1,
WPS

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Mike,

It all depends on how high a standard you want to achieve.

How do you put a price on a brilliant ideas, intellectual property, good craftmanship, excellent technology, superior materials, top class manufacturing, economics of scale and an excellent after sales service which will exist even after you have gone?

I would never pitch a humble seiko against a swiss perpetual time piece which takes 3 years to make.

One goes out 3 seconds per day and the other goes out 1 second every 3 years. Batteries not included coz it doesn't need one.

It is all relative, how high a standard do you want to achieve.

I never said that good equipment need to be expensive. I just said, an equipment which is good, it is usually good on paper too and usually, they don't come cheap.

Not only does specifications present a starting point, it presents a reference point to which all equipment will be judged against.

What both you and Ken are saying refers to exceptions to the rule but not the norm. I can accept that. Ultimately our ears are the judge. We just need to make sure we are listening correctly....which of course, was one of the original discussion.

Having said that, there is no crime whatever you choose and there is absolutely nothing wrong with wearing a Seiko. I have em too but I don't mind having a Piaget Black Tie on my wrist once in a while. At least I know that if I am late, I can't blame the watch.

Ken said...

Felix,

I am bit confused by your post.
On one side you mentioned the "phenomenon" where you mentioned that a highend gear which should make the system sound great, actually make it sound poor. Now you ask me what I think would happen if I have the JM Lab Utopia in my setup. That is why I was not able to answer your question correctly.

If I were to have the JM Lab Maestro Utopia BE in my setup, I'm confident it would sound good. If I had more time to tweak, it may even sound better.
Sound great? This is very subjective as I am not sure if the sound is to everyone's taste.
Better than my ATC? Not really sure until I have the JM Lab! You do know my music preference. I am not sure if the JM Lab can slam as well as my ATC.
Better than OS setup? Again I am not sure. You do know that all this is very subjective.

Hope this answer your questions.

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Ken,

I apologise if my post was confusing. I didn't mean to do that.

I was inferring that a capable equipment when introduced to any system will open the window of performance. This is both good and bad as it will show up existing limitations as well.

If anyone here has dabbled into hires materials, they may know what I am inferring.

When this phenomenon happens, it is obvious that some will take up the challenge while others will back down.

This "forum" may have run its full course. All points of view considered and heard. I just hope that readers her can draw their own conclusion. It has been a good exercise.

I have a typo error in my last post. Last sentence, "......I know that I am late, I can blame the watch".

Thanks all for reading and contributing.

mikelau.2 said...

Felix,

"....existing equipment/skills not up to scratch".

I should think it can be a combination of both or just the latter.

In the elite group of "fortunate audiophiles" playing systems above say 750k how many of them do you think actually possess the following prerequisites for good sound ? -
1. knowledge and skill for proper setup ?
2. good listening abilities ?
3. that extra deep passion to pursue good sound ?

Few or hardly ? I think for that reason some high-end systems fail to impress ? Of course some do but few.

But to be fair even lower down the scale there are many of us with many years of experience yet not up to mark too, me included of course hehe. So it would seem there are only very few people if any who are actually capable of handling these bigger speakers and to make them sound good and impressive. Am I assuming correctly ? Also given the fact that the bigger the speaker the more difficult it is to handle ?

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Mike,

My personal opinion is that the percentage of skillset in both high end and "lo end" hifi is the same. If anything, high enders mabe able to handle a lo end system easier than a lo ender would a high end. A high end system is so much more demanding to set up. There is litteraly no space for error.

High end system deals with a relatively larger window of performance whereby everything has to be "perfect" before it can perform well.

A modest system isn't so demanding in that manner or more forgiving, making it is easier to sound "good" compared to high end system.

I also think that good/correct listening skills and the ability to set up systems are actually 2 different things. We may posses one but not both.

Some are lucky to posses both. There is only a handful of us who do. It is perfectly ok.

Ken said...

Felix,

I don't think a modest system is less demanding or more forgiving to setup. I believe it is just down to the individual's requirements.

If the owner is less demanding, then it is easier to setup. If the owner is more demanding, then more time has to be spent maximising the setup. But no matter how you setup, the owner should know the weakness of the setup.

PUG said...

Hi Felix, Ken, Oudiosleuth and others,

Granted that the musical source need to be very well recorded and accurate before it qualifys to be used for testing, ...

Can you tell us what music CD and sources you use to test the setup ? Do you also use measurement and what instruments/software do you use ?

Can you write more on the proper ways to gauge a system

PUG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ken said...

PUG,

Actually every piece of gear is important including the cabling, isolation, placement of the speakers, room. So it just not the source alone.

Some people who value vocals will always bring use vocal orientated cds to evaluate the system. Others prefer bass etc.

I will always use a few cds to evaluate
1. Skye (Deep...Blue) - to evaluate the rawness of the vocals and also the imaging and depth.
2. Teddy Robin (Teddy Goes to the Movies) - to evaluate the rhythm of the drums in track 1 and 8 to hear if your system can keep up
3. Teresa Teng (Denon Mastersonic) - to hear the vivaciousness of Teresa Teng voice from track 4 and 12.
4. Dadawa (Sister Drum) - listen to track 2 to check whether your system can handle the drum whack
5. Aaron Neville (warm your Heart)-Track 12 and 13 to hear your system to differentiate imaging depth
6. Tag Maclaren Test Track - listen to track 10 to hear realism of cymbals and kick drum plus the enunciation of the singer
7. Tutti (Sampler from RR) - to hear the imaging depth and wideness - also very good to check your system's dynamic ability

I dont know how you can measure the system. Maybe Felix can.

My advice to you is to listen to as many system as possible to "find the sound that you like".

Hope this helps

Lennart Johansson said...

Now two of my friends are CR1 owners. The first now also has the TAD M600 power amps. The bass quality from that 8" driver is quite exceptional now, and his favourite music is not bass heavy.
For other genres he still has to blend in his Velodyne sub of course.
Still, deep down my own custom built 4 subwoofer system is vastly superior.
If I was prepared to spend as much for a top I'd probably join the CR1-club too, but I'm not.
If spending for an (almost) full range speaker I'd arrange a thorough comparison if Magico Q3 has any weaknesses when put against the CR1. On its own the Magico Q3 has impressed me tremendously in a very well treated room.

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