And the new, modern-day cardinal rule of the Naim forum is ....

Peder posted:

🔹 Huge,....😂😅😂😅 

I do not think I have the strength to take this debate.
Just says one thing.....
If we talk musicality so far Source First. ❗

If we listen to sounds, you usually want to use large speakers.
But listening to sound,tends to tire of the right speed.

I have never, ever, grown tired of listening to  music through speakers that I have chosen because they sound good to me. I have, however, found listening to music tiring in other people’s system where the speakers don’t present the sound cleanly and fully - in other words do not sound good to me.

If musicality is the music conveying itself to tthe listener, captivating and engaging in the process, then the speakers I’ve liked the sound of have provided it. If musicality means something different, then I don’t know, other than that it is hard for me to imagine music listening being more satisfying.

I can give an illustration: About 27;or 28 years ago someone I know had a system with IBL speakers which to my ears were lacking, with LP12/Ittock front end. I had IMF TLS50 speakers, which I’d had for around 15 years, with Thorens TD150/RB300 and Cambridge CD2 sources. He spent his time raving about how good his system was, yet frequently seemed to be trying various tweaks and talking about upgrades he could do, none of which involved the speakers. I just played music on mine without thinking of upgrades, and I found his system tiring to listen through, though as it was his pride and joy I hadn’t the heart to say anything. Then in the local paper when looking for something quite unrelated I saw a pair of IMF’s top speakers for sale at a ridiculously low price, simply too good a temptation to pass up, so I got them. These are speakers that very much were the state of the art at the time I had originally bought their cheaper sibling. The IBL owner expressed interest in hearing my old speakers at home, and when he did he instantly bought them from me. From that moment onwards he ceased talking about upgrades, and in the 25 years that followed I think the only changes he made to his system were replacing the amp when it had a fault, and adding a CD player. 25 years later he did make a change - he substituted my bigger IMFs when I eventually changed them (and I brought home the more manageable TLS50s that one of my sons now has), 

Now, admittedly my sources were somewhat above entry level, but it is the speakers that made those systems sing.

Due to a fault with my NDS I now have a serious mullet system, taking my 'Qute into my active Sl2 system as the streamer!

What is interesting, and I think it reflects the essence of the great post above is that, fundamentally, it sounds very similar and I still enjoy it. Does the NDS do something far better? Thankfully yes, but the essential character and appeal of the system remains.

Seems to me source first is true in some ways but only really once you have the back end sorted will you be happy. Then invest in the source and reap the rewards but don't expect to transform a system that you don't quite like because of the way your speakers present the music. When I did frequent the HiFi room I winced at people upgrading boxes hoping to fix what appeared to me to be basic problems with presentation that originated from the speakers because they were determined to make them 'work' to their satisfaction.

The 'magic' of my HiFi system has come with the source upgrades over years. The fundamental 'likeability' originates from the speakers in my view. I could live with my system in current configuration if I had to, but not my NDS and all the rest into speakers I did not like, however technically proficient.

Great music is of course still great wherever and however you play it. In the car, on the crappy kitchen radio etc

Bruce

I guess one important factor inherent in my previous post, though not expressly stated, is that I did establish what I consider to be a musical, balanced system while dabbling with speakers. I kept my original sources throughout, and these corresponded to my budget level. I did go desperately out of budget demoing speakers up to $8K from familiar makers such as Naim, Rega, Linn, Devore, Proac, ATC, and Larsen. In the end I found a $3.5K speaker from the little-known maker Ryan that gelled with my room and system. So while the process itself wasn't speakers-first, I do think I've found a pair that would sustain future upgrades to my sources. All said, it's all about the speaker/room interaction and I'm happily sitting pat.

It is all about the balance.   With the source first fix, it's biggest flaw is with coherence.   With an elevated source and pre - your going to be putting in more information that the rest has to deal with and make sense getting out.    And understanding what you like to focus on over musicality.   With some preferring simple high quality two way standmounts, and others what only a big back end can muster.

Clive B posted:
Wugged Woy posted:

Listening to equipment is more educational than reading about it.

I'd suggest that listening to music might be more important and educational.

Is it really a dominant seventh with a flat 9 or a diminished chord? 

That of course is analysing music, not listening to it...(or at least, whether or not one is also listening to it)

Listening to music is (or rather, in my view is and should be) a pleasurable and emotional experience (degree depending on the piece). And  that can either be  directly through the combinations and sequences of sounds presented, with words or without, conveying something to the listener (whether or not the same as any meaning the compose/player(s) may have intended) or indirectly such as, for those that enjoy dancing, the music providing the rhythm that drives the dance.

So an alternative maxim might be:

The best system is one you can’t hear because you’re too occupied feeling the music.

Innocent Bystander posted:
Clive B posted:
Wugged Woy posted:

Listening to equipment is more educational than reading about it.

I'd suggest that listening to music might be more important and educational.

Is it really a dominant seventh with a flat 9 or a diminished chord? 

That of course is analysing music, not listening to it...(or at least, whether or not one is also listening to it)

 

That is true, but it's something I cannot help doing. If it's a piece that appeals to me then I'm wondering how to play and transcribe it. Quite often the harmony can be difficult to hear. Better systems help to uncover this and that helps IMO. Reharmonising from the melody and bass line is otherwise the best I can do and that irritates me.

Bruce Woodhouse posted:

Due to a fault with my NDS I now have a serious mullet system, taking my 'Qute into my active Sl2 system as the streamer!

What is interesting, and I think it reflects the essence of the great post above is that, fundamentally, it sounds very similar and I still enjoy it. Does the NDS do something far better? Thankfully yes, but the essential character and appeal of the system remains.

Seems to me source first is true in some ways but only really once you have the back end sorted will you be happy. Then invest in the source and reap the rewards but don't expect to transform a system that you don't quite like because of the way your speakers present the music. When I did frequent the HiFi room I winced at people upgrading boxes hoping to fix what appeared to me to be basic problems with presentation that originated from the speakers because they were determined to make them 'work' to their satisfaction.

The 'magic' of my HiFi system has come with the source upgrades over years. The fundamental 'likeability' originates from the speakers in my view. I could live with my system in current configuration if I had to, but not my NDS and all the rest into speakers I did not like, however technically proficient.

Great music is of course still great wherever and however you play it. In the car, on the crappy kitchen radio etc

Bruce

Great post Bruce. Totally with you on speaker importance. Feeding and driving them optimally is important too of course, but the basic character of presentation is essentially determined by the speaker characteristics and are entirely down to personal preference. 

I recently went through a similar period of my NDS going back to Salisbury for repairs and my SuperUniti standing in as a pre-out feed to my 552/500. It didn’t disgrace itself either, but I found myself choosing music styles quite carefully. Classical wasn’t very satisfying and Chamber music in particular, a no-go area, but heavy rock and pop, which can sometimes be a bit in yer face on the NDS perhaps benefitted from the less detailed SU feed. I found myself favouring different types of music to my normal listening preferences. 

Indeed Kevin, high-resolution can be a double-edged sword in overall system balance when listening to varied recording qualities. It can lead to over-exposure of lesser recordings while greater material plays even better. So where to find the balance? Bruce said "The fundamental 'likeability' originates from the speakers in my view". I would extend that to say that "the speaker-room interaction is fundamental to overall musical engagement".

What good is the best source (or other box) in a system if it over-exposes and/or compromises a portion of the music you'd otherwise like to enjoy? To give up a tad of SQ on top-notch recordings while gaining greater 'likeability" with a larger part of my overall catalog was key for me, and I found that getting speakers to fit my room, system, and ears was the linchpin.

Interestingly, my first IMFs sounded good to me in every room in which I used them - 5 different rooms, though one was a short stint in a flat where I never played very loud. Their bigger replacement did likewise in 4 locations when I had them, and now in someone else’s house. I did have trouble getting sound right in one room, but it was an oddly-shaped room and was solved using REW to find a room arrangement that worked, necessitating a completely different layout from that originally planned. 

I don’t know if that is luck, or because all rooms were big enough (all somewhat larger than typical UK living room size), or because the speaker design might makes it in some way less susceptible to some room effects (they are transmission line designs), or if I was simply insensitive to whatever imperfections each room imposed.

However, the best any speaker has ever sounded to me is the larger of the IMFs outdoors - with no room effects....

Massimo Bertola posted:
Ardbeg10y posted:

From what age onwards is someone middle aged? 35? 40? 45?

You're middle age the first moment you see a woman who's more than 18 but less than 30 and erase her from your thoughts because she's too young.

A very Italian viewpoint I would say!

Middle-age for me is being old enough, wise enough, confident enough and also secure enough to do the things I enjoy, with the people I like more often. It is a positive not a negative.

Bruce

Massimo Bertola posted:

You're middle age the first moment you see a woman who's more than 18 but less than 30 and erase her from your thoughts because she's too young.

I've got a long way to go on that measure Max,  if the sap is still rising ........   

Oh dear, that means I was middle aged in my 20s. Must be way past old age now!

If I’m beyond old age, perhaps I’m dead - or, he thinks existentially, maybe I’m simply a figment of my own imagination, as is everyone on here - though that surely indicates a warped imagination! However whilst I don’t know why I would imagine Brexit, it surely means I can reverse it, so all will turn out well in the end. (maybe the same goes for the T word...)

From reading posts on any thread at all, one could be fogiven for thinking that the cardinal rules are:

1) To pay as much lip service to sounding open minded and accepting of other preferences as possible while at the same time...

2) Finding a suitable passive aggressive way of putting down any preference that diverges from your own.

3) Never failing to link the value of your gear to the value of your opinion as if the two could somehow be related.

4) Under no circumstances use search. Just repeat the same foxtrotting question as many times as you like. 

 

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