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  • Sound Fast and Slow Audiophile Talk

    I'm recently confused by a conversation with a 20 yrs audiophile.

    He has a 10K respected brand speaker with 40K worth of respected commercial electronics. I gave him a $500 diy speaker hooked onto his system. His comments was:

    "The DIY speakers are slow. His electronics (amplifiers) are fast. The whole sound is slower".

    I investigate a bit and I think he is talking about "Transparency". I don't think it matters with the amp. I believe he has a very good amplifier. My DIY is a two way monitor and he has a giant 3 way.

    He said the difference is not in bass performance (That actually is a complement IMO), not in the mid-range but in the tweeter section. What's funny is when I heard his system, I feel the high frequency is "shouting at me".

    But back to "Fast and Slow" - anyone wants to share some lights on what these mean, both in speakers and amplifiers?

  • #2
    Re: Sound Fast and Slow Audiophile Talk

    Total BS! He most certainly has to protect the reputation of his ears since he has spent so much on his system.

    It would be MOST revealing to measure his and your speakers. Usually if it sounds like the tweeters are shouting, they are. Not real subtle.

    I am pretty amused that he thought your tweeter was "slow". First time I've ever heard that line. Usually an audiophile will say their system has "fast bass", and your system has "slow bass". Noted gurus have definitely proven there is no such thing.

    I think I hear a difference - wow, it's amazing!" Ethan Winer: audio myths
    "As God is my witness I'll never be without a good pair of speakers!" Scarlett O'Hara

    High value, high quality RS150/TB28-537SH bookshelf - TARGAS NLA!
    SB13/Vifa BC25SC06 MTM DCR Galeons-SB13-MTM
    My Voxel min sub Yet-another-Voxel-build

    Tangband W6-sub

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    • #3
      Re: Sound Fast and Slow Audiophile Talk

      Maybe you could run toward the speakers to compensate. Hell, a treadmill may even work.

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      • #4
        Re: Sound Fast and Slow Audiophile Talk

        without knowing what each speaker is, it's hard to say. There's no fast or slow speakers per say but people name different events that they hear with all kinds of names. For example, he could possibly hear differences in mid range presentation. He could also hear differences in decaying of the signal and name it fast or slow. May be the tuning of your speaker was a bit to heavy in the upper base, who knows. There's also a good chance that he is running his mouth and repeating what he heard from salesman. Also, you have compared 2 drastically different speakers, so the room interaction will be different.
        But no, no fast or slow.....
        http://www.diy-ny.com/

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        • #5
          Re: Sound Fast and Slow Audiophile Talk

          That's what I'm trying to figure out. Both speakers are measured flat, almost ruler flat. I listened to his speakers in his system. It sounds great but I don't like the "shouting feel". The tweeter is showing off too much. The system made me 'aware' there is a tweeter there. It still sounds wonderful for the 4 hours I'm listening to. I don't know if I'll develop any long term listening fatigue b/c of the showing off tweeter.

          I did not have chance to A/B them. My DIY has a ribbon. The presentation is more natural to my ears. But what means "natural" to me could mean "gutless" to other people.

          I asked a few times on the bass. It's a 0.5 two way vs. big tall three way (TMWW). After ABing, he doesn't think the bass has any significant difference (I actually think my speaker has more bass feel, the tuning is similar. His has less BSC when I listened). I asked him about sensitivity difference and if he has adjusted the volume to compensate (85 vs 88).

          Originally posted by r-carpenter View Post
          without knowing what each speaker is, it's hard to say. There's no fast or slow speakers per say but people name different events that they hear with all kinds of names. For example, he could possibly hear differences in mid range presentation. He could also hear differences in decaying of the signal and name it fast or slow. May be the tuning of your speaker was a bit to heavy in the upper base, who knows. There's also a good chance that he is running his mouth and repeating what he heard from salesman. Also, you have compared 2 drastically different speakers, so the room interaction will be different.
          But no, no fast or slow.....

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          • #6
            Re: Sound Fast and Slow Audiophile Talk

            Originally posted by internova View Post
            That's what I'm trying to figure out. Both speakers are measured flat, almost ruler flat. I listened to his speakers in his system. It sounds great but I don't like the "shouting feel". The tweeter is showing off too much. The system made me 'aware' there is a tweeter there. It still sounds wonderful for the 4 hours I'm listening to. I don't know if I'll develop any long term listening fatigue b/c of the showing off tweeter.

            I did not have chance to A/B them. My DIY has a ribbon. The presentation is more natural to my ears. But what means "natural" to me could mean "gutless" to other people.

            I asked a few times on the bass. It's a 0.5 two way vs. big tall three way (TMWW). After ABing, he doesn't think the bass has any significant difference (I actually think my speaker has more bass feel, the tuning is similar. His has less BSC when I listened). I asked him about sensitivity difference and if he has adjusted the volume to compensate (85 vs 89).
            I thought it was 88 - It is 89. It's TM vs TMWW (85 vs 89). So I am doubting the reason is volume compensation.

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            • #7
              Re: Sound Fast and Slow Audiophile Talk

              I'm confused by a word you used in your first post. You said you gave him a diy system. Did you actually give him some speakers as a gift?

              Are you worried, insulted or just curious about his reaction?

              Perhaps he is used to his system, and you are used to yours.

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              • #8
                Re: Sound Fast and Slow Audiophile Talk

                Originally posted by djg View Post
                I'm confused by a word you used in your first post. You said you gave him a diy system. Did you actually give him some speakers as a gift?

                Are you worried, insulted or just curious about his reaction?

                Perhaps he is used to his system, and you are used to yours.
                I lend/sent him a set of speakers. I heard his system before but I haven't had chance to AB them after lending him mine.

                His first question to me was "What amplifiers did you use?" :D

                I'm curious. I can find out next time I visited him. It's thousands of miles away so.

                His other comment was the B&W 800 series speakers are also "Slow".

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                • #9
                  Re: Sound Fast and Slow Audiophile Talk

                  You state both speakers systems' frequency responses measured "almost ruler flat". How were they measured? Just on-axis, or at various horizontal and vertical angles? A speaker that sounds "shouty", relying on your judgement, usually has an elevated response somewhere in the 1 to 5 kHz range. The frequency response of this speaker could measure flat at one angle, possibly on axis, but have an elevated power response because of a non-optimum driver-to-driver phase response in the crossover region. Measurements at other angles would show a rise in this region. Also, even a 1 to 2 db plateau in this region can make a speaker sound "forward". And the room interaction is a consideration, if you could be getting a lot of reflected sound in the range.



                  Below is a chart from Martin Collom's "High Performance Loudspeakers" book:
                  _________________________________________________
                  COLORATION

                  Boomy, 50 - 80 HZ
                  Chesty, plummy, 100 - 150 Hz
                  Boxy, hollow 150 - 300 Hz

                  Tube like, tunnelly 400 - 600 Hz
                  Cup like, honky, 700 - 1.2 kHz
                  Nasal, hard, 1.8 - 2.5 kHz

                  Presence, upper hardness, wiry 2.5 - 5.0 kHz
                  Sharp, metallic, sibilant 5.0 - 8.0 kHz
                  Fizzy, gritty, 10 -15 kHz


                  Another useful chart:
                  http://www.independentrecording.net/...in_display.htm


                  The "slow" descriptive term usage in this case is suspect and needs further clarification from your friend.

                  As far as the '20 years' audiophile experience goes, useful experience requires both the accumulation of events and the ability to gather useful insight from those events. There's the old story of Napoleon most battle experienced troop being an army mule. Though the mule had the most experience, it sure would not lead any soldiers into battle. ........This can be a tough crowd at times.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Sound Fast and Slow Audiophile Talk

                    Thank you, I understand now. Your situation makes it very difficult for you to compare speakers. He has compared them and likes his better. His fast and slow references are perhaps an inaccurate or inarticulate way of saying he likes his own speakers more than yours.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Sound Fast and Slow Audiophile Talk

                      Originally posted by internova View Post

                      But back to "Fast and Slow" - anyone wants to share some lights on what these mean, both in speakers and amplifiers?
                      They mean nothing. No acoustical engineer uses those terms unless they're dumbing down so that the layman can possibly grasp what he means. And like most oddiophiles your friend is a probably a layman who equates price and hype with quality. The last thing they'll admit is that a mere amateur can build for $500 a speaker that's better than what it would cost most people six months pay.
                      www.billfitzmaurice.com
                      www.billfitzmaurice.info/forum

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                      • #12
                        Re: Sound Fast and Slow Audiophile Talk

                        You should remind him that the speed of sound is a constant. Please warn him that if he speed up or slow down, he may create a black hole.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Sound Fast and Slow Audiophile Talk

                          Originally posted by billfitzmaurice View Post
                          They mean nothing. No acoustical engineer uses those terms unless they're dumbing down so that the layman can possibly grasp what he means. And like most oddiophiles your friend is a probably a layman who equates price and hype with quality. The last thing they'll admit is that a mere amateur can build for $500 a speaker that's better than what it would cost most people six months pay.
                          Bill, I never hear ANYTHING positive or educational come out of your mouth. Your prejudiced is sickening, and I, for one, am tired of your stinkin' poor attitude... No matter how good you THINK you are. Personal attack, yes. It was blatant, but I have had it with reading your ignorance. Why don't you use the brains that you say you have so much of and try to untangle the question of what slow means and be helpful and useful to the poster. You were a layman once, too. No one is born an expert, even if self proclaimed.

                          Defining sound, the best one can in words, and positive discussion around those words is how people being to understand. Not every audiophile is highly educated and not every "acoustical engineer" is an audiophile. I am very interested by what his definition of "slow" means. Small bookshelf vs. large 3-way may be a lack of dynamic impact causing the perception. I don't give a hoot how technically perfect any speaker is. If it is perceived as garbage, it is garbage. So what defines that perception of everything measures well? That is the bigger question.

                          I have heard "slow" used in the following way:

                          1. bass that is deep, but lacks impact (low Q, tuned for extension can do this at times)

                          2. Micro-dynamic impact (impulse response) of the driver is lacking so a pluck of a string, for example, does not have the apparent hammer at the beginning of the note and decay at the end.

                          3. A driver which is poorly damped, again causing poor impulse response, and notes appear to "blend together".

                          4. A tough electrical phase load causing an bad interaction with an amplifier can also have the blending effect (try a 4 ohms speaker on an 8 ohm tap of a tube amp sometime) which will appear not to reproduce everything fast enough to be clear between the instruments/notes.

                          Those are a few of the technical to subjective impression items I have found around slow.
                          .

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                          • #14
                            Re: Sound Fast and Slow Audiophile Talk

                            Maybe it's just a difference in your hearing.
                            Attached Files

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                            • #15
                              Re: Sound Fast and Slow Audiophile Talk

                              Originally posted by mzisserson View Post
                              Bill, I never hear ANYTHING positive or educational come out of your mouth. Your prejudiced is sickening, and I, for one, am tired of your stinkin' poor attitude... No matter how good you THINK you are. Personal attack, yes. It was blatant, but I have had it with reading your ignorance. Why don't you use the brains that you say you have so much of and try to untangle the question of what slow means and be helpful and useful to the poster. You were a layman once, too. No one is born an expert, even if self proclaimed.

                              Defining sound, the best one can in words, and positive discussion around those words is how people being to understand. Not every audiophile is highly educated and not every "acoustical engineer" is an audiophile. I am very interested by what his definition of "slow" means. Small bookshelf vs. large 3-way may be a lack of dynamic impact causing the perception. I don't give a hoot how technically perfect any speaker is. If it is perceived as garbage, it is garbage. So what defines that perception of everything measures well? That is the bigger question.

                              I have heard "slow" used in the following way:

                              1. bass that is deep, but lacks impact (low Q, tuned for extension can do this at times)

                              2. Micro-dynamic impact (impulse response) of the driver is lacking so a pluck of a string, for example, does not have the apparent hammer at the beginning of the note and decay at the end.

                              3. A driver which is poorly damped, again causing poor impulse response, and notes appear to "blend together".

                              4. A tough electrical phase load causing an bad interaction with an amplifier can also have the blending effect (try a 4 ohms speaker on an 8 ohm tap of a tube amp sometime) which will appear not to reproduce everything fast enough to be clear between the instruments/notes.

                              Those are a few of the technical to subjective impression items I have found around slow.
                              Great post Mike!
                              "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

                              http://www.diy-ny.com/

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