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Subject: Hi-Fi Audio Questions
From: James Van Sant <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Thu, 11 Feb 2010 08:41:40 -0700
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It's nice seeing audio eqpt. discussed on Opera-L.  Important subject!
A rule of thumb for me is how well radio news and weather casts sound
on a speaker, that is, the human speaking voice  -- if good, chances are
the singing voice will sound well too.  You want to look for immediacy
and 'presence' in sound -- no cabinet noises or booms - clarity is all!
       Example is a current small speaker by Richard Sequerra, the long
time and famous speaker designer and developer of early FM tuners
and a wide range of audio-related equipment. Now older, R. S. is still
building his little bookshelf speakers by hand in his CT studio. (See
his web site, and see my review of same called, "The Pleasures of
Presence - The Small Speakers of Richard Sequerra" to be found
in www.operatoday.com).  I recommend them highly for up-front
very realistic presentation of voice, piano, chamber music and
almost any classical instrumental sound.  I am not a technician but
Sequerra's success has to do with the voice coil, the 'curve' of
frequency response and cabinet damping.  B&W speakers, many
of them moderately priced, are also excellent value -- more laid-back
than Sequerra in the English manner, but accurate and pleasant.
     In general, I prefer medium to small size speakers for opera and
voice/instrumental -- watch out for a big loose rumbling bass
or low end, or "woofers" wired in to boost bass.  It can take over
and shake the house, but inevitably lose musical quality.
Also, just an avuncular caution thrown in after a lifetime of
audio collecting (my first "hi fi" was 1947), you do not have
to pay many thousands to get excellent quality.  There is no
good reason, aside from macho-ego massage, to pay four
thousand for a "high end" amplifier when you can get very
fine quality for one third as much -- and you don't have to
have a system of 'separates' - that is separate amp, control
amp, tuner, etc., when you can get it all in one in a so-called
Receiver -- provided you buy a quality one.  On speaker
power, an amp of 100W (per channel) will drive virtually any
speaker, so paying a luxury price for 300W of power is only
one-upsmanship!  Sorry, Mr McIntosh & Co., Rotel eqpt. is
these days the way I go -- inexpensive and excellent;
designed in UK, built in Asia.  I have a huge expensive
Threshold/Thiel/Linn system that I love, but most of the
time I listen to my Rotel-Sequerra rig.
    Well, you asked for audio thoughts and ideas - there
they are :)
JIM/santa fe
  
    

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