Why do some stereo systems sound live?

December 28, 2018
 by Paul McGowan

6 comments on “Why do some stereo systems sound live?”

  1. Paul, I must again return to the example of Dr. Hsu’s (Hsu Research) speakers. The HB-1 MK2 is only $169.00 (each, including shipping). The CCB-8 is $419.00 (each, including shipping). The HB-1 MK2 is a two-way horn speaker (I know you don’t like horns). Amazing, live sound from those inexpensive speakers because Dr. Hsu loves music. I have a pair of HB-1 MK2s in my secondary sound system in our living room (not my main system). Last night I listened to the complete Messiah (Gardiner recording). Absolutely wonderful. Imaging is amazing. Depth. Soloists localized within space. Wide soundstage extending 8 feet to the left and right of the speakers. Also amazing to me is the fact that when Dr. Hsu demonstrates his speakers he just uses Onkyo receivers and lamp cord for speaker cables. Truth be told that sound is in many ways superior to some of the “magical” very expensive speaker systems. I agree with you. Much depends on the musical integrity of the company and within reason has little to do with price. I have many times brought some of my favorite recordings to RMAF and had some of the tracks played on those five or six figure systems and have almost always been disappointed.

  2. I‘d say it’s also management. Bookkeeper management by persons who’s passion is profit that get’s them higher into the organization to make more income that is financed by cost reduction and more profit. I have personally spoken to engineers in these kind of companies who are disappointed in their work as their hands are tightened. In contrast to a management that personally cares about the value of the products to the customer. Off coarse a company must make profit to continue income and invest but not as a goal on its own.

  3. Hi PS / Paul. What and where is the backing you have behind your speakers in this video. Are those homemade? Those would be perfect if you think they are a relatively good idea to be placed behind speakers and I don’t see them as very intrusive to a “double-duty” listening/living room. By the way, I can’t wait for the stellar 700 mono/dac-preamp combo being built for me that I ordered in mid-December. Thanks!

      1. Thanks. I don’t want to start a new dialogue here…that wasn’t the focus of this thread/video. Do you think they’re worth it? I live in an urban apartment, pricey and small on the sqr feet. So, I have only “small” opportunities with what I can accomplish in my room. In other words, I gotta pick my spots and do what’s worth it and keep at least a little bit of aesthetics. If throwing what I see in this video will help a pretty good set of speakers, I see this as “reasonable for my space. What do you think? Thx again.

  4. Good question.
    I only know my Alison 3 speakers from the 70s had a live sound. They were floor-standing, 3-way designed for corners only.
    They filled the room with a BIG sound. Driven by the classic Yamaha integrated CA-2010, playing records and CDs. The Alisons weren’t as accurate as today’s hi-rez, and it had a lousy “soundstage” — I couldn’t pick out where the clarinet was sitting in the orchestra. But the sensation of sitting in the middle of a small auditorium was inescapable. And the sweet spot was GIANT. Guests didn’t have to sit in “The Chair.” Everyone in the room could participate. I miss this system. It was involving, it was social, it was big. The original Bose systems from the 70s had a similar big sound — the 901s and even the 501s. Maybe the key was harnessing — instead of fighting — room reflections? Maybe we should forget “soundstage” and the “sweet spot” and work on big, reflected sound? Electrostatic speakers come close today, but still not like the old days. 🙂

    Hey, Paul, those are cool, white AV cabinets. Who make them? Thanks.

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