Having recently acquired a Behringer GEQ3102 for my system, I once again became familiar with the downside of EQs - white noise.
Given that this is a piece of professional equipment, it only has balanced I/O... So I opted to tap straight into the unbalanced internal wiring in order to pull out a signal and ground reference that I can actually use in a normal Hi-Fi setup (in the tape loop!). Okay, I need to add a buffer stage really, but for now this works.
And I've noticed something rather odd.
The noise is gone!
It seems that the balanced input and line driver stages were responsible for the majoroty of the noise the EQ produced. When you consider how many op-amps are inside it, that's pretty impressive. So why design such a quiet EQ circuit and then ruin it with such noisy I/O stages?
Sometimes, I think I'll never understand modern manufacturing practices.
They don't have "clarity" or "definition" because they don't produce a sound you can localise to one place. If they do, they're reproducing sounds above 80Hz or thereabouts, which they shouldn't be if being used in a Hi-Fi or studio system with "decent" main speakers/monitors. If they maintain a relatively flat output to 20Hz, then this is either a problem with the crossover frequency, or a case of severe harmonic distortion.
Unfortunately, all but the most expensive subwoofers and home-made efforts produce hideous amounts of distortion - I've yet to hear a single "subwoofer" from any mainstream manufacturer (excluding SVS) that couldn't be located instantly in-room.
A high amount (more than 20%) of harmonic and intermodulation distortion is a fact of life with any speaker, subwoofers more than most. Spending time and money eliminating this problem has happened in many studios and is attempted by many audiophiles.
Why, then, does it seem that budding musicians are apparently having it drilled into them at university or wherever, that a subwoofer needs to be a little box in the corner of the room and you need to be able to hear the noise it makes separately from all the main monitors?
I have a feeling this sort of thing could account for much of the bad mixing that's happening in studios today.
X-posted to my own journal, hope you don't mind =)
Well, I've finally managed to get my subs working again, for the time being powered by a 20W EL84 valve/tube amplifier of my own design & construction; 20W being just enough to run the new drivers at my normal levels. I've really missed having reproduction from 35Hz down, since even my current main speakers (Tannoy Oxfords) just can't cut it in my room.
Anyway, whilst browsing through AudioKarma (who still seem to be closed to new registrations?) I happened to come across this little gem of a post:
"Any well designed system with an 8 inch or larger woofer is capable of bass in the 30 Hz range with proper placement to take advantage of room re-enforcement. No need to complicate and confuse things with another woofer, IMO." - Rybeam, AudioKarma.
Now, I can see where this person is coming from - I have a pair of modified GLL Mezzos (later models, I believe from 1997) which are capable of astounding amounts of bass for a bookshelf speaker, without sacrificing midrange clarity or treble extension. My only real complaint is that they lack dynamics.
Surely, there is a limit to what a pair of smaller cones can do without introducing unreasonable amounts of harmonic and intermodulation distortion, so if you like dynamic (or overly loud) music, why shouldn't you use a subwoofer or two to fill in the bottom end?
Something tells me the quote above is from a person who has only ever heard cheaper bandpass or ported sub designs aimed at turning the bass-shy systems of average consumers into neighbour-annoing nightclub dancefloor systems. You know the sort, 12" driver in a 1cu.ft. ported box and a response of 50-120Hz at best.
Or possibly not? The sheer popularity of the LS3/5a* and its clones tends to make me think that to be a true "Audiophile" you need to have some kind of hatred for deep bass, and for anyone that suggests that being able to feel 25Hz shake the floor is good.
Has bass somehow become an evil power-wasting entity that must be eliminated? Or are more and more people leaving the frequency response to the claimed curve from the manufactutrer, and not thier own SPL meters?
If the former is the case, why? I've been criticised several times for not having a dead-flat bass response throughout my room, but personally I prefer to hear the entire recording and *enjoy* it, rather than spend my entire time wondering if I'm missing out on something in the lower end of the spectrum. I do believe that no bass is better than bad bass, but bad bass is very subjective in itself - I can't stand listening to thumpy subs and wooly midbass (think 60Hz peak and noise rougly resembling music from 90-200Hz), yet other people seem to think this is the way their music is meant to sound (such as anybody willing to buy Bose systems ;-) ).
So... What are people's opinions here?
* I'd like to point out again that this is a nearfield monitor designed with a massive chunk of midrange missing from it's response, for use in mobile studios - the back of a Ford Transit being a common place.
I'm looking for a good set of powered speakers that are somewhat portable and have an optical input (in a perfect world). Here's the situation - have a sunroom on the back of the house that isn't the most "secure", and want to put a set of speakers out there. Don't want to put a receiver simply because the room, like I said, isn't all that secure.
Will pump music to them via Airport Express hookup to the speakers (optical or headphone jack, either one, would prefer to use optical), which is how the other remote parts of the house are wired up. But I want a pair of speakers that'll sound good in the room and be able to sit in the window when I'm out in the yard. It's a party room, it's a party yard, really no need for it to be too fancy.
Anyone have any suggestions?