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Thread: Am I crazy?

  1. #21
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    Dec 2013
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    Default Re: Am I crazy?

    Quote Originally Posted by kingcrowing View Post
    "Still sounds pretty good" isn't what I want from $2000 speakers! Maybe I'm just over analyzing this but I feel like playing with bass and treble shouldn't need to be done on high end speakers, I feel like you should only need to do that to compensate for bad speakers, which these aren't!

    They're about 6-8" away from the walls which is about all I can do.
    You would be compensating for your poor room acoustics and your poor placement, not the speakers. And do you really expect the speakers to sound amazing when listening to low quality sources??? That isn't going to happen. Garbage in, garbage out.

    Edit: Just to clarify, my Sierra-2's "still sound pretty good" when listening to low quality sources. When listening to high quality sources (well recorded, uncompressed music) it sounds Amazing. Literally, the best sound I've ever had in my living room.

    The room also has a huge effect on the sound. Even with proper placement (speakers 2-3 feet from any walls) and several acoustic panels, I still need EQ (Dirac) to get the best sound out of my system.
    Last edited by mikesiskav; 06-15-2017 at 06:27 AM.

  2. #22

    Default Re: Am I crazy?

    Ok I Just A/B'd the Sierra Towers and my Paradigm Bookshelves I'm listening at -37db on my receiver for both speakers in "Pure Direct" more which I realize is unscientific but I'd say this is a normal listening level for me.

    Starting with Golden Age by Beck off Sea Change (320Kbps MP3)

    The Sierras go much lower, very punch on the drums and bass, and go much higher. The high guitar strings and cymbals are crisper and clearer. The word tinny comes to mind but not in a harsh way, it's like I'm hearing the metal of the cymbal more clearly. These are definitely showing more of the musical spectrum. But even after one song I'm getting a bit of fatigue...

    Now playing To Change by Smalltalker of the Wall Talk EP (320kbps MP3). Amazing Album by the way.

    Instantly I can hear more in the vocals, I can hear the breath/spit into the mic, the bass guitar is smoother and more pronounced, I feel like the decay on the speakers (I think this is the Time Domain?) is way better on the sierras, it's like each beat is a fast punch to the ears whereas with the Paradigms it's like a slow friendly punch on the shoulder. The bassline really sings but again I'm getting that fatigue after just one song.

    Next up, I Could Have Been Your Girl by She & Him from The Capitol Studio Sessions (320kbps MP3)

    I feel like Zooeys vocals are smoother on the paradigms and much sharper on the sierras, I'd give the edge to the paradgims! Now the sierras I can hear the individual strings being plucked on the rhythm guitar, whereas on the paradigms I kind of just hear it as a single strum. Very cool to get that level of detail, that's certainly where these sierras are shining.

    Next: The Numbers by Radiohead off A Moon Shaped Pool (320kbps MP3)

    I hear some laughing type effect I didn't hear on the paradigms, the piano and chimes have more sparkle, Thom's voice sounds crisper (I think of the saying that "a veil was removed" from his voice). Again I'm feeling too much bass, this isn't a super bass heavy song but it feels too powerful.

    This was close enough though that I needed to go back to the paradigms, I have to say, at the end the Paradigms made me smile more..

    Final song, and this is an important one for me: Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan Live 6/1/16 @ SPAC by Phish (302kbps VBR MP3, this is a direct download from LivePhish.com where I get a lot of my music, and I was at this show).

    Mike's bassline is way clearer, the cymbals feel like they're in the room, and Trey's vocals are much clearer, and I again feel like I can hear him breahting in the mic... but this is the first song I almost instantly want to turn down, again I wouldn't say I'm listening to these loud at all but the both the highs and the lows just sound aggressive to my ears. I'm really hearing the "sparkle" of the cymbals to a point that's uncomfortable to my ears. When the song ended the quiet was refreshing to my ears.

    So this is all good quality music representing a lot of what I regularly listen to, I can 100% tell the Sierras are better speakers, they're playing a much wider range with more clarity, and letting me hear things I couldn't hear before... but these are the most expensive things I've ever bought after a car and the fact that I'm on the fence between these bookshelves makes me think that the law of diminishing returns has hit me here.

    Any recommendations on where to go from here?
    Last edited by kingcrowing; 06-15-2017 at 08:42 AM.

  3. #23

    Default Re: Am I crazy?

    Quote Originally Posted by mikesiskav View Post
    You would be compensating for your poor room acoustics and your poor placement, not the speakers. And do you really expect the speakers to sound amazing when listening to low quality sources??? That isn't going to happen. Garbage in, garbage out.

    Edit: Just to clarify, my Sierra-2's "still sound pretty good" when listening to low quality sources. When listening to high quality sources (well recorded, uncompressed music) it sounds Amazing. Literally, the best sound I've ever had in my living room.

    The room also has a huge effect on the sound. Even with proper placement (speakers 2-3 feet from any walls) and several acoustic panels, I still need EQ (Dirac) to get the best sound out of my system.
    That's all fair, I guess what I'm saying is I didn't know I was giving garbage sources before. I've always loved listening to vinyl, it's a big hobby of mine and I've been listening to it and collecting it for most of my life, the upgrades I've done to my turntable, phono stage and even cables have made a difference, so I naturally assumed better speakers would help even more! But I think these may be too good! I don't want to stop listening to and collecting vinyl because it doesn't sound as good anymore and just listen to super high quality digital music.

    I'm honestly feeling like I got in over my head with these right now.

  4. #24

    Default Re: Am I crazy?

    I just tried out the "Midnight" mode on my receiver, and you can't use it while in either Direct, Pure Direct, or just using room correction via MCACC, you can only use it when you go into the different modes like "Movie", "Rock", or "Dolby Pro Logic"/"Dolby Pro Movie" etc.

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Am I crazy?

    Quote Originally Posted by kingcrowing View Post
    That's all fair, I guess what I'm saying is I didn't know I was giving garbage sources before. I've always loved listening to vinyl, it's a big hobby of mine and I've been listening to it and collecting it for most of my life, the upgrades I've done to my turntable, phono stage and even cables have made a difference, so I naturally assumed better speakers would help even more! But I think these may be too good! I don't want to stop listening to and collecting vinyl because it doesn't sound as good anymore and just listen to super high quality digital music.

    I'm honestly feeling like I got in over my head with these right now.
    I haven't listened to much vinyl, but I know there are lots of people with high end systems who do listen to vinyl, so it can't be all bad. Be careful with digital files as well. There's tons of digital files that sound really bad too, especially low bit rate MP3s.

    My only recommendation to you would be to try adjusting the placement of the speakers. Even if it's only temporary experiment, it might be worthwhile to see if it makes any difference. If you're up to the task, just try moving the speakers forward a couple feet and to the right about a 1-2 feet. Walls reinforce bass, so this should reduce the excessive bass a little bit.

    Also where is your subwoofer? Behind the left speaker? Try turning the volume down on the subwoofer, or completely off. You could also try running the speakers full range by setting the speakers to "large" in your receiver and subwoofer to "none."

  6. #26

    Default Re: Am I crazy?

    Ok, I'll try pulling them out a couple feet just to see if that makes a difference, unfortunately that would have to be for testing only since I can't keep that layout in my current space and don't want to have to move the speakers every time I use them...

    My sub is behind the left tower, it's a down firing and that's the only place I can fit it. I do have all speakers set to "Large" and when listening to music I'm using "Pure Direct" mode on my receiver so it's only sending music to the L & R channels, no sub. That's only coming into play with 5.1 movies/tv. While that could be part of the huge dynamic range I'm seeing, I haven't changed the sub settings from my old speakers and I never had such a huge difference so I don't think that's the issue with movies,

  7. #27

    Default Re: Am I crazy?

    Ok, I've pulled them out 2' and I do feel like the bass is a bit smoother, but now I'm hearing more aggressive highs from the cymbals, I'm not sure if it's overall better or not, but either way I can't keep them here so I'm not totally sure what the point of trying this is?

    Edit: ok, Dave said use the MCACC to adjust channel levels but not the built in EQ stuff since it's not always very good - I thought that was happening when in "Pure Direct" mode but that defeats channel adjustments, going into "Direct" bypasses all EQ stuff but does keep the channel levels - immediately made a huge difference going back to Dr. Strange, I feel much better already. I think I may be able to use this Direct mode to change the volume levels a bit and that will resolve my movie issues! I think I'm going to give my ears a rest and try music again in the afternoon and see if my ears will adjust with more listening.
    Last edited by kingcrowing; 06-15-2017 at 08:42 AM. Reason: I'm dumb...

  8. #28
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    Dec 2013
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    Default Re: Am I crazy?

    Just trying to show you how the room and placement can affect the sound. I rearranged my whole living room to improve my sound. My TV is now sitting in front of my window and my left speaker is blocking my fireplace. Do I care? Nope, because my system sounds amazing. But hey, it's your room and your equipment. It's up to you to decide what you are willing, or not willing to do to get good sound.
    Last edited by mikesiskav; 06-15-2017 at 09:06 AM.

  9. #29

    Default Re: Am I crazy?

    You're right, it's good to try some different things! I think in my current setup the ideal placement would have my setup completely blocking my only windows and one speaker right next to my heater which I don't think is a compromise I can make now... All of the feedback has been very helpful though, as I'm going through settings and adjusting placement I think I can get this to work with some more tweaking.

  10. #30
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    Dec 2013
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    Default Re: Am I crazy?

    Well, good luck to you. I hope they can work out and that you will be happy with them. If it comes down to it, Ascend has a fair return policy. So it should not be a problem.

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