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The Pedragon dilemna

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  • The Pedragon dilemna

    Some of you may recall my enthusiastic commentary on the recent purchase of Tekton Designs Pendaragon speakers. As sort of rolling update, I've no intention of giving them up at any time in the foreseeable future. But they have caused me to do something I've never done before.

    ​I've used the tone controls to actually reduce bass on certain recordings. My old Infinitys, which were purchased because they were the cleanest sounding speakers I could find and afford were flat to 37 Hz. The new Pendragons extend down to 20 Hz. Which has led to discovering unpleasant things in the basement of recordings that had always been in continuous rotation.

    Paul Schwartz produced a series of Aria recordings, a reimagining of a variety of operatic arias done with both live orchestra and synth and an at least serviceable soprano. The synth additions were of very low frequency and therein lies the problem. IMO the recording and mix was done with monitors which did not have extension to 20 Hz thus the finished recordings are hot below 40 Hz. The frequencies are low enough individual notes aren't exactly heard but more felt as a pressure on the sinuses and ears. It is somewhat unpleasant. It also muddies the performance in a way that was not apparent on any of my other speakers.

    The muddiness is not a function of the speakers, it is a function of the recordings. I pulled out some dub-step and various "club" mixes that have very deep bass, cranked it up to stun and the bass was tight and fast. My neighbors agree, plenty of clean bass. Ooops.

    And thus, audiophile nervosa, the upgrade of equipment leading to reevaluation of previously more enjoyable recordings. And a reaffirmation that the Pendargons are for the money, about as good as it gets.

    Oh, the Aria III recording isn't nearly as overcooked as I and II.


  • #2
    Originally posted by Rust View Post
    Some of you may recall my enthusiastic commentary on the recent purchase of Tekton Designs Pendaragon speakers. As sort of rolling update, I've no intention of giving them up at any time in the foreseeable future. But they have caused me to do something I've never done before.

    ​I've used the tone controls to actually reduce bass on certain recordings. My old Infinitys, which were purchased because they were the cleanest sounding speakers I could find and afford were flat to 37 Hz. The new Pendragons extend down to 20 Hz. Which has led to discovering unpleasant things in the basement of recordings that had always been in continuous rotation.

    Paul Schwartz produced a series of Aria recordings, a reimagining of a variety of operatic arias done with both live orchestra and synth and an at least serviceable soprano. The synth additions were of very low frequency and therein lies the problem. IMO the recording and mix was done with monitors which did not have extension to 20 Hz thus the finished recordings are hot below 40 Hz. The frequencies are low enough individual notes aren't exactly heard but more felt as a pressure on the sinuses and ears. It is somewhat unpleasant. It also muddies the performance in a way that was not apparent on any of my other speakers.

    The muddiness is not a function of the speakers, it is a function of the recordings. I pulled out some dub-step and various "club" mixes that have very deep bass, cranked it up to stun and the bass was tight and fast. My neighbors agree, plenty of clean bass. Ooops.

    And thus, audiophile nervosa, the upgrade of equipment leading to reevaluation of previously more enjoyable recordings. And a reaffirmation that the Pendargons are for the money, about as good as it gets.

    Oh, the Aria III recording isn't nearly as overcooked as I and II.
    Agreed with YOU wholeheartedly.

    Some people had never realized it's in the recording.
    Hugh Nguyen
    ACA

    Comment


    • Rust
      Rust commented
      Editing a comment
      Indeed. I'm reminded of a statement an actress made about shooting TV shows in higher resolutions, she didn't like it because it revealed flaws in her complexion that were previously unnoticeable.

      Are you going to make the Lone Star Fest this year?

  • #3
    I think that's always a concern when selecting reference records. Like when we used to set up my friend's bass controls on his Infinity RS1b speakers. What record do you use to gauge proper bass response and performance? Especially back then. Now at least we have some better measurement tools to gauge speaker/room response and better/best speaker positioning (a subject unto itsself). But like anything, it's only a guide and the ears have to make the final determination.
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

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    Comment


    • Rust
      Rust commented
      Editing a comment
      It's not so much picking a demo recording as finding serious flaws previously undetected in what I liked listening to. Any of my previous speakers simply weren't capable of that frequency extreme. I may try find a spectrographic analysis program to check a couple of recordings to see just what the heck is going on. There is something just plain wrong with the aforementioned recordings.

  • #4
    I ran into a similar issue years ago when I had biamped VMPS RM-2neo speakers. Those were very powerful and clean to a measured 22 Hz in my old room. They are sitting in storage now, too big and not a good match for my current room As ugly as they were, they were still my wife's favorite speaker.
    Steve Lefkowicz
    Senior Associate Editor at Positive Feedback
    -
    Analog 1: Linn LP12 (MOSE/Hercules II), Ittok, Dynavector 10X5 MK.II Low Output, iPhono2/iPowerX; Analog 2: Pro-Ject RPM-1 Carbon, Talisman S, iFi iPhono.
    Digital: Samsung 300E5C notebook, JRiver Media Center 26, Tidal HiFi and Qobuz Studio), iFi NEO iDSD, iFi iUSB3, iPurifier2, Audioquest Jitterbug.
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    Headphones: Schiit Valhalla amp, Burson Conductor Virtuoso Amp, Meze Audio 99 Classic and 99 Neo, Beyerdynamic DT770Pro 600 ohm, DT770 Studio 80 ohm, 1More Triple Driver Over Ear, 1More Triple Driver IEM

    http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...ounding-system

    Comment


    • Rust
      Rust commented
      Editing a comment
      I listened to VMPS years back, one of the towers (no idea which anymore) and was impressed with the sense of scale. Otherwise the guy that had them did not have them well set up at all so that's about all I could say about them. Seemed to have potential.

    • Steve Lefkowicz
      Steve Lefkowicz commented
      Editing a comment
      VMPS speakers were a nightmare to set up correctly for proper bass response, with their adjustable mass loaded damping. Fortunately, Brian Cheney himself set mine up for me when I reviewed them for Listener. When properly set up, the models with the neo ribbon panels were amazing bargains, but if not done just right, they could be pretty brutal.
      Brian had quite an ear too. Made me rearrange my son's hockey trophies that were on a shelf between the speakers. Not remove them, but rearrange them. He was right too.

  • #5
    Yeah, all it takes is new speakers and new wire to rain on your parade. I put my one still functional Infinity on one side and played some mono recordings, using the balance control to compare the two. See, controls are useful. The Infinity sounded a little smoother which would appear to be because it glosses some things over by being somewhat less detailed, and is certainly missing at least half an octave of deep bass.

    ​That little bit of extra detail (maybe more than a little bit) with the 'Dragon shows some other flaws in recordings. Microphone overload, especially with sopranos is now obvious. At the same time the quality of the soprano is made more obvious, when trying to power project and sustain the high notes. It shows up as a tense hardening of tone and being just a touch off perfect pitch when they just can't quite make it. Mezzos don't seem to have the same problem.

    In analog recordings tape saturation has made a more obvious appearance in several recordings, the sound seems to flatten out a bit. In digital, well, given the flawed production values of most new recordings of rock/pop things are pretty much flat anyhow. The Reference Recordings RBCDs are pretty good though. On the other hand there is something about the Reiner/CSO RBCDs reissues that I can't quite put my finger on that makes them a touch dull and uninvolving.

    Well, there's always Black Sabbaths Paranoid. And some of the old half speed mastered LPs are sounding pretty good too.

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