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matthewpiano's picture
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Low volume, high quality

I'm sat here listening to music at a very low volume and thoroughly enjoying it and feeling really pleased with how far my system has come, particularly the huge pleasure that the Dynaudio speakers have given me since I bought them back in February.  So often I've found amps and speakers to be good at medium volumes, but hopeless at low ones, but this combination still has depth, good soundstaging, detail and that engaging quality.

How good is your system at low levels?  How important is it to you?

Rega RP3/Elys 2 - Graham Slee Gram Amp 1 - Rega Apollo R - Exposure 1010 amp - Dynaudio DM2/6 - Chord Co. Chameleon VEE3/Rumour 2 - Musical Fidelity V90-HPA - Sennheiser HD595

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matthewpiano wrote:

matthewpiano wrote:

I'm sat here listening to music at a very low volume and thoroughly enjoying it and feeling really pleased with how far my system has come, particularly the huge pleasure that the Dynaudio speakers have given me since I bought them back in February.  So often I've found amps and speakers to be good at medium volumes, but hopeless at low ones, but this combination still has depth, good soundstaging, detail and that engaging quality.

How good is your system at low levels?  How important is it to you?

 

Mine is excellent at low volumes maybe because its active not sure but it sound does not change really as it gets louder it just gets louder, other systems Ive heard change significately when the volume increases and often have a sweet spot.

 

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matthewpiano wrote:

matthewpiano wrote:

I'm sat here listening to music at a very low volume and thoroughly enjoying it and feeling really pleased with how far my system has come, particularly the huge pleasure that the Dynaudio speakers have given me since I bought them back in February.  So often I've found amps and speakers to be good at medium volumes, but hopeless at low ones, but this combination still has depth, good soundstaging, detail and that engaging quality.

How good is your system at low levels?  How important is it to you?

 

Mine is excellent at low volumes maybe because its active not sure but it sound does not change really as it gets louder it just gets louder, other systems Ive heard change significately when the volume increases and often have a sweet spot.

 

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matthewpiano wrote:

matthewpiano wrote:

I'm sat here listening to music at a very low volume and thoroughly enjoying it and feeling really pleased with how far my system has come, particularly the huge pleasure that the Dynaudio speakers have given me since I bought them back in February.  So often I've found amps and speakers to be good at medium volumes, but hopeless at low ones, but this combination still has depth, good soundstaging, detail and that engaging quality.

How good is your system at low levels?  How important is it to you?

My bedroom system is really very good at low volume listening. I can still clearly hear minute detail and separation of instruments.

Main system: MF AMS 35i / Focal 1028be / Electrocompaniet EMC 1UP / MIT cables

Bedroom: Laptop(Qobuz) / Chord gem / Rega Brio-r / KEF ls50 / TQ black / Sennheiser momentum

 

 

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matthewpiano wrote:

matthewpiano wrote:

I'm sat here listening to music at a very low volume and thoroughly enjoying it and feeling really pleased with how far my system has come, particularly the huge pleasure that the Dynaudio speakers have given me since I bought them back in February.  So often I've found amps and speakers to be good at medium volumes, but hopeless at low ones, but this combination still has depth, good soundstaging, detail and that engaging quality.

How good is your system at low levels?  How important is it to you?

Actually with my new PMC's I'm now capable of listening at low volume levels. It's rather important, because now I can listen to music late in the evening without waking up the rest of the family Wink

 

Synology DS214+ >> Rega DAC | Rega RP3 >> Rega Brio-R >> Chord Odyssey 2 >> PMC twenty.23

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Agreed it's a great

Agreed it's a great characteristic to have for a system to retain its level of performance at low volumes. My previous integrated MF M3i was very good for low level listening. Since changing (upgrading) to a higher output power amp and better preamp in my system I've found it harder to listen at lower volumes - although it sounds good it just sounds excellent when 'liberated' a bit and cranked up slightly - very addictive.. although not always neighbour (or gf) friendly.. 

Having said that due to living in an apartment and listening position being only approx 2m from the speakers I believe my 'low' volume to be probably more like 'very low' and my turned up a bit could still be classed as low. If that makes sense...

 

 

 

Sonos Connect> MF M1DAC> MF A308CR Pre Amp> MF A5CR Power Amp> PMC Twenty 22

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BigH wrote:

BigH wrote:

matthewpiano wrote:

I'm sat here listening to music at a very low volume and thoroughly enjoying it and feeling really pleased with how far my system has come, particularly the huge pleasure that the Dynaudio speakers have given me since I bought them back in February.  So often I've found amps and speakers to be good at medium volumes, but hopeless at low ones, but this combination still has depth, good soundstaging, detail and that engaging quality.

How good is your system at low levels?  How important is it to you?

 

Mine is excellent at low volumes maybe because its active not sure but it sound does not change really as it gets louder it just gets louder, other systems Ive heard change significately when the volume increases and often have a sweet spot.

 

I suspect it is a control thing - that when your amp can properly control the speakers it will grip them better at low volumes, hence your actives being excellent in this respect.

 

Rega RP3/Elys 2 - Graham Slee Gram Amp 1 - Rega Apollo R - Exposure 1010 amp - Dynaudio DM2/6 - Chord Co. Chameleon VEE3/Rumour 2 - Musical Fidelity V90-HPA - Sennheiser HD595

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iceman16 wrote:

iceman16 wrote:

My bedroom system is really very good at low volume listening. I can still clearly hear minute detail and separation of instruments.

Your main system isn't too shabby at low volumes either.  Smile

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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Another happy bunny here when

Another happy bunny here when it comes to low level volume listening, a very definite prerequisite when I came to choose my Epos Elan 30 speakers to go with my Creek Evolution 5350 amp. My wife works some really strange shifts and I must listen at low levels occasionally.

 

.

Creek/ProJect/SBT/Epos

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The real challenge

We all know the real challenge is making a system sound good at loud listening levels where things fall apart. However, at low listening levels IMO its all function of properly implementing loudness compensation (in preamplifier section), the listeners hearing and room acoustics.  Basically the preamp must EQ to a smiley face curve to compensate for our midrange favoring hearing (Fletcher-Munson curve). We all have a slightly unique loudness curve and what can be perfect low listening level system to someone, it can be lacking to others.

I've read opinions that first watt solutions with high sensitivity speakers (preferably single drivers) excel at low listening levels. Any truth to this?

Mark Levinson formed his new company Daniel Hertz completely arround this concept. He explains it in this video interview

 

B&W CM1 + FS-700/CM + Roksan Kandy K2 BT + Native Instruments TA2 + Commodore 64 LPSU + Audioquest Type 4

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Vladimir wrote:

Vladimir wrote:

We all know the real challenge is making a system sound good at loud listening levels where things fall apart. 

Dolby Volume does a good job at low listening levels, but it's an AV solution:  http://www.dolby.com/us/en/technologies/dolby-volume-tech-paper.pdf

For 2 channel, a good Class A amp (Valves or SS) with sensitive speakers is a good way to go.

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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Tone controls?

Bass and treble controls help at low volume. Just tweaking them to +1 or +2 is an easy and effective solution.

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CnoEvil wrote:

CnoEvil wrote:

iceman16 wrote:

My bedroom system is really very good at low volume listening. I can still clearly hear minute detail and separation of instruments.

Your main system isn't too shabby at low volumes either.  Smile

Hi Cno..I don't think I still need to say what the main system sounds wink. That's why I'ts really not easy for me to choose a second system on a budget.

Main system: MF AMS 35i / Focal 1028be / Electrocompaniet EMC 1UP / MIT cables

Bedroom: Laptop(Qobuz) / Chord gem / Rega Brio-r / KEF ls50 / TQ black / Sennheiser momentum

 

 

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CnoEvil wrote:

CnoEvil wrote:

For 2 channel, a good Class A amp (Valves or SS) with sensitive speakers is a good way to go.

Without implemented loudness compensation in the preamp it is kinda pointless to take advantage of the First Watt aproach. I haven't seen today manufacturers declaring in the specs if the amp has loudness compensation circuitry (integrated in the volume gain or separately controlled).

B&W CM1 + FS-700/CM + Roksan Kandy K2 BT + Native Instruments TA2 + Commodore 64 LPSU + Audioquest Type 4

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low volume

hi my system comprises roksank2,dalizensors7 and nad c545bee cd player the sound is great at low volume with all the detail and when i turn it up the sound doesnt get louder it gets bigger thats the best way i can describe it

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Vladimir wrote:

Vladimir wrote:

CnoEvil wrote:

For 2 channel, a good Class A amp (Valves or SS) with sensitive speakers is a good way to go.

Without implemented loudness compensation in the preamp it is kinda pointless to take advantage of the First Watt aproach. I haven't seen today manufacturers declaring in the specs if the amp has loudness compensation circuitry (integrated in the volume gain or separately controlled).

My comment was really about how (imo) to make the most out of what is available now.....due to its topology, a good Class A amp has a very fast transient response, which combined with sensitive/efficient speakers, can help preserve the excitement in the music at low volumes.

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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