I found this thread about low volume listening:
I don’t think the Kef’s are ideal for low level, but it’s not a complete deal breaker. Would a subwoofer help with this?
Going to RS to audition tomorrow. Are there any other suggestions in the £200-£250 bracket for me to try?
I tried the CR603 - and the patience of RS staff (sorry Chris!) - at he weekend with the following speakers:
KEF Iq50: Very disappointed with these speakers which came onto the market at £500 and are now being offered ex display for £250. Very flabby bass and tish, tish, tish (bright?) treble. Seemed to work well with acoustic music though.
Tannoy v4: There is a thread about these on this forum, but though i'd try them as an alternative pair of floorstanders. Very flat sounding.
Wharfdale 121: Much better, nice warm sound, but I found the bass a bit boomy.
Dali Zensor 1: I'd heard it with these already, but wanted to try them in comparison to the above, and actually preferred them to the Wharfdales. I thought they had a tighter sound, though a little thin sounding places. (sorry if I'm not using the right jargon here).
So I took the CR603 with the Dali's home with me and have now had a few days to play. It took a fair while to find a balance of acoustics / practicality / aesthetics when placing them. I'm impressed with the sound for their size, but can't help feeling there's something missing. I still have the option to take them back within 14 days and its nagging at me that these BX2's might be a better option, or maybe I need to try the Wharfdale 121's at home and play with the tone settings some more.
To bring this thread back to it's original subject of the BX2's with the Marantz, I found out that RS can't stock them in stores where there is a Sevenoaks, which is why I have not been able to try them yet. I think I'm going to arrange for an audition in Sevenoaks this weekend, any other suggestions of what I should try? I'm tempted by the B&W 685's, but really that's just spending just a little bit too much.
The Kefs have a sensitivity rating of 88, is that good for my needs?
I've seen the Focal Chorus 714's at £350, a little over budget i'm affraid.
88 is fairly low for FS. I would say 87 is about average for standmounts and about 90 for FS.
For instance Q Acoustics 2050i are 92.
So if I understand this correctly the rating should ideally be a little higher for good low listening use? I think i'll have to try them to see. The Dali's I have heard it with before are even lower at 86.5.
I think the Marantz has a special preset for low level listening,but i'm not sure how effective it is.
I have a Denon DRA-F109 and the Dali zensor 1 in my living room(using an optical cable from my mothertboard and to my denon reciver, speaker cable Qed original) i am using them as near field monitors because i am using them on my desktop listening to music when i am using my computer, so they sound a bit diffrent compared to using then together with a big flatscreen tv.
The Denon DRA-F109 is 2x65watt, 4ohm at 1 khz and 0.7 thd, 2x 80watt i have seen them to beable to procuce as max in 4 ohm,the speakers are 6 ohm and about 86-87 db, when i turn the volume to 30 out of 60 they are pretty loud with music that is recorded with a normal level, havn't deared to played at max level without distortion, but they are as loud as a set of krk rokit powered5 g2 (both a have a max of 106 db according to the spec's and that's loud)
Presonus 22vsl soundcard, Tc electronic level pilot and Yamaha HS8 with 40 mm foam between the speakers and my desk
The sensitivity is nothing to do with low level listening, and is not a predictor of satisfactory 'background' listening. A lower number simply means they are quieter (less loud) for a given output or volume setting. Actually, it is easier to adjust volume at the lower end of the volume range with less sensitive speakers if the volume 'steps' are too large. However, some speakers seem more dull or flat when the volume is lower - just listen.
Presets for low-level use usually boost bass quite a lot and the treble a bit less, to artificially compensate for the ear's natural loss of sensitivity at lower volumes. Google equal loudness curves for more. That's why demos always play loud, because you ears at at their most alert!
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The Dali's seem to work well at low levels with the DBB (Dynamic Bass Boost setting).
Having played around with the tone controls, DBB on for low to mid level listening, bass up one notch, treble down 2 notches seems to produce the most pleasing results for my ears, though it does vary from track to track, buts that's what tone controls are for. These speakers seem quite directional and as I listen from various positions in the room, I find myself adjusting the balance quite a lot. Dali recommend not to toe them in.
I just feel there could be a little more warmth & depth to the sound. I'm prepared to pay a bit more, but it seems that after the Wharfdales 121's at £230 and the BX2's at £250, there's not much of note until the B&W 685's at £400 or the Kef R100's at £600?
I'm not sure about sensitivity and low listening but I found the Kef LS50s and B&W CM1s both needed some volume to wake them up and get going, the Kefs esp. at low volume were very distant, the sound was there but it seemed to be just around the speakers, like you were sitting 20m away and no soundstage, my current set up sounds like you are there about 2ms away, even at low volume, OK its better at higher volume around 10 oclock. It depends on your room size as well, I found speakers like the CM1s and LS50s needed a fairly powerful amp, for instance the Rega Brio seemed to start to sound harsh if volume was over 11 o'clock, Audiolab 8200 was a bit better but the muscle of MF was even better. Many amps sound at the their best around 10-11.
The one thing I did notice with the Kef IQ50's is that they were demonstrably louder than the bookshelves I tried. Not sure how this correlates with low level listening, but thought i'd mention it.
I now been to another dealer to audition the BX2's, 685's and RX2's. They didn't have a Marantz CR603 (possible newsflash, they can't restock as they've been discontinued. A CR604 or CR703 just around the corner? Also just noticed RS have also dropped the price to £300). He suggested auditioning using an Arcam Solo. They didn't have any Dali's, so it's difficult to get an accurate impression of the differences between them. I wasn't exactly blown away by any of these, but then he brought in a pair of Kef Q100's, and I was very impressed by the sound stage and detail. He's offered me a free home trial, I didn't accept straight away as they are over my price range, but think i'll head back tomorrow. A lot of talk in this thread about the R100's which are way out of my price range, but not so much about the Q's. Anyone tried them with the Marantz?
The sound was very nice.
Much detail and really fantastic bass.
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