The Mysterious Case of the Listening Window! By Jeff Day, Positive Feedback

bonzo75

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I think what we can enjoy and what sounds better are two different points. Whether vintage is better than modern for both is a third point. It is clear that vintage cannot be commercially available through a modern style distribution network so modding and customization are implicit
 
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jespera

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I came upon this article this morning and find it fascinating reading. Mr. Day makes a compelling case for seeking out gear with which one can enjoy a large variety of music, the "Listening Window". He describes his own system, a mix of vintage and new components, as sounding "musical". I also find interesting the claims about how far or not, high end audio has come over the years.

Here is a link to his article: https://jeffsplace.positive-feedback.com/the-mysterious-case-of-the-listening-window/

What do you think? Should systems be able to play all kinds of music? The broader the window the better? Are some vintage components still better than what is available today? I think he brings up some very interesting topics in this article which might be worth discussing here.

The man is spot on: a good set up is characterised by being able play (pretty much) everything well.

The caricature audiophile has a system thats so revealing that it shows that all but three recordings are rubbish.

Jesper
 
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Lagonda

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I enjoy listening to compressed music from all genres on Spotify, from classical, to jazz, to synth and dub. I have been going there to cue up some of the cuts from Tang and Bonzo, apart from the You Tube ouvres. I have been surprised to like it, even without ultra hi rez. Sometimes, i will listen over the main system to the You Tube stuff over Airplay, too, just for sheiss & giggles.

Does that mean I have a large window, or does it mean my windshield is so muddy I can't distinguish any more? Is it depraved to enjoy compressed music sources?
Yes !;)
 
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DaveC

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Vintage units have been around so long that even many of their mods have been standardized. Not that means they are good, they have to be done right and the best I heard did stuck to older style cross overs with vintage caps. Thomas Mayer is also similarly a fan of nos caps over current modern caps if I interpret his blog correctly, and his electronics are extremely low noise and high resolution by modern standards.

Foil caps are a "vintage" design, and still the best imo. Just not practical for larger values.
 
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Lagonda

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I've got into more so-called superior jazz and classical recordings from my first loves of less stellar-recorded prog, fusion and electric jazz. The Rush, King Crimson and Magma recordings that I love on my Zus can sound hugely uninviting on more audiophile spkrs, but now I'm getting way more timbrally accurate and tonally immersive playback on the jazz and string quartet/solo piano LPs that were a bit distant and diffident before.

So how wide is my window?
Aren’t you living in one of those olde houses with colored glass Marc ?;)
 

ddk

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Thanks, I was referring to a quote from Jeff

"These vintage Altec loudspeakers are historically important vintage Altec loudspeakers that were custom made for the domestic use of conductor Leopold Stokowski in the early 1960s (hereinafter referred to as the "Stokowski" Altec's), that were updated with the latest state-of-art Duelund Coherent Audio CAST tinned-copper capacitors, inductors, and resistors in a Jean Hiraga inspired crossover circuit (photo below). "

Are you endorsing people modifications of vintage gear to increase resolution and transparency? Perhaps wrongly I had understood that you did not appreciate such modifications, particularly crossovers and wires. A good friend of mine highly praises Duelund mods - what is your opinion on them?

Many conductors have expressed public opinions on top stereo systems - and every time it was the closest to real music they have listened!

I'm not endorsing anything Francisco and personally wouldn't modify vintage speakers or buy one that is modified. It's not because that there isn't room for improvement but because there aren't many people out there competent enough to holistically improve the overall sound without butchering it. I don't have that knowledge either but if I could get Vladimir Lamm staying with me for a few months I'd consider modifying Bionor's crossovers :)! Throwing in a few components here and there and getting something different is easy but that's not getting it right.

Yes paid and unpaid endorsements by musicians isn't uncommon and I have no idea about Stokowski's comments about these pair of speakers but I have experience with VOTT and would describe them in a similar way. Jeff's linked article isn't about his speakers but the approach to a type of overall system sound and setup, I believe he's talking about "natural" sound.

david
 
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spiritofmusic

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Aren’t you living in one of those olde houses with colored glass Marc ?;)
Haha, well I am commissioning a bespoke stained glass window for the chapel, so maybe Lol.

And its "ye olde house" cod Shakespeare speak.
 
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bonzo75

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Haha, well I am commissioning a bespoke stained glass window for the chapel, so maybe Lol.

So anyone who looks in from outside will see everything in color of the stain?
 

spiritofmusic

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Oh, we have hounds to keep the riff raff away.
 
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Lagonda

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Haha, well I am commissioning a bespoke stained glass window for the chapel, so maybe Lol.

And its "ye olde house" cod Shakespeare speak.
Yes let’s call my dyslexic typo “ Shakespearean speak” ;)
 

spiritofmusic

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Milan, I wouldn't normally object, but this is WBF, and as a rule we're all expected to be precise on terminology. I mean, Dave is mentioning "natural"...good luck defining THAT.

I can't think of a single audiophile who wouldn't pride themselves on achieving a "natural" sound. I mean, hands up who believes their sound is "unnatural", or "less than natural"?
 

Lagonda

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spiritofmusic

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Wrong county. Dartmoor in Devon.
No, the chapel is in Norfolk...Alan Partridge country.
 
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PeterA

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Milan, I wouldn't normally object, but this is WBF, and as a rule we're all expected to be precise on terminology. I mean, Dave is mentioning "natural"...good luck defining THAT.

I can't think of a single audiophile who wouldn't pride themselves on achieving a "natural" sound. I mean, hands up who believes their sound is "unnatural", or "less than natural"?

Marc, natural is not a difficult term to define. You spent a year listening to many live music events. You should know what the term natural means.

I will raise my hand and openly declare that my system used to sound less natural than it does now. It’s obvious to me. It is easy for me to hear, and it is easy for me to admit.

I will also say that after a year of experimenting with set up my system now sounds more natural than it did before. That is, it sounds more like what I hear when I listen to live unamplified music. However, I also know that I have a long way to go. The important thing is that I have a new goal and direction to follow.

I do think this is what Jeff day is getting at with this article and why it resonates with me. (I also appreciate his choice of amplification). We will see when he continues this series of articles.
 
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spiritofmusic

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It totally resonates with me too, Peter. You've de-tweaked a high resolution system to approach a natural horizon. I've gone down the quasi full range driver/high efficiency/zero xover direction, and optimised via ancilliaries to get a natural, relaxed sound. We've both succeeded in our own ways.
 

the sound of Tao

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Milan, I wouldn't normally object, but this is WBF, and as a rule we're all expected to be precise on terminology. I mean, Dave is mentioning "natural"...good luck defining THAT.

I can't think of a single audiophile who wouldn't pride themselves on achieving a "natural" sound. I mean, hands up who believes their sound is "unnatural", or "less than natural"?
Are we just releasing the hounds in asking the question. Perhaps the question might more simply be when making a system change are we moving towards making the instruments sound more natural or less natural.

This may be a useful assessment strategy and could be combined with another simple question, does the system change make me more engaged in the music or less engaged.

More natural and more musically engaging are essential outcomes from my perspective.
 

spiritofmusic

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Put it this way Graham, I am really struck by how much more natural the timbre of acoustic instruments is in my system now that acoustics, tt isolation/optimisation, spkrs setup/positioning, clean power and cables that help reveal tonal colour, are working their magic. My appreciation for my jazz lp collection in particular has been transformed, especially any albums with twin horns. I thought I was recognising sax and trumpet before. I really wasnt. Albums that were homogenous now really shine on timbral accuracy. My enjoyment of jazz has skyrocketed.
 
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cjfrbw

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I find my system unnaturally natural, but only in the best natural meaning of the word.
 

KeithR

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So while I agree with the premise... is there an actual point? Honestly, it seems more like typical audiophile negativity combined with unrealistic nostalgia for the past. I don't agree with that part of it. Jeff makes it seem like the 30's through the 60's was some magical time where everyone had superior HiFi. I'm not so sure that's true but I wasn't alive then so what do I know. I think there's a lot of great systems and gear today too.

Yeah, have a tough time thinking slide rule science and materials at the time haven’t improved dramatically. I’d love for @213Cobra to opine on this growing up through the golden age.
 

musicfirst100

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I love this concept of this 'listening window' and while I spent many years chasing the very best reproduction on the very best recordings, there is no question that the end result was 50 recordings in 'the window' but 3000 recordings out. I recall listening sessions with friends where, when they asked to hear recordings that were outside the window, I played them with dismay, and quickly went back to the magic 50.

I have consciously picked equipment over the last decade that takes advantage of and result in an expanding window, the Bayz Audio Courantes for example, and now there is nothing that I won't play, and when I do I look forward to the reproduction, even if I haven't heard it on my current system yet.
 

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