Proac Response 3.5 in use

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi and General Audio' started by saf, Sep 3, 2009.

  1. saf

    saf

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi,

    Looking for user or ex-users of this speaker.
    I just purchased a used pair and already having some trouble.

    In the first month both tweeters failed, and replaced with originals from ProAc.

    From the start this speaker is not delivering what people rave about it.
    The sound is not full and warm. Rather thin and weak, although having a very big and deteiled sound (very good highs).
    It is not harsh in any way, just feels like it is missing a lot in the lower region.

    For a perspective point of view, i have Response 2S wich sound much more full and powerfull. So something may be wrong with my pair, or my amplifier isnt juicin em enough. I doubt its the amp, because its a very stable 100W transistored kit from Aspen Amplifiers. It certainaly is driving the R2S well.
    And the 3.5 is supposed to be higher sensitivity...

    Any thoughts? What did you drive them with?
    Thanks
    SAF
     
    saf, Sep 3, 2009
    #1
    1. Advertisements

  2. saf

    nando nando

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,017
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    london
    having not only sold the 3.5's in the past, they always lacked deep bass, no mater what amplication you use, it's their caracter, we used them in the factory at tube tech, nice detail but the bass is light.
    nando.
     
    nando, Sep 4, 2009
    #2
    1. Advertisements

  3. saf

    thrudge

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2005
    Messages:
    174
    Likes Received:
    0
    That's exactly what I heard in a demo in a hi-fi shop a few years ago. Bland, bland, bland.
     
    thrudge, Sep 4, 2009
    #3
  4. saf

    saf

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    nando,

    When you say bass is light, you mean deep bass below 40Hz correct ?

    I have a pair of Response 2S which supposedly are less sensitive and much much smaller so should have lesser bass. After all they are 20 litre monitors against a 70 litre floorstander !!!

    My surprise is that the 3.5 seem much weaker. Better presentation of dialogue and mids....but very weak in direct comparison.

    I would think that at least they would be on par in the bass region!?

    Another intriguing thought is that have i measure them with proper gear, that is a Behringer ECM8000 + preamp + RoomeqWizard and the frequency plot was that the speaker held its output till 30Hz at least !!!??

    It sure doesnt seem that way when playing music.:confused::confused:
     
    saf, Sep 4, 2009
    #4
  5. saf

    nando nando

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,017
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    london
    quote

    surprisinly the 2.5's had a more if i may say had a deeper bass response, i found the 3.5's absolute great in detail "mid and treble" but lack of deep bass, great speaker in the sense that they got close to electrostatic spkr sound , the response 2.5's had a much richer bass response, when the 3.8's came to replace them the bass was more deeper but to my ears lost the "sweetness" of the 3.5's
    nando.
     
    nando, Sep 4, 2009
    #5
  6. saf

    saf

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hmm...that is an interesting statement. I must say i have a 2.5 clone speaker that i adapted to centre speaker, and i DO found it way warmer and fuller that both the 3.5 and the 2S.

    Nevertheless which amplifier would you find a better match for the 3.5 ? Would a tube amp degrade even more the bass performance?
    I currently use a 100w solid state. Would a 200w ARC be a better performer that say a 50w tube ARC ?
    I do find that the speaker lacks in warmth...and i do feel that a tube amp could do the trick...but would it degrade the bass even more...?
     
    saf, Sep 4, 2009
    #6
  7. saf

    nando nando

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,017
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    london
    i am not familiar with clones, although there are lots around from various manufacturers, a good tube amp or a high brid will increase the bass respose on the 3.5's but it has to have high current amps output, preferebly using el 34's and if poss. 600 va output transformers,
    nando
     
    nando, Sep 4, 2009
    #7
  8. saf

    doug2507

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2009
    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Maybe a bit of 'foo' but....i did 2 things today that i believe changed the sound of my D28's. Firstly, even though i have a wooden floor i put them on spikes with cups. Found that the imaging and clarity was better than having them either on the floor or granite plinths. Secondly, i had the speaker cable on the bottom terminals with cable jumpers. Changed it so i had '+' on the bottom and '-' on the top. Bass improved, fuller, rounder. Changed to both top terminals. Better still. As i say, might be 'foo' but to my ears it made a difference.

    At the end of the day i'm still not 100% happy though. My speakers are 2' from the back wall and 2-3' from the side walls and about 7ft apart. My listening position is in a classic triangle shape. If i move to the back of the room, another 4', the bass totally changes and they rock. No matter where i have put my speakers, i can't seem to remedy this. There aren't a lot of soft furnishings in my room as its a rented flat and there are no nails on the walls. Walls are quite thin i reckon (newish build) and the floor moves a good bit. If you have a door wedge under the door and walk beside the door, it sometimes starts to move! Room is a classic 14'x14' ish with speakers side on to the window and door. Hifi sits between my speakers on an AV rack with tv, xbox, dvd & sky. The only thing left for me to try is power cables and mains conditioning as all the power cables are std and everything on the rack is plugged into a Belkin anti-surge 8 way then into the mains. Acoustic treatment?

    I've always liked tight, clean neutral ss having started with Audiolab but now like you i am thinking of changing to ARC's. Either that or get the Cremona Auditors i originally wanted before i bought the Proacs. I dont listen to anything classical. Mainly old rock like Led Zep, Skynyrd, Hendrix, CCR etc and newer stuff like the Chilis, RATM, Pumpkins, Audioslave etc etc. So for me its either ditch the Krells for ARC, or ditch the Proacs for something else. I went for the Proacs in the first place as i didnt want to go down the sub route for the Cremonas. I think the Proacs have got good bottom end, not just with the setup i'm using. Infact the D28's are well know for having very good bass, if not overwhelming sometimes. Don't know if any of this helps you out, but it seemed appropriate to post here as opposed to starting a similar thread.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 8, 2009
    doug2507, Sep 8, 2009
    #8
  9. saf

    Colin151

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Saif,

    Don't know if you are around and might be reading this, and its been a while since you started this thread, but I thought I would chime in with my experience of the Proac 3.5s.
    I've had a pair for 2 and a half years I bought second hand. The sound is exaclty as you describe, - good in the mid and the treble but a bit lacking in the bass region/thin down there. In fact this speaker does not lack low freqneucy extension at all, - its just that the relative volume of the bass region is lacking in decibels compared to other Proac speakers. Its caused by the design of the 3.5, - a 2 way D'Apolitto array and front port. The 3.8s do have a lot more bass as they are a 2.5 way design and twin rear ported but they are also a lot less sensitive so they need more powerful amps and they can also boom in the mid bass region nastily in smaller rooms and they need to be a long way from the back walls (whereas the 3.5s are OK near to the wall as they are front ported), and the 3.5s can actually be used in small rooms no problem.

    The 3.5 can benefit not necessarily from more powerful amplification but amps which have a full sounding characterstic, so its best to audition some to try to find something suitable. Avoid thin sounding amps. Push pull Tube amps (even quite low powered ones) can be quite good with them as this type of amp does tend to sound fuller than most SS amps.

    But in my opinion the best way to get better bass and a nicer full range sound from these speakers is to add a muscial subwoofer, - An REL ST range sub is probably the ideal choice. With my 3.5s I use two subwoofers, - a REL Strata II and a Storm together, - set very low volume and the lowest filter setting (30 Hz). Used like this there is copous low frequency extension on these speakers and no mid bass boom like you might get with the 3.8s. If you are near London you are welcome to come and have a listen.
    If you still have the speakers I would say the very best thing you could do for their sound is to spend £100 or so on a used REL Strata I or II.

    Hope this helps,
    Cheers,
    Colin
     
    Colin151, Mar 29, 2010
    #9
  10. saf

    saf

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Colin,

    Many thanks on your reply ! I appreciate your findings with your pair and i believe i can conclude much of the same.

    I have been driving my 3.5's with a 100W SS amp wich is not at all thin sounding but i tought it could deliver more. I tried some similar power amps and got the same'ish results.

    I decided to upgrade to a more powerfull amp, as indicated by some, and came to conclusion of what you said. More power is NOT what these speakers need, but rather a warm and full amp. This may be the reason why tube amps have such a good reputation with Proac...

    So i have been using a 250W amp, from a very good reputation company for some months and found it to be thin sounding with this speaker. The sound is faster, cleaner, resolving but also less warm, fatiguing and thin. Not to blame the amp...just the combo. I know it is a very good amp and it should deliver with a power hungry and not so revealing speaker.

    My thoughts are...maybe i should mate them with a tube amp and see what i get!
     
    saf, Apr 4, 2010
    #10
  11. saf

    Colin151

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Saif,
    I totlly agree, this has nothing to do with power. My 3.5s sound fuller driven from a cheap 35W Creek 4040 S3 amp, or my Audio Innovations Series 500 valve amp (18WPC), and my Art Audio Quintet valve power amp (30W) than they do driven from a big 250W Solid state amp I have. These speakers are reasonably sensitive (89DB) so the only reason to use a very powerful amp would eb if you were in a massive room or listened to high dynamic range material. I've even drive them from a 9WPC 300B single ended valve amp and they sound fine, I would recommend a push pull valve amp rather than an SE valve amp as PP amps tend to sound fuller and are less fussy what they drive.

    The best thing you can do it to upgrade to an amplifier that has a fuler tonal balance, regardless of power. You can get 30wpc channel amps that sound thin or full, and the same goes for higher powered amp. Its the tonal balance of the amp you are interested in, not the power output.

    But my best tip for you is still to add a subwoofer, - it will improve the sound a lot with any amp.

    Whereabouts are you located?
    Cheers,
    Colin

     
    Colin151, Apr 4, 2010
    #11
  12. saf

    nando nando

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,017
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    london
    hi saf, see if you can get a tube technology synergy amp,
    nando.
     
    nando, Apr 6, 2010
    #12
  13. saf

    guilders0

    Joined:
    May 28, 2010
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi guys,
    Don't really understand your problems.
    I run a pair of D15s without any problem nor lack in the bass region, the bass is extended and tight. I am using a Proceed AVP2 preamp - Proceed HPA2 power amp combination, you know these come from Mark Levinson range. So they might be full/warm like you say. Anyway this is a pure transistors combo and it kicks ass.
    I even would like to try a D28 pair to compare them to the D15. Looking at a good opportunity ;-)
    Cheers.
     
    guilders0, Jun 28, 2010
    #13
  14. saf

    Colin151

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    0
    I got this wrong before.

    The amplifier does have some influence on the bass but usually to quite a limited extent in my opinion.

    The complaint of lack of bass in a speaker is usually due to other factors. It could be down to the listening position (the further you are to the back wall the more bass there usually is) , room size and dimensions, and just how the particular speaker interacts with a particular room.

    The front ported Response 3.5 does have less apparent bass than other floorstanding Proacs (apart from the similar and older Response 3) and that is a factor, and in particular contrast to the previous rear ported designs like the famous Response 2.5 and the Response 3.8. The latter two usually had TOO much bass and needed positioning well away from the front wall to avoid boom in the mid bass. The current floor ported range are much less sensitive to placement and still have plenty of great bass that is not so prone to mid bass boom.

    Good (and preferably good quality) parametic EQ in the bass region could enable someone to easily tailor the bass balance more to personal taste (letting them put in more bass if required), or a ported subwoofer (not a sealed one, as the 3.5s are ported too) would give more apparent bass/bass extension and blend well with the speakers. A sealed sub might cause phase problems due the different speed and not blend well with the speakers.
    My 3.5s blend superbly with my ported REL Strata II and REL Storm (I use both of them together with the 3.5s).

    Using my 3.5s on their own without the sub in my room does usually give a bit too little bass for my liking. I used to have the 2.5s and also Studio 125s in the same room. Both of those had far too much bass and boomed! (opposite of the 3.5s). Especially the Studio 125, - that speaker has TOO much bass and also too little headroom as so much bass was engineered out of the speaker. The 2.5 is very similar in this regard but to a slightly lesser extent IMO. Both can really overwhelm smaller rooms but work nicely with much more space (but headroom is still limited and especially in a bigger room, - the main driver can bottom out under a heavy bass line very easily so you often have to limit the volume control).

    The much larger front ported 3.5s actually is much better suited to a smaller room IMO as it doesn't boom at all. You can have them very close to the front wall if you want to put them there. They also work great in a large room of course.

    The 3.5s have more headroom than the smaller designs as the 3.5s is essentially a two way design with two drivers sharing the low pass section, - the bass is therefore shared between two main drivers so they working half as hard as one driver would.

    I did once have another set of the smaller and famous 2.5s in a different big room but eventually had to sell them due to headroom limitation. The drivers bottomed out all the time on heavy bass material which made them unusable for me. Still they are superb sounding speakers in the right room and with the right material. Its why they have been cloned so much. The tone was really something special and better in that regard to the 3.5 in my opinion (though the 3.5 does have more frequency extension at the top end due to the high end tweeter).

    I still wish I could hear the even bigger Proacs, both the old models and the new ones
    I always fancied the Response 4 but the 130kg per speaker put me off! 40kg for each Response 3.5 is only just about carryable for me!


    Cheers,
    Colin
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 30, 2011
    Colin151, Oct 29, 2011
    #14
  15. saf

    DSJR

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2007
    Messages:
    96
    Likes Received:
    0
    IMO, which admittedly is rusty on this, the Response 2's were better than most other Pro-Acs which came later. So many of these later models "featured" a recessed mid, a thick mid bass and a "sparkle," taken to extremes on the better Tablettes and 1SC models. I suppose it's to Mr Tyler's credit that he was able to get the same saddle-back balance out of all his models, but truthful and "accurate" it certainly ain't IMO.

    I remember my dems with Response "2's with very much affection and still feel that twenty years on, they would show so many modern squeakers the door. My advice is to get rid of the 3.5's and spend the money on the best source and possibly amp you can - the 2S's will readily grow in staure with the stuff further upstream....

    Just my opinion, obviously...
     
    DSJR, Oct 31, 2011
    #15
  16. saf

    Bactamtung

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2014
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Proac 3.5 lack of bass

    I just bought used ProAc response 3.5 and am very dissappointed with thin bass, please advise how to improve it as when I moved 3.5 closer to wall behind speakers i have more bass but compromised mid range. A REL subwoofer does not help unless moved 3.5 close to wall. My room size 4.3x3.3 m, sitting facing long wall.
    Thanks, Tung
     
    Bactamtung, Sep 1, 2014
    #16
  17. saf

    Tenson Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2003
    Messages:
    5,947
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Kent, UK
    Hi,

    It is a difficult problem to solve because as you notice moving the speakers close to a boundary for more bass compromises the midrange.

    This happens becasue of the wavelength of the sound. Low frequencies have a long wave length so the delay when the sound travels from the front of the speaker to the wall and back is not enough to cause interference. The sound from the speaker and the reflection from the wall add together well.

    Mid frequencies have a shorter wavelength so that same delay from the front of the speaker to wall and back is enough to start making problems. The sound from the speaker and the reflection can cancel each other at some frequencies and add at others making a strange sound.

    It helps a lot to place some thick sound absorbers behind the speakers. Something like 50mm-100mm thick acoustic foam in a meter square behind each speaker. This absorbs the mid and high reflections so they don't interfere as much but leaves the low frequencies pretty much un-touched.

    Another option is a DSP system like the Behringer DEQ2496 or DCX2496. Both allow very accurate correction of the frequencies response so you can keep the speakers further from the wall and correct the bass loss as well as smoothing out the bass bumps and dips caused by the room. The DCX2496 would also allow you to accurately tune in a sub, but this can become quite technical.
     
    Tenson, Sep 4, 2014
    #17
  18. saf

    Bactamtung

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2014
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks so much for your advice. I put a blanket over the 1.5m high cd shelf on side wall and have decent bass again, i then put another tablecloth over the TV on the front wall and the image is so clear and pinpointed. Now the speakers are happily located 50cm from rear of skeaker to front wall. I will replace the blanket & tablecloth with proper accoustic panel in due course for WAF to please the SWMBO.
    Cheers, Tung
     
    Bactamtung, Sep 4, 2014
    #18
  19. saf

    brizonbiovizier Honey Badger

    Joined:
    May 30, 2005
    Messages:
    2,804
    Likes Received:
    0
    I thought they didn't have great bass and had a constrained dynamic envelope. They also sounded very coloured to my ears. I couldn't relate what I heard to the glowing reviews at all. But then there are plenty of dishonest reviews in the press. I guess proac were buying a lot of advertising space at that time!
     
    brizonbiovizier, Nov 10, 2014
    #19
  20. saf

    Bactamtung

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2014
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    With acoustic panels behind speakers, i now have decent bass, add on REL SW I'm now very pleased with 3.5, the highs are no longer bright (probably tamed by the lows) and depth is the strength of ProAc. The acoustic panels are definitely the right way to go and No! ProAc 3.5's are not coloured with panels, maybe very little compared to Tannoy's but in a good and enjoyable way.
     
    Bactamtung, Nov 10, 2014
    #20
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.