Speakers that play piano properly?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi and General Audio' started by Alex S, Dec 30, 2003.

  1. Alex S

    Alex S User

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    Mine don't. I thought it was because they don't go deep enough but now I've decided the mid-range is not up to it. Obviously, the speakers improve as the system does - they are totally unboxy, fast, well integrated and open.

    Shahinian Obelisks play piano - they're very good at percussive intruments but I feel they'd force me to make sacrifices in other areas - speed, integration, relative boxiness and the treble can zing a bit.

    I'm still toying with the idea of MF7s or 9s.

    What would happen if I added a good sub - they're supposed to open up the midrange aren't they?

    Any other ideas?

    Alex
     
    Alex S, Dec 30, 2003
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  2. Alex S

    notaclue

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    I think an awful lot of classical music is mastered on B&W speakers so I presume the B&W Nautilus range would be pretty good with piano. Maybe Harbeth or Spendor monitors? Again, popular with the classical listener.

    Or else the likes of ATC, Dynaudio, PMC, Tannoy etc. all make popular monitors so should (I assume) be good with piano. And hopefully most other things too.
     
    notaclue, Dec 30, 2003
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  3. Alex S

    Lt Cdr Data om

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    ATC scm 50s are indeed good with piano, that was part of bill woodman's purpose with tht mid dome, and it shows.
    I have a pair for sale BTW:D
     
    Lt Cdr Data, Dec 30, 2003
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  4. Alex S

    HenryT

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    A subject close to my heart, as the piano is probably my all time fave instrument (I also dabble a bit). There's nothing quite like the full on assault of a concert grand from close quarters, especially when someone's really pounding out the bottom octives. :cool:

    What speakers do you currently own Alex?

    I usually find the mid's usually quite easy to get right, at least from the speakers that I've owned in the past as I'm a mid's first kind of person i.e. Epos, ATC and currently Verity Audio Parsifals (shamless plug coming here... the Verity's are currently up for sale ;) ).

    What's usually harder to get right, when it comes to reproducing the bottom octives of a full size concert grand is usally the bottom end "nuances" or body reasonances that accompany the actual musical note. Despite what some say about a typical ATC monitor's bass, this is one area which IMHO ATC have gotten right - the full size monitors are usually more than adept at reproducing the body reasoance and richness of a piano.

    Subwoofers are a bit of minefield. Depending on the quality of your main speakers, you could actually end up colouring the midrange depending on how much control the subwoofer gives you over crossover frequencies and especially the crossover slope/filter degree severity. You may also find that you sacrifice speed and integration (timing?).
     
    HenryT, Dec 30, 2003
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  5. Alex S

    HenryT

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    Ah Data, you beat me to it with most of your remarks! :MILD:

    Shameless plugs all round! ;)
     
    HenryT, Dec 30, 2003
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  6. Alex S

    julian2002 Muper Soderator

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    has anyone tried the atc scm 35's? they're passive floorstanders.
    cheers


    julian
     
    julian2002, Dec 30, 2003
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  7. Alex S

    wadia-miester Mighty Rearranger

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    Alex, the Neats will, produce a good job of giving you a pianio, and great sound too, however bass & timing in your room (with the 7's or 9's) I'd love to hear, Me I'd try a pair of Meadlow lark Blue heron i's, and I'd go back to back with the neats, althought they do have an outstanding open top end, that is pretty damn good. Tone
     
    wadia-miester, Dec 30, 2003
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  8. Alex S

    Alex S User

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    Not sure I could bring myself to follow the Devil's ATC footprints.

    Henry, so what's replaced the Verities? :>)

    Tone, do Meadowlarks ever fly into SE London?

    One problem with getting speakers that are all swings and no roundabouts compared to what I've got is the likely expense. Presently, I'm using O'Heocha ISO5s which are a lot better than their reputation if you get them right and feed them well. I dread to think what they'd be worth second hand.

    Alex
     
    Alex S, Dec 30, 2003
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  9. Alex S

    Lt Cdr Data om

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    good luck with your sale, henry:)
     
    Lt Cdr Data, Dec 30, 2003
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  10. Alex S

    GrahamN

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    I can confirm that Meadowlark Heron-i's do a pretty good job of piano - I have them playing some Chopin as I type - and Blue Herons probably do an even better one. The major problem I find is with the recordings, which frequently produce a very spread out and poorly focussed sound in a misguided attempt to completely fill the soundstage (Sony are particularly bad at this). It may be worth trying to find some of their feathered friends.
     
    GrahamN, Dec 30, 2003
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  11. Alex S

    michaelab desafinado

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    As I was once an aspiring "pianist" it's a subject close to my heart aswell :) However, I find my Dynaudios do a pretty good job. I have to say though that the quality of recordings of classical piano varies enourmously and that can obviously have a huge effect.

    A full-size concert grand is not only one of the hardest sounds for a hifi system to reproduce, it's also one of the hardest instruments to record well.

    Michael.
     
    michaelab, Dec 30, 2003
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  12. Alex S

    HenryT

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    Alex, nothing as yet as I need the sale proceeds (from the Verities) to fund the proposed change over, some Quad ESL989's. :)

    Cheers Data - same to you too! :) All I can say so far is it's been very very quiet... :rolleyes:
     
    HenryT, Dec 30, 2003
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  13. Alex S

    titian

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    mine:MILD: maybe. :rolleyes:
     
    titian, Dec 30, 2003
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  14. Alex S

    7_V I want a Linn - in a DB9

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    The piano's an interesting instrument.

    When I spent a year in Paris I was fortunate enough to attend a number of piano recitals that took place in a large room (or small concert hall, depending on your view-point). I discovered that the instrument sounded very different depending on how far away from it I was. This effect was mostly in the treble and was because high frequencies are absorbed more than low with distance. There has been some debate on other forums about the correct 'voicing' for speakers in this regard.

    As has been said, the mid-range is critical in the reproduction of piano music, together with speed, integration, lack of boxiness and the ability to go deep without compromising the other qualities.

    I doubt that any speaker with a crossover and drivers with differing characteristics can do a particularly accurate job with the piano.
     
    7_V, Dec 30, 2003
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  15. Alex S

    Alex S User

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    Its getting clearer - I obviously need 7Vs or 989s, or to forget speakers and buy a piano and rent an attractive pianist.
     
    Alex S, Dec 30, 2003
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  16. Alex S

    Rory satisfied

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    as a Grade 8 Pianist (with Distinction) I know my pianos, and have heard none better than Celestion Kingstons (for sale :D )
     
    Rory, Dec 30, 2003
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  17. Alex S

    PeteH Natural Blue

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    Pianists always say that though ;) Personally, as a violinist, I'm most likely to be dissatisfied with the reproduced sound of an orchestra's string section or a string quartet.
     
    PeteH, Dec 30, 2003
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  18. Alex S

    7_V I want a Linn - in a DB9

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    I'm no expert on violins but there's something that interests me. As top violinists often have Stradivarious violins with values in the £100ks, they must really care about the sound of their instruments. What level of hi-fi makes differentiation between these violins possible?
     
    7_V, Dec 30, 2003
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  19. Alex S

    Tom Alves

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    In your room Alex the only answer is a concert grand and Hélène Grimaud tickling your keys. Failing that you'll need Steve's Nonsuch thingies
     
    Tom Alves, Dec 30, 2003
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  20. Alex S

    GrahamN

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    Beat me to that suggestion Tom - I may not always like everything she plays, but there's no better looker on the concert platform today! Shame about her snorting and heavy breathing ;) .

    7_V - good point. Another way of looking at the same thing is the dynamic and leading edge involved in the note production - the attack gets blunted the further you get away from the piano. Most recordings are balanced to sound as if the piano is about 10-15 feet away, but I've never heard from a hi-fi the hardness of attack you get in reality from such a close balance (maybe I just need a Naim system after all :eek: ), and having heard Pollini that close for real, I'm not sure I'd really want to either. The attack-decay mix you normally get is more like half way back in the stalls - which does sit a bit strangely with the close-up image.

    PeteH - agree with you there - orchestral string sections are far harder to make sound reasonable than a piano. The problem with string quartets is normally (IME) that, again, the instruments are balanced far too closely in the recordings (often like 6-12 inches away), and you get all the scratches and squeaks that only the player should hear. These all disappear once you get about 4-6 feet away from the instruments. It really should be possible to get a good recording from that kind of distance.
     
    GrahamN, Dec 30, 2003
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