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Old 7th July 2011, 02:43   #1
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Arrow How to select ICE? - Did he run to the freezer with his microscope?

How to select ICE/Audio systems for your car and other ramblings
- especially for those new to it
(Most of this would be applicable to Audio systems outside cars too)
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The drums are too loud.
I can hear each little “chin chin” on this
Oh man! I can barely hear the vocalist between all these instruments.
Why can’t the sound of the Dholki be more rounded, the flute sound more melodious?
I want more bass. More bass! Don’t you understand, I want the car to shake when …

We all have our quirks in how we like our ICE to sound. It is rather personal. To each his own.

It seems like a good idea to share some thoughts on how to select ICE. I am no guru on this. Am just someone who enjoys music. And in the process have observed and understood some things over the years. Thought it would be good to share those. Also hope that the gurus on the subject will chip in to help the others with their observations, thoughts and recommendations and take this thread further.

Am NOT talking about specific brands, models or similar issues here. What I AM talking about here is the PROCESS of selecting good car audio. Tips to improve the sound quality in general could and should also be a part of this thread.

The idea of this thread is not to be a “What ICE” thread, but to help people decide how to select a good system and about proper installs and configuration. It could eventually be a general guide to selecting ICE.

To get the ball rolling, I’ll start with how I see this process, in the next few posts. It is lengthy. Hope it is not boring.

PS: A suggestion – Let us try to explain as much as we can, without technical terms and in layman’s language, even if it is a bit less accurate, so that it can help a broader base of readers. Since some things can’t be explained well enough without technical terms, we could follow up the simplistic explanation with a more technical and accurate one, if needed.

(@Mods - The first post is with the idea/ground understanding about the thread. Thought it would be a better idea to break what I wanted to say in separate posts for better understanding and organization. This also makes it a LOT easier for people to quote posts. Also aids in making needlessly long quotes, which often happens with newbies. It is not done with any disregard to forum norms).

Last edited by Poitive : 7th July 2011 at 02:59.
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Old 7th July 2011, 02:47   #2
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Default Re: How to select ICE? - Did he run to the freezer with his microscope?

Guys, I am sharing this with the best of intent and it should be largely accurate, but no guarantees (made in China?!!). Am trying to keep this interesting and parts are in lighter vein, so do take it that spirit. Experts/Mods - Do correct me, if you think I am going wrong anywhere. Am including some pretty basic stuff here too, so that it can help a broader base of readers.

Note: Almost all the headings ending in exclamation marks are pretty much in jest.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


They said this in class even before my first shave!

Said that we should get our basics right. Fundas should be strong. So we’ll start with a some background talk. I think it would be helpful (though may be too basic for many).


Soon I was rebelling – was a teenager! And yes, I did know EVERYTHING!!!

Was just thinking that many of us, especially in our early years, aren’t too sure of what good sound is. To start with, I only used to look for the system (in car or otherwise) having enough segregation in sound (read extreme treble) and if there was enough bass (if the drums were ‘powerful’ enough). Over time, one realized that while one did enjoy such systems to start with and they seemed impressive when with friends (what bass maaan!, I can hear each and every tiny bit of sound, etc sort of comments), they really would lead to fatigue. After about 20-40 mins, one wanted a break from the sound, even though one liked the music.

As one grew and actually appreciated music, one learnt what a good sound system is. As I understand it, a good system (and that includes the space the system is being played in) is one which faithfully reproduces how the sound was intended to sound.


Now does the “head of the ruling party” decide this too?!!! Intended by whom??!

A lot of the music we hear goes through sound engineers. Imagine a concert. Now consider where the sound reaches from the vocalist/instrument to the recording. There are various microphones (with the signers and many instruments) and there are some instruments which directly are connected to wires (electronic guitars, keyboards etc.) Now these sounds coming from various sources (if we can call them so) are combined by an engineer based on various criteria and artistic choice. He could team up with the musicians on how the sound should sound by modifying each of these sources and by how they are mixed together. So, in many cases they, along with the musicians, are the ones who are deciding how the sound is intended to sound.

In some cases, things may be less controlled by a sound engineer. Imagine a Western Classical concert or even an informal sufi concert. Both may be lesser “managed” by the sound engineer, and there may be a lesser defined “intended sound” – even more so in the case of informal sufi concerts (say in a dargah).


Ah! So now YOU will tell ME what sound “I” like! Don’t I just “love” you for that?!!!!

You don’t have to like the “intended sound”. Surely no! Absolutely not. It is just how ‘they’ thought it should sound. We are free to manipulate it to what we like. Equalizer settings being the easiest step. A bit more on this topic later.


So we were talking about good sound

For normal non-techie talk about music and sound, we divide it into three parts for simplicity. The heavy sound called Bass, the shriller sounds called Treble, and the sounds in between those two extremes called Mid-range. Most human talk would fall under Mid-Range, and this is the easiest sound for our ears. As discussed with my teenage experiences above, most people seem to start with looking for a lot of bass and treble. Ideally all three parts should sound good and natural, without any of them getting too prominent. I emphasize on the word “Natural” here.


Natural sound, did you say?

Despite all our words to explain it, sound really needs to be heard to be appreciated. Over time, try to develop your listening skills. Yes, it is quite like a skill. When you get a chance to hear music on a good system or better still live (ideally without amplifiers and mixers involved), try to hear consciously. Hear how it sounds. One would gradually become more discerning to the sounds involved. One would start to hear instruments in a more segregated fashion. One would start to hear the vocals differently – more segregated and with more appreciation of the variations the singer or instrumentalist brings in. Try and hear how it is different from sounds in ‘poorer’ systems, especially if you are comparing with live music.

If sound is reproduced well, it would cover all the sounds (all frequencies – bass, midrange, treble) well enough. But it doesn’t stop at that. Some systems just sound, well, natural! It becomes more prominent when you hear sounds of the Flute (especially the Indian flute), Dholk (North Indian drums which look a bit like the Mridangam ), Gabgubi (that instrument where one string attached to tiny half-dholak like thingy is plucked) and of course with the singing (especially female opera singers or singers with a huge vocal range).

To go to the next level, audition a Bose system. In most of them, you would find the deep male voice lacking (notice, their auditions have female singers). Then hear the same track on their headphones to notice the difference (not the noise cancellation ones). The headphones don’t have that flaw. (No offense meant to proud Bose system owners - am just sharing my observations and views).

Over time, you will become a good ‘listener’.


The manufacturers make some easy bucks!

Also focus on bass. At times, it just lingers on a bit longer. That hummmmm lingers, when it wasn’t intended to. It should be, what is called ‘tight’ bass. It should end when it is supposed to. (do bear in mind that at times, the bass hum is intended to be prolonged). The treble should not hurt your ears. Even after prolonged use.

To lesser trained ears, a system with a more pronounced bass and treble sounds better. Manufacturers often sell systems with more prominent bass and treble, as they sound impressive to start with.

Hear it long enough to figure out if you really like the sound.


But I liked that system before. Now it sounds too dull

From what I have observed, our brains/ears have a system to normalize sounds. If we often hear music on a system which is too shrill, our body (=brains/ears) will adjust itself to hear those sounds a bit lesser. So when we move to a more neutral and balanced system, we are likely to find it dull. Spend some time with the neutral system (say a few weeks) and then you will find the older system a bit too shrill. Vice a versa also applies. So bear it in mind that what you are used to hearing, will affect how you hear a new system. It will affect your auditioning.

This is not based on any technical research I have read about, but on my personal observations. Others may have had a different experience.

(@mod, starting a new post, even though it is short, as the topic dealt with there is important enough IMO and will get it’s due)

Last edited by Poitive : 7th July 2011 at 03:08.
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Old 7th July 2011, 02:50   #3
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Default Re: How to select ICE? - Did he run to the freezer with his microscope?

Now, this may be important for many:

Why should I even bother to be more discerning listener?

Why should I even bother learn more about cars and driving? Why should I know more about tyres, suspensions, handling et all? Sure you could avoid it. A lot of people never learn or experience those aspects (either consciously avoiding them or never getting exposed to them). Some of us get the exposure and learn. It leads us to extract a lot more from our driving experiences.

It is quite the same with listening and music. You could choose not to, but IMO being a more discerning listener could enhance the pleasure of music many fold.


Caution!

If you have actually read this far, you are already in danger land. You now are getting on the path to start spending a lot more on sound systems! Not just in your car, but also outside it. If you don’t wish to do so – RUN - Proceed no further!!!!! Well, there are systems you could find with good sound quality with lesser spend, but then be prepared to live without ‘features’; though typically good sound systems cost a lot higher.

Last edited by Poitive : 7th July 2011 at 03:10.
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Old 7th July 2011, 02:52   #4
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Default Re: How to select ICE? - Did he run to the freezer with his microscope?

Yes yes, I heard all that. But I want to move onto the real thing – selection of a good sound system.

Now, after you have spent some time becoming a more discerning listener and can appreciate good sound, let us move further. (Gosh! This is beginning to sound like a classroom now – sorry guys if it does, just try and bear with my writing style. I’ll try to reform).

Besides a good system, what you do need for a good acoustic (i.e. sound) experience is suitable surroundings to hear it in. No, I am not talking about going to the hills or to a virgin beach for sunset to enjoy music (though that could immensely enhance the experience, we won’t talk about it here – at least not right now). What I am talking about is the inside of your car, in this case. Also about the placement of speakers. It has a very big effect on how it sounds. Would leave it to the experts on the forum to comment on this in a simple reader friendly way.


Preparing for an exam again???!!

Prepare – yes. Exam – yes!! But you should enjoy this one as you will be judging other’s performance. When you find the time, burn a CD with the songs you ‘normally’ enjoy. Songs that you are familiar with. Try to make this a diverse collection. Keep some tracks you are very familiar with and which test a systems capacity across various parameters – say one part with a lot of bass, one with a lot of vocals; one with a lot of instruments playing together. Also try and put some songs which help you with judging more ‘natural’ sound (was described above – dholki, female opera singers, deep voice male singers, flute etc). If you can’t find those sorts of music, just pick up any well recorded vocal music. Make sure that the recording quality is good; rather very good. Try and take Audio CD’s if you can. If you can’t, make sure they are properly encoded MP3s. MP3s have a bad reputation for quality, but I suspect it is mainly due to poorly encoded stuff. Yes, it goes well beyond the kbps it has been recorded on. (would not like to get into further detail of that here).


Always, I repeat, Always!
(No, I don’t always repeat!!!)

Always take your own music to audition. Why? Well, because you ‘know’ it. You know what it sounds like. You know what to expect. It gives you a benchmark.

Consider taking Test Drives of different cars to judge which one is better. Would you be able to judge the cars better if each was different over roads, or over the same road, with the same undulations, humps, camber, etc etc? To test any two systems (audio or otherwise) we should test them with other things being constant. In real world situations, that is usually not possible, so the let us at least try to keep this one basic thing constant – the source music.

Other parameters being constant, did you say?

To audition systems, the basic comparison should come with all setting set to flat/direct. That all equalizer, loudness and other settings should be set to zero/off. It should be just the sound from the source (CD) via minimal manipulation. That way the comparisons across systems are better.

You should also try to keep the volume the same. Now this is tricky, as systems are calibrated differently. Try and trust your ears and set the volume accordingly.
(don’t assume that if you just changed the speaker on the same system with the volume knob at the same level the volume is the same – more on speaker sensitivity later)

If possible and if you are so inclined, you could also try and make the system be set to what you personally like (how you want to manipulate it). Fiddle with the equalizers, or any other settings you desire, to make it sound the best to your taste. This can confuse matters, so would suggest you to do this when you are only left with two-three options to select from. For the final kill. I almost avoid this step altogether, if I can.

In most good systems, you should be able to get very natural sound at flat/direct settings.


Good sound without equalizers? Phew!!!! You must be nuts man!

Remember the bit about good sound and sound being as intended? Well, why should one have to set things? Why should one have to increase bass or any other setting (frequency) from the equalizer to get suitable sound? Could they simply not record it that way? Sure they could. Why did they not do it? Well, they did do what they though was suitable – what they thought was good sound, which is why I am suggesting that you should start with Flat/Direct settings.


There must be some reason to provide all those sound settings. There must be

Yes, there is. Firstly to compensate for the surroundings. Sound reflects of the surrounding surfaces, which can really change our experience. Settings help in compensating for inappropriate surroundings. Now we are talking cars here, not an auditorium, let alone a studio. In many ways (acoustically), it is a very bad environment for a good sound experience.

Then there are personal preferences. As said before, we don’t have to agree to what the sound engineer’s version of good sound (though it usually is very agreeable with a suitable system and environment), so we may want to change settings for that.

The speakers too vary a lot. They make different parts of sound seem more/less prominent than intended. To understand this, try out two speaker ranges from the same company. JBL and Infinity. JBL would normally have a very strong bass and treble (especially in their older models) and the midrange (vocals) would often suffer. Infinity would usually have a lot more balanced sound. No wonder Infinity sells at ample premium. (Had loved those - someone willing to donate them?!!)

Also to compensate for a poor job by the sound engineer. A lot of recordings may be far from being good. The MP3 format has made things a bit more complicated. A lot of bad reputation it gets is based on poor encoding. So a lot of MP3’s you get may need compensation.

And then the most important one - it seems there is a prevalent belief (at least in parts of Delhi) - that to impress the opposite gender, a lot of bass comes in handy! This belief would also have blessings of a lot of people. It is good for the economy and generates a lot of employment and gets a lot of money circulating in the economy - ask the companies who are raking in moolah on bass tubes!!!!

Note - I’d suggest that you start with flat settings and be with them for a while even when you have purchased the system and see how it feels. It takes a bit of time getting used to, but in a good system, it can be pretty rewarding. Given our ears/brains need to adjust to the sound system, allow some time to start liking such a setting. Maybe a few days.

Another point on settings – Many a good system will come with minimal settings. Each setting we have, means the sound has to pass through an additional process (circuit). Each process will potentially add some variation (distortion) to the sound. So some companies (say a Sony) who target the average consumer market will have systems with lots of settings (at the cost of sound quality). Others which target a more discerning audience (say an Alpine) will have one with the least possible distortions (which usually means fewer settings). Many systems also provide a way to bypass all these settings (the sound signal doesn’t go into the circuits which process sound for these settings), in order to minimize variations to the original sound (distortions). They are often called “Direct”.

Last edited by Poitive : 7th July 2011 at 03:21.
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Old 7th July 2011, 02:55   #5
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Default Re: How to select ICE? - Did he run to the freezer with his microscope?

Enough! You made me wait long enough. I am already in the shop now!

OK OK! Don’t howl. I’ll try and hurry now. (or will I?)

Try and be in a shop which allows you time to hear the systems. Ideally one with some pre-set systems. Don’t believe that you’ll get the same sound quality in your car. It will always be different (remember how surroundings make a difference? Besides the speakers are set in a different ‘box’ than your car shelf or door). The purpose is to compare between systems. To hear which sounds better, even if it is different from how it will be in your car.

Given real life practical situations, there usually is some guess work involved – you can’t audition all possible combinations in your car. The idea is to narrow as much as possible and then to hear one or maybe more in your car. Being on good terms with the dealer obviously helps.

Try to stand in the centre of both the speakers. Try to have your ears at the same height as the speakers to get best sound (remember the concept of keeping other things as constant as one can). Obviously play your own tracks (the CD you carried). For initial short-listing don’t hear many tracks on one system and then move to the other. Try just one track. I usually hear 1-2 parts of a few seconds (say 30-40 seconds) which I am very familiar with across systems. This way there is lesser for your brain to remember and easier to decide which was better. Hearing the same part a few times is a good idea too. Once you have shortlisted to 2-4 systems, you could hear various songs to be surer about which is better.

Standing in the centre of the speakers will also give you some sense of where the drums are, where the vocalist is, where the guitar is. They call it soundstage. It comes from a slightly different sound reaching each or our ears. But let us not make it more technical here. This thread is meant to be simple. Right?!


Hear it? Yes, right. Like you had to tell me that!!!!

While listening to the music, try and see if you can distinguish different instruments (remember your preparation – you were to keep a track with a lot of instruments playing together). See if the dholak sounds are rounded enough; that they don’t sound flat. That the flute is melodious and soft enough. That you can hear the vocalist well enough. Make sure you do this, after your bass setup also (in case you are going in for a sub-woofer etc.) In some systems where the treble is prominent, the vocals tend to sound more coarse - the sounds are well segregated, the instruments can be distinguished well, but the vocals are more rough and not melodious. I would not rate such systems highly.

Ideally the sound should not be too shrill, should not be too dull either, and the midrange (vocals etc.) should be heard well enough too.

Also if other things are equal, try to take speakers from the same manufacturer and series for your front and back pairs.


Speakers or Head Unit? Chicken and egg?

No. This one is usually simpler. It is usually easier finalize the Head Unit first as it is easier to strike them off your list, based on price, display, features, single or double din (small size vs large ones), etc. Once you have narrowed them down, try and hear them with the same speakers to almost finalize one. Then you could try out speakers with it. Many dealers would also allow you to fit the head unit and then audition some speakers in the car itself. You would get a real life experience of what you are going to be with, so it is quite obviously a good idea.

Am repeating but having a good rapport with the dealer can be vital, as otherwise you will not be able to audition much.


My papa is stronger than yours!

Are brands important? Are specifications important? Well, yes and no. Specifications can be very misleading. PMPO power was the most abused specification for ages. Now most people are more knowledgeable and ask for the RMS power. Again, don’t count too much on it. These are numbers that can be played around with, from what I know and experience. There are different standards followed in different parts of the world (European ratings usually more stringent than Japanese). And if one really gets into it, this one figure gives you only a small part of the picture. Use these numbers only to start matching the parts of your system and don’t let the numbers mean too much. Typically an Alpine 45W would sound louder than say a Sony 50W head unit. So when Sony’s son tells Alpine’s son “My papa is stronger than yours” his papa may only get decimated.


I used to bunk Maths, I’ll simply junk the numbers!

The one number I do give some significance to is the Sensitivity of the speaker. Putting it simply, (if the numbers are not manipulated and follow the same standard of rating) higher the sensitivity, louder the sound at the same setting. From the same system of 50W you can get a lot louder sound with a speaker of higher sensitivity. IMO sensitivity of 90db is about good. Higher is better. Under 88db could be an issue.


Bingo! Bingo!! Bingo!!! (No, that wasn’t the echo from my new system!)

I know which system I want. Now, will you shut up or do you still have more ramblings? Shut up, I can. But it can make a system sound a lot poorer. You would pay for a BMW 3 series and get a Honda Civic. Want that?


Aati Kya Khandala? – Gurus, Kya bolte tum?
(If the previous line Hebrew to you - It is based on a song from an Aamir Khan movie)

There are many other aspects to getting good sound. There are many experts on the forum who could take this further with talk on various things. What I can think of right away is power cables, good cables in general, dampening, tweeters and sub-woofer placement, component vs co-axials in a similar price range (say JBL components vs Infinity Co-axials). Oh! They could take the list on an on. I’d leave it to them. Besides they also have to tell us all the stuff about what to look for in a system with technical aspects. About Pre-outs being available for connecting amplifiers and a million other things.

Are the gurus listening? Maybe they just ran away reading all this over simplistic talk!!!!

The little I’d like to add is that get it fitted well. You don’t have to go overboard with stuff if you are putting in a basic system without amplifiers et all. The least is to make sure that the speakers are tightly fitted onto a firm surface so that there is no vibration. If you keep to manufacturer specified speaker sizes, it usually is very simple.

She whispered. I could not believe my ears!

The golden rule for me
(@mods, allow me to shout this one out, after all it is all about hearing!)

========= TRUST YOUR EARS =========

Leave the salesman’s rant aside when you audition, and hear with a totally unbiased head. You may discover some good speakers this way. Be open to suggestions, but eventually don’t forget that you need to believe what you hear. Remember, it is about your experience and not the salesman’s.


The cows came home!

Yes, that means that this rant finally does come to an end. You can breathe easy now! Guys, as I said before (that I ‘never’ repeat myself?!!!) No, more seriously, just mean to say that I am no expert on these topics and have only shared what I understood, how in understood it. If I have made some errors, do excuse me.

Hope you guys find this useful. Do let me know what you think about it.
Would be good to have feedback. In any form. If they are bouquets, I’ll open a flower shop, if brickbats, build a house

More seriously - Feedback IS welcome.
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Old 7th July 2011, 08:02   #6
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Default Re: How to select ICE? - Did he run to the freezer with his microscope?

Very well written. Thoroughly enjoyed your views. And I totally agree. To get the sound of your choice without owner fatigue, decibel fatigue and outrageous splash of moolah, you dont need a terribly hi-fi (pun here) system.

A different view here. I love impure sounds, it adds character. I love the poor speakers as much as a super hi-fi (again) system-thingy in hi-fi (again) boxes with LED lights. Dont you love the crackling of the radio along with your favourite songs? I grew up with Ameen Sayani and the 7 o'clock shows.

To enjoy, you really dont need a super high end system. Oh yes, they are good no doubt, thank the lord for the necessities, but thank you. It is never enough, a dangerous road with no end. A simple ICE, shut and forget it.

Give me an Ahuja anyday.

I guess I am not going to be very popular here. But frankly, many ICE gurus here have said the same thing, over and over again.
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Old 7th July 2011, 09:28   #7
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Default Re: How to select ICE? - Did he run to the freezer with his microscope?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dot View Post

Give me an Ahuja anyday.
Ahuja was hi-fi when i was in school Ahuja, Bolton, Clarion (fake ones),Taparia - they were most hi-fi things we DIY guys could get our hands on, with our very limited budget. Ah, the old days.

A very informative series of posts, Poitive. Really appreciate the effort.
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Old 7th July 2011, 13:57   #8
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Default Re: How to select ICE? - Did he run to the freezer with his microscope?

Excellent posts Poitive. Just a few clarifications...

Sensitivity numbers are also prone to manupilation.Brand X's speaker with a spec of 90db/1w/1m may sound louder than Brand Y's 90db/1w/1m. How so? you ask. Well sensitivity numbers are taken as an average over the frequency range (usually pink noise). Here are some reasons why numbers often are not comparable.
  • Many speakers compress the sound and this compression gives the impression that the speaker is "louder" aka more sensitive.
  • Some manufacturers use an open baffle (usually 1m x 1m) others use a "standard" box and this affects the measurements too.
  • A brighter speaker (more energy in the treble region) will sound louder (aka more sensitive) than a duller speaker.
  • Most manufactures use a "band limited pnk noise" especially when measuring the sensitivity of woofers and tweeters because it really does not make sense to meausre a tweeter at 100hz or a woofer at 10khz. PA speakers for example are meaured using a "speech and shaped noise" signal.
  • A speaker is measured across it's frequency range. When 2 different speakers are driven by the same pink noise signal (say 20 Hz-20 kHz); as each of the loudspeakers is not absolutely flat or equal in their pink-noise-band response there will be differences in their sensitivity measurements.
  • In addition to a speaker frequncy response anamolies we have to keep in mind a speaker is inductive and hence it's impedance is frequency depenant. So we really ahve to consider the POWER response of the speaker. For example a speaker that has an impedance of 8ohms at 400Hz may well have an impedance of 4 ohms at 100hz and hence might be said to twice as sensitive at 100Hz as at 400hz (since 1db = 2.83V @ 8 ohms and most ampsa re voltage amplifers).
  • Lastly some manufactuers do not use pink noise as a reference. Many use a 1kHz "reference" sine wave.

For more information on how to read between the lines of the published specifications read an AES paper that was presented a few years ago. The title of the paper is something like "Loudspeakers: What Measurements tell us and what they don't"

Do not just compare a single specification. If you do intend to compare specifications compare all the specs each of the manufacters list in a holistic manner and then just simply use your ears.

Last edited by navin : 7th July 2011 at 15:25.
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Old 7th July 2011, 15:53   #9
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Default Re: How to select ICE? - Did he run to the freezer with his microscope?

.. sorry for asking and no offences, are you the same person who's found 'Sony' quite natural and who's a happy user?
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Old 7th July 2011, 16:57   #10
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Default Re: How to select ICE? - Did he run to the freezer with his microscope?

Quote:
Originally Posted by panky12345 View Post
.. sorry for asking and no offences, are you the same person who's found 'Sony' quite natural and who's a happy user?
Not really. The few times I reviewed a Sony product was a Red color 4 channel amplifer that I found was very "tizzy" and an XPLOD woofer that was really very flat. I like speakers that give me goosebumps both visually and aurally.

Consider some of the loudspeakers shown here.
Cool Loudspeakers | Facebook
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Old 7th July 2011, 19:04   #11
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Default Re: How to select ICE? - Did he run to the freezer with his microscope?

Pankaj-ji, was your question directed at Navin or poitive? Knowing Navin, I don't think you would have asked that question to Navin.
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Old 7th July 2011, 22:26   #12
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Default Re: How to select ICE? - Did he run to the freezer with his microscope?

@Poitive,

Your article is (or rather posts are) very enjoyable.Agree,disagree-your style is disarmingly non-pretentious, your words carry wisdom,your ideas are valid, your article as a whole, informative.

There are a lot of things we all agree with. And there are many things that I could learn from it. It was brushing up/re-confirming our perception of how to choose a good ICE,and a guidance to us in many areas that we would have normally neglected or not known. Thanks for the unique write up. Obviously,it has taken you a lot of time to gather and put down these ideas systematically, but that effort was worth every paise(or rather every 50 paise). Thanks,really.

Since this is an article which is supposed to be a systematic guide line( wish so)- your nice, often comical writing style,has diluted the knowledge part of it- at times it was as difficult as searching a needle in a hay stack for me. Please do the favour of writing a more condensed article-if you find my request significant.

Regarding music systems- the quality we relish depends a lot upon what we are listening to-as correctly pointed out by dot.When you listen to those nostalgic old film songs,would you care if it is Bose? But if it is a great recital of Santoor,Veena or Violin,I would most certainly enjoy it more on a Bose. For that reason I find my Bose sound Dock for the iPod far superior to a Sony 5.1 home theatre attached to the TV.



Regarding the bass reproduction on Bose-have you noticed,Bose gives a declaration along with their systems(I got one) which states that they have reduced the Bass purposefully- too deep bass will be enjoyable only to "novices"!! Frankly,I find the Bose's interpretation of musical output the most palatable. My first car(a 2000 Santro) had a Pioneer CD player with Pioneer speakers. The quality of music was so good that my wife and I used to drive on the high way simply listening to the music-one of the most romantic experiences we still relish. Then came OE systems-don't know what brands-they are mostly only good for FM radio.

I think,at many places they give you a check list to find out the kind of music you enjoy -then help you choose the HU,speakers and set-up. Obviously, not all systems and set-ups are for everyone or every genre of music. I like classical music- Carnatic, Hindustani and Western- hence the basic set up I want is for that kind of music.But I have an ear for a wide variety of other music types-if they are not reproduced accurately,I am tolerant.

Sorry for the lengthy post. Now can we have some insights about the goods and bads of some nice brands- for our reference and future benefit?

Cheers friends!!

charthom
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Old 8th July 2011, 10:49   #13
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Default Re: How to select ICE? - Did he run to the freezer with his microscope?

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Originally Posted by navin View Post
Not really.


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Originally Posted by DerAlte View Post
Pankaj-ji, was your question directed at Navin or poitive? Knowing Navin, I don't think you would have asked that question to Navin.
Sir, I dare NOT ask this to Navin Ji..

From what I recollect, the thread starter is a happy user of 'Sony' in his car and is quite satisfied with the natural sound..
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Old 8th July 2011, 12:21   #14
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Default Re: How to select ICE? - Did he run to the freezer with his microscope?

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Originally Posted by DerAlte View Post
Knowing Navin, I don't think you would have asked that question to Navin.
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Originally Posted by panky12345 View Post
Sir, I dare NOT ask this to Navin Ji..
OMG

What an impression I have created of myself! I need to correct this.

Panky/DA, I like to listen to any component without prejudice. In fact in the old days (late 70s to early 80s) Sony made some nice audio dubbed as the "ES" series. They even made a very listenable 3 way speaker (but it was over priced in my opinion). Even today there are many budget audio components that to my ears make the "right" compromises. It is just that to me both the Sony amplifer (I forget the model number but it was a 4 ch. amp that sold for about 5k) and their 12" woofer (I thinkit sold for about 3k) were not worth their price.

Let me explain. The way I value things is often termed as "irrational" or at the vert least "not traditional". In my value system a Rs. 30,000 amplifier might be VFM but a Rs. 5,000 may be not. It all depends if I would care to listen and enjoy that particular component. For example: if I buy a Rs. 30,000 amplifer and enjoy it for say 6 years it works out to Rs. 5,000 per year; but if I buy a Rs. 5,000 amplifer and do not enjoy it for even 1 day it works our far more expensive.

Disclaimer: As usual due to circumstances beyond our control we all have to live within budgets and hence we all have our own values as to what we can/want spend on any product.

Lastly, Panky yeh "ji-Ji" kya hai? You know better. please reserve this term for the Gurus (Sam, B&T, Gunbir, LBM etc..).

Quote:
Originally Posted by charthom View Post
Regarding the bass reproduction on Bose-have you noticed...

I like classical music- Carnatic, Hindustani and Western- hence the basic set up I want is for that kind of music.
Before I start let me say this I am not a Bose-basher. However on multiple occasions (over the past 30-35 years) I have found that there often are better value options to a Bose product. I could list each of these but that is another topic for another thread on maybe another forum. All I would advice is that before you buy a Bose product (or any audio product for that matter) listen to it and compare it to at least 2 other products with the same music and in hopefully the same enviroment (room acoustics etc..) and for the record I find a few other esteemed audio brands (B&W, Wilson Audio, etc...) to not excite me enough. This is only an opinion.

There is no audio system that can compete with live music more specifically live acoustic music. Ever wonder why so many musicians do not have fancy-dancy music systems? My guess is:
  • They have access to live music
  • Their ears listen differently
  • They are able to separate the music from the components used in it's reproduction.

Last edited by navin : 8th July 2011 at 12:24.
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Old 8th July 2011, 13:14   #15
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Default Re: How to select ICE? - Did he run to the freezer with his microscope?

Thanks a ton for the good words guys. They bring a smile or two.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dot View Post
A different view here. I love impure sounds, it adds character. I love the poor speakers as much as a super hi-fi (again) system-thingy in hi-fi (again) boxes with LED lights. Dont you love the crackling of the radio along with your favourite songs? I grew up with Ameen Sayani and the 7 o'clock shows.
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Originally Posted by charthom View Post
Regarding music systems- the quality we relish depends a lot upon what we are listening to-as correctly pointed out by dot.
Ahhh! You guys touched a nerve in me. The older songs (Dev Anand era) on the radio. Somehow they never sound "right" on any of the newer "hi-fi" systems. Yes, the crackle does add character to those songs. Surely does. It almost seems to be a part of the intended sound (kidding, of course). For those songs, give me an old boxy transistor from Chandani Chowk (market for 'local' electronics in Delhi) any day.

This gets me to the point of how good the sound technicians and composers of those days must have been. They had limitations in equipment and didn't have all of today's electronic sound processing options. The had to produce sound within the limitations of the radios and the like of those days. And what did they come out with? Music just suited to that. And so well suited that even today, we want to hear it on such equipment! Hats off.

@Navin, really good to hear your views - Unbiased and informative and with a lot of value add to the thread. Thanks.

Have more to say on the posts, but will write later.
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