Ultimate Studio Home Theatre

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Audiophilie and Vintage

In two year period I was looking for the best representatives of professional audio techniques and every time I come across models that were discontinued a long time ago. Mostly this concerns acoustic systems. I paid attention to the dimension of the diffusers, number and diameter of the driver, widely used horn with the midrange and tweeters. Regarding the amplifiers, there is no big difference from current models, except maybe the fact that the term Studio amplifier in previous period had not only the emotional color but also the high-quality sound reproduction. Many manufacturers of home equipment made basic studio amplifiers among which there were few ordinary brands that have lived up to the present time. What happened in just 10-15 years from the mid 80’s? Where it all disappeared? How that situation affected the category of first-class sound reproduction equipment? In fact, it did not ...

Only the first-class equipment that was manufactured in the 70’s and 80’s had high-quality standards of quality in comparison with their modern counterparts. But it is a characteristic of specific models of well known brands: JBL, Altec, Tannoy, Technics, Yamaha... More specifically the features were present only in special models of top quality acoustics. Such examples of the acoustic systems of the time sounded the same or even better than similar models of modern studio monitors. So many times I have seen on the Internet, studios that have high quality studio monitors of famous brands: JBL, Tannoy, Yamaha. Previously, audiophiles who needed a powerful and thundering sound rarely paid attention to professional equipment because the market of home equipment offered acoustics of larger-scale. The function of the old CD player and cassette did not require more. Today, the need for such acoustic systems is especially strong due to contemporary high resolution video formats which possible screen size of few meters width and the quality and dynamic range of digital audio channels are way beyond the level of primitive CD. Huge screen requires large space and enormous speakers and high-quality sound channels require the acoustics with the highest possible resolution and dynamic range. Personally, because of that, I began to interest for semi-professional home equipment and then for basic professional cinema and studio monitors and stopped at a collective concept of Ultimate Studio.

If the home and studio top speakers of the past period can reproduce sound better than modern studio monitors, why don’t we use them as an alternative to modern studio speakers or as an Ultimate Studio system? They can be replacement of ordinary studio speakers because modern studio speakers are not anything special. Also we should not forget that they are passive and you need to buy a digital crossover and amplifier, although, it is necessary for any passive acoustic systems. Home acoustics is not suitable for Ultimate studio systems because of low power and size as well as audio driver types. I listened not only contemporary home-acoustic systems but also most popular tri-lane studio monitors of various manufacturers, but only two systems can be classified as the class of Ultimate Studio, systems which are unknown for the sound engineers of JBL Everest and Stage Accompany. First they have beryllium midrange compression drivers and others have a ribbon driver and DDC system. Was there something similar at the time? No, there was not. There was only a higher standard of quality and dimensions of top monitor models and home acoustic systems. Ribbon drivers were used only as tweeters. Beryllium dome shaped speakers manufactured by Yamaha and only one model of its mid-field studio monitors NS-1000. Top class studio main monitors fit under the concept of Ultimate Studio, which does not mean that they belong to this group. How do they differ? They had larger dimensions, four-band system construction, compression or dome midrange and tweeter transducers made of titanium. But these drivers can be bought today, with powerful Neodymium magnet that was newer used before. Besides TAD, generally speaking, nothing special was ever made. In the 80’s Stage Accompany has launched its own production of drivers and amplifiers, and JBL at the year 2007 began to manufacture large acoustic systems with Beryllium drivers. Even among high-end speakers that previously existed on the market, there was no much of a choice. Yamaha NS-1000 was a great choice, but it did not have large dimensions. Thousands of Technics Series was partially compatible because it didn’t have the driver of special construction. Top class, big, four-lane system JBL speakers were great, but they are not a sensation.

If we are talking about the DAC, CD players and crossovers that I have already mentioned in few topics of the site then this type of technique that existed in that period was unfortunately completely and hopelessly out of date both in moral and physical way. CD players at that time can read only one format, and read it pretty bad. Is that huge box that can only read one type of digital format really needed? Isn’t it easier to buy a new universal player that is able to work with any audio or video format: DVD, DVD-Audio, Blu-ray, SACD? High quality of sound from integrated DAC, built in any technique, cannot be expected. External DAC units of studio level are also completely out of date. Since then it has been made many new chip DACs and digital filters and the frequencies of records sampling and their capacity were increased. Regarding the analogue crossovers I spoke about that and I do not see purpose to go back to that issue.

Regarding all that has been previously written the vintage technique is something worth of attention and not as a substitute for Ultimate Studio technique but as an alternative for hi-fi systems, studio monitors or an intermediate step toward the first-class sound reproduction technique. If you are able to buy good acoustics for the price that is not much higher than the price of similar modern technology, it can be considered a solid choice but the main problem is that such technique is far more expensive and finding it is practically impossible.

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