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What do you enjoy listening to the most on your A5's?

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  • What do you enjoy listening to the most on your A5's?

    I am starting this thread to capture audio that I think really shines on the A5's. Of course our music tastes are subjective so I'm sure tastes will influence what we think sounds "good". However - after extensive listening I've concluded there are albums I just don't like on the A5's - and albums that I previously didn't appreciate that really shine with the right setup. My setup is noted at the end. I'm curious what experiences you have.

    I have a list of go-to "show off the system" CDs I'll list in another post below. A lot of them are usual suspects (SACD Hotel California and Brothers in Arms, etc.)

    I'll start with some recent discoveries:

    Chesky 10th Anniversary Special Edition Recordings - Forgot how awesome this 2 disc set is. Just dug it out again after putting in rotation retirement for a few years - and the A5's handle the first disc fantastically. I kept replaying it I was so enthralled. The Sarah K. track really stands out.

    The second disc interestingly does not seem to image as well as the first. Yet I only played it once and had a number of interruptions so probably need revisit this impression.

    That said - everyone needs this double-disc as part of their "reference collection":

    http://www.amazon.com/Chesky-10th-An.../dp/B000003GEU

    ---

    John Zorn - The Gnostic Preludes - sounds great. This album is mellow acoustic-electric guitar instrumentals, sometimes with accompaniment. Very similar to Masada guitars but this is John Zorn jazz of his newer Books of Angels style (much more mellow than early Masada releases).

    John Zorn - The Gift. Wow. This album sounds fantastic on the A5's.

    I've got a half-dozen other John Zorn discs that really shine on the A5's. Zorn, of course, isn't for everyone, and if you find one Zorn disc/song you like - I encourage you to preview anything else you buy, as Zorn's musical output varies to the extreme. I listen to about everything - and even I can't handle some of Zorn's work. However - his mellow jazz (most of the Books of Angels), his Masada/Mountains of Madness guitar work, and his acapella work all sound great on the A5's. Ribbon high-end FTW!

    --

    Newer Albums by The Roots - Rising Down, How I Got Over, Undun. - Awesome.

    The albums breathe smoothly and freely on the A5s - I think this is a result of the presence of real drums, and actual bass instruments combined with occasional digital bass - that give The Roots a jazz-like life if you hit the A5's with a little bit of power. The aforementioned albums have a much broader-spectrum and more natural sound than I realized playing on other speakers.

    I'm not a huge hiphop fan but I've always enjoyed The Roots. But I hadn't listened to them in some time. They really didn't play that dynamically on my JBL Studio monitors, and didn't sound good at all in my Jeep. So I broke out their albums a few months ago and even the SO commented how nice they sound. Newer albums, pretty much anything from Phrenology on to Undun - is solid.

    --

    Movies/HT that shine:

    Jiro Dreams of Sushi - is fantastic on the A5's. We have had a few others but I think it's safe to say that anything with a solid 5.1-DTS/HD soundtrack is going to sound great on the A5s.

    --

    Stuff that doesn't sound good:

    Jay-Z: strangely I think recent Jay-Z albums sound worse on the A5's than they did on my previous JBL or Yamaha studio monitors. I think the last speakers I had that really didn't handle rap well were Klipsch monitors (Klipsch studio line - not the low end Sizzle & Boom HT series). The Jaz-Z discs I own sound thin, almost hollow, on the A5's. No idea why.

    ---
    Stereo Setup: Panasonic BDT210 feeding pure-optic out with no pre-processing into an Onkyo TX-NR818 driving A5's and 2x Yamaha SW315 subs. The SW315's are tight and fast enough, and tuned tight and low enough, that I almost never need to turn them off (due to lack of speed or over-saturation of bass) to keep up with the A5's.

    It took several times tweaking XT32 but the rolloff now is so seamless on digital music with high-to-low frequency bass drops that I run almost everything through XT32. There are only a few albums I will run a pure, clean signal to the A5's (sans subs) for attack and clarify.

  • #2
    Some discs that I play for friends are: Beatles Love Soundtrack (great mix of classic songs, dynamics between songs, and detailed audio), Curtis Mayfield Superfly Soundtrack (presents a great sound stage of width and depth, plus the funk sound is a great change of pace), Nine Inch Nails: Pretty Hate Machine (very crisp and punchy), Jack Johnson: In Between Dream and Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds Live at Luther College are both great acoustic guitar driven albums that accent the clarity and range of the planar tweeters. Those are my favorites to use to show off these great speakers. Nice thread to start because everyone has so many different tastes in music, so it'll be interesting to see what variations people use.

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    • #3
      I will primarily use mine for music w/ the occasional HT.
      I'm waiting for the new center channel to come out so I can make one large purchase. The website says first half of 2013.
      Has anyone secret spy types gotten the new center yet?

      My hearing sucks so I need a center that produces a quality clear sound. I don't like overly bright sounds as it fatigues the [email protected] outta me. I've eyeballed EMP and Swan but I've read the ARX line is supposed to be really spot on for the $ spent.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by marksman
        I


        Stuff that doesn't sound good:

        Jay-Z: strangely I think recent Jay-Z albums sound worse on the A5's than they did on my previous JBL or Yamaha studio monitors. I think the last speakers I had that really didn't handle rap well were Klipsch monitors (Klipsch studio line - not the low end Sizzle & Boom HT series). The Jaz-Z discs I own sound thin, almost hollow, on the A5's. No idea why.

        ---
        Stereo Setup: Panasonic BDT210 feeding pure-optic out with no pre-processing into an Onkyo TX-NR818 driving A5's and 2x Yamaha SW315 subs. The SW315's are tight and fast enough, and tuned tight and low enough, that I almost never need to turn them off (due to lack of speed or over-saturation of bass) to keep up with the A5's.

        It took several times tweaking XT32 but the rolloff now is so seamless on digital music with high-to-low frequency bass drops that I run almost everything through XT32. There are only a few albums I will run a pure, clean signal to the A5's (sans subs) for attack and clarify.
        Interesting. I don't know much about the other music you mentioned but maybe it is the green in me talking, but could the drivers, X, Q etc.. and the crossover set up for the A5 be poised to be more musically inclined w/ jazz, orchestra type music vs the electronic sounds of hip-hop.

        That gets me wondering as I like primarily rock, metal and country, how they would sound?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by powerlifter405
          Interesting. I don't know much about the other music you mentioned but maybe it is the green in me talking, but could the drivers, X, Q etc.. and the crossover set up for the A5 be poised to be more musically inclined w/ jazz, orchestra type music vs the electronic sounds of hip-hop.

          That gets me wondering as I like primarily rock, metal and country, how they would sound?
          The drivers in the A5's are awesome for guitar. I imagine the Swans would be pretty good too, but I haven't auditioned them. For the $ I am thrilled with the A5's. I think you would have to spend about 3x on Paradigms, or higher with B&Ws to make a noticeable step up in sound. I listened to similar ribbon/cone hybrids, like the Golden Ears, at 1.5x-3x the cost, and quite frankly I find the midrange inferior. I'm glad I took a risk on the A5's, but I did it primarily because I really like this driver design and was fairly confident it would perform superior to the shallow-throw woofers on the GEs.

          I primarily listen to guitar-driven music, be it jazz, blues, rock, country, etc. I also listen to a lot of Bristol-downtempo type artists, of which most are jazz/bossa nova influenced (Portishead, Thievery Corporation) and a few pentatonic blues influenced (Morcheeba, Tricky). Nothing beats a good cone for electric & acoustic guitar, and the ribbon rounds it off nicely.

          The ribbon really shines if you listen to music with dynamic vocals (a lot of the above bands use talented female singers), and it seems to handle strings very nicely (e.g.-Jiro Dreams of Sushi sounded amazing). I find the ribbon to be extremely fast and precise, but not as fatiguing as a horn a'la Klipsch, which are considered a standard for rock music.

          They are less bright than other speakers I've owned (Boston Acoustics and Klipsch come to mind) but very precise. More so than I expected at this price point. They make my JBL studio monitors sound like they have a few socks pulled over them.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by ppfp76
            Some discs that I play for friends are: Beatles Love Soundtrack (great mix of classic songs, dynamics between songs, and detailed audio), Curtis Mayfield Superfly Soundtrack (presents a great sound stage of width and depth, plus the funk sound is a great change of pace), Nine Inch Nails: Pretty Hate Machine (very crisp and punchy), Jack Johnson: In Between Dream and Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds Live at Luther College are both great acoustic guitar driven albums that accent the clarity and range of the planar tweeters. Those are my favorites to use to show off these great speakers. Nice thread to start because everyone has so many different tastes in music, so it'll be interesting to see what variations people use.
            Oh, good call. Beatles Love came up streaming the other day while I was running /random, and dang did it sound good. I'll have to check out that Curtis Mayfield and Jack Johnson (not familiar with the latter). I have the rest except for Dave Matthews, whom I do not enjoy that much. Which just goes to show you how strangely subjective musical tastes are :)

            I for example like Switchblade Symphony and My Bloody Valentine, though in general I tend not to like that genre (emo goth rock). My friends and SO however mostly cannot stand those artists. :)

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by marksman
              The drivers in the A5's are awesome for guitar. I imagine the Swans would be pretty good too, but I haven't auditioned them. For the $ I am thrilled with the A5's. I think you would have to spend about 3x on Paradigms, or higher with B&Ws to make a noticeable step up in sound. I listened to similar ribbon/cone hybrids, like the Golden Ears, at 1.5x-3x the cost, and quite frankly I find the midrange inferior. I'm glad I took a risk on the A5's, but I did it primarily because I really like this driver design and was fairly confident it would perform superior to the shallow-throw woofers on the GEs.

              I primarily listen to guitar-driven music, be it jazz, blues, rock, country, etc. I also listen to a lot of Bristol-downtempo type artists, of which most are jazz/bossa nova influenced (Portishead, Thievery Corporation) and a few pentatonic blues influenced (Morcheeba, Tricky). Nothing beats a good cone for electric & acoustic guitar, and the ribbon rounds it off nicely.

              The ribbon really shines if you listen to music with dynamic vocals (a lot of the above bands use talented female singers), and it seems to handle strings very nicely (e.g.-Jiro Dreams of Sushi sounded amazing). I find the ribbon to be extremely fast and precise, but not as fatiguing as a horn a'la Klipsch, which are considered a standard for rock music.

              They are less bright than other speakers I've owned (Boston Acoustics and Klipsch come to mind) but very precise. More so than I expected at this price point. They make my JBL studio monitors sound like they have a few socks pulled over them.
              Thats a lot of good info, thanks. My budget prevents me from stepping up and quite frankly these are outta my budget. I tend to be a craigslist type of fellow when I can but there are a few things I will spend $ on. We've been without stereo for over 4 years so I figured I'd get something nice, with a clear quality sound that wasn't over bearing, which is how I've heard Klipsch sound. My hearing blows and the wife could care less except it must look decent and it has to sound spot on. We want good dialogue for movies but it has to be able to carry a musical note as well.

              I have always like JBL and that's an interesting statement you make and I'm pleased to hear that it isn't ear piercing like the BA or klipsch.

              Thanks again and enjoy!

              Comment


              • #8
                So many good choices. HD Tracks.com has several albums, like Dave Brubeck's Take Five in 192k/24bit FLAC stereo (amazing) and Across the Universe on Blu-Ray.

                Trombone Shorty is a little Bass heavy, but his two albums are also excellent and they give the horns a full-bodied sound that is sharp but not shrill or strident. And the music is really good too.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Powerlifter: I would rec. the A1B's as a great speaker until you have enough money for the A5's. They are fantastic, imho, and I have both. If you are in my area feel free to set up a comparo, gratis. Best Regards, Bradley

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bandg
                    Powerlifter: I would rec. the A1B's as a great speaker until you have enough money for the A5's. They are fantastic, imho, and I have both. If you are in my area feel free to set up a comparo, gratis. Best Regards, Bradley
                    Bradley,
                    Thanks for the info and I appreciate the offer :D but I said to hell with it and jumped online the day before last, saw B-stock was in, so I picked up a some A1B's and a pair of A5's! It is money saved plus Jon gave me a trade option on the new center when it comes in so I couldn't pass it up. By doing the b-stock I was able to save enough I can convince the wife that I can look for some good wood for the DIY subs cabinet.
                    All in all, in the end it's more than I wanted to spend but I think we'll be happy.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by powerlifter405
                      Bradley,
                      Thanks for the info and I appreciate the offer :D but I said to hell with it and jumped online the day before last, saw B-stock was in, so I picked up a some A1B's and a pair of A5's! It is money saved plus Jon gave me a trade option on the new center when it comes in so I couldn't pass it up. By doing the b-stock I was able to save enough I can convince the wife that I can look for some good wood for the DIY subs cabinet.
                      All in all, in the end it's more than I wanted to spend but I think we'll be happy.
                      Wow: You dove into a great package, imho. I have a feeling that you won't send them back. However, your ears will determine. Lot to be said for good wood, but that isn't everything. Hold off on the sub until you have evaluated the combo prior. Also, The a5's open up with a fair amount of available power (~100-150) imho. That advise was given to me, and it is accurate, so I'm simply passing it along to you. See what you think, and let your ears decide. That is part of the fun, no?;) Take my opinion with a grain of salt. IIf you like dialogue, go for a center next. If you like music, go for a bass module next. My .02. Best, Bradley

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                      • #12
                        I have really been enjoying Pink Floyd, Dire Straights, and The Eagles in FLAC. I have found that going pure direct mode is really amazing.

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                        • #13
                          Santana sounds fantastic, especially Smooth. But the album I keep going back to is Time Out by Dave Brubeck because of its fantastic imaging, even though it was recorded in 1959.

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                          • #14
                            I've been rolling through older albums now that I'm back home, and I will add three more to the list that REALLY shine on the A5s:

                            1. Atomship "The Crash of '47"
                            2. The Roots "Rising Down"
                            3. Sarah K "Hell or High Water"

                            Have completely breathed new life into the above three recordings. Just awesome.

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