I sympathize with your condition. Usually, high frequency hearing loss is noise-induced. It also brings with it an intolerance of accentuated high frequency sounds. This is very common, everything from loud concerts to factories. I have heard several speakers that I believe might work. Unfortunately you won't know until you have listened from an hour or more, which one works best. Before you get inundated with everyone's favorite brand, I suggest that you either buy used with the idea that you can sell them if you don't like them, or buy over the internet from a company with a return policy. I like fabric dome tweeters more than I like metal tweeters. It is a generalization that was more true in the past, but to me the metal dome tweeters were too harsh for my ears. Brands with which I am familiar and recommend to you: Dynaudio Focus, Von Schweikert, AV123 (several models). Brands which i have not heard but fit your description (disclaimer): Quad, Ohm, Spendor, Vandersteen. Good luck!
I have high frequency hearing loss, also known as "construction workers syndrome". We didn't realize that homeowners needed hearing protection while working with chainsaws in the 70's. I now own 3 pairs of ear protectors because hearing loss is cumulative. One pair is always out and within reach. (mowing grass, hammering, air-tools, vacuuming)
I have the Kef 103-2 bookshelf speakers which give good clear highs without hurting my ears. Their midrange is superb and I can hear all the lyrics clearly. They give a decent soundstage, i.e. I can hear instruments and voices at different places in the room The bass is not booming, but that's o.k. A tube pre-amp is good for me because I can hear the woodiness or timbre of music in the midrange especially. And a solid state amp with very low distortion works well.
Empirically, one could install an precise equalizer in the system to amplify the exact frequencies one cannot hear well, and lower those one does not want to hear.
I agree with Tgrisham on fabric vs metal tweeters .
But , I feel that speakers are only part of the fix for your problem . The source and amplification can go a long way to giving you what you seek .
Given that , there are a pair of Soliloquy 5.0's listed here for $399 that would give you a nice start . I have owned a pair of their floorstanders and they did help quite a bit , very warm . The only problem is that the company is out of buisness ! Still , for that price it is a very worthwhile speaker to try .
Good luck .
Wow, what a great forum. Not just great responses but some solidarity as well. Thank you! BTW, I worked in a lumber yard as a youth, so the Stihl chainsaw was my bane as well.
A couple more complicating items. I am new to this (after 30 years of being one of the stereophiles on my dorm floor). I just bought a Denon 1909 receiver (90 X 7 stated). I would have bought a high end amp if I knew all this, but I am going to start with this receiver. That means 4 ohm and power hungry speakers are out (e.g. Dynaudio, I think).
Also, I am starting a system, so while those Soliliquys and KEFs look like great suggestions, I think I should get a brand with more flexibilty to add on to. Also, my newly built stereo stand has room for a 13.4 bookshelf but no horizontal center speaker. The Quads 12Ls sound perfect - 6 ohm, non metal tweeter, and an 11L could fit in the speaker stand. I realize that a non matching center is not perfect but I am thinking that such a close match should be fine for HT.
Finally, another question. It seems in my brief listening that bookshelf speakers sound better than towers. Why? It seems that the larger base drivers in the same unit block the highs and midrange for me (I hear base well, too well in some situations). It would seem the logical solution is bookshelf units with a good sub, no?
A friend and very devoted audiophile lost hearing in one ear altogether and is poor in the other. He lives in Europe and has recieved care from specialists who have brought his hearing back to decent levels. During the time when it was real bad he used headphones with dedicated headphone amps. His was less frequency specific.
You might be surprised with modern headphone rigs they are better than good in many cases. I bought an OTL head amp from Singlepower with 6080 output tubes. It is incredible. My headpphones are AKG 701s which are marked down now due to a model change. You may want to try it.
My speaker recommendation echoes others I use Von Schweickerts and they don't cause fatigue if you get the VR2 which is the smallest floorstander. I think the English manufacturers are generally too warm one exception is KEF which may give you definition and warmth. I would think Dyne audio would be good if you can get a pair using their better tweeters. You won't get Esotars for that figure but Esotecs might squeeze in. For that same reason see if you can find the Morel speakers near you, they make great tweeters in the same style.
Add me to the list of those who suffer from hearing loss and that high frequency seems to make matter worse. I'm also in agreement with Tgrisham about staying away from metal tweeters. I think you're going down the right road with the Quad 12 and 11Ls. Heard them myself with a tube Jolida integrated, very nice. Another brand you might want to listen to at some point, is Spendor. IMHO, if you like the Quads, Spendor is the step up.
For what its worth my experience up until recently has been that most non fatiguing speakers have sounded rather "constipated". That is until I tried a pair of ATC SCM 12's. How they manage to be warmish and non fatiguing yet still offer up so much detail and micro dynamics is beyond me. They do like quality amps (may be not as much power as some say they do, I am using a 100 Watt McCormack amp in a 13 by 12 room and have plenty of power). I also like Dynaudio's but felt the focus 140 tweeter was not as delicately layered as the one on the older contour line or the recently discontinued audience line. Good luck.
I hope this input is somewhat relevant.
I have a pair of Quad 11L Active speakers and a Quad Lite sub, all run directly from a cd player/DAC with volume control. This system is very close to perfect for me - extremely dynamic and essentially full range.
Here is what you might find interesting; the one problem I have with the speakers is that there is a hump in the frequence response curve between 4K and 10K. Yesterday I actually drug the speakers outside to take one more reading with my sound level meter to confirm my indoor near-field measurements. This frequency hump makes the speakers seem very revealing and pushes vocals or lead instuments forward in the mix. Above 10K, the tweeter sounds quite nice (for comparison, I find B&W 685 and 686 tizzy and metallic up top).
The point is, I have often thought that these speakers would be perfect for someone with hearing loss. In fact my father (who has high frequency hearing loss) came over the other day and said it sounded like live music.
The company specs and magazines indicate that these speakers measure pretty flat, but my pair has definitely got this anomaly.
This is ALL very helpful. On the Spendors, will there be any difference between the Classic line (e.g. S 3/5s) and the SA1s regarding the accentuated high frequency sounds?
Any experience or feedback regarding Era Design 4/5 speakers? I believe they have soft dome tweeters.
Also, most of the Quads on Audiogon are active and have amps. Are they compatible and effective when driven from a regular receiver?
Another vote for von schweikert. Try the vr1. You can get them here for about 500 or so and you will love the smooth and well integrated midrange. Might try something other than denon as it can be a bit bright. Have fun!
I would second the advice to change amp. I've recently moved from an Onkyo to an Arcam and found a noticeable positive difference in the harshness of sound with the same speakers. I seem to get all the detail without the harshness.
Really nice thread. Hope you don't mind me bumping this. It seems that the OP has gone with Quads, but I was wondering if anybody had anything to say about the Era Design 4/5 speakers within this context of intolerance to accentuated high frequencies. According to their measurements I think they're a little rolled off in the high frequencies, but I wonder how laid-back sounding they are?
I wonder if you might get some satisfying results with room treatment that would make your listening experience more enjoyable. You might be able to tame the highs in your room at certain reflection points. Most people do this I believe for better imaging and that sort of audiophile thing, but the benefit to you with your hearing impairment might actually be magnified. I'd consult with some of the room acoustic companies such as Real Traps, ASC, GIK Acoustics. Depending on your room, a $1000 might be all it takes.