Hard of Hearing Audiophile.
I went through four sets of speakers, six integrated amps and a set of headphones in my quest. I have Widex hearing aids and they do have a less than perfect Music setting. Kind of harsh and peaked in the upper midrange but not totally bad for live performances and listening in the car with road noise.
For my audio system, I quickly realized that I had to listen through these hearing aids to get decent sound so my goal was to find something that was neutral to easy going and not peaky or harsh.
I went through several sets of speakers. Got a good deal on some PSB XB bookshelf's but they lacked the body and bottom end I wanted. Klipsch M600 were too forward and brash. After reading some reviews, I settled on ELAC Debut 62 speakers. These are great $600 speakers. I later added two eight inch Outlaw M8 subwoofers and they really added to the sound quality and the PSB monitors were very nice with the subs. I kept both the PSB XBs and the Elacs. I settled on Audience Ohno interconnects. They got a good review in Absolute Sound and are excellent interconnects. I'm using 3130 Mogami OFC speaker cables nicely terminated to look professional. Conductor size came out to about 9AWG. (two 12 gauge on each leg) The sub cables are some Belden 8412 with Canare F10 RCAs Terminated by me. Good sub cable but sucks as an interconnect. I cant speak highly enough of adding the Outlaw M8 subwoofers. It made a huge difference in the system.
Sitting on a wooden shelf, I slipped an 18"x18" Ceramic tiles under subs. Seemed to tighten up the bass a fraction.
I had a OPPO 93 DVD player and it is my CD source.
Amps are where I had trouble. Luckily, I discovered the Yamaha S801 integrated, and it's calm honest influence makes the entire system sound really good to me. One of Steve Guttenberg's favorites along with the PSB XB speakers.
I passed on the Cambridge 100 receiver for being dead sounding. Denon PMA800 was nice but no sub out. Outlaw receiver had a characteristic sound to me and music seemed not to escape the front of the speakers. I ordered an IOTA integrated from England and couldn't get it to work for me sonically. The Vincent 500 had a nice midrange but lacking in bass control and fitness in the details. Parasound 200 integrated and great bass and the remote was the absolute best I've ever seen, treble, bass and balance being adjustable from your listening position and you can see the bar easily from, in my case eight feet away. Too harsh and forward for me.
I found a used set of HiFi Man headphones for $130 on Ebay and they join the mix.
This setup is in my garage/work shop. I got some foam sound material from Amazon and glued it to the wall behind the system. My speaker stands are a very sturdy work counter. I have limitations. The speakers can be set out from the wall one foot max.
Thats been my adventure. If you have hearing problems, just experiment and look for the neutral sounding equipment that other may think are not exciting enough. For me it works. I don't know if any other hearing aid has a music setting or not. I am super happy with my enjoyable system now. I even got a stamp of approval from an audiophile friend with good hearing.
My thanks to Crutchfield for their generous patience with my returns and ditto for Audio Advisor. I expected to be red tagged as a return abuser but it never happened.
Remember that my hearing is damaged and your mileage may vary. Objets in the mirror are closer than they appear.
I forgot to mention a pair of Kanto 6 self powered speakers. I couldn't get them to work with my hearing, and the remote had this weird volume adjustment that was so touchy, it would zoom up to max volume with little encouragement. Also had a toslink hook up as an option. I cant say that I've ever heard a toslink sound any good for anything no matter how expensive the cable. Not for me. Maybe except for subs, I want more control than self powered speakers allow. Hated to give up the beautiful piano black finish.
Another curiosity. The Vincent remote was built like a tank, all metal but few controls. It had odd spacing on the volume control, the increments of increase in volume were gross rather than fine and even one notch up seemed to always be too much.
While the Elacs are nicely made and finished great sounding speaker, the walnut vinyl covering reminded me of a cheap discount store coffee table. It is only available in two finishes and black isn't one. I'm perfectly happy with black. The PSB speakers have a nice black fake (I'm guessing) black ash finish.
I think one day, I'd like to check out a Marantz 8006. I like the idea of a midrange adjustment. Also Revel makes a little bookshelf speaker the model 16 that calls to me. A review by Guttenberg said things that fit my M.O.
The OP is obviously a music lover who unfortunately has permanent hearing loss which has to be utterly frustrating. Through much trial and error he has assembled a good audio system that brings him musical joy. I'm very happy for him. His experience is encouraging to other people who find themselves in the same discouraging circumstances. ebm why the rude sarcasm?
40 years of flying high performance jets did me in. I can still hear ok but have tinnitus. I bought a pair of Focal Aria 936 speakers and a Anthem STR integrated amp and stream Tidal. I use to love headphones but the ringing makes them tuff at times. Just remember you did what you enjoyed and keep on playing the music.
fredcdobbs - thank you for your thorough post! It gives me hope!! I too have lost hearing from playing in loud bands, attending loud concerts, and guns - it can be quite frustrating (tinnitus and unbalanced high-freq from right to left!!
Hearing loss is heartbreak for everyone. Comes on so gradually for most but those interested in good sound from their audio systems and what sounds good their ears have a higher regard for subtle sounds.
Hearing loss is a natural process of aging. It is accelerated by longtime exposure to high volume sound. Most experience loss first in the higher frequencies. Inability to understand conversation in a noisy environment, such as in a bar or at a party. Your hearing loss, aside from the aging process, is also due to loud sounds exposed to in the military.So, multiple ranges may be affected.
Please don't think that I am assuming that you have not done everything you can to improve your hearing and have investigated the best hearing aid options for your loss. But, a detailed audiogram of your hearing ability across the whole range of frequencies is a vital tool. I also have some hearing loss from playing in rock bands at a young age and the aging process has added to that. Good luck to you and I commend you with your efforts to achieve the best possible.
One comment about amps to use with PSB speakers..... I also use PSB speakers with two 10" subs. Before getting the PSB speakers I got a NAD integrated amp thinking it would be an upgrade to the amp I was using with my former Klipsch Reference speakers. I was disappointed. Sounded like someone put a blanket over the speakers.
Then I went back to the dealer who sold me the NAD amp and auditioned it with some PSB speakers. What a difference! Seems that NAD and PSB are or were sister companies. So if you decide to change amps don't rule out NAD. Sure, they don't stack up to all the rave reviews of others but the do have synergy with PSB. Some models have a second pre out so connecting subs is easier.
(note to EBM: this may be too lengthy for you :) ). Thanks to the others here for their ability to understand the issue at hand! To all others, I apologize in advance if this message is too lengthy.
Profile: Valve-based Audiophile (whatever that means), Board Certified Otolaryngologist-Head / Neck Surgeon for 27 years ("ENT" physician), many, many past/current 2x/month LOUD thrash,speed,black,doom metal/rock/eastern indian/folk rock and classical music and firearms exposures - since Hendrix (51 yrs ago) to the present, although COVID-19 cancelled everything since 2/2020! Began wearing custom/professional hearing protection 20 years ago - better late than never.
There are many more like us with this issue - with SIGNIFICANT mid to high frequency hearing loss that impairs what I used to listen to at age 15 on my parents Thorens/valve MacIntosh setup. The mindset of the here and now is accept what limitations you have and go with that - knowing that it’s never going to sound like what your memory may remind you of.
I also wear hearing aids - not something I prefer, but in certain social situations it’s essential. I don’t wear them when listening to music (live or otherwise) and for the best listening environment I rely on my Sennheiser HD650 powered by either a WOO or other headphone amp). Headphones are themselves limiting, but an often sonic refuge.
I have CONSTANT, intensity variable high pitched tinnitus with which I try to ignore and mostly do - BTW there is NO effective treatment for this.
You also seem to have experienced the frustration that I did - having gone through amps, speakers, etc. to achieve some sort of "normalcy" in listening. It’s a compromise to be sure, and without driving yourself crazy you need to find that "acceptable" interpretation of the music that meets your new, realistic expectations - as it looks like you have done. Kudos to you, sir.
I have no evidence to this, but I believe that audio manufacturers are aware that there is a certain significant population that have our issues of hearing loss. When our numbers become large and vocal enough I envision that they will develop gear that can be (much like all high end hearing aids) tune-able to our specific and individual frequency losses, in an attempt to recreate a more youthful listening experience (it in fact, that’s ever possible).
Contact me by PM if you need any details/other questions !
fredcdobbs...You're just subject to the same limitations that many here are subject to, but are loathe to admit....imho. Yours truly as well....;)
Tinnitus for me is a consistent non-varying 'hiss'; ignorable when occupied, but becomes my version of 'counting sheep' @ bedtime....
That, and todays' visit to an audiologist confirmed major mid-range loss in both ears; low and high Hz are 'acceptable', but mids....blotto...major dB down....
Getting fitted tomorrow for a pair of Phonak Audeo Marvel B90's.
Since they get programed for my state of being, I'm definitely going to query the nice audiologist about how the initial eq is done, to see if 'flat response' means the same for them as for me.
The Audeos' do have an 'onboard eq', but it's pretty basic compared to the 1/3 octave eqs' I have at my disposal. But one of the features of said equalizers is the means of adjusting themselves (and my equipment) to 'run the room' with flat response...within reasonable limits, of course....
Now....I've gotten used to listening to said space with my damaged ears.
It ought to be 'interesting' to learn and hear what I've apparently not been hearing previously. Now, there's an opportunity in that....
Maybe I'll have to play EVERYTHING I've got to 'learn' them all over again. *L*
Divine torture, of some sort....;)
I wear 'roadie' ear plugs to concerts, anyway. It's not the performance that's an issue for me, it's the 'pink noise' of the cheering crowd that's an annoyance for me.
Enjoy the music despite ourselves....;)
I also suffer from tinnitus and hyperacusis,so my system is tailored for the way I hear.My brother wears hearing aids that boost frequencies in the presence region where I'm so sensitive to.His system is a little too sharp for me and he says high frequencies are lacking in mine:-)No wonder we can't agree on what's best.
I suffer from hearing loss as well...sitting next to the piccolo in the 2nd violin section....anyway it is a huge loss in my life. The magic that once was is no more. I find that the best way for me is to use earphones with a dedicated amp for them. I also have a Sony Walkman with Blessing 2 earphones when I am away from my big system. You find what works.
I have hearing loss, almost certainly a result of hundreds of hours in a Bellanca Decathlon (aerobatic aircraft) and being to stupid to wear hearing protection. I now have a pair of Rexton Adore LI hearing aids, which for me have been phenomenal. Part of the package is an app for your phone that allows you to adjust volume, bass-treble, and microphone pattern. I got them at Costco for around 2 grand. They are not as good as having the hearing of a 14 year old, but they have made a huge improvement for me..
Thank you for sharing your experience Fred! I am in the same boat - no hearing aid yet, but I have mild tinnitus. I can't hear past around 14.5k Hz based on playing with a frequency generator in my electronics class last year. No idea down how I hear down low, but I have an Rel 12" home theater sub that puts out some great feels when I am watching movies.
I always find it amusing when I see people judging a speaker because it only goes down to 45 Hz and they say they want 28 Hz. All I can think is "Can you even hear down there?"!
And congrats on your Yamaha. I have an old R900 that I still use in my office on some bookshelf speakers, and I love the sound that comes out of it too. Yamaha is one of the last integrateds to still offer you tone controls and a loudness dial, which I use extensively. If I ever need a new one, I will probably stick with Yamaha.
Thanks for your responses...including those of you who don't have normal reading skills.
I am not quitting my quest. Due to not spending money in restaurants and other diversions, I will be taking some visa liberties and I will be testing more equipment. Some Parasound electronic and probably a set of Bucharest 300 speakers. Who knows?
Somehow my font has changed and I need to figure that out later. However, I have noticed that there are some really excellent near buds being made and are actually quite expensive. Seems like a lot of technology is being poured into better and better ear buds for your phone. Instead of hooking them up to bluetooth, I wish someone would make a pair quality in ear listening buds with a good microphone on the exterior.
You have all seen the cheap hearing assist devices for people who cant afford or don't want hearing aids, hunters use them to detect game etc. I want a high quart version of those things, even with a little shirt pocket amp would be great. With the size and appearance not being an issue because they would be used for indoor music and TV listening, they could be substantially bigger and better than hearing aids that have to stuff a small microphone and speaker in ones ear canal. It's the obvious choke point for better sound. Whats frustrating is they already make the high quality drivers for the inside half of the deal, they just need to add a small quality microphone to the exterior. That and a phone app to tailor the sound would be ideal. I'd be a customer for sure.
You idea of a high quality audio external microphone and quality phone app is an excellent thought. I hope there are engineers and manufacturers currently working on such suitable products . Music appreciation is IMO a lifelong condition once established. I'm pretty sure that many on this forum can relate to your situation.
I lost some low tone hearing several years ago due to a form of Ménière’s disease (fortunately I did not have vertigo). Due to a fantastic doctor I was able to get some of it back but I am left with significant tinnitus which I have learned how to manage. I don’t go to concerts anymore unless I have significant hearing protection. In the past couple of years I have lost some hearing in the higher frequencies. My doctor has encouraged me to get hearing aids which I have resisted. I feel like I can hear pretty well but clearly the tests show something different. She then sent me a study published in The Lancet which found a correlation between hearing loss and dementia. Frankly that has scared the crap out of me. My biggest issue with hearing aids is the inconvenience factor but more important that it will ruin music for me. With that said, this study has me taking a look at hearing aids. For those of us that love music, putting our resources towards the highest quality hearing technology possible instead of the next speaker or amp may be money well spent.
@bigwave1...*G* Thanks for the advice, tho I may have to 'pick 'n choose' amongst those...and perhaps the 2 cardiologists that have a vested interest in me....;)
TAVR with an 'onboard' defib/pacemaker...the latter as part of a volunteer study nationwide study with 499 subjects and me. *S*
'New models require test drivers', and I was happy to do so.
During my rather brief therapy, I'd occasionally skip a beat or three, then resume. Totally unnoticed, except for the RN @ the monitor....
She'd startle, look @ me....look back @ her screen...walk over...
"Did you feel that? Feel what?
"Your heart stopped for a couple of beats." Beats me, felt nothing...*shrug* I'm sure you'll let me know if I don't restart....if I haven't noted such already...
The onboard unit merely monitors me. If I miss a beat or so, the defib 'taps' my heart with the pacemaker. If I stop and stay stopped, the defib will start low @ first, rather than flooring me with the big jolt.
That...it saves for non-response to the small tap or two....
Long story, shortened to a novella:
I already take a number of drugs daily. Eliquis and Entresto both, although both labels say they shouldn't be taken together, blood thinners, anti-chlorestrol, anti-inflam, anti-this, that, the other....D3, potassium....
to boost my resistance, fish oil, supplements...
'Breakfast #1 is 11 tabs, caps, plus an inhaler. #2 is food.
I'm a walking lab rat. To add anything to the routine, I consult the cardios 1st.
"You shouldn't smoke, or drink so much coffee..."
True...I shouldn't put Southen Comfort in the coffee, either.
If you want me to stop smoking, help legalize hemp in NC.
But the bright side is....These 'self-meds' keep me from strangling the random stranger, whether or not they deserve to receive such.
I bruise if you look at me hard. The slightest scratch will make me bleed like I've hit something serious...
"You OK?!" Yeah, just hydralic 'ooze'...let me know if I create a puddle...
If I didn't have the sense of humor that I posess, weird as it may appear...
Then you would and should be worried...
...but I'll thank you again for the suggestions. *S ;)
I was told that one of the reasons not to wait too long to get hearing aids is that if your brain doesn't get the stimulation from hearing certain sounds, it will forget what they sound like. I don't know if this comes back with amplified hearing or not. Anyway, Seems a shame to throw your hearing away like that but thats just what I did. My wife got tired of "What" Remember that the hearing aids don't give you anything that you don't have now. They just amplify what is left.
I have a DB meter app on my iPhone so I tested my system at a level I like to listen to it. I listen around 60 to 65 DB. Not loud, Its about what a friend with normal hearing uses. That said, I would need to add in any DB increase in amplification from my hearing aids. I don't want to listen too loud causing further accelerated hearing loss.
I guess the boredom is getting to me living like an indoor cat. I did order some Buchardt's and a Parasound pre and amp. What the heck. Nothing else to do and I might like it better.
Ah, the joys of aging....
I have RAGING tinnitus and confirmed hearing loss above 7khz.
Thankfully, I don't perceive missing out on "everyday" sound-normal conversation and general music listening and my guitar playing.
This past week, experienced 2 audio disasters. My ancient PS Audio Power Plant took its last breath, along with my beloved 1965 Macintosh MR 71FM tuner.
While those 2 are shipped off for service, I'm back to basics-amp straight to the wall, everything else plugged into a prehistoric PS Audio AVS3000 conditioner.
Even with my crappy hearing, I heard the immediate "veil" over the music.
Few days later, my hearing has adjusted to it, and it sounds...fine. Just missing the extra "kick" the Power Plant gives. As for FM listening...nothing beats an old FM tubed tuner.
Keep on listening-whatever it takes
I've been obsessing and testing some more and I think I am just about through.
While I liked the S801/Elac combo, I took a step up.
I now have a Schiit Ragnarock 2, Revel Concerta 2M16 bookshelf speakers, the same Audience Ohno cables and have added a Denefrip Ares II DAC to my Oppo transport. I have SML 400 Dac coming on a 30 day audition and may even try the Schiit Bifrost. All in the $700 range. The Oppo on it's own was so good, it took some doing to best it.
Had an interesting time hooking the audio out from the Oppo to my amp and the Oppo Digital out through the Ares into a different input on the amp permitting instant comparisons. So far an Ohno Coax sounds quite good. I also have a Nordost Blue Heaven to try. One anomaly took place with a half meter D 60 Kimber digital. After a while of working well and sounding capable, the Dac quit processing until I removed the cable and replaced it with a full meter Audience.
Does it sound reasonable that a DAC wants to look at a longer cable of it quits working? With this cable I did have trouble getting the filters to work. I don't know. It was weird. At one point the Audience Ohno coax sounded sub par and now is very good, Lots of detail, sound stage, imaging etc. Might just have been me?
Some years ago; I owned a California Audio Labs Delta transport and both their Alpha and Sigma DACs. My first choice for an AES/EBU cable was a .5 M, Kimber Orchid. Sounded horrible (which was diametrically opposed to my experience with their other cables)! I recalled an article describing reflections in short digital cables and purchased a 1.5 M Orchid. If ever my system requires another AES/EBU; it’ll be an Orchid. Just my own experience. Opinions vary. ie (see comments, here): https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/technical-article-digital-audio-cable-reflections-and-dacs.7159/
I'm glad you found gear that suits you well. Sounds like quite the journey. I've been concerned about my hearing lately due to ringing in my ears. Not exactly a professional test but I was listening to sine wave test tones on YouTube and realized I've lost hearing. Likely due to my own STUPIDITY by shoving ear buds in my orifices and turning up the volume while riding my motorcycle.
I am curious about one thing, I have an SVS 12" sub for HT but I'm looking at another sub to just round out the bottom end of a separate pair of speakers in 2 channel listening. So you said you had 8" subs. Are they filling the bill, is an 8" driver satisfactorily doing what you want it to do?
Hi Brian, I'm not an expert on subs. I just have a placement situation where I have to ue bookshelf speaker so I got a couple Outlaw 8 in h subs to add fullness to the sound. I cant say I'm impressed with the quality of the outcome but it is nice to have the bottom filled in.
Outlaw and Emotiva have 8 in hers at about $300. I heard great thing about the Emotiva sub. You might want to try one.
I too am a long time audiophile with hearing loss dropping off sharply 30-40db at 3k and above. After some years of fighting it, I got hearing aides from an audiologist and am now on a 2nd pair of the latest gen Widex. They are helpful for conversation and watching TV. I paid top dollar for the model with a Music mode which I agree, as stated at the beginning of the thread, are "less than perfect". For serious HiFi this mode sounds too artificial. The Widex also has a PureSound mode that blends a high amount of direct sound with the Hi frequency boost which I prefer for music..they say this Mode works due to the processing speed of the new chip set. However, much of the time I just take off the hearing aides when listening to my audio system.
Lately, I have been experimenting with DSP in my Roon Nucleus. I find it actually is quite helpful as long as I activate only a small correction to compensate for the measured hearing loss. +5db at 3K and above is surprisingly effective in bringing some life to the music. You cannot expect to add full 30db compensation.
I just contributed to this on indigo, figured it was worth a shot. I won’t wear them 24/7 but hope that they will help when I’m listening to music and watching tv. They’re also, hopefully double as ear buds for streaming music....
Many thanks for this post and sharing your experience, @fredcdobbs. I'm an audiophile like most other folks here, but currently plagued by a serious right-ear hearing degradation. I have an appointment with an ENT doctor in a couple of weeks and pray to God he can do something about it or give me advice on how to restore normal stereo hearing again. Should it be my fate that this partial hearing loss is more or less permanent (I'm 67.5 y/o), then I'm sure I will come back to this very informative thread again and again. Thanks again for your initiative to explore this topic.
This is a good thread and timely to me too. I just added components to address my hearing (hi-freq) loss. Some ask, why not get hearing aids? First, as noted above, the brain adjusts and I thought I had fine hearing. Still do! Second, if I know what is missing, why not adjust all of that marvelous gear instead of asking something that's miniature enough to fit in your ear to do it. Bass? OK, your system might not be "correct" to others but for many, that's a moot concern.
I just posted a few days ago here on AG about using EQ to adjust per audiogram results. As my losses are inequal by ear, I need to have L and R ch. I opted for quality Schiit EQs and installed one in each channel of my pre-amp's processor loop. A customized EQ profile for each side has returned subtleties I suspected were fading but now back. Waaaay cheaper than chasing speakers when what I have is better than fine. However we choose to get along on our issues, enjoy.