Harpsichords sound really great, and so do Vibraphones on my system. It really was geared to be perfect upper registers over all else.
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Mine Sounds exactly like a drum kit is there in the room. I should know because I have a drum kit also. You need an appropriate recording like Sheffield labs drum tracks as most drums are compressed on the majority of commercially available music.
This is if course loud, very very loud and dynamic, very very dynamic but that is exactly how a drum kit sounds. Timbre is extremely important.
A drum kit is the ultimate test of a system
It took me a long time to dial in the cymbals but I must confess it came by accident. I was trying different interconnects and than for the first time I heard the cymbals come in correctly. As far as the rest of the system I ended up changing most of the cabling and power cords which improved bass and detail but Im sure I can still get a lot more out of the system. So I have to say no to your question the cymbals sound excellent but the rest does not take care of itself it takes a lot of work and perhaps a little luck so good luck and keep listening.
It depends on how well the drums are recorded, but on well-recorded albums, they sound spooky-real on my modest 2-channel system. I've been a drummer for 48 years.
The opening cut of side 3 of the Pat Metheny 3-LP set of the Day Trip album has astonishingly well recorded (and played) drums. I also have a direct-to-disk LP of the Buddy Rich Big Band and a couple of Sheffield DD Harry James disks (with monster fusion drummer Les DeMerle. Also have a Sheffield DD LP of Tower of Power with ultimate funkmeister Dave Garibaldi on the kit. These all sound quite real in m living room, dialed back for volume as previously mentioned.
To get the full effect of a live kit in-room, I think I'd need about 2,000 wpc driving a pair of Wilson Alexandrias or equivalent from YG, Magico, etc. But my modest 2-channel system definitely gets the fundamentals, timbres, overtones, transients and decay right. You can easily hear the differences among maple, mahogany, and acrylic shells, sharp vs. rounded bearing edges, etc.
It's an impressive testimony to just how good a well set up Audio Technica AT150MLX can pull the music out of the groove. Drum kits make extraordinary demands on a cartridge, including sharp, fast initial transients, bass drum fundamentals down to 30 Hz, bloom and decay, and the most complex and high reaching (up to around 16KHz) cymbal overtones. It takes a really good cartridge to track all that well. The AT150MLX proves it doesn't have to be a terribly expensive one.
I do some pro audio & drums on home audio sound like, well, drums on home audio. I've heard some really good systems that do an excellent job but most home audio falls short & some fall way short.
The drum kit sounds OK on my system but especially after playing w/8k watts running through a suspended EAW system, it's simply no contest.
To get the full effect of a live kit in-room, I think I'd need about 2,000 wpc driving a pair of Wilson Alexandrias or equivalent from YG, Magico
A pair of ATC 100 ASL and an ATC 0.1/15 is more than sufficient in most home environments. Drummer and multi-instrumentalist Lenny Kravitz uses a pair ATC 200ASL and I have heard that a pair of Barefoot MM27 will also do the job (according to legendary producer and drummer Butch Vig).
Those who completely dismiss the need for such capabilities in a Hi-Fi are missing the point. It is about "High - Fidelity" which means that the setup can handle anything with the greatest fidelity. Anything less is guaranteed to deliver oodles of distortion even at modest levels when playing a "high-fidelity" recording (one that has the dynamic range of real instruments rather than compressed crap)
The big challenge with dynamics and percussion is "compression and distortion" - in order to sound realistic the system must not give out at the usual maximum of around 95 dB (mediocrity). Thermal compression and system distortion often rise exponentially above 95 dB meanwhile a drum set plays up to 110 dB cleanly....
Drums are the primary reason I listen to vinyl. Even on a modest system they have better dynamics and are warmer and more realistic sounding than on digital. Dialing in just the cymbals is tricky as it is highly dependent on how they were recorded. Mic placement, the mic and preamp make all the difference.
Assuming they are well recorded and still sound harsh, it could be the room. A bright live room contributes enough reflection to make them sound ringy. Sorry but there's no power cord in the world that will fix that. My rule of thumb is if they sound good on headphones, they should sound good in the room. If not, room treatment is a wise place to start.
recording. Room reflections
I'm finally happy with the drums and I have Quad ESL57s... so it's not a thundering amount of bass drum but very realistic and, now that I've finally got my vinyl front end dialed in, very tuneful... which is a term I've seen written about but until now not really experienced. Cymbals are always excellent on the Quads!
With my JM Labs 1027's and Bryston 4b-ST drums sound very good and very realistic. They sound good with my OPPO 82 SE and my Amadeus TT. So yes, I am happy with how drums sound in my room. I am lucky that I have a drummer friend who helped me tweak and setup my system. I have made some changes since he was at my place so I can't wait for him to come by and listen for himself.
Well, I just listened to the Allman Brothers Band doing Mountain Jam (original "Eat a Peach" vinyl), and the dual drum kits of Butch Trucks and Jai Johnny Johnson sound pretty darn awesome. And after that, I played an old live Dave Brubeck LP, "Together Again for the First Time," and the drum solo by Alan Dawson on "Take Five" is incredible. Finally, Shelley Manne's drum kit on Sonny Rollins' "Way Out West" is fantastic, and I'm constantly enjoying the sounds of Mickey Hart playing the durms on my old Grateful Dead records.
Good drum sound kills me...I really love it when it's right. I've been a musician/sound tech for many years (and love to play drums, although guitar is my main thing) and my biggest drum beef is with record producers NOT getting the scale right...the kit should seem contained without panning things extremely wide to make the drummer seem like a gorilla. Also, well recorded cymbals from great players can sound really sweet if recorded cleanly. Bill Stewart, amazing...Gabe Jarrett (Keith's son) is also a fave...one of the best sounding recordings I have is his obscure but brilliant one album (I think) of his Vermont band Vorcza called "Maximalist"...just a beautiful and brilliant kick ass trio in the Medeski, Martin and Wood genre but, trust me, WAY hotter. Another gripe: I really like recent Steely Dan stuff (including the amazing solo Becker or Fagan things) but wonder why the cymbals often sound sort of "spitty" and somehow less clean...weird as the engineer is usually the Grammy winning dude Elliot Shiner. Somebody tell him to SHAPE UP.
Good Sounding Drums:
Any Tom Petty album
Jim Capaldi sounds great on "Living on the outside"
Police (Synchronicity in particular)
Harvey Mason on Weekend in LA Live (George Benson)
Harvey Mason on Homage to Duke (Dave Grusin)
Dennis Chambers on Maceo Parker Roots & Grooves Live
Duran Duran Strange Behaviour (particularly Steve Ferrone's chops on Meet El Presidente - the 12 inch version was marketed to night clubs and is less compressed than radio friendly versions)
I like to feel the kick drum in my chest -lots, and to have the cymbals splash -but not too much.
The dynamic swings (transients) are key to getting a good sound and if the system can't manage that then there is a flubby attack and a muddled space.
I don't think any home system is going to really do drums. I mean the REAL THING. If you have ever heard a drum kit in a house - WoW! Ear protectors are required.
It reminds me of watching movies where guns go off in an enclosed space. Never is this accurately represented. Even the characters don't respond appropriately. Down to your knees with your hands over your ears screeming is more like it! Deafening!
Live drums are as dynamic as the drummer wants them to be...if all drummers just pounded the crap out of the kit it would be a boring and monodynamic world. I've worked with a LOT of drummers over the years and the best have a sense of dynamics and tone that makes you want to hear 'em, and rarely do the great drummers sound anything but right...unless you're lying on the floor under the drum kit there is no need for earplugs.
I don't think any home system is going to really do drums. I mean the REAL THING.
If this is true, then why is there so much effort expended on high resolution audio (24 bit) and high quality vinyl if any home system cannot even replicate a drum kit? What is the point of all this pursuit of high resolution (16 bit to 24 bit equates directly to increased dynamic range) if it cannot be delivered to the listener?
The new formats of high resolution audio allow us to hear what the sound engineer can hear in the studio - why then does this not demand that the amp/speakers be capable of the same level of quality?
"I don't think any home system is going to really do drums. I mean the REAL THING. "
I think it can come close enough to not matter for most.
Depending on room size and other factors though, you need some combination of bigger, better and more efficient drivers in a suitable housing combined with sufficient power (not underpowered or powered to some minimal specification designed more for mass marketing appeal than for performance).
It doesn't have to sound real to sound good.
Even if the sound is compressed, it can still hit with a BANG!
If the sound can't go BANG then much is missing.
To say that drums are easy to reproduce is wrong. To me they are the essence of good playback. The color of the toms, the shimmer of the cymbals, the kick of the bass,
brushes on the snare, a choked highhat. Whew!
If the system can do these it can do a lot.