Hi folks and my first post on here which may seem a little off the wall to many.
I have enjoyed various Naim kit for some time ever since I purchased a CB 32.5/HICap/250 in the late 1980’s in a moment of madness - and whats more I still have them The LP12 I had/have has been joined by a CD05X & a NAT05 and various speakers…
However… over the last 5 years or so the system has started to get very quiet, congested and dull so I have not used it much and left it at that…
What has happened over the past year or so is that I have been diagnosed as being significantly deaf which is a definite bummer for me having only just retired. Possibly not helped by listening at good volumes for far too long I guess - a warning to the rest of you maybe…
However after spending time with audiologists, I now wear a set of “as good as they can get” hearing aids in both ears…and although, the sound I get out of them is tailored mainly to clarify speech, when I listen to music on my system using them, the sound is a revelation! Suddenly its a “that’s more like as I remember!” feeling - even though the sound out of a tiny in the ear transducer is tinny at best… My hearing graph states that I am about -60dB from “normal” and my frequency response is widely down at both ends and is quite notchy in the middle somewhere. Hence I guess giving me a somewhat quiet and dull sound - and there I was blaming my kit for ages!
So - the big question - could anyone comment if there are electronics (eg ranging from the basic level graphic equalisers - but hopefully perhaps digital “sound shaping” devices) that I could use to reshape the frequency response to give to me at least, the equivalent of something like “normal” when I adjust the volume up to give a level and a response that to me is balanced again…
Obviously it won’t sound right at all to others nearby and I guess the purists here will be spluttering into their coffee or whatever. But you know, needs must sometimes…
Can anyone advise me on the best options for kit or approach to start down this journey - either in the analogue or digital domain and also where the best place to connect it in my system? I am not after DR quality sound (I wish!) , but you can’t begin to know how frustrating it is not to hear the music you have loved clearly bearing in mind the kit that you have invested in… And importantly, I cant be the only one in this situation - surely!
Would appreciate any positive comments on this, thank you.
Graphic equalisers wont help much I’m afraid. A major problem is that HiFi amplifiers are extremely linear but with your hearing loss your ears are not linear and you will find it impossible to adjust such an equaliser so that it’s right for both quiet and loud sounds. Basically if you put in the gain for a quiet sound, a loud sound will blow the cones out of your speakers.
But if you do have “as good as they get” hearing aids, then they should be able to be switched into a music programme and that should have been adjusted by the audiologist to do what you require. Can you switch them to such a music programme? If not, why is that? Did you ask for them to be set up with that option?
Also modern hearing aids have tone controls (normally on a phone app) and so you can play around with those and take the results back and get your audiologist to tweak the settings of the hearing aids.
I could give lots more advice from my own experience, but there are also quite a few other members here who use hearing aids with their Naim HiFi.
You don’t need them. With your hearing aids, they usually have their own Graphic Equaliser of sorts. The graph your audiologist gave you of the frequencies that are down have already been tweaked up to bring about a more flat response.
Unless your intending to listen to the hifi without them in…
A DSP box could give you a lot of tailoring, which potentially could be shaped very specifically (if you know what is needed), however you need to beware that boosting certain parts of the spectrum could result in damage to the tweeters especially if you play at high levels (I’m assuming it is mainly that end of the spectrum as is typical), and it could sound awful for anyone sharing the listening room!
I understand that you can get hearing aids tailored for music, and even with switchable characteristics - though expensive. The have been threads on heating aids which have discussed such, though I’m not sure if what I’m remembering was on this forum or the old onenow archived - searching here is easy, while the old forum search only looks at thread titles so you may need to be inventive in case not obvious.
Excellent point - maybe the hearing aids have been adjusted to compensate for @FrankJB‘s new hearing profile.
I’m obviously not qualified to offer more than an opinion but I notice that frequency response can be adjusted on Roon (no doubt many other programmes do the same); perhaps it is worth playing around with it? Just a thought.
My hearing is certainly not as good as it was, and I did briefly dabble in the DSP settings in Roon. I was only playing around with it at the time, but I’m pretty sure that with a more serious effort, it would do what you want. You can switch this function on and off at will once you have configured it. The trouble is that Roon will only play from local and internet streaming sources, and internet radio. So no use for your tuner or CD player.
As I put in my earlier post, a major issue is that if you have a serious hearing loss of 60 dB, it’s not just a case of everything being attenuated by a number near to 60 dB, the individual’s dynamic range is also affected. Hearing aids are designed to take a dynamic range of the noise in the room, speech or music or whatever, and compress it so that it amplifies the quiet sounds enough so the listener can hear them without the loudest sounds causing further hearing damage.
So it’s not just that the HiFi would be hard pushed to do it, but there is no way for it to adapt to the listeners dynamic hearing loss.
This compression is relatively easy to do for speech but it’s hard to do well for music and that’s one reason that modern hearing aids have special music programmes, where the amount of digital processing is greatly reduced. In my own experience there are a very few aids that work well for music, but it is a personal thing and it takes time to get right.
But you can get it right and although I would much rather not have to use hearing aids, my enjoyment of music is much better with then than without. Also at the factory last week, I could hear the improvement of the Statement system over the 500 system, so no-one needs to think there is no point in bothering with HiFi if you have hearing aids, because they would be wrong!
60 dB is a lot Chris! You can’t get that in a Roon equaliser.
A normal conversation might be at about 60 dBm. 60 dB up on that is a full blown rock concert level.
That actually sounds very positive then David - can I ask you which HA you found the best for music? I am on a few months trial as such so I could change them perhaps
I dont intend to listen at the levels I used to … and understand the point about blowing tweeters etc!
That was my thinking Tobyjug – to listen without them, but to have my system do the frequency changes for me… yes, my aids are tailored for my personal frequency dropouts – and yes I could have a Music setting program installed I’m sure – but at the end of the day, HA manufactures (I assume) do not give the distortion of their “speaker units “ in the aids much of a priority as we do in our systems.
Its like listening with our quality kit outputting into a cheap transistor radio – or at least that how it sounds like at the moment. Better than before yes, lots… , but I still long to listen to a better type of speaker….
Hence my posting here for advice.
Maybe its impossible – but if you don’t ask, you don’t get !
Thanks for that info - I had no idea that this topic would have been discussed previously! Excelent ideas looking at them and plenty of food for thought…
Speech programmes in hearing aids are designed to give maximum intelligibility, not musical excellence. So they will sound bad (tinny) on music. But that’s why you have music programmes.
The ones that I found worked best for me are GN Resound Quattro 962, which are so-called premium plus level. A pair costs about the same as an NDX2! I tried the latest Widex Evoke 440 a few months ago because they have a good reputation for music listening but I thought they were terrible. Another member here, who may come along possibly, found that a Phonak aid worked best for him, but I forget which model.
Even more than trialling loudspeakers, you have to listen to hearing aids and they have to be carefully set up by an audiologist who knows what you want. It will take several fitting sessions. Good luck anyway!
Currently with a pair of Oticon OPN - S1 David… thanks for your great advice
Can you or anyone comment on their sound compared to others? Good to get a second opinion…
Sorry I don’t know anything about those.
Indeed - it is a million times the power! So if listening to hifi at, say, 1W output, and not using hearing aid, an equaliser trying to achieve that would require a million watt amp - and tweeters able to handle it. Clearly a non-starter!
I think this just demonstates the old adage that a little knowlege is dangerous! So glad for helpful comments on here…
Indeed, that would be rather a lot! Roon’s parametric EQ goes up to 36dB. Quite how that relates to actual SPLs is another matter, and of course, Roon doesn’t even know what speakers you are using.
In practice, Roon DSP starts to distort pretty severely if you push it anywhere near its 36dB limit, at least in my system. Still, with some more moderate settings, I can see that you might at least partially offset hearing loss to provide some benefit. Not a complete cure, I’m sure, but perhaps there is some potential.
It’s not Roon that is distorting: 36dB is 4000 times the power it is asking the amp to give and speakers accept! How much you can boost successfully depends on your amp and speakers and, in particular your listening level.
Unless someone listens at extremely low levels, or has a very high power amp (and speakers able to handle - but amp clipping is often the cause of speaker destruction) then boosting by anything more than just a few dB may prove a rapid route to speaker failure (most likely of tweeters even if boosting in the bass).
In particular, though an aside from this thread, boosting is an extremely dangerous way to try to fix significant dips due to room response problems - especially cancellations where it simply won’t achieve the desired end regardless of speaker and amp capacity.
If I remember correctly the system my dad had once (expensive Kenwood separates), the usual way of using a graphic equaliser was never to boost any frequencies - but to cut them back, with a very slight raise on some midbands if needed.
It would also require a room built like nuclear bunker to withstand the vibrational energy (never mind what that energy density would do to the human body!).