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SM2 vs SPECWeb vs PENTEO 16 Pro

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JonUrban

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NOTE: PLEASE JUMP TO POST #23 FOR UPDATED FILES TO PREVIEW



I had a few minutes this morning to mess around with these three devices. I really wanted to see how they all compared.
This is a very small sample, about 25 seconds of "I Can't Tell You Why" from the Eagles Long Run LP.

Below are 3 files that will let you hear the rear channels of the same section of the song so you can get an idea on the results.
Now I have to say that the SM2 was in Involve Mode, the SPECWeb 1.5 was in default mode, and the PENTEO 16 Pro was in default Discrete mode.
I did not futz with any setting because honestly I do not know what I am doing with those settings - yet! :)

So here you go. Check them out for yourself and please comment. I am not giving my opinions yet, but would love to hear yours.
PLEASE NOTE THE UPDATED LINK FOR THE SPECWeb VERSION!!




Compare JPG.jpg
 
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J. PUPSTER

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I had a few minutes this morning to mess around with these three devices. I really wanted to see how they all compared.
This is a very small sample, about 25 seconds of "I Can't Tell You Why" from the Eagles Long Run LP.

Below are 3 files that will let you hear the rear channels of the same section of the song so you can get an idea on the results.
Now I have to say that the SM2 was in Involve Mode, the SPECWeb 1.5 was in default mode, and the PENTEO 16 Pro was in default Discrete mode.
I did not futz with any setting because honestly I do not know what I am doing with those settings - yet! :)

So here you go. Check them out for yourself and please comment. I am not giving my opinions yet, but would love to hear yours.




View attachment 44288
Just listened on my computer with Foobar2000;

The SpecWeb sounded garbled, not sure why it would sound that off?

The Penteo has a nice clean sound with a bounce back and forth between channels of the guitar.

The Smv2 has an equally clean sound but less bounce back and forth of the guitar (more blended to the middle.)

So just a matter of how you like your mix I guess, and other song samples I've heard from Penteo and Smv2; I'd say every song needs a little audio tweaking to fine tune it (at least for me.)

Edit: just listened a few more times paying close attention to just what sounds like a tom drum? The Penteo had more of a bass punch to the drum and the SMv2 was a little fuzzy (almost with a snare drum sound to it.)
And might need to verify with @@HomerJAU, but I believe he changed settings in Penteo to a "Music" setting and got better results?

Edit#2 - So since we've basically got stereo tracks here, I decided to check them out closer through my Oppo 205 and Bowers & Wilkins headphones. One other thing stood out and that was the bass guitar popped into focus with the SMv2 and seemed non-existent with the Penteo, perhaps it stuck it in the fronts?
 
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beerking

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The spec web sample sounds light years behind the other two in terms of clarity and fidelity.

It really is a very close call between the Penteo and the SM2. As both have very similar qualities where the sound is crisp and even (oops, there I go again, with the early festive anecdotes!!)

Listener choices will decide on the finer points delivered by these two devices. And I'm sure we will have quite a discussion on which one is preferred.
My personal choice is the Penteo version, scrub that, Chucky will have my guts for garters!! :D

It's a draw. Honestly

Which surprises me. As I thought the SM2 would be the clear winner.
 

J. PUPSTER

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Listener choices will decide on the finer points delivered by these two devices. And I'm sure we will have quite a discussion on which one is preferred.
My personal choice is the Penteo version, scrub that, Chucky will have my guts for garters!! :D

It's a draw. Honestly
Which surprises me. As I thought the SM2 would be the clear winner.
Or you mean drawn and quartered like William Wallace (Mel Gibson) in Braveheart :eek:
 

JonUrban

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I'm back from "family fun". Whew! Ate too much, talked too much, etc.

Tomorrow I am going to do the SPECWeb again because maybe something got F'd up. I don't recall it being that radically different from the other two, but this file sounds very bad. It's worth another try because I respect SPECWeb a lot, a REAL lot.

As far as the SM2 and Penteo, it is very close. Maybe I'll also do a "music" run with that.

More to come tomorrow. Stay tuned and stay safe on the roads out there this weekend, wherever you may be. Lots of cops, lots of drunks, lots of drivers who don't know where they're going.
 

Sonik Wiz

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I'm back from "family fun". Whew! Ate too much, talked too much, etc.

Tomorrow I am going to do the SPECWeb again because maybe something got F'd up. I don't recall it being that radically different from the other two, but this file sounds very bad. It's worth another try because I respect SPECWeb a lot, a REAL lot.

As far as the SM2 and Penteo, it is very close. Maybe I'll also do a "music" run with that.

More to come tomorrow. Stay tuned and stay safe on the roads out there this weekend, wherever you may be. Lots of cops, lots of drunks, lots of drivers who don't know where they're going.
Thanks for doing the hard work & sharing with us!

I have used SpecWeb multiple times & I have good respect for the effort went into it. However I saw little future use when I realized it is amplitude based decoding only. That is, it doesn't differentiate between center front & center back. It all just comes out center front. What I do like about SpecWeb is what it doesn't do to music. It doesn't alter tonal balance, dynamics or any other noticeable artifacts. In my experience I've never heard that strange flanging sound before from SpecWeb. It will be interesting to see what your further investigation discovers.

Then I listened to the Penteo. My 1st impression was that I was listening to the front chs it was so clean.After a couple more listens it started to sound just a bit too dry & clinical.

The SM version was much the same but a bit less dry with just a hint of increased ambience which is what I would expect more of from the rear chs. It is close to a tie but I'd have to give the SM just a bit more preference because of this.

We are in some ways comparing apples to oranges (I prefer apples). The Penteo can rely on tools such as look ahead with no attack/ decay artifacts at all, make use of a powerful PC CPU, & huge amounts of RAM, depending of course on the construction of the PC. The SM has much smaller memory & CPU power, is a hybrid analog/digital & does it all in real time. I would expect the Penteo to have the edge. For the SM to compare so well is really pretty amazing. And I can just put a record,disc, or play a file & that's all there is to it. I have yet to get a.dll error on the Surround Master....

I always like to mention that a little out of phase pre-synthesis really expands the sound stage in QS. As I'm sure your familiar with the difference between the basic QS vs Synthesis mode on a Sansui, or the stereo surround mode on a Tate, you know what I'm talking about. If you get the chance open the original file in Sound Forge & do -10db or -7dB opposite phase blending & try this test again. I'm sure it would be very illuminating.
 
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IMachine

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It is a bit problematic to use only a 25 sec sample of one song, because the results differ from song to song.
Some results from Penteo are stellar, some are only double stereo......
 

Soundfield

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We are in some ways comparing apples to oranges (I prefer apples). The Penteo can rely on tools such as look ahead with no attack/ decay artifacts at all, make use of a powerful PC CPU, & huge amounts of RAM, depending of course on the construction of the PC. The SM has much smaller memory & CPU power, is a hybrid analog/digital & does it all in real time. I would expect the Penteo to have the edge. For the SM to compare so well is really pretty amazing. And I can just put a record,disc, or play a file & that's all there is to it. I have yet to get a.dll error on the Surround Master....
Exactly so. The SMv2 is so remarkably good, totally effortless to use and instantly applicable to each and every piece of music available to me I really can't imagine having all the tedious faffing about with off line software products.
 

JonUrban

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It is a bit problematic to use only a 25 sec sample of one song, because the results differ from song to song.
Some results from Penteo are stellar, some are only double stereo......
True, but since it's copyrighted material, I can't post the entire song (obviously), only a very short segment.
 

JonUrban

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So I've been doing Penteo vs SPECWeb this morning for about an hour, and I can honestly say that I am a bit disappointed in the Penteo. Maybe I am doing something wrong, but everything I've run through both programs sounds close, but the SPECWeb seems to have more detail in the wav forms and the audio.

I know you can't "hear" a jpg, but here is Fleetwood Mac "Seven Wonders" from both SPECWeb 5.1 and Penteo 5.1. You can see the upper rip, the SPECWeb, is more defined. Source was the HDTracks 24/96 .wav file.

Penteo-SPEC post 1.jpg
 

Sonik Wiz

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So I've been doing Penteo vs SPECWeb this morning for about an hour, and I can honestly say that I am a bit disappointed in the Penteo. Maybe I am doing something wrong, but everything I've run through both programs sounds close, but the SPECWeb seems to have more detail in the wav forms and the audio.

I know you can't "hear" a jpg, but here is Fleetwood Mac "Seven Wonders" from both SPECWeb 5.1 and Penteo 5.1. You can see the upper rip, the SPECWeb, is more defined. Source was the HDTracks 24/96 .wav file.

View attachment 44308
Last test the consensus opinion was that both SMv2 & Penteo sounded better than the garbly SpecWeb. What has changed to improve SpecWeb? You have switched from the Eagles to Fleetwood Mac. Do you think it was due to the Eagles qualitiy of recording? Curiouser & curiouser.
 

JonUrban

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I don't know. I just listened to the Eagles on my hard drive and they don't sound that bad. More to come
 
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