General Speaker Advice and Recommendations

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by shotgunshane, Mar 7, 2017.

  1. jhaider

    jhaider Acquaintance

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    In addition to more volume displacement, a vertically symmetrical array can be used to control vertical dispersion. The Snell XA series from the late 1990s/early 2000s was one such example, with driver spacing and crossover points synergized to control vertical dispersion and avoid floor/ceiling reflections. However, the spacing requirements and crossover demands are such that most WMTMWs are not optimized for vertical dispersion control. They are done for looks as much as anything else.

    One problem with that statement is that most multidriver speakers are not that good, either.

    Also, most larger (>4") "single driver" speakers are actually primitive coaxes. They have a supplementary treble radiator, such as a "whizzer" cone, that provides extra breakup that sounds sort of like treble if you imagine really hard. That leads to both on axis frequency response problems, and sound power problems.

    But that's just what I hear. I would hope that anyone pondering something as expensive as Voxativ would spend the time, effort, and money to hear them, and hear them in direct comparison with a known reference.
     
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  2. Priidik

    Priidik Friend

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    I think it's not that simple.
    Any single driver that also does some bass will have severe break-up in audible range, which automatically adds one source of incoherence on top of other issues caused by it.
    Another is geometrical size, a driver will 'beam'. For popular 5 to 8 inch widebanders beaming is troublesome in mid-range and it can not be dealt with godly materials as some seem to think. (I think the same issue contributes to the 'suck-out' in mids that is usually characteristic of 8''+1'' monitors)
    Thus I'm intrigued as to why Marten uses the 7'' ceramic up to 3800 Hz. Perhaps smooth dispersion is worth letting go for cross-over free midrange and lowered tweeter distortion.
    Better multi-driver speakers have felt much more coherent to me than any widebander. Tbh only wb I have liked was an ancient Telefunken TV set speaker, some 3 or 4 inches hard paper. This had unique tone + a pinch of pleasant honky coloration, sort of like sepia effect on photographs.
     
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  3. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    I've seen a few speakers with felt around the tweeters. This is suppose to reduce diffraction, but what does that mean subjectively? Do all speakers benefit from this mod?
     
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  4. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    I would think the felt absorbs some excess energy/reflections and brings it down a db or two. Don't quote me on that though.
     
  5. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    I think it's a simple matter of first order crossovers simply not limiting excursion enough on the tweeter. The Bird 2 with its 2nd order crossover has its crossover at 3kHz according to the website. The Mingus Quintet with the tiny 20mm tweeter and first order slopes has the highest mid to tweeter crossover frequency. The tweeter would probably go up in flames if you somehow managed to cross it at 2.5kHz with a first order slope (the tweeter itself already rolls off with a 2nd order slope).
    Another thing to keep in mind is that with first order slopes the drivers are only 3db down at the crossover frequency, instead of 6. A "cross-over free midrange" isn't what I would call a first order crossover at 4kHz - even if the crossover is at 4kHz the midrange will start rolling off much earlier and the tweeter should still add energy at 2kHz. At such high frequencies a coax would be best, although I don't think many of them are acoustical first order slopes. Some of the old Thiel designs are just that.

    It comes down to what coherence really means. I feel that you can hear when a tweeter is placed next to a midrange driver at most listening distances. The soundstage just doesn't have the correctness that a coax or fullrange can have, which to me immediately tells me that there are two drivers and not one. I also find that most tweeters tend to sound texturally different from their midranges, regardless of what the measurements say. Even the ceramic Accuton tweeters don't sound like the ceramic midranges.
    The FE83En had this thick paper coloration, but it was persistent across the board, even at 6 and 9kHz where it had resonances.


    From my measurements the whizzer can actually be very free from resonances, but it's not always easy to tell apart resonances and interference effects. With my Voxativ drivers there is no one resonance that stays at every angle - so basically I can't measure a resonance. It's sort of like how CSDs from electrostatic speakers sometimes look horrible even though the driver itself has no real resonances.
    Of course it's important to listen to what you want to buy. I didn't expect that I'd buy a Voxativ driver until I heard them with my own equipment in good conditions and was able to make up my mind.

    Subjectively I really don't think the small 3" FE83En has any advantage compared to the AC-1.6. Sure, dispersion is more even with smaller drivers, but with the FE83En I had to sit on-axis or treble would take a dump. With the Voxativs I can listen from most positions in my room and it still sounds pretty good. Dispersion in the top octave is significantly wider, too. With a lot of distance to the speakers it's actually not an issue to sit on-axis with the drivers in-room.

    The smaller widebanders without whizzers do have some merit, but I suspect that the much higher distortion from such small drivers limits their capabilites subjectively. The FR measurements for the FE108-Sol and the 4" Audium (with tiny whizzer cone) look promising, but distortion will be higher than bigger drivers.

    Also I wouldn't call a whizzer, when done well, a primitive coax. They can achieve what is close to impossible with a real coax with a tweeter: A time-aligned coaxial driver with acoustical first order slopes. And (most importantly) no crossover network is needed. I do feel that crossover parts limit transparency, although I have no experience with some of the expensive parts. Even then I expect the effect to be similar to a cable, just an order of magnitude higher, in that there is no perfectly transparent solution.


    Then again I also think that speakers shouldn't have a perfectly flat FR off-axis and that we should take psychoacoustics into account for the off-axis response. The effect of the HRTF on the direct sound will be specific to the angle the drivers hit your head, but the reverb be more of a diffuse field. It will sound tonally different even with a speaker with perfect dispersion in a perfect reverb chamber.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2017
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  6. anetode

    anetode Moderator

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    Subjective difference? Focused imaging, mainly (and only really maintained in a controlled room).

    GedLee goes batshit and stuffs a punch party bowl shaped horn with foam. The polar response he achieves is really impressive, but that's not to say that given an A/B comparison that someone (i.e. picky audiophile) wouldn't choose to have the same design sans stuffing. Better yet, what about combining sheets of varying materials and radii? Seems like a lot of the high end has now gone to a more conservative waveguide approach.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2017
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  7. Priidik

    Priidik Friend

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    Good thinking. These are intended to play real loud. And on top of it, it looks like (based on some internet impressions and measurements) that low order crossover help to blend dispersion of tweeter and mid. I'm going to be experimenting with that soon.

    That is probably why there are 5 way speakers around. Gradually blending mass and material.
    It appears that wrt multi ways, similar cone material is what most speaker designer opt to.
    All paper, alu, or polyprop + tweeter where choices are more limited.
     
  8. winders

    winders Know-it-all boomer, prob racist

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    Folks, I am trying to keep my speaker bill for my 2 channel system at something around $3K but certainly under $4K!

    The new Salk Song3-A and GoldenEar Triton Two+ are possibilities. I listened to the Martin Logan Motion 60XT, Martin Logan ElectroMotion ESL, and Bowers & Wilkins CM9 S2 recently. I wasn't really impressed with any of the three but the CM9 S2's sounded the best.

    Thoughts? Opinions? Suggestions?
     
  9. SSL

    SSL Friend

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    Haven't heard them, but the Philharmonic Audio Slim Tower and BMR Philharmonitor look very interesting in this price range (technically below it).
     
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  10. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    Dennis told me he's discontinuing the Slims Tower and referred me to the Song 3.
     
  11. winders

    winders Know-it-all boomer, prob racist

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    I chatted with Dennis Murphy about the Slim Tower speakers. He said that he has discontinued them as they were so similar to the Song3. The Song3-A has an upgraded midrange driver and a better bass driver compared to the Slim Tower. The cabinets are both made by Jim Salk.

    shotgunshane, you replied while I was composing this!
     
  12. Daveheart

    Daveheart Friend

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    Hey @winders in a couple of auditions, I found the Triton 2+ to be a little veiled with coherence issues. Of course, YMMV, but I certainly wouldn't recommend them.
     
  13. winders

    winders Know-it-all boomer, prob racist

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    Thanks, Dave! I don't think I would have a chance to listen to them so the input is much appreciated.
     
  14. a44100Hz

    a44100Hz Friend

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    Here's an ignorant query. How easy is it to swap out subwoofers? I have a set of powered Yamaha studio monitors, HS-50M I believe, and a matching HS-10W sub. I'm considering getting more musical sounding powered monitors or bookshelf speakers and using the same sub. Is this easily accomplished, or do I need to be concerned with matching specs? Any suggestions on ~cheap speakers that would offer an improvement?
     
  15. JeffYoung

    JeffYoung Friend

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    In most cases an audiophile subwoofer will not be the same brand / same line as the full-range or satellite speakers. I think that's more of a HT thing.

    There are certainly exceptions, but to cut to the chase, it's very easy to swap subwoofers around.
     
  16. ald0s

    ald0s Acquaintance

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    What are the pros and cons of 2 smaller speakers + sub vs. larger speakers? Im currently looking at ATC SCM 7 + Rythmik sub or SCM19s. Auditioned the 19s and enjoyed them but the bass didn't really kick in until they were fairly loud. What other differences are there?

    Also on a completely different note has anyone heard Rethm speakers? There are some Maargas near me for a steal and while I'm trying to organise a little listening session information on them is sparse.
     
  17. Priidik

    Priidik Friend

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    Small speakers sound small in soundstage and dynamics, laws of nature. Subs will not change that much, mostly will let you hear the low octaves that were missing.
    Large speakers sound more expansive and 'grand', also usually are lower in distortion and more efficient.
    Only reasons I'd get small speakers is space constraints and extreme nearfield use (less than 1 m, where small speakers have better imaging).
    Small speakers and subs are more flexible in small rooms with not so great acoustics (subs can be located separately),
    but only when the subs are not producing higher than 70..80 Hz. Even then subs + satellites have always felt disjointed to me.
     
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  18. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    In the pro audio world, the matching subs are often spec'd because they will have complementary rolloff curves to match the rolloff of the monitors when the switches are engaged. I don't think the particular Yamahas you have are quite so specific though, so it probably wouldn't hurt to change it up.
     
  19. Muse Wanderer

    Muse Wanderer Friend

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    After 3 days of speaker gazing and lots of listening at Munich High end last month, the open baffle PureAudioProject Voxativ speakers were the best in show for me. I wrote my impressions here.

    I also listened to @Serious' open baffle Voxativ speakers with similar setup. The clarity and coherence of the sound across the FR including the bass was outstanding.

    Now that I am strongly considering purchasing the PAP Voxativs, I have to factor in the room they will be setup. Serious' room has ample space behind the speakers with a sloped roof back wall that probably helped the sound reflections and reduced interference. The bass started to roll off at 25Hz or so. He turned his speakers to face the long wall once and the bass started to roll off at 50Hz. They still sounded good.

    My room is rectangular in shape and the speakers will need to be positioned against the longwall. The room's is narrow - 10 feet wide (3.04metres). The length of the room is 31 feet 11 inches (9.73 metres). The height of the room is also limited at 8 feet 4 inches (2.54 metres). Since the room is also used as a hallway with 4 exits, I cannot place the speakers against the short wall, but along the long wall shifted toward one end by two thirds. The walls are irregular shaped old farmhouse stone. It has no treatments applied as yet. I can move the front of the baffles around 16 inches or even 2 feet from the back wall. I could also keep them on a wheeled platform to further move them forward or even place them along short wall during listening sessions. This would also enable me to move them back easily since this is used as a living room.

    I would like to ask whether such open baffle speaker placement causes serious issues to the sound. The PAPs widebander is only 65cm high and the speakers have a tilt of 2.5-7 degrees. If I opt for a wheeled platform, I could increase the height further by 15-20cm in order to place the widebander at near ear height. The walls are very hard coralline limestone with very irregular shaped surface that may help to diffuse the reflections to different directions. However the walls are very thick and may not let the sound to exit the room easily.

    Relative to distance of back to front wall, the speakers will be placed around 15-20% from back wall. My listening position has a further 2 feet deep and 32 inches wide closed window exactly behind my head. This would increase the distance further only at the listening position. I can also orient the left speaker so that the back of it faces another enclosure in a wall. Toeing in the speakers would increase the distance from the back wall further but can cause problems with the treble. Would placement of the open baffles speakers in these positions adversly effect the sound excessively?

    Thanks for any suggestions.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2017
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  20. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    I have a pair of Usher Audio Diamond Mini-2's. So far I think they lack balls and note weight is thin. I'm not remotely engaged. Music is flat and boring.

    I can get decent rumble if I place the speakers very close to the back wall but they lack rumble if I pull them away. Either way they lack impact. Where is the midbass?

    All the midrange focus seems to be upper midrange. No matter how I try placing them, I cannot flesh the midrange out enough. It lacks body and depth. I have to toe them in a good bit to keep them from sounding too shouty. It's all kind of an Etymotic sound at its worst.

    Obviously my room is greatly affecting them. I was wondering if anyone had some advice on where to place some acoustic panels. You can see in the pictures below that the side walls start to tilt in about neck high. Treatment on the lower half, upper half or both? Or it's possible, even with acoustic treatment, these speakers are too neutral for the room and the room is just not going to play nice with them. The room is open to an L shaped pool table area behind the seating position. Short wall where the speakers are located is 11'6" and long wall is 13"

    If the room and speakers are irrevocably mismatched, what speakers would one recommend? Budget up to 3k, new or used. Pretty confused and frustrated at the moment.

    IMG_0809.JPG IMG_0819.JPG
     

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