General Speaker Advice and Recommendations

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

  1. westermac

    westermac Friend

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    My current amp (B&K ST2140) runs pretty cool but I'm also adding a Vidar to my setup which has been said to run warm, and given that I'm in a smallish room with numerous other heat sources I'd prefer not to add to it (that might change in a few months though).
     
  2. Hrodulf

    Hrodulf Friend

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    @Psalmanazar show me a DIY design that’s as small, covers a similar bandwidth, has cardoid bass response, driver time coherence and controlled directivity. I'm not aware of any.

    Why do you regard the Putzey’s design as horrible? Give me some points which we can discuss, pretty sure it’ll interesting for everyone.

    As for cheap drivers... That’s the beauty of DSP, linear distortion isn’t really an issue. I would only criticize the choices made for low end SPL versus distortion. As for others, reviews so far have been univerally favourable ranging from 6moons to this.
     
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  3. direstraitsfan98

    direstraitsfan98 D2Girls v2.0

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    JBL 4367 sound pretty good. Better than anything I've owned yet. I blast Metallica and Rush and all sorts of rock music on it every day. :headbang:

    Maybe I'll upgrade to the M2 one day if I can afford it (and can get an audition)

    Also wtf psal is alive yay :D
     
  4. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Friend

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    Who cares about bandwidth and talking points when that bandwidth is unusable and those talking points nothing but marketing drivel as the speaker sucks? The bass is compressed garbage. The midrange is utterly lacking in detail. It's just another small speaker that tries to go too low for its own good like the JBLs, Ilouds, and Neumann 5 incher (better speaker past the lofi lower end hahaha). You can buy things at Guitar Center (A7X and HS8) that are more coherent small speakers with "bass".

    For the cost of a pair of Kiis, people should just go a bit bigger. The KH310 and bigger Adam (and successor) stuff are way cheaper and sound way better. You can't beat physics
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
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  5. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    My first time I hear about this Kii 3 speakers... Here is what I gather from what I see:
    1. The Kii Three is IMO not exactly small (16" high x 8" wide x 16" deep):[​IMG]
    2. $11.5k a pair is a lot of $ for a pair of active 3-way speakers. But YMMV.
    3. This 2-way design is actually smaller, has great dispersion, uses DSP, and costs a lot less ($300): http://noaudiophile.com/IK_Multimedia_iLoudMM/
    4. The drivers used by Kii Three are IMO not shit. Price correlates poorly with quality. The Kii folks probably flipped that around. Each monitor uses 3 6.5" sub-woofers. Based on Fs, Qts, Vas, and driver diameter, the Peerless mini-sub (assuming that's what they used which is likely) can hit an F3 of 24 Hz using a single 1.5" port 7" deep port in a 20 litter enclosure. The price paid is an 80 dB of sensitivity. But again, this thing has 3 such LF mini-subwoofer drivers which should bring sensitivity up quite a bit. I do not see a port so it is possible that these guys went for a sealed enclosure and used DSP to flatten things up down to 30 Hz. That might work really well. So, while I think this maybe overpriced, I do not feel it is shit. I'm glad I learned about those drivers actually.
    5. While the ILoudMM solution is smaller, cheaper, has very good radiation pattern, and is much more practical all around, it may not be able to push as much air, go as low, and will very likely strain much easier than this $11.5k money furnace.
    6. The "laws of physics" apply well here. This is not shit according to specs. Just not cheap bastid material. Furthermore, DIY at this price range will likely yield better value and perhaps even quality. Given the size of these "monitors" I would just consider getting a full tower.
    Would love to hear them. Would not buy them. They give me DIY ideas.

    EDIT: BTW, just so you guys know. An RS180-4 can dig down just around the upper 20 something Hz and radiate awesome below 1.5 kHz. All w/o DSP on a 32 liter enclosure with a relatively small port. All that for not so much $. You may use DSP for room correction though. But hopefully not for $11.5k. Hell, even if we were to label the Kii speakers "cheap" (which IMO they are not), a single RS180-4 + RST28-4 combo for a Not-The-Amiga DIY solution will cost even less... Just saying. I dunno about the remote, but hopefully your cheap receiver comes with one, along with all the kool random Dolby/DTS effects, and Bluetooth-ness that may also come with it.

    EDIT2: Yeah, yeah. It is not using Be drivers and some other reference grade woofer(s) using some crazy materials from a random European vendor with a kool accent, which in the eyes of some may justify $11.5k or more. Not to me. It's a subjective hobby with very subjective prices. Such is life.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
  6. briskly

    briskly Friend

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    Who needs Be? If I wanted to empty my bank account into tweeters, the Bliesma T34-A is an Al/Mg dome that hits practically every parameter you could ask for, some much better than any Be.

    The goal of the Kii is its uniformly attenuated off-axis response into the low frequencies by a cardioid array. Two of the side woofers provide destructive interference. Compared to the giant horns it is attempting to emulate in directivity it is small, and It obviously doesn't have the efficiency of those larger speakers (efficiency ∝ Sd^2). There are 4 heavy woofers with decent excursion and lots of amplifier power to make up for where it is most needed. DSP-controlled cardioid is its main distinction, which should still be doable for far less than 11k/pair once you figure out how to make it work. If you don't care for the cardioid, you can shave off even more money.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
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  7. Priidik

    Priidik Friend

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    Genelec, Kii etc design goals are certainly not targeting some of the parameters folks here might be looking for.
    I personally don't care about these 'butique monitors' much anymore either, but they can be good tools for pros.
    Bass dynamics evaluation with 6 incher is laughable in whichever way you look at it.

    Anyone who has ever designed and built a speaker should realize that it's not trivial to outdo those at their game.
    Anything sounding much better will be bigger.

    Given the scope of where the Kii 3 specifically lands I'd look forward to something from Riva thats 1/5 of the cost.
     
  8. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Friend

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    The problem is that Kii's game hasn't resulted in a better tool or better sound. Bass will still need to be checked (and probably remixed) on a proper full ranger, they're bad nearfield so you'll need something else for the mids, and the Genelec/Adam/Neumann/etc midfields are just better with better done midranges and larger bass woofers than the Kii3. I guess the designers accomplished something technical but it didn't result in a truly worthwhile product for anyone except new gear fetishists.
     
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  9. Hrodulf

    Hrodulf Friend

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    Firstly, I never claimed that Kiis are a good value. I just said that they do some unique things I wouldn't be able to replicate via DIY for any kind of money. My current system plays lower, louder and cleaner than those speakers and cost me less than one Kii Three. At the same time I do appreciate the move to controlled directivity and cardoid dispersion at low frequencies. If you ask me, Dutch&Dutch 8's did it better than Kii Three by porting the sides of the midwoofer chamber, so that the side-farts cancel out the creeping wavefront.

    Yeah, that's a great driver and a very good value. What bothers me about using small drivers for low frequencies is the feeling that TS params are really good for modelling small signal behaviour of a driver. So when it goes full swing you really need to take into account Klippel measurements with changing BL and stuff like that. I suspect that's the reason why big driver speakers have that magic and don't fall apart at higher volumes - with little excursion the simulated design still works as intended.

    P.S. Scanspeak has a really nice 12MU midrange I haven't seen anywhere else. It has both good power handling and sensitivity. Usually small mids suck at this.
     
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  10. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    LOL!

    I understand the limitations of a small driver. With that in mind, I like the ND91-4 in particular because it is fairly linear even at 5 mm of excursion (which like you and Marv said, can be problematic). You can see the Klippel measurements of it at Dayton Audio, BL and all. I did measure the little speaker I put together, and it did very good even at 70 Hz. But regardless, note a subwoofer would be recommended for such small speakers which will off load the small monitor. Above 80 Hz, I do not expect large excursions.

    More importantly, be aware of your application. Even if we put the subwoofer talk on hold. If one is going to use a pair of speakers as nearfield monitors, I don't think one needs the sex in sensitivity (unless one is already deaf and wants to be even more deaf). But one might benefit from integration between speakers at close range and good dispersion. If one is going to sit relatively far behind, then one does need the sex in sensitivity and integration is less of a problem. Then a 3 or 4 way starts to make more sense.

    Also, I did not bring up value because I felt Mr Wolf missed that. I brought it because Mr Ultrabike Cheap Bastid cares.

    EDIT: Also, that RS180 is not just "good value", I have a feeling it competes with Scanspeak in terms of performance regardless of price. That model can be used as a low midrange too. If we focus on Scanspeak alone, some feel the old Revelator is superior to the Illuminator series. But this may be model to model dependent. I heard the Revelator on a Sony design. It is very good.

    EDIT2: One complain on the cheaper aluminum RS speakers is cone break up. However I think it's manageable. Anyway, if one does not like Dayton because it's not expensive enough or really much worse than Scanspeak, one can do something with the Revelator and still survive bankruptcy when going the DIY way. For example, Zaph's ZRT (Scanspeak Not-The-Amiga version) 2-way tower looks really nice (though a few times more $ than an RS180 based design).
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018 at 1:56 AM
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  11. Priidik

    Priidik Friend

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    This gets a little bit on choice between ''daugther or mother?'', I say most speaker designers would disagree, still.
    The Q values are, imo ,not great, too much mech losses, too high electric Q. It ofc depends on design goals, but in general..
    And then they are not dominating with value, either : this is, imo, at least as good for similar $
     
  12. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Almost "Made"

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    I'm using a remote controlled power bar to power on and off my subs, but I can't use it for other things as order is too important. It would be nice if you could buy something that would allow you to program delays (or perhaps could build something with an Rpi or such). I have not really researched this at all though.

    The Vidar actually makes very little heat when it is idle, and I'm pretty sensitive to heat issues. I would consider leaving mine running all the time, except I can't power down the Freya with the Vidars running, it makes a loud pop through the speakers. The Freya is nice that it has a power on sequence to protect against that, but no such protection for the power off. And of course can't leave the Freya running because tubes, so amps have to go off first. Depending what you use for a pre this may not be an issue for you though.
     
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  13. direstraitsfan98

    direstraitsfan98 D2Girls v2.0

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    Better than using a chord dave! That thing will blow your speakers up if they're sensitive enough. And that's just from turning it on. Always practice power on and power off precautions. Some gear just doesn't have this issue at all, like Pass Labs for example. :D

    Personally I like to leave my gear on 24/7 because I hate having to wait even 30 minutes for my stuff to warm up. This was to the detriment of my wallet, especially when I had the Pass. My bill was over $90 extra a month from just the Amp. If you're like me you're probably going to want to get class AB or just get used to idea of having to wait. With tube amps, I get it, but one of the whole reasons I went solid state is so I DIDNT have to deal with warmup...

    Anyway, I know we are talking about power down, not on, but I wanted to say: wouldn't adding an extra power strip into the equation, one that would allow for seamless power down in a specific order be detrimental to audio quality? I went from Monster power strip with all sorts of caps and junk in the path to a no frills power bar and I found improved the sound immensely. Shudder to be the think of going back to that.
     
  14. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Have you heard the cardioid Geithains? You Europeans have the neatest new toys in this market segment.
     
  15. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    Well, The SB17NBAC35-8 has a little less Sd, but it does have higher Qms and so less mechanical losses. Note I prefer the RS180-4 to the RS180-8 based on specs because it does have a slightly higher Qms and all things considered it seems to go lower. The RS180-4 is currently $43. The SB Acoustics is currently $70.

    The reference grade 18W/8531G-00 has a little more Sd than both the Dayton and the SB. It's a larger woofer. It also has has slightly higher Qms than the SB, and about the same Qes. The RS180-4 has a little higher Qes than both and again less Qms. However, note the Revelator starts to beam around 1 kHz, and the SB around 1.5 kHz. The RS180-4 starts to beam hard around 2 kHz. When choosing a driver for 2-way for easy blending, I feel 1 and 1.5 kHz is a bit hard on the tweeter. I tend to like 1.4 kHz on 1" to 1-1/8" tweeter crossing.

    Not sure about distortion differences between all these drivers. But I believe I've heard good things from the Revelator and the RS. Not sure about that particular SB.

    A more fair comparison from the Scanspeak world might be the classic series 18W/8535-01 given price. Still, the 18W/8535-01 is pricier, has similar Qms to the RS180-4 and slightly lower Qes. It does have lower Fs and higher Sd. But again, starts to beam hard at 1 kHz like the awesome-sauce 18W/8531G-00.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018 at 10:00 AM
  16. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    @Priidik, any other speaker you consider better than the RS180-4 for about $40-$60 and with similar characteristics? Again, that SB Acoustics you mentioned, even with a higher Qms, seems to beam sooner and costs almost 2x the price at least here in the US.

    They do have a sale right now on the RS, but then again Parts-Express seems to have a perpetual sale on these.

    EDIT: The reason I want to know is genuine. I want to see what goodness can be put together and I dunno every woofer on the planet. I already found some hidden gems thanks to that Kii 3 post.
     
  17. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Darko interviewing Andrew Jones, mostly about active/powered speakers. A fairly long interview (almost 30 mins) but some interesting tidbits in here. I prefer the kind of active speaker approach they’re doing vs. the all-in-one digital DSP/crossover approach that are becoming popular lately, like the KEF LS50W.

    Start around the 2:00 mark to skip the anecdotes at the beginning.

     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018 at 10:47 AM
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  18. briskly

    briskly Friend

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    Measurements of the Dayton RS here. Cone modes driving up distortion can be a concern, particularly 3rd order just above 2kHz. The site has a decent stock of driver data you can look through.

    I was under the impression that the Peerless cones used in the Kii are off the open market. At least, Madisound/PE/Digikey don't stock them.
     
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  19. Priidik

    Priidik Friend

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    The datasheets and measurements only tell so much. Whatever I have fantasized by specs of a driver almost never has met with actual listening impressions for me.
    I haven't tried most of these by my self, so this is only speculation. In real life testing I really don't know which of these I might choose.
    On paper, there are these:
    Peerless-HDS-P830875 - Troels used these in one of his towers.
    Don't forget about pro audio companies

    Stretching the price border further opens up more choices:
    Like the Satori range from SBA (covered in depth by Troels and tons of measurement and listening data online)
    More pro audio solutions (Ciare, Beyma, RCF, etc), although these will usually not be 'full range' capable due to high BL, high Fs and super low Qe.

    I usually trust trusted ears more than measurements, the sad reality for me, haha.
    That being said, a lot of things correlate well between measurements, specs vs listening impressions.

    Here, for 6'' two-way, I'd still focus on mid-range performance. Then stuff like lowest inductance, good cone damping behavior and lowest possible THD would be my first criteria, after that beaming/dispersion.
    Wrt cone material I'd look into polyprop, fancy paper (papyrus and Scanspeak stuff) and perhaps Nomex/Kevlar woven cones. Aluminium, even with tricks (slices, variable thickness, coatings) doesn't seem to quite match up here.

    For more articulate bass (not extension): high mech Q (non-conductive vc former, soft membrane), high Vas (less stiff spider/membrane) - also means larger box, low electrical Q (large magnet), flattest BL vs excursion curve (shorting rings, vc ext caps), stiffest cone possible (here alu, magnesium and ceramics might have an edge).
    I prefer articulation before extension, especially in a limited constraints as is 6''. To each his own, thus my 'imo being better'.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018 at 1:51 PM
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  20. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Almost "Made"

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    I leave the GumBy on all the time but that is all right now We have fairly cheap hydro power here so I don't obsess over it like some people in places with high electric costs may. I think I mentioned in the Vidar thread that even being A/B they sound better well warmed up, but leaving them powered on is not sufficient to really give any head start to the warm up. They idle about 80F, and sound best IMHO when they hit about 110F, and that requires actually doing some amplifying. Not that they sound bad cold, just not as good as they do hot. Strangely, the Freya, with the tubes, seems not to matter as much.

    As to power bars, I've wondered about this myself. I'm not comfortable leaving high price electronics plugged into the wall without any kind of surge protection. I'm just using regular consumer grade stuff right now. I have no audible noise at all at idle with the volume at listening level, or between tracks on a CD. If the cheap power bars are adding noise, they are doing it by distorting the signal, not by adding to the noise floor, at least so far as I can tell. I have been considering getting a higher end Furman or such to see if it make a difference.

    On a related note, I was concerned about running two Vidars on the same 15A circuit as the specs say power usage "700 Watts Max". I used one of those devices to measure the actual draw, and find they are not using more than about 250ish each at quite loud listening levels. They might draw a lot momentarily when you first power them on, otherwise I'm not sure how you would make them use 700W, but it probably would not be good. At idle they use about 60W (Freya uses 40W, and Gumby uses about 20W, pretty much in line with the stated specs)
     
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