General Speaker Advice and Recommendations

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

  1. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    I'm unlikely to ever be that person - we don't have that array of gear available and I am not connected in that way. So I guess the question is, can a platform like SBAF provide adequate guidance to taking another path? Be it passive store bought or DIY?

    For eaxample, I'm happy to do the digital bit, DSP, digital crossovers etc. and can likely find good cabinet work here for a good price. But that's a relatively merciless long road to go down if it turns out to be the wrong one. ATC Actives I can flip all day long relative to whatever I done built.
     
  2. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    @msommers you hate treble or rather metal tweeters, especially garbage ones like Focal. Go soft dome. ATC or Neumann are the right track if you go active.

    @Priidik
    Once you get away from tiny speakers that use analog EQ or DSP to fake bass extension at a massive cost to dynamics (the whole tiny speakers that go too low phenomenon), active gets a lot better as it's no longer trying to get around the laws of physics. Most of the meme active speakers are 2 ways that go too low and most of three way ones with dedicated midrange domes are very expensive versus cheaper 3 way passive towers.

    The drivers in these are mostly fine and the dead sound is in the recordings and monitor speakers not trying to add sort of resonance or massive additional dynamics (corner loading, fart rocket ports, harbeths, other kinds of crap) to the music itself. Cheaper driver with less crap in signal path from active crossovers tend to be more dynamic than slightly expensive stuff + tons of crap in the crossovers. At the price these guys are charging for the really good stuff, the cost of the plate amps are minimal.

    That being said too, you are also hitting the limits of the illusion of recorded music even with the better guitar center stuff. HS8 and A7X are typically the best stuff they carry other than beat up used gear, Shure mics and Mogami quad cables for noisy live stuff. Those speakers are fine to really start picking apart most professional recordings. They're listenable (they're not totally messed up like amateur ones) but not good. Guitar tones and dynamics and levels on record pre very late 60s and early 70s are laughable and most are far from realistic or even interesting sounding since. Drums are universally pretty bad but sometimes interesting until the mid 80s when they got actual weight and lost the drenched in reverb, Phil Collins sound (Slayer was one of the first to abandon this). Then in the mid 90s, the loudness war starts and you don't even get realisticish guitar sounds anymore. I mean even bands with all the money in the world (Metallica after Kill em All, Rolling Stones outside of some brief periods, Iron Maiden's worthwhile records) have awful sounding guitars and teeny bopper / internet "audio engineer / producer" stuff is infinitely worse than those.

    purr1in brought up Priest and while early Priest is easily the best stuff musically (until the 80s), it just very poorly recorded but not butchered or anything. Just very tepid and flat like most recordings without being bad in an interesting way. Priest doesn't get better sounding in the studio until Turbo and Painkiller eras, when they tried to copy Slayer production but now they're back to mediocrity.

    They're basically saying they can do it better than you and that you should focus on really big stuff like improving your room and feeding them lossless recordings with a nice DAC with good volume control rather than pointless OCD, anxious methhead tweaking.

    Oh and they're right. Look at this forum. Look at the total crap that certain people are trying to underpower their passive speakers with and the total crap drivers certain people are sticking in diy enclosures even on this forum right now. Noisy plate amps -> a well chosen pair or trio of good enough drivers will kill that stuff with a hammer.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 19, 2018
  3. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    I know that Beryillium is not for me. Tried it on very high end Focals and also from a CDN company called 3A (the latter taming things better but still fatigued after an hour).
     
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  4. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Bolded emphasis mine, and really should be taken into serious consideration. Yes the tweaking of endless components can be fun, but it can also be a time and money sink that stops you from enjoying the music because all you can do is zone in on all the minute fibbly details. Weigh those priorities before you board the crazy train.
     
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  5. Xecuter

    Xecuter Brush and floss your amp twice a day

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    The new revel beryllium speakers: M126Be F228Be might actually be up your alley. They are fairly detailed but remain polite.
    I personally found them a bit soft and polite for my tastes but I can promise you they are fatigue free for a Be driver!
    Also these mop the floor with the high end focals for a fraction of the price.
     
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  6. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    I think Focal just voice all their speakers very bright, Be or not (at least on the low-to-middle end of their line, which is all I’ve heard).
     
  7. briskly

    briskly Friend

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    I didn't think the Revels were too bad, whether the Al SB Acostics tweeters or the Be. A bit much for the SBA cones. They're very nice metal cones, but they don't cost that much, even considering the rest of the package.
     
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  8. k4rstar

    k4rstar Done his time

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    You are a moronic troll who is often entertaining but your non-stop verbal diarrhea and regurgitation of the same memes you have learned from spending 15 minutes at headphone meets and audio shows is getting pretty old. Please, stop presenting yourself as an authority and just admit you like a dry, damped and punchy sound that allows you to hear the riff lines and transients over the sound of dudes screaming. You have no real concept of fidelity and I feel bad for anyone who takes your advice seriously.
     
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  9. murphythecat

    murphythecat Self Imposed Exile

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    what a bunch of nonsense.
     
  10. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    Yes Reverend Jim, British soft domes are the most resolving tweeters of all time.
     
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  11. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

    Slaytanic Cliff Clavin
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    Discrete resistor DACs and shitty widebanders are aural diarrhea. Not my fault you hate detail and tonally accurate speakers that try to convey the proper levels of the instruments in multitrack recordings. Not my problem you don't like the drier 90s rock sound pioneered by Andy Wallace's work with the great SLAYER.
     
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  12. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Nordic soft domes (the good stuff from Seas or Scan-Speak) are good right? I figure those dudes up there must listen to thrash-metal.

    Might be the voicing or amplification. I felt the Be tweeters were the highlight of their line with great microdetail and good timbre. The two or three biggest Focal speakers have an upper mid / lower treble emphasis and are mid-bassy, even with the speakers in the middle of the room. There's definitely a house sound similar to that of their higher line car speakers. The problem is that they are a French company, and being a French company, they demo their speakers with crappy harsh sounding French amp brands like Bidet or Deviant or Chevalier or something like that.

    Be compression drivers are actually the most extended and smooth when it comes to high-end compression drivers for horns. Ti compression drivers tend to be awful in the highs.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2018
  13. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    There is no EQ/DSP fake bass.

    Cheaper drivers in general need more crossover parts than more expensive drivers. But there are no rules on this (or in most anything, which means we should not overgeneralize).

    Loss of dynamics is not a function of the number of passive or active components in the data path. It's a function of what those components are doing, and the capabilities of all the components.

    I do not feel I'm under-powering my DIY enclosure tiny 2-way speakers with my cheap Yamaha receiver. I do not feel dynamics are severely affected. I really love how they sound. I'm currently running them in "Direct-Mode" (no EQ/DSP) w/o sub-woofer until I'm done with the 3 other speakers (center and 2 surround). I'm pretty impressed.

    The laws of physics say my 3" woofers can do 70 Hz in a small vented enclosure with total ease, at what I consider an acceptable SPL for a small room. And they do.
     
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  14. Priidik

    Priidik MOT: Estelon

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    Passive XO for bass: often Qt > ideal. Moving target, extension vs clarity (for me clarity ~= dynamics, closely related).
    There is a sweetspot for every system, which to a degree probably is personal.

    Capacitors in line with tweeter/mid: Dielectric absorbtion, EF induced microphonics, leakage etc.
    To me quite obvious 'dynamics' killers. Easy to debunk too, put a nicer cap in and it shows.

    On paper, the active XO should be possible to construct so to not affect dynamics, just like gazillion components amp shouldn't.

    My experience so far tells me otherwise. The passive solutions have mostly been better at dynamics to my ears.
    Passive XO is simple to build and not so hard to figure out the optimum/max performance setup.
    I think the active solutions I have heard have just been compromised.
     
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  15. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    From what I have gathered, there is no ideal Qt. Just different drivers for different applications. Some work well on open baffle, some on large boxes, some on small, some in sealed boxes, and so forth. Depends on what you want to build.

    For me, there is no trade off between extension and clarity. Both are characteristics of a complete system, not just a driver.

    If you need to use a gazillion passive components, then you are doing something wrong. On paper and in real life you can build a great system either way (active or passive). Again, depends on your application.

    My experience tells me to forget about this active vs passive XO who-is-bestest-speak, and focus on what your requirements are. I will pick an active speaker if I want to skip on the amplifier for whatever reason (maybe it doesn't fit), and more importantly, if I like it.

    I've hear shit passive and active solutions. I have heard great passive and active solutions. The more I have heard and know, the more careful I'm in not making generalizations.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
  16. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    To be more succinct about how pointless this active vs. passive XO discussion is to me:

    I have speakers with active XOs. And I equalize them with a DSP. Because the active XO is insufficient. There is no universal speaker for any room or application. Or even preference.

    I forgot about this capacitor scare mentioned above: dielectric absorption, EF induced micro-phonics, leakage... Nothing is ever perfect no mater what. Active XOs have capacitance. The drivers all by themselves have capacitance. And inductance. And resistance. The amplifier is usually filled with all kinds of reactance. There is no wire with gain. Such is life. If things have little non-linear distortion then life is good.
     
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  17. westermac

    westermac Friend

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    I agree with what @ultrabike says about not making generalizations about active vs. passive (there are good and poor implementations of both), but for what it's worth my current setup lines up closely with what's been said. I have both types in my system currently (Dynaudio M1 + Vidar and Paradigm Active 40 v2) fed by a Gungnir Multibit A2 and passive volume controller (Mackie Big Knob).

    The Active 40, in spite of a similar driver configuration (with inferior drivers no less) absolutely spanks the M1 in low end control and extension. It's seriously impressive what a well-done, purpose-built active system can squeeze out of a halfway decent driver.

    That said, the amount of midrange and treble detail (and resultant stage and imaging) in the M1 is above and beyond what the Paradigm's can touch. If I downgraded my DAC the Active 40's wouldn't mind at all, and if I just listened to pop/hip hop/EDM I'd be perfectly happy this way. But for any amount of nuance and subtlety in the music I am listening to the M1's (which is 90% of the time). Most likely I'll end up selling the Active 40's – impressive as they are – to fund a dual REL or SVS setup.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
  18. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    Lol 70hz at -20 db at reasonable spl to get past equal loudness contours.

    Sure there will be some diy maniacs and active speaker manufacturers who will boost the hell out of the bass and apply a drastic limiter to it but that doesn’t mean it sounds good or is the best use of a 3 inch driver best suited to be a midrange only woofer. That’s some iLoud bluetooth speakers or Orca tomfoolery.

    You can’t compare the sound of crossovers in different speakers with different drivers and different amps. Try the ATC stuff sometime in passive vs active. It’s very much a Keanu Reeves, “whoa” moment.
     
  19. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    The issue with most active solutions is that we cannot choose the crossover and amplification. They are fixed into the speaker or amp. In a worse basis, we are talking about a chain of opamps and low quality amplification.

    The best way to do active is with a digital front end, EQ / DSP in the digital domain, (optionally feed to separate DACs of choice), apply volume control to the #drivers x2 analog outs that fees the power amps - one power amp for each driver. For a digital setup, this would be impossible to beat. Digital manipulation is so much less harmful than adding extra components in the chain, especially mediocre ones.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
  20. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    You have me looking at Oris horns and Lowther drivers now, and I can see where you're going with AF for the horns and Aegir for bass drivers. Spending time on Troels HE pages. I didn't realize how deep this 'nook' went. The approach appeals a lot to me, and I think it could be married with some neat digital capabilities and also be 'collapsible' into a relatively simple system.
     

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