Speakers; When is good enough, enough

Discussion in 'GENERAL AV Discussions' started by jeffsg4mac, May 27, 2004.

  1. Clint DeBoer Banned

    Clint DeBoer
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    We'll be getting into a lot of room acoustics topics in the very near future (getting ready to blow out a whole section's worth of content soon). We'll be addressing (and perhaps even help design) cosmetically appealing room correction solutions. Dust will still probabaly always be an issue, though.
  2. Rip Van Woofer Audioholic General

    Rip Van Woofer
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    Superb article by Patrick Hart. I'd read a little about the Harman test facility; the detailed look inside the facility and test protocols (descended from the work Toole and Olive did at the NRC in Canada) you gave is fascinating and instructive. Ditto for the suggestions on adapting them to our own speaker auditioning. We all look forward to your speaker tests for sure. The "crossover congestion" phenomenon is one reason (among others) I'm eager to try active crossovers.

    But what I REALLY want to ask you is: can you ask Mssrs. Toole and Olive for me if they'll let me use the facility to test my DIY speakers? Huh? Wouldja?? Pretty please?? :eek: (The NRC has ignored my entreaties so far, the dang Canucks! Well, I'll show 'em. Palm trees will grow on Baffin Island before I ever set foot in a Tim Horton's again!)

    (Hawke: looking forward to those acoustics articles, too. Hey, what's a little dust to attaining audio Nirvana?)
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2004
  3. BuddTX Audioholic

    BuddTX
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    When is good enough enough?

    Interesting question.

    I have been meaning to post an answer for a while. I am about ready (financially and emotionally) to upgrade my receiver, (and maybe seperate amps too!) DVD and speakers. and thanks to the Internet Direct companies like Axiom, and Audioholic and other forums, I am thinking that I will be able to put together a pretty much "state of the art" sound system, at a semi reasonable price.

    I never thought I would be able to even come close to a state of the art sound system! I would jokingly tell people, that even if I won a SMALL LOTTERY, I would not be able to afford my ultimate HT setup! (It would take a LARGE lottery for me to justify that kind of money!)

    BUT, I go home, and listen to my CURRENT system every day, and I am very happy with it, and, while I know what I am missing, if I had to listen to my current system for another 10 years, I would be content:

    Pioneer Elite STX-V14 (1999)
    B&W 202 L-R (1993)
    Pinnicle Center Channel (2001)
    Radio Shack LX5 Pro (or something like that, the one with the Linaeum tweeter) 2000
    Toshiba 3901 DVD (1999)

    While my speakers ARE B&W, they were the lowest priced (or 2nd lowest priced) B&W speakers available at the time, but I did compare them to speakers costing 2-3 times what I paid, and I was very happy with my purchase.

    While I am looking forward to my new purchases, I keep on thinking "what will I REALLY have when it is all purchased, that I do not have now?"

    Interesting subject that you brought up!
  4. av_phile Senior Audioholic

    av_phile
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    Nothing in life is often good enough. There's always something better out there. Or at least different that is worth exploring. Or owning if affordable. Especially in this age of continous product improvements courtesy of evolving technologies. Speakers and amps probably won't benefit much the way other devices do like preamps and processors. But like anything else, we get to tire of our latest acqusitions sooner or later. Then pine for something else. What may be good enough last year isn't anymore. But I guess that all depends on the degree of contentment each one can afford to indulge in terms of finances, patience and expectations.
  5. JoeE SP9 Senior Audioholic

    JoeE SP9
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    When are your speakers enough

    They are enough when the pizza delivery guy asks "Who is at the jam session?". This actually happened to me and one of my buddies last Sunday. I pointed to my electrostatic panels and his response was "Really, where are the instruments?". :cool:
  6. Punkuk Enthusiast

    Punkuk
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    How Much!!!

    Ok so if I get some Transparent OPUS MM Cables 23K.
    Hook it into my Wilson Whamms 250,000K Speakers.
    Via my Audio Note Hand Made Tube Amp $293K.
    And Yamamura Churchill turntable $????K
    With my Urushi Signature cartridge 8-9K.

    Will it sound better than the crap I have now :confused: .
    Bloody Hope So :eek:

    Will I want something better :confused:
    Bloody Hope Not :eek:

    Will I ever have that sort of cash :confused:
    Bloody Hope So :D

    If I ever do have that much cash would I be stupid enough to blow it on my search for the perfect sound
    Hell................. :rolleyes:
  7. gene Audioholics Master Chief Administrator

    gene
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    gene,
  8. Mudcat Senior Audioholic

    Mudcat
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    Ummm got a translator? My german is a little rusty.
  9. R.C. Guest

    R.C.
    Speakers

    I too have been playing around with this "audio stuff" since the 70's. I recently found a pair of vintage Marantz Imperial 7 speakers at a thrift store. Picked them up for $25. Got home, hooked 'em up and Wow!!! What a beautiful surprise. Thes little guys are awesome. They have no speaker grills or cloth and the cabinets are pretty scratched up but I want to re do them. I'd love to find a website that had a picture of how they are supposed to look. I must say though, I am tickled with these speakers. They sound incredible for their size. Anyone have any photos???
    R.C.,
  10. R.C. Guest

    R.C.
    Marantz Speakers

    By the way..just in case anyone DOES have a photo of the Marantz Imperial 7 speaker please email it to me at rogter2@verizon.net

    Thanks!!
    R.C.,
  11. plhart Audioholic

    plhart
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    The Live-End-Dead-End set-up was originally used in recording studios to try to deaden all first order (axial) reflections so that the recording engineer could hear only what was on his recording. In most of these studios the loudspeaker was considerered "full-range" which means that subwoofers were not used. The LEDE set-up does not work well in a stereo or 5-7 channel home theater listening environment for reasons I will discuss when I report on the room acoustics seminars which I monitored for Audioholics while at CEDIA. Sorry to keep ya hangin' but I need permission from the seminar instructors to use a few slides to illustrate the correct ways to acoustically set up a home theater/listening space.

    And yes, a properly set-up room is 50% of the answer as to when a speaker is good enough. Stay tuned......
  12. av_phile Senior Audioholic

    av_phile
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    Do you make the listening room accoustically correct independent of the speaker of your choice?

    If so, what would be the attributes of a good enough speaker after you've made the 50% correction on the room?
  13. Rob Babcock Moderator

    Rob Babcock
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    To a degree I believe it does. Ethan Winer is a big proponent of adding lots of broadband bass absorption, and this will give you subjectively more bass, not less. This should help any speaker, you'd think. Things like room modes don't care where they're excited from- they're strictly functions of dimension & construction.

    So while certain types of speakers may require slightly different treatment (eg perhaps dipoles may like a more absorptive front wall in the LEDE setup), some things should help all speakers. Too much reflections, lack of diffusion, slap & flutter echoes- these are equally the bane of all types of speakers.
  14. WmAx Audioholic Samurai

    WmAx
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    I am curious: why would a dipole 'like' more absorbtive front wall? Since a dipole would have been primarily voiced with the rear reflection in mind, to provide for the greater depth/ambient effect -- it would not be logical to remove this in most cases unless you specifically wanted to remove the spatial effect.

    -Chris
    WmAx,
  15. av_phile Senior Audioholic

    av_phile
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    You're right. But you may be surprised that there are some audiophiles who use large panel dipoles and treat the surrounding walls and floors to preclude early reflections and would swear they sounded better that way. The illogical things you can do in this hobby knows no limits.
  16. JoeE SP9 Senior Audioholic

    JoeE SP9
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    I have owned dipoles of one sort or another since the middle seventies. I have learned that a LEDE approach is not the way to go with any kind of dipoles. :cool:
  17. Rob Babcock Moderator

    Rob Babcock
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    It was just an example, probably not a good one. But if you have to put a bipole or dipole too close to the wall then you'll absolutely want some absorption.

    The broadband bass absorption is probably a good idea no matter what speakers you use, too.

    I've heard a lot of dipoles since the late 70s, and I've not been impressed with many of them. That's of course just my personal preference. I did think the Carver Amazing's in a couple incarnations were pretty good in a lot of areas.
  18. Rip Van Woofer Audioholic General

    Rip Van Woofer
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    It might not be that crazy. For some, the subjectively more realistic bass that results from the fact that dipoles excite fewer room modes is more important than the enhanced ambiance (bass frequencies pretty much cancel out to the sides as well as in the vertical plane so it's mostly just the axial modes that are excited). Siegfried Linkwitz seems to be in that camp (though he also seems to place the ambiance a close second and does not recommend LEDE). But I can understand why some particular listeners in some particular rooms might choose LEDE even for a dipole based on their taste in sound -- they might simply like it "dry". Others might prefer a diffusive surface behind the speakers instead of a reflective one. (I posted the "reflective or diffusive" question myself on a dipole-centric listserv and the answer was basically, "it depends!")

    Also, note that Linkwitz's cone (dynamic) driver dipoles are only dipolar up to the tweeter crossover point; the tweet is strictly front-firing, unlike most planars or other cone based ones that have a rear-firing tweet. In his (and others') view a rear firing tweet (and by extension, a bipolar or dipolar high frequency radiator) creates too many other problems to make the increased ambience effects worth it. So another possibility is that those "illogical" full-range planar owners are just compensating for those "other problems" in their rooms.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2004
  19. plhart Audioholic

    plhart
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    No, the bottom line as espoused by the mavens who taught the CEDIA courses is that a flat response, direct radiator-style loudspeaker with a even but constantly declining (or tilting) polar response is the only system whose characteristics can be successfully integrated into a multi-channel system with subwoofers on a consistant basis.

    It is difficult enough to do this with a direct radiator but when you get into these courses you find out that not only are these guys doing their 50% as far is room tuning is concerned but they are also tasking their installations to have "every seat a good seat". With a dipole pole radiator you're doing really well if you've got a 6" left-to-right distance wherein your sound is "just right". Direct radiators are far more forgiving in this respect.

    The courses were taught by Anthony Grimani (ex-THX guy), John Dahl (current THX guy) and Dr. Floyd Toole of Harman International who originally set up the loudspeaker testing system at the famed Canadian Research Council. From my years of loudspeaker design and integration I will say that I am in total agreement with these men.

    I've been more fortunate than most in that I've had the good fortune to be one of Harman's double blind listeners, sometimes 3 times per week. So I've had the occasion to hear dipoles vs. direct radiators, bipoles vs direct radiators and surround speakers mounted on movable walls, all playing from the exact same spot 10 feet in front of me. That's MY most important reason for pushing direct radiators. I've heard and passed judgement on the inherent musical correctness of direct radiators while double blind and in mono, with the "room" for all intents and purposes removed from the equation.
  20. av_phile Senior Audioholic

    av_phile
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    I am in total agreement. I couldn't have explained away the apparent "illogic" any better. When I said "illogical" I meant that some actions that some do to make a gear sound better for them do not always square nicely with the intent of that gear. This hobby has lots of room for both the logical and the illogical. As long as they achieve the same end - listening nirvana for the person doing it.

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