A future direction for loudspeakers?

Swerd

Swerd

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#1
Salk has introduced a new small 2-way speaker that is fully active with a built-in digital crossover and 2 built-in amps: http://www.salksound.com/powerplaymonitor-home.htm.

Here's another web page that better describes these speakers: http://landing.salksound.com/powerplay.html

The woofers appear quite nice: Seas Prestige U16RCY/P 6" woven polypropylene drivers with curved cone
https://www.madisoundspeakerstore.c...restige-u16rcy/p-h1520-08-6-curv-cone-woofer/

And the tweeters are the well-known high quality Hiquphon OW I ¾" silk dome tweeters http://www.hiquphon.dk/page4.html

Each speaker cabinet has a built-in digital crossover and two built-in class D 50 watt amplifiers, one for each driver. At $2195 per pair they aren't cheap. But they can accept digital (S/PDIF or USB) or analog inputs, and also have sub woofer outputs. They don't require separate amps, preamp or DAC. Included is a remote control. All an owner has to do is connect them to a computer, smart phone, or TV, and plug them into a standard 120 volt AC power source.

It looks to me like Salk is testing the waters with this model. If it is successful, I would expect more to follow.
 
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Swerd

Swerd

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#3
It looks like the ultimate computer speaker.
Yes. Only this makes all other computer speakers I know of look like the cheap toys they really are.

What other computer speaker publishes a frequency response curve, much less one that looks like this?
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

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#4
It doesn't seem like anything new (BeoLab, Meridian, etc.).

I guess it's only good for people who just want to pay more to have digital amps inside speaker cabinets.

I never liked the idea of an "all-in-one" solution.
 
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Swerd

Swerd

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#6
Those Vanatoos do have a built-in power amp, but it isn't clear to me if they have one amp per cabinet or one amp per driver. It also isn't clear if they have active digital crossovers or passive crossovers.

In each Salk PowerPlay Monitor, the signal path is
Digital 2-channel source
Digital crossover filters
DACs × 2
Amps × 2
Drivers × 2​
 
KEW

KEW

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#7
Those Vanatoos do have a built-in power amp, but it isn't clear to me if they have one amp per cabinet or one amp per driver. It also isn't clear if they have active digital crossovers or passive crossovers.

In the Salk PowerPlay Monitors, the signal path is
Digital 2-channel source
Digital crossover filters
DACs × 2
Amps × 2
Drivers × 2​
The Vanatoos do not appear to have active crossovers.
I say this because one speakers has speaker level output and they include speaker wire. With actively crossed monitors you would never see any speaker wire, just line level input.

However, are you saying that because the Vanatoo's are not actively crossed, they are not in the same league?

Is Dennis involved in the crossover design? I don't know how different Active XO design is from Passive.
 
Swerd

Swerd

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#8
The Vanatoos do not appear to have active crossovers. I say this because one speakers has speaker level output and they include speaker wire. With actively crossed monitors you would never see any speaker wire, just line level input.
Thanks for clarifying that.
However, are you saying that because the Vanatoo's are not actively crossed, they are not in the same league?
Not saying anything about their sound quality.
Is Dennis involved in the crossover design? I don't know how different Active XO design is from Passive.
I don't know for certain, but the design seems to have Dennis Murphy fingerprints all over the driver choices.

The XO design process is the same whether it's active digital or passive analog. The differences come in the hardware used to implement the design.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

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#9
Those Vanatoos do have a built-in power amp, but it isn't clear to me if they have one amp per cabinet or one amp per driver. It also isn't clear if they have active digital crossovers or passive crossovers.

In each Salk PowerPlay Monitor, the signal path is
Digital 2-channel source
Digital crossover filters
DACs × 2
Amps × 2
Drivers × 2​
From their description "
Automatic Subwoofer Crossover
If you need to play lower than 49 Hz or you want to play louder than the physics of a speaker this small allows, use the sub-woofer output to connect to any subwoofer. The Transparent Ones amplifier will detect the presence of the subwoofer and automatically adjust the crossover for you. Just set your subwoofer to run wide open (or set for the highest possible crossover frequency) and adjust the subwoofer volume as desired.
This tells me that their crossover could only be electronic.
I never claimed they are active, I know my jbls are, but they missing the dac
Don't think that average consumer would care they are fully-active or just powered with electronic xover.
 
Swerd

Swerd

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#10
From their description…
This tells me that their crossover could only be electronic.
I never claimed they are active, I know my jbls are, but they missing the dac Don't think that average consumer would care they are fully-active or just powered with electronic xover.
That does imply that the low-pass filter for a sub woofer is electronic, but it tells us nothing about the crossover between the woofer and tweeter drivers in the Vanatoos.

There is always confusion with the words passive and active for speakers – these words have more than one meaning. A passive speaker can have no internal power source (amplifier),and a passive speaker can have crossover filters that require no electric power – or both. Same with active speakers. They can be internally powered and have analog crossovers down stream from the amp, or they can have active crossovers (usually digital) up stream from amps that drive each individual driver – or both. We need different terms.
 
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BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

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#11
What you saying is
That does imply that the low-pass filter for a sub woofer is electronic, but it tells us nothing about the crossover between the woofer and tweeter drivers in the Vanatoos.

There is always confusion with the words passive and active for speakers – these words have more than one meaning. A passive speaker can have no internal power source (amplifier),and a passive speaker can have crossover filters that require no electric power – or both. Same with active speakers. They can be internally powered and have analog crossovers down stream from the amp, or they can have active crossovers (usually digital) up stream from amps that drive each individual driver – or both. We need different terms.
I think you're correct in regard that Vantoo doesn't have separate amp for twitter/woofer, I did a more looking (and thinking) and left speakers has clearly passive terminals only - thich makes these speakers powered and have electronics low filter, but not actual crossover, which is likely passive.

My original suggestion though, as to usability - as you'd mention active or passive crossover type doesn't necessarily dictates quality and from function standpoint - result is very similar, if not same.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

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#12
Thanks for clarifying that.
Not saying anything about their sound quality.
I don't know for certain, but the design seems to have Dennis Murphy fingerprints all over the driver choices.
In addition, Measurement graph is very similar in many aspects to one's Dennis publishes on his own speakers...
I won't be surprised if it confirmed
 
Swerd

Swerd

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#13
My original suggestion though, as to usability - as you'd mention active or passive crossover type doesn't necessarily dictates quality and from function standpoint - result is very similar, if not same.
Good point. I do see a market for better sounding, self-powered speakers that can process a digital signal directly from a source, without requiring separate receivers or preamp and amps.

I don't know if the technical approach used by Salk will have as big a market, unless the cost goes down. There is a very good technical reason for self-powered speakers that process & filter digital signals and then amplify each driver separately. The consumer audio industry is not presently geared up for this. I think TLS Guy would agree in general.

These particular Salk speakers are 2-way monitors that don't have a crossover frequency in the 400 Hz or lower range, where the greatest benefits from a digital crossover would occur. That's why I think they are a trial to see what the market may be for them. If these don't sell well, there is no reason to bother with a larger 3-way self-powered speaker with digital processing & filtering.

See how I avoided using the words active, passive, or bi-amp :D.
 
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Swerd

Swerd

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#14
In addition, Measurement graph is very similar in many aspects to one's Dennis publishes on his own speakers...
I won't be surprised if it confirmed
It's worth knowing that Dennis showed Jim Salk how to measure speakers. When Jim decided he needed that ability in his shop for quality control purposes, he selected the same gear and software that Dennis uses. But I do agree with you, Dennis probably did design or participate in the design of these speakers.
 
D

Dennis Murphy

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#15
In addition, Measurement graph is very similar in many aspects to one's Dennis publishes on his own speakers...
I won't be surprised if it confirmed
Actually, I had absolutely nothing to do with this design and haven't heard it. With one exception, its unresolved whether or not a digital crossover with all the bells and whistles can produce better sound quality than a properly implemented passive crossover. The exception is bass management, where the ability to equalize out room modes is a big plus for active designs. However, the digital units are far more flexible than passive components. For example, my Philharmonitor uses the Scan Revelator 5.5" woofer, which has a big bulge in the response around 800 Hz. In order to deal with that, I had to resort to two trap circuits, one involving a clunky and expensive3.5 mH inductor. There are 7 components in just the woofer circuit. With Jim's digital machine, he could just dial in a dip with the proper Q and magnitude, and the bulge is gone. Also, you have a wider range of choice for crossover slopes. Many people think 2nd order acoustic slopes provide a more coherent sound and a smoother power response than 4th order. But you really can't implement a 2nd order acoustic slope with passive components unless you can get the acoustic centers of the tweeter and woofer lined up, which requires a sloped cabinet or a step-back for the tweeter. In the digital domain, you can twiddle with the phase of the drivers and achieve perfect 2nd order slopes in a conventional cabinet. And that's what Jim did--the PowerPlay has 2nd order slopes.
 
Swerd

Swerd

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#16
Thanks Dennis.

"It's unresolved whether or not a digital crossover with all the bells and whistles can produce better sound quality than a properly implemented passive crossover…"

That is the big unanswered question.
 
markw

markw

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#17
I can see this class of speakers working out in some situations. AFICT, they require a preamp level output and not all "head units" offer that.

I'm fortunate that I have a NAD 1600 tuner/preamp (with a NAD 214 or Rotel RB-991 power amp) and have been looking at this type of speaker, mostly those "powered monitors" from Emotiva.

As for a subwoofer, most subs offer line level inputs and have a low pass filter. Yes, the mains will be running full range but that's never been a problem for me.

The only downside I see is that they will each need an outlet nearby and turning them on and off could be an issue of convenience.
 
Swerd

Swerd

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#18
The only downside I see is that they will each need an outlet nearby and turning them on and off could be an issue of convenience.
Yes, there is no escaping the need for a power outlet.

As they can accept digital audio signals, the input voltage level signals (line level or preamp level) may not be relevant.

They do come with a remote control. Maybe it has a power on/off button.
 
lsiberian

lsiberian

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#19
One of the main advantages in an active speakers is you can completely dial in the crossover for each individual driver and each placement. It's a dream for a speaker building hobbyist to have the active option. I don't see the average person or even the average person here wanting to tinker at that level. It should be noted active speakers can have more ground loop issues if you have a rack in the back and mains in the front.
 
Swerd

Swerd

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#20
One of the main advantages in an active speakers is you can completely dial in the crossover for each individual driver and each placement. It's a dream for a speaker building hobbyist to have the active option. I don't see the average person or even the average person here wanting to tinker at that level.
That's true if you build your own speaker with active digital crossovers like you did. But, apparently, most or all of these commercial versions are made so the owner cannot alter the crossover itself, preventing a well-meaning but misguided owner from rapidly destroying things. They do allow some EQ tweaking at a digital level, and that may be worth having.
 

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