Diminishing returns?

NINaudio

NINaudio

Audioholic General
If you have bookshelf speakers and subs, you don't need towers. Towers with subs, I don't get it. If I choose towers, I probably won't buy subs.
Most towers have limited response at 20 Hz and lower, if not 30 or 40 Hz and lower, that's why people pair them with subs.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
Money wise, I always feel that, unless you are already buying top quality, the money saved from buying bookshelves instead of towers is better spent on upgrading the speakers.

A great example (because of how clean the numbers work) is the SVS Prime and Ultra series. The Prime towers are $1000 pr, the Prime bookshelfs are $500/pr., and the Ultra Bookshelfs are $1000/pr.
If you are considering the Prime Towers, I say you should not be considering the Prime bookshelf at all - get the Ultra bookshelf speakers for the same price! For me that is a no-brainer! I think getting better quality upper bass, mids, and highs (while a sub is covering the low bass) is an easy call over the lower quality tower.

Alternately, If you are considering Ultra Towers ($2000/pr) with one sub, I would suggest getting the Ultra bookshelf and spend the $1000 saved on a second subwoofer. I think that ultimately gives a better result.
 
Auditor55

Auditor55

Audioholic Chief
Most towers have limited response at 20 Hz and lower, if not 30 or 40 Hz and lower, that's why people pair them with subs.
That's cool for the vast majority of music and movies. Most movies and music low frequencies reside it that range.

Most people still don't cross their speakers over in the 20 - 40 hertz range when they use towers with subs.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
I should say to @Kleinst , Yeah get the 590's (I know, you already did)! When you can get that kind of Fire Sale bargain pricing, might as well go for the towers!
I don't think you are audibly improving the sound, but seeing those mammoth speakers standing their in all of their "brawniness" definitely effects your perception of their capability in a positive way and I am not going to say that is worthless!
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
I should say to @Kleinst , Yeah get the 590's (I know, you already did)! When you can get that kind of Fire Sale bargain pricing, might as well go for the towers!
I don't think you are audibly improving the sound, but seeing those mammoth speakers standing their in all of their "brawniness" definitely effects your perception of their capability in a positive way and I am not going to say that is worthless!
The advantage with towers is that they can handle heavier mid-bass volumes at frequencies up to 500 Hz. There is a lot of sound energy produced from 100 Hz to 500 Hz and more frequently than below 100 Hz.
 
NINaudio

NINaudio

Audioholic General
That's cool for the vast majority of music and movies. Most movies and music low frequencies reside it that range.

Most people still don't cross their speakers over in the 20 - 40 hertz range when they use towers with subs.
I've got entire playlists of songs with strong content below 30 Hz.

I prefer the look of towers to bookshelfs on stands as well.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Warlord
Most people still don't cross their speakers over in the 20 - 40 hertz range when they use towers with subs.
That's because they shouldn't. Rule of thumb there is to cross over 1 octave above your speaker's f3. They'll still play those lower frequencies tho. They're rolled off but still contributing.
 
VMPS-TIII

VMPS-TIII

Audioholic
If you have bookshelf speakers and subs, you don't need towers. Towers with subs, I don't get it. If I choose towers, I probably won't buy subs.
Towers with subs sound awesome... Having the ability to support gut wrenching bassaholic riffs with little strain on the system is what I experience in this configuration. It provides a lot of flexibility.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
The advantage with towers is that they can handle heavier mid-bass volumes at frequencies up to 500 Hz. There is a lot of sound energy produced from 100 Hz to 500 Hz and more frequently than below 100 Hz.
That is an advantage only if you drive the bookshelf speaker beyond it's ability to play.
I must say that a nice bookshelf with a 6" or 7" woofer easily covers it for me (a 5-1/4" may - the 530 has never let me down, but I don't remember if I deliberately attempted to push it!).
Can you name some that were stressed when you attempted to listen to them?
I could probably find the limits of some of the weaker ones if that was my objective, but I would never find it when playing music at my comfortable/normal listening levels at the LP! 100Hz is not difficult for a 6" woofer to produce with authority!
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
That is an advantage only if you drive the bookshelf speaker beyond it's ability to play.
I must say that a nice bookshelf with a 6" or 7" woofer easily covers it for me (a 5-1/4" may - the 530 has never let me down, but I don't remember if I deliberately attempted to push it!).
Can you name some that were stressed when you attempted to listen to them?
I could probably find the limits of some of the weaker ones if that was my objective, but I would never find it when playing music at my comfortable/normal listening levels at the LP! 100Hz is not difficult for a 6" woofer to produce with authority!
It's always a question of SPL to be produced by a small mid-bass or woofer that you usually find in bookshelves. Still, a single 6" woofer is limited compared to one with a diameter of 8" or more.
When I use my system, the lights indicating a power output of more than 3 watts flicker a lot more often for the two 5" mid-bass drivers than those connected to the subs which reproduce frequencies below 200 Hz. Of course, it all depends on program material. In my situation, most of the music played is classical, opera and jazz.
 
Matthew J Poes

Matthew J Poes

Senior Audioholic
What do you value most? Just curious.
In the grand scheme of good sound, I do tend to follow what Olive has found as most important. That means a system with a smooth response and flat DI, extended bandwidth, and I put extra importance on big dynamic range, meaning high clean output capability.

However, I don't care if a speaker has wide bandwidth because subwoofers are a far better way to reproduce bass anyway. For me, the speaker needs to prioritize high output, a flat response, and a flat DI. I also prefer speakers who can maintain the flat DI over a very wide bandwidth, and I prefer elevated DI's. What that means in practice is a speaker whose response remains consistent with the listening axis response over all angles in the frontal hemisphere, but where the volume level diminishes as you move to the sides. What is called Constant Directivity. While I am ok with a speaker that can extend the elevated DI down to 500hz, I prefer it to extend lower if possible, as it can reduce the main speakers room interaction and thus SBIR problems.

I also want a speaker that can easily produce in excess of 105dB at my listening position. In practice, I really like to have a lot of headroom, so I am not bumping up against the limits. That way, when I do crank up a movie or song, the experience isn't ruined by a speaker that quickly falls apart.

Speakers that have a flat response, flat elevated DI, and an ability to reproduce say 110dB rms cleanly are practically non-existent. You have the Gedlee Abbeys and Summa's (I own the Abbeys), you have some Genelec Models, a few DIY options, Legacy Audio's higher end stuff, JBL M2's. The list is small however.
 
D

Danzilla31

Audioholic Ninja
In the grand scheme of good sound, I do tend to follow what Olive has found as most important. That means a system with a smooth response and flat DI, extended bandwidth, and I put extra importance on big dynamic range, meaning high clean output capability.

However, I don't care if a speaker has wide bandwidth because subwoofers are a far better way to reproduce bass anyway. For me, the speaker needs to prioritize high output, a flat response, and a flat DI. I also prefer speakers who can maintain the flat DI over a very wide bandwidth, and I prefer elevated DI's. What that means in practice is a speaker whose response remains consistent with the listening axis response over all angles in the frontal hemisphere, but where the volume level diminishes as you move to the sides. What is called Constant Directivity. While I am ok with a speaker that can extend the elevated DI down to 500hz, I prefer it to extend lower if possible, as it can reduce the main speakers room interaction and thus SBIR problems.

I also want a speaker that can easily produce in excess of 105dB at my listening position. In practice, I really like to have a lot of headroom, so I am not bumping up against the limits. That way, when I do crank up a movie or song, the experience isn't ruined by a speaker that quickly falls apart.

Speakers that have a flat response, flat elevated DI, and an ability to reproduce say 110dB rms cleanly are practically non-existent. You have the Gedlee Abbeys and Summa's (I own the Abbeys), you have some Genelec Models, a few DIY options, Legacy Audio's higher end stuff, JBL M2's. The list is small however.
JTR speakers can hit those levels cleanly right I know you've worked with there gear before do they fit that list of what you look for?
 
Matthew J Poes

Matthew J Poes

Senior Audioholic
JTR speakers can hit those levels cleanly right I know you've worked with there gear before do they fit that list of what you look for?
yes and no. JTR is probably the best value available in a speaker that mostly meets my requirements.i think the OS waveguide measures better and this achieved a better response and cleaner DI. Having said that, I reviewed the JTR 212rt next to my abbey and the differences were slight. Once I fixed the tonal balance on the JTR to match my Abby, I found them mostly hard to distinguish.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Warlord
Hearing will be damaged at those levels.
I don't think anyone is listening at that level. More like "it's nice to have for those rare occasions when I do turn it up and encounter dynamic peaks.". I get it. The ability to hit those higher spl is important to me too, given my distance and penchant for turning it up every once in a while.
 
Matthew J Poes

Matthew J Poes

Senior Audioholic
Hearing will be damaged at those levels.
that’s a pretty broad and general statement. 105dB peaks for the average person isn’t likely to do any long term harm (or short term harm). The music would generally only peak at those levels for very brief moments at a time. Hearing damage is most associated with the total dosage received, at least up to a point. Instantaneous damage isn’t usually seen until 120dB or more (and the frequency matters quite a bit, bass really doesn’t cause instantaneous damage at those levels).

we did a video on hearing loss and the dangerous of commercial cinema levels. The first myth I dispelled was that hearing loss was assisted with loud levels like we are talking here. That it’s actually about total exposure over the course of a day. That 85dB causes long term hearing loss if that is your total average daily dose all day long. Yet 105 won’t cause damage if most of your day is at or below 65dB and the 105 dB was for just a second or two.

As part of that I did a dosage study. Two in fact. One was for an actual ATMOS music at a Dolby cinema. The other was for a day in the life of Matt. In both cases you could see how some people could exceed their daily dosage if they did a lot of noisy things. In my case, most of my day was spent in relative silence such that music listening and movies put me just below the limit as I recall. I intentionally made that day a noisier day for me by watching an action movie at reference levels and listening to music while I worked.

that is all to say that listening at reference levels is not inherently dangerous. None of the levels achieved over the course of 2-3 hours would be sufficient, even in the context of average normal loudness throughout the rest of the day, to cause permanent hearing loss. Further, it’s worth noting that while I advocate for taking care of your ears, I could find no studies that shows cinemas had in fact caused actual hearing loss and I similarly found no evidence that people exposed to dangerously loud levels (like symphony performers) had higher rates of noise induced hearing loss. The studies that did show causes of NIHL were typically for rock musicians and manufacturing jobs where exposure was to levels found to exceed 120dB on a routine basis.

now as for why I like a speaker capable of high output. Keep in mind that, besides the fact that a speaker that is distorting is very distracting, a distorting speaker also has higher total energy output due to the harmonics.


Rise in THD also reduced speech quality and intelligibility.

this is why i advocate for higher output in speakers. Many have argued that a normal receiver and average speakers exceed any reasonable peak level but this is based on nothing more than conjecture. The reality is most speakers fall way short of reference levels and begin distorting at pretty modest levels. Many people perceive distortion and compression as a hearing issue. If it’s painful it’s dangerous. In many cases the pain and poor sound is actually a function of the distortion and compression of the low output speaker. A cleaner speaker would be listened to louder without discomfort.
 
D

Danzilla31

Audioholic Ninja
Hearing will be damaged at those levels.
I'm not wanting to listen constantly at those level but I agree with Mathew I want those peaks and I want clean output at moderate levels which most speakers just can't do really I've found that out the hard way
 
Auditor55

Auditor55

Audioholic Chief
I'm not wanting to listen constantly at those level but I agree with Mathew I want those peaks and I want clean output at moderate levels which most speakers just can't do really I've found that out the hard way
If you are listening to music, especially lots of today's music, its going to be continuously loud.
 

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