J

Joe Schmoe

Audioholic Ninja
Apparently Athena has dealt with these problems and found solutions, because there are no midrange issues that I can hear. Imaging is excellent by monopole standards, though not spectacular like the Mirage imaging.
Here is a link:http://www.athenaspeakers.com/modelASF1.htm
(I have found other 2-way towers with a single woofer, but they are all 5.5" or 6.5".)
 
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Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Warlord
Thanks for the link. That helped. I looked in the read reviews link, and saw the Stereophile 2002 review of the F2 model in that line. Your F1 probably has the same 8" woofer, one instead of two, and the same tweeter crossed at 2000 Hz. I'm guessing that cabinet construction standards are similar.

Look at page 2, where it shows some measurements. Figure 3 shows that midrange response on and off axis looks decent from about 800-2000 Hz. Figure 4 shows the mild loss of dispersion at the crossover range. Not bad. There is some exaggerated bass response at 50-100 Hz, but not too bad. That may be why these speakers are said to sound warm. Note that this bass "warmth" may be less prominent in the F1 model. There are a few peaks at 150, 300, and 400-500 Hz. Again, these are measurements - we can see these peaks, but how audible are they, and if audible, how objectionable are they? Your answer is the only one that matters here.

Figure 2 shows a waterfall plot that indicates strong cabinet-woofer resonances at 150, 300, and mid 500 Hz. I doubt if WmAx would like that, but your opinion counts the most here. Resonances at these frequencies will affect how you hear bass in these speakers, and I can only guess that the Mirage 350s don't have these same resonances. I do find it odd that the reviewer seems to overlook this, but afterall this is Stereophile. Maybe I'm asking for too much.

Please don't take any of this personally - I'm not saying your Athenas are bad. I'm only trying to point out some facts that may apply to the F1s as well as the F2s. Overall, they seem to be decent, especially for the price. And my earlier comments about the possible lack of midrange at 1000-2000 Hz don't seem to apply here at all.
 
J

Joe Schmoe

Audioholic Ninja
If I were a DIY kind of guy, I might try reinforcing them. I have had one apart, though, and they do have pretty good cross-bracing.
The new F1.2s are fully 12 lb (per speaker) lighter, so they can't be as good.
I would still love to hear something with an essentially identical design but better. (Better cabinet, better drivers, better crossover.)
 
WmAx

WmAx

Audioholic Samurai
If I were a DIY kind of guy, I might try reinforcing them. I have had one apart, though, and they do have pretty good cross-bracing.
The new F1.2s are fully 12 lb (per speaker) lighter, so they can't be as good.
I would still love to hear something with an essentially identical design but better. (Better cabinet, better drivers, better crossover.)
I don't know what you consider 'pretty good cross-bracing', but keep in mind that the following links represent a mid module with very low resonances -- but still audible under some specific circumstances:

http://www.linaeum.com/productinfo/other/infinity_primus160_ultra/braces_back_s.jpg

http://www.linaeum.com/productinfo/other/infinity_primus160_ultra/braces_front_close_s.jpg

This is an extreme braced and extreme dampened construction(with a substantial constrained layer). This is what I consider to be a minimum standard for a serious hi-fi speaker.

The standard 'well braced' speaker system to me, is horribly resonant and unusable for any serious music purposes. Though for movies, I can accept such lowered standards: the overwhelming majority movies just don't have a very realistic sound track compared to really good music examples.

-Chris
 
J

Joe Schmoe

Audioholic Ninja
This is an extreme braced and extreme dampened construction(with a substantial constrained layer). This is what I consider to be a minimum standard for a serious hi-fi speaker.
Interesting that you consider that a "minimum" standard when it looks like extreme overkill to me. It is also far more that you will find in the majority of speakers out there, very expensive ones included. It is a really good thing that most of us are nowhere near as demanding as you are, since most of us are also not able to afford anything like that.
 
WmAx

WmAx

Audioholic Samurai
Interesting that you consider that a "minimum" standard when it looks like extreme overkill to me. It is also far more that you will find in the majority of speakers out there, very expensive ones included. It is a really good thing that most of us are nowhere near as demanding as you are, since most of us are also not able to afford anything like that.
Extremely high performance is possible at reasonable costs.

In my past analysis, I have found that some lower cost speakers have the potential to operate to a very high standard not presumed to be possible by most people. All that is required is a bit of alternative hardware use/setup and some physical modification to the cabinet systems of a few speakers that qualify. I am sure you have read such posts by me before detailing such steps. I will gladly consult you on this subject if you ever require such assistance. Just let me know. BTW, I do not have any idea of the potential of the Mirage to which you seem to be fond. I would need credible, detailed 3rd party measurements/analysis as a beginning point. Ideally, I need a speaker sample in person to measure/analyze in order to verify the value of modification and to make recommendations on how to modify it - especially a curved enclosure system.

-Chris
 
J

Joe Schmoe

Audioholic Ninja
My Mirages are in mint condition, so I would not risk destroying their resale value by modifying them (especially with my nonexistent woodworking skills.)
In any event, I can't see how putting additional bracing in an existing cabinet could work. After all, internal cabinet volume is part of the design, and that would obviously be reduced (maybe substantially.):confused:
 
WmAx

WmAx

Audioholic Samurai
In any event, I can't see how putting additional bracing in an existing cabinet could work. After all, internal cabinet volume is part of the design, and that would obviously be reduced (maybe substantially.):confused:
It depends on methods used and target objectives. For one thing, the speaker is now probably designed to work full range. If using the existing cabinet, I would likely now use it with stereo subs, placed near each main, crossed in the 90Hz range with a steep crossover slope. This removes all bass burdens from the mains. Now I would seal the system, which requires far less internal volume. So the mains would be used as midbass-mid-treble modules, not as full range modules. They were never suited to full range in the first place - so why bother?

There are also methods available to minimize internal volume loss, but of course, these increase the complexity and cost of the modification(s) in most circumstances.

But as I pointed out in a prior post, the system needs to be measured sufficiently to determine if the driver/crossover system are of sufficient quality to warrant the modifications.

-Chris
 
WmAx

WmAx

Audioholic Samurai
My Mirages are in mint condition, so I would not risk destroying their resale value by modifying them (especially with my nonexistent woodworking skills.)
So, you sacrifice resale value in order to get a speaker of such high quality that is not possible with regular purchase. Besides, you should always assume modification will remove most resale value, regardless of the improvement that the modification provides. That is another reason to use a lower cost speaker. On example is the Ascend CBM-170. It is an excellent monopole, as far as the drivers and crossover are concerned(verified by NRC measurements). But the cabinet is average and resonant. The cost is excellent($250 or so with the refurbs recently available). Very worthwhile to modify this unit, as an example. If one were to do my level 2 or level 3(level 3 involves a 1/4" plate steel sub enclosure welded together to insert) modification on this speaker, and combine it with a DSP crossover and good quality stereo subs, it would be a superb monopole speaker system that would be not far from the quality of say a B&W 802D.

-Chris
 
J

Joe Schmoe

Audioholic Ninja
I will never seriously consider a sub as an option again. For me, stereo=2.0.
 
WmAx

WmAx

Audioholic Samurai
I will never seriously consider a sub as an option again. For me, stereo=2.0.
That is a silly position to hold.

You should not base this on the flawed common implementations. I certainly DO NOT recommend the standard sub integration methods.

-Chris
 
J

Joe Schmoe

Audioholic Ninja
That is a silly position to hold.

You should not base this on the flawed common implementations. I certainly DO NOT recommend the standard sub integration methods.

-Chris
I have listened to a sub crossed at 60Hz with the mains turned off. It only became active for a couple of seconds every few minutes, and the sound it made then is something whose absence I would not find noticeable. Since both of my stereo pairs extend well below 60Hz, I consider a sub to be useless clutter.
(Remember, I am talking music only here, not HT.)
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
I will never seriously consider a sub as an option again. For me, stereo=2.0.
You have a large music collection, and you must by now be an experienced critical listener. I really doubt you will be happy with those mirage speakers for a host of reasons. I would hazard an educated guess that bracing is the least of their problems.

Now for closed box and ported enclosures I use extensive bracing, but you have to be careful. B & W have shown that extensive bracing such as in their matrix speakers, causes an uneven load to the drivers, and has to be taken into consideration in the design. Thick braces have even been known to act as reflex ports. Since I listen to TL speakers, I have to use bracing very judiciously, as a lot of bracing kills the pipe.

I'm not so sure your view on subs is totally off base. A sub adds a crossover which ever way you look at it. In an awful lot of situations that is going to be a very uncontrolled and unpredictable crossover.

Now you asked about more speakers with eight inch two way design. That is a tough one, because the size of the driver makes the crossover problematic. I wasted time this morning going through lots of currently available 8 inch drivers. Only two cost effective drivers, one from Peerless and one from SEAS showed promise. One high priced unit from Morel was in the running.

Now I think another of the reasons for your preference for the eight is that the larger cone diameter will make the diffraction baffle loss start at a lower frequency.

Now it is easier to make 6.5 and 7 inch drivers behave better in the 1K to 6k range. Remember a driver has to have good behavior above crossover frequency, or else the crossover becomes more complex and costly.

There are now lots of 6.5 inch drivers that don't cost a fortune, that can be tuned to the 30 to 40 Hz range. If you make a speaker with two of those as a 2 1/2 way design, then you are well on the way to what you desire. Apart from movie sound effects and large pipe organs, well designed and voiced speakers with F3 closed below 55 Hz and ported in the low forties, give a very satisfying musical experience. That is why those types of design remain so popular.
 
3db

3db

Audioholic Overlord
You have a large music collection, and you must by now be an experienced critical listener. I really doubt you will be happy with those mirage speakers for a host of reasons. I would hazard an educated guess that bracing is the least of their problems.

Now for closed box and ported enclosures I use extensive bracing, but you have to be careful. B & W have shown that extensive bracing such as in their matrix speakers, causes an uneven load to the drivers, and has to be taken into consideration in the design. Thick braces have even been known to act as reflex ports. Since I listen to TL speakers, I have to use bracing very judiciously, as a lot of bracing kills the pipe.

I'm not so sure your view on subs is totally off base. A sub adds a crossover which ever way you look at it. In an awful lot of situations that is going to be a very uncontrolled and unpredictable crossover.

Now you asked about more speakers with eight inch two way design. That is a tough one, because the size of the driver makes the crossover problematic. I wasted time this morning going through lots of currently available 8 inch drivers. Only two cost effective drivers, one from Peerless and one from SEAS showed promise. One high priced unit from Morel was in the running.

Now I think another of the reasons for your preference for the eight is that the larger cone diameter will make the diffraction baffle loss start at a lower frequency.

Now it is easier to make 6.5 and 7 inch drivers behave better in the 1K to 6k range. Remember a driver has to have good behavior above crossover frequency, or else the crossover becomes more complex and costly.

There are now lots of 6.5 inch drivers that don't cost a fortune, that can be tuned to the 30 to 40 Hz range. If you make a speaker with two of those as a 2 1/2 way design, then you are well on the way to what you desire. Apart from movie sound effects and large pipe organs, well designed and voiced speakers with F3 closed below 55 Hz and ported in the low forties, give a very satisfying musical experience. That is why those types of design remain so popular.
Thats what I'm finding with my PSB Image T45s. Very good with music and imaging. I only add the sub if I'm listening to works containing "pipe organ"
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Thats what I'm finding with my PSB Image T45s. Very good with music and imaging. I only add the sub if I'm listening to works containing "pipe organ"
Well that's one on my side! I'm anticipating some heat on this one too. Thanks for the feedback.
 
J

Joe Schmoe

Audioholic Ninja
Even the Polk Monitor 50s that I used to own had satisfactory bass extension without a sub, and their -3dB point was a full 17Hz higher than that of the 350s and F1s. (The problem with them was that the DiApollito array confined the imaging to a plane, there was almost no vertical movement.)
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Even the Polk Monitor 50s that I used to own had satisfactory bass extension without a sub, and their -3dB point was a full 17Hz higher than that of the 350s and F1s. (The problem with them was that the DiApollito array confined the imaging to a plane, there was almost no vertical movement.)
That's the whole point of the DiApollito array. It is often a good thing to limit vertical dispersion. It helps reduce ceiling and floor reflections for one thing.

It all depends on what you want to achieve. Like everything else you have to know when to use and when not. It is just another weapon in the speaker designer's locker.
 
WmAx

WmAx

Audioholic Samurai
I'm not so sure your view on subs is totally off base. A sub adds a crossover which ever way you look at it. In an awful lot of situations that is going to be a very uncontrolled and unpredictable crossover.
Obviously, proper measurement and configuration of a crossover is required. As standard practice, I almost always recommend a powerful variable DSP unit such as the Behringer DCX2496, which ensures proper integration is possible.

There are now lots of 6.5 inch drivers that don't cost a fortune, that can be tuned to the 30 to 40 Hz range. If you make a speaker with two of those as a 2 1/2 way design, then you are well on the way to what you desire. Apart from movie sound effects and large pipe organs, well designed and voiced speakers with F3 closed below 55 Hz and ported in the low forties, give a very satisfying musical experience.
But these are very limited when dynamic LF is needed. A couple of 6.5" good quality mid-woofers will not produce low distortion dynamic LF output under 50 or 60 Hz. A line array of them could do it, but that's not the issue here. Or an extremely high grade driver could do it - obviously not common in regular line speaker systems. Even if you had small mid-woofers with the required extreme excursion ability that had unusually linear motors - the use of these small woofers could not be up to the normal point where they cross to a normal tweeter at the high 2.5khz-3khz range, otherwise phase intermodulation distortion will occur(sometimes referred to as Doppler distortion, though debatable as to the proper name to refer to it) upon such dynamic LF instances. However, it can be looked at under a different perspective: this distortion while slightly subjectively 'blurring' the realistic detail, is probably of no big consequence on normal quality speakers that have no substantial ability to sound realistic in the first place. However, in a very high grade speaker system in a properly treated acoustic environment, such distortion would be disastrous to the illusion of realism.

-Chris
 
WmAx

WmAx

Audioholic Samurai
I have listened to a sub crossed at 60Hz with the mains turned off. It only became active for a couple of seconds every few minutes, and the sound it made then is something whose absence I would not find noticeable. Since both of my stereo pairs extend well below 60Hz, I consider a sub to be useless clutter.
(Remember, I am talking music only here, not HT.)
I doubt this was what I would classify as a properly integrated subwoofer/main system. A properly integrated system will produce a seamless enhancement, resulting in fuller sound with extreme dynamic ability that does not result in realism shattering distortion artifacts. Of course, if one listens to an average SPL level of no more than 70-75dB, then perhaps it would never be an issue.

-Chris
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Chris you are missing the point.

Joe is after a system that he can purchase without going into debt. Yes, we do need more people like that. He has told us he is not technical or a DIY enthusiast.

He wants to purchase a system in his budget, that gives a realistic and pleasant sound field when playing the overwhelming majority of recordings in his collection. He does not want it to be fussy so he is moving speakers three times a day to find the "best spot". He wants sensible dynamic range and sound pressure levels. He does not want to have to invest in, and learn how to use test equipment. In short he wants 90% + of the optimal listening experience on by far the major percentage of his recordings with minimal hassle.

Now I believe that at the current state of the art that is met by speakers of the type I described in my previous post.

Now as to dopler distortion, that is very real. You can quantify it. However it is one of audio mysteries that it does not bother people. The ear does not seem very sensitive to it, thank goodness. There was a huge amount of ink spilled about this back in the fifties, and then people realized it was not one of the loudspeaker faults, that caused listeners displeasure. I have no clue why, you would think it would.

Now I'll make another of my confessions, I'm a full ranger at heart. I keep a pair of Jordan Watts modules in a TLS to keep me honest with these fancy rigs I'm prone to put together. That little under slung driver, with a 3 Gm aluminum cone and a suspension of three beryllium cantilevers sound absolutely marvelous. Just two cones, two voice coils, one on the right and one on the left. I can tell you this, if any speaker of mine has a tonal balance significantly different from those speakers, I have more work to do.

I have always had an admiration for the Lowthers, though they have a 2K peak, much less evident on recent examples.

Now there are a lot of those small drivers that have pretty good motor systems and also allow for relatively simple crossovers. I wish there was no need for crossover. I think we need a lot more R & D on full rangers. I know small drivers are limited in bass power handling. But remember price points and size are realities. The speaker designer can not always have the 100% of the loaf as the goal. He has to use his skills to bring pleasure to the countless Joe Schmoes and not get them into debt. A very worthy goal.
 
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