At what point do waveguide speakers become better than non-waveguides? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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Old 07-22-2012, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
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I would imagine it starts with room size, but I'm sure there are other factors. I'm getting ready to upgrade speakers and design some new ones for my theater, but I'm unsure which method to go with. Waveguides and high sensitivity drivers will allow more SPL with less power, but they also change the directionality of the sound to make it more even. That could be a detriment in a smaller theater. So, what factors are key when deciding to go with waveguides vs. non-waveguides? Very few high-end residential speakers are waveguides, which makes me think that waveguides really only help on the super-large scale.

For reference, I'm talking about waveguide mids, not tweeters. I'll probably go with waveguide tweeters anyway.

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Old 07-22-2012, 03:59 PM
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The issue is not the controlled directivity as that is a good thing for small rooms. To control directivity down into the midrange you need a much larger horn, that is the sole reason you do not see many residential systems with horn loaded mids.

When you have a very large horn or waveguide on the midrange your CTC distance between the mid and tweeter gets very large also, so you now have a small vertical listening window. Those speakers are designed for a further listening distance so that the whole listening area gets good coverage and therfore don't work well in small rooms.

The way around this is a unity/synergy horn where both tweeter and mids are loaded into the same horn and you no longer have the narrow vertical lobe problem from large ctc distances.
Or just drop the mid completely and go with a good two way SEOS design where the directivity of the HF waveguide is matched to that of the woofer at the crossover frequency.
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Old 07-23-2012, 08:33 PM
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I've often wondered about the pros and cons to waveguides. Interesting info
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Old 07-23-2012, 08:49 PM
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frosty, the answer to your question is not a quick hit and is part of the reason why there are so many designs.

if you want the sound splashing off everything in the room, then choose a design that uses both front and rear tweeters and place the speaker out into a "lively" room. this increases reflections and "ambience". it gives classical music a nice big sound, but makes speech difficult to understand because of so much echo.

if you want the sound focused right on the listener with much higher spl, then choose a design with compression drivers and waveguides. it won't sound as ambient, but it will sound very clear for speach. alternatively, you can put the former in a "dead room"--one with treatments all over the place in order to minimize reflections.

Listen. It's All Good.
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:11 PM
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or use WG's with the addition surround speakers for spaciousness ambience

also toeing in high directivity WG's gives a delayed reflection from the opposite wall that adds to spaciousness and doesn't impair imaging

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Old 07-23-2012, 09:40 PM
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At the point where the inherent compromises and benefits which come with horns better suit your needs and preferences than those which inherently come with any other design.
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