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post #1 of 31 Old 06-14-2014, 09:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Question DIY Speaker build capable of high res audio?

High resolution audio is definitely one of the buzz topics, these days. I realize that even the definition of that is in limbo, but I tend to view it as a minimum of "greater than CD" quality. That is, anything with more than 16 bits and frequencies higher than 20kHz. The gold standard would be 24/96 or even 24/192, but I'd accept even 24/48.

I'm not saying I believe that it's possible for anybody to actually hear the difference between 16/44 and 24/96. All science and semi-formal tests have showed that 16/44 perfectly encapsulates human audio hearing.

Nevertheless, there does seem to be some compelling arguments that it may be possible that people can at least perceive ultrasonic sounds even if they can't hear them.

I'd love to test that myself, but I run into the problem that none of my existing equipment can reproduce sounds above 20kHz. Similarly, all DIY speaker designs that I've come across also are limited to the 20kHz ceiling.

I think that IF it's possible to build a speaker that can reproduce frequencies above 20kHz (ideally up to 48kHz) with DIY sensibility and IF the cost is comparable to a conventional system, then why not do it?

But again, I've never seen such a design. All speakers that I've found that can reproduce > 20kHz are commercial brands.

Am I missing something? Any of you know of a DIY design that has a "super tweeter"?
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post #2 of 31 Old 06-14-2014, 09:46 PM
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You can't hear above 20khz. Depending on your age you probably can't hear above 17khz. That's my limit at 36 which I believe is above average. You're wasting your time imo
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post #3 of 31 Old 06-14-2014, 09:51 PM
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hypersonic effect!


http://jn.physiology.org/content/83/6/3548.full
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post #4 of 31 Old 06-14-2014, 10:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by granroth View Post
That is, anything with more than 16 bits and frequencies higher than 20kHz.
As you can't hear above 20kHz and even the best speakers are capable of nothing near CD performance in terms of linearity, what's the point?

I've done a bit of experimenting with supertweets and consider them pointless.
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post #5 of 31 Old 06-14-2014, 11:29 PM - Thread Starter
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I definitely know that I cannot hear even AT 20kHz, much less above it. Maybe I could hit 20kHz when I was younger, but I'm turning 40 this year and can guarantee that my threshold is well below that. I am also a staunch supporter of scientific knowledge and logic and have had many an argument with hard-core audiophiles that insist that they can hear above 20kHz, but refuse to test that in an reasonable way.

But here's the thing -- there is some suggestion that it's possible to at least perceive ultrasonic frequencies. LTD02 linked to a study that indicates the possibility of precisely that. Mark Waldrep, one of the pioneers of "high definition" sound (as he calls it) also freely acknowledges that he cannot hear even above 15kHz, but claims that he can absolutely tell the difference between a high-res mix and a CD-quality mix (both that he did, so no tricks) and doesn't know how that's possible.

The idea of perception is interesting because we freely acknowledge it on the lower frequencies. I believe that the lowest frequency measured in a laboratory as being audible was 12Hz (20Hz, typically). Yet some of you folks have subwoofers that can reproduce frequencies lower than that. I am fairly certain that if you played a 10Hz tone at reasonable volume, that you wouldn't be able to HEAR it at all, but you'd absolutely PERCEIVE it.

Thing is, we do know why that's possible. The rather massive amounts of energy (relatively speaking) embodied in the lower frequencies puts physical pressure on our bodies, even if our ear cannot place it as a sound. Higher frequencies have far less energy and so there's no indication that we "feel" the waves in any similar manner.

Yet, the low frequency example does show us that perception can extend beyond hearing and there are logically minded people who claim to be able to detect "something" when audio goes ultrasonic.

So I want to see for myself. I have representative sample of high-res audio that is also remixed into CD-quality and I simply cannot tell any difference at all between them in an ABX test. But my equipment absolutely cannot reproduce those frequencies, anyway, and so I wouldn't be able to, even if my body physically could.

That brings me back to my original request. Are there DIY designs that can handle these kind of frequencies? If there are, but they are notably more expensive, then I'm just going to pass since I'm not willing to spend (much) extra money on something that I honestly don't think is possible (but want to prove it to myself). If there are and they have a comparable price, then why not?
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post #6 of 31 Old 06-14-2014, 11:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by granroth View Post
LTD02 linked to a study that indicates the possibility of precisely that.
The Ooashi study has been debunked. Arny would be the best one to ask about it.

You'd be far better spending your time on designs with more linear drivers than worrying about something you 'might' be able to 'perceive'. And most likely become a victim of Beranek's Law.

However, if you wish to micturate into an oncoming breeze, Fostex FT17 and some of the Fountek ribbons will get you beyond 20kHz. One of the drivers I used in my experiements a few years back was the Tannoy supertweet.

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post #7 of 31 Old 06-15-2014, 12:11 AM
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Most domes and ribbons extend beyond 20k, some ribs reach 48k. My kef xq5 reach 40k but I prefer my zap zrt. I care less about >20k. The tone of the speaker is more important to me. I really like my jbl2226h seos speaker. My fav of all. Not too revealing, just extremely capable in dynamics.
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post #8 of 31 Old 06-15-2014, 05:19 AM
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I believe that most good ribbon tweeted are capable of extending past 20khz. Look into the Statement. It uses the Fountek NeoCD3.0 ribbon tweeter and I believed that it can go as high as 25khz, or higher.

As far as can we perceive and/or hear above 20khz, I can't answer that, however, for me personally, the speakers that I have heard that can extend that high, have all sounded terrific, although, I doubt that extension past 20khz is the reason.
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post #9 of 31 Old 06-15-2014, 07:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by granroth View Post
I'd love to test that myself, but I run into the problem that none of my existing equipment can reproduce sounds above 20kHz. Similarly, all DIY speaker designs that I've come across also are limited to the 20kHz ceiling.
The microphones used to make the recordings are also limited to 20kHz, so even if you have canine hearing there's no point in having speakers that are capable of playing back what simply isn't there.

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post #10 of 31 Old 06-15-2014, 10:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by granroth View Post
LTD02 linked to a study that indicates the possibility of precisely that.
The Ooashi study has been debunked. Arny would be the best one to ask about it.
Yeah, this is why I keep quibbling with words like "suggests" and "indicates the possibility". As far as I know, there is not one whit of definitive proof that we are capable of ultrasonic perception.

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You'd be far better spending your time on designs with more linear drivers than worrying about something you 'might' be able to 'perceive'. And most likely become a victim of Beranek's Law.
And that's what I'm most afraid of and is why I'm asking about speaker designs. I've never made any speakers (yet) and so the chances that I could create an excellent design completely on my own with no experience seems remote. I'm hoping that there is a tested design that just so happens to go ultrasonic as well.

Quote:
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However, if you wish to micturate into an oncoming breeze, Fostex FT17 and some of the Fountek ribbons will get you beyond 20kHz. One of the drivers I used in my experiements a few years back was the Tannoy supertweet.
Ah, the Fostex FT17 also looks like it's reasonably priced and not uncommonly used. I'll try tracking down some more reviews of it. Thanks!
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post #11 of 31 Old 06-15-2014, 10:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Originally Posted by granroth View Post
I'd love to test that myself, but I run into the problem that none of my existing equipment can reproduce sounds above 20kHz. Similarly, all DIY speaker designs that I've come across also are limited to the 20kHz ceiling.
The microphones used to make the recordings are also limited to 20kHz, so even if you have canine hearing there's no point in having speakers that are capable of playing back what simply isn't there.
Well... in general, yes. The provenance of the vast majority of high res music that's currently out there (and certainly what will be coming) is dubious at best. Most of it will be overpriced marketing releases.

BUT, that doesn't mean that all of it is like that. Mark Waldrep has been doing "true" high-res for well over a decade and has the spectrographs to show that his recordings do, indeed, have frequencies extending beyond 20kHz. I've downloaded a few of his demo tracks and ran them through Audacity and verified that they really do have ultrasonic frequencies.
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post #12 of 31 Old 06-15-2014, 11:21 AM
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granroth, be mindful the community here offers up solid advice.


[quote=A9X-308;24978185]
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You'd be far better spending your time on designs with more linear drivers than worrying about something you 'might' be able to 'perceive'.

^ This


If you're going to take the plunge into a DIY effort, there are far more important, far more enjoyable sonic attributes for which you can sink your teeth into.

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post #13 of 31 Old 06-15-2014, 03:04 PM
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You can't hear above 20khz. Depending on your age you probably can't hear above 17khz. That's my limit at 36 which I believe is above average. You're wasting your time imo
This.

You can easily test this with headphones and free hearing tests online or signal generators. Your PC should have no trouble spitting out 20khz over headphone jack. I doubt you really hear that. I don't. I'm 36 also.

Males over 30 generally don't hear above 18khz. That's why most DIY speakers top around 19khz. The the ones that go higher often sound worse too. This has been demonstrated repeatedly with a mild extra harshness.

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post #14 of 31 Old 06-15-2014, 03:09 PM
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Yeah I get tested at work every year (work in a power plant) and it is embarrassing going through the high kHz frequencies. Sitting in a sound proof both just waiting for test tones I can hear again to appear. It can be a long wait!
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post #15 of 31 Old 06-15-2014, 05:07 PM - Thread Starter
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granroth, be mindful the community here offers up solid advice.

If you're going to take the plunge into a DIY effort, there are far more important, far more enjoyable sonic attributes for which you can sink your teeth into.
Yep. The depth of knowledge here is pretty substantial -- hence why I'm asking.

I am getting the impression that the answer to my question is "no, there are not any proven DIY designs that can handle ultrasonic frequencies." That does make logical sense, since if there is one shared trait of those who design and build their own speakers, it's that they have no patience for fads or snake-oil. Why spend the time to build a speaker that can reproduce frequencies that you cannot even hear?

Fair enough. This is just an "if I can, then why not?" fancy of mine and so if I can't, I'm more than fine to just forget about it.
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post #16 of 31 Old 06-15-2014, 05:14 PM - Thread Starter
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You can't hear above 20khz. Depending on your age you probably can't hear above 17khz. That's my limit at 36 which I believe is above average. You're wasting your time imo
This.

You can easily test this with headphones and free hearing tests online or signal generators. Your PC should have no trouble spitting out 20khz over headphone jack. I doubt you really hear that. I don't. I'm 36 also.

Males over 30 generally don't hear above 18khz. That's why most DIY speakers top around 19khz. The the ones that go higher often sound worse too. This has been demonstrated repeatedly with a mild extra harshness.
Just to be clear, nobody here is saying that it is possible to hear ultrasonic frequencies at all (or get even within a few thousand Hz). The only remaining suggestion would be if it is possible to perceive it in a musical sense, in some unspecified and unknown manner. As such, hearing a tone or signal generator would show nothing that we don't already know (e.g., my hearing isn't great anymore and getting worse). It would need to be music. And yeah, my Mac Mini can pump out decent audio, but I'm not even close to willing to shell out the cash for the type of headphone I'd need to reproduce those frequencies, all for something that is probably (but not definitely) snake oil.
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post #17 of 31 Old 06-15-2014, 05:25 PM
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Look at it this way. Loudspeaker response above 20kHz is just as useful as TV screens that display into the ultraviolet.

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post #18 of 31 Old 06-15-2014, 05:26 PM
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fwiw, jbl puts super tweeter in their k2 and everest to cover the region from 20khz-40khz.


obviously, that might just be a marketing gimmick, but most everything else about those designs tends to have some basis in science, so who knows.


maybe somebody there would be good to ask.

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post #19 of 31 Old 06-15-2014, 05:37 PM
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I was thinking of buying a pair of these You can get a pair for ~$100.
Cross them over to my SEOS's at 18khz.


Why?
because I'm anal about not reaching 24khz in my sweep charts... I don't know anymore.
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post #20 of 31 Old 06-15-2014, 06:21 PM
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You probably couldn't hear a super tweet but it might be horrible for a dog or small child...


Lol

I'm not sure if you could even tell if it was bad. You'd need to measure. Above 20khz is pointless IMO.

Focus your efforts on great sound below 19khz and your efforts will be more worthwhile.

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post #21 of 31 Old 06-15-2014, 06:22 PM
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As others have said. Concentrate on making the audible range of your speakers as good as possible. That would give you the best benefits going forward.
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post #22 of 31 Old 06-15-2014, 07:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Actually, BassThatHz' post got me thinking -- what if I built a well proven design and then just added on a super tweeter crossed over at 18kHz? If it's true that I can't perceive anything at all coming from that, then presumably it can't hurt to include it, right? I would be out $50 per speaker ($100 total -- I would only put them in the L/R mains) if (as expected) it didn't produce any noticeable difference. But could installing that potentially make the rest of the speaker worse? If so, how?
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post #23 of 31 Old 06-15-2014, 08:01 PM
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That's DIY right there. Give it a whirl and then we'll know with your feedback and measurements to back it up. I'm sure people would tune in to see what happens.
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post #24 of 31 Old 06-15-2014, 08:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by granroth View Post
Actually, BassThatHz' post got me thinking -- what if I built a well proven design and then just added on a super tweeter crossed over at 18kHz? If it's true that I can't perceive anything at all coming from that, then presumably it can't hurt to include it, right? I would be out $50 per speaker ($100 total -- I would only put them in the L/R mains) if (as expected) it didn't produce any noticeable difference. But could installing that potentially make the rest of the speaker worse? If so, how?
I would be more afraid of the interaction from the additional sounds, or that the high sounds might hurt someone or something else with better hearing at high volumes. Do you have pets? Or kids ?

It's a cool experiment, but if you search around there is plenty of folks that have tried super tweets or extended range before. I am pretty sure if it really made any significant difference more people would be doing it by now. Common sense tells me it probably won't help, and potentially could hurt. I don't seem much upside to it.

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post #25 of 31 Old 06-15-2014, 09:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by granroth View Post
Actually, BassThatHz' post got me thinking -- what if I built a well proven design and then just added on a super tweeter crossed over at 18kHz? If it's true that I can't perceive anything at all coming from that, then presumably it can't hurt to include it, right? I would be out $50 per speaker ($100 total -- I would only put them in the L/R mains) if (as expected) it didn't produce any noticeable difference. But could installing that potentially make the rest of the speaker worse? If so, how?
No, it probably wouldn't make an audible negative difference, unless you completely screwed up the implementation, but as stated before, it's seriously unlikely to make an audible difference at all, let alone an improvement. Spend the $100 on a design that will make improvements in the audible passband.
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post #26 of 31 Old 06-15-2014, 09:37 PM
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He seems determined, lol. If he goes with a great proven design I don't think this would hurt. Not sure about crossover work that would be needed though. Wouldn't he also have to look at the entire signal chain to make sure everything can go high enough? How hard is that to do?
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post #27 of 31 Old 06-15-2014, 09:50 PM
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Most of the time those frequencies just aren't even there.
You not only have to play Hi-Res files, but it has to be of a particular type of instrument that contains it.

Any rattling metal is gonna have lots of VHF.

something like this sort of music:

Rattling car keys, triangles and hi-fi recorded drum cymbals etc etc... you get the idea.
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post #28 of 31 Old 06-16-2014, 12:27 AM - Thread Starter
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He seems determined, lol.
Not really that determined. I'm trying to figure out how I could convince my wife that this is a good idea.

Me: Say honey, you know how you're vastly more okay with me building a theater because I'll be saving thousands by building my own stuff -- like the speakers? What do you think about me spending an extra $100 to make a change that will almost surely not make any difference at all and probably nobody (even me) could tell that they are there?

Her: ....
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post #29 of 31 Old 06-16-2014, 12:41 AM
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He seems determined, lol.
Not really that determined. I'm trying to figure out how I could convince my wife that this is a good idea.

Me: Say honey, you know how you're vastly more okay with me building a theater because I'll be saving thousands by building my own stuff -- like the speakers? What do you think about me spending an extra $100 to make a change that will almost surely not make any difference at all and probably nobody (even me) could tell that they are there?

Her: ....
Yeah unless you have money to burn I would not bother. Put every dollar into the best diy speakers you can afford. I'll have my Elusive 1099s built in the next few days and cannot wait. If I had to go with a smaller less capable speaker chasing VHF I would never do it. Not worth the risk of my money for something science tells me isn't worth the effort.
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post #30 of 31 Old 06-16-2014, 05:20 AM
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As I mentioned above, when it comes to HIFI music, not theater, I tend to prefer ribbons over domes and compression drivers. I have always liked speakers that can extend over 20khz. I know that there are so many other variables to consider, but to me, having a ribbon going up to 30khz sound great.

Also, with regards to hearing test made by tones into a headphone, I am not so sure that this is a very good way to determine ones over all hearing abilities.
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