List of Reference Level, High Sensitivity & SPL Speakers - Page 7 - AVS Forum
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post #181 of 824 Old 02-06-2012, 07:49 PM
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What about CV Intense line like INT-252? They look like decent quality for the price.
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post #182 of 824 Old 02-06-2012, 08:04 PM - Thread Starter
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CV will have to work long and hard to erase the memories of the last 20 years of poor quality.
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post #183 of 824 Old 02-10-2012, 10:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BuGsArEtAsTy View Post

Would you be willing to put all your main explanatory text in the first post?

As promised, I updated the explanation at the beginning with more info about the columns. I have not gotten to the scoring or other columns to the right yet.
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post #184 of 824 Old 02-10-2012, 10:52 AM
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has anyone in here compared the Paradigm Signature S8s to the Seaton CAT 12s???? I am very interested in knowing how they stack up against each other.
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post #185 of 824 Old 02-10-2012, 10:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eyleron View Post

At some percentage of its power handling these will appear. (Still waiting to hear others confirm a generalization of where this occurs).
...
With speakers whose power handling is only 150 watts, I think you'll have distortion. (but I'd like to hear from others what they think the extent would be. Is the speaker-loafing distortion of 5% going to rise to 10%? 20? Will you still get the 95db peaks?)

I still didn't know how compression affects peaks, because most of the stuff I've read about compression was with regard to continuous or program signals.
I started a thread about this topic here.

Essentially, what I've learned so far is that thermal compression doesn't occur when you stay within the speaker's peak power handling. There may be other forms of compression such as magnetic and physical at play, and I'm still trying to find this out.

Measuring Peak Output and Distortion
This is more difficult to measure. I read that special sound meters are required to read these very fast peaks. I don't know if a typical < $200 meter or a measurement mic, hooked up to Real EQ Wizard, counts as being able to measure those transient peaks? What tone should we use? I couldn't get REW to put out a 500ms or 1 second burst tone. Linkwitz sells a CD of shaped burst tones. THX uses burst tones in its tests. CEA 2010 subwoofer tests uses such, I think?

It's hard to find info on this, either because it's hard to measure, it's not important (if you stay under max peak watts you're okay?), or a combination of both.

Thermal Compression
With enough continual (or frequent peak) high power signal being fed to the speaker, the voice coil heats up (speakers take electricity and convert a small fraction to acoustic energy; the rest is dissipated as heat).

As the VC heats up, its resistance changes. The frequency response of the speaker is now out of balance, because eg. the woofer will be producing less sound with the same watts but more resistance. You won't be getting the same bass peak level dynamics, and the speaker will sound more "bright." This is distortion, because what comes out is not what went in.

In that first post I linked to a Google spreadsheet showing four speakers and their manufacturer-stated compression specs. With bass pink noise, after only 5 minutes, the speakers compress a fraction of a dB at only 1/10 continuous power rating. At half that rating, they compress 1-2dB. At full power rating, they compresses 3-4dB.

Peaks, though, are by definition not continual. The VC has a chance to cool down.

Magnetic Compression
More typically in bass drivers, at high levels, stuff happens to the magnetic flux fields that make the power response nonlinear.

Also, the woofer can be driven so hard that it's out of the linear portion of the magnetic gap, and the field weakens.

I still don't know if that typically happens if you stay within the speaker's max peak power rating.

Physical Causes of Compression
With enough power, the driver can bottom out.

Also, with enough excursion, the spider itself is exerting a resistant force that's no longer linear, so the output from an increase in power is not what's expected: distortion.

How can you tell?
Again, there's distortion that sounds horrible and harsh, that we can easily discern, and we turn it down. This is more on continuous bass/drum sounds, and not necessarily the more infrequent peaks.

But if the peaks are just not hitting quite as loud...it's difficult to tell, except if one is cringing and wincing, it may be due to distortion on those peaks. If it's just softer, we may be missing that last icing of realism, and we would have to A/B test two speakers rapidly and tell the difference, but in judging our own speakers we may not realize it.

Also, just turning it down isn't always an option, because if the softest sounds are now beneath the noise floor of the room, then you've still lost dynamic range. Instead of losing it at the top, now you've lost it at the bottom.

MKTheater suggested the technique of playing passages of a soundtrack and using REW to measure the peaks, and I tried this yesterday with some good effect. I was testing the subwoofers, but one could do the same on main speakers, using A-weighting. It might help to know what the recorded level of a certain passage is, at what frequency, and in what channel, so that you could narrow it down better. But I don't know for sure at what point REW can pick up what short peaks at what frequency. It might be time/frequency/sample-rate dependent?

Changes to List
For now, I've removed the columns in the spreadsheet that showed what dB output you'd get on peaks, but using only 1/8th the stated power (I had thought that the rule-of-thumb of where compression starts affected peaks as well as continuous signals).

As long as typically one can avoid magnetic and physical compression by staying within the stated peak power handling, that's good news, as one can just use the simple calculator to roughly judge what output one will get.

This does deserve more investigation, however.
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post #186 of 824 Old 02-10-2012, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony123 View Post

My LaScala roll off at 16k and I've never found it to be detectable for theater use. I wonder if at reference levels it might even be preferred? That would be interesting to experiment with.

I don't know about preferred, but most people cant hear that high effectively anyways.....
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post #187 of 824 Old 02-10-2012, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimwyn View Post

has anyone in here compared the Paradigm Signature S8s to the Seaton CAT 12s???? I am very interested in knowing how they stack up against each other.

Done. Signature S8 at the bottom of the list, producing 105dB 12 feet away using its max peak power handling using 500w peak output amplifier.

The Seaton Catalyst will give you 115dB peaks, and includes the amps to do so.

Note: I had a Catalyst in there previously, but I've replaced it. I was thinking the 1000 watts for the LF driver was program watts. But after reading Mark Seaton's post elsewhere about reaching 126dB with one speaker a meter away, I'm thinking the 1000 refers to peak watt ouput for the LF amp. Someone correct me if I'm wrong. But if the peak is 2000w, that'd suggest that the speaker was 93dB sensitive, which seems off. Then again, active speakers give you ~3dB more sensitivity due to lack of passive crossover, so I dunno).
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post #188 of 824 Old 02-10-2012, 04:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Removed < 105dB
With a heavy heart, I've hidden those speakers that cannot produce 105dB with their peak watt rating. It gets to be too confusing, I suspect, to have a list with a stated purpose, and then also see a smattering of other speakers that either almost made it, or are there to illustrate how much they don't make the grade.

I've put the bottom-feeders on another "naughty" list.

Seriously, many of those speakers are fantastic, for their own reasons. Beautiful cabinetry. Incredibly detailed. Great on and off-axis response. Smooth, buttery, etc. But I gotta draw the line some where.

Note that other speakers like the KRK Expose, and Procella P6 also fell off. As I learn more about how to interpret their active amps this might change, as they're only 1.4dB short!

I'm open to suggestions about this.

Corrected and Added Axioms
I read about the Axiom VP-160 today, and I was gratified to see, instead of three horizontal woofers, or two tweeters, instead I saw a design with two woofers, and a mid below the tweeter, which I understand mitigates lobing problems in the critical midrange. I thought, "I'd better add this, and other Axiom speakers to the List!"

I was aghast to find that the one Axiom speaker I'd added a while back had the sensitivity too low. Axiom is great in that they specify sensitivity as full space (anechoic). Their in-room sensitivity is always 4dB above anechoic, instead of the 3dB that others report. I'm curious as to the difference in calculations or measurements.

Anyway, to help atone for my mistake, I endeavored to add all the Axioms I could find that would be worthy of the List.

You'll find the M22 (corrected to 93dB), the M3, which is a larger bookshelf (92dB), the M50 floorstander (94dB and only $828 a pair), and the VP160 (93dB $570).

I do wish their frequency response was given with -3dB points, though.
And I don't know whether their "max amp power" means program power, and thus a recommended amp spec, or peak power? I assumed the former, but someone correct me if I'm wrong!

Added SVS
I had not paid much attention to SVS previously. I like the company, I own one of their subs. But I was disappointed to find that a company known for class-leading subs that are high-output, decided to make the majority of their speakers more intended for critical listening at closer distances, at lower volumes.

I know they, and fans, would vehemently disagree, but that doesn't change the fact that their sensitivities often range from 82 to 85dB. I'm sure that the design yields incredible detail and imaging, but I'm still really surprised. Reference level would require 1,500 to 2,670 watts, 500% to 1,100% over what they're rated to handle (and that's my giving their max power rating the benefit of the doubt that it was Program and not Peak!).

After adding the speakers, I later decided to hide those that can't do 105dB, so all but on SVSound speaker disappeared: MBS-02 (82.5dB), SBS-02 (82dB), and the SCS-02 (84.5dB). These speakers will do -10dB on a calibrated volume, if you feed them 300-400 peak watts. I don't know if an XPA-3 is a design with 3dB headroom as some are, but if so, then that amp would fine.

Their high-end tower, the MTS-02 ($1,399) makes the grade, even with only 88.5dB sensitivity, by virtue of the 600w power handling. If I'm wrong about their power numbers, then it'll fall off the list.

 

Reference-Capable-Speakers.pdf 442.220703125k . file
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post #189 of 824 Old 02-10-2012, 05:19 PM
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Adam Audio has introduced a new series for dedicated theaters ie. "Grand Theater Components". The GTC 88's look lethal...........

I'm looking forward to having a listen as the modified Heil tweeter looks interesting for home theater use...........on another note, have enjoyed listening to their near field monitors.......ie. upper echelon monitors.


http://www.hometheater.com/content/a...speaker-system
http://www.adam-audio.com/en/home-au...88/description

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post #190 of 824 Old 02-10-2012, 05:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doublewing11 View Post

Adam Audio has introduced a new series for dedicated theaters ie. "Grand Theater Components". The GTC 88's look lethal...........

I'm looking forward to having a listen as the modified Heil tweeter looks interesting for home theater use...........on another note, have enjoyed listening to their near field monitors.......ie. upper echelon monitors.


http://www.hometheater.com/content/a...speaker-system
http://www.adam-audio.com/en/home-au...88/description

I've been looking for a chance to listen to some of their monitors for a while but never had the opportunity. The GTC88 does look impressive but their numbers don't seem to add up. They list 90db efficiency(also 4ohm nominal) and 180w/260w power handling but 124db peaks.
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post #191 of 824 Old 02-10-2012, 05:42 PM
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What about the Aperion 6T ?

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post #192 of 824 Old 02-10-2012, 05:45 PM
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I'm not sure if the list is only for speakers that are still being manufactured and I know that these and these are not in the same league with this list but some of them have a high sensitivity.


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post #193 of 824 Old 02-10-2012, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jproy13 View Post

I'm not sure if the list is only for speakers that are still being manufactured and I know that these and these are not in the same league with this list but some of them have a high sensitivity.

Several of the speakers are no longer made.

And several are cheaper stage speakers, and I don't know how they sound. So those Athena are perfectly appropriate.

Good finds, I will add them! Can you find out if their sensitivity is anechoic ?
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post #194 of 824 Old 02-10-2012, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmryan821 View Post

They list 90db efficiency(also 4ohm nominal) and 180w/260w power handling but 124db peaks.

That was puzzling to me too..............no mention of wattage capabilities handling peaks.

Would take 800+ to hit those numbers.........

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post #195 of 824 Old 02-10-2012, 06:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eyleron View Post

Several of the speakers are no longer made.

And several are cheaper stage speakers, and I don't know how they sound. So those Athena are perfectly appropriate.

Good finds, I will add them! Can you find out if their sensitivity is anechoic ?

lol, I'm not even going to pretend that I know what this means. I know it's some kind of padded room...lol. I found this from Home Theater magazine: On-axis response of the S3 measures +2.1/-1.6 decibels from 200 Hz to 10 kilohertz. The -3dB point is at 50 Hz, and the -6dB point is at 44 Hz. Impedance reaches a minimum of 3.74 ohms at 106 Hz and a phase angle of -77.29 degrees at 44 Hz. Sensitivity is 88 dB from 500 Hz to 2 kHz.

Couldn't find anything for the AS-F2 except this.


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post #196 of 824 Old 02-10-2012, 07:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jproy13 View Post


lol, I'm not even going to pretend that I know what this means. I know it's some kind of padded room...lol. I found this from Home Theater magazine: On-axis response of the S3 measures +2.1/-1.6 decibels from 200 Hz to 10 kilohertz. The -3dB point is at 50 Hz, and the -6dB point is at 44 Hz. Impedance reaches a minimum of 3.74 ohms at 106 Hz and a phase angle of -77.29 degrees at 44 Hz. Sensitivity is 88 dB from 500 Hz to 2 kHz.

Couldn't find anything for the AS-F2 except this.

Good stuff. Strange that the S3 is so far off!
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post #197 of 824 Old 02-10-2012, 08:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by brian6751 View Post

What about the Aperion 6T ?

They have good extension, at the sacrifice of sensitivity.
The power handling suggests it would reach reference level if you throw the 300 to 600 watts at it. 100 watts will get you reference level minus 5dB.
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post #198 of 824 Old 02-10-2012, 09:40 PM
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What about something like the Ascend CMT-340SE?
fairly efficient (92) can handle 400 watts... should be close to reference?

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post #199 of 824 Old 02-10-2012, 10:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamCatcher View Post

What about something like the Ascend CMT-340SE?
fairly efficient (92) can handle 400 watts... should be close to reference?

This one was already on the list (barely, at 104.8dB!).

Opposite of Axiom, they're saying the anechoic (90dB) is 2dB below the in-room (92dB).
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post #200 of 824 Old 02-10-2012, 10:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eyleron View Post

They have good extension, at the sacrifice of sensitivity.
The power handling suggests it would reach reference level if you throw the 300 to 600 watts at it. 100 watts will get you reference level minus 5dB.

I added the Aperion 6T, although it looks like it's discontinued. What's the used price go for now?

I also added its replacement, the Versus Grand. Looks like the Grand traded a little extension for another 1 dB of sensitivity, which for this list, is a good thing.

Until I hear otherwise, I'll assume the anechoic sensitivity is 3dB below what they post, since they didnt' qualify it.
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post #201 of 824 Old 02-11-2012, 05:14 AM
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Nice thread but I think the active designs are getting short changed based on your extrapolations. With built in amplification via active electronic filters the sensitivity is irrelevant & therefore not normally given. The spec I would be looking at (active) would be manufactures continuous & peak spl. The bigger the speaker suited for larger seating distances. Active or passive really is apples & oranges when talking about sensitivity specs. The active route gives you a complete all in 1 solution, selection generally based on room size/distance. I happen to think active is the way to go however we all know there are excellent passive designs as well.
Speaking of great passive designs I would like to add any of the pi speakers or Gedlee. Specifically 3pi, 4pi & Gedlee Summa & Abee.
Maybe a separate chart is needed for active speakers?
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post #202 of 824 Old 02-11-2012, 10:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Genelec Man View Post

Nice thread but I think the active designs are getting short changed based on your extrapolations. With built in amplification via active electronic filters the sensitivity is irrelevant & therefore not normally given. The spec I would be looking at (active) would be manufactures continuous & peak spl. The bigger the speaker suited for larger seating distances. Active or passive really is apples & oranges when talking about sensitivity specs. The active route gives you a complete all in 1 solution, selection generally based on room size/distance. I happen to think active is the way to go however we all know there are excellent passive designs as well.

Ha, I was actually on the verge of seeking you or one of the other active speaker afficiandos for help! If you read through the thread, or more easily the initial explanation I give at the top, I am practically begging for help on this topic.

I did come across the "no analog crossover = 3dB more output" issue you reference, and I've wondered about that. However, I then have to consider that if I use the manufacturers' own peak SPL numbers, combined with their peak amp output, as the basis for coming up with an extrapolated sensitivity, have I not then accounted for their efficiencies in active amplification with no passive crossover?

For instance, the Genelec 1038CF is given as 118dB SPL for a "Maximum short time sine wave acoustic output at 1 m on axis in half space, averaged from 100 Hz to 3 kHz." Their bass amp is also 180W (short term output power). They give some excuse about power protection when they don't give a continuous rating.

If I plug 180w @ 3.3 ft, near a wall, I need 93dB to reach 118dB.

If this speaker will do 118dB at 3.3 feet, do you think it will produce 107.3dB at 12 feet?

Two questions remain for me, though:
  • was that 180w the peak that the amp can provide? If it is, then I should use 180w as the peak watts, instead of 360w, and its max output will be lower than what's stated for 12 feet anechoic.
  • Should the 180w be spread over the two bass woofers of the 1038CF? And with less available power for each woofer, then my pseudo-sensitivity should be higher. EDIT: No, I don't think so, because we're measuring an entire speaker at that frequency, not one driver.


Another active speaker is the QSC K8.
It's rated as 500w continuous / 1000w peak to the bass driver, and 127 dB peak SPL. They note that their max SPL is calculated from the driver sensitivity and peak available amp power.

Using 1000w, 3.3 feet, and 94dB sensitivity, in-room, I get 127dB SPL. At 12 feet, anechoic, the spreadsheet shows 112.7dB.

Although it's possible QSC calculated for anechoic, but I doubt it, because if they did they probably would've stated such.

Separate Chart?
You're right, a separate chart might make it more clear. I can see how people would look more closely at the sensitivity, which matters less if the on-board amps are capable enough.

However the SPL output numbers seem in line with what the manufacturers are touting.

Maybe the biggest need for a separate chart is to make it clear to people that the active speakers include amplification already, so if someone hasn't bought their amps yet, this is a cost savings and adds to the apples-to-apples comparison.

Note to compare the active speakers on equal ground, one still has to play with their SPL numbers to put them all on anechoic, 1m. I saw some companies quoting 2m distance, or with multiple speakers in play.

I appreciate your help in making these numbers more representative of what the speakers can do!
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post #203 of 824 Old 02-11-2012, 10:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Genelec Man View Post

Speaking of great passive designs I would like to add any of the pi speakers or Gedlee. Specifically 3pi, 4pi & Gedlee Summa & Abee.
Maybe a separate chart is needed for active speakers?

I'd love to include them! What is their sensitivities and power-handling? I don't see these on their respective websites.

I'd also love to include some Econowaves, but I haven't seen their numbers either.
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post #204 of 824 Old 02-11-2012, 10:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4theLuvofHD View Post

What about CV Intense line like INT-252? They look like decent quality for the price.

I added this Cerwin Vega INT-252 speaker.
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post #205 of 824 Old 02-14-2012, 12:48 PM
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I applaud the effort in this thread, i just don't think it's overly useful, and in fact could be quite misleading to someone new to the forum. Your spreadsheet is completely ignoring sound QUALITY. What good is playing loud if it sounds terrible? For example, Revel Ultima Salon 2s, some of the most highly regarded speakers in the world, only have an 86 db/W/m sensitivity. You're going to dock them because they're tough to drive? If "ease of driving" is your only criteria, why not just everybody buy PA speakers and call it a day? They're cheap, handle lots of power, and produce tons of db. Oh wait, they sound terrible, because of the non-linear response, etc.

I'm just trying to figure out the usefulness of this thread, because i came into it with high expectations (and i definitely appreciate all the work you've put in!), but i just want people to keep it in perspective that the sound actually has to sound GOOD, not just loud.

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post #206 of 824 Old 02-14-2012, 01:14 PM
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The thread title is, "List of Reference Level, High Sensitivity & SPL, Low Distortion Speakers". So I feel it useful in those regards.

Sound quality is so subjective that I don't know how you'd add that criteria in a meaningful way. Are there any other threads that have been able to list speakers in order based on sound quality?

This list sets a requirement based on Reference Level. Sound quality would be the opinion of the individual.

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post #207 of 824 Old 02-14-2012, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saldog78 View Post

I applaud the effort in this thread, i just don't think it's overly useful, and in fact could be quite misleading to someone new to the forum. Your spreadsheet is completely ignoring sound QUALITY. What good is playing loud if it sounds terrible? For example, Revel Ultima Salon 2s, some of the most highly regarded speakers in the world, only have an 86 db/W/m sensitivity. You're going to dock them because they're tough to drive? If "ease of driving" is your only criteria, why not just everybody buy PA speakers and call it a day? They're cheap, handle lots of power, and produce tons of db. Oh wait, they sound terrible, because of the non-linear response, etc.

I'm just trying to figure out the usefulness of this thread, because i came into it with high expectations (and i definitely appreciate all the work you've put in!), but i just want people to keep it in perspective that the sound actually has to sound GOOD, not just loud.



Eh, I think this is very usefull. While obviously it needs to be taken for what it is, it is a great starting guide. I for one, am not of the opinion that a great Music speaker is a great Home Theater speaker. For instance the revels listed about would need 16 x's the power just to hit the 1 Watt rating of many of these speakers. Sure, loudness isn't everything, but I have found most lower sensitivity speakers to be very underwhelming when it comes to movies.

And I think lots of people here do go with "PA" speakers with great success, assuming care was taken when choosing.
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post #208 of 824 Old 02-14-2012, 01:59 PM
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That is just it, I would not use Revel's in my hometheater unless it could take over 10000 watts of power. Great for music at lower levels. Since reference levels are in the title we should assume that we are discussing movies here. As for sound quality Tony123 said it best, it is too subjective to compare.

As for comparing S8's vs Seaton catalysts, well, the S8's don't play that loud. Their max rating is 115 dB's and I would bet the farm they do reach that number. I never heard the 8's but I have heard the S6's often. They just don't do movies justice as reference is concerned.

In my opinion going loud is easy, sounding great at low levels is easy, going loud and sounding great is where it matters and not easy. It can be cheap but still not easy.
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post #209 of 824 Old 02-14-2012, 02:32 PM
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How about the Crystal Acoustics 2 and 3 floorstanders?

http://www.crystalaudiovideo.com/Pro.../Speakers.aspx

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/home-...er-system.html

I just bought the smaller 2 floorstander and I am comparing them to my Procella 8's. I do not find them lacking and at 859 delivered (the shipping packaging is the best I have ever seen in my 45-50 years in this hobby and shipping is free), and so far I just can't figure out how they do it. I know a lot of people feel THX Utra 2 is nothing to get excited about BUT for output, I think it means something. I was so impressed I bought their THX Utra 2 sub and a THX select center. I feel like I am stealing. It feels good!

I don't think many know much about this company. Hardly, anything here on AVS....very strange. I searched the Audioholics website and Gene thought they were Velodyne. They are not.
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post #210 of 824 Old 02-14-2012, 02:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony123 View Post

The thread title is, "List of Reference Level, High Sensitivity & SPL, Low Distortion Speakers". So I feel it useful in those regards.

Sound quality is so subjective that I don't know how you'd add that criteria in a meaningful way. Are there any other threads that have been able to list speakers in order based on sound quality?

This list sets a requirement based on Reference Level. Sound quality would be the opinion of the individual.

Sound quality is not easily specified. There are no standards. Does anyone do distortion testing on speakers at max power?

If I was a person who wanted to watch movies at reference levels, the chart would be a great starting place in determining which speakers to consider. I like my sound to be lower, so max SPL is not one of my major criteria. I was glad to see than my speakers came close to making the cut.
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