Explain to me like I'm five just WHY one of these pairs of speakers is better than the other: - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 06-10-2012, 10:40 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm comparing these two models:

1. Sony SS-F6000
http://goo.gl/jmfna
Total price: $200

2. Polk TSi300
http://goo.gl/5xzSX
Total price: $400

From what I'm seeing, the Sony has more speakers, is heavier, but is 50% the price. So are the Polks better speakers, and if so, just WHY? Is the construction that important? (i.e. cardboard v. silk etc.) I actually sold the Sony's and am considering possibly getting the Polks.
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post #2 of 8 Old 06-10-2012, 11:41 PM
 
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OK, I'll bite - seeing as i am not familiar with either speaker...

What, pray tell do they each sound like?
And what are their polar responses? Do either have spatial compensation in the form of LF shelving adjustments?
What are the crossover points? Are the drivers signal aligned? - are they passively crossed over or do they employ active crossovers with precision microsecond delay capabilities? etc., etc. etc.
Do they have real measured specs? - hi-res polars, an impulse response, an ETC...heaven forbid a Heyser Spiral as Don Keele and Dick Heyser always published in their Audio Mag reviews that provide a wealth of info...
And what do each of them sound like?
Unfortunately, the variables cited such as number of drivers, weight, cone material , etc., do not necessarily provide us with sufficient information upon which to base a decision....but had you told us the color, now then we would have enough to base a decision! ;-)
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post #3 of 8 Old 06-11-2012, 04:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradleyedward View Post

I'm comparing these two models:
1. Sony SS-F6000
http://goo.gl/jmfna
Total price: $200
2. Polk TSi300
http://goo.gl/5xzSX
Total price: $400
From what I'm seeing, the Sony has more speakers, is heavier, but is 50% the price.

As if number of drivers and weight even mattered. Even when many such things are equal, there are still many other things that relate to the actual cost and sound quality of a loudspeaker.


First and foremost, loudspeaker pricing is based on perceived value. This is the only explanation why you can pay anywhere from $30 to maybe even $30,000 dollars for a speaker with approximately the same size, weight and nominal driver complement. Aside from the fanciness of the cabinetry, the difference between the actual driver+crossover cost of the two speakers is probably in the range of $300. IOW the cheapest speaker has about $5 or less worth of drivers and crossover, while the expensive one has more like $300 worth (and those are arguably very overpriced drivers!). The other $27,700 difference is appearance and perceived value, mostly the latter.

The actual sound quality of a speaker first and foremost rests with the quality and suitability of the drivers. A good driver can be easily 10 times better than a very poor one. The crossover is extremely important because it matches the speaker drivers to each other and the box. Most speakers are 2-way speakers, but designing a good 2-way speaker is one of the toughest design challenges in the world of loudspeakers. A rough but ready MDF box worth only a few dollars is a 95% solution - making something that actually produces better sound is very difficult.
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So are the Polks better speakers, and if so, just WHY? Is the construction that important? (i.e. cardboard v. silk etc.) I actually sold the Sony's and am considering possibly getting the Polks.

I really don't know which speakers are better, particularly when your tastes, needs and listening room are factored into the equation. There's really no reason why Sony couldn't build a speaker that was technically as good as the Polks. Many name brand speaker houses do consulting, which means that for a price anybody can get their best design team to do a project for them.

Production volume has a lot to do with it. We live in a world of speakers that are dominated by 5 to 6 1/2" drivers and ca. 1" dome tweeters. In sufficient volume (10,000s of units), a highly optimized version of either driver can easily be produced for far less than $10. While the use of exotic materials can drive this up, there is no evidence that commodity papers and plastics are necessarily a detriment to sound quality. In some cases the exotic materials actually don't work as well. This may be due to lack of the decades of development that the common materials have received, or simply because the exotic materials don't actually have the right stuff and never will.
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post #4 of 8 Old 06-11-2012, 08:40 AM
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Based on my opinions and physics, I don't think you would notice an increase in quality, it might actually be a downgrade.

I contemplated purchasing more expensive towers and did not find anything to justify the price increases until the +$500 each price range, and by then the benefit-to-cost ratio was too little for my tastes, so I got the Sony SS-F6000's and am very happy with them. Polks seem to have nothing over Sonys expect for the brand name, it appears to me as if they sell less capible speakers for more money, so I will never be purchasing speakers in the Polk, Infinity, Pioneer, etc. range as an upgrade to what I have now. I think tweaks made on a receiver will make a far larger difference in audio quality than a sideways speaker "upgrade" to a different brand.

It's too bad you already sold the Sonys; Spending money on acoustic panels instead of a speaker change would be my suggestion, that's my next A/V project. When the day comes for me to upgrade from my Sonys I will probably spend over $1k per tower or may end up building my own speakers, so DIY is an option you can look at, you may be able to get an audible improvment in your price range if you do some DIY.
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post #5 of 8 Old 06-11-2012, 08:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradleyedward View Post

So are the Polks better speakers, and if so, just WHY?

Arny gave you good advice, as always, and his comment "loudspeaker pricing is based on perceived value" is surely true. I can add a different perspective, without getting into driver details.

What matters with all audio gear, including speakers, boils down to frequency response, distortion, and time-based errors (resonance). Of course, maximum power handling applies to speakers, but that's separate from quality. So the parameters I listed are what affects quality. However, getting detailed specs from speaker makers is another matter!

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post #6 of 8 Old 06-11-2012, 11:25 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Kach22 View Post

Based on my opinions and physics, I don't think you would notice an increase in quality, it might actually be a downgrade.

I think tweaks made on a receiver will make a far larger difference in audio quality than a sideways speaker "upgrade" to a different brand.

Add to that the the most significant differences are NOT made in small signal electronics compared to speakers - at ANY price range. And thus far there have not been any unsubstantial consideration of factors that are even remotely related to "physics" upon which to base a determination.

The fact is, the basis for evaluation addressed just about every non sequitur consideration aside from sound quality or actual characteristics of spatial propagation that determine the interaction of he speaker (sound) and a bounded space.

So, citing just one of the critical factors that was suggested was determinant of a good speaker, I just hope the speakers one buys are sufficiently "heavy".wink.gif

Meanwhile, I still don't see how anyone can ignore the color or grain of the vinyl cabinet veneer (or if the vinyl is "virgin") as a determinate causal contribution to the way a speaker sounds....
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post #7 of 8 Old 06-11-2012, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kach22 View Post

I think tweaks made on a receiver will make a far larger difference in audio quality than a sideways speaker "upgrade" to a different brand.
Tweeking good electronics is not the most productive way to go. Adding acoustics treatments is usually a very good way to go.
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post #8 of 8 Old 06-12-2012, 06:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dragonfyr View Post

Add to that the the most significant differences are NOT made in small signal electronics compared to speakers - at ANY price range. And thus far there have not been any unsubstantial consideration of factors that are even remotely related to "physics" upon which to base a determination.
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Tweeking good electronics is not the most productive way to go. Adding acoustics treatments is usually a very good way to go.

When I said tweaking I was thinking more of calibrating your speakers properly for your rooms acoustics and the speakers placement. I feel properply setting up speakers does make a big difference over throwing speakers around a room and not makiing any adjustments. With two similar speakers, with both properply setup, they should sound nearly identical.

As for the physics; the size of the drivers, the frequency production abilities, driver power handling, and cabinet volume are all physics related variables. These values are all very similar for these two speakers, and quite a few other speakers as well.

These are some of the reasons I will not be upgrading beyond the SS-F6000's until I have a dedicated home theater room which may require a more powerful set of speakers or might be so perfectly setup that I could hear the little improvements found in more expensive speakers. I will however be building acoustic panels soon, because you can't beat physics with electronic tweaks and wood panel walls love physics.
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