Originally Posted by Jeff Fritz
John, in defense of large systems: One weakness I noted when we measured the NHT XD system was some serious compression under moderate power. We do a measurement called "Deviation from Linearity." Basically, this plots how the speaker's frequency response changes as more power is fed into it. At just 90dB the XD system was showing some real problems in the upper bass/lower mid: http://www.soundstagemagazine.com/me...eakers/nht_xd/
. This no doubt has to do with the equalization and subsequent power involved and fairly moderate-to-low driver excursion and surface area. This would show up in most people's listening in myriad ways depending on the music.
I understand, though in the Xd's defense, I felt that the modest amount of compression was subjectively less objectionable than the harshness, lack of refinement and out of sorts behavior I hear on surprisingly expensive towers. For instance, side by side with the Meridian DSP6000s or Genesis V or Thiel CS6 (0-ringing ears in <10 minutes) or B&W 801D, there was almost no listenable volume at which the Xds didn't sound cleaner, smoother, more precise and I never got fatigued by them, even at somewhat ridiculous volumes. Mid/upper bass deviations have been tested to be much less annoying subjectively than even lower amounts of cone resonance or strained treble that occurs on many exotic towers. Also keep in mind that they did address this with the dual sub/high-output crossover version for those that needed higher output with less compression. It's all in how you design the speaker.
A large system has a greater dynamic envelope and lower distortion as a general rule. You hear this as an effortless quality that is present in live music. Although you can achieve this with a sub/sat system as you propose, most of them are designed that way because they are not all out assaults -- most are size restricted.
Very true, at least in the bass area. But then, most sub/sats are not sub/sats at all, they're a heavily comprised ported bookshelf speaker with a sub slapped in. But, keep in mind that a Genesis I is a sub/sat system as are many flagship systems these days. A sub/sat system could be a slim tower with multiple midbass drivers and a sub with half a dozen 12" woofers in it, allowing you to have the narrow profile and subs that are both tunable and movable to where they best react in the room. The Salon2 is helluva a speaker on its own, but as a satellite with the extension and power of a good sub, it's a whole'nother animal. it also adheres to my minimal baffle/low diffraction preferences.
Lets face it, the difference in quality between some $100K towers and some $10K towers is more about how deep and loud they can play in the bass. How many expensive, exotic towers have less mid/treble distortion at 95dB than, say, a $5500/pr PSB T6? Not that many. Not that the T6 is a model of upper midrange refinement, but you get my drift.
Now, if DEQX can make a tiny little sub/sat speaker sound as good as it did, imagine what it would do for more, better drivers where compression isn't a factor