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Almost got floored by Cambridge S30 - Page 2

post #31 of 384
I think I'll bring them home and set them up on my stands and see if the sound can balance out a bit. Have an SPL meter there to get better optimisation.

One thing for sure is that they put out a lot of bass. That rear port moves a lot of air, and I think it's transferring a lot of bass energy further than I'm used to.

I'm actually kind of shocked that so much sound is coming from a 4" woofer. It's also as efficient as they say--doesn't take much power to get them going. The speaker sets a pretty high bar for what can be accomplished for both its size and price.
post #32 of 384
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ediblestarfish View Post
I'm actually kind of shocked that so much sound is coming from a 4" woofer. It's also as efficient as they say--doesn't take much power to get them going. The speaker sets a pretty high bar for what can be accomplished for both its size and price.
It takes more to drive the NHT Classic Two (6 1/2" 2-way), than these
speakers - and they can get loud.
post #33 of 384
Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post
Even before Dennis measured them - I could not hear any bass bump.
The bass also sounds clean to me. Also, I do not hear a recessed mid-
range. They give the Focal Chorus 705V, a challenge in the midrange
department. I do sit 9 1/2 ft back, and they have a lively, some what
forward presentation - however, they do not sound bright to me. The
tweeter is good.
I don't find them bright either.

As far as the bass bump... I guess I just assumed that was the case, since I didn't think a 4.5" woofer could put out that much genuine bass. I didn't necessarily hear something to suggest that when I had the speakers on stands out from the wall...

I did also set one up to use as a center... which placed the speaker beneath the tv on top of a media stand. It was using it as a center that I hear some upper bass thickness... but this is probably just a placement issue...
post #34 of 384
Quote:
Originally Posted by alphaiii View Post
I received my S30's yesterday, and have done a little listening so far... I'll reserve judgment for now...but initial impressions are promising.

Planning to do some level matched A/B comparisons with my Energy RC-10 and NHT Absolute Zero... I can already tell the S30 stomps the Absolute Zero in the low end.... they really do have much more bass impact than I imagined.

Like ediblestarfish, I thought that these had a prominent upper bass bump... but it appears I'm wrong, based on Mr Murphy's comments. I'm looking forward to seeing how these measure.
Hi How do you have them placed? On stands out in the room? Against a wall? On a large flat surface?
post #35 of 384
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Murphy View Post

Hi How do you have them placed? On stands out in the room? Against a wall? On a large flat surface?

I first listened to them as L/R on stands a foot or so from the rear wall. The stands are made of 3/4" MDF (actually EFS, Elemental Designs built these to my specs), with a 3.5"x6" hollow center column that I sand filled... so they're pretty sturdy/inert.

I later tried a single bookshelf as a center... For this, it places the speaker on the top surface (8mm tempered glass - at least it's thick though not the thin 5mm stuff) of a media stand, sitting below the LCD which is "hanging" on one of the floater type tv mounts.

This is the tv stand:
http://www.whalenfurniture.com/products/nv3in1.html

As some point, I plan to wall mount the TV so I can have whatever speaker I use as a center on a speaker stand, instead of sitting on a large, flat glass surface (about the worst case scenario).

It was only using it here that I noticed the upper bass/low midrange thickness... which manifested as some "boomy" resonance with deeper voices. My initial thought was that there was an upper bass bump being exaggerated here... but based on your findings, it would seem it's a placement issue then... and not the speaker.
post #36 of 384
As I type, I'm now listening to these speakers on my desktop, nearfield. They're connected to a Tweak City Audio Gizmo - a small 2x25W (4ohm) integrated with a built in 100Hz xover and sub out - it really is a neat little niche product.... to bad it never took off so it was discontinued. I'm using them with a Klipsch XW300D subwoofer - a small sealed 8" sub that has pretty good articulation.

I'm demoing some metal... my preferred genre... I know for many it seems like an oxymoron to "critically listen" to heavy metal... but sorry, classical and jazz just aren't my thing.

The band I'm listening to is All That Remains... They have a pretty talented drummer (who loves to display his rapid double bass prowess)... and two guitarists, with the lead guitarist being a very talented guy as well.

One thing about this style of music, and this band's music.... the rapid double bass and dual guitars can wreak havoc on lesser speakers/subs... The bass can become a boomy mess with double kicks blending into a steady rumbling... and poor speakers can't seem to resolve the guitar work very well.

I'll quickly say that the S30's didn't flinch... They maintain they're composure with double bass, and even with portions of the song emphasizing the soloing... I can still nicely discern the rhythm guitar in the background.

This is far from an ideal placement, since it puts the rear port 1" from the rear wall. The speakers are sitting on 1" thick Auralex foam (same stuff as the Mopads... just from 1" thick flat sheets)... which helps a bit with isolation.

I have to say... I fairly surprised... Even in this placement, bass is well controlled. The low end is not muddy at all like I had thought it would be with this placement. No doubt the 100Hz xover is helping here. If they were full range, I bet the bass would get muddied up.

Highs are crisp... and tiny bit forward in this nearfield setting... but not bad either. Seems some cymbals have a bit of "hiss" to them, but not the excessive splashiness I've noticed in some speakers nearfield, such as the Pioneer S-31B.

I really don't find the mids to be forward or recessed... To me they sound just about right... Vocals and guitars are prominent and pretty well defined... and vocals are nicely anchored front and center.

I still think the mids are the hardest thing for a speaker to do right, and just as difficult for me to really determine if they're right - as in, it's tough for me to say if they're neutral, forward or recessed - unless I'm directly comparing to other speakers.

In any case.. aside from the fact that these speakers are a bit too deep, I think I'd be happy with them on my desktop.

I think I prefer the NHT Absolute Zero in this setting though, since they seem a little less agressive, but I'd have to listen some more to say for sure.
post #37 of 384
Listening to a few songs from Eluveitie - a folk metal band with 8 members - they incorporate quite a few instruments in addition to the standard drums, bass, lead & rhythm guitars, vocals - add in violin, bagpipes, mandola, acoustic guitar, gaita, hurdy gurdy, and a couple others...

They incorporate it all well IMO, focusing on the standard metal instruments, but adding in the others in various combinations in certain parts... rather than just trying to play some strange mix of everything.

Anyway... with this album... I'm finding the bass a bit more prominent and slightly thicker... nice thump... but still not muddy... and treble is a bit less in my face...

I dig these speakers, and am looking forward to comparing them to the others I own and enjoy.


BTW, all of the music is in FLAC format... so no lossy MP3.
post #38 of 384
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by alphaiii View Post

Listening to a few songs from Eluveitie - a folk metal band with 8 members - they incorporate quite a few instruments in addition to the standard drums, bass, lead & rhythm guitars, vocals - add in violin, bagpipes, mandola, acoustic guitar, gaita, hurdy gurdy, and a couple others...

They incorporate it all well IMO, focusing on the standard metal instruments, but adding in the others in various combinations in certain parts... rather than just trying to play some strange mix of everything.

Anyway... with this album... I'm finding the bass a bit more prominent and slightly thicker... nice thump... but still not muddy... and treble is a bit less in my face...

I dig these speakers, and am looking forward to comparing them to the others I own and enjoy.


BTW, all of the music is in FLAC format... so no lossy MP3.

It sounds good to me, 12" from the back wall.
Cambridge reccomends at least 3" from the back wall - so for 1 inch,
this is interesting. They are still going through a shake down from me,
I throw a lot of heavy stuff at new speakers, before they will see any
sub duty. So far, the woofers have not burped - this is with music and
movies.
post #39 of 384
I'd say you're doing it the proper way - demoing them full range without a sub - to see what they're truly capable of...

In the past I had done this, for example when I compared the Energy RC-10, Ascend Sierra-1, and AV123 ELT525 Tower... of course, this wasn't level matched, since I didn't know how to do it with my AVR at the time...

But recently, I've done all of my demoing and comparisons with the sub...

While it doesn't tell me the true top to bottom capability of the speaker, it does tell me how they'll sound in the manner that I'll always use them... which is set to small with an appropriate crossover setting, and the sub handling the bass....


Very interesting that even with movies, you haven't bottomed out the woofers at all.... They seem to be very well designed drivers...
post #40 of 384
Ok, I've tried these speakers at home now, and the sound difference is tremendous. Much cleaner on the stands, away from any surfaces. It really doesn't seem to be a great speaker to actually put on a shelf due to the incredible amount of bass energy that gets amplified though close surfaces.

On the stands, further back, treble is not as aggressive once you are more than a meter away, and the bass is clean and clear. Sound is much flatter, and the already clear mid-range is quite stunning for such a low cost speaker.

However, there are likely many other speakers that sound as good or better as price increases, so I wouldn't call these the end-all be-all of anything within 2-3x the price range. But I would be confident in saying that you're not likely to find much better within it. I just wish they had threaded inserts to attach to stands instead of the bi-amp connections (which seem a bit ridiculous).
post #41 of 384
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ediblestarfish View Post

I just wish they had threaded inserts to attach to stands instead of the bi-amp connections (which seem a bit ridiculous).

I agree, the bi-wire/bi-amp hook up option is ridiculous - and for a 1st order crossover?
I never use it for any speaker. Thanks for checking back in.
post #42 of 384
This thread needs pictures! I ordered mine a few days ago in dark oak. Can't wait to hear how they perform.
post #43 of 384
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ster3ohead View Post

This thread needs pictures! I ordered mine a few days ago in dark oak. Can't wait to hear how they perform.

Just make sure that you leave room around them - for good results.
post #44 of 384
Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

I agree, the bi-wire/bi-amp hook up option is ridiculous - and for a 1st order crossover?
I never use it for any speaker. Thanks for checking back in.

Actually, it's a second order acoustic crossover (1st order electrical), but I certainly agree about the bi-wire option. I just installed a revised crossover (4th order acoustic) and will give it a comparative listen today.
post #45 of 384
How do they compare to the RC-10s?

It seems these speakers are fairly placement sensitive with it's ported design. How far from walls(side and back) should these speakers be placed?
post #46 of 384
Quote:
Originally Posted by yelnatsch517 View Post

How do they compare to the RC-10s

Very well, actually.

I did an A/B comparison yesterday... I'll have to go back to my notes to organize it all in a coherent post...

But in short... while I'd say I still prefer the RC-10's... it's not by a large margin... I'm impressed by the S30.

For people that find the RC-10 just a little too laid back for them... they might like the S30 better...

This wasn't a blind test... so I do wonder how much aesthetic preference is biasing my opinion - I love my rosenut RC-10's, and am not a big fan of the look of the S30 (too short and deep, don't like the vinyl oak or the "graphite" color grey baffle).

I'm trying to be as unbiased as possible... but alot of people would argue that isn't possible when doing a sighted comparison.

I took alot of notes, and demo'd a good amount of material... so hopefully the sonic differences I note are enough to convince people I wasn't totally biased.
post #47 of 384
You know... being impressed by the S30...

I wish they had a better designed center channel.

I don't like that the S50 uses 3.5" drivers, and not only is it a 2-way MTM... but the drivers are spaced pretty far apart... which as I understand is likely to make off-axis lobing more of an issue (wider the drivers, the lower the frequencies that lobing occurs... which would be frequencies handled by the woofers, correct?).

Thoughts?
post #48 of 384
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by alphaiii View Post

You know... being impressed by the S30...

I wish they had a better designed center channel.

I don't like that the S50 uses 3.5" drivers, and not only is it a 2-way MTM... but the drivers are spaced pretty far apart... which as I understand is likely to make off-axis lobing more of an issue (wider the drivers, the lower the frequencies that lobing occurs... which would be frequencies handled by the woofers, correct?).

Thoughts?

It will be a couple of months before I can try the center out - I am not
concerned about it being able to do the job. I think another S30 would
be my choice for center channel - if needed due to placement, I would
expierment with plugging the port.
post #49 of 384
First things first... I really enjoy the way they look. Very classy for the price. I actually like the depth of the speakers but I do agree that they are overall on the small side.

Now I'm not nearly as experienced as a lot of you on this forum, but I'm also not a complete audio novice. With that said, first impressions are extremely positive. The fact that I'm enjoying what I'm hearing right out of the box and not questioning or being overly critical about the sound says quite a lot for me. The musicality being expressed in such a small and affordable package caught me by surprise. I think the first words that came to mind were "Are you kidding me??"

Before I talk any further about their sound I do want to get to know them a bit longer. They have 30-days to impress me and tonight they're off to a good start.. haha
post #50 of 384
I personally think they are great, but realistically, they won't be used for a serious setup due to the low cost. It's just not really worth investing more money into stands since it could easily add 50%+ to the price, which could buy better speakers.

Most likely they will sit on a shelf somewhere, playing for a small budget setups in less than optimal conditions. They do just fine for that, but it feels like sort of shame since they can perform so much better in a better setup.

It's sort of awkward being a high performance budget speaker.
post #51 of 384
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ster3ohead View Post

Now I'm not nearly as experienced as a lot of you on this forum, but I'm also not a complete audio novice. With that said, first impressions are extremely positive. The fact that I'm enjoying what I'm hearing right out of the box and not questioning or being overly critical about the sound says quite a lot for me. The musicality being expressed in such a small and affordable package caught me by surprise. I think the first words that came to mind were "Are you kidding me??"

Glad you like them, Enjoy! The more I listen - the more I like them.
I can't wait to compare the work, that Dennis is doing with them.
The word on this, is positive.
post #52 of 384
Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

Glad you like them, Enjoy! The more I listen - the more I like them.
I can't wait to compare the work, that Dennis is doing with them.
The word on this, is positive.

Interesting...

I'm looking forward to hearing more info on the xover changes and the end result.

And itching to see the before and after measurements!
post #53 of 384
would these be better then the cambridge, http://www.accessories4less.com/make...ck-Pair/1.html
post #54 of 384
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahwig60 View Post

would these be better then the cambridge, http://www.accessories4less.com/make...ck-Pair/1.html

I can not speak for Canton - however, it looks like a good deal.
Are you going around in a circle - you seem to be having a hard
time, making a decision?
post #55 of 384
Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

I can not speak for Canton - however, it looks like a good deal.
Are you going around in a circle - you seem to be having a hard
time, making a decision?

yes i cannot make a decision, lol
post #56 of 384
Quote:
Originally Posted by alphaiii View Post

Interesting...

I'm looking forward to hearing more info on the xover changes and the end result.

And itching to see the before and after measurements!

Well, I have a before plot along with extensive commetary, but I can't figure out how to get the plot posted here. I clicked on the Insert Image Icon, but nothing happened--no prompts or nuthin'. It's easy to do on the Audio Circle site, but not here. Can someone clue me in? Thanks
post #57 of 384
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Murphy View Post

Well, I have a before plot along with extensive commetary, but I can't figure out how to get the plot posted here. I clicked on the Insert Image Icon, but nothing happened--no prompts or nuthin'. It's easy to do on the Audio Circle site, but not here. Can someone clue me in? Thanks

Oh now you're just teasing us...

You can upload it as an attachment using the paper clip icon...
post #58 of 384
Quote:
Originally Posted by alphaiii View Post

Oh now you're just teasing us...

You can upload it as an attachment using the paper clip icon...

Well, here's a before measurement. The plot was made on the tweeter axis at one meter using my Praxis system, which shows the anechoic response above about 250 Hz (which is free of any room effects--it's just the inherent response of the speaker itself), and then transitions into a room measurement below that point, and shows room modes and the inevitable floor bounce cancellation effects a little above 100 Hz. There are two things to note. First, the response from 800 Hz on up is quite smooth and fits within a + or - 2dB over most of that range. The second feature of note is the elevated response in the upper midrange and highs in relation to the lower midrange and bass range. If I hadn't heard the speaker and was just intuiting the sound from the graph, I would fear a very smeared presentation with an "auwwwwwwk" coloration, which is characteristic of speakers with this kind of response profile. But that's not the case. There's excellent detail and no real tonal coloration. That's partly due to the high quality of the drivers, and also to the hefty contribution of the tweeter at its lower end--it makes up for the limited dispersion of the woofer in the lower treble. On heavy orchestration at fairly high output levels, however, the speaker does sound too in-your-face and a little irritating. Fixing that requires more crossover components than might be possible for a speaker in this price range with quality drivers and cabinet construction. But I was able to flatten out the response and take some stress off of the tweeter by adding on to the existing crossover. The components I had on hand were too big to fit in the little cabinet, so I won't have these puppies fully converted until my new parts order arrives in a day or so. I'll give you a progress report in a couple of days.






Attachment 209659
LL
post #59 of 384
Dennis,

Thank you for your work in measuring, and for posting the results and your thoughts along with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Murphy View Post

...The second feature of note is the elevated response in the upper midrange and highs in relation to the lower midrange and bass range. If I hadn't heard the speaker and was just intuiting the sound from the graph, I would fear a very smeared presentation with an "auwwwwwwk" coloration, which is characteristic of speakers with this kind of response profile. But that's not the case. There's excellent detail and no real tonal coloration. That's partly due to the high quality of the drivers, and also to the hefty contribution of the tweeter at its lower end--it makes up for the limited dispersion of the woofer in the lower treble. On heavy orchestration at fairly high output levels, however, the speaker does sound too in-your-face and a little irritating.

Very interesting...

I need to stop being so lazy, and compile the notes I have on my comparisons of the S30 vs Energy RC-10 and S30 vs NHT Absolute Zero...

But I think the measurements/explanation you posted will make sense of much of what I wrote down during my comparisons...
post #60 of 384
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by alphaiii View Post


Very interesting...
But I think the measurements/explanation you posted will make sense of much of what I wrote down during my comparisons...

I call them the little beast - I agree at times, they can get a little intense.
I use the manuel EQ on the Marantz to help with that - This brings it a
little more in line with the bass. However, they are not like the Klipsch
reference bookshelves that I use to own nor, the Rockford bookshelf one
that I had. When I get them back - I will compare them with the origional
stock speakers. Even in stock form - they are still my favorite budget one,
to buy or reccomend from $219 and up.

This one brings back some memories - the Rockford.
http://www.fosgateaudionics.com/products/FA61_0.asp
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