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Breaking in Speakers? - Page 6

post #151 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny Richie View Post

Okay guys,

Let's do some research shall we. Let's see how long it takes for a woofer to break in or reach a settle range in the T/S parameters. I know it's been done before and I have already documented it on one woofer. But let's do it some more with different woofers.

One phone call to a major driver dealer here in the US and I now have sample woofers coming from some known big name driver manufacturers. They will be of the 6" to 7" size range.

Each woofers will be measured right out of the box.

Then they will be ran for 5 minutes with a sine wave signal near it's Fs. Allowed to cool down an measured again. If some of you here are correct then the T/S parameters will have now reached a settle range and playing them further should not change the parameters further.

Then I'll run them for an hour, let them cool, then measure them again.

How about we repeat the process again at 10 hours, 20 hours, 40 hours and 80 hours.

This should tell us something shouldn't it? How does that sound?

Anybody want to drop by while measurements are taken? Witnesses welcome.

How about we get a second company or person with measurement capability to do the same thing?

Next is a challenge to any or all of the Nay sayers out there.

I'll build two pairs of identical speakers. I'll match drivers and components. I'll allow anyone and everyone to view the crossovers to see that all is the same. Then drivers will be dropped in and measurements taken to show that all four speakers measure exactly the same.

One pair will have been allowed to burn in for about 100 hours and the other pair will not.

We then A/B compare the two pairs of speakers. I have a A/B selector switch that is very high quality and I have a listening system that is top notch. So comparing will be easy. You guys can agree to set up the listening test anyway that you want. All you have to do is show up.

I am in North central Texas. Iowa Park, Texas to be exact.

Who wants to come?


I would probably sponsor Dennis Murphy, if he wants to go. My ears aren't that developed. Tom Nousaine would be fun to have there as well.
post #152 of 234
Question: Could you arrange it so it was ABX? That way, you could describe what one should hear as a difference, but the ABX would account for actual differences.

I think one problem with blind testing is the problem of context--I think too many of us don't know what we should listen for. I think this is one of the flaws of blind testing in general.

For the record I'm an agnostic on the issue.
post #153 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve. View Post

An excerpt from PSB's FAQ:

Do your speakers require a "burn in" time?
No, our PSB speakers will sound great straight out of the box.

If you set the speakers on Fire they Burn nicely!
post #154 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by mziegler View Post

Question: Could you arrange it so it was ABX? That way, you could describe what one should hear as a difference, but the ABX would account for actual differences.

I think one problem with blind testing is the problem of context--I think too many of us don't know what we should listen for. I think this is one of the flaws of blind testing in general.

For the record I'm an agnostic on the issue.

what I don't understand is how you can have the speakers in the same place more or less at the same time. If I have two sets of speakers or even one set A/B then my room has to have exactly the same effect on both of them? I don't have that in my room and my right speaker sounds different than my left speaker when playing mono material-pink noise is really easy to tell, just because the room has a different effect on each of them. Am I making any sense to anyone other than myself?
post #155 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by Randybes View Post

what I don't understand is how you can have the speakers in the same place more or less at the same time. If I have two sets of speakers or even one set A/B then my room has to have exactly the same effect on both of them? I don't have that in my room and my right speaker sounds different than my left speaker when playing mono material-pink noise is really easy to tell, just because the room has a different effect on each of them. Am I making any sense to anyone other than myself?

Of course it sounds differently...they are located in seperate areas of the room.

Just place the speakers side by side (while still maintaining proper distance for L/R for stereo imaging).
post #156 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splicer010 View Post

Of course it sounds differently...they are located in seperate areas of the room.

Just place the speakers side by side (while still maintaining proper distance for L/R for stereo imaging).

I am not following you-are you talking about one set of speakers-A being on the left and B being on the right side by side and maintaing proper imaging? (Lets call A being the unbroken in speaker and B being the broken in speaker) or are you saying having two different sets of speakers side by side (one set A and one set B) one being the broken in one and one not? And you roll your eyes at me? How is that going to make them sound correct-hell you could have exactly the same speakers (two sets) setting side by side and I would bet pink noise would not sound exactly the same from either set because of their respective positions in the room. To be honest, I think pink noise would be a better determinant of differences than music anyway, but that is just me.

To sum it up, I don't get what you are proposing and how you are going to prevent room effects because of the different position(s) of either one set (playing mono) or two sets (playing mono or stereo)? I think that is why Harmon International spent the really big bucks to DBT speakers by making rapid changes of speakers to EXACTLY the same position as a previous pair for testing. Everyone talks about the enormous effect the room has on speakers but now we are trying to determine the effects of break-in on the same speakers and we don't account for the room. What am I missing here?
post #157 of 234
Quote:


someone like this that has no vested interest in anything but being a "debunking expert"...

How are we to be sure?
Does anyone truely know anothers motives?

Quote:


- but at the risk of being more blunt... I often wonder what your goals are... To what end my friend...

Quote:


I raised a couple of questions, in that post and elsewhere, that speak to the issue of recusing products in situations where one has a vested interest. I'm a big fan of avoiding the appearance of impropriety.

I always feel more comfortable listening to someone who does have a vested interest (and states so at the outset) so you know that they have certain motives....I am suspicious about those who claim to have none.
post #158 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by Randybes View Post

I am not following you-are you talking about one set of speakers A being on the left and B being on the right side by side and maintaing proper imaging? (Lets call A being the unbroken in speaker and B being the broken in speaker) or are you saying having two different sets of speakers side by side (one set A and one set B) one being the broken in one and one not? And you roll your eyes at me? How is that going to make them sound correct-hell you could have exactly the same speakers (two sets) setting side by side and I would bet pink noise would not be exactly the same from either set because of their respective position in the room. To be honest, I think pink noise would be a better determinant of differences than music anyway, but that is just me.

To sum it up, I don't get what you are proposing.

You said:
Quote:


my right speaker sounds different than my left speaker when playing mono material-pink noise

And I replied:
Quote:


Of course it sounds differently...they are located in seperate areas of the room.

Then you correctly perceived what I meant when I said:
Quote:


Just place the speakers side by side (while still maintaining proper distance for L/R for stereo imaging).

And you replied with:
Quote:


are you saying having two different sets of speakers side by side (one set A and one set B) one being the broken in one and one not?

If I can clarify anything else I wrote that:
Quote:


To sum it up, I don't get what you are proposing

just ask...

BTW you are not going to be able to prevent room effects unless you have an empty room.
post #159 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splicer010 View Post

You said:


And I replied:


Then you correctly perceived what I meant when I said:


And you replied with:


If I can clarify anything else I wrote that:


just ask...

BTW you are not going to be able to prevent room effects unless you have an empty room.

Please propose how you would remove room effects so that it is a fair test. That is ALL that I am asking and I am just asking that. (And by the way, I did not like the rolled eyes as if you have solved the problem and my problem of room effects was stupid).

I am not sure an empty room works either unless all sides are the same (i.e. same windows or no windows, etc etc)-my room certainly is not.

To me, the side by side comparision does not work, but I am willing to listen as to why it does.

Kal, do you think the side by side method would work in a test like this?
post #160 of 234
Actually, I consider both places kind of small, geared more to the hobbyist and very low volume user. Solen looks to me to be a larger outfit. Google Maps actually shows a building for Solen. For SC, if one uses 5140 Park Ave Hot Springs, AR 71901 instead of their PO Box, it's hard to see much. I would think for larger volumes, there are other sources. Again, I see nothing in SC to suggest they are a manufacturer of any size.
post #161 of 234
Quote:


what I don't understand is how you can have the speakers in the same place more or less at the same time. If I have two sets of speakers or even one set A/B then my room has to have exactly the same effect on both of them? I don't have that in my room and my right speaker sounds different than my left speaker when playing mono material-pink noise is really easy to tell, just because the room has a different effect on each of them. Am I making any sense to anyone other than myself?

Yes, it's clear. That's why the research center in Canada rotates the speakers. Now, what'd be fun would be to break-in the two pair anyway you want and let them 'rest' overnight. Rotating of course.
post #162 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by Randybes View Post

Kal, do you think the side by side method would work in a test like this?

I am skeptical but one might try to randomize the position of each pair with respect to the other.
post #163 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by Randybes View Post

Please propose how you would remove room effects so that it is a fair test. That is ALL that I am asking and I am just asking that. (And by the way, I did not like the rolled eyes as if you have solved the problem and my problem of room effects was stupid).

I am not sure an empty room works either unless all sides are the same (i.e. same windows or no windows, etc etc)-my room certainly is not.

To me, the side by side comparision does not work, but I am willing to listen as to why it does.

Kal, do you think the side by side method would work in a test like this?

Don't get your panties in a bunch because I used the roll eyes icon...

You asked why the left speaker sounded different than the right and sorry, but that IS a silly question.

The side by side is the ONLY possible and closest way to A-B speakers, there really is no alternative.

And as for the empty room needing to have the same dimensions you are absolutely correct and what was what I was aiming for you to figure out.

This isn't rocket science.

You have a left side A-B speaker and then a right side A-B speaker...that is how it is done.
post #164 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark L. Schifter View Post

... notwithstanding the issues of whether or not you agree with some of the assertions that Danny has made - I take umbrage to the condescending attitudes in full view here...

I don't like the "frying ninja" reference and i REALLY don't like the name calling... that kills me... I'm upset...

I shared several e-mails with my old pal Dick Pierce this weekend - and I promised to clear up a few things here for everyone's benefit (including my own)... There are several issues that need to be surfaced and I plan on doing that...

Quote:


Dick Pierce is a WORLD RECOGNIZED EXPERT in driver measurement and characterization... he is a scientist... I will have more to say about all of this after my "Monday Morning" here in Colombia has run it's course...


and Danny, you know better than to engage someone like this that has no vested interest in anything but being a "debunking expert"...

I've always found Mr. Pierce's posts on forums to be highly educational and extremely well-informed. I wonder, does Mr. Pierce know what Mr. Richie has been saying about him to people on other forums too?

http://forums.audioholics.com/forums...5&postcount=27


Quote:



Quote:


You need to make contact with Richard Pierce on this subject of driver measurements. You have heard of him?

Yea I think I have. He's the wrong guy for you to throw in my face. I have had to re-engineer his work plenty.

Quote:


I seriously doubt his measurements will support your claims. Oh, yes, respect has to be earned first.

Trust me, I have seen his work and I am not impressed. He has earned no respect from me.


http://forums.audioholics.com/forums...&postcount=129

Quote:


Quote:


I'd give John Dunlavy and Richard Pierce as much or more.

Funny that you mentioned those two guys. I have upgraded or fixed designs from both of them.

I thought John Dunlavy was one of the nicest guys in all of audio.

This Richie guy...he seem a bit full of himself...or of something.
post #165 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny Richie View Post

Okay guys,

Let's do some research shall we. Let's see how long it takes for a woofer to break in or reach a settle range in the T/S parameters. I know it's been done before and I have already documented it on one woofer. But let's do it some more with different woofers.

One phone call to a major driver dealer here in the US and I now have sample woofers coming from some known big name driver manufacturers. They will be of the 6" to 7" size range.

Each woofers will be measured right out of the box.

Then they will be ran for 5 minutes with a sine wave signal near it's Fs. Allowed to cool down an measured again. If some of you here are correct then the T/S parameters will have now reached a settle range and playing them further should not change the parameters further.

Then I'll run them for an hour, let them cool, then measure them again.

How about we repeat the process again at 10 hours, 20 hours, 40 hours and 80 hours.

This should tell us something shouldn't it? How does that sound?

Anybody want to drop by while measurements are taken? Witnesses welcome.

How about we get a second company or person with measurement capability to do the same thing?

Next is a challenge to any or all of the Nay sayers out there.

I'll build two pairs of identical speakers. I'll match drivers and components. I'll allow anyone and everyone to view the crossovers to see that all is the same. Then drivers will be dropped in and measurements taken to show that all four speakers measure exactly the same.

One pair will have been allowed to burn in for about 100 hours and the other pair will not.

We then A/B compare the two pairs of speakers. I have a A/B selector switch that is very high quality and I have a listening system that is top notch. So comparing will be easy. You guys can agree to set up the listening test anyway that you want. All you have to do is show up.

I am in North central Texas. Iowa Park, Texas to be exact.

Who wants to come?

That is a great idea. I can't come. But that is OK. I trust you as much as I trust anybody else I don't know, maybe a little more since I've at least heard your name before.
When I was younger and had more time than money, I used to occasionally build and design speakers in my basement. I always ran in a speaker for awhile before taking measurements. Funny, I never thought to measure it before and after the run in. Usually the measured response was pretty close to what the manufacturer specified. I'm still not convinced a simple sine wave measurement tells all there is to know about a driver, but it sure is a useful place to start! I would be surprised if a fresh out of the box driver measured the same as one that had been run in, but I could be wrong.
Please let us know what you find. Thanks.

p.s. Since I started buying speakers, there is no doubt in my mind that speakers change as they "break in". But I can't separate out how much of that is due to me getting used to a different speaker, how much is due to tweaking position of the speaker, or tweaking of the room, or how much is due to actual speaker break in - since they all happen over the same time. My guess is probably a bit of each.
post #166 of 234
Quote:


Dannie, what size room do you recommend for the LS6's?

We had them working really well in a room at RMAF that was 13' by 19'. I think they would have still work well in an even smaller room but I wouldn't want them in too much smaller of a room.

Quote:


Danny, i really don't see why it is a challenge to the nay sayers anymore than it is to the speaker break in believers. I hope you can take an objective, opinion free attitude going into it.

For all of those that have already heard the differences in speaker burn in it really isn't much of a challenge.

And guys this well treated room will not have any effect on the speakers set up as AB and AB. The differences (in my experience) are way more than the room effects of being a foot to the left or a foot to the right.

For most people as soon as they realize what the audible differences are between the burned in pair verses the non-burned in pair then they can typically identify which speakers are playing in just a few seconds.

Quote:


Actually, I consider both places kind of small, geared more to the hobbyist and very low volume user. Solen looks to me to be a larger outfit. Google Maps actually shows a building for Solen. For SC, if one uses 5140 Park Ave Hot Springs, AR 71901 instead of their PO Box, it's hard to see much. I would think for larger volumes, there are other sources. Again, I see nothing in SC to suggest they are a manufacturer of any size.

Man, you have no idea what you are talking about. You can't tell anything about the amount of business a company is doing by looking at their web site or address on a map.

You would not believe how much business some of these companies do to other manufacturers. Sonic Craft sells a ton of caps to a lot of other companies using them in products that you don't even know exists.

Quote:


I am skeptical but one might try to randomize the position of each pair with respect to the other.

I can move the position of the speakers from A to B then B to A and it won't matter. As soon as the listeners realize the audible cues to listen for then the jig is up pretty quick. They often don't even need to listen to the both. They can just listen to one of the other and tell you which one it is.
post #167 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splicer010 View Post

Don't get your panties in a bunch because I used the roll eyes icon...

You asked why the left speaker sounded different than the right and sorry, but that IS a silly question.

The side by side is the ONLY possible and closest way to A-B speakers, there really is no alternative.

And as for the empty room needing to have the same dimensions you are absolutely correct and what was what I was aiming for you to figure out.

This isn't rocket science.

You have a left side A-B speaker and then a right side A-B speaker...that is how it is done.

You really are condescending aren't you? Seems to be easy for you. I submit that if you have two sets of speakers side by side, I am skeptical in line with Kal.

It isn't about rocket science, it about a test that has some scientific validity. Dennis Murphy is busy so he won't be attending (and it is not especially interesting to him). By the way, I just sent him a very well known speaker to test and he tested and gave me a very straight forward evaluation. He never asked me if they had been broken-in (they had not been). Hmmmm.

Does it not bother you at all that Tom Nousaine who has evaluated and tested literally hundreds of speakers thinks speaker break-in other than a very few minutes is bogus?

Oh yea, I don't wear panties, but I am really not very interested if you do (me being condescending)

I actually have been thinking of a test that is not quick switching. If it is so easy, then it should be a breeze. How about three sets of identical speakers. Two are not broken in and one is. After the speakers are certified equal in measurements, then one of them is broken in for how many hours you want by a third univolved party who is not present at the test. Only that party knows the identity of the broken in speaker. Then, the test is administered with 10 people. The tester gets three (make that four) attemps and can listen to all three plus another one twice, only one set four times or one set two times and another set two times, etc. Whatever they want. Each set of speakers is positioned exactly the same and the test taker (I would suggest Danny and 9 others) listen (in the same sweet seat) and identifies which set of speaker is broken in and which sets are not. They can use whatever they want-test tracks, pink noise, whatever. Results are tallied and the speakers are revealed by a call to the third party. If the identity is easy, I would think that it would be a breeze to pick out the broken-in speaker and the speakers that arent. Frankly, it gives you a 1 in 3 chance of just guessing-not bad odds really, but it is the overall score of the 10 that is the important stat I would think. Based on Danny's confidence level, I see 100% being the expected score. Maybe it would be, it's fine with me.

The test above may not be perfect so if you see flaws, please suggest alternatives.
post #168 of 234
Well Britney doesn't get her panties in a bunch either. Myself, I can see some merits in it.



Quote:


Man, you have no idea what you are talking about. You can't tell anything about the amount of business a company is doing by looking at their web site or address on a map.

Well, I can recognize a cheezy website that's not even set up for e-commerce. Besides, you're the one that gave me the website. I can also look at a satellite view of the address and see if there's a building there. So can you. Try it. Can you find the building for SC? Try it for Solen.

Quote:


You would not believe how much business some of these companies do to other manufacturers. Sonic Craft sells a ton of caps to a lot of other companies using them in products that you don't even know exists.

You mean little tiny outfits that might be here tomorrow and might not? We must have a different measure of what tons are.

Throughout all of this Danny, why do you not have the AES article mentioned earlier? How can one stay abreast of the art in any field by not taking advantage of both the history that's occurred and the developments that are occuring? Doctors read journals and observe the work of others in their field. Lawyers always have law journals. Chemists subscribe to any number of peer-reviewed journals that are relevant.
post #169 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny Richie View Post

We had them working really well in a room at RMAF that was 13' by 19'. I think they would have still work well in an even smaller room but I wouldn't want them in too much smaller of a room.

Thank you sir!
post #170 of 234
Are there rough square footage numbers - or cubic, actually - that we can use for small, medium , and large room size designations?
post #171 of 234
Good Morning from Colombia

I'm going to add just a bit today - as frankly my time is very limited. I wish to state a few things that need to be better understood - and offer my own apology to my friend Dick Pierce

Dick and Peter Madnick had helped me with getting the original Rocket line launched. Dick is very well known to me as a scientist, and truly dedicated person in the art of loudspeaker and driver design. Dick was chosen because in my mind he was THE BEST

Like all things, our work in China did not go as smoothly as one would like. My partner there would often modify or bend Dick's requirements on his crossover designs I can remember Dick specifically requesting very specific low DCR inductors and instead we would get higher results Dick did not like this at all (of course) as he felt it had compromised his designs I was constantly fighting to get EVERY drop out of these speakers Sometimes even with my own partners

I also know in the case of one x/o - the original design was thrown out the window in favour of a more inexpensive design I was pretty unhappy when I found this out - and Dick was MORE than unhappy (words that I won't use here)

In a world where speakers are often a blended set of compromises - Dick always held that he could do MORE and BETTER He is very much like that IRL as well I love the guy (he is a bit of a curmudgeon for sure though - but that's all part and parcel of this really wonderful guy) and I can tell everyone here that Rocket would not have happened were it not for him

I personally let Dick down in many areas I apologize to him for this here and now. It's not easy being the boss - and the guy in the middle (sometimes) Rockets have been well reviewed and loved by many - and we have Dick to thank for this

I decided later to change directions with this product group and later this lead to us hiring Danny Richie. Danny is also a SUPERB product engineer and I have been thrilled with his efforts Danny has helped us push the company into new areas - and I love this fellow as well

I do think that Danny has mis-characterized some of DP's work I have discussed this with him. Each engineer has different approaches in the way he tackles a problem - and Danny has certainly been outspoken with me about how he wanted to approach his efforts with Rocket et all at av123. I laud his work publicly as well Danny is highly energized and opinionated - and this has led to trouble for him at times - both here and on other forums

I don't care to be anyone's conscience (I have enough trouble with my own) and I'm not at all happy with some of the stuff that has been slung here I wish to apologize to those hurt on behalf of av123 and it's staff

Thanks for taking the time to read this I'm not going to be answering any further question with respect to this x/o or that x/o - I'm always here to try to help with decision-making - for our products - or others

To my long time friend Dick Pierce - I wish to formally apologize to you for anything that got out of hand here You are WORLD CLASS in my book - and in my 38 years (almost 39 now) - You Rank Sir

Most sincerely yours

Mark L. Schifter (mls)

President and Founder

av123 / Perpetual Technologies
post #172 of 234
Quote:


Does it not bother you at all that Tom Nousaine who has evaluated and tested literally hundreds of speakers thinks speaker break-in other than a very few minutes is bogus?

The person that you quoted above this question wasn't me but I'd like to respond to this question.

Why not ask Tom Nousaine or anyone else with measurement taking capability to do the same thing that I am doing.

The first step is to document the mechanical compliance changes. Have him measure the T/S parameters of a set of drivers, fresh out of the box, after five minutes, after an hour, after 10 hours, 20, hours, 40 hours, and 80 hours and let's see how long it takes for the T/S parameters to settle in.
post #173 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny Richie View Post

The person that you quoted above this question wasn't me but I'd like to respond to this question.

Why not ask Tom Nousaine or anyone else with measurement taking capability to do the same thing that I am doing.

The first step is to document the mechanical compliance changes. Have him measure the T/S parameters of a set of drivers, fresh out of the box, after five minutes, after an hour, after 10 hours, 20, hours, 40 hours, and 80 hours and let's see how long it takes for the T/S parameters to settle in.

I am not an engineer or a professional reviewer (but I did stay at one of those hotels that makes you feel like you are). Since Tom has a stated position and you have a different one, and Tom seems very open as far as receiving emails, I would suggest you can make your case to him direct. I will be the first to admit that I (emphasis) don't have the knowledge to properly frame your tests-Tom's email address can be found on his web site here-

http://nousaine.com/

To be honest, this thing has been beaten to death. If people want to break-in speakers so be it. It seems a pretty small thing in the world of big things. My complaint is when people who have credentials and are published are challenged, it is insulting to them to just dismiss them out of hand. If you have information to challenge their position, challenge them directly-don't play it out here as if they are a bunch of nobodies. I am speaking of Pierce, Clark, and Nousaine, among others.

I wanted to add one other edit and that is a congratulations for your work on the Usher Tiny Dancer. The NSC measurements on the Soundstage review is some of the nicest I have seen posted and from all reports the speaker is a great sounding speaker.

Randy
post #174 of 234
This forum should be an ENTHUSIEST'S forum, not a vehicle for direct manufacturer's shameless plugs for their mediocre third world manufactured products. USE YOUR OWN WEBSITES !!!!! I'd like to add that Danny Richie should post in the DIY forum, after all that's basically what he's pushing. If I wanted to listen to his condescending "better than thou" attitude I would order a pair of his $29 tweeters and $45 woofers and let him tell me in person how his DIY ninjas outperform a brand name speaker. When I hear the term speaker engineer I think of Dr. Floyd Toole, Paul Barton, Jim Theil, Franco Serbin, Dave Wilson, not Danny Richie. Enough said.
post #175 of 234
The only thing anybody is pushing around here is an education, and obviously you'll be first in line.
post #176 of 234
Quote:
If people want to break-in speakers so be it.

There isn't a choice in the matter and that is what you are overlooking here with this statement...ALL speakers, each and every one, get broken in whether you want to break them in or not...

The whole point in this thread is if the sound quality changes between a broken-in speaker and a new out of the box speaker...
post #177 of 234
True. Anyone demonstrated that yet in a DBT? Didn't think so.
post #178 of 234
WHO CARES?????????????

Ya know... opinions are like arm-pits... everyone has a couple of them and they both usually stink!
Besides, arguing on the internet is like competing in the special olympics... even if you win you're still retarded!
post #179 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaseman View Post

... is like competing in the special olympics... even if you win you're still retarded!

That is really not a nice analogy in a public forum.
post #180 of 234
Pierce has made note in the newsgroups of the difficulty that companies have when manufacturing takes place in other countries that don't have an understanding or a history in the field of speaker design. While all companies look to find ways to drive manufacturing costs down, be it through simplifying the manufacturing process or material substitution, those have to be done with an understanding of the ramifications. Pierce never mentioned the companies he was talking about and I get the impression that when he related some of the stories, he was talking about more than one company with the common thread being China. The type of parts substitution for crossovers that Mark mentioned are not unknown. To someone over there, a capacitor is just a capacitor, a resistor just a resistor, and as a result, final products differ signficantly from what was intended.

But it goes beyond capacitors, resistors, and inductors. In many cases, Pierce has designed the actual drivers. Among other things, it means specifying the shape, taper, the material that the cone is made from. Don't forget the parameters needed to characterize the cone. Or the dustcap. Or the type of wire, gauge, and length that makes up the magnet assembly. Don't forget the tolerances, the magnetic strength and everything else. Or the basket and what type of metal it's made from and the properties of that metal. He noted that he'd reject lots of drivers before they got it right. Now, where those lots wind up...well you can guess. Buy any drivers lately? Far more than T/S parameters hitting certain marks are needed to ensure that a design is not compromised. He's made mention of how supremely difficult it was to communicate that substitutions aren't an acceptable way of life. Not to Mark. Mark knew and knows. The suppliers though, well that's another matter. A little here. A little there. After a while, when you think things are rolling along just fine, little changes occur with cumulative effects. The speaker that was once so good, where everyone toed the line, is now different. But it can happen slowly. Maybe you can't tell the first lot of speakers from the 4th. Maybe the 4th from the 9th. But the first from the 9th? Well...suddenly something isn't quite right.

Why it's done? I don't think it's malicious. But it's sloppy and speaks to not having a good appreciation for quality control or having an understanding of how things interact. While this isn't limited to China, considering that much manufacturing and products originate from China, it's only proper to question the capabilities of products originating from China. Pet foods that containg melamine. Toys that have excessive lead levels (how friggin hard was it to get that right?!). Food products that contain glycols. Medicines and toothpaste too. What good are low labor and raw material costs when you've got to QC every damned thing and you can't trust your suppliers to do it right?

I appreciate the comments that Mark has made. The story he recounts is not only consistent with what Pierce has long stated, but it is consistent with things we've all read in the news. It's consistent with stories that people who work for the FDA doing inspections have told me. I ask you though Mark, do you now have a good handle on the parts that make up the crossovers? What efforts, besides rudimentary measurements of speaker parameters, are being taken to ensure that drivers are being made consistently and according to what should be mutually agreed upon materials and methods of construction? I believe this requires techniques outside the realm of many people. Lastly, is there a move towards ISO certification for suppliers and up the chain?
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