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6.5" woofers just can't rock

post #1 of 404
Thread Starter 
I don't know. All this audiophile stuff seems to have taken me off course. All I really wanted was a set of speakers that sound good on the kind of music that I like. For me, that means the speaker must be able to play loud and have "punch" in the bass. A kick drum should feel like a punch in the chest. Music should be visceral!

Some number of years ago, I began with a bottom-end Pioneer receiver pushing the some speakers (CSG-404) with 15" woofers. They didn't sound too bad, but they had a paper tweeter, so the highend wasn't really there.

After much reading, I got convinced that what I needed was a system with a great midrange/topend in a sealed enclosure and a strong subwoofer, so I ended up with system 2: NHT SuperOnes and a Paradigm Sub (PS-1200). The system could play really low and the midrange/tweeter in the SuperOnes is really nice, but...the system just didn't have any slam. I couldn't figure it out. I had the whole frequency range covered and still much of my music didn't sound as good as I thought that it could.

On to system three. What I suspected that I was missing was in the mid-bass. I thought that maybe I just needed some larger woofers, but I didn't want to give up the great sound of the SuperOnes. After much reading, I decided to upgrade to the Athena AS-F2, which has two 8" woofers and a pretty good tweeter. So I brought them home, broke them in and...disappointed. Something was just still missing and this even after upgrading my amp to the marginally respectable Pioneer VSX-1014TX.

I ended up grabbing some speaker DIY software in order to try to understand what it was that I was/am missing in my music. I have discovered that it is just good old SPL. The problem is that to achieve high SPL in the mid-bass, you need to move lots of air and that means big woofers (15" canons) or *lots* of smaller ones. The attached paper is my first attempt to understand, mathematically, the mid-bass. My next setup will target a clean 110dB @50Hz with 6dB additional headroom for transients. I'll probably end up with one of the line arrays.

The attached paper shows that 110 dB SPL is simply impossible with a single 6.5" and the one investigated (Scan-Speak 21W8555-00) is certainly no slouch performer [07/10/30 EDIT: the 21W8555-00 is an 8" driver not a 6.5" driver.]. In fact, clean output maxes out around 95dB in this simulation, which just isn't too exiting (10-20 dB below THX reference).

I'm just wondering with all the money being spent on equipment in a no-holds-barred fashion, why is it that the primary component that affects the sound remains subject to limitations of interior decor. Where are all the manufacturers using 12-15" woofers?

So, what I am wondering is if any of this makes sense to anybody or have I just gone nuts?



EDIT/UPDATE: Some of the speakers that have been discussed or best embody the idea (sometimes a line will be mentioned by a company that has several lines, many of which suffice):

"Pureplays" - These speakers have big woofers to move lots of air:
-JBL K2 (the K2 is way out of my league, but it/Everest/Synthesis Line best captures the idea)
-Legacy Audio Focus HD
-Klipsch KLF-30 Legend Towers
-Tyler Acoustics Pro Dynamics PD-30
-Pi Speakers Professional Series (Professional version now offered as the "Four Pi" with JBL2226 woofer.
-Klipsch Cornwall III

"Woofer Area Equivalent" - These speakers have a larger number of smaller drivers, but 15" equivalent area (or thereabouts):
-GR-Research LS-6 Line Arrary Kit (Similar model available on pre-order @ **********)
-VMPS Audio RM40
-Klipsch RF-83 (only 3x8", (almost) = surface area of 1x15")

"Pro-Audio Recording Configuration" - These are sub/sat systems where the sub is not really targeting depth, but rather accuracy in the mid-bass region.

Genelec does have a couple systems that could work (1036A and 1035B), but they are stupid expensive ($70k/pr).

"Pro Audio Gig Equipment" - These are going to have maximum firepower, but will approach absolute zero for waf. The pro-audio "subwoofers" are the right idea, as they have high power capable, big radiating area, woofers. The JBL 2242H woofer is worth reading about and will explain why no 6.5" woofer could possibly compare with it.
-JBL PRX Series or Cinema (including the 4670D)
-Mackie SA Series
-Yorkville Unity™ Series
-Carvin LS Series
-Yamaha MSR Series
-Peavey PR Series
-Martin Audio Blackline Series
-Electrovoice ZX Series
-QSC HPR Series
-Alesis ProVenue Series

Pro Installed Sound:
-JBL Application Engineered Series Model 6215/95
(for several reasons, this is a quite nice speaker and may do the trick)

EDIT/UPDATE: Some other things that can affect mid-bass performance that are discussed throughout this thread include:

- Music compression. There has been a trend to reduce the dynamic range in order to maximize average SPL. This "louder is better" approach to mastering music crushes available SPL for transients/dynamics. Much music today doesn't have "slam" because there is only 3-6dB allowed for transients. Old school mastering allowed for 12-15dB worth of transients/dynamics and that is a huge difference in punch.

- Room Nulls. Many rooms will have various peaks (emphasis/constructive interference) and nulls (cancellations/destructive interference). A room with a null right in the mid-bass is doing to make the system sound absolutely dead, regardless of the amount of positive EQ used in order to try to bring it up. Various approaches (not listed here) are taken to correcting room nulls.



EDIT/UPDATE: It seems that is the past decade subwoofers have made remarkable advancements toward becoming more musical (much more controlled/respond from transients much quicker). I have not auditioned subwoofers recently, so I can't speak confidently to whether or not this could be a solution.



[This is from post #379 (i think)]:
The idea that speaker efficiency increases with driver radiating area is perhaps the key reason why 6.5" woofers just can't rock.

The formula is 10*LOG(multiple of area). For 4 drivers, the increase in efficiency attributable to area alone is 10*LOG(4) = 6.02db.

Here is an example of how increasing drivers (radiating area) increases efficiency (ceteris paribus):

Increasing number of drivers:
Number of Drivers...Driver Diameter....Efficiency
1.........................6.5"...................85db
2.........................6.5"...................88db
4.........................6.5"...................91db
8.........................6.5"...................94db
16........................6.5"...................97db

Increasing area of one driver:
Number of Drivers...Driver Diameter....Efficiency
1.........................6.5"...................85db
1.........................8.0"...................87.1db
1.........................10"....................89.3db
1.........................12"....................91.0db
1.........................15"....................93.1db
1.........................18"....................94.8db

The single 6.5" driver just can't compete against either a large number of small drivers, or a single large diameter driver (much less against large numbers of large drivers).


.

 

SPL Freq Resp and Transients small.pdf 431.484375k . file
post #2 of 404
Have you had a chance to listen to the latest Studio Monitors from Dynaudio, Mackie, Tannoy, Adam Pro. or KRK by chane? I think you will find the dynamics you are looking for with them IMHO.
post #3 of 404
Thread Starter 
I haven't had a chance to listen to those offerings. The Dynaudio look interesting. I'll check the rest out too. Thanks!
post #4 of 404
Don't listen to these guys, check out some three-way speakers. My PMC OB1s rock and they're only a 7" woofer.
post #5 of 404
Thread Starter 
I got a kick out of the KRKs Peter.

PMC OB1's? Peak SPL of 110dB. Hhmm... they look like nice speakers, but they are going to struggle just to meet THX SPLs and fall about 18dB short of a single Kilomax 15".
post #6 of 404
You have heard of Cerwin-Vega! (note the exclamation point)

http://www.cerwinvega.com/CLS.php

Take your pick.
post #7 of 404
The Paradigm PS-1200 does not go really low. They don't provide accurate values for what the sub does without room enhancement, which varies from room to room and with placement. A better sub would come closer to what you want, but yes the ability to play loud is a factor for what you want. Not that difficult a problem, look for speakers with a high efficiency and a fairly high power handling. The trick is finding some that also sound really accurate and smooth. I bet a pair of Energy RC-70s, plus a couple of SVS cylinder subwoofers and an amplifier of at least the power handling of the RC-70s would get you close, and sound pretty darn good to boot.
post #8 of 404
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by exerciseguy View Post

You have heard of Cerwin-Vega! (note the exclamation point)

http://www.cerwinvega.com/CLS.php

Take your pick.

The CLS-215 is definitely getting close to the idea. However, given that their target market is a younger (poorer) audience, I have questions about the quality of the drivers. Not sure where I can listen to them. I've also considered Pi Speakers, which look to have higher quality drivers. My OP was just more of a question of am I the only one who thinks the whole audiophile world is heading off in the wrong direction with the primary compromise yielding to home decor vis-a-vis accurate/dynamic representation of the music.
post #9 of 404
It sounds to me like you are after bloated and inaccurate midbass. The reason that is missing in many quality speakers is because it is inaccurate. You may just want to get an EQ or something and boost the midbass how you want it.
post #10 of 404
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Luap View Post

The Paradigm PS-1200 does not go really low. They don't provide accurate values for what the sub does without room enhancement, which varies from room to room and with placement. A better sub would come closer to what you want, but yes the ability to play loud is a factor for what you want. Not that difficult a problem, look for speakers with a high efficiency and a fairly high power handling. The trick is finding some that also sound really accurate and smooth. I bet a pair of Energy RC-70s, plus a couple of SVS cylinder subwoofers and an amplifier of at least the power handling of the RC-70s would get you close, and sound pretty darn good to boot.

Thanks for the comment. From the specs on their website, the RC-70s look like they would choke out before reaching THX reference level. They just don't have the drivers to play a clean 105 dB at 50Hz. Rather, at that level they would be maxing out linear travel and have lots of distortion. Two 6.5" are only going to have about 3dB more SPL and one.
post #11 of 404
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisWiggles View Post

It sounds to me like you are after bloated and inaccurate midbass. The reason that is missing in many quality speakers is because it is inaccurate. You may just want to get an EQ or something and boost the midbass how you want it.

not at all chris. bass has three (at least) measures: deep, clean, loud. and while loud is no substitute for deep and clean, neither are deep and clean substitutes for loud IMHO. if a speaker has just one or two, then it is going to leave much missing from the musical experience. a true performer must have all three.
post #12 of 404
My M&K S-5000 speakers were able to reach reference levels easily. BTW THX reference levels is 105 db's for the highs, not 110 db's. The JTR triple 8 speakers can play 126 db's each and the growler can play midbass at 133 db's. You might want to check out if your amp can reach these levels you want.
post #13 of 404
There's an old post out there somewhere basically confirming measurements that very very few home speakers can actually perform acceptably at THX reference levels. If you need that kind of sound, maybe a stop at Musician's Friend to look at some PA systems designed for 110db concert performance (you know, those 24" wide horns with multiple 15" bass drivers) will get you what you want. I don't have any complaints with the bass extension, SQ, or dynamics from my Monitor Audio's with 6 1/2 inch bass drivers up to just under the levels that would have my neighbors calling the police every 1/2 hour.
post #14 of 404
Read your paper and loved it..

I come from a generation that listens to Hip Hop, Hard Rock, Techno all of which need the 'slam' so I can 100% relate for your quest to find the slam..

Regarding the Cerwin Vegas, I actually bought the CLS-215 and although I was somewhat satisfied with the bass, the voice dialog sounded like terrible shiet.. They have been sitting in my garage for half a year now on guard duty..

My next speaker which I currently have is the Paradigm Studio 100's.. These speakers have been the best I have ever heard so far but lack the mid bass that I crave..

Therefore, my aproach to 'our' problem is to buy a sub or subs capable of a frequency response up to 150-200 hz and cross them over with the mains to have a satisfactory HT and music experience..
post #15 of 404
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCarls View Post

There's an old post out there somewhere basically confirming measurements that very very few home speakers can actually perform acceptably at THX reference levels. If you need that kind of sound, maybe a stop at Musician's Friend to look at some PA systems designed for 110db concert performance (you know, those 24" wide horns with multiple 15" bass drivers) will get you what you want. I don't have any complaints with the bass extension, SQ, or dynamics from my Monitor Audio's with 6 1/2 inch bass drivers up to just under the levels that would have my neighbors calling the police every 1/2 hour.

I have these:

http://www.yorkville.com/products.as...9&cat=2&id=213

http://www.yorkville.com/products.as...9&cat=2&id=221

an they have LOTS of SPL and Chest caving midbass but no where near any defenition to listen to music or movies at low volumes of 75db or less..

And these speakers are not cheap Peveys or CVs or a typical DJ setup.. These are concert speakers.
post #16 of 404
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MKtheater View Post

My M&K S-5000 speakers were able to reach reference levels easily. BTW THX reference levels is 105 db's for the highs, not 110 db's. The JTR triple 8 speakers can play 126 db's each and the growler can play midbass at 133 db's. You might want to check out if your amp can reach these levels you want.

Hhmm... I'll have to check out the S-5000. the 105/110dB thing is splitting hairs. I note the level is 105dB in the paper. Since the focus here is on the mid-bass and some of that is going to fall into what THX specs call "low frequency effects" where they require and additional +10dB, 115dB is actually closer to the correct number. That said, even THX has realized that low frequencies are not *perceived* to be as loud as they are so THX has now introduced Loudness Plus. LP is going to increase the demands of the mid-bass even further. If LP demands increase the dB requirements by just five, then we are looking at a total SPL requirement (on the mid-bass) of 120dB!
post #17 of 404
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TrzVpr View Post

Read your paper and loved it..

I come from a generation that listens to Hip Hop, Hard Rock, Techno all of which need the 'slam' so I can 100% relate for your quest to find the slam..

Regarding the Cerwin Vegas, I actually bought the CLS-215 and although I was somewhat satisfied with the bass, the voice dialog sounded like terrible shiet.. They have been sitting in my garage for half a year now on guard duty..

My next speaker which I currently have is the Paradigm Studio 100's.. These speakers have been the best I have ever heard so far but lack the mid bass that I crave..

Therefore, my aproach to 'our' problem is to buy a sub or subs capable of a frequency response up to 150-200 hz and cross them over with the mains to have a satisfactory HT and music experience..

Thanks TrzVpr. The comment about the 215's is what lots of people (including myself) are concerned about. In my OP, I forgot to mention that I also went through a pair of Monitor 7's, so it sounds like our journey is down roughly the same road. One option that I was also looking into was the *vintage* Klipsch. The high cross sub seems like an option as well.
post #18 of 404
Quote:
Originally Posted by LTD02 View Post

The attached paper shows that 110 dB SPL is simply impossible with a single 6.5" and the one investigated (Scan-Speak 21W8555-00) is certainly no slouch performer. In fact, clean output maxes out around 95dB in this simulation, which just isn't too exiting (10-20 dB below THX reference).

I'm just wondering with all the money being spent on equipment in a no-holds-barred fashion, why is it that the primary component that affects the sound remains subject to limitations of interior decor. Where are all the manufacturers using 12-15" mid-bass drivers?

So, what I am wondering is if any of this makes sense to anybody or have I just gone nuts?

Your right ... size matters, but dual 6.5 midbass drivers will help.
Also, a midrange driver will help.
Also, larger amps will help. Also, a larger subwoofer ...

Have you ever thought of just going with a pro amp driving two large speakers that go down to 30hz or so? Thats a "true" audiphile setup ...
post #19 of 404
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnR_IN_LA View Post

Your right ... size matters, but dual 6.5 midbass drivers will help.
Also, a midrange driver will help.
Also, larger amps will help. Also, a larger subwoofer ...

Have you ever thought of just going with a pro amp driving two large speakers that go down to 30hz or so? Thats a "true" audiphile setup ...

a second 6.5" increases SPL by ~3dB, so doesn't really forklift the system to where it needs to be. as for the amp, i *was* thinking about a pro amp, namely the xti2000 http://www.crownaudio.com/amp_htm/xti.htm. as for the pro speakers, almost all the pro gear that i have looked at uses 15" woofers because they are interested in the sound, not the appearance. i'm curious why we don't see more "crossover" systems--systems that can produce the big pro sound but are more musical.
post #20 of 404
Quote:
Originally Posted by LTD02 View Post

The CLS-215 is definitely getting close to the idea. However, given that their target market is a younger (poorer) audience, I have questions about the quality of the drivers. Not sure where I can listen to them. I've also considered Pi Speakers, which look to have higher quality drivers. My OP was just more of a question of am I the only one who thinks the whole audiophile world is heading off in the wrong direction with the primary compromise yielding to home decor vis-a-vis accurate/dynamic representation of the music.

The build quality of the CLS is on par, and perhaps a bit more solid than many of their competitors. They're heavy & bi-wireable, and I would not be concerned with the quality of the drivers, the CLS series (and older CLSC series) were really a sort of departure from older C-V! designs http://forums.klipsch.com/forums/thread/652845.aspx , attempting to bridge the gap between older bass-heavy C-V! designs and modern-day "audiophile" speakers http://archive2.avsforum.com/avs-vb/...d.php?t=613460 .

Yes, the bass is there in ample amounts, but there is certainly a better balance to the overall sound. Like anything else, it's a matter of taste.
post #21 of 404
Thread Starter 
JBL K2 S9800 is more along the line of the kind of speaker that I am curious as to why we are not seeing more of. http://www.ultraaudio.com/equipment/jbl_k2_s9800.htm but at $25k per pair, the price seems a little steep.
post #22 of 404
Well, one problem is that you were using Superones. If you look at the blind listening test thread, they underperformed in terms of dynamics
post #23 of 404
I have a pair of 2 small Bookshelf speakers with a 6.5 Woofer that that can send my closet door into rattling! I don't want to mention what the Big Electrophonic bookshelf speakers with their big "8" woofer with Alinco type magnet can do! I could use those as club speakers if i had a beefy enough amp! i wish i had another pair!

with both pairs playing at the same time at 115 DB on my 20-30 watt receivers the neighbors will come and smash my system!
post #24 of 404
Beating a dead horse here but someone has got to mention it...

What is the FR vs. SPL look like at your listening position. Most normal rooms have locations which have at least 2 trouble spots (read: nulls) from 30hz to 120hz.

After setting up my listening position at ~38% of the front to rear dimension, placing my speakers away from room corners and boundaries, and getting my subwoofer in its optimal location blended into the mains, I get excellent bass drum kick with my rock cds.

You can have THX Ultra certified speakers and other stuff, but if your placement of the speakers, subwoofers, and listening position is not optimal, your bass will suffer at minimum. Setting up appropriate room treatments will clear dialog, kill slap echo, and clean up some one-note bass problems.

If you have done all of this, then you just need some dynamic speakers. Speakers that can accept large amounts of power, have high sensitivity, and have appropriate drivers. Something like the Triad Platinum LCRs seem to fit the bill, as well as line-arrays as you mentioned, perhaps klipsch THX Ultra speakers as well, and others...
post #25 of 404
Thread Starter 
the comment about the room is a really good one. i have experimented with lots of different positioning, etc., so i don't think that the lack of kick is just a room effect. i'll check out the triads. thanks.


took a look at the triads and the specs look pretty good, but $12.6k per pair? yikes.


EDIT: without measuring the freq resp, i would not know if experimenting with different positioning corrected the problem.
post #26 of 404
No, it is not 110dB but a single Mpyre 65x 6.5" will hit over 90dB at 50hz with a mere 7l box size.

4 will easily take you where you want to be.

post #27 of 404
Quote:
Originally Posted by LTD02 View Post

the comment about the room is a really good one. i have experimented with lots of different positioning, etc., so i don't think that the lack of kick is just a room effect. i'll check out the triads. thanks.


took a look at the triads and the specs look pretty good, but $12.6k per pair? yikes.

Such small details!

Taking everything that I said, i felt that having a 3-way floorstanding speaker with 2x 6.5" bass woofers was a great improvement in terms of dynamic capability with source material with bass. I owned a few 2-way designs that just bottomed out before I could load on bass that was more than 90db (Pipe organ music is my reference). With that said, the key to my system is the subwoofer. There is just no way that speakers within my price range (that I auditioned) could output enough bass impact for electronica, bass depth for pipe organ without the aid of a hefty subwoofer.

I'm not sure if you are following the subwoofer forum here, but I would say that if you want that "live kick drum" blast in your chest, check out the Epik Conquest subwoofer. Their offerings seem to promise quite a bit, if they aren't your style, check out the JL Fathom F113, Velodyne DD18, ACI Maestro XL (my personal favorite), and the new SVS PB-13. With a crossover set at 60-80hz, you should get plenty of energy in the frequency regime you desire.
post #28 of 404
Thread Starter 
is mpyre still around? their website is just a bunch of sponsored links. that looks like an awesome driver. it uses the xbl^2 tech. didn't adire audio develop that and aren't they defunct now?
post #29 of 404
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonomega View Post

I'm not sure if you are following the subwoofer forum here, but I would say that if you want that "live kick drum" blast in your chest, check out the Epik Conquest subwoofer. Their offerings seem to promise quite a bit, if they aren't your style, check out the JL Fathom F113, Velodyne DD18, ACI Maestro XL (my personal favorite), and the new SVS PB-13. With a crossover set at 60-80hz, you should get plenty of energy in the frequency regime you desire.

i suppose relying on the sub to cover the mid-bass is what lots of people are doing these days. nousaine's review of the conquest was pretty interesting. i especially liked how he reported max spl vs. distortion across the frequency spectrum. something like that might be worth experimenting with. thanks for the info.
post #30 of 404
Quote:
Originally Posted by billnchristy View Post

No, it is not 110dB but a single Mpyre 65x 6.5" will hit over 90dB at 50hz with a mere 7l box size.

4 will easily take you where you want to be.


I just realized i cannot read speaker graphs!
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