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Speakerquest (so far...) - Page 51

post #1501 of 2203
I don't know nuttin about soundstaging. I'm not sure anyone does. I guess there's something to true 1st order slopes over a wide frequency range, but I personally don't think they are worth the trade-offs (and I've never heard any difference in A-B tests with a digital crossover) . Maybe low-diffraction cabinets help. These comments apply mostly to soundstage width and precise lateral location. When it comes to depth and air, then I think you have to harness the midrange backwave. A completely open baffle design will do that, although it's tricky and you can end up with too much of a good thing, and a cabinet that doesn't pass the ol' SAF test. I'm currently working on a compromise design that uses a conventional cabinet, but with an open line from the midrange to the rear. It also has a ribbon tweeter sitting free on top of the cabinet. I don't know how much of the improved depth and air I'm hearing is due to what, but it's certainly there. The trick is to get the depth without sacrificing presence. Tricky.
post #1502 of 2203
Fair enough Dennis, thanks for chiming in. You mention "air". I've never had a good grasp of that term. What does "air" sound like?

BTW - How was RMAF? Did you get a chance to see much of the show or were you on booth duty the whole time? Any chance you made it to the Wilson Benesch booth?
post #1503 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by hifisponge View Post

Very cool. Your experience with the 5A's is in line with my recent reading that soundstage size has to do with preserving the phase of the signal. This is typically done with 1st order crossovers because they introduce the least phase shift. Of course the trade of is a suck-out at the crossover point somewhere off axis.

The more I read about the Vandy's, the more they seem to share a similar philosophy with WB. They both place high value on preserving phase and the 5A and the Discovery's even both use a clamshell / isobaric woofer arrangement. The Vandy's take the concepts of preserving time and phase further than WB by staggering drivers and minimizing baffle diffraction, so I'm sure that the 5A's would sound even bigger than the WB's.

I'm not convinced that dispersion (aka off-axis FR), has much to do with soundstage size. The Revel's have arguably some of the best off-axis dispersion around, yet I found their soundstage to be only average. Not large, but not small either. Revel uses relatively steep crossover slopes, which to the best of my understanding requires quite a bit of twisting of the signal. I suppose this is one of those trade-offs every speaker maker has to make. Do you want consistent tonality across a wide span of seats, or do you optimize for the sweet-spot and go for the big soundstage.

I would love to hear what Dennis has to say about all of my half-baked theories.

I have always been a fan of Vandersteen, their implentations and their technology. However, regarding the 3A's and the 2 series, they are just too placement finicky and the "sweet spot" is small. Plus they aren't exactly attractive. Otherwise I like them very much.

Dispersion is not off-axis FR, at least not as I understood. Dispersion is the spreading of sound waves as they leave a source. I am sure there is such thing as off axis dispersion, but I don't think dispersion and off-axis FR are the same.
post #1504 of 2203
I've always admired a system that throws a wide and full soundstage. I have asked Tim's question numerous times to numerous "experts" and have never gotten a compelling or unanymous answer.

That said, I have heard two loudspeakers that did it for me with a huge soundstage, Infinity References (any model) and Sonus Faber Domus Grand Pianos. These speakers are not particularly well-known for low diffraction designs nor do they possess particularly stunning measurements of any kind.

The only thing they had in common were unique listening environments...and not particularly well-controlled ones at that.

If I had to wager on the primary factors in the generation of a broad, deep soundstage....it's location, location, location...with a matrix of ultra-low distortion design elements a secondary cause.
post #1505 of 2203
Mudslide -

I find it surprising that more isn't known about how to control or maximize the soundstage a set of speakers produce. Seems like a pretty important thing to understand when designing a set of speakers, don't you agree?

A large soundstage has always been on my short-list of desirable qualities and honestly, getting a BIG sound was a driving factor for me in pursuing larger floor-standing speakers. That and I thought that speakers with good off-axis response would help. It didn't really.

I know this much, the recording has to have good spatial qualities to begin with and a good spread between the speakers helps.

I haven't heard the YG Acoustics speakers I mentioned earlier, so I can't confirm their claims, but they specifically mention that their speakers have a large soundstage and attribute it to preserving phase.

Quote:
Originally Posted by YG Acoustics Brochure View Post

The measured performance of the YG Acoustics Kipod is exceptional, and correlates to its perceived sonic quality. In addition to a flat frequency response both on-and off-axis, the phase difference between the tweeter and the mid-woofer is near zero at all frequencies, meaning that they radiate as one integral unit. This unique feature is a YG Acoustics specialty, and allows for an amazing soundstage, normally associated only with single-driver loudspeakers.

Vandersteen makes similar claims.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vandersteen's description of 5A speakers View Post

DIMENSIONAL PURITY
Music is pure in its dimensions. Time smear (multipath) distortions from reflections and diffraction destroy this purity just like the multipath ghost images that ruin a television picture. All the Model 5A's components, construction, and engineering are designed to preserve the music's original dimensions. By minimizing internal and external diffraction, maintaining phase and frequency linearity, using a single driver for each frequency range, and controlling vibration and resonances, the Model 5As eliminate time smear distortion and accurately convey the composition, timing and shading that build an involving musical experience.

With the speakers I've had in my room recently, which have all been limited to about 7 feet apart, here's what I experienced.

Monitor Audio GS - good width, slightly outside of speaker position, realistic instrument/vocalist size

Focal Electra - proper instrument/vocalist size, but sound was confined between the speakers

MA Platinum - noticeably smaller instrument/vocalist size, and sound confined between the speakers

Dynaudio Sapphire - noticeably larger instrument/vocalist size, and sound extended slightly outside of speaker positions

Revel Studio2's - good but not exceptional width, sometimes slightly outside of speaker position, realistic instrument/vocalist size

Wilson Benesch - realistic instrument/vocalist size, much broader soundstage than any other, extends a couple of feet to the outside of speaker positions
post #1506 of 2203
How on earth did you find that many speakers to audition?! You obviously don't live where I do! Good for you, I hope you find the "perfect" speaker for you (and you can afford it)!
post #1507 of 2203
Help me decide on which pair of speakers are more bang for the buck they are on the same price range($3000-3500). What components do these go with best?

1)
B&W 801 series 80

2)
Eggleston Rosa
post #1508 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by drsoggy View Post

How on earth did you find that many speakers to audition?! You obviously don't live where I do! Good for you, I hope you find the "perfect" speaker for you (and you can afford it)!

Welcome DrSoggy. If you look back through this thread and the "perfect speaker" thread started by Nuance, you'll find that I have been through / auditioned many speakers over the past 8-9 months trying to find the porridge that is just right. Oh, and I had to have several of those shipped to me from a good friend / dealer in CA, as I didn't want any of the speakers offered locally.

Are you looking to buy some new speakers soon?
post #1509 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by yashiro81 View Post

Help me decide on which pair of speakers are more bang for the buck they are on the same price range($3000-3500). What components do these go with best?

1)
B&W 801 series 80

2)
Eggleston Rosa

Yashiro -

I haven't personally heard either of those, but the Eggleston is a more recent model I believe and will probably have gained from advances in speaker / driver design. I had no idea that B&W ever made a speaker with that inverted configuration. My money would go to the Eggleston.
post #1510 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mudslide View Post

I've always admired a system that throws a wide and full soundstage. I have asked Tim's question numerous times to numerous "experts" and have never gotten a compelling or unanymous answer.

That said, I have heard two loudspeakers that did it for me with a huge soundstage, Infinity References (any model) and Sonus Faber Domus Grand Pianos. These speakers are not particularly well-known for low diffraction designs nor do they possess particularly stunning measurements of any kind.

The only thing they had in common were unique listening environments...and not particularly well-controlled ones at that.

If I had to wager on the primary factors in the generation of a broad, deep soundstage....it's location, location, location...with a matrix of ultra-low distortion design elements a secondary cause.

Actually, the singular requirement for preserving image in a stereo environment is the matching between the stereo loudspeaker pair. With excellent matching, the L-R component is reduced to as much as -40db (1dB matching). This insures better spatial separation between the center image (L+R) and the side or back portion of the image (L-R). This effect insures good separation and hence, lower risk of masking or fusion.

Room symmetry doesn't hurt either, but it is difficult to achieve in the consumer environment.

rob r.
post #1511 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by hifisponge View Post

Fair enough Dennis, thanks for chiming in. You mention "air". I've never had a good grasp of that term. What does "air" sound like?

BTW - How was RMAF? Did you get a chance to see much of the show or were you on booth duty the whole time? Any chance you made it to the Wilson Benesch booth?

Hi "Air" is probably just another description of depth, where you feel an actual placement of insturments in an auditorium envinronmnet. The trumpets don't sound like they're coming out of the front of the speakers, but rather are surrounded by a proper hall ambiance and are clearly behind the strings and winds. As for RMAF, I got to hear a great deal of stuff, but it's kind of a blur now. I don't think I made it into your Wilson room. I did hear the Dyanaudio Sapphires, which are probably the most beautiful industrial design I've seen. A real work of art. they sounded fine on the program material they were fed, but I couldn't get a feel for whether they were a B+/B. a B+, or an A- (I don't give out A's). That was the same for a lot of speakers I heard. I tried playing my own CD, but the sound of real music cleared out the room instantly, leaving only an icy stare from the company rep. The exception was the Linkwitz Orion room. Sigfried welcomed classical music, and the Orions did a beautiful job with it, as usual. I really wanted to get a good listen to the Focal Grand Utopias, but I was trapped in the room with the reviewer from the Absolute Sound, who brought vinyl material of a male vocalist with a dynamic range of about 2 dB. Something about God driving a silver El Dorado up there in heaven. They sounded like very little Utopias, which wasn't their fault.
post #1512 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuance View Post


Dispersion is not off-axis FR, at least not as I understood. Dispersion is the spreading of sound waves as they leave a source. I am sure there is such thing as off axis dispersion, but I don't think dispersion and off-axis FR are the same.

Anyone have anything to add concerning this? How about you, Dennis? I want to be sure I've got my definitions straight, and I'd also like to figure out what makes a large sound stage, just like Tim. His question has certainly intrigued me.
post #1513 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuance View Post

Anyone have anything to add concerning this? How about you, Dennis? I want to be sure I've got my definitions straight, and I'd also like to figure out what makes a large sound stage, just like Tim. His question has certainly intrigued me.

I guess I'm not seeing the distinction between "spreading sound waves" and off-axis response. If the frequencies are being beamed forward, then the off-axis response will fall off dramatically. Not sure what I'm missing here.
post #1514 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Murphy View Post

.... I tried playing my own CD, but the sound of real music cleared out the room instantly, leaving only an icy stare from the company rep.

Dennis -

What was it about your music that cleared the room and how is it different than what is typically played in the demos?

Was it that many of the systems couldn't handle the dynamic range of Classical and the rep was pissed that you showed the shortcomings of their system?
post #1515 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Murphy View Post

I guess I'm not seeing the distinction between "spreading sound waves" and off-axis response. If the frequencies are being beamed forward, then the off-axis response will fall off dramatically. Not sure what I'm missing here.

It is my understanding that "broad dispersion" and "excellent off-axis frequency response" are one in the same, however, IME broad dispersion seems to have little influence over the size of the soundstage.
post #1516 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by hifisponge View Post

Dennis -

What was it about your music that cleared the room and how is it different than what is typically played in the demos?

Was it that many of the systems couldn't handle the dynamic range of Classical and the rep was pissed that you showed the shortcomings of their system?

People just didn't like classical music. Granted, it was Schostakovitch, but it was a very accessible, brassy, and melodic piece that I thought people might even enjoy. silly me.
post #1517 of 2203
[quote=Dennis Murphy;14876324]
I really wanted to get a good listen to the Focal Grand Utopias, but I was trapped in the room with the reviewer from the Absolute Sound, who brought vinyl material of a male vocalist with a dynamic range of about 2 dB. Something about God driving a silver El Dorado up there in heaven.\\QUOTE]That made me laugh out loud. Thanks, I needed that!
post #1518 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by hifisponge View Post

So my next topic of discussion is "soundstage", mainly width but also depth.

Anyone know what parameters of speaker design determine the size of the soundstage? In all of my reading, I haven't really come across a solid explanation. Is it the shape of the cone, the crossover design, the off-axis dispersion? Some recent reading suggests that it has to do with the phase of the signal not getting twisted too much by the crossover or the drivers, which vaguely lines up with my experience and logic.

On the subject of "soundstage", I have also always believed that excellent dispersion and off-axis response (close to the on-axis SPL) was the same thing. This is talking about a single speaker. If you have a stereo pair of speakers with excellent dispersion, then you'll have good imaging. I've never been too clear about any differences between imaging and soundstage, as so many people use these terms differently. There seems to be no standard definition that I know of. I think of imaging as a speaker's ability to create a realistic soundstage.

I have heard others claim that low diffraction baffles, or minimal baffle area, also contribute to good imaging. But, other than Dennis's demonstration with squared off baffles vs. ¾" roundovers, I've never seen any other demonstrations of similar speakers that compared different baffles.

I've also heard that stereo pairs of speakers with matched woofers and tweeters contributed to good imaging. That might be easy to demonstrate, but I've never heard of such. FWIW, the dome tweeters in the standard SongTowers come from the manufacturer as matched pairs. Dennis, what is your opinion of this?

Another one I've heard is that speakers (or playback systems) with a large dynamic range image better than speakers with smaller dynamic range. Again, I don't know what to think about that. It might be BS. Unless you can come up with a demonstration with two pairs of speakers where everything is similar except for their dynamic range, how could you know?
post #1519 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by hifisponge View Post

Mudslide -

I find it surprising that more isn't known about how to control or maximize the soundstage a set of speakers produce. Seems like a pretty important thing to understand when designing a set of speakers, don't you agree?

A large soundstage has always been on my short-list of desirable qualities and honestly, getting a BIG sound was a driving factor for me in pursuing larger floor-standing speakers. That and I thought that speakers with good off-axis response would help. It didn't really.

I know this much, the recording has to have good spatial qualities to begin with and a good spread between the speakers helps.

I too am surprised at the fact that, at least to my knowledge, no one from the "industry" has taken on the issue...especially the mags (online and print), since that's a term used without limitation, seemingly. (Or at least used without critical explanation. But what else is new? )

Yes, a good distance between speakers is useful but not necessary in my experience. I don't know about "spatial qualities" of recordings. I've witnessed awesome soundstage elements from both speakers I mentioned with a large variety of recordings and music genres.

My best experience with soundstage came in a little, almost bare room, square, no treatments, with a pair of Sonus Fabers. They were driven by some new McIntosh gear. And I'll tell you...I was blown away. I could walk up to a line parallel with (between) the speakers, or as far back as I could go in the room and point exactly to where each instrument and voice were eminating from the 'real' recording stage. Voices and instruments hung in the air of the virtual audio stage, fore and aft, left and right, higher or lower even, in very defined locations. Somehow definitive sounds were also thrown outside the speaker pair...with ease. It was really like walking up to and around a band or orchestra.

I was soon to learn that Sonus Faber speakers are more glamour (and they are top-flight Italian sexy!!) than substance, at least according to the tech and measurement guys. Nevertheless, if I was looking for 2-channel speakers at the time, I would have stolen those (okay...paid for them with plastic) right then and there! But I was bound and determined to get some dynamic HT speakers at the time. Nothing I heard had whipped the dynamics of the Aerials I had previously auditioned and ultimately acquired.

EDIT: Here is a look-see...
post #1520 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Murphy View Post

I guess I'm not seeing the distinction between "spreading sound waves" and off-axis response. If the frequencies are being beamed forward, then the off-axis response will fall off dramatically. Not sure what I'm missing here.

Okay, good to know. So the spreading of sound waves as they leave the source is the same as off-axis FR response? It sounds weird, but I guess it could be. I understood off-axis FR response to be how the FR curve changes as you move X degrees from the center, either to the left, right, down or up. Those are two very different definitions, but I suppose their correlation could effect the sound stage.
post #1521 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuance View Post

Okay, good to know. So the spreading of sound waves as they leave the source is the same as off-axis FR response? It sounds weird, but I guess it could be. I understood off-axis FR response to be how the FR curve changes as you move X degrees from the center, either to the left, right, down or up. Those are two very different definitions, but I suppose their correlation could effect the sound stage.

Hmmmm. I'm still not sure what's motivating this discussion. Is the problem that someone said, or implied, that everything you need to know about off-axis response is a function of dispersion? That's certainly not true, at least not if the relative distance of the various drivers to the listener changes as you move off-axis. That will change relative arrival times and phase, which will cause cancellations whether the drivers are high or moderate dispersion designs. But if the relative distances don't change, which will be the case for vertically arrayed drivers as you move off axis horizontally, then off-axis response will be a function of dispersion. The vertical off-axis response, on the other hand, will also be a function of the change in relative driver distances and the crossover topology.
post #1522 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mudslide View Post

.....My best experience with soundstage came in a little, almost bare room, square, no treatments, with a pair of Sonus Fabers....


I may just be latching onto something here, or seeing only what I want to see, but SF is also a proponent for 1st order x-overs, which is the one common trait amongst the speakers I, you, and Nuance have said to have a broad soundstage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonus Faber tech description of Domus speaker x-over View Post

Ideal blending, initial first order, distributed multi-slope, optimized phase characteristics for correct space/time performance
post #1523 of 2203
Thread Starter 
If soundstage is related to baffle size, and dispersion, room acoustics/reflections, and placement (speaker separation), how is it that you can hear some amazing imaging from a pair of headphones (which eliminate all of the above)? Or is it because they eliminate those variables?

RJ, good to hear from you again, my friend.

And a warm welcome to the new guys.

The Eggleston Rosa get my vote, though I haven't heard either one, I am not sure I could live with those massive B&Ws.

Cheers,
Funk
post #1524 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by hifisponge View Post

I may just be latching onto something here, or seeing only what I want to see, but SF is also a proponent for 1st order x-overs, which is the one common trait amongst the speakers I, you, and Nuance have said to have a broad soundstage.

I would be freaking amazed if SF could achieve true 1st order acoustic (not electrical) slopes over a wide range with those drivers in a flat baffle configuration. In fact, I would bet the full face value of my Michigan bank stock that they couldn't.
post #1525 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Murphy View Post

I would be freaking amazed if SF could achieve true 1st order acoustic (not electrical) slopes over a wide range with those drivers in a flat baffle configuration. In fact, I would bet the full face value of my Michigan bank stock that they couldn't.

I don't see anything in the SF tech quote I provided about an acoustic 1st order slope. Then again, I also don't understand what they mean by "distributed multi-slope" either.
post #1526 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Murphy View Post

I would be freaking amazed if SF could achieve true 1st order acoustic (not electrical) slopes over a wide range with those drivers in a flat baffle configuration. In fact, I would bet the full face value of my Michigan bank stock that they couldn't.

Which bank would that be, Dennis? We gotta watch our bank's liquidity these days. You may be offering a pig in a poke (whatever the hell that means).

Tim, yeah, it was a good stab...and I wonder...typical speaker mumbo-jumbo..... I'll see if I can come up with anything on the SF xover design.

Funk, my friend, thanks for the re-welcome!! It's good to be back amidst this fine group. I hope you are well. Regarding your comment...I don't think I've ever heard a pair of phones do what those SF's did. I have heard some phones that offer great separation of instruments/voices, but not the spatial expansiveness that I was trying to portray. Then again, I'm not sure I've heard a really top-drawer set of headphones.
post #1527 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by hifisponge View Post

I don't see anything in the SF tech quote I provided about an acoustic 1st order slope. Then again, I also don't understand what they mean by "distributed multi-slope" either.

It's your quote, together with the company line from SF, that suggests you are talking about first order acoustic slopes: "I may just be latching onto something here, or seeing only what I want to see, but SF is also a proponent for 1st order x-overs, which is the one common trait amongst the speakers I, you, and Nuance have said to have a broad soundstage." The only 1st order slopes that have ever been associated with superior imaging and soundstaging are 1st order acoustic slopes. It's trivial to configure first order electrical slopes. You stick a series inductor on the woofer and a series capacitor on the tweeter, turn around three times, click your heels, and hope the resulting acoustic slopes (the actual slopes you get when you factor in the frequency response and complex impedance of the drivers) produce listenable sound. Those slopes generally will approximate 2nd order acoustic roll-offs, with unsupressed breakup peaks at the top of the woofer's response, and a low-end diffraction hump in the tweeter response. Maintaining true 1st order acoustic slopes will require very special drivers with extremely smooth and extended response, a highly complex crossover that will shape the driver responses to maintain a 6 dB roll off for several octaves, and probably a staggered driver configuration, a filler driver, or an active circuit.
post #1528 of 2203
Well...this is all I could run down regarding the SF xover in my limited time tonight.

Crossover point 3.6kHz initial first order, distributed multi-slope,
optimized phase characteristics for correct space/time performance


Apparently they DO use mumbo-jumbo to design their crossovers.
post #1529 of 2203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Murphy View Post

It's your quote, together with the company line from SF, that suggests you are talking about first order acoustic slopes: "I may just be latching onto something here, or seeing only what I want to see, but SF is also a proponent for 1st order x-overs, which is the one common trait amongst the speakers I, you, and Nuance have said to have a broad soundstage." The only 1st order slopes that have ever been associated with superior imaging and soundstaging are 1st order acoustic slopes. It's trivial to configure first order electrical slopes. You stick a series inductor on the woofer and a series capacitor on the tweeter, turn around three times, click your heels, and hope the resulting acoustic slopes (the actual slopes you get when you factor in the frequency response and complex impedance of the drivers) produce listenable sound. Those slopes generally will approximate 2nd order acoustic roll-offs, with unsupressed breakup peaks at the top of the woofer's response, and a low-end diffraction hump in the tweeter response. Maintaining true 1st order acoustic slopes will require very special drivers with extremely smooth and extended response, a highly complex crossover that will shape the driver responses to maintain a 6 dB roll off for several octaves, and probably a staggered driver configuration, a filler driver, or an active circuit.


OK, I getcha now. I was only referring to a 6dB electrical filter and I understand that the electro-acoustical roll-off will usually be steeper than this.

However, I'm under the impression that all of these companies use 1st order electrical filters to preserve the phase of the signal. Does the electro-acoustical sum affect the signal phase?

You also mention out-of-band break-up peaks in the mid-driver. I've seen this sort of thing in the measurements of the majority of metal midrange drivers, but most well designed poly and paper cones don't have this problem as far as I can tell. All of the speakers mentioned so far have poly or paper cones.

I'm not jumping to any conclusions, and I am far from being and authority on cross-overs, I'm just trying to see if there are any commonalities between the speakers that have been said to have a big soundstage. I can accept it if it has nothing to do with the use of 1st order electrical filters, but it is curious that the Dyns, the WB's, the Vandy's and the SF's all claim to use them.

And since only one has a stepped baffle (the Vandy), yet all of them produce a big sound, it seems that we can rule this out as a requirement for a big soundstage.
post #1530 of 2203
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mudslide View Post

...I don't think I've ever heard a pair of phones do what those SF's did. I have heard some phones that offer great separation of instruments/voices, but not the spatial expansiveness that I was trying to portray. Then again, I'm not sure I've heard a really top-drawer set of headphones.

Nor have I, but I have perceived a decent soundstage with a midrange pair. Not holographic, by any means... just thinking out loud, as in what happens when you remove the room, and speaker cabinet (though headphones could be argued to have tiny cabinets)
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