Originally Posted by domdomdom01
Maybe you might be able to answer this given that you own them -
How do these compare to traditional speakers, without taking cost into account?
I call them a very high efficiency theater speaker with an accurate frequency response with smooth directivity through the crossover point to have a smooth transisition between the drivers. This allows for a wide horizontal dispersion on/off axis so the 4 people listening on my large couch have no problems hearing everything in the movie.
I've been building audio systems for many years, started out in car audio as a way to hammer reality in me that dispersion is key in a bad acoustic environment. Went on with PA aystems and rapidly learned that I needed two types of speakers to have a fighting chance to get reasonable sound quality depending on the room. The larger the mains, the narrower dispersion worked best so the smooth floors didn't turn the show into an echo chamber.
The show starts in an hour, the floors are tile and you have two types of speakers and EQ...and measuring equipment--getter done!
I know the battle about "HT speakers" VS "music speakers" and it shouldn't matter etc. In reality, a home theater speaker has to meet the demands of a great PA speaker which is tougher to do than a music speaker. In PA design, you have to nail the spoken word--the public address part is critical. Humans are very sensitive to any oddities in the spoken word, our brains and experience teach us to really key in to what is being said and so on as a survival thing. You screw up that part, the entire crowd knows of your failure with no measurements required! Home theater is the same thing, movies are about speech for the most part so is priority #1
. After that, it moves to bass response and HT is much, much harder than music because you have to get deep bass response right. Fighting a 56 foot long 20Hz wave in a typical room is much harder than a 28 foot long 40Hz wave. This is very obvious when throwing a test tone in and walking around the room--the deeper you go the more problems you have with the room (unless your room is a barn sized monster)
The really tough thing about HT is the recording is done by certain specifications, you generally won't get contra bassoons, pipe organs or cannon fire in a music cut (unless you listen to classical) You generally won't see a 20 to 30dB dynamic range (unless you listen to classical) but that rarity in music is standard in movies! There are web sites that show you the dymanic range of musical recordings, they are generally around 13dB of dynamic range for pop recordings, some go down to only 6dB and others might hit over 17dB of dynamic range. Movies easily hit 25 to 28dB of dynamic range so count on the HT speakers to be stressed to 10dB higher than music speakers in real world use. Going by just power, you'll "need" 10 times the power for HT over music at the same AVERAGE sound level. No problem, just look at the specs for maximum SPL on consumer speakers--look at the chart and check for compression at maximum levels and go. Lots of luck finding that, very common in PA speakers to have those charts but in consumer audio you'd be lucky to get a +/- specification.
So, to replace my speakers I needed a limited vertical dispersion speaker that was very high efficiency so to not require a lot of power and easily driven by an AVR. My wife wants "on/off" simplicity and not a rack of amplifiers in the living room. I looked at everything from small PA monitors, studio monitors, consumer speakers to small professional theater speakers in my quest. The ever declining audio industry tends to ignore high efficiency, controlled dispersion speakers and I was greeted with an endless supply of "cones and domes" with shiny, piano black finishes (great at reflecting light in a dark room!) I looked at AMTs, they have a controlled dispersion and that has not changed in the 40 years since their invention. The consumer speakers could not handle the peak SPLs required for HT and ribbons still have peak SPL issues. Found the Beyma AMT on a waveguide that punches over 100dB of efficiency and can handle over 120dB peak SPL but at over $500 each and the size of them would not work for my living room. In the future with the introduction of Graphene, that should solve the issues with AMTs and ribbon durability--but that is in the future. For now, it was compression drivers and waveguides.
I know full well what horns do, I've owned three pairs of horn loaded speakers in my years and fully understood their limitations. Stumbled across the SEOS horn, read up on how it works, what problems it solves and the natural limits of the design. The kits at DIYSG use a 90x45 degree horn variant which fit my needs to a tee so I went for it. I was not completely ignorant of my purchase, I had charts, graphs, on/off axis response, polar charts and compression charts to give a very strong clue. The people that used them had to go through the hassle of building such things and builders have measuring gear, speak the correct technical language so very easy to understand their statements. As I said, if I didn't like them they could be used for large surrounds or...they would kick butt for block parties!
What I built was accurate, clear, clean and works very well for 4 people listening to movies, music, TV or video games--I've had no complaints. It is hard to compare them to conventional speakers because my line arrays in the garage are no way, shape or form conventional both in sound, dispersion or imaging (they always sound "big") After two years of use, I really liked them so went with an 88 Special center to get that huge 15" SEOS horn which would help with voices for my inlaws that have hearing aids etc. To get a perfect "match" I should upgrade to either more 88 Specials or Fusion 15's but the "little" Fusion 10's work very well with the larger 88 Special. My mother-in-law has no issues complaining about anything and always remarks how clear the voices are on her favorite TV shows. I'd call it a win.
If I had a fairly large room to play with, unlimited funds and no aesthetic constraints...would I use the F10/88 Special combo? No, I'd either get the Titan 630's (dual 15" version of the Titan 615) Danley Sound Labs SH-50's or JTR 212HTRs if you want to be honest about it. Things change once you get past 6 meter distances in typical rooms, I'd demand the same out of the system but tend to stick to reference with +3dB to +5dB "headroom" or 108 to 110dB peaks at the listening position. This is not to blow my hearing with compressed music, it is to preserve the dynamics in movies and classical music. I am bringing three subwoofers online in the next few months not for SPL reasons, there will be three to make up for my room acoustics issues. The extra bonus is I get to drive the existing subwoofers lower in power which lowers distortion naturally so another win. Three is about the max my wife will put up with and about the max I can stealth to hide the things as end tables.
My advice for anyone looking into purchasing speakers is to determine what the peak SPL requirements you have at your listening position. Since speakers can last 15 to 30 years, look forward and ponder will they give you the desired SPL in the future if your room becomes much larger? The amplifier or AVR power question is simple, if you can do your needs at 40 watts now, how much additional SPL will be required at twice the distance in the future? If you are building a system that needs X SPL at 3 meters, how much would you need at the same SPL at 8 meters (for instance) get the speakers that can do that X SPL at 8 meters at higher power levels than you need now. My system runs at a max of around 25 to 40 watts but I'm 3.3 meters away--I do have the option to strap some amplifiers to the AVR if/when required in case I end up in a basement--I can just add power without changing 7 to 9 speakers in the future. It will be easy to add amplifiers, add more subs and scale the system up to meet new requirements. I doubt that will ever be the case but life is funny sometimes. I did the buy new speakers every year or two thing, it was entertaining and educational and not too bad when dealing with a pair of speakers. Changing 7 to 9 of them would of driven me nuts back in the day so I avoid that scenario.
As always, your needs are different, your room is different, your tastes are different so take that into consideration. You are up in Canada so anything audio related is a pain to deal with and shipping is a world class disaster. You can IM Tuxedocivic, he is a big time DIY nut in Canada and he deals with your unique audio issues on a constant basis. Here is his Youtube account, check out how he operates to get an idea of what you are dealing with. The face behind some DIYSG designs (Fusion 10, 1099 etc.) Enjoy and good luck in your quest.