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post #61 of 76 Old 12-12-2018, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by l0nestar8 View Post
This is a good debate and I hope my tone isn't combative to anyone.

I do agree that the M105 is smoother far off-axis than the M106. The graphs make that obvious. The importance of that smoothness, I'm willing to say is up for debate. Although, I will personally side with Toole in thinking it's a minimal concern at best.
You've repeated that Toole thinks it's a minimal problem a few times but I'm not sure where you're getting that information, certainly not from what you quoted. Also, the chapter in his new book doesn't support your interpretation either, he uses other examples that are less extreme but he does say in most rooms the effect is going to be audible. Far off-axis also happens to be where the 1st reflections come from, which I don't think I've ever heard Toole say is insignificant. Again, I agree it might not be a big difference but I was pointing out there are compromises to get deeper bass output, just like going with a 5 inch woofer is going to be compromising the bass output.

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A better comparison would be the M105 against a competitor's 6.5 inch, don't you think? Maybe Revel botched the M106 since many other brands offer better off-axis dispersion at cheaper price points. I'm joking, of course, about the botched part. But you get the idea.

The Revels I'm sure sound amazing and they measure fantastic. But this really isn't a "Revel M105 vs M106 proves the theory" thread since that's rather myopic when better examples of 6.5 inch driver integration can be easily found.
I don't own Revel so I wasn't trying to make this a Revel thread but they do have the most comprehensive measurements of any company so it's the only way to make these kind of comparisons. Like the Focal 906, soundstage has measurements of it but not the 905 so I can't really compare them apples to apples.

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post #62 of 76 Old 12-12-2018, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by aarons915 View Post
You've repeated that Toole thinks it's a minimal problem a few times but I'm not sure where you're getting that information, certainly not from what you quoted. Also, the chapter in his new book doesn't support your interpretation either, he uses other examples that are less extreme but he does say in most rooms the effect is going to be audible. Far off-axis also happens to be where the 1st reflections come from, which I don't think I've ever heard Toole say is insignificant. Again, I agree it might not be a big difference but I was pointing out there are compromises to get deeper bass output, just like going with a 5 inch woofer is going to be compromising the bass output.
It's not just about bass at all (although that is indeed an advantage like you say.) The entire midrange produced by the woofer up to the crossover point will be affected by having less distortion and thus cleaner ("purer" if you will) sound. Here is his direct quote when discussing the directivity "flaw" of the Salon2 vs the "near-perfect" M2:

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Originally Posted by Floyd Toole View Post
As you correctly point out there are differences in directivity, as illustrated in Figure 10.15 in my book. The audible effect of this difference will depend on the reflectivity of the listening room and the listening distance. It also depends on whether one is listening in stereo or in native or upmixed multichannel- in the latter it matters less. In the end personal preference will decide.

The small off-axis dip around 2-3 kHz common to most cone & dome systems is indeed a flaw, but a very, very small one. If the dominant direct sound is intact, which it is, sound quality is not likely to be consequently altered. Figure 12.4 illustrates this point.
Emphasis mine. This refutes your above summation fairly thoroughly, I think.

The M2 uses a 15 inch "mid" woofer where the Salon2 uses a 4 inch one. Driver size is thus irrelevant while the overall design of the dominant direct sound and personal preference are more important, the way I read it. A 6 inch bookshelf can be just as smooth off-axis as any 5 inch monitor, if well-designed, is my point.

And remember: the 5-inch Revel M105 is smoother off-axis than the 4-inch Salon2! That shouldn't be possible according to your theory, right? Overall design matters, not woofer size. If both the Salon2 and the M105 were crossed at 80Hz to a sub and level-matched for volume, which would sound better? The M105 due to it's smoother power response or the larger Salon2?


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I don't own Revel so I wasn't trying to make this a Revel thread but they do have the most comprehensive measurements of any company so it's the only way to make these kind of comparisons. Like the Focal 906, soundstage has measurements of it but not the 905 so I can't really compare them apples to apples.
I agree and that's my point. There hasn't been an apples to apples comparison outside of Revel against itself. The M106 vs Focal 906 on Soundstage is as close as we can likely get with any precision. If Focal can make a 6 inch monitor at half the price with better off-axis dispersion (or at least the lack of a mushroom cloud), then I'm not sure that Revel is the best barometer to be using here.
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post #63 of 76 Old 12-12-2018, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by l0nestar8 View Post
It's not just about bass at all (although that is indeed an advantage like you say.) The entire midrange produced by the woofer up to the crossover point will be affected by less distortion and thus cleaner sound. Here is his direct quote when discussing the directivity "flaw" of the Salon2 vs the "near-perfect" M2:

Emphasis mine. This refutes your above summation fairly thoroughly, I think.
Distortion isn't a factor in almost any speaker under about 150Hz or lower in most cases, so that is a moot point. Also, his quote was about a dip between 2-3k, which he does say are less audible than abrupt peaks, like in the M106, even though I agree that might not be as bad as it looks. But he does have a whole section in the book that I previously mentioned that talks about directivity matching and it's audibility in room.

His quote "So it is a tradeoff. Sound output vs. timbral neutrality. Brand is not a factor in this - it is raw physics. Small two-way systems (preferably with a sub) are excellent choices if cinema sound levels are not demanded." pretty much makes his stance clear on the subject.


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Originally Posted by l0nestar8 View Post
The M2 uses a 15 inch "mid" woofer where the Salon2 uses a 4 inch one. Driver size is thus irrelevant while overall design and personal preference is more important, the way I read it. A 6 inch bookshelf can be just as smooth off-axis as any 5 inch monitor, if well-designed, is my point.
I agree the overall design is all that matters as long as the tweeter can be crossed over low enough as is the case with the compression driver.


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I agree and that's my point. There hasn't been an apples to apples comparison outside of Revel against itself. The M106 vs Focal 906 on Soundstage is as close as we can likely get with any precision. If Focal can make a 6 inch monitor at half the price with better off-axis dispersion (or at least the lack of a mushroom cloud) then I'm not sure that Revel is the best barometer to be using here.
Comparing the Revel to the Focal wouldn't really make any sense considering the thread is comparing 5.25 vs 6.5" woofers though..part of why I didn't want to compare different brands is because it brings out the fanboys of particular brands. Comparing Revels different models reduces many variables since the design intent is the same, all we're comparing is the tradeoffs of each driver size.
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post #64 of 76 Old 12-12-2018, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by l0nestar8 View Post
It's not just about bass at all (although that is indeed an advantage like you say.) The entire midrange produced by the woofer up to the crossover point will be affected by having less distortion and thus cleaner ("purer" if you will) sound. Here is his direct quote when discussing the directivity "flaw" of the Salon2 vs the "near-perfect" M2:



Emphasis mine. This refutes your above summation fairly thoroughly, I think.

The M2 uses a 15 inch "mid" woofer where the Salon2 uses a 4 inch one. Driver size is thus irrelevant while the overall design of the dominant direct sound and personal preference are more important, the way I read it. A 6 inch bookshelf can be just as smooth off-axis as any 5 inch monitor, if well-designed, is my point.

And remember: the 5-inch Revel M105 is smoother off-axis than the 4-inch Salon2! That shouldn't be possible according to your theory, right? Overall design matters, not woofer size. If both the Salon2 and the M105 were crossed at 80Hz to a sub and level-matched for volume, which would sound better? The M105 due to it's smoother power response or the larger Salon2?




I agree and that's my point. There hasn't been an apples to apples comparison outside of Revel against itself. The M106 vs Focal 906 on Soundstage is as close as we can likely get with any precision. If Focal can make a 6 inch monitor at half the price with better off-axis dispersion (or at least the lack of a mushroom cloud), then I'm not sure that Revel is the best barometer to be using here.
Didn't the M2 lose to the Salon 2 in the listening test competition? And also as I recall, Revel's own studies concluded a fully room corrected speaker sounds better than one with no room correction, even though Toole claims EQing anything above 200 Hz would sound worse than uncorrected.
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post #65 of 76 Old 12-12-2018, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by aarons915 View Post
Distortion isn't a factor in almost any speaker under about 150Hz or lower in most cases, so that is a moot point. Also, his quote was about a dip between 2-3k, which he does say are less audible than abrupt peaks, like in the M106, even though I agree that might not be as bad as it looks. But he does have a whole section in the book that I previously mentioned that talks about directivity matching and it's audibility in room.
I don't agree that's it's completely moot but I do agree that it's more important in the bass regions. I have the book (2nd edition) so I know the section you are talking about. I'm not claiming that it's inaudible. I'm claiming "very, very small" differences are inaudible such as those between expertly-designed 5 and 6 inch woofers.

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His quote "So it is a tradeoff. Sound output vs. timbral neutrality. Brand is not a factor in this - it is raw physics. Small two-way systems (preferably with a sub) are excellent choices if cinema sound levels are not demanded." pretty much makes his stance clear on the subject.
I would put both 5 and 6 inch monitors in the "small two-way systems" category as compared to full-range towers which is what I think the quote is referencing. Not the difference between 5 and 6 inches. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Besides, by that logic, a 4 inch monitor would be superior in midrange timbre to 5 inchers because of the "better" directivity matching around the crossover and midrange distortion being "moot."


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I agree the overall design is all that matters as long as the tweeter can be crossed over low enough as is the case with the compression driver.
...And any other well-regarded tweeter to a 5 or 6 inch woofer, of course.


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Comparing the Revel to the Focal wouldn't really make any sense considering the thread is comparing 5.25 vs 6.5" woofers though..part of why I didn't want to compare different brands is because it brings out the fanboys of particular brands. Comparing Revels different models reduces many variables since the design intent is the same, all we're comparing is the tradeoffs of each driver size.
The only reason I mentioned it is because the Focal shows better off-axis performance than the M106. So your comparison of the M105 to the M106 isn't a good one since we know there are better examples of 6 inch monitors out there. I'm sure there are others as well besides Focal that are excellent, but that's just an example. And for the record, all the Revels we've been discussing are excellent and better than most.

But yes, ideally comparing the 906 to the M105 under similar conditions would be nice to see since the M105 is obviously a benchmark example of a 5 inch.

Regardless, my main point again is that differences would be very, very small compared to the dominant direct sound as mentioned by Toole (no need to post the quote again, I hope.)

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post #66 of 76 Old 12-12-2018, 08:59 PM
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Didn't the M2 lose to the Salon 2 in the listening test competition? And also as I recall, Revel's own studies concluded a fully room corrected speaker sounds better than one with no room correction, even though Toole claims EQing anything above 200 Hz would sound worse than uncorrected.
Yes it did and that's a great reminder, which furthers my point. Small differences in off-axis behavior is of relatively minor consequence, assuming an overall competent design.

The broader (if more uneven) dispersion of the Salon2s was usually preferred despite the "bumpy" power response.

I don't feel the need to keep showing proof of Toole himself explaining why off-axis "smoothness" isn't of primary concern and why even he himself prefers the "less accurate" Salon2's. He also prefers the looks which suggests even he is subject to the almighty WAF, apparently lol.

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post #67 of 76 Old 12-12-2018, 09:15 PM
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I don't agree that's it's completely moot but I do agree that it's more important in the bass regions. I have the book (2nd edition) so I know the section you are talking about. I'm not claiming that it's inaudible. I'm claiming "very, very small" differences are inaudible such as those between a 5 and 6 inch woofer.

I would put both 5 and 6 inch monitors in the "small two-way systems" category as compared to full-range towers which is what I think the quote is referencing. Not the difference between 5 and 6 inches. Please correct me if I'm wrong.


...And any other well-regarded tweeter to a 5 or 6 inch woofer, of course.


The only reason I mentioned it is because the Focal shows better off-axis performance than the M106. So your comarison of the M105 to the M106 isn't a good since we know there are better examples of 6 inch monitors out there. I'm sure there are others too besides Focal, but that's just an example. But yes, ideally comparing the 906 to the M105 under similar conditions would be nice to see.

Regardless, my main point again is that differences would be very, very small compared to the dominant direct sound as mentioned by Toole (no need to post the quote again, I hope.)
I'm mostly in agreement with you and yes 5 and 6 inch woofers are considered small compared to the bigger towers but there are still differences in directivity as is evidenced by the measurements. So people can choose a slightly more timbrally neutral speaker or have slightly more output.

The reason the M106 to the Focal 906 isn't a good comparison is because almost nothing is similar in each design, in the M105 vs M106 you're comparing the identical tweeters matching with the different cone size and we just so happen to have measurements of each from the same company. It compares real world trade-offs between a 5 and 6 inch driver which is what we're after.

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post #68 of 76 Old 12-12-2018, 09:34 PM
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I'm mostly in agreement with you and yes 5 and 6 inch woofers are considered small compared to the bigger towers but there are still differences in directivity as is evidenced by the measurements. So people can choose a slightly more timbrally neutral speaker or have slightly more output.
I just don't agree that a 5 inch woofer is more timbrally neutral than a 6 inch woofer, all things being equal.

Something like the Wavecrest HVL-1 or HTM-200SE vs the Ascend CBM-170SE (same designer and goals for all) spring to mind or the very neutral Phil AA's vs the smaller "matching center." Likewise the Mini-Phil vs. the New Phil and the Sierra-2 vs. Sierra Luna. You would be hard-pressed to find more universally recognized "neutral" speakers on this forum or elsewhere than the New Phils, AA's and CBM-170's. IOW, I don't think many would call the Wavecrest, HTM-200SE's, AA center, Sierra Lunas or Mini-Phils "more timbrally neutral" than their larger brethren

Counter examples also abound and that shows that size is not the grand arbiter of timbral neutrality.

I usually find 5 inchers on the light and lean side of things and lacking dynamics compared to their larger stablemates, even when crossed to a sub. Again, that's purely subjective on my part and is a 100% personal preference. I would never claim universality on that opinion.

So we may be at a crossroads here, and that's totally fine. But, I am enjoying the discussion so I genuinely appreciate the arguments you've presented here.

Also, if I may, I greatly enjoy your reviews and I think you offer good advice, in general. 5 inchers have benefits of size and cost I won't deny, but I will disagree that they mate better with a typical dome tweeter than anything larger.

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The reason the M106 to the Focal 906 isn't a good comparison is because almost nothing is similar in each design, in the M105 vs M106 you're comparing the identical tweeters matching with the different cone size and we just so happen to have measurements of each from the same company. It compares real world trade-offs between a 5 and 6 inch driver which is what we're after.
I understand the attraction to making an M105 vs M106 comparison be definitive or even representative but I think that's faulty thinking.

Ideally we would want the best example of a 5 incher and the best example of a 6 incher. I think the M105 would be a great candidate, but I think the M106 would be a poor one. We don't know how much time was spent perfecting the M106 crossover, cabinet, woofer, waveguide, etc.

They obviously worked very hard on the M105, but for all we know, the M106 was just "putting a bigger woofer in a bigger yet similar box." The other speakers in the Performa line use a 5 inch midrange, so reason dictates that the tweeter waveguide, cabinet geometry, and crossover topologies were all optimized for that particular woofer.

What if Revel had decided to optimize the 6 inch woofer for use as a midrange across the line instead? I'm sure they went with a 5 inch because in a three-way it makes more sense when using 6 and 8 inch woofers. But why not a 4 inch? Would it not be even better like in the Salon2 especially since, as you claim, distortion in the mids is moot?

That's my thinking, anyhow...I'd want the best examples of both designs, ideally.
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post #69 of 76 Old 12-12-2018, 09:34 PM
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Here's an extreme example of what can happen if the tweeter to midrange isn't integrated well. This is from a B&W 704S2 from soundstage. This is actually a 3 way with a 5 inch midrange but it must be crossed over too high, but it is apparently what some people like.

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post #70 of 76 Old 12-12-2018, 09:39 PM
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Here's an extreme example of what can happen if the tweeter to midrange isn't integrated well. This is from a B&W 704S2 from soundstage. This is actually a 3 way with a 5 inch midrange but it must be crossed over too high, but it is apparently what some people like.
LOL. I am in FULL agreement with you on this one. I don't want to bash any speakers in particular, but that's not what I'd like to see in my own speakers even though many people love speakers that are laid-back to the extreme.

It's like I said earlier, ultimately, there's no accounting for taste.

But anyway, I appreciate you posting an example of a 5 inch (three-way!) that isn't smooth off-axis. Design trumps all in the end.
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post #71 of 76 Old 12-12-2018, 09:43 PM
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Didn't the M2 lose to the Salon 2 in the listening test competition?
Must of been because its a 2-way with a 15 in. woofer.

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post #72 of 76 Old 12-12-2018, 11:19 PM
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LOL. I am in FULL agreement with you on this one. I don't want to bash any speakers in particular, but that's not what I'd like to see in my own speakers even though many people love speakers that are laid-back to the extreme.

It's like I said earlier, ultimately, there's no accounting for taste.

But anyway, I appreciate you posting an example of a 5 inch (three-way!) that isn't smooth off-axis. Design trumps all in the end.
Isn't that an intentional down padding of output at the crossover frequency by B&W? I'm pretty sure that's what they call the "BBC" dip, it's a sound signature of some British speakers.

This discussion has been about how the off-axis response varies from the on-axis due to driver size. In that case of the B&W's this appears to be simply intentional sound signature engineering since the on-axis response shows the same dropoff, so it's not a directivity issue.

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Isn't that an intentional down padding of output at the crossover frequency by B&W? I'm pretty sure that's what they call the "BBC" dip, it's a sound signature of some British speakers.

This discussion has been about how the off-axis response varies from the on-axis due to driver size. In that case of the B&W's this appears to be simply intentional sound signature engineering since the on-axis response shows the same dropoff, so it's not a directivity issue.
Ahh, you are indeed correct on all counts. I didn't realize that this wasn't the off-axis graph. I just assumed it was, given the topic, so apologies.

So yeah, an intentional on-axis "house sound" for sure. Not really relevant to the discussion...

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Originally Posted by Jakeshields View Post
Isn't that an intentional down padding of output at the crossover frequency by B&W? I'm pretty sure that's what they call the "BBC" dip, it's a sound signature of some British speakers.

This discussion has been about how the off-axis response varies from the on-axis due to driver size. In that case of the B&W's this appears to be simply intentional sound signature engineering since the on-axis response shows the same dropoff, so it's not a directivity issue.
It is a design decision by B&W but it's the same end result and is definitely due to the driver dropping off in SPL early. They used a 5" midrange and crossed it over at 4k to achieve the dip which is probably cheaper than a lower crossover and more crossover components to achieve the dip.
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post #75 of 76 Old 12-13-2018, 10:10 AM
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The reason the M106 to the Focal 906 isn't a good comparison is because almost nothing is similar in each design, in the M105 vs M106 you're comparing the identical tweeters matching with the different cone size and we just so happen to have measurements of each from the same company. It compares real world trade-offs between a 5 and 6 inch driver which is what we're after.
This is actually an argument in favor of comparing the Focal 906 to the M105. Speakers must be designed as an entire system. Directivity at the crossover is controlled by the size of the woofer and crossover frequency. If the M106 tweeter isn't able to go as low to better integrate with a 6 inch woofer as the Foal 906, then it's a poorer design using a 6" driver. Both speakers also appear to be using shallow waveguides. This will affect directivity of the tweeter. For a flush mounted tweeter, a 5" is easier to integrate at the crossover. Some form of waveguide is used on many speakers today because the work of the work of Toole and Geddes demonstrating their benefits. This really allows you to get a good match to whatever size midrange you choose. I am confident many examples can be brought up where the 5" bookshelf is better than the 6" bookshelf or vice versa depending on the other design characteristics of the speakers. Most likely with these lines one is designed first with the other designed around internal volume changes based on VAS changes and minor crossover tweaks.
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post #76 of 76 Old 12-13-2018, 12:11 PM
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This is actually an argument in favor of comparing the Focal 906 to the M105. Speakers must be designed as an entire system. Directivity at the crossover is controlled by the size of the woofer and crossover frequency. If the M106 tweeter isn't able to go as low to better integrate with a 6 inch woofer as the Foal 906, then it's a poorer design using a 6" driver.
I agree but this is a common choice when choosing between bookshelf speakers, most manufacturers have a 5 and a 6" version with the same tweeter. Maybe there are better examples (with available measurements) of integrating a 6.5" woofer with a tweeter but the M106 certainly isn't bad, it would most likely wipe the floor with the Focal 906 in a double blind test. I've heard the 906 and measurements back up the fact that the highs are a bit laid back compared to the mids. Like Lonestar said, that little blip in the power response of the M106 isn't a deal breaker, I was simply saying it is there and it's not ideal compared to the 5" driver. Maybe they are just designed with the 5" midrange in mind like he said but I think a larger woofer makes it harder to get the midrange right but definitely not impossible.

Oh and I forgot to mention, another poster brought up the fact that the new M126be is able to be crossed over lower at 1700Hz but it's still not as smooth in the power response as the M105, there aren't a whole lot of tweeters that can be crossed over much lower than that until you get into compression drivers.
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