How to Choose a Loudspeaker -- What the Science Shows - Page 123 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #3661 of 5318 Old 07-12-2019, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by QueueCumber View Post
Since so many sound engineers are in this thread, what’s the deal with so many stereo mixes having vocals off center to the right and occasionally to the left? I check my setup with mono recordings like Beach Boy’s Pet Sounds just to make sure I’m not going crazy, deaf in one ear, or having speaker issues. So many album tracks have vocals off center. And, why is it usually off to the right more than the left?! LOL

Not often, but there are times when the vocals weren't center and weren't supposed to be. No requirement that it has to be. Do your speakers track consistently from side to side up and down the frequency range?

Some folks think that if we're talking about 'phantom' imaging, we're talking about an object(s) in the center. That's not remotely true, Same is true with individual instruments, as Rex says, although the vocals are center in this Jen Chapin Revisions I've mentioned several times and posted the youtube vid. The sax is way outside the boundary of the left speaker. Same with that one-mic Feenbrothers we've discussed before where there isn't anything direct center.

419 views at the time I post

1254 views. One stereo mic
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post #3662 of 5318 Old 07-12-2019, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Scotth3886 View Post
Question: There's a sale on and I'm a glutton for good deals. The JBL Studio 580 is on sale for $329ea., which is over 50% off. Other than the 308s that I had for weekend and took them back, I don't recall having a JBL in any of my houses for 45+ years. ...
So I have a thought about JBL just based on Harman's brands and product lines.

Revel is Harman's top brand for home reproduction. So presumably whatever they're doing is what Harman thinks is optimal. Again, for home reproduction.

If you squint, Infinity's Reference line of speakers look a lot like Revels. Same driver cone/dome material, the tweeter waveguides and acoustic lenses look the same, the port tube design looks the same (patented Revel design), the Infinity cabinet shapes are approximations of Revel cabinets.

Meanwhile JBL is off in left field with home reproduction, different driver materials, different high-frequency reproduction altogether, all their stuff looks super different from Revel/Infinity.

So if you don't want to spend the money for Revels, isn't the obvious choice Infinity? Are the JBLs supposed to be different or better than the Infinitys in some way? And if they're better, why don't Revels look like JBLs?
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post #3663 of 5318 Old 07-12-2019, 12:12 PM
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First off, a big thank you, your help and wisdom here is very much appreciated by all I am sure.

I am a home theater hobbyist with a 7.1.4 system, soon to be 7.2.4. when I finish building a second sub.

I have 7 towers all the same brand for the bed layer. This was not planned, it just worked that way as I upgraded front speakers and delegated old fronts to surround duty.

I see a lot of back and forth commentary on different threads about how towers are a waste as surrounds, especially when running good subs as I am.

I have no intention of replacing any of the towers with bookshelf type speakers because to me, the system sounds amazing. Even for 2 channel music up-mixed to surround with background vocals and instruments from the surrounds, most music seems to process very well.

1)- Do you have any preferences on towers vs bookshelf for surrounds with capable subs ?

The front towers have dual 8" drivers and produce a very smooth mid-bass so I have a high pass of 60hz on the front LR only with 80hz on surrounds and 100hz for atmos.


2)- Also, has there ever been experiments that you know of for a floor layer of movie sound ?


I apologize if this is in your book already as I am only into the first chapter.

Thank you.
Towers are fine. They don't need stands and when bass managed (high-pass filtered) are able to play louder. Bookshelf speakers are also fine, but they must go solidly down to at least 80 Hz, which separates the men from the boys. I am using Revel Gem2s for surrounds: "large bookshelf" wall mounted three ways.

Timbral similarity among fronts and surrounds is a huge asset in achieving persuasive envelopment. It hardly matters for panned sound effects.

Floor layer? I know of no experiments along these lines. Dolby mixes it's Atmos with surround speakers close to the ceiling - much higher than we listen in home theaters - even by their own recommendations, so they are not delivering to homes what people hear in dubbing stages and cinemas. Auro 3D and DTS-X use ear level speakers in the production process.

Enjoy the book.
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post #3664 of 5318 Old 07-12-2019, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Floyd Toole View Post
...
Phantom imaging falls apart between pairs of loudspeakers in most other locations, e.g. front-to-back, up and down, because our ears are in the wrong locations. Besides, and this is key for cinemas and home theaters, it only can be correct for one listening location. Sounds arriving from pairs or multiples of these even-less-optimally located loudspeakers create timbre disrupting acoustical interference. ...
I take your point about how it can only be correct for one listening position... but just to confirm, if an Atmos setup is correctly calibrated, it should be possible to get it to sound correct for that one position, no?

It seems like it should be possible, with the correct delays for each speaker, for the sound to be coherent and correct at the listener position. Or maybe that's only if you don't take reflections into account.
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post #3665 of 5318 Old 07-12-2019, 12:23 PM
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I take your point about how it can only be correct for one listening position... but just to confirm, if an Atmos setup is correctly calibrated, it should be possible to get it to sound correct for that one position, no?

It seems like it should be possible, with the correct delays for each speaker, for the sound to be coherent and correct at the listener position. Or maybe that's only if you don't take reflections into account.
What is "correct"? If the soundtrack was mixed using, say, 30 or 60 channels and played back using - pick a number - it seems unlikely that the experience will be the same. But does it matter? We weren't there, and as I said in my last post, Dolby dubbing is done with surrounds much higher on the walls than we have at home.
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post #3666 of 5318 Old 07-12-2019, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Floyd Toole View Post
What is "correct"? If the soundtrack was mixed using, say, 30 or 60 channels and played back using - pick a number - it seems unlikely that the experience will be the same. But does it matter? We weren't there, and as I said in my last post, Dolby dubbing is done with surrounds much higher on the walls than we have at home.
I guess by correct, I mean you should be able to pan a voice all around without hearing a bunch of artifacts. I'm thinking about your story re: the Atmos demo you were invited to.
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post #3667 of 5318 Old 07-12-2019, 12:28 PM
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Question: There's a sale on and I'm a glutton for good deals. The JBL Studio 580 is on sale for $329ea., which is over 50% off. Other than the 308s that I had for weekend and took them back, I don't recall having a JBL in any of my houses for 45+ years.

However, I like having multiple systems, and do not want the same thing in all of my systems or really even the same sound. Not a surprise to anyone here, but other than the surprisingly decent revised L100s, I don't at all like JBL products.

Even last night at the hotel parties, cruise-in, get together for Good Guys weekend, they had a band, really a solo guitar player, playing rock and roll/metal type stuff and he was using JBL PA speakers. My grandson bitched the entire time and I tried to stay as far away from those things as I could. This was at the Doubletree on Busch Blvd last night. So we left and went up to the Polaris Hilton and they had a DJ with the same so same reaction. They were again terrible.

I don't mind trying a brand here at home that I haven't owned for 46 + years (L100s, L45s and L300s), but is that what I'd be in for? I never get around to returning or sending anything back or selling anything so if I do this, they're here to stay.

So here I am asking a Harman fanboi thread: what's your 'unbiased' opinion on the Studio 580s?

Don't know anything about the 580s, but a few posts back you said you already had 9 pairs of speakers and that was enough. Because I'm such a good guy, I'm selflessly offering some space at my place for a pair of your existing speakers, to make room for your new JBLs. Your choice. All you have to do is box them up and pay shipping. I know, what a guy right? :-)


Don't immediately blame the JBL pa speakers for the poor sound at the hotel. Don't forget that there's a human involved who's responsible for what's blaring out of them. Often, the equipment is more up to the task than the person operating it. That said, JBL has made some lower end pa speakers that can be less than pleasant to listen to.
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post #3668 of 5318 Old 07-12-2019, 12:33 PM
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Don't know anything about the 580s, but a few posts back you said you already had 9 pairs of speakers and that was enough. Because I'm such a good guy, I'm selflessly offering some space at my place for a pair of your existing speakers, to make room for your new JBLs. Your choice. All you have to do is box them up and pay shipping. I know, what a guy right? :-)


Don't immediately blame the JBL pa speakers for the poor sound at the hotel. Don't forget that there's a human involved who's responsible for what's blaring out of them. Often, the equipment is more up to the task than the person operating it. That said, JBL has made some lower end pa speakers that can be less than pleasant to listen to.
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-sp...l#post58288674
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post #3669 of 5318 Old 07-12-2019, 12:41 PM
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I guess by correct, I mean you should be able to pan a voice all around without hearing a bunch of artifacts. I'm thinking about your story re: the Atmos demo you were invited to.
We may never know, as it depends on how the mix was done and how it gets downmixed to fewer channels. All that can be said is that when the same sound emerges from multiple locations the situation is ripe for colorations. Fortunately, in real movie situations other distracting/masking things are likely to be happening at the same time. It would not be like the demo I mentioned, a solo voice slowly panned with nothing else happening.
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post #3670 of 5318 Old 07-12-2019, 12:52 PM
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It seems like it should be possible, with the correct delays for each speaker, for the sound to be coherent and correct at the listener position. Or maybe that's only if you don't take reflections into account.
In theory yes, but I think in practice you're unlikely to get as good sound quality from two speakers phantom imaging to a location than you will having a single speaker playing the sound from that location--especially when considering imaging between a ceiling speaker and a front speaker for example, which simply won't pull it off as well as your left and right can for a center location.


So the variables aren't just the room and speaker setup, but how the music was recorded and mixed and how well those things match your speaker setup. For example, the 2L Nordic immersive recordings are 1:1 mic to speaker for Auro--what goes into one mic on the array comes out of one speaker in your setup. For Atmos mixes they take those overhead channels and put them in as objects. How much imaging goes on by Atmos will depend on where they put those objects and how that compares to your speaker setup.



I haven't done enough testing with various setups to verify, but I would assume if they put the objects at the height speaker locations and you're using height speakers for Atmos, they shouldn't sound much different at all. If you're using ceiling speakers Atmos might try and image them with the base layer speakers or visa versa. They could place the objects closer to ceiling speaker locations to avoid that but I haven't tested enough to see what they're actually doing.


I agree with Floyd that for music, sound directly above you probably isn't that useful. Of all the mic arrays I've seen pictures of in the making of these recordings, I don't think I've ever seen one with a mic pointed straight up (no VOG channel). Given that, you'd think they would err toward putting those objects closer to the height locations as that would more accurately reflect how it was recorded.
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post #3671 of 5318 Old 07-12-2019, 01:02 PM
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I responded to your earlier post before reading Rex's.



In the thirty years that I've been mixing sound (both in the studio and live) I've learned many things. The one thing that never changes is that you can't EVER please everyone. I frequently have people walking up to me during shows with compliments, complaints, drunken opinions, insults, requests for my business card, comments about what a great job I'm doing on the lights, etc.... The reality is that you're not likely to get world class sound in small local venues. Generally, the club doesn't have the money or interest in spending the money to provide excellent sound. They're more concerned with selling food and drinks. Granted, good live entertainment can attract more customers, but there's a reason the band is local and will likely remain local.



If the band is providing their own PA and operator, I can promise you lack of money and time are contributing to what comes our of the PA. If i walked into a pub and asked them to shut it down for an hour while I took measurements and tuned the system, I'd be looking for a new venue to work in. Fortunately for me, I don't have to work in places like that very often anymore, but I've spent a big chunk of my life (both as a musician and an audio provider) in such places.



I too have been to concerts by big time artists and have walked away scratching my head at some of the audio decisions that were made. Clair Brothers is about an hour down the road from me. It's the largest (by far) touring audio provider on the planet. I've heard what their stuff is capable of, and it's jaw droppingly good. I've also heard mix engineers manage to create some of the most unpleasant sound you can imagine, using the exact same equipment. More often than not, in this age of technology, it's the operator, not the equipment. That said, good live sound isn't easy.



Tomorrow at 6 am, I'll (with a crew of three others) be setting up for an annual bluegrass festival that I provide audio for. Big time bluegrass artists on stage and 4000 people in attendance. Without questions one of the most challenging shows I do. A stage full of acoustic instruments, with lot's of sensitive studio type condenser mics, a noisy environment and 5 hours to set up the main PA, the fill speakers, the delay speakers, the house mix position, the monitor mix position and a multi track recording rig. It's an 18 hour day by the time the truck is emptied at the end of the night. Oh yeah, it'll be 90 degrees and humid here tomorrow. As difficult as it is to get this show right, I look forward to it every year, because it requires every bit of knowledge and skill that I've acquired over my career to pull it off well. Sunday will be a day of rest. :-)
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post #3672 of 5318 Old 07-12-2019, 01:35 PM
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I responded to your earlier post before reading Rex's.



In the thirty years that I've been mixing sound (both in the studio and live) I've learned many things. The one thing that never changes is that you can't EVER please everyone. I frequently have people walking up to me during shows with compliments, complaints, drunken opinions, insults, requests for my business card, comments about what a great job I'm doing on the lights, etc.... The reality is that you're not likely to get world class sound in small local venues. Generally, the club doesn't have the money or interest in spending the money to provide excellent sound. They're more concerned with selling food and drinks. Granted, good live entertainment can attract more customers, but there's a reason the band is local and will likely remain local.



If the band is providing their own PA and operator, I can promise you lack of money and time are contributing to what comes our of the PA. If i walked into a pub and asked them to shut it down for an hour while I took measurements and tuned the system, I'd be looking for a new venue to work in. Fortunately for me, I don't have to work in places like that very often anymore, but I've spent a big chunk of my life (both as a musician and an audio provider) in such places.



I too have been to concerts by big time artists and have walked away scratching my head at some of the audio decisions that were made. Clair Brothers is about an hour down the road from me. It's the largest (by far) touring audio provider on the planet. I've heard what their stuff is capable of, and it's jaw droppingly good. I've also heard mix engineers manage to create some of the most unpleasant sound you can imagine, using the exact same equipment. More often than not, in this age of technology, it's the operator, not the equipment. That said, good live sound isn't easy.



Tomorrow at 6 am, I'll (with a crew of three others) be setting up for an annual bluegrass festival that I provide audio for. Big time bluegrass artists on stage and 4000 people in attendance. Without questions one of the most challenging shows I do. A stage full of acoustic instruments, with lot's of sensitive studio type condenser mics, a noisy environment and 5 hours to set up the main PA, the fill speakers, the delay speakers, the house mix position, the monitor mix position and a multi track recording rig. It's an 18 hour day by the time the truck is emptied at the end of the night. Oh yeah, it'll be 90 degrees and humid here tomorrow. As difficult as it is to get this show right, I look forward to it every year, because it requires every bit of knowledge and skill that I've acquired over my career to pull it off well. Sunday will be a day of rest. :-)
Oh yes !!!!!!! I'm a certified hillbilly so its in my DNA. I even kept my hillbilly certification up all the years I was in SoCal. I like bluegrass as well as I do big band
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post #3673 of 5318 Old 07-12-2019, 01:43 PM
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I guess I'm not very good at asking questions or explaining what I'm asking. Let me try again.

When the Preference Testing was done in the early 80's at the NRCC, there were *only* 2-channel systems, and the 2-channel sources, (and yes Sanjay, I aware that 3-channel "stereo" did exist, but it wasn't mainstream and it wasn't tested in the Preference Testing. ) Fast forward 30 years and we now have speakers being used in many different locations with many different signals being sent to them. Would there be any benefit to redoing the Preference testing to see if "specialty" speakers could be more beneficial in a multi-channel immersive system?

For example, take the front 3 speakers. In the past, it has been universally recommended to use 3 identical, vertical speakers, all mounted at the same height, (ear height.) Is it possible that it could be better to have a wide dispersion speaker for the CC to provide wider coverage to more seats*, but have narrower dispersion speakers for the L/R's. Wide dispersion L/R's provide "spaciousness" due to the early reflections off the side walls. But with multi-channel immersive sound, spaciousness can be added by the additional surround and height speakers. It doesn't need to come from the L/R's. In fact, it might even be detrimental to the overall immersiveness and discrete localization to have wide dispersion L/R's and the concomitant reflections. (This is complete speculation on my part and I have no idea if this holds water. But there is a chance that it does, and we would never know without testing.)

Dr. Toole stated that it is difficult to get high directionality to low frequencies because the cabinets need to be large. What if the low frequencies were removed from those channels so the boxes could be made smaller? How necessary is it to have deep LF extension from the surrounds and heights? What if they were cut off at the Schroeder Frequency to remove the timbrel coloration added by the modal response and room reflections? Then what dispersion characteristics would be needed to provide discreet sound imaging AND spaciousness? If one has a distributed subwoofer system, how high in frequency can the subwoofers go before localization becomes a problem. ( I currently have my surrounds crossed over to my subs at 150 and I get no subwoofer localization whatsoever. In fact another forum member who's heard my system stated that he could sit on top of one of my subs and still not hear any localization of it.) So how high in frequency can this work. Would it be high enough that the low frequencies could be eliminated from the surround and height channels?

Should height speakers be aimed at the listening area, or is it satisfactory to use round in-ceiling speakers that aim straight down as long as they have broad dispersion. Such a speaker would be shooting sound into parts of the room that no one is listening from. For example a round ceiling speaker facing straight down with wide dispersion would shoot 3/4 of it's sound sound to the front and sides of the room where no one is seated, and where it can be reflected in multiple directions. Is that a good thing? Or would it be better to use a speaker aimed at the listening area, something like:



If something like that were deemed to be better, what would the preferred dispersion characteristics be? And would those characteristics change depending on how many rows of seats one had and how wide the listening area was?

Bottom line, do the general characteristics of "good" sound described by the Spinorama still apply to all the different speakers locations and uses that modern speakers are expected to accommodate, or would it be better to design speakers that are specialized to perform specific tasks?

*The specialized CC I'm referring to is not the common MTM or W(TM)W horizontally deployed CC speaker. I mean a vertically aligned, wide dispersion speaker, specifically designed to provide coverage to a wide seating area with NO off-axis lobing common to horizontally deployed speakers. They should also be designed to be used with subwoofers, as should every specialized speaker in the system.

I'm just thinking out loud here, and I would welcome @Floyd Toole 's thoughts as well as any other interested members.

Craig

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post #3674 of 5318 Old 07-12-2019, 01:45 PM
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Oh yes !!!!!!! I'm a certified hillbilly so its in my DNA. I even kept my hillbilly certification up all the years I was in SoCal. I like bluegrass as well as I do big band

I was never a consumer of bluegrass music, but as a musician, I have an appreciation for any genre of music when it's performed well. One thing I do know about tomorrow's show, is that the performances will be fantastic. When I was first hired to work with the promoter that puts on the festival, I immediately started listening to bluegrass artists to school myself on how it is put together from a mix standpoint. Some of it is wonderfully recorded and the new young guns of the genre are stretching the boundaries musically, which makes it more interesting to me personally. Check out Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen or Mile 12 for some examples. I've worked with both groups numerous times. Additionally, I see that you posted a Jen Chapin tune earlier. in the thread. I mixed a one off with her some years ago. What a joy she and her band were to work with.
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post #3675 of 5318 Old 07-12-2019, 01:55 PM
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Have to say, surround sound (and even just frontal sound) in theaters is pretty poor, even in the best theaters I’ve been to lately. I don’t find myself believing the sound is real or immersive. Sad to say, even the front spread of speakers tend to sound distorted for everything but voice. I was at an IMAX of the new Spider-Man a few days ago, and while I loved the movie, the sound quality was poor enough to draw attention to itself.
Omg, I complain to the wife about that every time we go to the movies.

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Wide dispersion L/R's provide "spaciousness" due to the early reflections off the side walls. But with multi-channel immersive sound, spaciousness can be added by the additional surround and height speakers. It doesn't need to come from the L/R's. In fact, it might even be detrimental to the overall immersiveness and discrete localization to have wide dispersion L/R's and the concomitant reflections. (This is complete speculation on my part and I have no idea if this holds water. But there is a chance that it does, and we would never know without testing.)
No, you're on exactly the right track. I don't think there's any question the ideal 2 channel room/speaker combo isn't the direction you'd go if trying to build the ideal multi-channel setup. As Floyd said you want the multichannel room to be much more "dead." The same room will be poor for 2 channel as you've deleted your surround processor (the room). And speakers as well--I have no doubt a set of dipoles in the middle of a room can provide a very pleasing 2 channel experience. But I think even the most diehard fans would acknowledge if you surround your chair with a circle of 7 of them and try to play multichannel through the setup it's going to sound like a big hot mess.


There actually is much discussion/info on these subjects if you know where to look. In addition to Floyd's book/papers you can learn a ton from interviews from guys like Dennis Erskine, Paul Hales, etc. I could dig some up if you like. Regarding bass management I find Paul's "local bass management" ideas different and quite fascinating, but you need a Trinnov-level processor to pull it off so it's difficult for the average guy to even experiment with. Regarding speaker design, you can also look at the types of speakers the pros use for this application (JBL Synthesis, Paul Hales' own home speaker line, etc) and work backward from there, inferring the attributes they have found work best.
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Even last night at the hotel parties, cruise-in, get together for Good Guys weekend, they had a band, really a solo guitar player, playing rock and roll/metal type stuff and he was using JBL PA speakers. My grandson bitched the entire time and I tried to stay as far away from those things as I could. This was at the Doubletree on Busch Blvd last night. So we left and went up to the Polaris Hilton and they had a DJ with the same so same reaction. They were again terrible.
At work, we were talking about the Good Guys Car Show being here today. We were wondering If the cars would be hanging out on 161 and Busch. Once my company left the 6480 & 6600 Busch buildings, all the businesses in that area started closing on 2017. The only time I'm over there is when the Advance Auto Parts in Westerville forces me to get parts at the 161 & Busch store. I don't recall being in that area in 2019.

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post #3678 of 5318 Old 07-12-2019, 03:26 PM
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For the price they are hard to beat. I have them both in my living room and bedroom because they provide great sound for Roku sources for a stupid bargain. Would I listen to extended high res, 2 channel on them -no. However, you wouldn't listen to critical 2 channel on my M2's either, so I may not be a good source. I don't like PA speakers either. These are not PA'ish sounding if that is your fear.
Are you stating that a rectangular bookshelf enclosure with a compression horn driver and 8" woofer cannot sound worse than a non-rectanglar PA enclosure with the same drivers, horn, passive crossover, and DSP?

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post #3679 of 5318 Old 07-12-2019, 03:53 PM
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Agree, just saying the menu item doesn't come up and make itself obvious when one is selecting modes, such as Dolby Surround music / movie options.
That is at least true on Denons. It makes a huge difference, and one may very easily prefer one setting or the other.
Agreed!

Btw as regards DSU music/movie options, on my Denon, the movie/music buttons on the remote simply offer me a choice of upmixers/DSP, meaning they are Denon function buttons, rather than Dolby function buttons. This is as opposed to the 'old' days of a few years ago, when Dolby PLII had its own selectable music/movie/game modes, which offered different options and treated sound differently. As far as I can tell, that no longer exists: DSU is one-size-fits-all.
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post #3680 of 5318 Old 07-12-2019, 03:59 PM
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At work, we were talking about the Good Guys Car Show being here today. We were wondering If the cars would be hanging out on 161 and Busch. Once my company left the 6480 & 6600 Busch buildings, all the businesses in that area started closing on 2017. The only time I'm over there is when the Advance Auto Parts in Westerville forces me to get parts at the 161 & Busch store. I don't recall being in that area in 2019.

We were there last night. That's frankly enough of that show as it's all restomodded stuff. I'll skip that and just go to Lennox cars & coffee tomorrow.

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post #3681 of 5318 Old 07-12-2019, 04:22 PM
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"How to Choose a Loudspeaker -- What the Science Shows".

First choose the loudspeaker, then select the desired number. That's what I did

- Rich
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post #3682 of 5318 Old 07-12-2019, 05:08 PM
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Question: There's a sale on and I'm a glutton for good deals. The JBL Studio 580 is on sale for $329ea., which is over 50% off. Other than the 308s that I had for weekend and took them back, I don't recall having a JBL in any of my houses for 45+ years.

However, I like having multiple systems, and do not want the same thing in all of my systems or really even the same sound. Not a surprise to anyone here, but other than the surprisingly decent revised L100s, I don't at all like JBL products.

Even last night at the hotel parties, cruise-in, get together for Good Guys weekend, they had a band, really a solo guitar player, playing rock and roll/metal type stuff and he was using JBL PA speakers. My grandson bitched the entire time and I tried to stay as far away from those things as I could. This was at the Doubletree on Busch Blvd last night. So we left and went up to the Polaris Hilton and they had a DJ with the same so same reaction. They were again terrible.

I don't mind trying a brand here at home that I haven't owned for 46 + years (L100s, L45s and L300s), but is that what I'd be in for? I never get around to returning or sending anything back or selling anything so if I do this, they're here to stay.

So here I am asking a Harman fanboi thread: what's your 'unbiased' opinion on the Studio 580s?
There's a whole thread devoted to the Studio line here in the speaker subsection of the forum, and you'll find lots and lots of very satisfied customers.

If it were up to me, I'd wait for the 590s to go on sale. They can regularly be had, direct from JBL, for 50% off, and they have a richer, more complex sound. (I liked them enough to buy six pairs for my theater room, for what it's worth.)

I can't think of a reliable way to tell whether or not you'd like them in your own room or not, though. They don't sound brash or harsh to me in any way, but that's just my own experience.

You said you don't want to deal with returns, but JBL does have a very generous return policy where they'll even pay return shipping with no restocking fees during their return period.

Scott
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post #3683 of 5318 Old 07-12-2019, 05:19 PM
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I guess I'm not very good at asking questions or explaining what I'm asking. Let me try again.

When the Preference Testing was done in the early 80's at the NRCC, there were *only* 2-channel systems, and the 2-channel sources, (and yes Sanjay, I aware that 3-channel "stereo" did exist, but it wasn't mainstream and it wasn't tested in the Preference Testing. ) Fast forward 30 years and we now have speakers being used in many different locations with many different signals being sent to them. Would there be any benefit to redoing the Preference testing to see if "specialty" speakers could be more beneficial in a multi-channel immersive system?

For example, take the front 3 speakers. In the past, it has been universally recommended to use 3 identical, vertical speakers, all mounted at the same height, (ear height.) Is it possible that it could be better to have a wide dispersion speaker for the CC to provide wider coverage to more seats*, but have narrower dispersion speakers for the L/R's. Wide dispersion L/R's provide "spaciousness" due to the early reflections off the side walls. But with multi-channel immersive sound, spaciousness can be added by the additional surround and height speakers. It doesn't need to come from the L/R's. In fact, it might even be detrimental to the overall immersiveness and discrete localization to have wide dispersion L/R's and the concomitant reflections. (This is complete speculation on my part and I have no idea if this holds water. But there is a chance that it does, and we would never know without testing.)

Dr. Toole stated that it is difficult to get high directionality to low frequencies because the cabinets need to be large. What if the low frequencies were removed from those channels so the boxes could be made smaller? How necessary is it to have deep LF extension from the surrounds and heights? What if they were cut off at the Schroeder Frequency to remove the timbrel coloration added by the modal response and room reflections? Then what dispersion characteristics would be needed to provide discreet sound imaging AND spaciousness? If one has a distributed subwoofer system, how high in frequency can the subwoofers go before localization becomes a problem. ( I currently have my surrounds crossed over to my subs at 150 and I get no subwoofer localization whatsoever. In fact another forum member who's heard my system stated that he could sit on top of one of my subs and still not hear any localization of it.) So how high in frequency can this work. Would it be high enough that the low frequencies could be eliminated from the surround and height channels?

Should height speakers be aimed at the listening area, or is it satisfactory to use round in-ceiling speakers that aim straight down as long as they have broad dispersion. Such a speaker would be shooting sound into parts of the room that no one is listening from. For example a round ceiling speaker facing straight down with wide dispersion would shoot 3/4 of it's sound sound to the front and sides of the room where no one is seated, and where it can be reflected in multiple directions. Is that a good thing? Or would it be better to use a speaker aimed at the listening area, something like:



If something like that were deemed to be better, what would the preferred dispersion characteristics be? And would those characteristics change depending on how many rows of seats one had and how wide the listening area was?

Bottom line, do the general characteristics of "good" sound described by the Spinorama still apply to all the different speakers locations and uses that modern speakers are expected to accommodate, or would it be better to design speakers that are specialized to perform specific tasks?

*The specialized CC I'm referring to is not the common MTM or W(TM)W horizontally deployed CC speaker. I mean a vertically aligned, wide dispersion speaker, specifically designed to provide coverage to a wide seating area with NO off-axis lobing common to horizontally deployed speakers. They should also be designed to be used with subwoofers, as should every specialized speaker in the system.

I'm just thinking out loud here, and I would welcome @Floyd Toole 's thoughts as well as any other interested members.

Craig
For the benefit of others in the forum I submit the following summary comments, but the answers to your questions are all in the book you have and the companion website which is open access for all - www.routledge.com/cw/toole.

Q: “Would there be any benefit to redoing the Preference testing to see if “specialty” speaker could be more beneficial in a multi-channel immersive system?”
A: Not that I can think of. Speakers are speakers, wherever they are located, and sound is sound, whatever channel it emanates from. I’m not trying to be facetious, but really it should be obvious from what is in the book, which I understand you have read. So, to recap, the direct sound should be as smooth and flat as possible and off axis, potentially reflected sounds, should also be smooth, and similar in spectral balance. The smoothness in all curves indicates an absence of resonances, the most audible of problems and this is a universally desirable characteristic for speakers. The direct sound is especially important, so all loudspeakers should be aimed at the prime location and all listeners, if possible, should be within the listening window. Beyond that, if they can play loud enough for you, sit back and enjoy.

Q: “Is it possible that it could be better to have a wide dispersion speaker for the CC to provide wider coverage to more seats*”
A: Figure 15.9 in the 3rd edition shows an example of how to work out the dispersion requirements for some speakers. In virtually all real-world situations conventional speakers do the job. The need for wider dispersion most often comes from the side surrounds and elevation speakers with multi-row seating. Surface-mounted bipoles do very well at that (Figure 9.13), if multiple aimed forward-firing speakers cannot. If multiple side surround speakers are arrayed be sure to add about a 10 ms delay between them to avoid damaging acoustical interference.

Q. “How high in frequency can the subwoofers go before localization becomes a problem?”
A. This has been done to death over the years (not by me), and the 80 Hz default crossover frequency in bass management schemes is well chosen in my opinion. I have done some informal tests and it appears to work. Many people even have trouble cutting off their subs sharply enough to avoid localization. I cannot explain your truly rare satisfaction using 150 Hz. It must have something to do with their location re the other speakers in the room.

Q. “Should height speakers be aimed at the listening area?”
A. Of course. See the answer to the first question. It is not always convenient, but it is what should be done. That is why there are in-wall/ceiling speakers with tilted mid/high frequency radiators, such as the one you show. It is not unique. All of my elevation speakers are aimed at the prime listening location and all listeners are within the listening window. Aiming a “conventional” in-wall/ceiling speaker at the floor and listening far off axis is not a good idea. The direct sound is corrupted and EQ, the universal fix-it, cannot make it right. A lazy dog on the floor under it will be well treated though.

Q. What about designing a special center channel speaker?
A. Go for it, but the well-known problem of off-axis dips in entry level two-way MTM designs is absent in well-designed three-ways - it is simple physics. See Figure 3 in Part 2 of my “how to design a home theater” series on the companion website to my book: www.routledge.com/cw/toole. You will find some this discussion repeated there, and more.

As for repeating the research to cope with the "new" challenges in this age of immersive audio, I doubt that anything consequential will be learned. I'm not being boastful, just acknowledging that designing neutral sounding loudspeakers for use in any location simply requires competent engineers who know the rules. I see nothing in surround and elevation speaker applications that demands more knowledge than exists. There are serious issues with bass performance in rooms, and there are challenges with immersive audio but they have nothing to do with limitations in loudspeakers.

Customers have some responsibility, though. Placing and aiming speakers is challenging, especially if, as is the common practice, they need to be "invisible". As those of you who have seen photos of my system can see, this household does not shrink from seeing loudspeakers. The rewards are audible.

That said, your enthusiasm for this topic could be channeled to educating customers to select wisely from products already in the marketplace and teaching them how to use them. That is a worthwhile effort.
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post #3684 of 5318 Old 07-13-2019, 01:13 PM
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… Q. “How high in frequency can the subwoofers go before localization becomes a problem?”
A. This has been done to death over the years (not by me), and the 80 Hz default crossover frequency in bass management schemes is well chosen in my opinion. I have done some informal tests and it appears to work. Many people even have trouble cutting off their subs sharply enough to avoid localization. I cannot explain your truly rare satisfaction using 150 Hz. It must have something to do with their location re the other speakers in the room. ...
I've personally done a lot of experimentation with subwoofer placement and crossover frequencies. My experience has been that when the sub is located between the L/R at the front of the room it can be crossed over at higher frequencies than 80Hz without localization. When running small L/C/R I've crossed to the sub as high as 160Hz without localization. Obviously there are many variables including specific speaker/sub performance, precise speaker locations and individual sensitivity to low bass localization. So this can work for some people in some environments but not for others.

The main issue for many is that front of room between L/R is usually not the best room location for optimum sub performance. In one case it was preferable to me to sacrifice ultimate sub performance for the superior overall speaker system sound at higher volume when the small L/C/R were relieved of more bass in the 80-160Hz range.
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post #3685 of 5318 Old 07-13-2019, 02:19 PM
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For the benefit of others in the forum I submit the following summary comments, but the answers to your questions are all in the book you have and the companion website which is open access for all - www.routledge.com/cw/toole.

Q: “Would there be any benefit to redoing the Preference testing to see if “specialty” speakers could be more beneficial in a multi-channel immersive system?”
A: Not that I can think of. Speakers are speakers, wherever they are located, and sound is sound, whatever channel it emanates from. I’m not trying to be facetious, but really it should be obvious from what is in the book, which I understand you have read. So, to recap, the direct sound should be as smooth and flat as possible and off axis, potentially reflected sounds, should also be smooth, and similar in spectral balance. The smoothness in all curves indicates an absence of resonances, the most audible of problems and this is a universally desirable characteristic for speakers. The direct sound is especially important, so all loudspeakers should be aimed at the prime location and all listeners, if possible, should be within the listening window. Beyond that, if they can play loud enough for you, sit back and enjoy.
I totally agree that audible resonances are the biggest culprit causing speakers to sound less good, and that aspect wouldn't change because of any other changes in technology. My own speakers, (Triad Platinums), are extremely massive and well braced. The knuckle rap test reveals a very dead cabinet. Some of my previous speakers sounded less good and the cabinets were a lot less robust. I didn't identify the problems with the other speakers as cabinet resonances, but in retrospect, I'm sure thats what they were. In my room, I have dealt with reflections by using a large amount of dampening in the front end of the room. The front half is about as close as one can come to anechoic without being in an anechoic chamber. I think this helps with localization of discreet sounds in immersive audio. (The back half the room is much more reflective then the front half, and I have never felt like my room was too dead, nor has anyone else who's ever heard it. In fact, many who've heard it have described it as the best room they've ever heard. Having said that, sound localization is not nearly as good from my rear surrounds and rear heights as it is from the fronts, wides, sides and heights.) Nonetheless, it seemed possible that, in rooms that are not so well damped, reducing sound energy to reflective surfaces would improve the "discreetness" of sound localization, especially since spaciousness isn't such a high priority requirement in immersive audio. If you don't think it would be beneficial to find out, I will defer to your expert opinion.

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Originally Posted by Floyd Toole View Post
Q: “Is it possible that it could be better to have a wide dispersion speaker for the CC to provide wider coverage to more seats*”
A: Figure 15.9 in the 3rd edition shows an example of how to work out the dispersion requirements for some speakers. In virtually all real-world situations conventional speakers do the job. The need for wider dispersion most often comes from the side surrounds and elevation speakers with multi-row seating. Surface-mounted bipoles do very well at that (Figure 9.13), if multiple aimed forward-firing speakers cannot. If multiple side surround speakers are arrayed be sure to add about a 10 ms delay between them to avoid damaging acoustical interference.
There exists a group of posters on this Speakers forum who constantly promote the use of CC's that don't timbre-match the L/R's. In fact, they actively promote non-matched CC's over matching CC's. I have "spirited" discussions with these people all the time. Their claim is that the only significant function of the CC is to stabilize the dialogue in movie soundtracks, and one should look for a speaker with excellent speech intelligibility, because little else matters. The people who make these claims are not people who are going to read your book or look at your website. Therefore, my "secret" motivation for asking you that question the way I did was to get you to comment that a CC should always be as close a timbre-match to the L/R's as possible. Then I could quote you in those discussions and say, "Look... Floyd Toole thinks the CC needs to be a good timbre match." So, can you please just say that for me?

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Originally Posted by Floyd Toole View Post
Q. “How high in frequency can the subwoofers go before localization becomes a problem?
A. This has been done to death over the years (not by me), and the 80 Hz default crossover frequency in bass management schemes is well chosen in my opinion. I have done some informal tests and it appears to work. Many people even have trouble cutting off their subs sharply enough to avoid localization. I cannot explain your truly rare satisfaction using 150 Hz. It must have something to do with their location re the other speakers in the room.
My room is asymmetrical, so I can't really use the Welti recommended locations. Therefore I've "distributed" my 3 subs rather randomly around my room, but as far apart as is practical. Two of them are equidistant to the LP, so I can use one Distance setting for both, but that is the only thing that is anything less than random. I use the gain-matching technique, (as opposed to Audyssey's level-matching technique), and it yields bass that is virtually unlocalizable to a specific subwoofer at any listening point in the room, including right on top of one of the subs. This is what allows me to use a higher crossover. Just to be clear, my LCR's are crossed at 100 Hz. The surrounds and heights are crossed at 150 Hz.

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Originally Posted by Floyd Toole View Post
Q. “Should height speakers be aimed at the listening area?”

A. Of course. See the answer to the first question. It is not always convenient, but it is what should be done. That is why there are in-wall/ceiling speakers with tilted mid/high frequency radiators, such as the one you show. It is not unique. All of my elevation speakers are aimed at the prime listening location and all listeners are within the listening window. Aiming a “conventional” in-wall/ceiling speaker at the floor and listening far off axis is not a good idea. The direct sound is corrupted and EQ, the universal fix-it, cannot make it right. A lazy dog on the floor under it will be well treated though.
I agree. My speakers are all aimed at the primary LP also. I actually use the speakers I posted. However, I see a lot of other posters who use the round, downfiring in-ceiling speakers... and then complain that they don't get the expected results from Atmos. Do you think having the ability to aim the speakers is more important than good Spins on the speakers. I ask because I've never seen a Spin on an angled ceiling speaker. Triad makes some angled in-ceiling speakers, but they don't release ANY measurements on ANY of their speakers! The Traid mounting system requires that they be mounted between the ceiling joist so they aren't "aimable" unless you build some custom mounting system for them to be able to rotate them in towards the LP. They would have otherwise been a perfect timbre-match for the rest of my speakers, but the ability to aim them seemed more important than the timbre-match. Maybe I'm wrong? The timbre-match likely would have been mostly lost in my system anyway because they would have been placed so far off their central axis.

I don't really know how good a timbre-match the RSL speakers I use are to the Triads, because I've never seen Spins or any other measurements on any of them.

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Originally Posted by Floyd Toole View Post
Q. What about designing a special center channel speaker?
A. Go for it, but the well-known problem of off-axis dips in entry level two-way MTM designs is absent in well-designed three-ways - it is simple physics. See Figure 3 in Part 2 of my “how to design a home theater” series on the companion website to my book: www.routledge.com/cw/toole. You will find some this discussion repeated there, and more.
3-ways are better, but it depends on the C2C distance of the woofers vs. the crossover point from the woofers to the mids. I've seen some 3-way horizontal CC'ss with lobing, and less than ideal off-axis response. My own CC is a 3-way horizontal speaker and it's response off-axis is not perfect, but I don't care because I only ever sit off-axis when I have visitors, and the walls are far enough away, and well treated enough, that the reflections don't really matter.








https://www.soundandvision.com/conte...m-measurements

Besides, it only needs to reproduce dialogue anyway!

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Originally Posted by Floyd Toole View Post
As for repeating the research to cope with the "new" challenges in this age of immersive audio, I doubt that anything consequential will be learned. I'm not being boastful, just acknowledging that designing neutral sounding loudspeakers for use in any location simply requires competent engineers who know the rules. I see nothing in surround and elevation speaker applications that demands more knowledge than exists. There are serious issues with bass performance in rooms, and there are challenges with immersive audio but they have nothing to do with limitations in loudspeakers.
I respect your opinion. You're probably right. I don't think we'll know for sure though unless or until somebody tries to design an immersive-audio speaker *system* with "specialized" speakers for the various different placements... and then someone makes the efforts to do scientific preference testing. I still think it's an interesting concept.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Floyd Toole View Post
Customers have some responsibility, though. Placing and aiming speakers is challenging, especially if, as is the common practice, they need to be "invisible". As those of you who have seen photos of my system can see, this household does not shrink from seeing loudspeakers. The rewards are audible.
Yes, proper setup of audio systems absolutely yields major benefits. And, I said once before, "Your wife is a SAINT!"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Floyd Toole View Post
That said, your enthusiasm for this topic could be channeled to educating customers to select wisely from products already in the marketplace and teaching them how to use them. That is a worthwhile effort.
Thanks, but I rarely, if ever, recommend any specific products to other people. I do, however, spend a fair amount of time helping people optimize their setups whenever I feel I have something to offer them.

Thanks for everything you've offered to the forum. It's a better place since you started posting here.

Craig
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post #3686 of 5318 Old 07-13-2019, 03:47 PM
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"The knuckle rap test reveals a very dead cabinet." The knuckle test is not a reliable test because it is a point excitation of a panel. In reality the well-distributed pressure within the cabinet does the excitation. I well remember a Japanese manufacturer showing me, while on a factory tour (before I joined Harman and became a competitor), that they poured about an inch of concrete into the top of every box so that customers would be impressed by the almost inevitable knuckle test .

What matters is the sound radiated from panels, not movement of the panels - and this is measured in spinoramas. Some panel modes allow considerable movement, but the sound radiated from different portions cancel each other. So a knuckle test, or an accelerometer placed at one location cannot reveal what a panel will radiate. It is understanding this that allows good engineers to strategically place internal bracing to eliminate bothersome modes while not spending materials or mass addressing innocent ones. Enclosures do not need to be "inert", only acoustically "quiet". But when marketing gets into the act we get monster massive boxes whether they are needed or not. It is good for imaginations though.

The most serious resonances are most often associated with the drivers.

"I ask because I've never seen a Spin on an angled ceiling speaker.". Nor have I, because that requires a special 2-pi anechoic chamber. One such chamber is currently being built at Harman because of the popularity of in/on-wall/ceiling speakers. However, I am not at all disturbed by this because experienced engineers can anticipate the important performance factors from conventional anechoic data. Resonances are not an issue if high-performing transducers are used and directivity can be measured or inferred from other anechoic data. Subjective evaluations make the final decision, as always.

More research can always be imagined, but having done it for several decades it is clear that it takes competent subjective & objective evaluation facilities ($$$$), skilled/educated staff ($$$$), and time ($$$$). We can always hope for a scientific "sugar daddy" I suppose But these days money seems not to be drifting in the direction of research that benefits consumers.
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post #3687 of 5318 Old 07-13-2019, 03:49 PM
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I've personally done a lot of experimentation with subwoofer placement and crossover frequencies. My experience has been that when the sub is located between the L/R at the front of the room it can be crossed over at higher frequencies than 80Hz without localization. When running small L/C/R I've crossed to the sub as high as 160Hz without localization. Obviously there are many variables including specific speaker/sub performance, precise speaker locations and individual sensitivity to low bass localization. So this can work for some people in some environments but not for others.
Precisely my findings as well. Since my speakers are a few feet from the wall, I may as well bring the screen forward and put the sub back there, dead center. I put the rear sub dead center on the back wall. It creates a sense of bass all around you. It's a treat. More people should try it.

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post #3688 of 5318 Old 07-13-2019, 04:03 PM
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Some of my previous speakers sounded less good and the cabinets were a lot less robust. I didn't identify the problems with the other speakers as cabinet resonances, but in retrospect, I'm sure thats what they were.
The more I learn, the more I wonder about my Infinity Primus P362s, my first "real" speakers. As I noted previously, I never noticed that they weren't really neutral or natural sounding for the 4 years I listened to them, until I put them side to side with another speaker. Then, it became very obvious that the sound was a lot more...trebly. Now the competing speaker was not neutral either, but it reminded me of the sound you get when you cranked the treble knob on my Dad's old stereo. My mind had completely adapted to its sound as it was the only speaker I was hearing, and I did not have experienced ears. Since most people praise those speakers, at least for their very low cost, it had to be cabinet resonances coloring the sound. In fact, I read quite a few posts about efforts to improve bracing on the Primus line, especially the towers, and how big of a difference it made. I never did try that.

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post #3689 of 5318 Old 07-13-2019, 04:08 PM
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A few guys do that in car audio SQ competition when they put a sub in the footwell or dashboard. I've seen settings as high as 200hz without localization.

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post #3690 of 5318 Old 07-13-2019, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soulburner View Post
The more I learn, the more I wonder about my Infinity Primus P362s, my first "real" speakers. As I noted previously, I never noticed that they weren't really neutral or natural sounding for the 4 years I listened to them, until I put them side to side with another speaker. Then, it became very obvious that the sound was a lot more...trebly. Now the competing speaker was not neutral either, but it reminded me of the sound you get when you cranked the treble knob on my Dad's old stereo. My mind had completely adapted to its sound as it was the only speaker I was hearing, and I did not have experienced ears. Since most people praise those speakers, at least for their very low cost, it had to be cabinet resonances coloring the sound. In fact, I read quite a few posts about efforts to improve bracing on the Primus line, especially the towers, and how big of a difference it made. I never did try that.
Yep. This is the reason (excuse) I don't mind having all of these speakers as it doesn't let me adapt to any one of them. Keeps me in balance and critical. Of course, the real reason is that I'm too lazy to get off of my dead ass and get rid of some of them.
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cea 2034 , double-blind , listening tests , loudspeaker measurements , spinorama

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