How to Choose a Loudspeaker -- What the Science Shows - Page 18 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #511 of 5323 Old 01-07-2019, 08:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floyd Toole View Post
Ericglo said: "Did you read the whole article or just the clip?"

What a lot of words! An interesting survey of technologies over the years, with lots of opinions on the audible consequences but a serious lack of (a) trustworthy measurements and (b) unbiased listening evaluations. He would learn from the measurements in my book, especially Chapter 18. He seems to think we hear waveforms.
Yeah, Lynn was wordy. He was of the mind that measurements only take you so far and then you have to dial it in by ear. I would be curious if his thinking has changed over the years.

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"What do you consider the most significant advancement(s) in speakers over the last twenty years?"

Check out the figure attached to my post #50 and I think it is obvious that the 30 year progress has been in the refinement of transducer performance combined with better, computer aided, system design. Computer modeling figures powerfully in all of this. Good results require a faith in the existing science, not golden ears.
For the love of J. Gordon Holt and Harry Pearson!

I was thinking along the same lines. Computers have not only gotten better, but cheaper. That puts the tools in reach of anyone that has an interest.

As for drivers, I was thinking that they have not only become better, but more consistent. I recall one manufacturer responding to a question of why he didn't use the latest and greatest from a certain Danish manufacturer with something like "the measurements of each driver are incredibly inconsistent. No way I could have a speaker to speaker variability like that."

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"What research has been most interesting, significant, impactful?"

At the risk of tooting my own horn, I would like to think that the most consequential research has involved meaningful double-blind listening tests, combined with accurate and comprehensive anechoic data on loudspeakers. The correlation between the two domains is strong. Few - almost nobody - in the industry has had the facilities, time, money, etc. to do the necessary research that has now nailed down the basic performance targets for loudspeakers that listeners reward with high sound quality scores. The Canadian government and then Harman International invested in the problem and the results are published for all to see The problem is that such measurements data are so scarce. See the Figure attached to my post #220 .
DBT isn't easy and even doing some basic tests is tough. Just ask John.

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"what areas of research do you consider important, interesting, etc going forward?"

The source of greatest variation in what we hear from the best loudspeakers is in program material, the circle of confusion is real. We need psychological research into why so many people - professionals and consumers - are science deniers. Too many choose instead to follow their own sighted, biased, opinions of the moment, or the stylish writings of subjective reviewers who do nothing defensible in their subjective commentary and, for the most part, do no useful measurements. If we made absolutely no progress in loudspeaker design beyond where we are now, that alone would elevate the standard of sound quality everywhere.

A second line of research would be to explore methods of delivering more credible spatial illusions from two channels, which it seems we are stuck with for life. Flexible multichannel upmixing directed by metadata in recordings may be a practical route.
Seriously? A quote from the father of quantum physics Max Planck comes to mind.
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A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.


Honestly, I find a lot of people only pick and choose the science that agrees with their pre-conceived beliefs. Instead of the science taking you to a conclusion, they already have a conclusion and they want the science to confirm it. It is something I call Science of Convenience.

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post #512 of 5323 Old 01-07-2019, 08:12 PM
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Lynn had a link to an interesting research article. It is about the brain's ability to hear content above 20khz. While thought provoking, I am not sure how much impact it would have in the music/HT world. I can't imagine there is a lot of content that goes that high.
https://www.physiology.org/doi/full/...2000.83.6.3548

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post #513 of 5323 Old 01-08-2019, 12:31 AM
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KEF's head of acoustics is definitely lead by someone who understands the science, as their white papers indicate. Their 'Blade' and smaller 'Blade2' loudspeakers offer a flat anechoic listening window and are very well behaved in all directions. The Reference and new 'R' series are neutral, yet feature a slight downward tilt in their listening window and this will of course affect the sound. They should work well in livelier rooms. I don't believe IMD will make a pronounced difference in a 3-way model, compared to a conventional loudspeaker, the dispersion pattern will have a much more significant effect in terms of audibility.

Blade2 (blue) compared to the Reference 5 (red) in John Atkinson's listening room - with the Salon2 in two rooms thrown in below (red in John Atkinson's room)



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post #514 of 5323 Old 01-08-2019, 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Floyd Toole View Post
At low frequencies it is volume velocity not particle velocity. What it the volume of air displaced by a diaphragm per unit movement. 18" woofers are great for cinemas, but are overkill for homes - as I describe in Chapter 8 multiple smaller subs are more efficient and sound better for more listeners. Nevertheless, transitioning any sub at 80 Hz or so to a 5.25 inch main is definitely a stretch - at low sound levels maybe, but not for movies or lots of modern music.
There is a small, yet dedicated group of people that are looking to achieve an in-room response (preferably a tilted one) well into the 'single digit' range, using multiple sealed subwoofer designs. Practical objections aside, this requires a lot of power and displacement. Hence the 18", 21" and even 24" inch subwoofers one can find.

Having owned a system with 'only' 4 sealed designs (using two 12" drivers per unit) in my previous home, with clean response down to 10Hz, I have to admit to miss it at times. The decoupled wooden floor may have had something to do with it.
I found infrasound very much adding to the experience, in a tactile sense. Since I am moving again in two weeks (finally purchased a home!), I'll be building a new compact theater over the next year. Since it is only 12'x10', four 10" or 12" sealed subwoofers, with one or two tactile transducers should provide all that I need in terms of low frequencies.
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post #515 of 5323 Old 01-08-2019, 03:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimVG View Post
There is a small, yet dedicated group of people that are looking to achieve an in-room response (preferably a tilted one) well into the 'single digit' range, using multiple sealed subwoofer designs. Practical objections aside, this requires a lot of power and displacement. Hence the 18", 21" and even 24" inch subwoofers one can find.

Having owned a system with 'only' 4 sealed designs (using two 12" drivers per unit) in my previous home, with clean response down to 10Hz, I have to admit to miss it at times. The decoupled wooden floor may have had something to do with it.
I found infrasound very much adding to the experience, in a tactile sense. Since I am moving again in two weeks (finally purchased a home!), I'll be building a new compact theater over the next year. Since it is only 12'x10', four 10" or 12" sealed subwoofers, with one or two tactile transducers should provide all that I need in terms of low frequencies.
Congrats on the new home! And building out a new home theater ought to be a lot of fun.

A question or two on the LF extension you were discussing...

Wikipedia says that the lowest note on a pipe organ is 8 Hz though "if acoustic combination counts, the lowest note is CCCCC, which is 4 Hz." (Not sure exactly what that means so I have more reading to do. ) What is your target range? When do you miss getting down to 10 Hz: music, movies, both?

A timely topic as a sub upgrade may be in my future.

Theorem: SAF is inversely proportional to the cost of the last AV upgrade.
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post #516 of 5323 Old 01-08-2019, 04:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Floyd Toole View Post
IMHO there needs to be a progressive reduction in diaphragm size as frequency increases. That costs money.
So, in theory, a 4 way has the ability to be more accurate than a 3 way, designed and built by the same company.

My now long gone Dunlavy SC-VIs most certainly fit that bill.
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post #517 of 5323 Old 01-08-2019, 05:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill-99 View Post
Congrats on the new home! And building out a new home theater ought to be a lot of fun.

A question or two on the LF extension you were discussing...

Wikipedia says that the lowest note on a pipe organ is 8 Hz though "if acoustic combination counts, the lowest note is CCCCC, which is 4 Hz." (Not sure exactly what that means so I have more reading to do. ) What is your target range? When do you miss getting down to 10 Hz: music, movies, both?

A timely topic as a sub upgrade may be in my future.
A couple of things one needs to consider, in my opinion.

-Electronic equipment in these extreme registers is not flat and there is often an acoustic dropoff as a result. If ultimate extension is what you strive for, measurements of each piece of the chain will be needed. This includes your calibration microphone.

-I wouldn't worry too much about pipe organs, since acoustical recordings will have these filtered out either intentionally, or accidental by the same reason as I noted in my previous paragraph

-Synthetic infracontent is present however in a good number of movies (and certain electronic music). Some of it intentional, some of it perhaps by accident (no high pass filter + subs that simply won't produce the content during the mix)

-Take into account your room. A solid concrete floor is much less susceptible to infrasounds than a decoupled wooden floor for instance. Then there is the 'whole body ripple' effect which is more subtle. The former is, to me, noticeable down to 10Hz and perhaps below depending how the floor/seating gets excited by these low frequencies. The latter as I said, to me, is more subtle and would require either a strong boost at these low frequencies, or very high listening levels, to be more present which seem to center around the 30Hz range.

I feel that for my to-be-built room, a smaller sub in each corner of the room, which should still give me a 12dB efficiency boost in the low bass, with one or two tactile transducers (which are specifically designed to produce what their name implies) added should provide the experience I'm after. By further decoupling the seating, it should keep nuisance (which infrasounds definitely bring) to a minimum.
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post #518 of 5323 Old 01-08-2019, 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by TimVG View Post
There is a small, yet dedicated group of people that are looking to achieve an in-room response (preferably a tilted one) well into the 'single digit' range, using multiple sealed subwoofer designs. Practical objections aside, this requires a lot of power and displacement. Hence the 18", 21" and even 24" inch subwoofers one can find.
And I would be one of those. Eight (8) 18" subs (Seaton F18's - sealed). 5dB down at 7Hz without low end EQ. Not much listening material (music or movies) takes advantage of it but it is nice to have on those occasions when called upon. And with that much woofage (and power - two 4000 watt amps driving 4 subs each), I have no shortage of headroom, regardless of how much damage I chose to do to my ears !!

To help things along, this is in a 2nd floor space. Seat transducers would be money thrown away!!
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post #519 of 5323 Old 01-08-2019, 05:12 AM
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So, in theory, a 4 way has the ability to be more accurate than a 3 way, designed and built by the same company.

My now long gone Dunlavy SC-VIs most certainly fit that bill.

It should have the ability to maintain a wider dispersion - Not sure if accuracy falls under that definition.
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post #520 of 5323 Old 01-08-2019, 05:17 AM
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It should have the ability to maintain a wider dispersion - Not sure if accuracy falls under that definition.
In the case of those specific speakers, I would compare their measurements (frequency, impulse, phase, step, etc) against most any speaker around. If John Dunlavy was anything, he was a stickler for accuracy. Each individual speaker cabinet (with drivers) was put into his gigantic anechoic chamber and the crossovers were individually calibrated while he sat outside the chamber doing so. I am not aware of many if any speaker company that does that today.

The speakers were not perfect (e.g. limited power handling on the tweeter) but they were excellent.
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post #521 of 5323 Old 01-08-2019, 05:26 AM
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In the case of those specific speakers, I would compare their measurements (frequency, impulse, phase, step, etc) against most any speaker around. If John Dunlavy was anything, he was a stickler for accuracy. Each individual speaker cabinet (with drivers) was put into his gigantic anechoic chamber and the crossovers were individually calibrated while he sat outside the chamber doing so. I am not aware of many if any speaker company that does that today.

The speakers were not perfect (e.g. limited power handling on the tweeter) but they were excellent.
As per 'the science': Audible problems regarding phase/impulse/.. are revealed in the amplitude response (the spinorama)

But yes, apples to apples, a 4-way has the potential ability, to be a better loudspeaker. Depending on the design goal of the loudspeaker of course.
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post #522 of 5323 Old 01-09-2019, 09:15 AM
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I've been following this thread since a few minutes after it got posted. For years, when doing research, I've always wished that the people who make the actual products, the engineers, would speak up and comment on why they do what they do. To have people like KV, Dr. Toole etc posting in this thread is a wish come true! I've been very disheartened by all the negativity and attempts to discredit the information in this thread, not by actual scientists and researchers, but by passionate hobbyists who seem afraid to have their preconceptions challenged. It's been difficult wading through all the BS to actually learn something here, so kudos to the guys for sticking around and continuing to answer questions! Arguing on the internet is like peeing in the wind - I'm sure it feels good to get it out, now hopefully people have gone to dry off.


I've seen comments on how it would've been nice to have charts presented as speaker X and speaker Y as opposed to speakers models mentioned, to keep it neutral. I can see the reasoning behind that, but I'm hoping speaker models continue to be listed. I like knowing which speakers measure in what way so that I can go and have a listen to some of them and hear for myself what the measurements actually mean. I've been getting that itch to upgrade lately, so the info in this thread could help narrow down my selection. I've got a pair of Infinity Reference 2000.6's that I bought in '96. I've always been happy with them, but I've been looking at them for 22 years now lol. As much as I'm sure the Salon2 sounds fantastic, they don't sound good to my wallet I'd like to find some more reasonably priced speakers that measure well and give them a listen. By "reasonable" I would prefer under $1000USD. I saw JBL 305 mkIIs suggested, but I'm not looking for an active monitor. I'm hoping some of the upcoming spins that get posted will include measurements of speakers at the more affordable end of the spectrum!


Throughout the years, I've always heard people refer to some speakers as being more revealing, with comments on how much a speaker is able to resolve inner detail. What makes a speaker more revealing than another, and does that show up in the measurements? I've always wondered what I'm supposedly missing out on.
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post #523 of 5323 Old 01-09-2019, 10:05 AM
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Throughout the years, I've always heard people refer to some speakers as being more revealing, with comments on how much a speaker is able to resolve inner detail. What makes a speaker more revealing than another, and does that show up in the measurements? I've always wondered what I'm supposedly missing out on.
"Resolution", "Revealing" "inner detail" and some other terms are inventions of subjective reviewers, implying perceptual qualities that are not included in mere technical measurements. Such people almost never have technical measurements to refer to, much less accurate, comprehensive ones. If they had, they may have realized that the loudspeakers exhibiting those properties are the ones with the fewest audible resonances and the lowest distortions of all kinds - resonances are the dominant problem. In other words, removing distracting sounds having nothing to do with the music allows one to hear more of what is in the music.

Put differently, reducing resonances, making the speaker more neutral, increases "resolution" and "inner detail". It is a technically measurable parameter, revealed in comprehensive anechoic data, such as a spinorama.
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post #524 of 5323 Old 01-09-2019, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Floyd Toole View Post
"Resolution", "Revealing" "inner detail" and some other terms are inventions of subjective reviewers, implying perceptual qualities that are not included in mere technical measurements. Such people almost never have technical measurements to refer to, much less accurate, comprehensive ones. If they had, they may have realized that the loudspeakers exhibiting those properties are the ones with the fewest audible resonances and the lowest distortions of all kinds - resonances are the dominant problem. In other words, removing distracting sounds having nothing to do with the music allows one to hear more of what is in the music.

Put differently, reducing resonances, making the speaker more neutral, increases "resolution" and "inner detail". It is a technically measurable parameter, revealed in comprehensive anechoic data, such as a spinorama.



Thank you for taking the time to explain this! This is what I had suspected, and it's nice to have it confirmed. I look forward to future posts of spins to help me choose a new set of speakers. My baseline speaker that I am most familiar with is the Infinity Reference 2000.6. Unfortunately I don't have spins of it to know exactly how it compares, but spins would help me shortlist some speakers so that I can go out and have a good listen!

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post #525 of 5323 Old 01-09-2019, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Lonewolf7002 View Post
I've been following this thread since a few minutes after it got posted. For years, when doing research, I've always wished that the people who make the actual products, the engineers, would speak up and comment on why they do what they do. To have people like KV, Dr. Toole etc posting in this thread is a wish come true! I've been very disheartened by all the negativity and attempts to discredit the information in this thread, not by actual scientists and researchers, but by passionate hobbyists who seem afraid to have their preconceptions challenged. It's been difficult wading through all the BS to actually learn something here, so kudos to the guys for sticking around and continuing to answer questions! Arguing on the internet is like peeing in the wind - I'm sure it feels good to get it out, now hopefully people have gone to dry off.


I've seen comments on how it would've been nice to have charts presented as speaker X and speaker Y as opposed to speakers models mentioned, to keep it neutral. I can see the reasoning behind that, but I'm hoping speaker models continue to be listed. I like knowing which speakers measure in what way so that I can go and have a listen to some of them and hear for myself what the measurements actually mean. I've been getting that itch to upgrade lately, so the info in this thread could help narrow down my selection. I've got a pair of Infinity Reference 2000.6's that I bought in '96. I've always been happy with them, but I've been looking at them for 22 years now lol. As much as I'm sure the Salon2 sounds fantastic, they don't sound good to my wallet I'd like to find some more reasonably priced speakers that measure well and give them a listen. By "reasonable" I would prefer under $1000USD. I saw JBL 305 mkIIs suggested, but I'm not looking for an active monitor. I'm hoping some of the upcoming spins that get posted will include measurements of speakers at the more affordable end of the spectrum!


Throughout the years, I've always heard people refer to some speakers as being more revealing, with comments on how much a speaker is able to resolve inner detail. What makes a speaker more revealing than another, and does that show up in the measurements? I've always wondered what I'm supposedly missing out on.
Well said. Hopefully we can begin to listen and learn now.

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post #526 of 5323 Old 01-09-2019, 11:20 AM
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'd like to find some more reasonably priced speakers that measure well and give them a listen. By "reasonable" I would prefer under $1000USD.
$1,000 each or for a pair? You should look at the Revel Concerta2 line, the F35 might be in your price range.
https://revelspeakers.com/productlis...concerta2.html
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post #527 of 5323 Old 01-09-2019, 01:41 PM
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$1,000 each or for a pair? You should look at the Revel Concerta2 line, the F35 might be in your price range.
https://revelspeakers.com/productlis...concerta2.html

I usually think of speakers in pairs, so $1000 for the pair - maybe that's too tall an order! My ears want more than my wallet can deliver That said, I would happily audition a pair of F35s - it would just take a lot longer before I could swing a pair of more expensive speakers.
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Yes a great many two-way speakers would have been really great if they were 3-ways . If the woofer/mid is small enough to transition half decently to a tweeter, it will have inadequate low bass and/or cannot play loud - add a few subs. But as sound level needs rise, one quickly enters 3-way territory, which can deliver more sound and with better directivity characteristics. Salon2s are 4 ways. Not cheap, but they sound good and can play indecently loud without audible (to my ears) stress. IMHO there needs to be a progressive reduction in diaphragm size as frequency increases. That costs money.
Thank you Dr. Toole. How does a three way design compare with a 2.5 way design where several small diameter woofers are used instead of a separate larger diameter woofer.

Does it work as well? I am assuming the small diameter will maintain good directivity at Cross over frequencies and multiple woofers will be able to move the volume of air that is needed for higher SPL.

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post #529 of 5323 Old 01-09-2019, 02:05 PM
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I usually think of speakers in pairs, so $1000 for the pair - maybe that's too tall an order! My ears want more than my wallet can deliver That said, I would happily audition a pair of F35s - it would just take a lot longer before I could swing a pair of more expensive speakers.
you should check out dynaudio emit m 10's and / or nht c-3's.. there are a lot of decent options under $1000

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post #530 of 5323 Old 01-09-2019, 02:05 PM
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Thank you Dr. Toole. How does a three way design compare with a 2.5 way design where several small diameter woofers are used instead of a separate larger diameter woofer.

Does it work as well? I am assuming the small diameter will maintain good directivity at Cross over frequencies and multiple woofers will be able to move the volume of air that is needed for higher SPL.

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Depends on the design goal. A 2,5 way could for example be a good compromise between good output/extension while maintaining a slim form factor. Not many spouses approve of a 12” woofer in plain sight.
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Thank you Dr. Toole. How does a three way design compare with a 2.5 way design where several small diameter woofers are used instead of a separate larger diameter woofer.

Does it work as well? I am assuming the small diameter will maintain good directivity at Cross over frequencies and multiple woofers will be able to move the volume of air that is needed for higher SPL.

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As with most things the truth is in how well it is designed. As you say, the idea is that all the drivers are woofers, but only one of them acts as a midrange up to the crossover frequency to the tweeter. The success of the design partly depends on the size disparity of the woofer/midrange to the tweeter. The larger the woofer/midrange the higher the potential sound output, but the less optimum is the transition to the tweeter. That is why higher priced loudspeakers insert a true midrange of smaller size and use large woofers.

Tweeters with well designed waveguides can help in the transition, yielding more than satisfactory performance from such designs.
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post #532 of 5323 Old 01-09-2019, 02:33 PM
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As with most things the truth is in how well it is designed. As you say, the idea is that all the drivers are woofers, but only one of them acts as a midrange up to the crossover frequency to the tweeter. The success of the design partly depends on the size disparity of the woofer/midrange to the tweeter. The larger the woofer/midrange the higher the potential sound output, but the less optimum is the transition to the tweeter. That is why higher priced loudspeakers insert a true midrange of smaller size and use large woofers.

Tweeters with well designed waveguides can help in the transition, yielding more than satisfactory performance from such designs.

the jbl m2 seems to buck the trend with large woofer and tweeter and great measurements?

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post #533 of 5323 Old 01-09-2019, 02:36 PM
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Im guessing that the dual woofer with midrange and tweeter is used in design for smaller cabinets/ aesthetics?

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post #534 of 5323 Old 01-09-2019, 02:52 PM
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the jbl m2 seems to buck the trend with large woofer and tweeter and great measurements?
The M2 bucks no trends - it follows the trend because the "tweeter" is a compression driver and horn - a totally different thing. The directivity of the woofer and that of the horn match very well at crossover.
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post #535 of 5323 Old 01-09-2019, 03:17 PM
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The M2 bucks no trends - it follows the trend because the "tweeter" is a compression driver and horn - a totally different thing. The directivity of the woofer and that of the horn match very well at crossover.
That explains the low (800 hz) crossover. I guess that tweeter can handle 800 hz to 20k hz frequency range.



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post #536 of 5323 Old 01-09-2019, 03:18 PM
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I got my new stereophile mag w/kal rubinsons review of revel 228be. I briefly scanned it and looks like I will definitely go down the block to local dealer and listen to em.
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I usually think of speakers in pairs, so $1000 for the pair - maybe that's too tall an order! My ears want more than my wallet can deliver That said, I would happily audition a pair of F35s - it would just take a lot longer before I could swing a pair of more expensive speakers.
In that price range, there will be several good choices that have reviewed well, even if there are no spins for them. Klipsch, Chane, Emotiva and I'm sure plenty of others. Do your research, you'll find something good. Remember, most stuff can had at discount, don't pay MSRP for non id brands. Even id brands usually have small sales now and then.
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post #538 of 5323 Old 01-09-2019, 04:06 PM
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How to Choose a Loudspeaker -- What the Science Shows

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I got my new stereophile mag w/kal rubinsons review of revel 228be. I briefly scanned it and looks like I will definitely go down the block to local dealer and listen to em.


He also spent a day at Harman’s Northridge facility listening to three speakers—the Salon2, the 228be, and an unnamed competitor (easy to guess which one)—in blind tests. His sidebar is an interesting read. He seems to reach the same conclusion some here have reached, that measurements and tests of the sort discussed here should be taken into account when choosing loudspeakers. I go further and only consider components of any sort that measure well.


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post #539 of 5323 Old 01-09-2019, 05:15 PM
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In that price range, there will be several good choices that have reviewed well, even if there are no spins for them..
This is the problem I described in the attachment to post #220 . Engineers have the information they need to design good sounding - neutral - loudspeakers. It is in JAES papers, and in my books. Some use it, others don't. How does a customer know which is which?

Subjective reviews without any support from trustworthy measurements, can be positive for significantly flawed loudspeakers. Yes, good loudspeakers get good reviews, but so do flawed loudspeakers. How does a customer know which is which?

In the absence of an opportunity to take part in a blind listening comparison test, the customer is in a difficult position unless there are trustworthy anechoic data on the loudspeakers. It is time manufacturers started leveling with customers and providing useful specifications. Spinoramas are nice, industry standard and all that, but, as I have pointed out in an earlier post, families of anechoic on and off axis curves are almost as useful. A few, very few, manufacturers show such data. Any accurate anechoic measurements are better than none.

The results of the usual sighted - i.e. biased - subjective evaluations lacking the ability to do level matched blind comparisons are open to serious criticism. But trust what you want - it is a free world.
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post #540 of 5323 Old 01-09-2019, 08:24 PM
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Thank you Floyd Toole for creating this thread! This thread is 1 of the best audio conversations I have read on the net.
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