Originally Posted by Floyd Toole
Second: HK (Harman/Kardon) is a tiny company under the Harman International umbrella. It has a historically important place, though, as the original company created by Sidney Harman.
Third: a full spinorama is nice, but not at all necessary to recognize good sounding loudspeakers.
Thanks. The original posts seemed to be quite Harman Kardon spinorama-centric.
Originally Posted by Floyd Toole
You can find variations on this collection of on and off axis data from a few manufacturers who believe in measurements and are not embarrassed to show them. Look for smooth, flattish on-axis/listening window curves and similarly smooth and gradually changing off-axis performance. It does not require an engineering degree to "read" the essential information in the curves. There are lots of them in my book, good and bad, to provide practice.
Understood (I hope
). Among the speakers I have owned, and still own, are those from the deceased Canadian speaker company Waveform. The Waveform speakers were carefully designed by Dr. Claude Fortier with input by Paul Barton using the facilities at the NRC, with among their guiding principles:
* No substitute for blind listening
* Good acoustics = verifiable science
* Flat measured response
* A flat listening window
* Controlled wide dispersion
* Smooth room response
Reviews, even the crankiest objectivists measurements-first writers like The Audio Critic magazine and The Sensible Sound rated the Waveform speakers as the most accomplished speaker design they had encountered up to that time both in terms of measured success for their goal, and sound quality (company folded in 2000 I believe). One review with some measurements here FWIW:
I love the sound of the Waveform speakers. What I find interesting is that, as far as I can tell, the design goals were very similar to those espoused in this thread and used for the Revel speakers. Yet I very much prefer the presentation of the Waveform speakers. There's a slight difference in there that - to my
perception - renders the sound of voices and acoustic instruments with more believable tonal warmth on the Waveforms. I wonder to what degree my preference for the Waveform speakers could have been predicted and on what exact measurements.
But I am very curious about your recommendation: " Look for smooth, flattish on-axis/listening window curves and similarly smooth and gradually changing off-axis performance."
And it's implication for different speaker designs - e.g. Electrostatic or Omni-directional speakers.
Stats are known not to put off as much sound to the sides as a conventional box speaker, so they are going to measure quite differently (if I have this correct) in that respect. What are the implications for electrostatics in the "preference" scale, given how they may tend to measure on axis vs their steep drop-off to the sides? I'm thinking Quad ESL 57s, 63s et al.
Then there are the attempts at omni-directional speakers. Among speaker designers, I've often seen it stated that an ideal speaker would be: the point source model, the pulsating sphere, ‘identical loudness in all directions’.
So you have companies like MBL attempting this with their radialstrahler models:
But if your research recommends a gradual even sloping DOWN of frequencies off axis, what does this suggest for the preference rating of omni-directional speakers that put out essentially even energy radiation in to the room?
(I also own a pair of MBL radialstrahler omni-directional monitors and absolutely adore their sound btw. I wonder if you or HK ever blind tested that brand?).