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post #31 of 554 Old 07-01-2019, 08:01 AM
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The vertical dispersion is the same for the 70-10 and 70-20 if you don't use the 70-10's foam pads (each ribbon is 70mm long). The 64-10 has a little better vertical coverage than the above, but still more restricted than a typical 1" dome tweeter. The 70-10 with the foam deflectors will be closest to a 1" dome in the vertical response.
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post #32 of 554 Old 07-01-2019, 08:38 AM
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Here's the RAAL 64-10 response curves in the BMR-CC center channel that I designed. As you can see the low end response is limited making it a better choice for a 3-way with a higher crossover point.
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post #33 of 554 Old 07-01-2019, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by aarons915 View Post
I'm glad you said that because of all the speakers I've heard in the past few years I've felt they were all top notch and I could live with any of them. Sometimes I feel like people on this forum make too big a deal out of differences between speakers but I agree these differences I'm talking about are subtle, no speaker I've heard in the past few years has "wiped the floor with another".

Those measurements do indeed look good but when I compare my in room measurements they're quite a bit laid back compared to even the KEF Q150. The LS50 have more energy from 1k and beyond than both of them by about 3 db, which is quite a bit in room.
Hmm, from your previous posts in this I don't remember reading the word subtle anywhere.

The OPs original tenet was ridiculous to start with, imnsho.
I understand it is opinion and that's fine but the extrapolation...

I've had excellent speakers with soft dome, Be, ribbon, folded ribbon.

I've also heard speakers with the above tweeters that were not so excellent
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post #34 of 554 Old 07-01-2019, 11:37 AM
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Dennis what happened to all of the other NRC graphs on the BMR? You never posted them, correct?

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post #35 of 554 Old 07-01-2019, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Milt99 View Post
Hmm, from your previous posts in this I don't remember reading the word subtle anywhere.

The OPs original tenet was ridiculous to start with, imnsho.
I understand it is opinion and that's fine but the extrapolation...

I've had excellent speakers with soft dome, Be, ribbon, folded ribbon.

I've also heard speakers with the above tweeters that were not so excellent
I've said in previous comparisons that the RAAL sounded good and is basically how people describe them but based on the hype on these forums I was expecting something more I guess. I've heard comments from I believe Dave at Ascend that said the RAAL is better than any dome tweeter, for example. Maybe it was just a case of them being too hyped and me having unrealistic expectations. Either way, I still feel that a tweeter that cost close to 10x what another does should have no problem outperforming it, I think most people would see that as a reasonable statement.
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post #36 of 554 Old 07-01-2019, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by aarons915 View Post
I've said in previous comparisons that the RAAL sounded good and is basically how people describe them but based on the hype on these forums I was expecting something more I guess. I've heard comments from I believe Dave at Ascend that said the RAAL is better than any dome tweeter, for example. Maybe it was just a case of them being too hyped and me having unrealistic expectations. Either way, I still feel that a tweeter that cost close to 10x what another does should have no problem outperforming it, I think most people would see that as a reasonable statement.
I think we should just leave this with the thought that comparing tweeters is a very complicated issue. I would only note that (correct me if I'm wrong) your impressions are probably based on the 64-10. If so, its cost is comparable to most decent domes, not to mention the much more expensive Be and other upscale domes. The 70-10 is super expensive, but it has a much more robust transformer with an amorphous core and can be crossed safely at 2800 Hz even with very high output use. But most important, whether one tweeter bests another is very much a personal decision. You can see from Rick's plots that the 64-10 is super smooth and extended, and we know from the Audioholics Spinorama tests that it has extremely wide horizontal dispersion. For me, that translates into a more natural sound. But it's clearly not for everyone.
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post #37 of 554 Old 07-01-2019, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Rick Craig View Post
Here's the RAAL 64-10 response curves in the BMR-CC center channel that I designed. As you can see the low end response is limited making it a better choice for a 3-way with a higher crossover point.
It sure does measure well out to 30 deg, do you happen to have any further off axis and of the vertical plane? I'm just curious if there is just a large null at certain frequencies or does it just drop off much faster as the frequencies rise.

I know we've talked about this before in another thread but it just seems that if the RAAL is that strong off-axis then the in-room response should be flatter but mine was pretty laid back with quite the downward slope. I suspect the limited vertical response is what is causing it but I'm not sure.

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post #38 of 554 Old 07-01-2019, 01:16 PM
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Dennis what happened to all of the other NRC graphs on the BMR? You never posted them, correct?
I didn't publish them for two reasons. First, I switched to a slightly different design, so the plots weren't strictly applicable. There was no real change in the extreme off-axis plots, so I did post those on my site. They've since been confirmed by the Audioholics Spinorama tests. The other reason had to do with the measured bass response. Before I get into that, could you tell me whether the NRC measurements of your Verita monitor were for the sealed or ported model? Thanks.
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post #39 of 554 Old 07-01-2019, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by aarons915 View Post
It sure does measure well out to 30 deg, do you happen to have any further off axis and of the vertical plane? I'm just curious if there is just a large null at certain frequencies or does it just drop off much faster as the frequencies rise.

I know we've talked about this before in another thread but it just seems that if the RAAL is that strong off-axis then the in-room response should be flatter but mine was pretty laid back with quite the downward slope. I suspect the limited vertical response is what is causing it but I'm not sure.
I don't have any horizontal measurements beyond thirty degrees but I'm sure they would still look pretty good because the ribbon is only 10mm wide. The attached vertical response is of the center channel with the crossover in place. The total window is only eleven degrees but it gives you some idea of where the ribbon starts to roll off vertically.

Unfortunately I agree with you that there's been a great deal of hype about the RAAL tweeters and it raised expectations. Much of that has to do with the "brand ambassador" environment we live in and slick marketing machines. They are good tweeters though but implementation is really critical. A less than optimal crossover could make you prefer something else.
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post #40 of 554 Old 07-01-2019, 04:12 PM
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I don't have a ton of experience with different speakers, but as one who recently went the way of the RAAl, I'll throw in my 2 cents.... In Dennis' first post on this thread he talked about the energy in the ssssssssssssssss region and how a dome tweeter has a more focused presentation and more energy there, and how the RAAL will present the same sound with a more stretched out sound. That is the most prominent difference I hear as well, and can think of no better way to say it. I love the detail it provides without the harshness that other speakers I have heard give.

I am not a regular classical or jazz listener, but I have moved a little more in the direction of folk, bluegrass, acoustic, and other songs that use more instruments (I used to listen more strictly to all different types of rock/alternative). Perhaps that is why I also enjoy the RAALs. They definitely sound much more real life sounding to me. I had read about this from various people descrigin speakers in teh past, but I did not know exactly what that meant until hearing these speakers for myself. I do not like my BMRs as much in some of the heavier rock, but that is more because of the lack of that midbass hump that most speakers have, so not because of the RAAL.
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post #41 of 554 Old 07-01-2019, 04:44 PM
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These aren't the greatest in-room measurements but they do show a bit of what I'm talking about graphically. These are bookshelves with the identical cabinets and midwoofers, the only difference is the tweeter and crossover point. The measurements are averaged from 3 spots around my central listening position.



The idea room curve per Harman is about a 3-4db drop from the bass to treble and you can see the highs in the RAAL are dropping off much more in-room than the titanium dome. They clearly have quite a bit more energy in the highs and this is what people are talking about when they say that at least the RAAL 2-way bookshelves are laid back.
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post #42 of 554 Old 07-01-2019, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by aarons915 View Post
These aren't the greatest in-room measurements but they do show a bit of what I'm talking about graphically. These are bookshelves with the identical cabinets and midwoofers, the only difference is the tweeter and crossover point. The measurements are averaged from 3 spots around my central listening position.



The idea room curve per Harman is about a 3-4db drop from the bass to treble and you can see the highs in the RAAL are dropping off much more in-room than the titanium dome. They clearly have quite a bit more energy in the highs and this is what people are talking about when they say that at least the RAAL 2-way bookshelves are laid back.
Well, obviously you could voice up the RAAL with a small resistor change. I don't think the graph says anything about the inherent sound of the RAAL. As I recall, you did comment to me that after more listening the dome version sounded a little bright to you. In any event, each speaker measures pretty darn well.
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post #43 of 554 Old 07-01-2019, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by PhilharmonicDennis View Post
Well, obviously you could voice up the RAAL with a small resistor change. I don't think the graph says anything about the inherent sound of the RAAL. As I recall, you did comment to me that after more listening the dome version sounded a little bright to you. In any event, each speaker measures pretty darn well.
Yes the design for those had resistor changes as well that I could drop output, which I would probably do had I gone with them long term. And correct, I did say in that thread that the Zaph were a bit bright after extended listening sessions and that the Mini Phil would probably be preferred long term. Maybe the RAAL was padded a bit much for my tastes, I didn't know it was that easy to change its output.

The only point in showing that graph is that some people think you're crazy to say RAAL bookshelf speakers are laid back.
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post #44 of 554 Old 07-01-2019, 07:05 PM
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Rick or Dennis, if either of you are willing to take on this question...

A thought experiment. Say you have two otherwise identical speakers.

If you took a small (reputable, flat to 20kHz+) dome tweeter and designed a waveguide for speaker 1 that gave it the exact same dispersion pattern as a RAAL tweeter in speaker 2, then equalized the two speakers to measure identically in frequency response, especially from 3-20kHz...would they still sound different? If so, how could the dome have more sssss energy if it doesn't show up in the FR graph? I think it would have to.

I just whipped out my RTA and noted ssssss sounds fall between 3-6kHz.

My postulation is that the differences would melt away and a blind A/B would be a real challenge. So perhaps in the era of CAD waveguides and EQ, the game may have changed?
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post #45 of 554 Old 07-01-2019, 08:31 PM
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Super interesting thread, since I very recently transitioned from a moderately high-energy dome Sierra-1 NrT to a RAAL Sierra-2. I also had a pair of regular Sierra-1s without the NrT tweeters in my office, so I've recently been through three different tweeters in the same cabinets. Now, the S2s have a different woofer to handle the higher crossover, so the RAAL isn't the only difference between the various iterations, but it's a big one.

I would rate the base S1s a little laid back, the S2s neutral, and the S1 NrTs as a little forward. In no case did I think the difference was dramatic; all of them are still pretty neutral. The S1s are not as laid back as, say, many Wharfedales, and the NrTs are not as forward as, say, Klipschs.

I don't think the difference between the NrTs and the S2s is necessarily dramatic, depending on what you listen to. If your primary material is "wall of sound" compressed rock or popcorn movies where explosions are king, I'd be maybe be a little wary about the price difference between the RAALs and the NrTs. (Note this is not a knock on rock or explosion movies—I love both of these things and they are mainstays for me as well. But there are other things in my listening universe.)

What the RAALs (or maybe the package of RAALs and the S2s Curv woofer) did deliver relative to the NrTs is:

* Wider soundstage with more "air" between instruments, if available in the recording. Not a huge difference for some music, but a marked difference for classical.
* Better retrieval of detail.
* Faster transients.

Fundamentally most of these things don't help all that much when what you're listening to is someone wailing away at the E-string on the bass (I can say that, I play bass—or rather, I'm learning to—and what bassist doesn't enjoy a good hammering of that big old E?) or blowing up a helicopter. You know, I love the Clash like they were my brothers and while they sound better on the S2s, they don't sound that much better on the S2s. If that were my target material, the upgrade probably wouldn't have been worth it.

But I've not heard anything remotely in this price class that makes a recording of a violin in a quartet sound more like being in the same room with someone playing a violin in a quartet. Full stop—that's a big deal. For me, worth it right there. (A lot of Pink Floyd is also much better on the S2s.) But if that's not your thing, then sure, I can see thinking that the RAAL hype is oversold.

They're not miracles, but I do think the S2s are better than the S1 NrTs. But to me, how much better depends on what material you're throwing at them. And maybe your room, too, as there's someone on the Ascend forums who went back to NrTs after upgrading to S2s because he didn't like how they interacted with his room.

And it's not like what is achieved by the RAALs is necessarily impossible to achieve in a dome. I've heard good and bad domes, and I'm sure there are good and bad implementation of ribbons. In fact, the first time I heard ribbons 15 or so years ago, I was totally underwhelmed by what I'm pretty sure was a terrible implementation. The upper mids/lower treble were scooped out like the engineers had just crossed them over as if they were standard domes. And there are all kinds of new, exotic domes that a supposed to be amazing—even DaveF has fiddled with some of these. What Toole said is almost certainly right that it's not an intrinsic property of the technology being used—it's not especially that they're RAAL ribbons that's important. Instead, I'd say it's that they are good tweeters with certain design properties that when utilized well deliver good results.
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post #46 of 554 Old 07-02-2019, 07:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aarons915 View Post
These aren't the greatest in-room measurements but they do show a bit of what I'm talking about graphically. These are bookshelves with the identical cabinets and midwoofers, the only difference is the tweeter and crossover point. The measurements are averaged from 3 spots around my central listening position.



The idea room curve per Harman is about a 3-4db drop from the bass to treble and you can see the highs in the RAAL are dropping off much more in-room than the titanium dome. They clearly have quite a bit more energy in the highs and this is what people are talking about when they say that at least the RAAL 2-way bookshelves are laid back.
I don't know what the crossover point is for Zaph's design but if you look at the response curves for the Vifa tweeter it has significantly lower frequency extension than the RAAL. This enables greater overlap of the drivers and makes the crossover much easier to execute. The dome tweeter will also help fill in the off-axis response where the woofer's dispersion / directivity starts to narrow.

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post #47 of 554 Old 07-02-2019, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Soulburner View Post
Rick or Dennis, if either of you are willing to take on this question...

A thought experiment. Say you have two otherwise identical speakers.

If you took a small (reputable, flat to 20kHz+) dome tweeter and designed a waveguide for speaker 1 that gave it the exact same dispersion pattern as a RAAL tweeter in speaker 2, then equalized the two speakers to measure identically in frequency response, especially from 3-20kHz...would they still sound different? If so, how could the dome have more sssss energy if it doesn't show up in the FR graph? I think it would have to.

I just whipped out my RTA and noted ssssss sounds fall between 3-6kHz.

My postulation is that the differences would melt away and a blind A/B would be a real challenge. So perhaps in the era of CAD waveguides and EQ, the game may have changed?
Sorry but that wouldn't work. Waveguides / horns add resonances and changes in the frequency response. The horizontal off-axis response of the RAAL 64-10 tweeter is in large part due to the 10mm wide ribbon element. You can take a dome tweeter and load it with a 10mm wide "slot" on the front (as sometimes done in pro audio / PA systems) but it won't give you the dispersion pattern of the RAAL. I've measured a VMPS home audio speaker where they added a slot loading piece that was removable. I tested it with and without the slot and it was far better without it.

Part of this is that listeners are affected by the visual aspect and for some people ribbons have that extra "cool factor". AMT's are the current trend though many of them are crappy tweeters.

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post #48 of 554 Old 07-02-2019, 09:02 AM
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Well, there are really two discussions going on here...
1. Is one speaker/driver design right for everyone?
2. Are the RAALs a very good tweeter for the money?
Depending on your answer to question #1 , you may feel that the RAAL isn't worth the money for YOU! However, that is far from being "overhyped"...that is like saying the color blue is overhyped because a lot of people like it and you don't!
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post #49 of 554 Old 07-02-2019, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Rick Craig View Post
Sorry but that wouldn't work. Waveguides / horns add resonances and changes in the frequency response. The horizontal off-axis response of the RAAL 64-10 tweeter is in large part due to the 10mm wide ribbon element. You can take a dome tweeter and load it with a 10mm wide "slot" on the front (as sometimes done in pro audio / PA systems) but it won't give you the dispersion pattern of the RAAL. I've measured a VMPS home audio speaker where they added a slot loading piece that was removable. I tested it with and without the slot and it was far better without it.

Part of this is that listeners are affected by the visual aspect and for some people ribbons have that extra "cool factor". AMT's are the current trend though many of them are crappy tweeters.
Thanks. So you're saying even a .75" dome dispersion is not as wide as any RAAL?

You could at least match the vertical, though.

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post #50 of 554 Old 07-02-2019, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by SunByrne View Post
Super interesting thread, since I very recently transitioned from a moderately high-energy dome Sierra-1 NrT to a RAAL Sierra-2. I also had a pair of regular Sierra-1s without the NrT tweeters in my office, so I've recently been through three different tweeters in the same cabinets. Now, the S2s have a different woofer to handle the higher crossover, so the RAAL isn't the only difference between the various iterations, but it's a big one.

I would rate the base S1s a little laid back, the S2s neutral, and the S1 NrTs as a little forward. In no case did I think the difference was dramatic; all of them are still pretty neutral. The S1s are not as laid back as, say, many Wharfedales, and the NrTs are not as forward as, say, Klipschs.
Thanks for the unique perspective. This is more of what I would expect when comparing three good tweeters, for them to have different presentations but not be dramatically different.

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Originally Posted by SunByrne View Post
What Toole said is almost certainly right that it's not an intrinsic property of the technology being used—it's not especially that they're RAAL ribbons that's important. Instead, I'd say it's that they are good tweeters with certain design properties that when utilized well deliver good results.
This is all I'm really trying to say but some people will mention the low mass or transient response as an inherent advantage, regardless of the frequency response. I can't deny the internet marketing of them has been very good though. Waned to edit to say I've never heard Dennis Murphy or Rick Craig talk about the RAAL with any kind of marketing jargon or magical properties, but there are some who do and many people believe it.
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post #51 of 554 Old 07-02-2019, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Rick Craig View Post
I don't know what the crossover point is for Zaph's design but if you look at the response curves for the Vifa tweeter it has significantly lower frequency extension than the RAAL. This enables greater overlap of the drivers and makes the crossover much easier to execute. The dome tweeter will also help fill in the off-axis response where the woofer's dispersion / directivity starts to narrow.
The ZA 5.2 is crossed over at 1800hz, so yes it is most likely better matched to that woofer. So the question becomes do the RAAL benefits above 3k make up for the lower dispersion from 2-3k compared to using the dome? I didn't think so when I was comparing them but maybe others would disagree. Based on this little experiment and other speakers in the past, I believe what most people consider to be the "highs" really happen in the 1-4 Khz range and is probably the most important range to get right.
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post #52 of 554 Old 07-02-2019, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Soulburner View Post
Thanks. So you're saying even a .75" dome dispersion is not as wide as any RAAL?

You could at least match the vertical, though.
The vertical dispersion is a function of the length and also to a lesser extent the design of the dome's faceplate. I'm not so sure a slot the same length of the ribbon would yield the same directivity. The dispersion of the ribbon depends on the width of the ribbon element as well as the design of the magnet assembly and faceplate.

Domes can also vary in dispersion depending on the size of the surround, shape of the dome, faceplate design, and of course the diameter. The 64-10 is inset somewhat due to the magnets in front of the ribbon. Those magnets will change the horizontal dispersion to a small degree; as a result, it's not going to have the horizontal coverage of a 10mm wide ribbon flush with the front of the cabinet. There might be a few 3/4" domes that come close but most of them usually have a semi-horn type faceplate which is intended to extend the low frequency response and also tends to roll off the top octave a little as you move off-axis.
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post #53 of 554 Old 07-02-2019, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by aarons915 View Post
The ZA 5.2 is crossed over at 1800hz, so yes it is most likely better matched to that woofer. So the question becomes do the RAAL benefits above 3k make up for the lower dispersion from 2-3k compared to using the dome? I didn't think so when I was comparing them but maybe others would disagree. Based on this little experiment and other speakers in the past, I believe what most people consider to be the "highs" really happen in the 1-4 Khz range and is probably the most important range to get right.
1-4K is a sensitive area for the ear and is where we tend to decide if the voicing is too bright or laid back. Ribbons with wide dispersion tend to be more liked in the top two octaves (5-20K), especially the top octave for what's normally described as "air". It might also be somewhat due to a listener who has high frequency hearing loss and the extra extension / wider dispersion is beneficial to them.

With a 1.8K crossover point the directivity will be a better match with the ZA5.2 design. It also allows better control of the woofer's breakups at 1.8K, 4.5K, and 8.9K.
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post #54 of 554 Old 07-02-2019, 12:07 PM
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Came here to see if @aarons915 was doing his usual craping on RAALs and their "hype" in every thread where they're mentioned(based on his limited experiences with a couple small speakers).

Was not disappoint
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post #55 of 554 Old 07-02-2019, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by duckymomo View Post
Came here to see if @aarons915 was doing his usual craping on RAALs and their "hype" in every thread where they're mentioned(based on his limited experiences with a couple small speakers).

Was not disappoint
The BMR is one of the most well known and popular speakers lately and it's hardly small. Way to add value to the thread, by the way.
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post #56 of 554 Old 07-02-2019, 01:04 PM
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No problem! Here's some more value for you:

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Originally Posted by aarons915 View Post
I can see why many people would like that honestly but if you compared them blind to a more neutral speaker I don't think they would come out on top.
Here you go making this claim in yet another thread. It's quite an assumption to make and just because you keep repeating it, doesn't make it true.

I'm not making any bold claims like that, but I have tested them blind against numerous other speakers (see the Revel thread for an example of my testing) and yet, they're still in my room.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mariogonzalezzz View Post
Not trying to offend anyone.

Are RAAL tweeters better suited for older people with more sensitive hearing?
Not for me, still young and have pretty good to great hearing. I posted in another thread:

"Even though I'm the only person I've seen on AVS post a high resolution hearing test up to 20kHz, I don't trust my ears/preferences and neither should anyone else. During my hearing test, I even had the audiologist randomize the tones, vary the cadence, and repeat most of it multiple times, all so I couldn't subconsciously try to trick it. IIRC, it took about 45 minutes."

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elihawk View Post
Well, there are really two discussions going on here...
1. Is one speaker/driver design right for everyone?
2. Are the RAALs a very good tweeter for the money?
Depending on your answer to question #1 , you may feel that the RAAL isn't worth the money for YOU! However, that is far from being "overhyped"...that is like saying the color blue is overhyped because a lot of people like it and you don't!
There isn't a single product discussed on AVS that has a LARGE contingent of fans that doesn't have a minority that does not share that opinion but isn't that true of all things?

As to being overhyped by RAAL fans I could point to several speaker brands, (beginning with a C, R, J and T come to mind), who's fans are far far more "my way or the highway" in their views.

Bottom line, if you enjoy it, more power to you and if you don't then find something you prefer.

BTW, I don't own RAAL speakers or the four brands of speakers alluded to but I'm sure they are all worthy of consideration.
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post #58 of 554 Old 07-02-2019, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duckymomo View Post
Here you go making this claim in yet another thread. It's quite an assumption to make and just because you keep repeating it, doesn't make it true.

I'm not making any bold claims like that, but I have tested them blind against numerous other speakers (see the Revel thread for an example of my testing) and yet, they're still in my room.
I make that claim because this is a science forum and if someone claims superiority of a design or a driver, it should be able to verified using scientific methods. You've chosen your speakers after comparing them with many others in your space, that's the way it's supposed to be done, I have no problem with that.

I'm also not sure how it's a bold claim that a more neutral speaker would beat a less neutral one in blind testing, unless you believe the Harman research is all marketing as well. Either way, I always tell people to audition blind if the best sound is what they're going for, as you know it really is the only way to eliminate our biases when listening.
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post #59 of 554 Old 07-02-2019, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aarons915 View Post
I make that claim because this is a science forum and if someone claims superiority of a design or a driver, it should be able to verified using scientific methods. You've chosen your speakers after comparing them with many others in your space, that's the way it's supposed to be done, I have no problem with that.

I'm also not sure how it's a bold claim that a more neutral speaker would beat a less neutral one in blind testing, unless you believe the Harman research is all marketing as well. Either way, I always tell people to audition blind if the best sound is what they're going for, as you know it really is the only way to eliminate our biases when listening.
Sounstage did independently measure one RAAL speaker, a Selah design and it measured well, certainly better than any speaker using an AMT, (ie. Golden Ear, Martin Logan).

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post #60 of 554 Old 07-02-2019, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aarons915 View Post
The BMR is one of the most well known and popular speakers lately and it's hardly small. Way to add value to the thread, by the way.
I must have missed something. You've been talking about the little 2-way monitors with Zaph woofers. I don't understand why you're bringing up the BMR.
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