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post #91 of 554 Old 07-03-2019, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by mariogonzalezzz View Post
is there any good reason why i preferred the jbl 530s over a raal speaker?
im obviously not as knowledgeable as some of you. just interested in the hobby but not enough to go as far as reading graphs, measurements, rew, etc.

i read many reviews and more than once it was mentioned that after several auditions people always end up choosing speakers with compression drivers with waveguide?
i think the jbl studio 5 series are designed that way. and i understand the jbl 530 is highly regarded, but damn after so many speaker pairs i really think i wont upgrade again.
especially at the price i got them for.

Everyone has different tastes and different rooms.

It’s not a cut and dry “Raal’s are better than everything in the world”

Which are what some people are making it seem like people are saying.
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Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #92 of 554 Old 07-03-2019, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by mariogonzalezzz View Post
is there any good reason why i preferred the jbl 530s over a raal speaker?
im obviously not as knowledgeable as some of you. just interested in the hobby but not enough to go as far as reading graphs, measurements, rew, etc.
Without proper measurements it's hard to say but JBL is part of Harman and lately have been putting out some really good speakers, as long as you can get past the looks. I'd say if you're not all that interested in graphs and measurements then I wouldn't worry about why you prefer 1 speaker over another, all that matters is that you're happy with them and you enjoy them.
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post #93 of 554 Old 07-03-2019, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Soulburner View Post
If this were true, this would also mean that the RAAL ribbon advantage would be greatly lessened in a treated room with side absorption panels. Yes?
Yes that is true, if you think the ultra wide horizontal dispersion is an advantage. Or if you prefer to be in the direct sound field of your speakers and don't want reflections that would be a good way to go, limited vertical reflections and sidewall treatments to dampen those reflections.

Not sure if you have Dr. Toole's book but there is a whole chapter on room treatments and why they're a bad idea in many cases. Most people actually prefer reflections and he shows that and other interesting things in the chapter.
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post #94 of 554 Old 07-03-2019, 05:34 PM
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Application has a lot to do with it. Just like not every driver is perfect for every application, same goes for speaker systems.
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post #95 of 554 Old 07-03-2019, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by aarons915 View Post
I don't know how powerful their respective motors are either, maybe someone will chime in on that front. I do know that when claims are made about tweeters having faster "transient response" than others, it's the same basic argument as fast vs slow woofers, which most know don't really exist. Just like in the woofer argument, if a transducer can play a note, it's by definition fast enough. Now one area the RAAL does better is the extended frequency response out way beyond human hearing, so maybe there is something to it at very high frequencies but humans aren't going to hear that difference.

One comment. It's not about being "fast enough" to play the note. It is about stop-go-stop-go-stop etc. It is about acceleration and decay times. The Telsa 0-60 analogy is incorrect, it is about 0-60 back to 0 and so on... In which case, it would be like comparing the Tesla to a high performance motorcycle. As an example, in 30 seconds, how many times will the Tesla be able to reach 0-60 and back to 0 compared to a high performance bike? In reality (music), it is about reaching many different speeds as quickly as possible.


The term "fast" is often used improperly to describe transient accuracy. However, you would be wrong to assume that there aren't considerable differences in transient accuracy between different drivers, even woofers of the same diameter. This is easily measurable and it is basic physics. Take for example guitar strings, note the difference in mass between a low E string and a high E string. It isn't just the differences in tension, but the moving mass plays a critical role. Same reason why you need heavier mass to reproduce low frequencies and much lower mass for higher frequencies...


There are also many other technical differences as well... I'll brief on just one of them...


One of the most important aspects of tweeter design is how that tweeter deals with back wave radiation. As I am sure you know, a moving diaphragm produces sound in both directions, both forward and back. Higher quality dome tweeters take extra steps to dampen the back wave, which will reflect off the magnet assembly and come back out the front out-of-phase with the fundamental signal, which can smear detail. It is the reason for SEAS's Hexadym magnet system, Scan's AirCirc and B&W's Nautilus -- absorbing that back wave energy.


See the attached pics of the motor system differences between a high quality SEAS dome and the RAAL 70-20. Note the small opening that would be behind the dome. The opening is stuffed with acoustic foam to help reduce the back wave, but even with that - there is still plenty of non-damped reflective surfaces.


Now examine the RAAL 70-20, in the design of this ribbon, there is basically nothing behind the diaphragm. In fact, that entire huge cavity is packed tight with damping material. Also note the massive neodymium bar magnets that are to the sides of the ribbon (stronger motor system than any dome tweeter I have ever come across). Again, there is basically nothing but damping material behind the ribbon -- I have never been able to measure even a hint of back wave radiation from this tweeter, and I have tried.


Granted, very few true ribbons are made this way - but it is another very real advantage RAAL has over the competition and these technical merits are certainly not marketing hype. In fact, I don't think I have ever previously posted about this and I pray I didn't damage this $500+ unit in opening it up to show some pics


I understand you preferred a $20 dome to the RAAL 64-10 in the phil minimonitor, but that in no way means others would not hear the documented and measurable benefits I mentioned of a RAAL. We probably give more RAAL ribbon / dome comparisons than any other company, we typically average 1-2 per week in fact, and have been for the last 8 years - and our compiled data is that in our designs, RAAL's are preferred ~ 90% of the time.


To be honest, for my own experiment - I recently built up a few ridiculous high performance 2-ways with SEAS's white diamond tweeter. This tweeter is simply amazing. I precisely matched frequency response and crossover points to a 2-way using the RAAL 70-20 and the same woofers. To my surprise, I slightly preferred the diamond dome as it did a bit better with very complex musical passages. However, one of our customers - whose ear I trust implicitly (better than mine) - much preferred the 70-20.


In my 35 years in this crazy industry, what I have learned (the hard way) - is that if I can measure it, even if I can't hear it - someone else will and I have long stopped questioning what someone else actually hears in comparison to what I hear...


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post #96 of 554 Old 07-03-2019, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Ascend View Post
I understand you preferred a $20 dome to the RAAL 64-10 in the phil minimonitor, but that in no way means others would not hear the documented and measurable benefits I mentioned of a RAAL. We probably give more RAAL ribbon / dome comparisons than any other company, we typically average 1-2 per week in fact, and have been for the last 8 years - and our compiled data is that in our designs, RAAL's are preferred ~ 90% of the time.
Thanks Dave. Were these comparisons done indoors (small or big room?), or outdoors? Trying to separate the variables here. If someone always prefers the RAAL even when there are no reflections, that would be telling me there is something different about its sound.

Interestingly, there is also discussion of this back wave radiation in the context of subwoofers again from Brian at Rythmik: https://www.avsforum.com/forum/113-s...l#post38963329

A different way to handle that issue for sure, but it confirms it is an issue to be dealt with.

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post #97 of 554 Old 07-03-2019, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Soulburner View Post
Thanks Dave. Were these comparisons done indoors (small or big room?), or outdoors? Trying to separate the variables here. If someone always prefers the RAAL even when there are no reflections, that would be telling me there is something different about its sound.

Interestingly, there is also discussion of this back wave radiation in the context of subwoofers again from Brian at Rythmik: https://www.avsforum.com/forum/113-s...l#post38963329

A different way to handle that issue for sure, but it confirms it is an issue to be dealt with.

All of these comparisons are done in our demo room, of which is exceptionally well damped. We have it setup so that our room treatments (4 inch thick acoustic foam wedge panels attached to 4' x 4' removable panels) can be easily taken down or hung back up. Most listeners prefer full damping which effectively eliminates both 1st and 2nd reflections, as well as front and back wall reflections. Our demo room is average size, ~ 15 ft wide x 20 ft deep, with our main listening position at about 11 feet back from the speakers. I actually find it much easier to hear differences between the RAAL's we use and the domes we use when reflections are reduced / eliminated...

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post #98 of 554 Old 07-03-2019, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Ascend View Post
One comment. It's not about being "fast enough" to play the note. It is about stop-go-stop-go-stop etc. It is about acceleration and decay times. The Telsa 0-60 analogy is incorrect, it is about 0-60 back to 0 and so on... In which case, it would be like comparing the Tesla to a high performance motorcycle. As an example, in 30 seconds, how many times will the Tesla be able to reach 0-60 and back to 0 compared to a high performance bike? In reality (music), it is about reaching many different speeds as quickly as possible.


The term "fast" is often used improperly to describe transient accuracy. However, you would be wrong to assume that there aren't considerable differences in transient accuracy between different drivers, even woofers of the same diameter. This is easily measurable and it is basic physics. Take for example guitar strings, note the difference in mass between a low E string and a high E string. It isn't just the differences in tension, but the moving mass plays a critical role. Same reason why you need heavier mass to reproduce low frequencies and much lower mass for higher frequencies...
Hey Dave, thanks for the detailed reply and for sharing your knowledge with us. I understand fast and slow are not accurate ways of describing drivers, I was just bringing up the typical argument about woofers. I understand different drivers have different transient response, I'm just saying I haven't seen any evidence that it matters. If you saw the rest of Dr. Toole's quote he mentioned numerous blind tests with ribbons with the same claims and found no evidence of their superiority over other materials.

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Originally Posted by Ascend View Post
I understand you preferred a $20 dome to the RAAL 64-10 in the phil minimonitor, but that in no way means others would not hear the documented and measurable benefits I mentioned of a RAAL. We probably give more RAAL ribbon / dome comparisons than any other company, we typically average 1-2 per week in fact, and have been for the last 8 years - and our compiled data is that in our designs, RAAL's are preferred ~ 90% of the time
Just a few comments, first your models with the RAAL measure better than the domes, correct? So I wouldn't think that would be a surprising result. Another thing that could be happening is their expecting the RAAL to be better which will bias them in that direction, they would have to do these auditions blind and level-matched to have any scientific rigor.


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Originally Posted by Ascend View Post
To be honest, for my own experiment - I recently built up a few ridiculous high performance 2-ways with SEAS's white diamond tweeter. This tweeter is simply amazing. I precisely matched frequency response and crossover points to a 2-way using the RAAL 70-20 and the same woofers. To my surprise, I slightly preferred the diamond dome as it did a bit better with very complex musical passages. However, one of our customers - whose ear I trust implicitly (better than mine) - much preferred the 70-20.
Same comment about doing the test blind, level matched and in mono if possible, it makes differences much easier to spot and removes any bias you may have. I presume the diamond dome has worse transient response than the RAAL, if it were preferred doesn't that disprove any theory about that affecting preference?

Thanks again for giving us some of your expertise on the subject and thanks for the pics, very interesting. Also, I think I've read that you have detailed sound power measurements similar to Harman's spinorama, have you posted these anywhere? I'd be very interested in seeing them for the Sierra 2 and the Towers with the RAAL.

Thanks and happy 4th to you as well!
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post #99 of 554 Old 07-04-2019, 06:31 AM
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I understand fast and slow are not accurate ways of describing drivers, I was just bringing up the typical argument about woofers. I understand different drivers have different transient response, I'm just saying I haven't seen any evidence that it matters.
In a general, basic analysis, fast and slow are indeed not strictly literal in that waveforms do not require acceleration approaching instantaneous - diaphragms cannot fundamentally lag their inputs without also fundamentally rewriting the signal and so in band, relatively lighter diaphragms do not uncover signal details as a function of lower moving mass. Fast enough is the term because audio waveforms are limited by frequency to a relatively sedate ~20kHz, so as long as the diaphragm traces the waveform - that 20kHz, for example, and at-level - it's acceleration is "fast" enough. The same is true for all drivers, woofers included.

Anything above the HF cutoff progressively attenuates, meaning that even here the device traces the signal, just at diminishing level and naturally, while rotating phase or moving the waveform in pitch. You could call the latter a change in speed but since the signal is intact, it's still not related to an instantaneous phenomenon.

Subjectively, a driver with a 30kHz cutoff is "faster" than a driver with a 15kHz cutoff, but the primary audible phenomenon will be said to be the level difference between them between those two points. However, subjectively the 30kHz device will also typically be heard as "faster", and in a technical sense, its higher cutoff shows that it accelerates at a higher rate to get there.

Transient response introduces the damping aspect. To most accurately trace the signal the device should not overshoot or undershoot the signal. Here again the operative is neither instantaneous speed or infinite frequency, but within the operating bandwidth how the device traces what for it is a slow enough signal that it can recreate it to begin with.

Bandwidth best describes the so-called speed, per the above, and damping best describes transient response.

Horn compression drivers were mentioned in a positive light upthread. They lie on the opposite extreme from ribbons because their moving elements are relatively heavy but their motors have the highest motor force and energy products while their horns leverage air loads for high relative output. While they are typically the class most HF bandwidth-limited, very good ones are capable of truly superb sound ... and naturally cost a fortune. Their high initial loudness - which trades with that more restricted HF bandwidth - translates to low distortion when adjusted for playback volume, and other fundamental benefits arise from the acoustical horn. Many will say they've heard nothing better.

Last, except ribbons tweeters are generally direct drive from their amplifiers. Ribbons require electrical transformers to load-match, which also introduce a number of new electrical and acoustical terms to the speaker.

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post #100 of 554 Old 07-04-2019, 07:11 AM
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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.
Do you think I would spend hundreds of hours being a psychopath measuring and testing equipment and speakers blind if I didn't believe in Toole/Harman's research?

I am simply taking issue with your repeated claim that most people would not prefer a RAAL speaker if they tested them blind. In this thread, you added "compared to a more neutral speaker". Almost all of the RAAL speakers based on measurements would be considered neutral speakers, especially the 3-ways. Of course there more neutral speakers and according to the Harman research they should win every single time. But before we start applying absolute conclusions to every forum poster who liked the RAAL better than other options, should we not remember things like the M2 vs Salon2 blind shootout? My own blind testing picked a "less neutral" speaker.

So yea, I'm in "the science is absolutely correct, but maybe there's a bit of grey when it comes to comparing well-designed neutral speakers" camp. Maybe I'm just in the 10% minority that didn't prefer the best measuring speaker.

Everyone should be blind testing speakers and equipment if they truly want to know what they prefer. Some people have no desire or ability to do this, and good for them too, if that's what they want.

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I don't know if you guys realize this but many of you RAAL supporters exhibit cult-like behavior when someone doesn't sing glowing praises about your tweeter.
Cmon dude, straw man much? This just highlights that you're clearly the only one with an agenda. Thread after thread you're trying to save poor innocent AVS members from the evil "laid back" RAAL tweeter.

Reasonably priced high quality speakers are hardly the kind of thing that people need saving from.

No one is "exhibiting cult-like behavior when someone doesn't sing glowing praises" of the RAAL. What they are doing is responding to your little unnecessary crusade.

I couldn't care less what speakers other people buy. Just find something that you enjoy and be happy, so long as you're not getting some snake-oil crap etc, etc... I'd get rid of my RAALs in half a second if I find another speaker I prefer.

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post #101 of 554 Old 07-04-2019, 07:53 AM
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I am simply taking issue with your repeated claim that most people would not prefer a RAAL speaker if they tested them blind. In this thread, you added "compared to a more neutral speaker". Almost all of the RAAL speakers based on measurements would be considered neutral speakers, especially the 3-ways. Of course there more neutral speakers and according to the Harman research they should win every single time. But before we start applying absolute conclusions to every forum poster who liked the RAAL better than other options, should we not remember things like the M2 vs Salon2 blind shootout? My own blind testing picked a "less neutral" speaker.
The only RAAL speaker we've seen with complete measurements has been the BMR, which was from a 3rd party, Ascends measurements are better than most but still only give about 30% of what you need for a proper comparison.

My blind test picked a less neutral and non Revel speaker as well and I brought up questions as to why that might be out of curiosity, not to bash the brand.


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Cmon dude, straw man much? This just highlights that you're clearly the only one with an agenda. Thread after thread you're trying to save poor innocent AVS members from the evil "laid back" RAAL tweeter.
Making an observation is hardly a strawman. When I inquired about reasons why the Revel didn't win my blind audition, no Revel fans swarmed and attacked me, it was a good technical discussion. You can go back to any thread where a RAAL isn't preferred and see a much different outcome...
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post #102 of 554 Old 07-04-2019, 08:46 AM
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i read many reviews and more than once it was mentioned that after several auditions people always end up choosing speakers with compression drivers with waveguide?
That's a new one on me.

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post #103 of 554 Old 07-04-2019, 11:40 AM
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One comment. It's not about being "fast enough" to play the note. It is about stop-go-stop-go-stop etc. It is about acceleration and decay times. The Telsa 0-60 analogy is incorrect, it is about 0-60 back to 0 and so on... In which case, it would be like comparing the Tesla to a high performance motorcycle. As an example, in 30 seconds, how many times will the Tesla be able to reach 0-60 and back to 0 compared to a high performance bike? In reality (music), it is about reaching many different speeds as quickly as possible.


The term "fast" is often used improperly to describe transient accuracy. However, you would be wrong to assume that there aren't considerable differences in transient accuracy between different drivers, even woofers of the same diameter. This is easily measurable and it is basic physics. Take for example guitar strings, note the difference in mass between a low E string and a high E string. It isn't just the differences in tension, but the moving mass plays a critical role. Same reason why you need heavier mass to reproduce low frequencies and much lower mass for higher frequencies...


There are also many other technical differences as well... I'll brief on just one of them...


One of the most important aspects of tweeter design is how that tweeter deals with back wave radiation. As I am sure you know, a moving diaphragm produces sound in both directions, both forward and back. Higher quality dome tweeters take extra steps to dampen the back wave, which will reflect off the magnet assembly and come back out the front out-of-phase with the fundamental signal, which can smear detail. It is the reason for SEAS's Hexadym magnet system, Scan's AirCirc and B&W's Nautilus -- absorbing that back wave energy.


See the attached pics of the motor system differences between a high quality SEAS dome and the RAAL 70-20. Note the small opening that would be behind the dome. The opening is stuffed with acoustic foam to help reduce the back wave, but even with that - there is still plenty of non-damped reflective surfaces.


Now examine the RAAL 70-20, in the design of this ribbon, there is basically nothing behind the diaphragm. In fact, that entire huge cavity is packed tight with damping material. Also note the massive neodymium bar magnets that are to the sides of the ribbon (stronger motor system than any dome tweeter I have ever come across). Again, there is basically nothing but damping material behind the ribbon -- I have never been able to measure even a hint of back wave radiation from this tweeter, and I have tried.


Granted, very few true ribbons are made this way - but it is another very real advantage RAAL has over the competition and these technical merits are certainly not marketing hype. In fact, I don't think I have ever previously posted about this and I pray I didn't damage this $500+ unit in opening it up to show some pics


I understand you preferred a $20 dome to the RAAL 64-10 in the phil minimonitor, but that in no way means others would not hear the documented and measurable benefits I mentioned of a RAAL. We probably give more RAAL ribbon / dome comparisons than any other company, we typically average 1-2 per week in fact, and have been for the last 8 years - and our compiled data is that in our designs, RAAL's are preferred ~ 90% of the time.


To be honest, for my own experiment - I recently built up a few ridiculous high performance 2-ways with SEAS's white diamond tweeter. This tweeter is simply amazing. I precisely matched frequency response and crossover points to a 2-way using the RAAL 70-20 and the same woofers. To my surprise, I slightly preferred the diamond dome as it did a bit better with very complex musical passages. However, one of our customers - whose ear I trust implicitly (better than mine) - much preferred the 70-20.


In my 35 years in this crazy industry, what I have learned (the hard way) - is that if I can measure it, even if I can't hear it - someone else will and I have long stopped questioning what someone else actually hears in comparison to what I hear...


Have a wonderful holiday everyone!

I'm with Dave on this one. It's just not the motor but the mass and suspension. The mass and suspension determine how fast the moving mass comes to rest once the motive force is removed. In the automobile case, that would be the mass of the car and the brakes. When you see the fast decay time of a RAAL ribbon in the CSD plot, that's primarily due to it's low mass. How audible this is, I don't know, but it is certainly measurable.


Cheers,
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post #104 of 554 Old 07-04-2019, 01:27 PM
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If only life were so simple...going back to measurements...the spinorama information may allow you to say, if we get 6 people together and go back and forth between two loudspeakers, the one with the better measured spinorama will be preferred by the majority of people. But, when it comes to actually making a purchase, it doesn't measure/explain why some people seem to prefer ribbons/planars/stats and describe them as more transparent. Or why some people seem to prefer horns or high efficiency describing them as more alive. Or why some people buy ribbons and then three years later switch to horns because either their preference changes.


So, where does that leave us...if you make loudspeakers as a business...no doubt you hope this business will pay your bills and allow you to have a decent retirement....so, you have to tap into the science side and realize that its probably a good idea not to ignore what spinorama tells you. At the same time, there is a market side...as in the size of a particular segment and who all is competing in this segment. Example....RAAL...not too many people selling speakers with RAAL....so if you do, put your best foot forward and hope you get a lot of orders and that they keep coming. Another example...lots of people seem to want a "live" in your face sound....so make a big speaker with a big tweeter array and tell your story as to why you should be the choice.


I'm not picking on anyone....I absolutely believe that most speaker manufacturers think they are making a great product that will make people happy...but face it, this means nothing if it won't sell. And most speaker manufacturers that have been around a while have a following of people that like their products and buy their products...meaning their interpretation of what sounds right/good has some validity.



Now, from a buyers perspective....if I see a bunch of reviews and forum posts from people using different equipment in different size room but hearing similar things...and those are things that I have found are of value to me...then I'm interested.


Finally, I admit it, I love the RAAL 70-20....but I've also heard some great Be tweeters in speakers that I think I could be very happy with...and maybe one day, I'll give one of them a try.
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post #105 of 554 Old 07-05-2019, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by aarons915 View Post
Looking at some of the RAAL literature, I came across the 140-15d and I have to admit that ribbon measures very well:



I'd love to see a blind shootout between 2 identical speakers and that tweeter against something like this SB Satori Be tweeter:

I've used both tweeters and the beryllium Satori is in one of the latest Salk designs (not sure why they didn't use the RAAL 70-20XR?). 140-15 RAAL has wider horizontal dispersion than the 70-20XR but won't cross quite as low.

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post #106 of 554 Old 07-05-2019, 05:26 PM
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I've used both tweeters and the beryllium Satori is in one of the latest Salk designs (not sure why they didn't use the RAAL 70-20XR?). 140-15 RAAL has wider horizontal dispersion than the 70-20XR but won't cross quite as low.
The datasheet says recommended crossover 1600Hz LR4, I thought the 70-20 lower limit was 2k? Either way, I appreciate the commentary, I see now there is nothing about RAAL tweeters that are inherently "laid back" but it is more about the design. The 64-10 used in a 2 way is going to have narrowing dispersion in the 2-3k range, which will give them more of that laid back sound( a common problem even with domes) but used in a 3-way it won't happen. Furthermore, the 140-15d and 70-20Xr can be crossed over much lower and won't have this issue even in a 2-way.
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post #107 of 554 Old 07-05-2019, 08:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
That's a new one on me.
talk of the engineering of compression drivers with waveguides being superior and they dont distort at higher volumes.
i have no idea about first part but i believe the second. no matter how loud i turn the jbl 530s up there is never any distortion.

oh sh*t another earthquake just now.
thats 2 in 3 days in los angeles
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post #108 of 554 Old 07-05-2019, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by mariogonzalezzz View Post
talk of the engineering of compression drivers with waveguides being superior and they dont distort at higher volumes.
i have no idea about first part but i believe the second. no matter how loud i turn the jbl 530s up there is never any distortion.

oh sh*t another earthquake just now.
thats 2 in 3 days in los angeles


Seriously, be safe dude. I know a bunch of forum members are out there. I've got family out there as well.

Be as prepared as you can be. Sheesh.


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post #109 of 554 Old 07-06-2019, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by mariogonzalezzz View Post
talk of the engineering of compression drivers with waveguides being superior and they dont distort at higher volumes.
i have no idea about first part but i believe the second. no matter how loud i turn the jbl 530s up there is never any distortion.

oh sh*t another earthquake just now.
thats 2 in 3 days in los angeles
Compression drivers do loud quite well but, obviously, Revel doesn't use them and they are the "premium" brand under the Harman umbrella.

I made a deal with my friends who stayed with use here in Santa Rosa as they lost their home in the 2017 fires.

"You can stay here during a fire and we can stay at your place, (in the hills on solid granite), post earthquake apocalypse!"

The Rogers Creek fault is 12 feet behind our fence and I specifically added a SuperMoto to my motorcycle inventory to use during an earthquake.

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post #110 of 554 Old 07-06-2019, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by aarons915 View Post
The datasheet says recommended crossover 1600Hz LR4, I thought the 70-20 lower limit was 2k? Either way, I appreciate the commentary, I see now there is nothing about RAAL tweeters that are inherently "laid back" but it is more about the design. The 64-10 used in a 2 way is going to have narrowing dispersion in the 2-3k range, which will give them more of that laid back sound( a common problem even with domes) but used in a 3-way it won't happen. Furthermore, the 140-15d and 70-20Xr can be crossed over much lower and won't have this issue even in a 2-way.
With the 64-10 a smaller woofer with a well-controlled upper end response is best. After testing it I would stick to using it in a 3-way with a maximum diameter of 4" on the midrange (such as the Philharmonic BMR 3-way). Manufacturers often have "suggested" ranges for tweeters and I pay little attention to them as they are often a little "optimistic".

The change in a 2-way design's directivity isn't limited to the 64-10. You can see the impact of it in the NRC measurements of the Verita 7" 2-way that I did ten years ago with the RAAL 70-20XR. One reason you'll probably never see ribbons in a Revel design is that they have a strong focus on maintaining constant directivity.
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post #111 of 554 Old 07-08-2019, 05:42 PM
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I understand different drivers have different transient response, I'm just saying I haven't seen any evidence that it matters.

I mean no offense, so please don't be offended, but may I ask how many speakers have you designed and sold commercially? You may not see this evidence, but I and countless other engineers do. That said, it still comes down to personal preferences and what you and I can or can't hear...


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If you saw the rest of Dr. Toole's quote he mentioned numerous blind tests with ribbons with the same claims and found no evidence of their superiority over other materials.
There are so many different types of ribbons out there, some good, some bad, some horrible and some are simply the best. RAAL's have gained their popularity for a reason. RAAL has the same advertising budget that we do, zero.... Believe me, I would love to use a different ribbon tweeter, do you know how expensive RAAL 70-20's are? I know of only one brick and mortar available speaker in the US that uses this tweeter, and I recall the cost being over $30K...


I have tremendous respect for Dr. Toole and I apply many of his theories to my designs and have been doing so since around 1996-1997. I'll share a story with you. I was an engineer at M&K under Ken Kreisel and Dr. Lester Field for a decade. Ken has his own theories on speaker design and measurements, which was based on his work as a recording engineer. Dr. Field focused on wave propagation based on antenna theory. Eventually, this led to M&K's "phase focused" crossover design, which led to some very strict measurement techniques in order to assure the speaker design parameters met specific standards. This led to many highly successful commercial designs.


Later, various THX standards were introduced for speakers and for the various THX lines that we introduced, new design parameters and measurement techniques had to be followed. I personally hated this approach to speaker design - but I kept at it - and our THX lines received tremendous accolades from both consumers and professionals (many studios used them and continue to use them for mastering)


With tremendous growth, we then recruited several engineers from Harman, 2 of which worked under Dr. Toole. They introduced us to what is now termed Spinorama Measurements. Some of our most successful speaker designs measured poorly using this technique, yet some other designs measured quite well but some listeners didn't like how they sound. I still remember the rather dumbfounded look this one particular ex-Harman engineer gave us when he couldn't figure out how this particular speaker, with its poor spin measurements (yet very flat on-axis response) was so incredibly popular. This same engineer than started to adopt some Ken's design philosophy and not rely strictly on spins.


One thing I learned working under Ken was that he had incredible listening skills, remarkable actually. Ken preferred his design / measurement techniques but I ended up adopting a bit of everything - and even with that, it is a constant learning process.

The great thing about selling direct to consumers is the direct feedback we get - this is on a daily basis. Our tens of thousands of customers are our listening panel so to speak. Some of these customers are trained musicians, some are recording engineers, some are hobbyists, some are every day folks - but we get direct feedback from most of them. What I have found is that things are not nearly as black and white as one particular measurement technique.


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Just a few comments, first your models with the RAAL measure better than the domes, correct? So I wouldn't think that would be a surprising result. Another thing that could be happening is their expecting the RAAL to be better which will bias them in that direction, they would have to do these auditions blind and level-matched to have any scientific rigor.

It all depends on what definition is used to define "measure better".... And no, it is just the opposite actually - most consumers who stop in to visit expect our ribbon models to sound bright and harsh, they are often surprised if they end up preferring the ribbon model. It is important to understand that while RAAL is quite popular here on AVS, AVS members represent a very small fraction of the consumer base. Most of our auditions are from consumers who are checking out retailers, of which their only "ribbon" experience is from AMT's or Planar's. I don't know of a single consumer, myself included, who has ever auditioned a speaker with a RAAL ribbon at a retail establishment. There is no reason to conduct blind auditions with consumers who are coming here to audition/purchase speakers. As I stated above, most who come here are biased against ribbons and I think you would agree that the vast majority of consumers are looking to save money, not spend more - our ribbon models do cost quite a bit more yet our ribbon models are still preferred 90% of the time.


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Same comment about doing the test blind, level matched and in mono if possible, it makes differences much easier to spot and removes any bias you may have. I presume the diamond dome has worse transient response than the RAAL, if it were preferred doesn't that disprove any theory about that affecting preference?

I do much of my critical listening in monaural, and in stereo and I always level match ( I am well aware how to compare speakers ). We have a rather expensive switching device that can level match to within a tenth of a dB. Yes, by your standards - the RAAL 70-20 measures "better" than the SEAS diamond dome in every aspect except distortion in the lower treble range and it also has wider vertical dispersion. I have been critically listening to speakers for over 3 decades now, I was surprised I preferred the SEAS diamond dome (I didn't expect to), but I did - it has a transparency to its sound that is simply unmatched - perhaps one day I will figure out a way to capture that characteristic in a measurement.... But until that time - I just have to settle for liking a speaker that didn't measure quite as well in spinorama tests and that was my point. However, as I also mentioned - one of our customers whose ear I trust more than my own, preferred the RAAL 70-20 in the same speaker, with his comments all related to better transients with the RAAL.

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Thanks again for giving us some of your expertise on the subject and thanks for the pics, very interesting. Also, I think I've read that you have detailed sound power measurements similar to Harman's spinorama, have you posted these anywhere? I'd be very interested in seeing them for the Sierra 2 and the Towers with the RAAL.

You are very welcome. Yes, as I previously mentioned, I extensively use Harman's spinorama techniques in speaker design - and have been doing so since the late 90's. I also use many other equally important techniques developed by other companies - as well as my own techniques. In fact, 20 years ago when we first started Ascend Acoustics, I thought about publishing our measurements using Harman's guidelines, but felt consumers would not be able to understand - so we generally followed what Stereophile and Soundstage were publishing, but going a bit deeper. Perhaps we will now start publishing the spins as well. It is good to see Toole's hard work gaining some popularity.

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post #112 of 554 Old 07-08-2019, 06:09 PM
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In fact, 20 years ago when we first started Ascend Acoustics, I thought about publishing our measurements using Harman's guidelines, but felt consumers would not be able to understand - so we generally followed what Stereophile and Soundstage were publishing, but going a bit deeper. Perhaps we will now start publishing the spins as well. It is good to see Toole's hard work gaining some popularity.
I would love to see spins for Ascend speakers, and I think it would work out well for you with a certain crowd (e.g., AVS folks and people like us). I don't know, but strongly suspect, that Dennis's BMR got a great deal of additional attention as a result of Audioholics publishing a full spin for the BMR. I'm sure it didn't hurt that the BMR measured so well, but I think simply having these data available would appeal to certain folks.
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post #113 of 554 Old 07-08-2019, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Eddy_Z View Post
As I was perusing the Satori beryllium tweeters, I saw this nice little footnote:
*** Warning ***
Beryllium is a toxic material. Should you ever break the dome, do not touch the pieces with your bare hand.


I think I'll stick with my asbestos-free RAAL...............
Actually beryllium is sometimes used in the termination points for ribbons...
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post #114 of 554 Old 07-08-2019, 09:16 PM
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Actually beryllium is sometimes used in the termination points for ribbons...
But does that include RAAL ribbons?
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post #115 of 554 Old 07-08-2019, 09:51 PM
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I mean no offense, so please don't be offended, but may I ask how many speakers have you designed and sold commercially? You may not see this evidence, but I and countless other engineers do. That said, it still comes down to personal preferences and what you and I can or can't hear...
No offense taken, I'm not sure why I need to have designed or sold speakers commercially to be able to comprehend studies on the subject though. Harman has sold quite a few and if their double blind tests found a benefit of ribbons over other tweeter material, I'm sure they would be using them. Your argument about preferences and what you or I can or can't hear sounds an awful lot like what an audio salesman would say when trying to sell me a $1000 cable.

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With tremendous growth, we then recruited several engineers from Harman, 2 of which worked under Dr. Toole. They introduced us to what is now termed Spinorama Measurements. Some of our most successful speaker designs measured poorly using this technique, yet some other designs measured quite well but some listeners didn't like how they sound. I still remember the rather dumbfounded look this one particular ex-Harman engineer gave us when he couldn't figure out how this particular speaker, with its poor spin measurements (yet very flat on-axis response) was so incredibly popular. This same engineer than started to adopt some Ken's design philosophy and not rely strictly on spins.
A speaker can be successful or popular for many reasons, the Harman sighted vs blind study showed how biased listeners can be with sighted tests, often preferring the nicer looking or flashy designs. The Spinorama is only concerned with good sound quality, it can't stop someone from liking a speaker for other reasons.

Now my own personal story, my recent blind audition was with a Harman speaker that has one of the best Spinoramas around and I didn't prefer it to the other one but it still sounded great and is probably the 2nd best bookshelf I've heard so I still believe their science is valid. I just think they make assumptions that may not be true for everyone, in my case, I point my speakers straight ahead so the on-axis and listening window isn't as important as the sound power I suspect. It's possible the Spin might not have been perfected in the 90's but now they can correlate their measurements to listener preference 99% of the time when the bass response is similar, so it sure seems like they have it down to a science.

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It all depends on what definition is used to define "measure better".... As I stated above, most who come here are biased against ribbons and I think you would agree that the vast majority of consumers are looking to save money, not spend more - our ribbon models do cost quite a bit more yet our ribbon models are still preferred 90% of the time.
According to Dr. Toole, you want a neutral on-axis response along with a smoothly declining off-axis response, similar to the Salon 2 or KEF reference I posted earlier. I can't get the 70-20 measurements but if they're anything like the 140-15, I'm sure they're very good, your spinorama measurement would easily show it as well.


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But until that time - I just have to settle for liking a speaker that didn't measure quite as well in spinorama tests and that was my point. However, as I also mentioned - one of our customers whose ear I trust more than my own, preferred the RAAL 70-20 in the same speaker, with his comments all related to better transients with the RAAL.
This is the kind of stuff that is interesting in speaker design in my opinion. But first you would have to establish that the diamond version is indeed preferred by the majority in a blind test. It's very likely that if the 70-20 version measures better then it would be preferred by the majority of listeners.


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In fact, 20 years ago when we first started Ascend Acoustics, I thought about publishing our measurements using Harman's guidelines, but felt consumers would not be able to understand - so we generally followed what Stereophile and Soundstage were publishing, but going a bit deeper. Perhaps we will now start publishing the spins as well. It is good to see Toole's hard work gaining some popularity.
I think it's a good idea, you can always make it a separate pdf for people to download if they're interested in it or just post them on the forums and not on the sales page at all. Of course, you already post more than most companies but I think a lot of people would like to see the spins.
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post #116 of 554 Old 07-08-2019, 11:27 PM
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No offense taken, I'm not sure why I need to have designed or sold speakers commercially to be able to comprehend studies on the subject though. Harman has sold quite a few and if their double blind tests found a benefit of ribbons over other tweeter material, I'm sure they would be using them.
To be fair, I don't know what speakers they tested. It was apparently dozens, but we don't know if any of them had a RAAL ribbon tweeter. Do you?
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According to Dr. Toole, you want a neutral on-axis response along with a smoothly declining off-axis response, similar to the Salon 2 or KEF reference I posted earlier. I can't get the 70-20 measurements but if they're anything like the 140-15, I'm sure they're very good, your spinorama measurement would easily show it as well.
There is this which includes horizontal off-axis frequency response curves of the Sierra Ribbon Tower from 0 (on-axis) through 90 degrees off-axis in 5 degree increments.

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post #117 of 554 Old 07-09-2019, 02:02 AM
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Im not knocking harman or any of their testing. they need a trained listening group for many of their tests. most ordinary joes dont get trained like harmans reliable test group. this lack of training or training may skew results for or against a speaker in mono. its nice to have studies done and open to public. however, believe it or not some have returned harmans best designed speakers favoring something else. we all have an ear for something and we all agree harmans tests arent 100% predictable.

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post #118 of 554 Old 07-09-2019, 05:44 AM
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Im not knocking harman or any of their testing. they need a trained listening group for many of their tests. most ordinary joes dont get trained like harmans reliable test group. this lack of training or training may skew results for or against a speaker in mono. its nice to have studies done and open to public. however, believe it or not some have returned harmans best designed speakers favoring something else. we all have an ear for something and we all agree harmans tests arent 100% predictable.
Floyd stated that training did not change preference, it just allowed them to finish testing quicker.

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post #119 of 554 Old 07-09-2019, 05:45 AM
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Floyd stated that training did not change preference, it just allowed them to finish testing quicker.

they also shared a study showing various untrained listeners being all over the map.

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post #120 of 554 Old 07-09-2019, 06:02 AM
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here is a good summary by doc toole "I concluded that, in terms of loudspeaker/room combinations, one size does not fit all. I believe it still to be true, but now we know a lot more about the factors that influence our opinions. Given the enormous variations in recordings, the absence of useful information on most loudspeakers, and the uncertainties of loudspeaker/room interactions, there can be no absolutely predictable outcomes." source https://www.audioholics.com/room-aco...steners-prefer

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