KEF R3 vs Ascend Sierra 2EX - Blind Listening Results (Informal) - Page 10 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #271 of 382 Old 11-08-2019, 04:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bear123 View Post
Since we can be fairly confident that wide dispersion seems to correlate well with subjective sound quality preference, it only makes sense to assume(to me at least) that wide dispersion should be in all directions.
That makes sense intuitively, but so do some other conjectures:

What if the dispersion pattern that sounds best is the one that matches the 'aspect ratio' of an average room? Most rooms are much longer and wider than they are tall (but of course, this is not always the case). Could a dispersion pattern that is wider than it is tall interact and disperse throughout such rooms more naturally / uniformly? Would be interesting to do some simulations on this.

Or, it would be reasonable to conjecture the existence of some psycho-acoustic phenomena where our ears are naturally more tuned to subtleties in the horizontal plane rather than the vertical, since most of our experience on Earth is more 2D (motion across an approximately flat surface) than it is truly 3D with no bias to any surface topology.

Or, rather than the topology of the earth's surface and our orientation on it, one could make a similar argument regarding our ears being positioned on each side of our head -- laid out along the horizontal (not vertical) plane[1]. I believe that the complex geometry of our outer ear has evolved to be particularly powerful in pinpointing the direction of sounds with greatest sensitivity in the horizontal plane (rotation around the 'up' axis, around which our heads swivel via our necks).

Again, all speculation/conjecture. I think only further blind tests can make any real progress on this matter, unless someone has already extensively tested many variants here (and I don't think anyone has). I know these small N blind tests aren't nearly as good as a large scale study with significant financial backing behind it, but they're quite a lot better than the endless circle of speculation around places like this IMO where the same data and theory just bounces around forever with no real progress aside from education.

[1] In the interest of science, I withhold this conjecture until we confirm that humans don't exist with ears on the top of their head and the bottom of their chin.

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post #272 of 382 Old 11-08-2019, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by echopraxia View Post
That makes sense intuitively, but so do some other conjectures:

What if the dispersion pattern that sounds best is the one that matches the 'aspect ratio' of an average room? Most rooms are much longer and wider than they are tall (but of course, this is not always the case). Could a dispersion pattern that is wider than it is tall interact and disperse throughout such rooms more naturally / uniformly? Would be interesting to do some simulations on this.

Or, it would be reasonable to conjecture the existence of some psycho-acoustic phenomena where our ears are naturally more tuned to subtleties in the horizontal plane rather than the vertical, since most of our experience on Earth is more 2D (motion across an approximately flat surface) than it is truly 3D with no bias to any surface topology.

Or, rather than the topology of the earth's surface and our orientation on it, one could make a similar argument regarding our ears being positioned on each side of our head -- laid out along the horizontal (not vertical) plane[1]. I believe that the complex geometry of our outer ear has evolved to be particularly powerful in pinpointing the direction of sounds with greatest sensitivity in the horizontal plane (rotation around the 'up' axis, around which our heads swivel via our necks).

Again, all speculation/conjecture. I think only further blind tests can make any real progress on this matter, unless someone has already extensively tested many variants here (and I don't think anyone has). I know these small N blind tests aren't nearly as good as a large scale study with significant financial backing behind it, but they're quite a lot better than the endless circle of speculation around places like this IMO where the same data and theory just bounces around forever with no real progress aside from education.

I would add to this that floor bounce and ceiling bounce cancellations will usually be more prominent in the vertical plane due to the shorter distances involved. Also, with the exception of coaxial drivers, the vertical response will be much more ragged because of cancellations in the crossover(s) region. But, again, this is just conjecture as far as judging the role vertical dispersion plays in our perception of the speaker's sound. An EE and I are testing whether very broad horizontal dispersion combined with limited, but even vertical dispersion will sound more accurate than conventional radiation patterns. The design uses slopes, crossover points, and driver placements derived from use of radar wave theory. I have a prototype up and running, but we'll need a stereo pair to really test the theory out.
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post #273 of 382 Old 11-08-2019, 04:49 PM
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Spins are heavily biased in the horizontal direction, so even Harman would disagree that dispersion is equally important in all directions.

Also, floor and ceiling bounce mostly occurs around the crossover point (anechoically), causing a small ER/SP dip. This dip typically occurs in the midrange area where humans are most sensitive (2-3kHz).

This small dip serves to hide the crossover itself and to alleviate an annoying frequency sensitivity in many people. This could actually be seen as a very positive quality to some.
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post #274 of 382 Old 11-08-2019, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by echopraxia View Post
That makes sense intuitively, but so do some other conjectures:

What if the dispersion pattern that sounds best is the one that matches the 'aspect ratio' of an average room? Most rooms are much longer and wider than they are tall (but of course, this is not always the case). Could a dispersion pattern that is wider than it is tall interact and disperse throughout such rooms more naturally / uniformly? Would be interesting to do some simulations on this.
That is what JBL's waveguides are designed for.

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post #275 of 382 Old 11-08-2019, 05:40 PM
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Exactly, not only do I believe vertical dispersion is important due to reflections but one of the reasons Revel doesn't use them is driver integration, which is obviously one of the most important aspects of any Harman designed speaker. Kevin Voecks has a post in the Revel thread where he said he's never heard a speaker without a waveguide to have proper driver integration, after hearing a few Revel and KEF speakers I see what he means. Real sounds mostly radiate from a point in space so it makes sense to me that we would want speakers to simulate a point source as well.
And on that note - if a violinist plays in your room, the sound will not radiate at you like a speaker. It will emanate in all directions and involve the whole room.

That doesn't mean that omnidirectional speakers are the endgame. After all, recordings have different goals. Some are done near-field, where maybe an omni could add that room effect. Others are recorded in the far-field and already have that energy in the recording.

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post #276 of 382 Old 11-08-2019, 08:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Soulburner View Post
And on that note - if a violinist plays in your room, the sound will not radiate at you like a speaker. It will emanate in all directions and involve the whole room.

That doesn't mean that omnidirectional speakers are the endgame. After all, recordings have different goals. Some are done near-field, where maybe an omni could add that room effect. Others are recorded in the far-field and already have that energy in the recording.
It’s even more complicated than that, since I don’t think sound radiates exactly omnidirectionally from a violin either. And to the extent that it is directional, that direction is going to be dynamically changing constantly, swinging around in various ways as the violinist plays.

Replicating something like that completely realistically is probably beyond any current tech possible with only two audio channels. This is probably why orchestral music is often considered among the most difficult to realistically replicate: the sound field around you can be quite complex and “full” to perfectly replicate that space.

I suppose the closest you can get right now would be via multichannel music specifically recorded as such. (Which now that I think about it, I’ve never really looked into very much — maybe I should.)

Maybe in the future we will develop technology capable of capturing a densely sampled sound field, capturing every possible aspect of the sound in an environment. With the right computational power and algorithms on top, you could theoretically simulate alternate positions in the space as well.

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post #277 of 382 Old 11-08-2019, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by echopraxia View Post
It’s even more complicated than that, since I don’t think sound radiates exactly omnidirectionally from a violin either. And to the extent that it is directional, that direction is going to be dynamically changing constantly, swinging around in various ways as the violinist plays.

Replicating something like that completely realistically is probably beyond any current tech possible with only two audio channels. This is probably why orchestral music is often considered among the most difficult to realistically replicate: the sound field around you can be quite complex and “full” to perfectly replicate that space.

I suppose the closest you can get right now would be via multichannel music specifically recorded as such. (Which now that I think about it, I’ve never really looked into very much — maybe I should.)

Maybe in the future we will develop technology capable of capturing a densely sampled sound field, capturing every possible aspect of the sound in an environment. With the right computational power and algorithms on top, you could theoretically simulate alternate positions in the space as well.
When I play the violin, the direct sound is exactly like the reflected--intolerable. But for a real violinist on a recording, you have to factor in that the mic is capturing a lot of the reflected sound already. So what you have coming at you directly out of the speakers is a mixture of direct and recorded sound. So things are really complicated. That was the fallacy in the Bose 901 engineering. The strong rear output was designed to produce the same ratio of direct-to-reflected sound as you would hear in a concert hall. But in a live venue, what's being reflected initially is direct sound from the instruments, not a mixture of direct and reflected sound. Not surprisingly, the sound character and sound stage the 901 varied widely from recording to recording, and may never have been what the good Dr. Bose intended.
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post #278 of 382 Old 11-08-2019, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by l0nestar8 View Post
Spins are heavily biased in the horizontal direction, so even Harman would disagree that dispersion is equally important in all directions.

Also, floor and ceiling bounce mostly occurs around the crossover point (anechoically), causing a small ER/SP dip. This dip typically occurs in the midrange area where humans are most sensitive (2-3kHz).

This small dip serves to hide the crossover itself and to alleviate an annoying frequency sensitivity in many people. This could actually be seen as a very positive quality to some.
Now I'm getting confused--or more confused than usual. Floor bounce is a term that refers to the frequency range where the output from the woofer hits the floor and returns exactly out of phase, hence the cancellation dip. For a stand mounted speaker on a 22" - 27" stand, that cancellation occurs at around 120 Hz and only shows up on measurements with a wide enough window to capture room effects. It won't show up on a quasi-anechoic plot above 200 Hz. Cancellation dips in the 2k - 3k region are a completely different animal. As the mic is moved up or down substantially from the design axis for a speaker with vertically aligned drivers, the relative arrival times of the woofer and tweeter will change, which will change the relative phase of the two drivers. A dip at the crossover point will gradually develop and become very deep Where the woofer and tweeter are the most out of phase. The dip in the S400 occurs at the crossover point, as it should. There's nothing unique about the S400 in this regard. Perhaps the factory's designation of "floor bounce" is just a language translation error.
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post #279 of 382 Old 11-08-2019, 10:22 PM
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There's nothing unique about the S400 in this regard. Perhaps the factory's designation of "floor bounce" is just a language translation error.
It's confusing because what most traditionally call "floor bounce" is what you're describing as SBIR cancellation but Burchardt has split the early reflections from CTA 2034 into floor, ceiling and sidewall reflections separately instead of the typical early reflections curve where all 3 are averaged together.
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post #280 of 382 Old 11-08-2019, 10:40 PM
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Floor bounce is a term that refers to the frequency range where the output from the woofer hits the floor and returns exactly out of phase, hence the cancellation dip. For a stand mounted speaker on a 22" - 27" stand, that cancellation occurs at around 120 Hz and only shows up on measurements with a wide enough window to capture room effects.
...
Perhaps the factory's designation of "floor bounce" is just a language translation error.
You're correct, Dennis. Thanks for the clarification. Floor/ceiling "bounces" are indeed room effects and, as you state, usually occur in the ~150Hz range. These wouldn't show up in anechoic (or even semi-anechoic) as you correctly assert.

Dips around the crossover are due to offset (typically vertically-aligned) drivers. The audibility of this effect is another question altogther, I'd imagine.

Sorry for any (added) confusion, and yeah, now that I look at it more closely, I'm not really sure what Buchardt is displaying in this graph (EDIT: see previous post for possible explanation):



Could very well be a language barrier.

EDIT: @aarons915 beat me to the punch. Deleted redundant part of my post.
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post #281 of 382 Old 11-08-2019, 11:21 PM
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I understand that it's not easy to design, but it doesn't seem fair to quote cherrypicked measurements from an entirely different speaker (e.g. this 7" mid + RAAL speaker you quote), as part of a critique of the Sierra 2EX, or RAAL speakers in general. That would be like me finding a poorly integrated speaker using the same woofers as one of Revel's speakers as evidence against that woofer or speaker. That makes no sense.

The Sierra 2EX is a different design than your example, and measures extremely well. If a small dip exists off-axis near the crossover of the 2EX, it is perhaps more subtle than many of the on-axis imperfections in your Salon 2 plot . And we haven't even invoked the Sierra RAAL Towers yet, which pair 5.25" mids and woofers with the RAAL 70x20.

So, I get it, if you're saying it's hard to design such a speaker. No disagreement that it's hard to get right. But that's not a surprise at all: Of course exceptional speakers are difficult to design correctly. This applies to everything in a speaker, not just any one singled-out component like a RAAL tweeter: waveguides are hard to design correctly, crossovers are hard to design correctly, ports are hard to design correctly, etc. etc. etc.

But clearly it is possible to design exceptional speakers with RAAL tweeters, and this is proved by the existence of such speakers. If the 2EX doesn't convince you, certainly the Sierra RAAL Towers should, at least.

Even if we're talking purely about the Sierra 2EX vs other speakers (like the KEF R3), the question really becomes about whether a subtle dip in the 2EX extreme off-axis near the crossover makes for a worse, or better sound than a speaker that also dips off-axis near the crossover, but never recovers (and continually decreases into the treble extension). The blind tests from me and a few others continue to provide evidence pointing towards the idea that broader dispersion is preferred, among these two choices.

It's natural to still be skeptical of course. That's why I plan to continue gathering data. Next up is the Neumann KH120, and after that I will probably test a number of Revel bookshelf speakers.

Well you have to forgive my skepticism, but it is the only 'third party' measurement of speaker with a RAAL tweeter that I could find. I also don't believe any design, as competent as the designer may be, can work around the laws of physics. That being said the Sierra uses a smaller midrange than a 7" and will likely perform better - I was merely pointing out that the RAAL tweeter's weakness lies in matching its wide dispersion to a conventional driver.

The tower with its wider (double width?) tweeter and smaller midrange indeed looks very interesting.
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You're correct, Dennis. Thanks for the clarification. Floor/ceiling "bounces" are indeed room effects and, as you state, usually occur in the ~150Hz range. These wouldn't show up in anechoic (or even semi-anechoic) as you correctly assert.

Dips around the crossover are due to offset (typically vertically-aligned) drivers. The audibility of this effect is another question altogther, I'd imagine.

Sorry for any (added) confusion, and yeah, now that I look at it more closely, I'm not really sure what Buchardt is displaying in this graph (EDIT: see previous post for possible explanation):



Could very well be a language barrier.

EDIT: @aarons915 beat me to the punch. Deleted redundant part of my post.
I just want to add that the wall bounce also incorperates the front and rear wall reflected sounds - not just the lateral.
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post #283 of 382 Old 11-09-2019, 12:15 AM
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It's confusing because what most traditionally call "floor bounce" is what you're describing as SBIR cancellation but Burchardt has split the early reflections from CTA 2034 into floor, ceiling and sidewall reflections separately instead of the typical early reflections curve where all 3 are averaged together.
It's late, so maybe that's why I'm not following you. SBIR (Speaker Boundary Interference Response) is a general term for cancellations caused by reflections that are out of phase with the direct sound at the listening position. It includes floor bounce, but also other cancellations, usually in the bass in normal rooms and speaker locations. Cancellations at the crossover point off-axis vertically will be most visible in the direct sound measurement, while floor bounce will only be visible in a room measurement showing early reflections. So I still don't know what the Buchardt "Early Reflections" floor bounce measurement is. It seems to me it should show floor bounce in the mid-bass, and to a lesser extent any signs of the crossover cancellation dip might be present in the early reflected sound.
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post #284 of 382 Old 11-09-2019, 12:36 AM
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It's late, so maybe that's why I'm not following you. SBIR (Speaker Boundary Interference Response) is a general term for cancellations caused by reflections that are out of phase with the direct sound at the listening position. It includes floor bounce, but also other cancellations, usually in the bass in normal rooms and speaker locations. Cancellations at the crossover point off-axis vertically will be most visible in the direct sound measurement, while floor bounce will only be visible in a room measurement showing early reflections. So I still don't know what the Buchardt "Early Reflections" floor bounce measurement is. It seems to me it should show floor bounce in the mid-bass, and to a lesser extent any signs of the crossover cancellation dip might be present in the early reflected sound.
The ANSI 2034 'early reflection curve' is an average, comprising a number of off-axis measurements, both in the horizontal and vertical planes as representations of sounds that arrive within a single reflection point. What Buchardt did was split up this single curve into multiple averages that respresent the sound that hits the side, front and back wall - the sound that hits the floor, and the sound that hits the ceiling, before it gets reflected back to a listener. Hope this clarifies.
It has nothing to doing with adjacent boundary interference effects.
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The ANSI 2034 'early reflection curve' is an average, comprising a number of off-axis measurements, both in the horizontal and vertical planes as representations of sounds that arrive within a single reflection point. What Buchardt did was split up this single curve into multiple averages that respresent the sound that hits the side, front and back wall - the sound that hits the floor, and the sound that hits the ceiling, before it gets reflected back to a listener. Hope this clarifies.
It has nothing to doing with adjacent boundary interference effects.
Boy--this is confusing. So you're saying the early reflections curves are just averages of off-axis measurements at various angles up, down, horizontally, front, and back before the sound hits these boundaries? And it's not how the reflections themselves measure? If so, it's a very rough approximation of what you would actually hear, but now I think I see why they do it this way. I was wondering how they would ever sort out which reflections were coming from where, and rooms obviously vary in size and dimensions. I think Buchardt better find a better way to label this, because the "floor bounce" measurement doesn't include the actual floor bounce dip. The Parts Express OmniMic measuring system includes an option that I think is more useful for specific rooms. If you select the "all" function, you can see all of the sound the mic hears including reflections. The results are a maze of vertical lines, but you can see the general trend. And in all of the speakers I've measured in my room, the reflections end up following the general shape of the listening window curve--the various reflections tend to fill in even if the far off-axis speaker response isn't very linear. The OmniMic option may have some limitations and ambiguities that I'm not aware of, but the results sure square with my listening experience. I still think a speaker's far off-axis behavior is less important than a lot of people claim.
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post #286 of 382 Old 11-09-2019, 01:56 AM
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Boy--this is confusing. So you're saying the early reflections curves are just averages of off-axis measurements at various angles up, down, horizontally, front, and back before the sound hits these boundaries? And it's not how the reflections themselves measure? If so, it's a very rough approximation of what you would actually hear, but now I think I see why they do it this way. I was wondering how they would ever sort out which reflections were coming from where, and rooms obviously vary in size and dimensions. I think Buchardt better find a better way to label this, because the "floor bounce" measurement doesn't include the actual floor bounce dip. The Parts Express OmniMic measuring system includes an option that I think is more useful for specific rooms. If you select the "all" function, you can see all of the sound the mic hears including reflections. The results are a maze of vertical lines, but you can see the general trend. And in all of the speakers I've measured in my room, the reflections end up following the general shape of the listening window curve--the various reflections tend to fill in even if the far off-axis speaker response isn't very linear. The OmniMic option may have some limitations and ambiguities that I'm not aware of, but the results sure square with my listening experience. I still think a speaker's far off-axis behavior is less important than a lot of people claim.
The 'floor bounce' labeled response is an average from the sound hitting the floor from the loudspeaker at certain angles. It is completely unrelated to any boundary interference issues. Boundary effects should NEVER be a part of anechoic measurements because they don't exist in an anechoic environment.

As for the far off-axis measurements - it depends on your listening environment. In my experience the closer the speakers are positioned to untreated walls (in the lateral sense) the more the far off-axis sounds are blended with the direct sound, possibly altering the perception of timbre.
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The 'floor bounce' labeled response is an average from the sound hitting the floor from the loudspeaker at certain angles. It is completely unrelated to any boundary interference issues. Boundary effects should NEVER be a part of anechoic measurements because they don't exist in an anechoic environment.

As for the far off-axis measurements - it depends on your listening environment. In my experience the closer the speakers are positioned to untreated walls (in the lateral sense) the more the far off-axis sounds are blended with the direct sound, possibly altering the perception of timbre.
Which means it's important for someone with a narrow room to choose speakers that have good of-axis behavior. Good meaning similar in character to the on-axis sound. But now that I think about it - isn't it better to have the off-axis sound down in level a bit in this case, to prevent the overall presentation of combined sound from getting too bright? Such as in the Buchardt graphs.
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Which means it's important for someone with a narrow room to choose speakers that have good of-axis behavior. Good meaning similar in character to the on-axis sound. But now that I think about it - isn't it better to have the off-axis sound down in level a bit in this case, to prevent the overall presentation of combined sound from getting too bright? Such as in the Buchardt graphs.
A stronger the off-axis 'bounce' can negate cross-cancellation effects - as well as widen the apparent source width. It's just two possible reasons for 'wider' dispersion models being preferred in blind tests. The point of diminishing returns is past 90° lateral imo.

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Boy--this is confusing. So you're saying the early reflections curves are just averages of off-axis measurements at various angles up, down, horizontally, front, and back before the sound hits these boundaries? And it's not how the reflections themselves measure?
Sorry I went to bed after my post but others mostly covered it, these early reflections are estimates from averaging the early reflections from many rooms. From CTA 2034, the various angles are:

Early Reflections
The early reflections curve is an estimate of all single-bounce, first-reflections, in a typical listening room.
• Floor Bounce: 20º, 30º, 40º down
• Ceiling Bounce: 40º, 50º, 60º up
• Front Wall Bounce: 0º, ± 10º, ± 20º, ± 30º horizontal
• Side Wall Bounces: ± 40º, ± 50º, ± 60º, ± 70º, ± 80º horizontal
• Rear Wall Bounces: 180º, ± 90º horizontal
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post #290 of 382 Old 11-09-2019, 12:12 PM
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The early reflections curve is an estimate of all single-bounce, first-reflections, in a typical listening room.
• Floor Bounce: 20º, 30º, 40º down
• Ceiling Bounce: 40º, 50º, 60º up
• Front Wall Bounce: 0º, ± 10º, ± 20º, ± 30º horizontal
• Side Wall Bounces: ± 40º, ± 50º, ± 60º, ± 70º, ± 80º horizontal
• Rear Wall Bounces: 180º, ± 90º horizontal
Thanks for this. This explains those graphs much better now.

The rising on-axis and LW response, in combination with relatively flat ER, makes me think that these would have to sound a little bright based on my experiences. The crossover dip is a little more pronounced than these other speakers we've been discussing (JBL, Ascend, Kef, Revel, Neumann, Genelec...)

I'm sure they would sound perfectly fine to most people, though.

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post #291 of 382 Old 11-09-2019, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by l0nestar8 View Post
Thanks for this. This explains those graphs much better now.

The rising on-axis and LW response, in combination with relatively flat ER, makes me think that these would have to sound a little bright based on my experiences. The crossover dip is a little more pronounced than these other speakers we've been discussing (JBL, Ascend, Kef, Revel, Neumann, Genelec...)

I'm sure they would sound perfectly fine to most people, though.
The S400's? Detailed, but not bright. The Ascend Sierra-2 should sound much brighter by comparison. The early reflections graphs are down in level rather than having the typical rolloff like the vast majority of speakers. It's an interesting response. It's like the off-axis treble is effectively shelved rather than rolled off. Sounds really good, though.

I think without seeing the early reflections curve, you can't really tell what a speaker will sound like. The S400 looks neutral to bright in the listening window, but the majority of people say it is a little more tame than that.

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post #292 of 382 Old 11-09-2019, 01:03 PM
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The Ascend Sierra-2 should sound much brighter by comparison.
I would give the 2EX a big advantage in the on-axis and LW curves. Looks much more neutral to me, whereas the S400 looks like it would sound a little bright. I've never been a fan of speakers with rising treble, fun at first, but gets old eventually.

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I think without seeing the early reflections curve, you can't really tell what a speaker will sound like. The S400 looks neutral to bright in the listening window, but the majority of people say it is a little more tame than that.
Comparing the ER curves of the 2EX and the S400, the S400 is more well-behaved, outside of the rather pronounced crossover dip. However, it's that combination of rising treble and shelved (flat) ER that gives me some pause. But, like you say, the reports are all very positive.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by l0nestar8 View Post
Thanks for this. This explains those graphs much better now.

The rising on-axis and LW response, in combination with relatively flat ER, makes me think that these would have to sound a little bright based on my experiences. The crossover dip is a little more pronounced than these other speakers we've been discussing (JBL, Ascend, Kef, Revel, Neumann, Genelec...)

I'm sure they would sound perfectly fine to most people, though.
I think if you averaged all of the ER curves together that bump would be much smaller and not a big deal. It will look larger in the sound power of course, most 2-ways have a small bump in the ER curve and a larger one in the Sound power. Dr. Toole was asked about this dip before and he basically said as long as the direct sound is flat then the brain basically fills in the dip and it's mostly inaudible.
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Originally Posted by l0nestar8 View Post
I would give the 2EX a big advantage in the on-axis and LW curves. Looks much more neutral to me, whereas the S400 looks like it would sound a little bright. I've never been a fan of speakers with rising treble, fun at first, but gets old eventually.



Comparing the ER curves of the 2EX and the S400, the S400 is more well-behaved, outside of the rather pronounced crossover dip. However, it's that combination of rising treble and shelved (flat) ER that gives me some pause. But, like you say, the reports are all very positive.
They aren't a bright speaker, so there's more to it than just the listening window. From the the S400 page:

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So the good news is that most present-day loudspeakers tend to sound pretty good on-axis. What's also true is that there are still many loudspeakers that perform rather poorly as soon as you move off-axis. Since most research suggests that what we hear in-room is estimated to be around 12% direct sound (from your speakers), 44% Early Reflections (from your room), and 44% Sound Power (how the sound loads your room), we strive to create solutions that'll deliver predictable, consistent, and excellent results both on and off axis – regardless of the living space!
So we definitely need to consider the early reflections graphs, which when taken together, tell a more complete story of how the speaker sounds.

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post #295 of 382 Old 11-09-2019, 04:44 PM
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I think if you averaged all of the ER curves together that bump would be much smaller and not a big deal. It will look larger in the sound power of course, most 2-ways have a small bump in the ER curve and a larger one in the Sound power. Dr. Toole was asked about this dip before and he basically said as long as the direct sound is flat then the brain basically fills in the dip and it's mostly inaudible.
Yep, which is why I questioned its audibility above. It's still a small flaw though, and more pronounced than the other speakers we're discussing. I doubt the ER is that much different than the SP shown, except being higher in overall level.

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They aren't a bright speaker, so there's more to it than just the listening window.

So we definitely need to consider the early reflections graphs, which when taken together, tell a more complete story of how the speaker sounds.
Yep, which is why I mentioned the combination of the two.

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Update: The Neumann KH120A's have arrived (thanks to Amazon for fast shipping)! They are so much smaller than I expected, too (very compact) -- about as much smaller than the Sierra 2EX as the 2EX are smaller than the KEF R3.

Very early impressions: These are amazing. The midbass energy for such a tiny speaker is very impressive. Everything from the midbass to treble is incredibly clean and balanced. The linearity and smoothness of the mids and treble are, to my ears right now (listening ~3ft near-field at the moment) distinctly superior to what I heard from the KEF R3's. Whether it will match the Sierra 2EX, I can't say -- but it certainly will be very interesting to see the results of the blind test of this vs the Sierra 2EX.

Disclaimer: Like any early impressions, take this with a big grain of salt. I'm most likely experiencing 'shiny new gadget syndrome', which despite my best conscious efforts to avoid is likely still a big factor. That said, there's absolutely no question that these are amazingly good speakers.

P.S. Also, the build quality and precision of the fit-and-finish is just in a league of its own. The entire cabinet is metal, and both the woofer and tweeter appear to have a form-fitting metal grill permanently covering and protecting them. The solidity, weight, etc. due to this makes it feel (subjectively at least) higher in quality than any wood-built speaker. I know that sonically this is probably meaningless, but wow these things have an 'ultra premium' feeling to them.
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post #298 of 382 Old 11-09-2019, 08:59 PM
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Trying to understand this thread. What does it mean when you say RAAL tweeters have bad vertical dispersion? Does it mean it'll sound the same when you move about the room at the same height but it'll sound good only at one height? That when you sit on chairs of different heights, it won't sound as good?

I thought that was true of all tweeters that they have to be ear height.

Trying to understand what point in favor of Revels folks are making here.
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post #299 of 382 Old 11-09-2019, 09:06 PM
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Very early impressions: These are amazing.
Glad you like them. I love spending other people's money, especially when they are happy with their purchase.

Looking forward to your blind tests. I think your Ascends and eventual Revels will be very competitive. You are setting the bar really high at this point!

If I had been able to grab pair of KH120's for the price I got my Genelec M040's , I would have bought them instead. Both are built like tanks compared to comparable active JBL stuff...
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post #300 of 382 Old 11-09-2019, 09:11 PM
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Trying to understand this thread. What does it mean when you say RAAL tweeters have bad vertical dispersion? Does it mean it'll sound the same when you move about the room at the same height but it'll sound good only at one height? That when you sit on chairs of different heights, it won't sound as good?

I thought that was true of all tweeters that they have to be ear height.

Trying to understand what point in favor of Revels folks are making here.
The dispersion pattern of most all tweeters is the same as its dimensions. Looking at the RAAL, you can imagine a wide sweep but very little sound emanating vertically.

It's the same when you put multiple drivers in an array.
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