"Can't Do 3D Like Other Technologies". Fair Criticism of Horn Speakers?

tima

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Perhaps a system's localization and spatial attributes might offer a "substitute" for actually seeing the performance.

I enjoy watching musicians perform and enjoy their music but cannot watch while hearing my stereo. From an analytic perspective my experiment(?) is to close my eyes both in the listening room and at the live event.

Considering your post I feel we must carefully separate what is meant by 3D and by projection in stereo imaging and in a live event. For example, I was not assuming that projection means forward of its place of origin.

Okay - I was accepting @DSkip 's use of the terms and wondering about their application in both instances.

Some systems create a flat plane for the music.
Some systems create a curved plane.
Some create depth which gives it a flat plane with music that happens behind 'main stage' - a box of sound if you will.
Some create a semicircle in front of the listener.
Some create a full circle around the listener.
Some create a full circle around the listener and fill in that space with images.

I agree that moving toward the bottom of your list, for me anyway, is much more likely with certain electronic music - going as far back as Kraftwerk (my start with the genre.). And with electronic music the effect can be pretty cool. If that is a primary listening pursuit, then enhancing one's system to achieve it could be a goal.
 
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the sound of Tao

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I think you're right. Perhaps a system's localization and spatial attributes might offer a "substitute" for actually seeing the performance.

In his book "Sound Reproduction: The Acoustics and Psychoacoustics of Loudspeakers and Rooms", Floyd Toole refers to a study conducted by Wolfgang Klippel (the measurement guru) which examined the relative contributions of sound quality and spatial quality to "naturalness" (how realistic the speakers sound), and "pleasantness" (how enjoyable they are).

He found that “naturalness” (realism and accuracy) was 30% related to sound quality (coloration, or the lack thereof); 20% related to tonal balance; and 50% related to the “feeling of space”.

“Pleasantness” (general satisfaction or preference) was 30% related to sound quality and 70% related to the “feeling of space”.

In other words, according to Klippel, the "feeling of space" was 50% of what made speakers sound realistic, and 70% of what made speakers enjoyable.

I'm NOT claiming that these percentages are necessarily accurate, but imo they do indicate that spatial qualities matter quite a bit.
Great perspective thanks Duke, certainly an essential sense of naturalness, tonal balance, presence, coherence and approaching realistic dynamics are all qualities that are (for me) make or break in the experience of heightened musical enjoyment.

I just don’t get off on hyperdetail and hearing previously unknown levels of information or any goals without a natural musical perspective... such as synthetic qualities like inky blackness and such :rolleyes:.

What is it then that is sufficient that music can just abduct us completely the way very great music can and should... perhaps just a simple and overall sense of rightness... nothing out of place... just the very most essential quality of rightness.
 
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morricab

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I think you're right. Perhaps a system's localization and spatial attributes might offer a "substitute" for actually seeing the performance.

In his book "Sound Reproduction: The Acoustics and Psychoacoustics of Loudspeakers and Rooms", Floyd Toole refers to a study conducted by Wolfgang Klippel (the measurement guru) which examined the relative contributions of sound quality and spatial quality to "naturalness" (how realistic the speakers sound), and "pleasantness" (how enjoyable they are).

He found that “naturalness” (realism and accuracy) was 30% related to sound quality (coloration, or the lack thereof); 20% related to tonal balance; and 50% related to the “feeling of space”.

“Pleasantness” (general satisfaction or preference) was 30% related to sound quality and 70% related to the “feeling of space”.

In other words, according to Klippel, the "feeling of space" was 50% of what made speakers sound realistic, and 70% of what made speakers enjoyable.

I'm NOT claiming that these percentages are necessarily accurate, but imo they do indicate that spatial qualities matter quite a bit.

This was a big part of what made large panel speakers sound "realistic" to me. They made awesome (if at times exaggerated) space.
 
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carolus

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Do try it. Usually one has nothing to lose as the mods are easily reversible.

When I started with this, But again, just my opinion and my system....
Hey Johan.
In the flow of your high-end “back-firing” driver experiments I give a short personal tech test contribution ...
(I agree with your back-firing musical impressions)

A second "driver+horn" montage in back firing on a 5-way.
A pleasant (new) musical discovery ... with another (very) attractive musical signature in a 5-way horn concept ...
(without academic acoustics arguments … or in situ / vivo measurements).

In a nut shell.
Test minute-assembly:
+ Driver just use what was available "on the shelf"…. PA Geloso 16ohm (yes, public adress … high-end?)
+ Mid horn Iwata 2” with driver Vitavox S2 (16ohm) in parallel with complementary PA driver Geloso-16ohm + Freq range: 1200Hz to appr. 5000Hz (LR & 24dB / oct)
+ Orientation, mid driver Geloso in “back firing” to near corner ceiling (c.f.r. foto).
Subjective (musical) impressions (with closed eyes):
+ Impulse response (IR)…. - Almost no significant (bad! difference in the graph ….
+ Less pronounced peaks (up-down) in the Fr range ….. The graph is flatter.
+ significantly more open scene…. space… depth…. width…
+ more presence in the bass reproduction …. with swoeng (fff sforzando)….
+ more subtle detail in the treble (high)...
Checking (echoes) about high-end "back-firing" (region North France & Belgium)
+ some (early) applications of the J. Hiraga philosophy (back-firing) … in France (& few in Be )
+ back-firing has certain (musical) advantages ... but does not break through (firmly / generally).

Hélas, in visu:
- @ home, WAF from 10/10 to…. 8/10 (visual bizaroide aspects)

But, It's music…. I like it.
(It’s like a good wine in beautiful Riedelglass)

Mybe … a second back-firing test with the drivers Vitavox-S2 & parallel with a driver Vitavox-S3 to corner-ceiling

Karel tempImageNDHwZc.jpg
 

morricab

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Apr 25, 2014
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Hey Johan.
In the flow of your high-end “back-firing” driver experiments I give a short personal tech test contribution ...
(I agree with your back-firing musical impressions)

A second "driver+horn" montage in back firing on a 5-way.
A pleasant (new) musical discovery ... with another (very) attractive musical signature in a 5-way horn concept ...
(without academic acoustics arguments … or in situ / vivo measurements).

In a nut shell.
Test minute-assembly:
+ Driver just use what was available "on the shelf"…. PA Geloso 16ohm (yes, public adress … high-end?)
+ Mid horn Iwata 2” with driver Vitavox S2 (16ohm) in parallel with complementary PA driver Geloso-16ohm + Freq range: 1200Hz to appr. 5000Hz (LR & 24dB / oct)
+ Orientation, mid driver Geloso in “back firing” to near corner ceiling (c.f.r. foto).
Subjective (musical) impressions (with closed eyes):
+ Impulse response (IR)…. - Almost no significant (bad! difference in the graph ….
+ Less pronounced peaks (up-down) in the Fr range ….. The graph is flatter.
+ significantly more open scene…. space… depth…. width…
+ more presence in the bass reproduction …. with swoeng (fff sforzando)….
+ more subtle detail in the treble (high)...
Checking (echoes) about high-end "back-firing" (region North France & Belgium)
+ some (early) applications of the J. Hiraga philosophy (back-firing) … in France (& few in Be )
+ back-firing has certain (musical) advantages ... but does not break through (firmly / generally).

Hélas, in visu:
- @ home, WAF from 10/10 to…. 8/10 (visual bizaroide aspects)

But, It's music…. I like it.
(It’s like a good wine in beautiful Riedelglass)

Mybe … a second back-firing test with the drivers Vitavox-S2 & parallel with a driver Vitavox-S3 to corner-ceiling

Karel View attachment 72084
What frequency is the back (up?) firing horn crossed? In phase? Out of phase? I have a spare horn/driver to give this a shot in my own system .
 

carolus

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Dec 20, 2013
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What frequency is the back (up?) firing horn crossed? In phase? Out of phase? I have a spare horn/driver to give this a shot in my own system .
FYI
+ Fr, back= same Fr like first the driver Vitavox S2 (Mid driver)
+ firing horn crossed? ....( sorry I do't understand).
But, two drivers in correct parallel (S2//Geleso)
+In Phase?out Phase:
- electrical "in phase" ...
- acoustical probably/I presume out of phase (appr 30cm)

Détail:
++ My (electronic) concept is pure analog .... analog actif 2X5 way X-over ( LR24dB/oct & IC) & 2x5 multi DC amp (BJT, classe AB ).

It's music ... with wine ...closed eyes ....

If you have spare horn.driver ..... do it .... it's amazing.
( Perso, I think, it's near concept open baffle in a Fr-band....)

I hope this help.

Karel
 

DaveC

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Nov 16, 2014
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I think you're right. Perhaps a system's localization and spatial attributes might offer a "substitute" for actually seeing the performance.

In his book "Sound Reproduction: The Acoustics and Psychoacoustics of Loudspeakers and Rooms", Floyd Toole refers to a study conducted by Wolfgang Klippel (the measurement guru) which examined the relative contributions of sound quality and spatial quality to "naturalness" (how realistic the speakers sound), and "pleasantness" (how enjoyable they are).

He found that “naturalness” (realism and accuracy) was 30% related to sound quality (coloration, or the lack thereof); 20% related to tonal balance; and 50% related to the “feeling of space”.

“Pleasantness” (general satisfaction or preference) was 30% related to sound quality and 70% related to the “feeling of space”.

In other words, according to Klippel, the "feeling of space" was 50% of what made speakers sound realistic, and 70% of what made speakers enjoyable.

I'm NOT claiming that these percentages are necessarily accurate, but imo they do indicate that spatial qualities matter quite a bit.


I agree, and have reported here many times that in my own testing people remark on many different things. Some people are more sensitive to certain aspects of sound than others. However, the most consistent aspect that a great majority of people mention is the feeling of envelopment and I believe this is the primary driver of preference.


I agree that moving toward the bottom of your list, for me anyway, is much more likely with certain electronic music - going as far back as Kraftwerk (my start with the genre.). And with electronic music the effect can be pretty cool. If that is a primary listening pursuit, then enhancing one's system to achieve it could be a goal.

A system that can achieve this is a superior system for all recordings, not just electronic music IME.
 

DaveC

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Great perspective thanks Duke, certainly an essential sense of naturalness, tonal balance, presence, coherence and approaching realistic dynamics are all qualities that are (for me) make or break in the experience of heightened musical enjoyment.

I just don’t get off on hyperdetail and hearing previously unknown levels of information or any goals without a natural musical perspective... such as synthetic qualities like inky blackness and such :rolleyes:.

What is it then that is sufficient that music can just abduct us completely the way very great music can and should... perhaps just a simple and overall sense of rightness... nothing out of place... just the very most essential quality of rightness.

I'm not sure exactly what "hyperdetail" is, but I do believe a system must be extremely resolving in order to present a convincing sense of space and also achieve realistic sounding timbre. Also, a system that can do these things well likely has good frequency response, off-axis behavior, coherence, etc. Maybe there are some examples that do not, IDK, but I do think that it would an exception.

I do agree with the "rightness" you mention, as long as the system doesn't do anything that really annoys the listener and has sufficient qualities that are enjoyable it'll work, which is what Duke mentioned earlier... however, as the resolution improves and the space is better defined and timbre is filled out to meet the brain's psychoacoustic expectations, the experience gets more and more enjoyable and convincing.

A little OT... So, while I understand that "detail" is somewhat of a derogatory term, along with "HiFi", at least in some minds, I'd argue it's the basis for quality stereo reproduction. I think these terms have come to mean high frequency noise and harshness that has nothing to do with what's on the recording, but the use of "detail" and "HiFi" to describe poor quality high frequency reproduction is not accurate and really the opposite of what these terms are originally intended to define. I wish we could stop using these words as derogatory terms and instead use them as they were originally intended.
 

Tim Link

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For myself I would agree that the feeling of acoustic space, of being present in the original venue is one of the most highly enjoyable aspect of reproduced music. I've gotten it best from using a divider plate to minimize crosstalk. Totally blew my mind on some recordings, and always makes me sad because it's a difficult arrangement to live with but nothing else does it quite so well, including analog and digital electronic crosstalk minimizing methods I've tried so far. It works for me especially well on live event recordings, and some electronic ambient music, which can leave me gobsmacked with sonic impressions I didn't know I was even capable of perceiving. Interestingly it doesn't seem to require extremely high end equipment, and makes me think that crosstalk is an inherent weak link that seriously limits stereo reproduction regardless of the level of equipment or the acoustic qualities of the room, at least for some of us. I know some people report hearing nothing compelling from crosstalk elimination. Perhaps their brains can filter it out adequately that they are already hearing all the spacial effects available.
 
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jespera

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If MBL sounds "dynamically compromised" you are not using the right amplifiers, or setup is sub-par ! ;)

Yes, sorry i know they are your babies, but they didnt do it for me.

Amps were nagra classic on the small ones and a stack of mbl’s own monster amps on the big ones. Venue was a dealer in stockholm.

We’re audiophiles — we’re supposed to disagree.

Jesper
 

tima

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I'm not sure exactly what "hyperdetail" is, but I do believe a system must be extremely resolving in order to present a convincing sense of space and also achieve realistic sounding timbre

To me "hyperdetail" may mean detail that is exaggerated or over-emphasized in proportion to what one might hear at the recorded performance.

So, while I understand that "detail" is somewhat of a derogatory term, along with "HiFi", at least in some minds, I'd argue it's the basis for quality stereo reproduction. I think these terms have come to mean high frequency noise and harshness that has nothing to do with what's on the recording, but the use of "detail" and "HiFi" to describe poor quality high frequency reproduction is not accurate and really the opposite of what these terms are originally intended to define. I wish we could stop using these words as derogatory terms and instead use them as they were originally intended.

I don't think "detail" is a derogatory term nor do I associate it with HF noise or harshness. I haven't heard others use it in that way. Microphones and recording engineers can be quite adept at picking up all sorts of sounds. If it is on the recording and one's front end resolves it, then it seems reasonable to hear it. Again, in the proper proportion. I understand detail as subtle, delicate.

Nowadays "HiFi" is kinda ambiguous. I'd defer to the context of its use. Holt describes it as: "(1) A kind of sound reproducing system whose accuracy of reprodction is judged to be better than average. Stereo reproduction can be high- fidelity or otherwise. (2) The pursuit of perfection in sound reproduction as a hobby or religion." I'll guess this matches with your notion of original intent.
 

morricab

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I'm not sure exactly what "hyperdetail" is, but I do believe a system must be extremely resolving in order to present a convincing sense of space and also achieve realistic sounding timbre. Also, a system that can do these things well likely has good frequency response, off-axis behavior, coherence, etc. Maybe there are some examples that do not, IDK, but I do think that it would an exception.

I do agree with the "rightness" you mention, as long as the system doesn't do anything that really annoys the listener and has sufficient qualities that are enjoyable it'll work, which is what Duke mentioned earlier... however, as the resolution improves and the space is better defined and timbre is filled out to meet the brain's psychoacoustic expectations, the experience gets more and more enjoyable and convincing.

A little OT... So, while I understand that "detail" is somewhat of a derogatory term, along with "HiFi", at least in some minds, I'd argue it's the basis for quality stereo reproduction. I think these terms have come to mean high frequency noise and harshness that has nothing to do with what's on the recording, but the use of "detail" and "HiFi" to describe poor quality high frequency reproduction is not accurate and really the opposite of what these terms are originally intended to define. I wish we could stop using these words as derogatory terms and instead use them as they were originally intended.
It depends a lot on the nature of the detail. Exaggerated leading edge and therefore high order harmonics will actually decrease the sense of depth.

In real space perception of depth is in part due to the shift in tonal balance as higher frequencies get lost. If the reproduced upper harmonics are no longer in the right balance (“hyper” detail) then the ear/brain perceives this as being closer to you and depth flattens out.
Another important factor is decay of notes and that this must extend as long as possible without being smeared or truncated by subsequent notes...at least as much as someone would hear in real space and with the right harmonic balance throughout that decay. Allen Wright used to call the ability of a system to resolve this low level info in the presence of louder sounds as Downward Dynamic Range.

Of course in an indoor environment reflection and the time delay of arrivals matters a lot as well but it is not the whole story and why surround sound systems don’t necessarily give more realistic sense of space than really good stereo.
 

Ron Resnick

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. . . MBL radial strahler: nice room filling none-hifi rounded sounding. But again again dynamically compromised. Duvet dynamics. Even though it was receiving 50-100 watts according to the vu meters on the amp.

. . .

I respect your observation. But I have to say on behalf of Jeremy Bryan that if an MBL radialstrahler sounds rounded and dynamically compromised, then it is not being driven properly. It needs:

1) loads of

2) high current

watts.
 
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DaveC

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It depends a lot on the nature of the detail. Exaggerated leading edge and therefore high order harmonics will actually decrease the sense of depth.

In real space perception of depth is in part due to the shift in tonal balance as higher frequencies get lost. If the reproduced upper harmonics are no longer in the right balance (“hyper” detail) then the ear/brain perceives this as being closer to you and depth flattens out.
Another important factor is decay of notes and that this must extend as long as possible without being smeared or truncated by subsequent notes...at least as much as someone would hear in real space and with the right harmonic balance throughout that decay. Allen Wright used to call the ability of a system to resolve this low level info in the presence of louder sounds as Downward Dynamic Range.

Of course in an indoor environment reflection and the time delay of arrivals matters a lot as well but it is not the whole story and why surround sound systems don’t necessarily give more realistic sense of space than really good stereo.

Agree on Downward Dynamic Range (DDR), I've heard that concept before and it's exactly what I was referring to on page 2 with regard to the rear-firing drivers bouncing off the wall and/or ceiling. What I've found is, if DDR is insufficient it results in a loss of clarity and contributes to indistinct timbre. However, some would argue this information is always truncated by the recording and playback processes and really needs to be restored in some fashion.

There are a bunch of ways to enhance decay...

- Backward firing energy from rear firing drivers or bipole speakers.

- Adding Feedback, and this has various forms such as mechanical vibration manipulation via footers, vacuum tubes, analog playback devices, etc. Essentially vibration is transduced to electrical energy and fed back into the signal, like traditional feedback in live music amplification.

- Room Acoustics.

- Some vibrating "tuning" devices that look like little bells or bowls.

IME, these can result in an increase in perceived clarity even though it's adding something, or extending the audibility of material that is already there. Every system does this to some degree imo, and contributes to a 3-D soundstage if done properly. Of course a system that preserves decay to the largest degree possible is the best place to start.
 
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the sound of Tao

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Agree on Downward Dynamic Range (DDR), I've heard that concept before and it's exactly what I was referring to on page 2 with regard to the rear-firing drivers bouncing off the wall and/or ceiling. What I've found is, if DDR is insufficient it results in a loss of clarity and contributes to indistinct timbre. However, some would argue this information is always truncated by the recording and playback processes and really needs to be restored in some fashion.

There are a bunch of ways to enhance decay...

- Backward firing energy from rear firing drivers or bipole speakers.

- Adding Feedback, and this has various forms such as mechanical vibration manipulation via footers, vacuum tubes, analog playback devices, etc. Essentially vibration is transduced to electrical energy and fed back into the signal, like traditional feedback in live music amplification.

- Room Acoustics.

- Some vibrating "tuning" devices that look like little bells or bowls.

IME, these can result in an increase in perceived clarity even though it's adding something, or extending the audibility of material that is already there. Every system does this to some degree imo, and contributes to a 3-D soundstage if done properly. Of course a system that preserves decay to the largest degree possible is the best place to start.
I’d just add realistic attack to the need for a natural decay. Between expressing the two poles of attack and decay with coherency, right tone and even approaching a sense of realistic dynamics, with natural timbre and presence there is a good recipe for something like experiencing moments of the real and of an essential rightness. The flow towards the music then just follows.
 

Robh3606

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Agree on Downward Dynamic Range (DDR), I've heard that concept before and it's exactly what I was referring to on page 2 with regard to the rear-firing drivers bouncing off the wall and/or ceiling. What I've found is, if DDR is insufficient it results in a loss of clarity and contributes to indistinct timbre. However, some would argue this information is always truncated by the recording and playback processes and really needs to be restored in some fashion.


I was experimenting with the original Heil drivers and found that in my room, which is a bit lively, if I let them go full dipole I lost DDR. DDR is a new term for me. Always looked at it as being able to hear the decays and reverb tails as long as possible so it's really the whole system not just the speakers. I ended up experimenting with different thickness sections of fiberglass to find a balance between the sense of space and the loss of detail. It worked out well but it took some experimentation with room position and attenuation to finally get a balance that sounded good to me.

Rob :)
 

morricab

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I was experimenting with the original Heil drivers and found that in my room, which is a bit lively, if I let them go full dipole I lost DDR. DDR is a new term for me. Always looked at it as being able to hear the decays and reverb tails as long as possible so it's really the whole system not just the speakers. I ended up experimenting with different thickness sections of fiberglass to find a balance between the sense of space and the loss of detail. It worked out well but it took some experimentation with room position and attenuation to finally get a balance that sounded good to me.

Rob :)
Yes, it is most certainly the whole system...Allen was an electronics designer not a speaker designer (he used Acoustats ) and felt the electronics and power were more important to DDR than the speakers.
 

the sound of Tao

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It depends a lot on the nature of the detail. Exaggerated leading edge and therefore high order harmonics will actually decrease the sense of depth.

In real space perception of depth is in part due to the shift in tonal balance as higher frequencies get lost. If the reproduced upper harmonics are no longer in the right balance (“hyper” detail) then the ear/brain perceives this as being closer to you and depth flattens out.
Another important factor is decay of notes and that this must extend as long as possible without being smeared or truncated by subsequent notes...at least as much as someone would hear in real space and with the right harmonic balance throughout that decay. Allen Wright used to call the ability of a system to resolve this low level info in the presence of louder sounds as Downward Dynamic Range.

Of course in an indoor environment reflection and the time delay of arrivals matters a lot as well but it is not the whole story and why surround sound systems don’t necessarily give more realistic sense of space than really good stereo.
This is great Brad. It explains a lot for me especially in terms of experiences both with my Maggies and also the Pureaudio project Trio horns both as dipoles.

Getting the reflected sound in just the right timing in delay, coherently and just in the right balance with the direct sound is the thing for me that snaps both these speakers into sounding more real and alive.

The Maggie 20.7s when dialled into the room just right are 3D imaging machines.

My work with the Trio OB horns has been to get them to do everything in similar competencies to the best aspects of the Maggies with the big added advantages of their effortless dynamic natural horn nature for fine texture and then to scale up big and fast as well as the invaluable (to me) capacity for SET to drive.

With the new larger horns I’m under way on now I’m now thinking when I get in the Radian beryllium CD and Seos waveguide I will then also be able to try using the Pap iwata with the Beyma CD for rear firing duties as well.

I’ll likely be able to crossover at the same point as the Radian Seos front horn and just use an L-pad to set the right balance level with the rear horn. Getting perhaps a bit ahead of myself but now that seems to me very much worth exploring as well.

Super excited to try this out, very big thanks guys for bringing this all to light.
 
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DaveC

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I was experimenting with the original Heil drivers and found that in my room, which is a bit lively, if I let them go full dipole I lost DDR. DDR is a new term for me. Always looked at it as being able to hear the decays and reverb tails as long as possible so it's really the whole system not just the speakers. I ended up experimenting with different thickness sections of fiberglass to find a balance between the sense of space and the loss of detail. It worked out well but it took some experimentation with room position and attenuation to finally get a balance that sounded good to me.

Rob :)

I had a similar result running my mid driver (400-15,000+ Hz at the time, now it's xo'd at 12kHz) with an open back, then used layers of reticulated foam to tune the level. As Duke mentioned, somewhere around 12 dB down might be about right.

My personal preference leans towards a greater proportion of direct sound, I think if the system is capable enough you can get a result with enough decay to provide clarity and sense of space without needing enhancement via reflections. Further, if you can achieve this then the preference Toole claims for 1st reflections is not the case anymore, at a point they just get in the way. I think the main confounding factor is experimental systems that are not capable of adequate resolution, I'd even go so far as to say that the interconnect cables, AC power quality, and vibration management are critical to achieving excellent results that negate the preference for reflections and other enhancements, and these things are generally ignored by folks setting up these systems used to test preferences. Not that they are even starting with electronics that are adequate either. This is the main reason I claim that immersion is by far the #1 driver of preference, and the main reason things like off-axis frequency response is important is simply so it doesn't ruin it.
 
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