KeithR's "Dream Speaker" Search

bonzo75

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I happily disagree. I have experienced that in some rooms with suitable amplifiers some recordings manage to energize to room in the tympani and some bass drum sections range fairly well, but in large or treated rooms enclosed woofers are much more realistic. And we do not need the WAMM's with subs to show it. ...

Did you experience better tympani and bass drum bass with panels or open dipoles than with Mike Lavigne system?
No but Mike has large vertical bass towers. Four 11 inch woofers each side. And in his main speaker not one woofer down below but two 15 inchers dappolito arrayed in each speaker. So 6 woofers per side. Adjustable bass for the best tuned room. It's great that you think of Mike's as a stereotypical cone system
 
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No but Mike has large vertical bass towers. Four 11 inch woofers each side. And in his main speaker not one woofer down below but two 15 inchers dappolito arrayed in each speaker. So 6 woofers per side. Adjustable bass for the best tuned room. It's great that you think of Mike's as a stereotypical cone system
So you think that the critical parameter is energizing the air along a tall line, not being a monopole or a dipole?
 

bonzo75

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So you think that the critical parameter is energizing the air along a tall line, not being a monopole or a dipole?
Correct. Dipoles like Logans or Maggie don't do it for bass, somehow apogees do. The horns that I mentioned are not dipole. But they are vertical upto 5 feet high, and a lot of air in a planar fashion moves very quickly. I think these short moves probably also help with their quicker start stop and decay. But of course just because they are planar does not mean they will work, like I mentioned with the Maggie and MLs
 

KeithR

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* * * *

If I may offer a few thoughts on the Tune Audio Animas... imo they did not get a fair chance to show what they can do.

The Animas were on the long wall of a room that was ballpark 18 feet wide by 13 feet deep, with listening chairs along the opposite long wall. Neither the wall behind the Animas nor the wall just behind the listeners' ears had any absorption or diffusion, or at least none that I remember (there may have been a padded headboard-on-the-wall where the bed had been). As a result there was a strong very early reflection off the wall right behind the listeners' ears, degrading the imaging and depth (which were imo arguably excellent given that handicap) and emphasized the upper part of the spectrum. The front-and-back-wall situation may not have been too far removed from "slap-echo". Imo given a deeper room and/or appropriate room treatment, they would have sounded much more relaxing. Their dynamics were superb.

In contrast the Ocean Way room (same size, same long-wall setup) had both the front and rear walls aggressively treated by an extremely experienced professional, Allen Sides. This was imo an excellent sounding room, the presentation was extremely vivid and with natural timbre (especially from the big ones) without being the slightest bit fatiguing. I would not be surprised if the Animas were quite capable of this as well, while taking advantage of the benefits of low-powered, zero-global-feedback specialty tube amps.

Regarding the low end of the Animas, is there any reason not to augment it with subs?
Duke, it was a pleasure meeting you this past weekend! My only comment on your room is that I wish you used tubes since I know you design for them ;)

I agree with you the setup clearly wasn't ideal (and mentioned that in my writeup). I did hear some harshness up high which i totally attributed to the room. I should mention that I have heard Avantgardes in a similar sized room backed up against the wall and it was fine. No horn coloration. I think at the $60k or so for what they charge subs shouldn't be required.

I heard the big Ocean Ways last year and thought they sounded great (even on those weird Class D amps with the chips inside fake tubes). When I stopped by this year, they had the monitors going and I wanted to come back for the big guys but alas, ran out of time.
 
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morricab

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Gain is relative to an isotropic radiator. Do you have values of gain of our currently debated horns?
Typically an high gain means high directivity. Is this a good thing?
All depends on what you want. I have speakers that have a spherical exponential horn that will have some beaming...sounds great. I also have now horns that are constant directivity...sound great and at first blush it seems like it will have a wider sweet spot but perhaps a bit less "liveness". We'll see...
 

morricab

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Not when they’re too short.
That only affects the frequencies in which the horn will provide the gain. Avantgardes bass horns are too short for true deep bass so they use DSP to boost the bass, which is then only direct radiating bass and not really from the horn. In that case it is perhaps down to like 100Hz with horn and the rest direct boosted bass. A true bass horn needs to be around 4.5 meters or more.
 
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KeithR

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Some other THE Show comments:

- I still am not into Magico speakers, but the best Magico pairing was on Philip's Gryphon (S5mk2) which was about as good as I've heard them sound. I thought the M2 on Burmester and Vac was underwhelming - the sound was completely dead in the first, and not enough current in the second despite better tonality. I truly believe Magico owners should hear YG Acoustics latest Hailey 2 and Sonja 2 for a more coherent and dynamic loudspeaker.

- B&W 800d on McIntosh - for the first five minutes I was interested as they aren't bright like all B&W speakers I've previously heard. However, something odd in the midrange I kept hearing after that. I'm not sure if it was because they are recessed or the material of the driver was bothering me. My friend and I agreed "hifi" sounding.

- YG Hailey - as I've commented before I am a believer in the brand, but I felt the room swallowed up these guys a bit too much - apparently the big subwoofer was supposed to come but got stuck in Europe or I think this room could have been amazing. MSB into ARC/Luxman seemed like a very good combo. The tonality and flow was there.

- Wilson Sasha DAW - this drove the big room better than the YG Haileys two rooms down which makes sense as Wilson's upper bass bump is useful in big rooms. My girlfriend loved this sound the best as it filled the huge room. I still prefer YG by a sizable amount, but I enjoyed this room on a Dagostino integrated.

- Stenheim - they added a CH phono stage the final day (so 2 CH phonos for dual mono) and I really thought it sounded good. It was smooth up top (even compared to Wilsons soft dome), but great drive and very pure tonality. Bass wasn't Wilson style, but more in the Rockport style of ported bass- articulate and tuneful. Jean Pascal, the designer, was extremely nice to talk to. I actually got booted by a reviewer which was disappointing, but oh well.

- Martin Logan ESL 13 - I still hear the woofer discontinuity. Explaining electrostats vs cones to my interested girlfriend was fun. Better options than Hegel for panels imo - sound was a bit flat and timbre not complete

- Evolution Acoustics/Dartzeel - something was a bit odd on the first day (heard analog only), but Joel Durand had not flown in yet to setup the TT. The last two days, the sound is as I have come to expect from Jonathan Tinn's rooms. Warm, punchy sound out of those small drivers in the Maestoso - which we were told would ship at the end of the year.

- Thrax - this was easily the best of show for me. Cavern of a room, but the sound stage was ginormous and the speaker had dynamic drive on the push-pull 300b amps with good tonality on my LP cuts. My only quip on this room is there was a lot of talking often in it vs others which was frustrating as a listener. The Thrax speakers are pretty brutalist in person.

- Horning - pleasantly surprised by this small floorstander. Had good presense and dynamics. Not much bass, but appropriate for the smaller room. Jeff C is still the most fun music guy to hang out with in the business. I love the look of the new TW Acoustics TT and as I've commented before to him, the Tron 300b integrated is lust-worthy.

- Gryphon- definitely a warm, inviting sound and the room treatment helped. The speakers were toed-in front of the listener which was unusual but it worked. I really like their amplification a lot - even on the Magicos it was clearly excellent.
 
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KeithR

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- Vandersteen Quattros - I've only heard Vandys sound amazing once, but this wasn't it. I just find them too laid back and non-dynamic. Richard of course is great to hear speak in person. I get the whole phase/time coherence thing, but without dynamics the whole experience is dull to me.

That's about all I have from memory, but I'll revise as necessary.

I'd say the hotel and amenities this year were fantastic and I hope they host it here again - its right in the middle of LA/OC which helps as well.
 

DaveC

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As far as bass and issues discussed, there's a lot more going on wrt whether or not it's coherent with the rest of the speaker system. IME it's very complicated and has a lot to do with distortion products produced by the driver and whether or not they sound the same as the other drivers used in the speaker system. I've heard successful implementations of many different types of bass systems, and many of the exact same type that have not been good, so like tubes vs SS and whatnot, there's potential for excellent results in many different designs.

I do think there's a fundamental disconnect between a high-gain traditional horn system and cone bass that is more difficult to overcome due to fundamental differences in how they operate and distortion products produced by each design. Same with panels and cone bass. IMO, it's still possible but it's not a great place to have to start from, imo the designer is making life difficult for themselves by choosing such a design to begin with.
 

Duke LeJeune

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Duke, it was a pleasure meeting you this past weekend! My only comment on your room is that I wish you used tubes since I know you design for them ;)
Yes, the main speakers we showed have a benign impedance curve, but their efficiency is only 91 dB. So they would work great with Atma-Sphere amps but not so much with low-power SET amps.

I have a design for a 100 dB ballpark speaker "on paper", and as has been noted by others in this thread, a 100 dB bass section presents some challenges. To a certain extent so does a 100 dB horn IF it is a constant-directivity horn with a reasonably wide pattern; those horns which go well north of 100 dB have a narrow pattern up high, in order to squeeze the available energy into a high-SPL stream. Kinda like using a narrow spray pattern on a garden hose; when we narrow the pattern we increase the on-axis pressure, but the total amount of water (or sound) coming out hasn't changed.

As far as bass and issues discussed, there's a lot more going on wrt whether or not it's coherent with the rest of the speaker system.
Thus far I have gotten (arguably) good results giving priority to radiation patterns and room interactions, which imo goes a long ways towards making sure the highpass and lowpass sections "sound the same" in the crossover region. The ear is very good a picking up the effects of a radiation pattern or room interaction mis-match, but not very good at identifying what the cause actually is.

For example, the mis-match we sometimes hear between a dipolar electrostatic panel and a monopole woofer section is due to their significantly different radiation charactristics (line source vs point source being a part of that), and their significantly different room interaction (dipole vs monopole). These different characteristics CAN be juggled into a coherent whole given sufficient adjustability (Sanders Sound being the example that comes to mind), BUT the listening area where it all comes together may be somewhat limited... which may or may not matter depending on your listening style.
 
May 30, 2010
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All depends on what you want. I have speakers that have a spherical exponential horn that will have some beaming...sounds great. I also have now horns that are constant directivity...sound great and at first blush it seems like it will have a wider sweet spot but perhaps a bit less "liveness". We'll see...
It is why I asked for real numbers of real speakers. As far as I see "horns" differ extremely in design, objectives and performance, and consequently in sound quality. Horn efficiency and its trade-offs are never seriously discussed. However most people often refer to horns as if they were a defined class of speakers with typical uniform common caracteristics.

Curiously horn speakers should be the anti-dipole panel speakers - and some people favor the sound of both of them!
 

bonzo75

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It is why I asked for real numbers of real speakers. As far as I see "horns" differ extremely in design, objectives and performance, and consequently in sound quality. Horn efficiency and its trade-offs are never seriously discussed. However most people often refer to horns as if they were a defined class of speakers with typical uniform common caracteristics.

Curiously horn speakers should be the anti-dipole panel speakers - and some people favor the sound of both of them!
Quite the contrary - I go on on how horns are more different from each other than from even cones. And one should do the whole circular tour of various horns. However to write this every time will be daunting so better to sum it in one word, horns.

People who like both horns and dipoles probably are more tuned to natural sound
 
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Quite the contrary - I go on on how horns are more different from each other than from even cones. And one should do the whole circular tour of various horns. However to write this every time will be daunting so better to sum it in one word, horns.

People who like both horns and dipoles probably are more tuned to natural sound
Thanks for being so clear. Sometime ago I thought natural sound had some defined meaning in WBF - with time I am understanding that most of time it just means the preferred sound of each member. At some time everyone wanted to be more neutral than his neighbor, now people want to be more natural.

I suppose you used your sense of humor and absence of smiles in the last sentence, no comment is needed! :)
 

bonzo75

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System has to be neutral and transparent to be natural
 

Folsom

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Thanks for being so clear. Sometime ago I thought natural sound had some defined meaning in WBF - with time I am understanding that most of time it just means the preferred sound of each member. At some time everyone wanted to be more neutral than his neighbor, now people want to be more natural.

I suppose you used your sense of humor and absence of smiles in the last sentence, no comment is needed! :)
It's become the most watered-down attribute the forum talks about.
 

Al M.

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Correct. Dipoles like Logans or Maggie don't do it for bass, somehow apogees do. The horns that I mentioned are not dipole. But they are vertical upto 5 feet high, and a lot of air in a planar fashion moves very quickly. I think these short moves probably also help with their quicker start stop and decay.
That is too much of a generalization. Bass with just two cones (two subwoofers), which necessarily asks for more excursion per driver, can be blisteringly fast. It depends on system and room context.
 

morricab

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Correct. Dipoles like Logans or Maggie don't do it for bass, somehow apogees do. The horns that I mentioned are not dipole. But they are vertical upto 5 feet high, and a lot of air in a planar fashion moves very quickly. I think these short moves probably also help with their quicker start stop and decay. But of course just because they are planar does not mean they will work, like I mentioned with the Maggie and MLs
The Apogee panels had quite a bit more mass compared to Martin Logans and quite a bit stronger magnets than Magnepans. Acoustats make real bass (especially the Spectra 4400s I had...twice as tall as Christoph and my Spectra 2200s) because the foil thickness was quite a bit higher than many makers were using...that mass matters for panel and cone bass...not at all for horn loading.
 

morricab

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It is why I asked for real numbers of real speakers. As far as I see "horns" differ extremely in design, objectives and performance, and consequently in sound quality. Horn efficiency and its trade-offs are never seriously discussed. However most people often refer to horns as if they were a defined class of speakers with typical uniform common caracteristics.

Curiously horn speakers should be the anti-dipole panel speakers - and some people favor the sound of both of them!
I like both and I think it has to do with the speed and directness of the sound. To me both technologies can sound more real than cone/dome box speakers. Panels for their transparency, tonality, low level resolution, coherence and micro dynamics. Horns for their speed, dynamics, presence and transparency. However, there are more flawed Horn designs than other speaker types because they are much more complicated to design correctly.

My own horns are real horns, meaning the bass is also horn, so there is not this mismatch between bass and upper frequencies that is hard to design around (many use a very large lightweight woofer in some kind of vented box...it kind of works).
 

morricab

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Thanks for being so clear. Sometime ago I thought natural sound had some defined meaning in WBF - with time I am understanding that most of time it just means the preferred sound of each member. At some time everyone wanted to be more neutral than his neighbor, now people want to be more natural.

I suppose you used your sense of humor and absence of smiles in the last sentence, no comment is needed! :)
Natural: lack of telltale electronic signature that signals a “synthetic “ quality to the perception. Doesn’t have to be “neutral” as this is often a label given to systems that are full of those telltale sonic signatures, such as a grayish tonality and flat dimensionality.
 

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