Home Speaker Asylum

General speaker questions for audio and home theater.

RE: Those darn measurements !

There is a lot more to the perceived sound of a speaker than just frequency response, whether in-room or anechoic.

The ability of the speaker to instantaneously reproduce both the subltest of sounds and scale the full dynamic peak envelope of a sound burst seems to be better served by high sensitivity speakers in general than from the usual 86db/watt cones/domes with a complex crossover.

I have heard similar "life" to the sound from single driver speakers and even though they usually measure horribly from a FR standpoint, they deliver something that is probably just, or more important.

Why? Our perception of music is as much driven from dynamic responses as it is tonal balance...perhaps more so and horns and single driver speakers deliver this and involve the listener.

I had some nice, flat measuring Dynaudio Contour 1.8 MkII speakers many years ago. Why do I mention this speaker? Well, because it was one of the most dynamically challenged speakers I have ever owned. It was dead sounding at low volumes and quickly got compressed sounding at higher levels. No amp seemed to help much (although a little Jolida PP tube job did the best except for the bass), even a big SimAudio Celeste W4250 beast didn't help. More watts didn't save it. So, that speaker was ONLY good for mid 80s db listening withe compressed Rock/Pop that didn't allow it to drop too low in level or scale too loud. This meant classical really didn't work with this speaker and a lot of Jazz too was a fail.

Now, you see more and more speakers coming out several db higher than this (90-93db for a conventional box) and they tend to sound more lively...a step in the right direction. However, once you get to high 90s then things really liven up.

Now don't get me wrong, a lot of single driver systems I have heard are really too flawed in other ways and are sort of "one trick ponies". A good horn design though blows people away with dynamic realism...that they probably never heard from reproduction before, and relative lack of coloration that may have turned them away before.

Now, this Volti might be on the borderline for tolerability of its flaws vs. its obvious high sensitivty strengths...never heard it so I am talking more generalities.

My own horns (Odeon La Boheme) are the first make of horns that convinced me that there was an alternative to big electrostats (I mean big ones) for transparency and resolution while giving huge dynamics in a much more compact form than my former Acoustats. Coloration is very low and not of the usual "shout" that one is afraid of when staring down the barrel of a horn.

I finally got a pair of single driver speakers as well...the Decware HDTs and those are able to do the single driver justice in a way I had not heard before. Lively as hell and yet smooth. Not the last word in treble resolution but no product is perfect.

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