Audio Asylum Thread Printer
Get a view of an entire thread on one page
|For Sale Ads|
I recently read a review of a budget speaker costing about $400. The reviewer said it was so good it sounded like speakers double the price. This is an expression I have seen reviewers use a lot. I compared this 400 speaker to the sound of a B&W 685. No comparison, I must say. The B&W is so far better. Well, there may be speakers costing 800 which may not be as good as the B&W but the generalisation by the reviewer is unwarranted I feel.
Perhaps some very low priced speaker like the $100 Pioneer sound like $200 speakers but I doubt a 2k speaker will sound as good as a $4k speaker, nor a 25k like a 50k.
Great [url=http://www.phorus.com/]android speaker[/url]
Even the ones with jaw-dropping build quality. That being the case, there are a number of "giant killers" that have design quality high enough to put their performance up there with less well-designed speakers double or more their cost.
There are plenty of very expensive speakers made by very poor designers. Goldmund anyone? From their site:
"This together with the use of hand soldering processes in Switzerland, completely metamorphoses the concept of speakers construction"
Really? Swiss "hand soldering" is revolutionary construction? Garbage designs made with no consideration of diffraction... for 6 figures, I want major issues like diffraction to be properly managed. There are plenty of much less expensive speakers that DON'T have this problem. Some exist that don't have diffraction issues for less than $100.
Bass is supposed to sound big. 6.5" is not a woofer size.
I just bought a pair of Dynaudio Excite X12, superbly built... $1200... they don't sound as good as my 10 years old, $350 NHT SuperOne made with very cheap drivers (stamped steel basket, etc.)...
Well, the Dynaudio are a little more detailed, but less neutral and less bass. (approx. same internal volume, NHT closed, Dynaudio vented).
The designer of these NHT knew what he was doing!
Why did you buy the Dynaudio if it didnt sound as good as the NHT? Did you get a chance to audition Tekton Lores or ATC SCM 11 or Gallo Classico CL2?
how about some examples of speakers you consider designed right?
I don't think you can place too much emphasis on diffraction, and the effects are quite audible and show up quite readily in a frequency-response chart of sufficient resolution.
Good designers are addressing it in speakers that cost a few hundred buck. For thousands, tens of thousands, and hundreds of thousands, it should essentially be a non-issue because there is plenty the designer can do in terms of cabinet shape to address it. Companies at the high end that are doing an extremely good job of addressing it are Vivid Audio, Rockport Technologies, and Revel. Even at the lower end, Definitive Technology has done a very good job in their new StudioMonitor 55, which sells for just $598/pair. We'll have a review of that speaker on SoundStageHiFi.com on July 15. There are others, of course, but I wanted to point out a few to illustrate that it is being taken seriously by some.
it's easy to deal with if you have anything resembling a cabinet budget, and a well documented and readily audible issue. Roundovers and felt aren't the only ways to deal with it but it is something that should not be ignored- and isn't, by any competent designer.
Bass is supposed to sound big. 6.5" is not a woofer size.
There are many speakers that don't round edges, or use a dampening material on the baffle. yet the continually get glowing reviews. One that comes to mind is Harbeth. They use old school rectangular enclosures with 90 degree edges. I would guess most of the companies have sophisticated testing and measurement equipment and can detect audible abnormalities. So three scenarios come to mind. One, they choose to ignore the problem. Two, they deal with it by signal alteration. Three, they attempt to deal with it with driver design. Just guesses.
And fourth, maybe it's not an issue worthy of the extra expense.
It's definitely an issue and any competent speaker design knows/addresses it. Now, granted, expense might factor in, but when we're talking about speakers priced in the thousands of dollars, it can easily be taken care of.
Rounding a corner more or less is at the tip of the iceberg these days for addressing diffraction -- you can do far, far more. Revel does an excellent job on the Ultima2 series. Vivid is another, and their paper here addresses the issue nicely:
These days, if a company hasn't addressed diffraction well, they're shortchanging to consumer by doing shoddy work. It's as simple as that really. The post before mentions Harbeth. We've measured one of their speakers. Perhaps they could do more to address it, but they're doing a fine job as it is:
Seem to recall at least some of their sharp, rectangular boxes go for a VERY pretty penny, and are fairly well received by some...
Ummmm, well, I've never considered Audio Note to be on the cutting edge of speaker design. That doesn't mean someone can't like them though -- to each their own.
But I think that's there's something not be well understood here -- what diffraction is. What's more important is that I think you'll be hard-pressed to find any credible speaker designer anywhere who tells you: 1) diffraction is a good thing, or 2) that's it's not an important consideration in good speaker design. Every good designer works to eliminate diffraction or works to overcome diffraction problems that a certain cabinet design might introduce. As I said before, if they don't, they're probably not doing their job as well as they should.
Though I'd say - cutting edge or bleeding edge is sometimes silly. I'd never thumb my nose at research and design. Quite the contrary - I believe it is essential.
Will say that some engineers/designers/makers will put blinders on and push the limits of what is physically possible above and beyond what actually sounds good.
Some others will just stick to what was the rage at a particular timeframe & update the ideas with better materials.
Seems like this makes speaker design still partly an "art" and partly a "science." What is right for any given person certainly depends on their biases.
A hint to my particular biases? My GOODNESS do I love the immediacy and dynamics of a horn loaded system, but I laugh my backside off when they describe such things as "low distortion!" If it wasn't distorted, it wouldn't have that annoying HONK or SHOUT, and every part of the delicate bits would come through just like the best of the electrostats...
Looks like we're in agreement here, but I'll add a few things.
It's part "art," but it's not shooting-in-the-dark art like some people think. What's important to understand is that speaker design is a balanced of compromises -- there's no perfect speaker and there are always tradeoffs. It's how a designer balances these tradeoffs that matters.
I won't get into the details of those things here, but I will say that because of this thread it's important to know that diffraction isn't a tradeoff. In other words, one doesn't live with diffraction or not. If there's a reason to live with diffraction, then it's usually due to visual design being put ahead of performance (acoustical design), and then the designer has to deal with that. I've seen that quite a bit, and even talked candidly with designers who admit that happens from time to time. But no designer would put in elements that introduce diffraction because they're trying to achieve something else performance-wise. Now, they might not optimize the speaker like they could (because they don't have the manufacturing wherewithal, or they don't know). But when it comes to a TRUE cost-no-object, high-performance speaker, there is no excuse for diffraction-producing elements to be there.
The SoundStage! Network
It's an expression of value, meaning "high". Maybe it means he'd be happy owning them if he shelled out $800.
But ultimately it's just an expression with no more basis in fact than "my wife heard the difference in the next room".
Plenty of speakers start out at HUGE retail values new, but quickly plummet to what the market thinks they are worth.
Doesn't really mean they are better or worse, but it is pretty clear as to their perceived value.
If someone came up to me and said: "Here is $500 cash money," - they may well drive (presumably in a van or pickup truck) with a pair of Soundlab Pristine IIs that would likely sound better than pretty much anything else you could purchase for 2, 3, or possibly 4 times the price.
Heard both recently at the same dealer. Remarkably similar sound, not even sure I could distinguish one from the other if I had to. I can certainly distinguish the nearly 100% price difference though.
Baba-Booey to you all!
I think that there are not likely to be many occasions when that phrase is helpful or credible. However, there have been a few products to which it could apply; one example that comes to mind is Benchmark's DAC, which JA found very similar in sound to a few DACs costing a lot more. The difference, however, is that JA named those other DACs.
Loudspeakers are funny in terms of price and performance. You state that you doubt that a $2000 speaker would sound as "good" as a $4000 speaker or that a $25K speaker would sound "like" a $50K loudspeaker. Well, I can envision specific cases.
Case I: A person really likes the sound of Harbeth's $2200 P3ESR. I can easily imagine that person's preferring the $2200 Harbeth to a $4400 floorstander with different design goals, and which might just excite unfortunate room resonances in that person's room.
Case II: If you were playing music without much bass and with restrained dynamics, such as a recital of Elizabethan laments for baritone voice and lute, I think that Wilson Audio's Sasha and Maxx 3 would sound very close.
My general view is this: as prices go down, the design goals and the essential sound of loudspeakers tend to converge, although there are always outliers. As prices go up, the design goals and the essential sound diverge, in some cases radically.
Thanks, John, for the nice reply. I appreciate the points raised. You know better, having listened to and compared so many different speakers.
I was very happy when I read RJR's review of Dali Zensor1, having found the right budget speaker to buy. But listening to the B&W 685 ruined it. Now I want to say no to my friend the retailer who just got the Harbeths and wants me to travel 500 miles and listen to them with him. He wants me to compare it with Joseph Audio 7 which I often rave about. He also has some new ProAcs. I better stay home I guess.
how can one characterize an $800 speaker or, indeed, one defined only by price? I know of many similarly-priced speakers with quite different sounds, some of which I can enjoy/accept and some which I cannot. The same can be said, of course, of speakers at half that price and of speakers at twice that price.
Using price as the only parameter to define a class is useless.
ain't it all 'subjective'? ( written with some tongue in cheek).
Post a Followup:
Post a Message!
This post is made possible by the generous support of people like you and our sponsors: