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In Reply to: RE: Maybe you place to much importance in diffraction ? posted by Doug Schneider on July 04, 2012 at 13:49:41
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.
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