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In Reply to: RE: Those darn measurements ! posted by J. Phelan on June 23, 2017 at 15:17:03
This disconnect between subjective impressions and objective measurements seems to recur at regular intervals, particularly in relation to high-sensitivity horn speakers and particularly with certain reviewers who seem to value the dynamic "jump factor" inherent in such designs far above accurate frequency response, phase coherence, wide dispersion, lack of resonant colorations, etc.
And there is something to be said for this. I've heard several Klipsch, JBL, Cerwin Vega, etc. high-sensitivity speakers over the years, and while I doubt if I could live with them for the long term (too fatiguing), they are definitely FUN! Few "normal" dynamic speakers, with sensitivity around 84dB, 2.83V at 1 meter, can match them for lightning transient response or sheer "lifelike" liveliness. AND you can drive them to ear-splitting levels with the sort of flea-powered, poorly damped, high 2nd harmonic distortion SET amplifiers these same reviewers seem to favor, which add their own wacky-woo to the already awful frequency response due to their inability to drive a variable impedance. Inaccuracy piled on inaccuracy, coloration on coloration. Sonic heaven for some, especially in a horribly boomy untreated room with antique analog source components (78 RPM, anyone?).
These reviewers are quite upfront about their sonic preferences and prejudices, so it is possible to take much of what they say with an appropriately sized grain of salt.
BUT they are definitely on to something as far as dynamics. If you take live unamplified acoustic music as your reference, most conventional speakers seem to lack the speed and "kick" of the real thing. High sensitivity horns just plain GET it, at both the micro- and macrodynamic levels.
I have the JBL M2 complemented with the JBL Sub18 driven by three Crown stereo amps(6 x 1250 watts) with DSP incorporated for active crossover. I can testify that with a really good high rez source (pure DSD) with really good high dynamics in the mastering, the listening result is jaw dropping almost beyond words. Truly state of the art.
The only time I have really heard horn speakers is at an audio show (THE "Newport"/Irvine, two years in a row)..
But I have had a reasonably (but not completely) consistent experience: I now avoid almost all rooms with horn or single-driver speakers. My first judgement is on accurate timbre, in particular, acoustic classical where I have an absolute reference. (And in one of the shows there was a string trio playing in the entry floor). It sounds too obviously wrong too often with those sorts of speakers.
There was one large (literally) exception, of course: JBL M2. Stunning dynamic range and literally calibrated studio accuracy. It needs to be integrated in a multi-amplified DSP'ed system I think.
I found that the dynamic range was almost 'too much', as if the contrast adjustment on a display/photoshop was turned on a bit too far, almost overemphasizing it. I liked the Revel Ultima Salon 2's nearby a bit more for classical music, though the JBL would be perfect for a large film screening room.
I guess in some way I agree with you. I don't think it's dynamic range but a term I 1st heard over 40 years from Bud Fried(IMF and Fried speakers) - dynamic linearity which basically means lack of compression with increased loudness. Interestingly this seems to be a factor that passes the out of room test like live sound does.
Cant agree "horns alone get it " as 95% of the ones i have heard don't , the ones that do are usually attached to an SET amplfier
SET and a good Horn speaker, can be special ....
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