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In Reply to: RE: Those darn measurements ! posted by J. Phelan on June 23, 2017 at 15:17:03
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.
If lack of dynamic compression and wide variations in useful SPL is major figure of merit, then pro-audio equipment which is designed with that in mind should be preferred, right?
And yet with only a few exceptions the "enthusiast horns" don't have too much resemblance to pro-audio, and there is no such thing as a high-performance single-driver pro-audio---desire for wide frequency range and SPL dynamics contradicts that technology--only something crappy to simulate a bluetooth speaker.
In fact a lot of pro speakers do make good hifi speakers. However, it must be remembered that their goal is often high SPL without distortion to fill theaters and stadiums and this means they are ruggedized and not optimized for low level resolution.
That said, theater speakers from the past like Western Electric and Altec Lansings VOTT make phenomenal stereo speakers.
The Japanese rightly love TAD, JBL and Altec studio and theater speakers. Are they colored? Often but not always but they have a visceral dynamic that works great.
As to single driver speakers, as I have said I have heard only a few that cut it: One is coupled to a large backloaded horn. The other is the Decware HDT. Needs to be close to walls to get a bit of room gain for the bass but works great. Not for a large theater or ballroom though...something in the 200-300 square foot range is probably ideal.
What seemed to be excellent on both parameters (high dynamic range and low coloration) to my ears (in a short demo at an audio show): JBL M2.
It is by no means "vintage", rather quite the opposite, a product of the most modern state of the art acoustic modeling and electronic processing.
But most horns today are not colored. I've been to countless audio shows and have auditioned many horns -it simply isn't there.
The man states no toobs , no music ..... :)
Problem with pro stuff is low level resolution as they never get small , alot of horns do this so they get loud but never soft, lacking dynamics on classical music . The really good horns can get soft and not drop out , but i have only experienced this on SET amps , SET's can micro detail and change direction on a dime ..
I have encountered a few SS amps that were close and with better overall drive , 2 were custom made bespoke amps the other were Spectral mono's . Not saying there( in regards to jump) aren't others , but i have not experienced them , the spectral could get a bit Brassy thou , the Custom Bespoke amps did not exhibit such , i would like to believe the Spectrals were prolly kneeing when they were exhibiting a bit of harshness.
Recently i heard a pr of VAC mono's 200/200 and these were fantastic , some of the best jump and drive from a non SET tooby ...
It depends on the pro speaker. It can be a full-cone or a strong-horn like the Meyer X-10. The Pioneer/TAD 2251, reviewed in the Absolute Sound in 2002, crossed-over at 950hz. A horn covered the highs and most of the midrange (if we assume this goes to 3kHz).
There are very few "horn" speakers most are Quasi, mostly midrange/ high compression drivers , there is a difference ...
If you can explain the difference. A compression driver must be a horn. Waveguides are horn-loaded.
The problem is we've never had a technical cut-off between W/G and horn. (Like crossover-point or sensitivity of system -never mind physical depth of waveguide).
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