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In Reply to: RE: I heard the small Giyas before and they didn't seem bright posted by RGA on March 12, 2021 at 17:22:53
Laurence Dickie was B&W's principal engineer/chief designer back in the 1980s and 1990s. I don't know what his actual job title was. But while at B&W, he invented the matrix enclosure, and the exponential tube loading. He was also a big and early advocate of housing the midranges and tweeters in separate enclosures. Dickie left B&W in the late 1990s, but they still feature his inventions.
Dickie's B&W designs were aiming for the typical target of flat anechoic response on-axis. But more recent B&Ws have featured a treble rise and often a bass boost. For example, here is the Dickie-designed 805 measured in 1999 vs. the latest 805 D3 measured in 2017:
After leaving B&W, Dickie worked for Turbosound for a while. They do large scale live sound systems. He invented their dendritic horns, which have equal path lengths from the driver to a line array of horn "mouths". It allows line array PA systems to launch a phase-coherent wave front as if from a point source.
After that he co-founded Vivid, where he has design authority over everything, including the drivers themselves which are made in house. One of his new innovations with Vivid was figuring how to combine exponentially tapered loading of the bass driver with a reflex port. Another one is the side firing bass drivers which are hard-coupled together back to back so the net force on the enclosure is zero. I'm not sure whether he invented the latter, but since he put it on the market it's been copied by the KEF Blades, Devialet Phantom, Kii Three's, and many subwoofer designs such as Martin Logan Balanced Force.
The idea behind the exponential tube driver loading is to absorb the back wave without adding any resonances. In a typical box speaker, the tweeter will have a closed back and the midrange and bass drivers will be open into the enclosure. The tweeter back chamber will be shaped to avoid resonances, either using a tube like Dickie does, or using a shorter chamber with a tapered point in the center that pokes up into the yoke. The back wave of the midrange and bass drivers needs to be absorbed by the enclosure. Without going completely techno-babble about it, the advantage of the exponential tube is that it's inherently non-resonant, the opposite of a rectangular box. The disadvantage is the difficulty of packaging that shape without making it look ridiculous.
Edits: 03/13/21Follow Ups:
Well, I did a pretty good job guessing that Vivid had ties to B&W. I've been listening to B&W only since the early-mid 1990s and I liked them - Matrix 805, CDM2SE,(never liked the 1SE or the replacement NT) and 302 on the standmount side and 801, 802 for floorstanders.
It was 2001 or so when an 805 owner put me onto one of those rectangle boxes and comparing directly A/B against the 805 of that year(2001). The plain boring box(with tweeter inside the box) trounced them handily that I moved off my B&W purchase.
With B&W it is never "right" and that might be a reason why dealers love the sound - repeat business with people buying expensive lipsticks to put on the pig. Then they realize that Roseanne Barr will never be Audrey Hepburn and eventually they sell their B&Ws.
As for the designers - I don't know. Reviewers seem to help make them into big names but then I go back and listen to the products and scratch my head.
I have nothing against Laurence Dickie because I have not heard enough of his designs but I didn't care for the Nautilus - the Vivids have done nothing for me - the less said about those atrocious Devialet speakers the better. I think they're pretty cool speakers and I was excited to hear them - grrr. I am not surprised they are kitty-corner to the Bose and B&O stores here in Hong Kong - it's like GQ stereo equipment all in one section of the big shopping mall here. IFC Hong Kong. Devialet had to move to a different floor - the Bose competition was too great!
I read their (Vivid) website - it's all interesting technobabble - I love Star Trek and all but I am not really interested in how the sausage is made but how it tastes. In the 1990s they advertised the hell out of the tweeter on top and "kevlar" and it's all nice conversation pieces. Kind of like reading about Mercedes and how great they are until you drive them and realize how piss-poor they're made in terms of reliability.
I get an uneasy Rube Goldberg feeling when a very complex speaker or amplifier is selling that complexity as a marketing tool. Don't listen to the thing whatever you do - just look at these awesome pictures of the tweeter cutaway and the bulletproof Kevlar (see it's stiff) and the Diamond tweeter (nothing harder than a diamond and diamonds are "expensive" - see you are getting "value" for your money because we are selling you diamonds and kevlar (tough). No one bothered to ask if it actually sounded any bloody good). Especially when I go to a shop selling it and it sounds a lot worse in direct A/B comparisons than the simple Rectangle box with a manual that is printed from an inkjet with a staple in the corner.
That's when I realized that while I like my women slim and sexy, I like my speakers fat and ugly.
Your educated guess is amazing! You have also reinforced my view that the marketing people depend a lot on certain reviewers. Hope the recent events in HK have not been an impediment to speaker auditioning. Meanwhile I am dreaming of an AN.
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