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How do omnidirectional speakers compare to surround sound?

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Posted on November 23, 2020 at 14:49:49
jimbill
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Posts: 2555
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The MBL's generate sound in all directions just like an instrument does. So the listening room is energized like a live performance room.

Is surround sound supposed to turn your listening room into a miniature version of, say, the concert hall where it was recorded?

 

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RE: How do omnidirectional speakers compare to surround sound?, posted on November 23, 2020 at 15:32:03
6bq5
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Posts: 3405
Location: SF Bay
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This has been posited and discussed-

IIRC - 'The Absolute Sound' was based on the premiss of having the recording, as played back, recreate the live event that was originally recorded.

I have largely taken this as a guiding principle,
Until I saw King Crimson live at the Great American Music Hall in SF a couple of years ago - there is NO system that could reproduce the effect of three drummers w/ full drum kits in a hall that uses an excellent reinforcement system performing the music of King Crimson....

Having said this -
I also have Quad '57s and have heard sublime recreations of acoustic and chamber music that, if not completely accurate to the original hall(s), re-created the music in a completely lifelike manner.

No I have not visited every major, or minor, hall in the world -
Yes, my musical tastes are wide and inclusive - Some has never even been recorded "live" - electronica and manipulated music/sampling...

What I actually strive for is a system where the equipment can disappear and the music becomes enveloping...
Happy Listening

 

RE: How do omnidirectional speakers compare to surround sound?, posted on November 23, 2020 at 15:53:25
Kal Rubinson
Reviewer

Posts: 11827
Location: New York
Joined: June 5, 2002
The MBL's generate sound in all directions just like an instrument does. So the listening room is energized like a live performance room.
Not really. First, the recording contains, in most cases, the sound of the original recording site and the omnidirectional output will add the acoustics of the playback room to them. Second, with the omnidirectional output, all the voices and instruments will be radiating with the same pattern and from the same source position. This is differs from the unique and characteristic radiation patterns of individual voices/instruments and from their original positions during the performance. Not really comparable.

Is surround sound supposed to turn your listening room into a miniature version of, say, the concert hall where it was recorded?
That may be possible in some cases but, more generally, good surround sound replaces the acoustics of your listening room by the acoustics of the performance site. So, rather than bring the concert to you, it attempts to bring you to the concert.

 

I too have dipole speakers, posted on November 23, 2020 at 21:04:05
jimbill
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But they are not omnidirectional.

I would think the ultimate system would not only disappear, but would put you in front of the original performance.

 

RE: How do omnidirectional speakers compare to surround sound?, posted on November 23, 2020 at 22:46:56
KanedaK
Audiophile

Posts: 1859
Location: Brussels
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I always say, when I try to explain the subjective differences between a high efficiency horn system, and a big low efficiency direct radiator system, that the direct radiator system brings you in the original recording location, while the big horn system brings the orchestra in your living room.
(In my eyes, both presentations are valuable, it's just a matter of taste)

 

An orchestra cannot fit in my living room but......................, posted on November 24, 2020 at 07:15:02
Kal Rubinson
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a good multichannel recording on a good multichannel system can convey me to the orchestra hall by recreating its acoustic space. Stereo cannot do that, regardless of speaker technology.

 

"just like an instrument does", posted on November 24, 2020 at 10:38:03
marc g.
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MBL speakers may radiate in 360 degrees, but do all instruments really do the same? Horned instruments fire towards the audience, no? Stringed instruments can fire upwards and/or forward, no? Sure their sounds travel in all directions, but towards the audience seems where most of the energy would be directed. Then there's your amplified instruments, with their speakers always firing forward. Having a speaker radiate sound equally in all directions doesn't seem to make sense. I've never heard a pair though and they may very well sound excellent and more realistic. Could it be that omni-directional speakers favor unamplified music more so than say, a rock concert? Interested to hear others thoughts on this.

marc g. - audiophile by day, music lover by night

 

RE: "just like an instrument does", posted on November 24, 2020 at 11:24:26
rivervalley817
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'Could it be that omni-directional speakers favor unamplified music'

in my experience yes they do to an extent ... except

in electrified instruments there's different types of speaker cabinets used and some of them are 'open back' cabs ... while a drum kit's output radius is very omnidirectional in nature ... front, back, up-down, while the vocalist is usually miked through closed back cabinets to project towards listeners ... yet since those wave forms are amplified there's stronger reflected sound involved ... you can probably tell where I'm going with this ...

so an omni or OB speaker system can and often does better reproduce a more natural ambient listening experience, and of course the better engineered they are the better that experience is

your mileage probably won't vary!

be well,

 

RE: I didn't ask the hard of hearing Genie for a 10" Pianist, either, but........, posted on November 24, 2020 at 15:44:27
B. Scarpia
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...since he's gone, I settle for Trombones that sound in tone and timbre like the one I play daily, French Horns and Woodwinds I sat behind for 50+ years, and all the other instruments surrounding, correctly placed in miniature, across and with some depth on my front wall.

My eyes should smart just a little from cigarette smoke as well when Sarah Vaughan gets it going.

On the very best recordings, I can hear a hint of the acoustic of the venue. Who could ask for more?

Any Damned Fool Knows One Horse Can Run Faster Than Another

 

horned instruments, posted on November 24, 2020 at 15:55:38
DrChaos
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> Horned instruments fire towards the audience, no?

the metal walls also oscillate and radiate significant sound.

 

"a good multichannel recording...", posted on November 24, 2020 at 16:29:59
mlsstl
Audiophile

Posts: 523
Location: Midwest
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One of the sad realities is that many recordings don't take full advantage of the capabilities of the medium's format. Think of what stereo CDs are capable of in terms of dynamic range and their silent background and how few recordings use those capabilities. In fact, it is truly ironic that instead, unlike vinyl LP, the technical advantage of a CD to not lose playing time when recording loud, bass-heavy music became the basis for the loudness wars.

We've all heard LPs, CDs and multichannel recordings that are truly spectacular, so we know what is possible. It is just a pity that so many recordings don't take advantage of those capabilities.

Apologies for the departure from the original subject.

 

I enjoy hearing more than a hint. (NT), posted on November 24, 2020 at 16:45:11
Kal Rubinson
Reviewer

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"a good multichannel recording..." is not as common as it should be. (NT), posted on November 24, 2020 at 16:46:21
Kal Rubinson
Reviewer

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Location: New York
Joined: June 5, 2002


 

" Horned instruments fire towards the audience, no? ", posted on November 24, 2020 at 17:44:24
Kal Rubinson
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French horns do not.

 

who wants miniature?, posted on November 24, 2020 at 18:15:16
DrChaos
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I don't like box speakers projecting a 7 inch Furtwangler like R2D2

 

Agreed. (NT), posted on November 24, 2020 at 18:25:22
Kal Rubinson
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Location: New York
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RE: " Horned instruments fire towards the audience, no? ", posted on November 24, 2020 at 18:34:06
rivervalley817
Audiophile

Posts: 3733
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tuba! lituus? sarrusophone?

saxophone / saxtromba / saxtuba? well, there's other woodwinds too ... basoon! bass and contra bass clarinet ... and ... uh

actually, that's all I got

regards,



 

RE: "just like an instrument does", posted on November 24, 2020 at 20:39:03
hahax@verizon.net
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You must still remember to not confuse the shape of an instrument with dispersion. You must include the frequency it is producing. The longer the wave length the wider the dispersion no matter the producer shape(true for speakers too). Very low frequencies are omni and the source can't even be located(it's the higher harmonics that let you locate it). And very high frequencies are verydirectional. In between it's a transition.

 

Clearly, not all do. (NT), posted on November 25, 2020 at 07:20:31
Kal Rubinson
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RE: Clearly, not all do. (NT), posted on November 25, 2020 at 10:05:28
rivervalley817
Audiophile

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I'll tell you though Kal, I find the metaphor of 'firing' instruments to be vaguely disturbing unless it's used with a military marching band

oh! my poor sensitivities!

regards,

 

clarinet & wind instruments, posted on November 25, 2020 at 10:21:50
DrChaos
Audiophile

Posts: 1828
Location: San Diego
Joined: July 13, 2009
when their keyholes are open (as is the case for most notes) there will be significant sound emitted there, and not on the bell. In fact that's why for a clarinet, for instance, the notes with holes open up to the higher part of the instrument (and there are 2 ranges depending on the 12th key being used or not) project further and have higher frequency harmonics audible.

 

RE: clarinet & wind instruments, posted on November 25, 2020 at 10:43:05
rivervalley817
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'higher frequency harmonics audible'

that's all I've ever been able to get trying to play reeds Dr.!

just terrible! babies cried, dogs barked, a cacophonous non-melodious din

of course, I was the guy that went through a two year supply of valve oil in three weeks with it drooling out of the bell when trying to play coronet for band ... eventually switched to guitar because the folks were wise enough to deny me the drum set I lusted after ... a very wise move

regards,

 

RE: Anyone recall how Amar Bose and his M.I.T. team calculated 89% of concert hall sound is reflected?, posted on November 26, 2020 at 04:58:12
B. Scarpia
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May 23, 2020







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Any Damned Fool Knows One Horse Can Run Faster Than Another

 

RE: who wants miniature?, posted on November 26, 2020 at 08:25:08
B. Scarpia
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The Concertgebouw is 28 meters wide and 44 meters long. How large is your listening room? How far apart those Maggies?

Any Damned Fool Knows One Horse Can Run Faster Than Another

 

RE: Anyone recall how Amar Bose and his M.I.T. team calculated 89% of concert hall sound is reflected?, posted on November 26, 2020 at 20:28:31
hahax@verizon.net
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Problem is the percentage depends on the frequency and the environment. And besides a great live recording already has good hall sound so Bose distorted the halls sound by reflecting it in the listening room And for poor recordings it was artificial hall sound. His premise was almost correct. His application was ALL wrong.

 

RE: Anyone recall how Amar Bose and his M.I.T. team calculated 89% of concert hall sound is reflected?, posted on November 26, 2020 at 21:13:05
rivervalley817
Audiophile

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why frequency? are you saying that some reflect but others don't?

nah, that can't be right

you made that up, didn't you?

be well,


 

RE: You've got answers for everything in your narrow little world, posted on November 27, 2020 at 01:12:52
B. Scarpia
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See ya.

Any Damned Fool Knows One Horse Can Run Faster Than Another

 

Thanks to all..., posted on November 27, 2020 at 15:32:06
marc g.
Audiophile

Posts: 2960
Location: New Orleans
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...who chimed in with those, to me, educational insights. And my apologies to the OP whose thread I didn't mean to hijack!


marc g. - audiophile by day, music lover by night

 

RE: Anyone recall how Amar Bose and his M.I.T. team calculated 89% of concert hall sound is reflected?, posted on November 27, 2020 at 22:55:37
Duke
Dealer

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The Bose 901's front-firing driver ALSO contributed reflected sound, so even IF his "89%" figure was a worthy goal for a home audio speaker, imo his execution fell short.

That 89% figure was I'm sure dependent on WHERE in the hall you measured, and perhaps on whether or not the hall was filled with a frequency-dependent sound-absorbing biomass (the audience).

Duke


Me being a dealer makes you leery?? It gets worse... I'm a manufacturer too.

 

RE: You're a humorless bunch, posted on November 28, 2020 at 08:11:58
B. Scarpia
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You never heard the one about the guy walks into a bar with a box from which he produces a very small piano and piano player?

Any Damned Fool Knows One Horse Can Run Faster Than Another

 

Nope. Never heard that one. (NT), posted on November 28, 2020 at 08:21:23
Kal Rubinson
Reviewer

Posts: 11827
Location: New York
Joined: June 5, 2002


 

Do you have data to backup your claims?, posted on November 28, 2020 at 08:56:35
Cougar
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I have heard 901's in three different setups in three different homes. All where different in sound due mostly to poor setup of two of the systems. The third one I heard the guy took the time and set them up according to the manual and had enough power to push them properly. That setup with the Bose 901's was what really got my attention on how good they were when setup properly. Not can Bose 901 play all music well, I would say most of it but what I heard them really excel at were smooth Jazz, Big Band, and orchestra/classical music. They sound really nice.

People would say the same thing about the Carver Amazing, no bass and didn't sound good. but when I asked how they set them up, it was how "They thought they should be" and according to the Craver setup guide. When the Carver were setup properly, they has very good deep bass, not boomy like a box speaker but more defined. Today, these are the best sounding speakers I had in my system, so good that they made me sell my Vandersteen 3A's

My cousin gave me a pair of BOSE 901 Series II with the matching EQ. These are supposed to be the best sounding of the bunch. I heard them at his house and even though he didn't have them setup properly (Not Even close) they sound pretty good in his room.

 

of course it's true, posted on November 28, 2020 at 13:55:51
DrChaos
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materials have quite distinct frequency-dependent absorption/reflection coefficients. At lower frequencies the interior construction of walls matter.

They're very colored acoustically, and it takes special engineering to make the equivalent of 'frosted white' diffusers.

And furthermore, air itself absorbs more at high frequencies because of viscous and thermal effects. Thunder right near a lightning bolt is a 'crack' (mixed high and low frequencies), but far away it's a rolling low frequency boom (high frequencies absorbed).

 

RE: of course it's true, posted on November 28, 2020 at 14:15:23
rivervalley817
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yeah but he didn't say that you did ... which I agree with

not to mention comb filtering effects

but I'm fond of questioning declarative statements in audio to both challenge potentially false premises and educate myself

so far so good so far

but the question was how did Bose determine that ambient content comprises the largest percentage of what is heard from performances and how was that measured ... which remains unanswered ... and probably will

with regards,

 

RE: Do you have data to backup your claims?, posted on December 1, 2020 at 20:46:51
hahax@verizon.net
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Which data? The 89% is Bose data and I think done at MIT and basically correct. That different frequencies are absorbed differently shouldn't be a question.

I agree about set up. It's true on all speakers, more true on speakers that radiate in many directions. It's easier to mess up their set up. But liking and fidelity are two different questions. I'm sure many liked 901s and that's cool. But citing accuracy is questionable. I recall Gordon Holt's Stereophile review and he said that their frequency response was like a comb filter.

 

RE: You've got answers for everything in your narrow little world, posted on December 1, 2020 at 20:48:03
hahax@verizon.net
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And your point is? Say something specific that may contradict me.

 

RE: Do you have data to backup your claims?, posted on December 1, 2020 at 22:09:20
rivervalley817
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'That different frequencies are absorbed differently shouldn't be a question'

it's not ... the question was 'does anyone know how it was measured'

plus, how did Bose come to the conclusion that 89% of music etc. etc.

you've only trotted out your impressions and assumptions on the design of one of his speaker models ... so your answer is the same as mine isn't it?

I don't know ... and it's evident that you don't either

if I did know, I would have contributed that knowledge

again you don't know either, yet felt you should contribute an opinion critical of Bose as a speaker designer and the implementation of that design paradigm ... blissfully unaware that the original question sailed over your head ... while you're certainly entitled to that opinion you basically hi-jacked the thread, and you're unaware of that too!

do you see that now? it's like your asking me 'how do you breed a cockapoodle' and I answer by telling you they get fleas, dig holes, and crap in your yard.

ah well, carry on, as ya do

be well,





 

RE: Do you have data to backup your claims?, posted on December 2, 2020 at 20:49:36
hahax@verizon.net
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I only referred to the 901s because that's the only one that was designed according to his research. All his other designs only bounce the tweeter portion of the frequencies they reproduce and try to piggyback on his claim.

The 89% is not important. It's an approximation. But natural recordings include the room affect and if you add your room in it's a distortion. You can't ignore your room but in this case you want to minimize it. As for studio recordings which have no space in them you can do what you want with them. But it's personal taste which is perfectly valid on a personal basis but has nothing to do with fidelity.

 

RE: Do you have data to backup your claims?, posted on December 2, 2020 at 21:54:39
rivervalley817
Audiophile

Posts: 3733
Joined: June 15, 2020
yes of course, thank you. well, let me answer that by saying ...

they are really cute but are prone to 'hot spots' where they get a localized skin
irritation causing them to scratch and lick the area often to the point fur is lost.
this can be mistaken for fleas, but your vet can prescribe certain meds that will calm this down





good luck and please make sure that all shots are kept up to date.
but of course you're probably aware of this and the only reason I
mention it is that you didn't ask.

with regards,

 

RE: Do you have data to backup your claims?, posted on December 3, 2020 at 20:37:14
hahax@verizon.net
Audiophile

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no answer to above, of course. puppies win all the time. but what was the question?

 

RE: How do omnidirectional speakers compare to surround sound?, posted on December 4, 2020 at 14:48:48
SgreenP@MSN.com
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My 5.1 system sounds like crap

 

My condolences to you. (NT), posted on December 4, 2020 at 16:29:56
Kal Rubinson
Reviewer

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Location: New York
Joined: June 5, 2002



 

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