Low level body/weight presence wanted: Can 12" full range deliver? - diyAudio
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Old 25th June 2008, 07:35 AM   #1
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Default Low level body/weight presence wanted: Can 12" full range deliver?

Hello all from Vancouver, BC

I've read a lot but I've reached a point where I can't get the answer to this question without hitting an us vs. them from both sides. From what I've read I'm attracted to the added presence a full range can provide. The idea that the brain does not need to decode a cross-over and reassemble signals coming from more than 1 point source intrigues me. But I must ask:

Can a larger full range with a 1 mm excursion provide the visceral weight and body to instruments and voices at lower to medium volumes? And is there such a thing as body independent of bass?

I want to build 5 speakers for an acoustically live 11 x 15 room. I have to decide between conventional 2-way or full range. The 2-ways would involve building 5 matching GR Research Neo 2X's [http://www.audiocircle.com/circles/i...?topic=54382.0] - a new XBL design. For the full range the fronts and center would be smaller variations of Commonsense's 2.8 MKII using the Audio Nirvana Super 12 Cast Frame with Minimonitor rears using the Super 8 Casts. Either case would be supported by a Rythmik/GR sealed servo sub.

I have to explain that I only have experience building or buying smallish 2-way speakers that could provide neutrality and detail at low levels. - Being an urban renter with my nature I just couldn't enjoy music if I felt it might be intruding on others.

I've moved to a place that allows me a little more latitude in volume and I crave experiencing a bit more body or weight adding to the presence of a sound. However I didn't want to give up the clarity and neutrality I've grown accustomed to and WAF demands speakers be modest in size.

I guess I should mention I've tried loudness EQ, an SVS subwoofer and increasing the amplification head room. Of these approaches only a subwoofer seemed natural, leading me in any case to plan on building a Rythmik sealed servo using a GR SW12-4 which I'll use at low volumes for music and a bit louder when I can.

I know a fast musical sub can add weight in it's range. But I worry about the lower midrange in either of the two choices I described above. So on the full range side one variation of the Nirvana build would be adding an Ambience matching driver facing up [http://www.commonsenseaudio.com/nirvana.html] which risks being too much for a small room. And for the 2-way adding a driver making an MTM.
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Old 25th June 2008, 10:45 AM   #2
OzMikeH is offline OzMikeH  Australia
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Have a look at Hammer Dynamics. It might be what you're looking for.

Also look at BIBs. You can get an awful lot out of an 8 inch driver in a BIG cabinet without sacrificing midrange detail.
Curvy Chang looks interesting as well. They would be a tricky build though.
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Old 25th June 2008, 02:30 PM   #3
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Hi VanJerry, I also listen at lower volumes and thus want a slightly plumper bass than would be flat. And yes, there are lots of words like "body" to describe the quality of bass you'll get (some of my faves: boomy, tubby, plump, pleasing, tight, lean, recessed, not enough, and missing).

Having only used various 8" and 6" but with good results, I'd imagine a 12" would have even better bass (though high frequencies would presumably beam more), but, but, but.

You're saying you'll put those interesting drivers into somewhat "off the shelf" cabinets. That's a no-no. You should (a) search here on the driver name to see what more optimal designs have been created, if any, and (b) consider investing some of that big buget in an inexpensive "woofer tester" for the best results.

You might play around with the free and simple WinISD program (e.g., enter the internal dims of that cabinet you mentioned, along with the driver specs, and see what the bass response looks like). Bear in mind that WinISD doesn't take room factors and certain other factors into account, but it's a start.

Also, if you re-cast your question as, "What's the best cabinet design possible for these drivers, in this room, for these musical styles, for this volume level," etc. then some of the goodly folk here can help you reach the state of the art, as opposed to what GM recently called "a fart box."

Edit: trimmed the fat!
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Old 26th June 2008, 03:00 PM   #4
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Thank you OzMikeH.

Sorry about the delay. I've been looking all over for the xmax for the Hammer 12". Is it more than a mm? Darkmoebius' description of the Hammer is exciting. I can see why you suggest it. But I'd use up most of my budget for 5 speakers if I got the Hammer kit to make 2. Xmax for the Nirvana 12 is 1mm. Might it make as dynamic a result? Plus I'd really like a cross-overless full range experience. I was going to say single driver, but combining natural limits of 2 drivers did yield the Ikonoclast3 which is pretty cool for low level performance and kind of what started me thinking about full range as a solution to my quest. [http://www.warrengregoire.com/hifi-s...konoklast3.htm]

Also, the Hammer is 48" big. Spouse won't approve. Goes double for BIB if this stands for "bigger is better" designs. Curvy Chang does look interesting, but definitely a challenging build. I plan to be resourceful but my tools and abilities are limited.

My aim was to take advantage of a very musical sub so that I wouldn't need the speakers to go down to more than 60 or 80Hz thus reducing the cabinet size.
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Old 26th June 2008, 03:00 PM   #5
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Hi rjbond3rd,

Oh, no, I wouldn't go off the shelf, like a Parts Express or something. (Besides that would cheat me of my fantasy to somehow involve some diy plyboo made out of vertical bamboo flooring.)

Commonsense doesn't sell cabinets any more anyway. The 2.8 I mention is simply the BR plans that David Dicks insists would work best for his larger Nirvana's. However, again, as in my reply to OzMikeH, I'm interested in a smaller variation. Unfortunately, I run an iMac so no affordable or free modeling programs for me. But I get what you mean about recasting my question and I'll do that: Like, what specific BR volume would allow me to get an F3 of 80Hz with a Nirvana Super Cast 12".

But while I'm in the middle of this thread I was curious why doubling up on the full range drivers a la bipole wouldn't be the best route to weight, regardless of the driver's size or weightiness to begin with. That is, whether there was a catch to this quick and dirty method besides added expense.

And specifically at low volumes, would a bipole using, say, a couple of CSS FR125SR's per speaker http://www.creativesound.ca/details.php?model=FR125SR provide more weight than a single 12" Nirvana?
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Old 26th June 2008, 03:53 PM   #6
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Hi VanJerry,

Can you say what you mean by "weight"? Do you mean when you feel a rock kick drum in your chest or gut? Or that deep, bouncy dance-music kick drum (Roland 909)? Snare thwack? Or the rich resonance when the cello hits a low, slow note and the hairs stand up on the back of your neck? A distorted heavy metal guitar's I chun-chun-chunk? The bow-bow-bow of tympani?

You can definitely get Mac calculators, e.g. quickie simplistic ones you run in the browser (even works in Linux, Firefox etc.):

http://www.lalena.com/Audio/Calculator/Box/

A vastly better tool is Unibox if you have Excel (it's a spreadsheet but it doesn't work in Open Office, at least not for me, yet).

I don't think bipole gets you more "weight". It gives you the exact sound radiated (usually) in oppposite directions which gives you 3db more efficiency, lots of reflected sound (for better or worse), the ability (necessity?) of pulling the speakers away from the walls into the room w/o any BSC (baffle step compensation circuit) etc. etc. but in my opinion, bipole has the same "character" of bass.

The cabinet design you mention is "off the shelf" in the sense that it's not mated to a particular driver -- it's said to work with a range of drivers. That's old-school and I understand the appeal -- there's a cab here, a driver there, put them together and see if it sounds good. (I might be wrong but I also think it was "designed" separately from, and prior to, the cast-frame 12" becoming available.) Nothing wrong with that, I've done it myself and got mediocre to not-too-bad results, but there's this other notion of a more "optimal" cabinet done with simming.

On the other hand, given that you only want to get down to 80Hz, your troubles will be few because 80Hz is not hard to get. 40Hz is the challenge in my (relatively limited) experience.

Let's see what the gurus here say in terms of suggestions. I'd really love to hear this driver sometime. I'll ponder your post further in the meantime!
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Old 26th June 2008, 09:14 PM   #7
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Hi VanJerry,

While we wait for guru assistance, is it okay to kill a little time chatting about one of your fundamental choices? Since you only need down to 80Hz, I think the AN cast Super 12 might be overkill in that size room. Sounds like you could get by with something less extreme (by fullrange standards). Anyway...

Attached is an extremely crude sim I did in WinISD using the specs at:

http://www.commonsenseaudio.com/an12cfspecs.jpg

(It would be nice for Godzilla to chime in here since he's the WinISD guru in these parts.) It shows the bottom end you will get in a sealed box, as you go from 300 liters (wow!) down to 25 liters (ouch -- not sure the cast frame would even fit). (By the way, this sim ignores room factors.)

As basic as this is, I hope you see that scaling the box size "adjusts" the bass response. Make the box too big, and bass rolls off gently but too high. Make the box too small and you get that bump in the curve -- some people find the bump pleasing if there's no sub, but the bump is not desirable when mating with a sub.

Obviously you wouldn't build any of these boxes in reality. In fact, I'm not sure you want a sealed box at all (though some people feel they integrate with subs well), nor if you even want those humongous cast-frame 12" as front mains where you're only going down to 80hz. I'm not helping you much, am I?

Let's hope some more knowledgeable person will chime in. OzMikeH, are you still there?
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File Type: jpg an_cast_12.jpg (62.2 KB, 1307 views)
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Old 26th June 2008, 09:24 PM   #8
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Sorry -- previous image is too compressed to show the colors of the lines in the graph. This image is better.
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File Type: gif an_cast_12.gif (95.6 KB, 1314 views)
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Old 26th June 2008, 10:56 PM   #9
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If you want full, tight, slam , go with the 12"s in a 2cu. ft. sealed cab . If you stuff with fibreglass , you can adjust the amount to give the exact bass "weight" you want , while the 2cu.ft. size is reasonable.

2 cu. ft. would correspond roughly to the 50Litre graph, but if you were to stuff the cabinet, then it could approach the 100Litre cabs rolloff. IME , stuffing will reduce some of the "snappyness"
of the sound.

Since you are using a sub for the very bottom end, the smooth response and gentle rollof of a sealed design should integrate nicely.

IMO, sealed cabinets have the best attack, sounding very snappy and tight. The combination of a 12" driver and tight snappy bass is a good one. Ever heard Klipsch Heresy's ? Not able to go very low, but they have a very good presentation for drum "attack".



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Old 2nd July 2008, 04:04 PM   #10
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Wow, I thought I'd done some homework before I asked for help but it can take me days to look up enough background to be able make an intelligent response to some of the ideas I'm getting from you diyAudio members. On the other hand I didn't want to make anyone wait for my reply too long or you might think I didn't appreciate it. I do.


Hi rjbond3rd,

What do I mean by weight? What the heck do I mean by weight? It certainly would help my cause to express what it is. Or at least what I think it is. And I'll admit: I threw in "body" for good measure because I hoped whatever weight was, I hoped the comprehensive "weight and body" would take care to include all of it.

Well, I brought it up. It's my fault. Now 3 days searching and I'm back to where I started. I could find no better clue to it than in my own question when I mentioned the words "visceral" and "presence." And I can draw parallels from what happens in our visual experience...

So here goes:

Short of finding a doctoral thesis on chun-chun-chunk (is there such a term?) to me a sound's weight is it's ability to have an indismissable effect on the body and the mind.

It is in part visceral. On the body it is the amount of the energy that is felt: such as the amount of bass or of treble energy. Like a shock wave hitting the chest. If I were deaf and blind I would still know something is happening through the physical energy affecting the rest of my body. It could be direct, sustained and pleasurable like the low, slow note that cause the hairs to stand up on the back of the neck as you say, or masterfully confusing like the off, on, weak, strong roller coaster of a suspense movie's sound design.

It is in part a mental activity. On the mind it creates an effect which compels it to perform a calculation (left brain) or an appreciation (right brain) of what changes and contrasts our bodies are experiencing: dynamics. As much as our minds are compelled to stay engaged in performing these calculations this is presence. It's like a version of how we're into detecting visual movement.

Darting objects catch our visual attention. Rapid or complex changes in acoustic energy does the same. Small objects can still catch our attention if they behave in a compelling way. If not it helps to be big and colorful.

So I suppose, weight/body/presence - whatever it's called - is the combination of how much sound reaches us, and how much and how quickly its changes interest us. Bass requires more energy to register so if it is not boosted at low volumes one could alternately boost the capacity to notice its changes. And this would involve clarity and a quiet background.

In conclusion, weight is both an amount and a relative perception. Wait a second! Dang! I think I've just discovered relativity! ...again.
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