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Old 22nd June 2007, 12:36 AM   #1211
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Default Re: Re: Re: Freq and imaging

Quote:
Originally posted by johninCR


Outdoors with a wall or building 3-4m behind the speakers is best. A friend has one of my sets of OB's, just a pair of cheap 15" selenium coax with my bass enhancer pathway. We set them up 10-15ft outside in front of his hotel and it's the most "live" sound I've ever heard, much better soundwise than any concert I've attended.
Pardon my ignorance, but how is this possible ? "Much better" in what respect, exactly ?
I have never heard an "audio system" anywhere NEAR the live music experience. And I've heard most of the world's "best" (admittedly, not your friend's selenium coax).
I mean, live sound is by definition a reference. ANY reproduction is just that, a reproduction. Now, "stereo" can get pretty close to some types of music (remeber Dunlavy's "music professor couldn't tell them apart" demo), but on any type of orchestral material domestic audio falls woefuly short of target.
NOT EVEN CLOSE.
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Old 22nd June 2007, 12:48 AM   #1212
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Originally posted by Variac

Lynn must be at a doctor's appointment....
Uh, not this time ... just a lot of wrangles getting my big PowerMac Dual G5 repaired. Applecare has dropped the ball on this one, and it's been 19 days and two service calls so far. The liquid-cooled dual processor module has been replaced (twice), the power supply (twice), and tomorrow morning the tech comes back and installs the second (new) motherboard. I suspect strongly the overclocked, liquid-cooled Dual 2.7 GHz G5 has reliability issues in several parts of the design. I've been pestering Apple for a replacement machine - this is getting a little out of hand. (Yes, I have Dual Athlon PC, but I really dislike using WinXP any more than the absolute minimum.)

I'm posting this on the partly-repaired machine - the fan/temp sensing system needs to be calibrated, of all things, and the cal procedure failed today, thus the return visit tomorrow. So I type away and listen to fans whirring away at what sounds like 75~80 dB. I'll give up pretty soon and return to the laptop downstairs with its flaky WiFi connection.

Directivity is an area, like amplifiers, where Earl and I must respectfully disagree. Narrow-directivity speakers don't do it for me - I've always liked the spatial presentation (and resolution) of electrostats, going all the way back to first hearing the Quad ESL57 at Radio People in Hong Kong in 1962.

In 1991, the Ariels were designed for Mike Spurlock in Portland, who owned a set of stacked ESL57's, and wanted a speaker that had similar qualities but was also a good match for triode amplifiers. To my surprise, a number of Quad owners in Hawaii and the UK have built Ariels, and consider them reasonably close sonically. I guess this isn't too amazing, since I follow the BBC/DEL Shorter and KEF/Laurie Fincham design philosophy.

If I was in the NRC/Floyd Toole camp, I'm sure my speakers would sound rather different. The "school" of the design usually has a strong influence on the resulting sound - all those tradeoffs, and different schools make different choices.

I see myself as a technical artisan, and a writer. I've been thinking about this a bit, and the role of technical artisans in Germany and Japan are very different than the US and the UK, which are cultures that celebrate inventors and capitalist heroes (think John Galt).

In the US & UK, artisans are given derogatory names like "dilletante" or "tinkerer". In Germany, though, artisanship goes back a millenium - this is the culture than invented the clock, after all, along with many musical instruments. There are similar traditions in Japan, and I surmise that this was a subtle influence on me as I grew up in the Kobe/Osaka/Kyoto area. Like many artisans, I design for my own pleasure - I don't have to satisfy a corporate client, nor follow the dictates of a marketing department. This flows out a quite conscious decision when I left Audionics in 1979 to never work for an audio company again - or if I did, it would be my own company, not an entity controlled by someone else.
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Old 22nd June 2007, 12:59 AM   #1213
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lynn Olson
... I surmise that this was a subtle influence on me as I grew up in the Kobe/Osaka/Kyoto area.
Where the listening rooms are small and the neighbors close.
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Old 22nd June 2007, 01:02 AM   #1214
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Uhh, not so much. I heard some pretty exotic systems back in 1958~59, in the quite generous-sized homes of some of the Western community in the little town of Shukugawa.

Other influences were the Shadow Vector quadraphonic project in 1973, and hearing the BBC Soundfield mastertape recordings at the BBC Research Labs in 1975. Meeting the BBC team and Laurie Fincham in 1975 left a very strong impression. I was very lucky to visit the BBC in the glory days, before the cuts of the 1980's.
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Old 22nd June 2007, 01:18 AM   #1215
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Freq and imaging

Quote:
Originally posted by Bratislav


Pardon my ignorance, but how is this possible ? "Much better" in what respect, exactly ?
I have never heard an "audio system" anywhere NEAR the live music experience. And I've heard most of the world's "best" (admittedly, not your friend's selenium coax).
I mean, live sound is by definition a reference. ANY reproduction is just that, a reproduction. Now, "stereo" can get pretty close to some types of music (remeber Dunlavy's "music professor couldn't tell them apart" demo), but on any type of orchestral material domestic audio falls woefuly short of target.
NOT EVEN CLOSE.
I don't go to the symphony, so the concerts I've attended we're amplified. Admittedly the sound quality is often poor, whether it's due to the acoustics of the venue, bad seating location, or an inadequate setup, however, to sound better than "any I've attended" is saying something. That's also just from a sound quality standpoint, excluding the energy and visual impact of a live event. I realize it's an apples and oranges comparison, but I've never heard recorded music played back with such a "live" sound indoors or out either....more precise imaging and accuracy in detail, yes, but not the sense of space to add realism that I've found only open alignments to deliver. A significant advantage is due to a pair of point sources playing a well recorded stereo signal, however, I've heard boxed speakers (probably with better components using better equipment) used outdoors numerous times and none have come close in realism. Get a pair of decent OB's outdoors with some kind of structure behind them to put the rear wave in play, then you'll understand what I mean.

For orchestral music, you'll need speakers tailored to that because classical music places specific demands on a speaker that are difficult to reproduce. Even though it's not my cup of tea, I always throw a couple of classical pieces into the mix when I'm testing my latest speaker creation to help identify its weaknesses. Also, the fault of recorded classical music never sounding even close to live most likely lies in the recording itself. How can a full orchestra possibly be mic'd properly? I'll bring a few classical pieces with me next time to check it out.
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Old 22nd June 2007, 01:56 AM   #1216
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Freq and imaging

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Originally posted by johninCR


I don't go to the symphony, so the concerts I've attended we're amplified.
Oh, that explains it ... Sorry for misunderstanding.
But I'm sure unamplified voice, trumpet, clarinet or piano can be heard quite often. Even for these any speaker I've heard falls well short (this is again not 100% fair as we are talking the whole recording/reproduction chain, but let's asume speakers are the most guilty party in that chain). I have never been fooled by reproduced sound of a piano, for example. Some do get closer, but ... no even cigarette butt

Quote:

Also, the fault of recorded classical music never sounding even close to live most likely lies in the recording itself. How can a full orchestra possibly be mic'd properly? I'll bring a few classical pieces with me next time to check it out.
This is probably true. How can orchestra and the venue be miked properly ? How does one record nuances and reflections inside a concert hall or a large church for example ? I'm not recording engineer, but I imagine these are really unsolvable problems with today's technology.
I'm afraid we are on the very, very long journey as far as domestic reproduction of classical music is concerned.
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Old 22nd June 2007, 02:00 AM   #1217
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lynn Olson
Uhh, not so much. I heard some pretty exotic systems back in 1958~59, in the quite generous-sized homes ....
Just poking fun, Lynn. =)

I've seen photos of some mindboggling systems in Japan. Would love to hear them. Great, giant things.

I arrived at the BBC in '81, so the glory days were fading. Even Radio France was cutting corners back then. But I didn't know it.
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Old 22nd June 2007, 03:12 AM   #1218
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lynn Olson


I guess this isn't too amazing, since I follow the BBC/DEL Shorter and KEF/Laurie Fincham design philosophy.

If I was in the NRC/Floyd Toole camp, I'm sure my speakers would sound rather different. The "school" of the design usually has a strong influence on the resulting sound - all those tradeoffs, and different schools make different choices.


The Toole School has been very vocal popularizing their philosophy, of very even response over wide dispersion angles, with the top end tailing off as you move off axis. Idea is flat long term integrated power in room with a gentle low pass shelf characteristic.

How would you describe the BBC and old KEF school?

The BBC/old-KEF constants I've seen over the years are a softer top end, and crossovers that aren't designed to be in phase at xover. Many years ago, the various KEF papers and the BBC designs seemed to sport mainly odd order acoustic xovers with their well known pros and cons: no reverse null here. These "uncorrelated" xovers certainly have a place in the trick bag and I've been getting superior results with them in some applications, especially ones where drivers are extremely close together.
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Old 22nd June 2007, 04:15 AM   #1219
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Default Re: Re: Re: Directionality

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Originally posted by DDF


I'm neglecting the first vertical refelction here of course. I really agree with controlling the first ceiling reflection. In that wide room, the ceiling was acoustic tile. Not the prettiest looking room, but it sounded wonderful, the room colouration was very low. Early vertical reflections affect timbre, but vertical reflections delayed by even 10 ms can affect image height (from an old JASA paper). Break them up and pad them down a bit.

I'm also neglecting the front wall which I feel is an absolute necessity to providing adequate depth cues, to reinforce frequency dependant and level ones (ie further back = less high end and quieter).

On the floor reflection, I'm philosophically more on the fence. If you want the effect to be one where the performers are in your room, I believe that the floor bounce is an aid in that mirage. Floor reflections also only affect image shift if the envelope is greater than several seconds (Kantor) so I think they aren't a terrible problem. The old Snells on the other hand were tonally wonderful by eradicating the floor from the equation. Pick your favoured illussion and design accordingly.

With the side absorption and some ceiling control, its still fairly easy to maintain a healthy RT60 (no carpet),

In reverse order - T60 in small rooms is a meaningless concept. It is even loosing its following for larger rooms.

I disagree on the floor reflection, and any reflection in the median plane cannot affect imaging as its effect is equal in the two ears. But these reflections all affect coloration - ceiling or floor - the ears don't know the difference.

I also disagree about the front walls as no early reflections add anything of value to a playback system - no matter where they come from. I believe that the area behind the speakers should be fairly dead - the only place where sound absorption is advised.
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Old 22nd June 2007, 04:41 AM   #1220
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Directionality

Quote:
Originally posted by gedlee



In reverse order - T60 in small rooms is a meaningless concept. It is even loosing its following for larger rooms.

I disagree on the floor reflection, and any reflection in the median plane cannot affect imaging as its effect is equal in the two ears. But these reflections all affect coloration - ceiling or floor - the ears don't know the difference.

I also disagree about the front walls as no early reflections add anything of value to a playback system - no matter where they come from. I believe that the area behind the speakers should be fairly dead - the only place where sound absorption is advised.

T60: perhaps this is picking nits now, but you are correct that I should use ultra precise language. RT60 was meant to be short hand for reverberation. Insert more precise language at will: for example intelligibility indices, C30, etc.

The floor reflection one surprised me. However, read it for yourself before you form conclusions:
"Effect of early reflections from upside on auditory envelopment", Journal of the Acoustical Society of Japan, 16, 2 1995
This paper shows vertical images are spread if a vertical reflection is delayed by at least 10 ms, and the reflected power is at least 1/2 the incident.

We'll have to respectfully agree to disagree on the front wall.
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