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Old 2nd November 2007, 05:02 AM   #1
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Default Multiple drivers, less distortion?

So I have been studying the graphs on Zaph audio. I infer that John is acutely concerned with harmonic distortion and I suppose rightly so.

Here are my impressions on the role of harmonic distortion, does anyone agree or disagree?

The higher the harmonic, the more irritating the same percentage distortion.

People often like 2nd harmonic distortion within reasonable limits.

Adding multiple drivers covering the same range usually lowers the THD.

Assuming the last statement is true, in a typical driver is there a lower distortion floor where less power does not result in less distortion? Is there a rule of thumb as far as what power that might be? Can anyone name some URLs where I could observe a graph of typical drivers power vs harmonic distortion?

What I am getting at is there a chance that 2 $30 woofers/mids (maybe even tweeters) may have less distortion that 1 $100 woofer, even though at equal power input the $30 woofer has higher THD? Might a line source of cheap full ranges end up with less distortion than an expensive 2 or 3 way? Alternately, instead of just 2 typical speakers in a stereo system could distortion be lowered adding more speakers stacked or spread across the soundstage? I am aware of the problems associated with cancellation between multiple drivers, but sometimes this can be dealt with.

What level of distortion reduction is necessary for relatively clear audio, anyway? I remember that expensive reel-to-reel tape recorders had THD specifications of 1%, yet listeners would marvel at the sound of 'studio tapes'. If I start with a virtually distortionless source and add a total of 1% 2nd and 3rd harmonic, would I be appalled, or barely notice it?

Now I personally am not absolutely sure that harmonic distortion is the biggest problem with speaker clarity. Looking at cumulative spectrum (waterfall) charts leads me to believe that virtually all speakers are making noise long after they should have shut up. The Hiquphon OW1 doesn't look too bad, but on the Zaph Audio site it looks like even small dome midranges like the fairly well respected Dayton RS-52 is busy yacking its head off several milliseconds after the music has stopped. Can this be good? Or maybe the envelope of the musical tone dies away slowly enough that we do not notice the overhang?

If I had 5 audio experts in a room, would I receive 7 options on these subjects?

Thanks,
Gary
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Old 4th November 2007, 06:28 PM   #2
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Default Re: Multiple drivers, less distortion?

Quote:
Originally posted by bunzinthesun
If I had 5 audio experts in a room, would I receive 7 options on these subjects?

Thanks,
Gary

If not more
Focus is usually on other aspects...
Amplitde smoothness, phase, etc.
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