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Old 14th November 2012, 09:55 AM   #71
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Yes, I am defending dipoles and glad we are reaching the same conclusion.
No, not really. There's a lot more to it than "dipoles good, boxed speaker bad". Good luck on your onward journey.
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Old 14th November 2012, 12:31 PM   #72
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Perhaps at some point you will be able to hear LX521 in a familiar-to-you venue, and that will help you with identifying and articulating the problems you hear in NaO and Note . . .
I didn't call them problems Dewardh, just differences. In some respects I like the NaO II better than the Note. Other times I like the Note. So let's not spin "differences" into "problems". They are just differences which I attribute to the extended dipole response of the Note. These differences arise when both speakers are set for flat on axis response. If I cut the tweeter level on the II it approaches the quality of the Note set flat. That is why I don't buy the "flat is not correct" argument. I think it's more of a "tweeter bloom" is not correct thing. That is why I am surprise that SL is still using the shelf in the LX521.
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Old 14th November 2012, 01:28 PM   #73
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John, remember SL's room is fairly reverberant. It's maybe not only a "bloom" problem which we could deal with proper toe in anyway. The issue with this type of shelving is that you need to crank the volume to make everything sound balanced, at low volume it's just not entertaining enough. Stig Erik does the opposite, he sets it flat from 200hz up and +10db below, I believe. It works fine!

Markus, keep in mind we share the same passion after all..
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Old 14th November 2012, 02:22 PM   #74
dewardh is offline dewardh  United States
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I don't buy the "flat is not correct" argument. I think it's more of a "tweeter bloom" is not correct thing.
On that issue I think it's both, and more. Certainly on the "tweeter bloom" point, and probably on other room interactions as well. For classical recordings it's also microphone placement . . . putting them above and close(er) to the violins changes both timber and overall orchestral balance. And there's probably some bias in mastering as well. But identifying those problems and concluding that it's better (on average, because of their near universality) to correct for them at the loudspeaker does not preclude the possibility of other causes/reasons as well. In my experience "measures flat" simply does not sound correct (referenced to the "acoustic" original) in my listening room . . . something I have verified to my own satisfaction even where I have had control of the recording chain from microphone choice to seating position in the listening room. And this is despite age related hearing loss . . . I pretty much always roll off the highs to some degree (the "trebel cut" switch on my Behringer monitors is essentially useless because it is always "on" (when they're used at home), for example), because recordings are in general perceived (by me) as just too unnaturally bright.

This hints back at something I've said before, and elsewhere . . . in my opinion, at least with ORION and LX521, the loudspeaker is no longer the "weakest link" in the reproduction chain (though still not so for most "monitors" or "home speakers" I've heard). There is far more "quality" variation between various recordings in my collection than there is between those two loudspeakers. In fact for most recordings neither of them comes even close to being the "weakest link" in the reproduction chain.

Last edited by dewardh; 14th November 2012 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 14th November 2012, 04:12 PM   #75
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On that issue I think it's both, and more. Certainly on the "tweeter bloom" point, and probably on other room interactions as well. For classical recordings it's also microphone placement . . . putting them above and close(er) to the violins changes both timber and overall orchestral balance. And there's probably some bias in mastering as well. But identifying those problems and concluding that it's better (on average, because of their near universality) to correct for them at the loudspeaker does not preclude the possibility of other causes/reasons as well. In my experience "measures flat" simply does not sound correct (referenced to the "acoustic" original) in my listening room . . . something I have verified to my own satisfaction even where I have had control of the recording chain from microphone choice to seating position in the listening room. And this is despite age related hearing loss . . . I pretty much always roll off the highs to some degree (the "trebel cut" switch on my Behringer monitors is essentially useless because it is always "on" (when they're used at home), for example), because recordings are in general perceived (by me) as just too unnaturally bright.

This hints back at something I've said before, and elsewhere . . . in my opinion, at least with ORION and LX521, the loudspeaker is no longer the "weakest link" in the reproduction chain (though still not so for most "monitors" or "home speakers" I've heard). There is far more "quality" variation between various recordings in my collection than there is between those two loudspeakers. In fact for most recordings neither of them comes even close to being the "weakest link" in the reproduction chain.

Flat is not correct...

I'm not so sure about the any of the arguments about flat, whether it's mic technique or anything else. The problem I have with all of that is it says the recording/mixing engineer doesn't know what he is doing. Or that his monitors are rolled off so that he mistakenly boosts the top end. If the monitors are flat then any compensation should already be in the recording if the engineer has any ear at all. It should not be necessary to shelve down the treble in your speakers. Flat is not correct is simple a condemnation of the recording industry as a whole, i.e. there has never been a correct recording made, ever! That is not to say there aren't bad recording that will benefit from a treble cut, or a bass boost or something in the midrange. Just to be clear, I want to emphasize that I'm referring to flat on axis response, not flat power response. I don't think there is any argument that flat power response is not desirable.

If you have had control of the recording from mic on and when you take the recording home it doesn't sound right unless you turn the treble down what does that say? If the monitors were flat then the problem isn't with flat axial response, it's with the room or the polar response differences between the monitoring speaker and the home system. It's the differences in the reverberant field, not the direct sound.

It's a simple equation; If the monitors have flat response and the home system has flat response then the direct sound in both cases is the same. What's left is room and directivity. QED!

Shelving down the tweeter is messing up the direct sound to compensate for excessive power at higher frequency. The correct approach should be to narrow the radiation pattern, which, incidentally the Note, both old and new, do very nicely starting at about 4k hz, and is again, why I don't think the revised Note needs a rear tweeter (or rear radiation above 6k hz).

----


The speakers...

The real shame here with these speakers is simply that it is unlikely that the two system, the LX521 and the Note II (or even the original Note), will ever be heard under the same conditions by a wide audience. Regardless of the differences in design approach, which really come down mainly to the mid coupling crossover, they are fundamentally similar in concept. I am sure I'll be cast as the bad boy for being technically critical of some of the design decisions made by SL. That goes with the territory in spit of Note being introduce 2 years ago and having been through all this several years prior to that. So let me say it clearly: I don't think the 1st order coupler is ideal and if I were to go hybrid, 3-way, I would place the passive crossover between the upper mid and tweeter. But just to satisfy myself again, I have developed configuration files for 1st and 2nd order couplers as well as my current 4th order version. These can all be loaded into the miniDSP and switched in real time so a long acoustic memory is not required to hear the differences. I'll gladly supply all the configuration files to anyone who chooses to build my system and they can decide for themselves which sounds better, or come up with their own configuration.

But the bottom line is that I am please that SL is following suite as it adds credibility to the efforts I made with the Note.
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Old 14th November 2012, 04:35 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by john k... View Post
If you have had control of the recording from mic on and when you take the recording home it doesn't sound right unless you turn the treble down what does that say? If the monitors were flat then the problem isn't with flat axial response, it's with the room or the polar response differences between the monitoring speaker and the home system. It's the differences in the reverberant field, not the direct sound.

It's a simple equation; If the monitors have flat response and the home system has flat response then the direct sound in both cases is the same. What's left is room and directivity. QED!

Shelving down the tweeter is messing up the direct sound to compensate for excessive power at higher frequency. The correct approach should be to narrow the radiation pattern, which, incidentally the Note, both old and new, do very nicely starting at about 4k hz, and is again, why I don't think the revised Note needs a rear tweeter (or rear radiation above 6k hz).
How about using two tweeters (front and rear firing) and allowing the user to adjust the level of the rear tweeter to suit? This would give the user control over the high-frequency reverberant sound level, which can be strongly influenced by room treatments, wall coverings, etc. The direct sound (from the front tweeter) would be unaffected.

-Charlie
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Old 14th November 2012, 04:41 PM   #77
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It's a simple equation;
Yes . . . and simply wrong. You cannot just "wish" or "assume" all the other variables away and expect to get realistic reproduction as a result. Your out-of-hand dismissal of the effects of microphone pattern and placement, and of the effect they have further down the reproduction chain, simply tells me you have not yet addressed or experienced those issues first hand.

I agree that it's a good thing that SL also recognized and has successfully addressed some of the issues you mention . . . someone had to. I also think that there's more to be done, especially on the "capture" end of the chain but also in the speakers. LX521 is arguably the best so far, but it's not the "end of the road" for loudspeaker improvement. Nothing is . . .
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Old 14th November 2012, 05:02 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by dewardh View Post
Yes . . . and simply wrong. You cannot just "wish" or "assume" all the other variables away and expect to get realistic reproduction as a result. Your out-of-hand dismissal of the effects of microphone pattern and placement, and of the effect they have further down the reproduction chain, simply tells me you have not yet addressed or experienced those issues first hand.
You're missing the point. John isn't talking about the initial mixing and production mastering. He's saying that if the speakers you used to balance the original master tape, in the recording studio, were flat, then this master tape, when replayed over a system with a flat axial response and acceptable power response, should sound balanced and not need the top end shelved off when you get home.
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Old 14th November 2012, 05:12 PM   #79
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How about using two tweeters (front and rear firing) and allowing the user to adjust the level of the rear tweeter to suit?
Adjusting rear tweeter level/equalization and adding room treatment can both give some control over and offer some improvement to the room's reflective/reverberant contribution. They are also blunt tools that perhaps treat symptoms but do not address the root cause of the problem. Sometimes that treatment may be enough. Sometimes our ears have already adjusted/accomodated for the room contribution, and efforts to "fix it" only make things worse.

But there are other, more fundamental, issues that go beyond both the loudspeaker and the room . . . common errors in timber and balance that are just as obvious with headphones as they are with loudspeakers. We adjust, and equalize, because recording engineers make assumptions about where their product is going to be heard and what their customers want to hear. Direct feed off the microphones is rarely what you get, and in general you wouldn't like it all that much anyway . . . certainly not with the typical "hi fi" loudspeaker.

It's a complex problem with no simple answers.
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Old 14th November 2012, 05:27 PM   #80
dewardh is offline dewardh  United States
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He's saying that if the speakers you used to balance the original master tape, in the recording studio, were flat, then this master tape, when replayed over a system with a flat axial response and acceptable power response, should sound balanced and not need the top end shelved off when you get home.
I know that's what he's saying. It's wrong . . . not because it's necessarily wrong "in theory", but because it's actually wrong in practice. It leaves out too much. The monitoring environment is not the listening environment, and what comes down the feed from the microphones is not what you hear in the hall. Would that it were all that simple . . .
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