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Multi-Way Conventional loudspeakers with crossovers

What gives the best sound?
What gives the best sound?
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Old 9th December 2012, 01:28 PM   #11
a_tewinkel is offline a_tewinkel  Netherlands
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There's many different aspects to what "good sound" is. For a start, order Floyd Toole's "Sound Reproduction" and read it (no excuses, it's not that expensive ). It will answer many questions. Then, come back here so we can have a useful discussion.
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Old 9th December 2012, 01:43 PM   #12
speakerdoctor is offline speakerdoctor  United States
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The bigger question is: What is the 'best sound'? You need to reach consensus on that question before tackling the OP's question.
"It's all about the music!"
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Old 9th December 2012, 02:26 PM   #13
Richard Ellis is offline Richard Ellis  Argentina
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What is the best sound..This is a very subjective phrase & open to any one particular interpretation. What sounds great to one may sound purely awful to another. The is a raging argument between those who gauge what sounds good vs. that which measures good. Often times those that measure, sound shockingly realistic. Take one saxiphone player, put him in your living room....play a recorded Sax solo....have your musician make the solo a duet.....close your eyes.....if you cant tell the difference between the two....in my opinion this is ..........best.

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Old 9th December 2012, 05:09 PM   #14
BlueWizard is online now BlueWizard  United States
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Oddly the original question was 'What GIVES the best sound?".

That is just as subjective as the alternate question "What [/i]IS[/i] the best sound?".

Then that is compounded by the point I raised, what is the best within a given budget.

I can think of some speakers for 13,000/pr that I would dearly love to have, and I have NO DOUBT that these are breathtaking speakers. But YIKES!!!! 13,000/pr.

Right now, the speaker I have (Diamond 9.6) were about $1000/pr (typical), though I paid less than half that for them. For the money I paid, absolutely they sound good. But, that said, I have heard better, though that 'better' cost substantially more money as well.

But, the OP hinted that this speaker for $500 looks just like that speaker for $5000. How do I know which is better, and how do I know which is worth the money? Though, I'm paraphrasing. ANSWER: Well, you go have a listen and decide for yourself. Or you read tons of reviews, and listen to as many YouTube videos as you can find that aren't total trash, and make a best guess judgement before ordering them unheard.

If you are planning to build speakers, especially if you are new at it, best to build an existing design until you get the hang of things. As to which design, budget is always the first consideration. Next, is the size of your room. They type of music you listen to, and perhaps, the acoustic of the room the speaker will be in. Your level of woodworking skills and available tools certainly comes into play.

For me, what gives the best sound, is quality drivers, in a well tuned box, with bass response preferably at or just below 30hz at -6dB. I like big drivers, since I'm old school. To the modern world 8" bass drivers are big, but to me, that is small. 6.5" are tiny, and 5" are toy speaker, but I grew up with 12" bass drivers being the common standard.

I also like a presence in the midrange, though not so much that it leaps out at you, crisp treble with cymbals that sizzle, and smooth bass, not overly exaggerated. I do prefer speakers that have Midrange drivers. So, 3-way or 3.5-way.

And finally, keep in mind that what one person may think is the 'best' may not be technically the best. Ask some teenage stoner what's best and it is all about window rattling bass with little or no thought to clarity. Who can say that person is wrong. If they are happy, that's what counts.

But I suspect when that same teen bass-head grows up, he is going to be searching for clarity and detail over roof raising bass.

So, whether building or buying, everything is tempered by budget. Then size of the room implies workable size of the drivers. Of course, She Who Must Be Obeyed and her wishes come into play. Most floorstanding speaker need a bit of room around them. Your room size and speaker placement can compromise "good" speakers and make them sound bad.

There are just too many factors, some very individual and personal, to make a definitive statement that this combination is the one that always works.

But I will say, from my perspective, there tends to be two schools of thought. Small well designed 2-way bookshelf with minimally complicated crossovers, and 3.5-way Tower/Floorstanding speakers. Though the precise application matters, I personally prefer the 3.5-way Tower speakers. Though, back in the day when Dinosaurs roamed the earth, I certainly had a love of 12" 3-way speakers.

For what its worth.

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Old 9th December 2012, 05:22 PM   #15
Melo theory is offline Melo theory  United States
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What gives the best sound?
Well, for two channel audio with loudspeakers......this.
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Old 9th December 2012, 08:04 PM   #16
theaudiophile is offline theaudiophile  United States
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Originally Posted by BlueWizard View Post
2-way, when done right can be superb ... when done right.

in what way are they superb? integration? And have you heard the latest B&W bookshelf speakers?
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Old 9th December 2012, 08:38 PM   #17
tinitus is offline tinitus  Europe
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What gives the best sound?
seems we now have 2 threads going with almost same subject

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Old 9th December 2012, 08:43 PM   #18
tvrgeek is offline tvrgeek  United States
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I have the one and only absolutely correct answer: It depends

Anyway, the OP's analysis of current speakers production needs a bit more research.

The "best" for me are my last ones. They are not made from cheap Chinese drivers and do not have 4th order electrical crossovers. I can assure you, though I would put them up against most commercial similar speakers, they are not the best I have ever heard. I think they are better than any I could actually afford to buy. They are not the best I can do. I know I can improve almost every aspect of them. I know the driver manufactures will continue to improve the drivers faster than I can learn to get the best of any given set.

I did hear the current 805's recently. They seemed to have tamed the top end again where it was getting a bit rough for a while. Almost "decent". I could live with 802's, but they won't fit in my house and are way out of my budget. I always point to the old Vanderstein 2Ce as a place to start. "So, what are you going to do better?" Not an easy question to answer.
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Old 9th December 2012, 10:30 PM   #19
Drew Eckhardt is offline Drew Eckhardt  United States
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Originally Posted by theaudiophile View Post
Clearly there is quite a big difference in the end result you hear (between all multi ways) yet it all looks deceptively simple and unremarkable. What is the most important factor?
Monotonically increasing directivity.

Your brain perceives timbre as a weighted combination of spectra from what it believes to be a direct sound and its reflections. Your brain tolerates a roll-off towards higher frequencies, presumably because in nature objects (like foliage) have increasing acoustic size with frequency resulting in more diffusion and absorption at high frequencies.

It hears "speaker" instead of "real" when there's reduced energy in the first reflections from a midrange driver's narrowing dispersion followed by increased energy crossing over to a dome tweeter which is effectively radiating into a hemisphere.

Most speakers get this wrong, both commercial and DIY.

There's some latitude in compensating for the off-axis bloom with an on-axis dip (the BBC dip is where you'd have problems crossing to a dome tweeter) but the results are more imperfect and sensitive to rooms than just getting it right.

There are lots of ways to do that - narrow baffles with decreasing driver size with frequency, point source approximations that are acoustically small through several kilohertz, acoustically small dipoles that limit dispersion at lower frequencies through acoustic cancellation, wave guides limiting high frequency dispersion paired with large mid-bass drivers matching their dispersion at the cross-over point.

Some say it's the drive units. Is it the combination?
Increasing your driver budget from $200 to $2000 or even $40,000 on drivers will have much less effect than getting the polar response right.
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Old 9th December 2012, 10:34 PM   #20
Drew Eckhardt is offline Drew Eckhardt  United States
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Originally Posted by speakerdoctor View Post
The bigger question is: What is the 'best sound'? You need to reach consensus on that question before tackling the OP's question.
Harman scientists have found that listener preferences don't depend on age, nationality, preferred musical genres, or experience as a listener and produced formulas which do a good job predicting listener preference based on on-axis response,flatness smooth (probably as in first derivative versus frequency - I loaned out Toole's book to a friend) off-axis curves, and bass extension.
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