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Intentionally Coloring the Sound
Intentionally Coloring the Sound
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Old 29th December 2012, 08:39 PM   #1
soundwavesteve is offline soundwavesteve  United States
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Default Intentionally Coloring the Sound

Is it possible to 'improve' the sound of FM Radio or streaming audio by intentionally coloring the sound of the speakers?

Example One: you may have read a review of a speaker or source component that is intentionally forgiving, making it seem that bad recordings sound better. Forgiving could mean soft treble or a less detailed sound.

Example Two: Perhaps a speaker and/or source component could be designed to sound rich and smooth, like an old jukebox, to add some 'glow' to sometimes thin sounding mp3s and radio.

I want to build a new system for my workshop area and I was thinking it would be an interesting exercise to create a system that made FM sound 'better'. Since the sound is often competing with saws, drills, sanding, pounding, etc, it's not like I need deep bass, or imaging, or detail, I just want it to sound.....um.....fun, something that makes you want to dance along with the music while you work.

I could choose a soft dome, instead of a metal one. Perhaps I need to choose a paper cone instead of plastic cone. Perhaps there is filter design that can make the treble sound 'sweet'. Or perhaps I can use a smaller box to boost output around 200Hz to add some warmth or richness to the sound?

Any thoughts?
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Old 29th December 2012, 10:19 PM   #2
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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Intentionally Coloring the Sound
Interesting idea. For me, a boost around 70-100Hz sounds warm. Also a gentle roll-off above 400Hz helps. Be down about 6dB by 20Khz. A dip at 3K and 6K can take a lot of edge off, tho you lose some vocal clarity.

Wooden boxes that vibrate and paper cones can also add warmth. That's how they did it in the old days.
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Old 29th December 2012, 10:32 PM   #3
freax is offline freax
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more dsp (minidsp http://www.minidsp.com/ ) and compression is about the only thing that will make it through the ruckus of those power tools.

Bass is what you need for fun sounding boomboxyness.

Think like you are in a car, which means a boost in the midrange area.

Forget about treble in such a noisy environment, 5khz is about as good as it gets, so consider intentionally rolling off high frequencies a bit to save your ears when its turned up loud over the power tools.

Get a equalizer and play around, consider floor standing open baffles to fill the room with audio.

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Last edited by freax; 29th December 2012 at 10:58 PM.
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Old 29th December 2012, 10:34 PM   #4
Kindhornman is offline Kindhornman  United States
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Intentionally Coloring the Sound
The FM band is itself already band limited to about 50hz to 15khz. So there is no use in having a metal dome tweeter there as anything above 15Khz is pure noise to begin with. I would stay with a soft dome. Also most plastic cones are made of polypropylene and it does have a higher damping than paper. This may account for somewhat muddy and slow response in the lower frequencies. I would try and find a light weight paper cone for listening to radio. Don't forget that most radio consoles in the olden days had tone controls and with those you could warm up the bottom end by the bass control and also add a little sparkle to the top end that there was. I can't say what streaming radio bandwidth is, don't know but it would probably be comparable to MP3 quality I would think. Highly compressed to get as much music to you with the least amount of bandwidth. Another option would be some of those headphones with built in radio that would also protect your hearing from a table saw or whatever you are using in the garage.

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Old 30th December 2012, 11:04 PM   #5
soundwavesteve is offline soundwavesteve  United States
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Good point Pano, thin wooden boxes do add to the sound, I got plenty of 1/4" plywood laying around....

As far as DSP or EQ goes, I am using a leftover Pioneer car headunit for my source/amp, and it does have a 7 band EQ. This relates to my question of what fq to play with. I mentioned 200Hz as a possible area to boost, but Pano suggests 70-100Hz. Perhaps with a ported box at 70 plus some very minor EQ boost will give me that extra warmth? I obviously don't want too much EQ at the port otherwise I'll blow the speaker!

Freax - if you suggest rolling off above 5KHz, wouldn't that sound really dark? Maybe a steeper rolloff above 10Khz would be better? If I only used a full-range driver, they can get peaky around 5-8 KHz and make it sound hard, which I don't want....so definitely a tweeter with a steep rolloff up top I think...

I found a paper coned goldwood GW-204 on parts-express that claims it can go down to 70hz...maybe I'll model that in the next few days and see what I can theoretically get out of it....
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Old 2nd January 2013, 01:25 AM   #6
croweproductions is offline croweproductions  Canada
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If you can find an old 60's Tube stereo hi fi at a flea market, antique store, or garage sale, that would be good. I've had a few of them, and the tube FM section is very warm and musical, that fills a room with sound. Avoid the 70's "Sears" Solid State transistor ones don't sound like what your after.
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Old 6th January 2013, 04:17 PM   #7
soundwavesteve is offline soundwavesteve  United States
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I modeled the Goldwood GW-204 in WinISD yesterday and got some interesting results. Almost no matter what box size you put it in, sealed or ported, .1 cu ft or 5 cu ft, this driver has a big hump starting at 130Hz and ending around 300Hz with a total of a 5db peak around 160Hz. This would be horrible for a normal speaker but since I am looking for a warm, round sound, this looks almost perfect. What are the chances that I find the perfect speaker the first one I model?

According to the Ultimate EQ Guide pdf, the 100-250Hz range adds fullness and roundness.

Is there any other free software I can use to double check my results? Would anyone be willing to use their software to double check my results? I just used the mfg published specs on Parts-Express. Here's the link: Goodwood GW-204 I am using a .2 cu ft box myself, but it almost doesn't matter with this speaker.

This speaker is rated at going as low as 70Hz, but it's almost impossible to get that lol. Even a ported box is barely going to have usable at that point.
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Old 6th January 2013, 07:15 PM   #8
GM is offline GM  United States
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Using MJK's original freeware MathCad software, a 66.57 Hz end loaded TL made from a 4" diameter piece of pipe stuffed at 1.67 lbs/ft^3 with polyfil [blue trace is its I.B. response].

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File Type: gif Goldwood GW204-4S 66.57 Hz end loaded TL.gif (6.6 KB, 185 views)
Loud is Beautiful if it's Clean! As always though, the usual disclaimers apply to this post's contents.
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Old 6th January 2013, 07:27 PM   #9
picowallspeaker is offline picowallspeaker  Italy
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Are we just going to consider only the bass department or ...maybe...oh yes, tweeters :
I would suggest the use of a waveguide ( you can make it with unused speakers, broken ones that you don't need )
It may produce some funky sounds!
I gave a chance in trying to pair a little 2" fullrange with a 8" WG, together with an 8"
woofer. Also paper cone tweeters work good. Just model the box so that the tweeter is external but very near to the woofer ( of course ); also you can put it below the woofer.
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Old 6th January 2013, 11:23 PM   #10
soundwavesteve is offline soundwavesteve  United States
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I appreciate the effort GM, but my intention IS to have that upper bass hump in the response. I am intentionally going for a warm, rich, round sound. The blue dotted trace is basically what I am looking for (I think...). I was commenting on the chances of finding just the right speaker as the very first one I modeled for my experiment. But you did verify that this speaker does have an upper bass hump!

Yes Pico, I am doing a tweeter, but just a regular one....a Dayton ND20 rear-mount. I am probably going to do a band-pass on the tweeter, between 3.5Khz on the low side and maybe 8 or 10Khz on the upper. This way I can roll off the upper treble and it won't be harsh when I crank it with the power tools going. Also, with a 2nd order crossover of 3Khz on the woofer, I'll also end up with a notch in the response around 3-3.5Khz - this area typically sounds bright to me, so this will also help with keeping the sound smooth when I turn it up.

I did think about a paper cone tweeter, but I like how that Dayton looks flush mounted. I am also going to bottom mount the goldwood so it looks flush.
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