What gives speakers a "big sound"? - diyAudio
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Old 30th March 2014, 11:06 AM   #1
beanbag is offline beanbag  United States
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Default What gives speakers a "big sound"?

Hello folks,

I thought this would be a good forum to ask regarding what features make speakers sound "big", as though they are filling the room with sound. I have been listening to a few speakers at stores, from little satellite ones to bigger floor standing ones. Some of the small speakers sound "small", while other small ones sound "large".

Is it a matter of frequency response or equilization? Like the presence of low bass, or maybe a upper base hump somewhere due to room acoustics or speaker setup?

Or maybe the dispersion of the drivers, in how they spray sound everywhere and it bounces around?

Maybe cabinet resonance, or driver distortion that causes "good" harmonics?

Or perhaps the question to ask is what tricks does Bose use to make their little speakers sound big?
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Old 30th March 2014, 12:53 PM   #2
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Beanbag,

I once asked a very similar question.

They way I phrased it was (using Klipsch speakers), why is it if I have a Heresy 12' away from my listening position and it's playing for example, 100 db's loud.... and then I switch to Khorns 12' away and they are also playing at 100db's, why do the Khorns sound so much bigger?

To paraphrase the answer....

Think of a flashlight with a variable beam.

The Heresy's are on a narrow beam of light and inside that beam is the 100db intensity. Step outside that beam and their SPL drops off quickly.

Change to the Khorn and all the sudden the width of that beam is several times wider so now, you have the same 100 db's of loudness in many more places and you can move around while keeping that same level.

I don't know if that's the legit logic or not but it worked enough to shut me up! (which might have been their goal all along)
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Old 30th March 2014, 12:54 PM   #3
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I think this is why (in the world of Klipsch) they strive for what they call 'constant coverage'. They want that beam of light to be wide and the spectrum to be even across the beam.
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Old 30th March 2014, 02:29 PM   #4
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In my experience power response, wide bandwith and lack of compression. Fully horn loaded with proper power response sounds big. Line arrays with low compression sound big. Some systems can sound big with simple music but most fail when the music gets complex. This is one of the main reasons I build my own speaker systems. Little sound to me is best handled by earphones.
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Old 30th March 2014, 03:26 PM   #5
Cask05 is offline Cask05  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beanbag View Post
Hello folks,

I thought this would be a good forum to ask regarding what features make speakers sound "big", as though they are filling the room with sound. I have been listening to a few speakers at stores, from little satellite ones to bigger floor standing ones. Some of the small speakers sound "small", while other small ones sound "large".

Is it a matter of frequency response or equilization? Like the presence of low bass, or maybe a upper base hump somewhere due to room acoustics or speaker setup?

Or maybe the dispersion of the drivers, in how they spray sound everywhere and it bounces around?

Maybe cabinet resonance, or driver distortion that causes "good" harmonics?

Or perhaps the question to ask is what tricks does Bose use to make their little speakers sound big?
I believe the answer to the question "what makes them sound 'big?'" is effective surface area of the radiating acoustic source...more being better.

For direct radiating loudspeakers, splashing a lot of sound around the room like Bose does makes them sound bigger but they lose their imaging/ coherence due to this trick. More surface area of direct radiators sound big.

Dipole radiators are doing the same thing, but there are drawbacks due to their extremely poor off-axis polar response that limits the listening position to a "head in a vise" listening area of your room. It also requires a very large room of the right proportions and the speakers to be placed out onto the floor of the room in very objectionable positions - at least 6 feet (2 metres) from any wall. This isn't my cup of tea.

Large horn-loaded systems are pretty spectacular, IMHO. I once heard a pair of Klipsch KP-600s which come in three very large stacked units each side in a room the size of a school classroom with high ceiling - and they were definitely "big".

The Klipsch Jubilees that I live with are definitely huge in sound stage and also retain their imaging performance. Nothing else that I've heard in a home environment does this.

Last edited by Cask05; 30th March 2014 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 30th March 2014, 03:33 PM   #6
tinitus is offline tinitus  Europe
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placement

but you could also ask what makes some speakers better than others, and still have the same answers

you could even have one speaker that sounds fantastic with some music, but fails completely with the rest
and then another where it is the exact opposite

and both are mistakes
a good speaker always gets the best out of every recording
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Old 30th March 2014, 03:57 PM   #7
AVWERK is offline AVWERK  United States
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On the bottom end, when listening with other speakers not connected, you are actually getting a small boost from them since you are pressurizing their woofers and adding to the whole. The passive radiator effect so to speak
The bass range now has a ripe inaccurate presentation
Take those speakers out ( not practical ) and they would sound completely different in that room.

Regards
David
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Old 30th March 2014, 04:11 PM   #8
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Because bigger speakers have more bass for less watts and less excursions. Why complicate things. I guess but I don't know that has it something to do with the dynamic range of music. I remember buying a CD with radiohit mixes because I wanted one particular track. It sounded terrible on my home system. I gave it away, on a more restricted system, not playing loud it should probably have sounded ok.
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Old 30th March 2014, 06:08 PM   #9
adason is offline adason  United States
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"What gives speakers a "big sound"? "

good question
I have noticed that in good stores, where you can go from room to room, and select speakers to listen to, often you can have a series of speakers from the same manufacturer, and as you go in the line from small bookshelf speaker, which sounds small, to big floorstanding speaker, which sounds much bigger...often you can see the same tweeters and midranges used across the line...so it has to be the woofers which makes the speaker sound "big"
or in other words, how deep and effortless the speaker sounds, then it sounds "big"
simple experiment can reveal, that small bookshelf speaker, which sounds "small", can sound big, if relieved from low fr duties, but helped with good sounding subwoofer

that's why those old consoles sound big, as they often have big solid construction which supports deep effortless bass

that's how I see it
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Old 30th March 2014, 06:40 PM   #10
waeah is offline waeah  Norway
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"big sound" is when the speakers are in phase (correctly set up time alignment to sweetspot) when the sound becomes a virtual image, where you hear where each artist plays on stage.. The sound does not seem to come from the speakers, it rather fills the room as it's supposed to.

..imo
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