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Old 20th January 2005, 10:03 PM   #1
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Default If Seas Excel sound cold what else is as detailed?

I am doing a demo of the BESL Series 5MT. These use the W18EX and Millenium tweeter. They sound very detailed but must work with a sub because they rolloff at 80Hz. They have more detail than my Energy Veritas 2.2s. Was hoping for a similar speaker that might go a little lower and not sound so cold? More musical if that is the right word? I asked Phil his thoughts on porting his speakers and he is really against it. He is a great guy to speak with and really is an expert in the field. I just don't want to use the sub every time I play the stereo. I may try his 2MT instead.

The frustrating thing is that you never know the character of a speaker. I heard the Tyler Acoustics Taylos and did not care for the Revelator tweeter. It did not sound right or full enough. He does use the same woofer in a larger front ported enclosure and that sounded good but apparently that type of box allows more distortion than Phil would tolerate.

I considered building my own 2 way speakers but have never done so and I understand it is all in the crossover. I would plan to use the same cabinet 0.5 cu ft or 25 liters. I have seen that people like the Eton, Accuton, and PHL woofers. For tweeters I was considering an Accuton or Morel Supreme 110. I do love the high end detail of the Millenium. This would be for a family room that is away from my Linkwitz Thor sub with a Peerless 12" XLS.

Am I crazy?
Does anything else have the detail of the Excel but just a liitle more realism or warmth?
Any driver suggestions and ideas who I could get to design a crossover? I have brought home nearly every speaker under $1000 in town and just never fell in love.
Thanks,
Fred
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Old 20th January 2005, 11:06 PM   #2
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With the driver set you're talking about and the fact that you already own a thor sub, have you considered building an Orion? It does use and unusual setup for the woofers, but I understand they preform very well even at low frequencies.
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Old 21st January 2005, 02:28 AM   #3
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As I said in the other forums where you posted this, I'm not sure I understand your question. Were you playing a speaker designed to roll off at 80 Hz so it could mate with a sub, but not using a sub? If so, of course the thing would sound "cold" and "sterile". It isn't making any bass because it isn't designed to. Phil has designed some nice Peerless woofer boxes which act as stands for the Seas boxes. If you only use half the system, you are only going to get half the sound. Nothing to do with the (excellent) Seas drivers, just "user error." Use the whole system if you want the whole sound.
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Old 21st January 2005, 03:10 PM   #4
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Default starting to understand

I have heard the Ellis 1801s (F3=40Hz) a few years ago and liked them compared to my Veritas 2.2s. They had sufficient bass for me. The Tyler Acoustics Taylos (F3=44) also had sufficient bass for me. My personal preference would be for a different tweeter or crossover voicing than those speakers. Based on this, I was under the impression that if I liked the sound in the other two applications I don't understand why I can't get just add two small front ports to his box or put his setup in a larger box (sealed?). Phil's measurement criteria for acceptable distortion is part of his system plan to integrate with a sub. He obviously put a lot of planning into this. My acceptable level of distortion is a limited to what I can hear.

This whole upgrade bug started as a replacement for my family room speakers(with no sub) Phase Tech Teatro 4.5 rear ported 5.25" with a soft dome tweeter (F3=58Hz). I wanted a brighter tweeter, not necessarily deeper bass. I do like his implementation of the Millenium tweeter. I would rather have the bass rolloff towards 60 than 80Hz. Voices sound more full and natural to me when coming from the speakers than having to use the sub. At this point I understand that it is my electronics and the rolloff of the small sealed boxes that I am interpreting as analytical and cool. I should have spent more time speaking with Phil about my application before I bought them. This is the user error part.

For complete disclosure, my receiver is Pioneer VSX-1014TX 110w x 6 ch MOSFET, Yahama cd changer, Sony DVP-NS755P dvd player. I also have a Peerless 12" XLS sub and have ordered Linkwitz WM1 card to add a little LFE. And my rear ported Veritas 2.2 mains are not placed correctly in my living room. I have two small kids so I put them on top of the entertainement center about 5 ft high and 1 ft from the wall. This is not an ideal environment. I still hope for tight, clear, full sound.

I have seen that the Seas Excel series in lots of high end speakers so I pulled the trigger and asked Phil Bamberg to ship them to me. The last thing I asked Phil was how low do they play. F3 is at 80Hz. Well when I use the crossover on my receiver at 80 there is a perceived fullness to the Veritas that is not there in the 5MTs. Now I understand that is not low enough for my taste. Rather than toss aside a good thing I thought I would ask you kind people about options and alternatives.

I like the 5MT quality and know that the W18EX is capable of playing deeper. I wanted to figure a way to front port them but he says front ports are worse than rear. I don't know if there is only one port size for a given set of parameters or if a balance can be struck between added extrension and the distortion this adds. Do I choose great low distortion speakers and add ports (some distortion) or buy less linear speakers that try to live up to the detail of a sealed system. I know these are great drivers with a great crossover. I don't want it to boom. Just sound a little more full without needing a sub in my family room.

So all the electronics and my untrained ears have a place in this formula. Maybe the 80Hz rolloff is compounding my impression of a cool analytical sound. Maybe I'll put the Veritas in the family room and keep the 5MTs as mains. Phil has also offered to let me try the 2MTs but it looks like they have the same rolloff.

See bamberglab.com for the most detailed speakers I have ever heard.

Thanks for your time,
Fred
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Old 21st January 2005, 11:26 PM   #5
Greg B is offline Greg B  United States
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I've only played around with one of the magnesium excel midbasses, but i wouldn't call it 'cold', more like neutral and analytical. PHL or Focal for that matter are about the same WRT being analytical. You might like Scanspeak better.

You've probably heard this before by now, but the excels are probably showing up imperfection in your electronics, as well as in the recordings. Myself, I generally prefer to use just slightly warm tube amps with very analytical 'audiophile' speakers, as the majority of recordings aren't perfect, even with the best playback gear.

I know Mr. Bamberg is a crossover guru, so I'll assume they are at least OK, even though I tend to distrust authority ...

There's also the issue of small baffled modern hifi cone/dome speakers always sounding a bit cold, due to the power response discontinuity around the crossover point, but that's another issue. Suffice it to say, IMO pro style horns and high efficiency woofers are the best way to go for HT.

The 80hz rolloff has little to do with it. I've heard plenty of speakers that rolled of there or higher which were plenty 'phat' and warm. Of course, a big ole sub pumping out the deep bass will tend to make anything subjectively a bit warmer, especially if it has some distortion, compression and BW overlap.
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Old 22nd January 2005, 12:03 AM   #6
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Default its about time

http://www.resolutionmag.com/pdfs/SWEETS~1/LOWFRE~1.PDF
Somewhere along the line I found this article. It explains the "time response of reflex loaded loudspeakers tends to be longer than that of similar sealed box version." Transients are smeared. "low frequencies from the reflex enclosure arrive later and take longer to decay, which compromises the punch in the low frequency sound." When a box is ported you trade off accuracy for low frequency extension. The article refers to musicians and mixing engineers who prefer the accuracy and low distortion of sealed boxes in studio monitors. It continues for 4 pages and is generally beyond my comprehension.

When I listened to the Taylos (ported) I did not directly compare the bass accuracy to the BESL 5MT (sealed). I might try that to see if the loss of accuracy is something that is acceptable or not.
Thanks for your inputs,
Fred
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Old 22nd January 2005, 02:34 AM   #7
Greg B is offline Greg B  United States
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There's some truth to that paper, but the actual problem is more complex. For example, the lower efficiency of sealed tends to cancel out the advantages.

The vast majority of studio monitors are ported, if that tells you anything.

NS10's are check monitors, and not expected to be accurate. Mixes done on them tend to sound OK on typical home stereos.

GB
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Old 17th May 2005, 06:46 PM   #8
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Default follow up

I have been living with the BESL 5MT speakers for a few months now and I am very satisfied. They do sound much better than any other speaker I auditioned under $1200. They have the detail that I love. Everyone is correct in the fact that with a sub they really shine. My initial impression was that they sounded cool but once I became familiar with the sound I realized that accuract was a more correct title.

My first impressions were done while comparing the 5MT to the Energy Veritas 2.2. The Veritas sounded better than anything else I brought home 3 years ago. Someone on AudioAsylum pointed out a peak around 180Hz. Not a flat frequency response at all now that I look at it. Maybe that is why the 5MT sounds a little thin by comparison because the Veritas is not as accurate as I once thought. In an A/B comparison the extra bass in the Veritas made it seem the 5MT was thinner than reality.
I recently upgraded my Sound King speaker cables to Alpha-Core Goertz MI-2 (diy using their Laminax product for approx $1/ft). I also upgraded my Radio Shack interconnect cables to Belden 1694A for digital and 89259 for analog. Try Blue Jean Cables, they are the best value for the money. Now I hear greater range in the speakers. Each system is only as good as its weakest link.

To summarize, the BESL 5MT is detailed and great with a sub. 2MT is a little more full and could still use a sub. Side by side the 5MT has a little more air. Thankfully Phil was patient enough to let me audition both types of his speakers.

Audio Ideas review of Energy Veritas 2.2
Phil Bamberg's BESL 5MT speakers
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Old 18th May 2005, 08:32 AM   #9
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Of course everything is in the crossover. On the other hand the Excels as the more experienced members here say aren't cold but have the known "magnesium" signature that you may like or not, and i don't know if that signature can be changed with another crossover design.
From my own experience I have heard many commercial loudspeakers that have Excel midranges 5"-7". While I liked very much those that had the Excel midrange with some carbon/paper/polypropylene woofers for the bass (like Krell Resolution 1 and Jamo D-870), I wasn't intrested with those that had Excel woofers for the bass too. It seems that I like the upper-midrange and midrange from some Excels and the mid-bass, bass from a Scan-speak/Vifa woofer. The same thing seems to happen with other hyper-detailed midrange woofers.
So it comes down to our own preferencies and we should look at the whole loudspeaker while we shouldn't focus on a specific woofer.

The Audax aerogel/Focal Kevlar (if you can find some) are deatailed in almost (and I say almost) the same way as Excels. I don't know about Eton midranges but the seem to be very detailed too. The ATC dome,as other Focal/PHL woofers and Scan-speak/Vifa carbons/papers are for sure not the last word in detail, although the are respectfully detailed. On the other hand Scan-speak carbons especially the 8545 are very rythmic with very good bass-midrange, projecting the sound with a rare dynamism. Also the Accutons have to be at least as detailed as the Excels with some more sensitivity.

Hope this helps
Michael
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Old 18th May 2005, 02:00 PM   #10
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I believe I failed to mention an important point. The 5MT did benefit from a 1 db eq boost at 125 and 250 Hz using my Pioneer VSX-1014TX. That added the warmth/full sound that I felt was lacking (either in my amp or the speakers). This helped voices, piano and guitars sound a little more natural to my ears, in my system.
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