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rick57 15th February 2005 12:58 AM

Best midrange for intelligibility of voice
Iím sick of missing dialogue in films & TV - I want to build the best not wildly expensive centre speaker I can for *intelligibility of voice.
(I already have AC ribbons for the top end, and Peerless XLS for the bass. I can do the L & R later to match).

So far my probable decision is that a metal cone will be clearest; Iíll deal with break-ups in the XO. I have test equipment etc.
Itíll likely be an active 3 way. Shielding is preferable but not essential (if needed, I believe itís not that hard to do bucking magnets).

I wonít use MTM because of the more restricted dispersion pattern. Good off axis up to at least 3 kHz is very important. I considered a dipole, but rejected that due to too big and too much directivity.

The starting points for XOs are 150 & 3000+ Hz.

So, would you recommend:
- the Jordan JX92 or CSS WR125 (planet10 favourites). The CSS seems better value - bass and high end ďsurprisingĒ, but how good is the midrange?
- the Manger, often used I believe in German broadcasting studios. (Probably only worth it if cost is no object). Although ďfull rangeĒ, its directivity narrows up high, so may need a tweeter for good off-axis coverage.
- a Lowther, maybe from the better value DX series.
- a Seas Excel W18E-001 (E0018) or W18EX-001 (E0017) magnesium cone (smaller versions of Linkwitz favourites).
- an Audax HDA?
- one of the Fostex Ė eg FE127E, FF165K or FE167E (a Timn8ter favourite)?
- maybe a Focal Audiom 6WM (mixed reports, some excellent)

or something else??

Cheers :)

454Casull 15th February 2005 01:01 AM

Re: Best midrange for intelligibility of voice
Dipoles actually have wider dispersion than monopoles (unless you stand in the cosine null).

RJ 15th February 2005 01:12 AM

You can even hear them breathe with a pair of these.

morbo 15th February 2005 01:15 AM

I use the CSS WR125 full range as a center channel. Dialogue intelligibility is as good as I've ever heard (not that I've heard all that much). Most of all, the dynamics of the human voice really come through, and I find that really helps make the voices sound more lifelike than other speakers I've heard. I'm sure the full range, point source thing is helping as well.

One thing to consider though, is the low efficiency, which may be a problem unless you're going active on the crossoveers.

rick57 15th February 2005 01:37 AM

454, I believe they give good dispersion within the figure 8 zone, but less outside it.

RJ, Iím sure they could be good, but line arrays are too big.

Mobo, Iíve just emailed CS on whether the CSS WR125 or Jordan 92 (they sell both) would be better. I imagine it'll be close.
(Yes Iím going active on the crossovers, so their low efficiency is not a problem).


RJ 15th February 2005 01:38 AM

I had extreme problems understanding actors when they just spoke above a whisper. Case in point, Sam Waterston on Law&Order.
I would have to crank up the volume just to barely hear what he was saying.
Now it's no problem at all. The volume is turned down to decent levels and everything is legible, even when they whisper. What amazed me the most was how natural the actor's voice became. Almost as if they were in the room. What gives it away is the miking techniques.
Good Luck on your quest for clarity.

rick57 15th February 2005 02:08 AM

(Thanks RJ)

Any opinions between the Jordan JX92S, CSS WR125 or a Seas Excel magnesium cones?

Greg B 15th February 2005 02:41 AM

WRT directionality, wide dispersion actually works against you AFA intelligibility. This is pro sound 101. So does a reverberant environment, and background noise. Good phase matching is important as well. Movie theaters use horns in a well treated room for a reason.

Which AC ribbon? I found my AC G3 matched best with unglamorous Focal coated paper drivers. Isn't the 6WM the one with the moving dustcap phase plug. That idea frankly scares me. I really was impressed by the 10W6452 W woofer though.

Anyway, I'm recommending the Focal 7C. I think zalytron still has them.

The seas excel drivers are awfully nice, and I'd imagine that they'd work OK too. Crossover design will be a @^$~!. They will need some work beyond generic 4th LR opamp types. I've used the fostex FE164 and FF125 as mids too. The FF is superior as far as clarity. The FF series are horn drivers though, and would require compensation for the rising response.

Anyway, a number of approaches/drivers could work. The implementation is what matters.


rick57 15th February 2005 03:23 AM

Greg B
I know wide dispersion can bounce off the walls, and the reflections smear the original signal. We have an open setting, with people in an 80 degree arc from the TV and centre speaker spot (in a corner). Only sound radiated beyond 90 degrees would be a first reflection.

So I was aiming for towards equal dispersion over 80 degrees. I probably wonít be able to get that high, but closer but would better than less.

Thereís no Focal 7C now. At Zalytron thereís:

7K 4412 Polykevlar midbass
7 K 6411 Polykevlar high efficiency midrange
7 V 4212DB7" Polyglass midbass dual v.c
7 W 4411 W-coned midbass

So dispersion aside, what Focal material is best for voice?


Bill Fitzpatrick 15th February 2005 03:39 AM

Re: Best midrange for intelligibility of voice

Originally posted by rick57
Iím sick of missing dialogue in films & TV - I want to build the best not wildly expensive centre speaker I can for *intelligibility of voice.
I wonder if I'm missing something here? I have a 2 channel stereo system and NO center channel. The dialog from VHS and DVD is excellent. I wonder why things are not so with you.

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