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Multi-Way Conventional loudspeakers with crossovers

Can you have sparkling treble but without sibilance
Can you have sparkling treble but without sibilance
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Old 11th June 2011, 04:46 PM   #1
andy2 is offline andy2  United States
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Default Can you have sparkling treble but without sibilance

Do you think a "smiley" frequency response will give you both?
A slightly dip at the 1K -3k region a slight rise toward the high frequency will get you both? A flat response may be too forward which make listening to vocal uncomfortable.
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Old 11th June 2011, 07:10 PM   #2
Mr. dB is offline Mr. dB  United States
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Sibilance is in the 6-8KHz range, as long as you don't have an undue emphasis in that region you should be okay.
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Old 11th June 2011, 07:53 PM   #3
poldus is offline poldus  Europe
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I bring mid-highs down quite a bit and use a ribbon tweeter coming in quite a bit louder (itīs an active system) at 9khz. I need to hear that sparkle or it will sound dull and unexciting to my ears. I also find a subwoofer necessary to make it fall into balance or it will sound plain bright. Itīs amazing how the lower and higher ends of the spectrum need each other to shine.
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Old 12th June 2011, 02:20 AM   #4
bear is offline bear
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The short answer is *yes*.

The second part of the short answer is that this is "holy grail" in audio.
At least a significant part of it.

In order to do this you need to really get the carp out of your system in a big way.
There is no easy answer.

But, the key to it all is to at least have a very low distortion "high freq end" in your speaker system - then you have a shot at it.

The other way to do it is to essentially "gloss over" the highs - some tube amps with a rolled off top end will give a sonic result that is free of apparent sibilance...

I do not subscribe to the idea that you can attenuate a band of frequencies and eliminate sibilance - rather it is a series of harmonics that are perceived as "sibilance", those harmonics sounding objectionable to the ear. You could reduce the apparent presence of sibilance via EQ, but then you've also altered the overall sonic presentation as well. If one assumes a nominally "flat" response of the system, then the application of EQ will create a deficit in an important area.

Just my views.

Eliminating sibilance is non-trivial, and requires a very clean signal path throughout.

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Old 12th June 2011, 07:15 AM   #5
Dave Jones is offline Dave Jones  United States
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Unnaturally high treble makes transients and strong vocal attacks annoying.

I have my system equalized as flat as a 15 band equalizer make it. No problem at all with sibilants. But the big improvement that the EQ made was doing away with "shout" when vocalists, females in particular, attack a note strongly. It also helped to remove the passive baffle step correction circuit and use just the active EQ. I do not know why. I did not expect any improvement. Maybe it is a matter of reduced heat in the 1/4 cubic foot boxes.
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Old 12th June 2011, 02:51 PM   #6
twinter is offline twinter  United States
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You may find the following helpful:


Below is a chart from Martin Collom's "High Performance Loudspeakers" book:
_________________________________________________
COLORATION

Boomy, 50 - 80 HZ
Chesty, plummy, 100 - 150 Hz
Boxy, hollow 150 - 300 Hz

Tube like, tunnelly 400 - 600 Hz
Cup like, honky, 700 - 1.2 kHz
Nasal, hard, 1.8 - 2.5 kHz

Presence, upper hardness, wiry 2.5 - 5.0 kHz
Sharp, metallic, sibilant 5.0 - 8.0 kHz
Fizzy, gritty, 10 -15 kHz



Interactive Frequency Chart - Independent Recording Network
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Old 12th June 2011, 03:02 PM   #7
Soundminded is offline Soundminded  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andy2 View Post
Do you think a "smiley" frequency response will give you both?
A slightly dip at the 1K -3k region a slight rise toward the high frequency will get you both? A flat response may be too forward which make listening to vocal uncomfortable.
The short answer is that you probably can't. This demonstrates the importance of accuracy in reproducing acoustic sounds. If a sound system cannot reproduce the sound of a human voice correctly, it probably can't reproduce anything else correctly either but usually you aren't aware of it because a human voice is the sound most humans are most familiar with.

Here's a more detailed explanation of why the current paradigm of a high fidelity sound system falls short IMO.

Sibilance along with explosive sounds are a normal part of human speech. Without them important sounds that make words comprehensible are lost. Voices sound muffled. The problem for most modern sound reproducing systems comes when they are either muted, absent, or exaggerated. Since these sounds are characterized by having a high proportion of their energy in the treble range, overemphesis indicates a problem with treble reproduction. When the treble is not properly reproduced nothing else matters. Audiophiles know that it is so important there have been and still are probably more kinds of tweeters manufactured and marketed than all other types of drivers combined.

There are several sources of the problem each sufficient by itself to distort the sound. Here are the most common and obvious ones.

One is the focusing of high frequency energy by deliberately designing tweeters to have very narrow dispersion. All of their high frequency energy is directed at the listener. It arrives along a narrow beam on axis all at once. Although the the sound human voice as it is heard is more directional than most musical instruments, much of its energy arrives from many angles in most rooms. Not so the case of speakers because of tweeter beaming.

Another problem is recordings themselves. In the bad old days of vinyl phonograph records, it was common practice for recording studios to have their monitors equalized by a technician often once a week to be sure that recorded sound was consistent. Even with different brands of speakers there was at least some uniformity.Today with the word equalizer meaning a path straight to hell, spectral balance of recordings is all over the map, many with exaggerated peaks somewhere in the treble range often deliberate. This may be to compensate for deliberate dips in the FR of their audiophile monitors or to be more ear catching when heard on a radio. Studies show that the human brain likes the ear hearing high frequencies. They give clues to direction which is very important to those whose focus is on what is called imaging instead of accurate tonality. Experienced listners of acoustic music know that exaggerated treble while ear catching at first results quickly in listener fatigue. Inexperienced audiophiles don't know this and so products are targeted at them. Manufacturers may have only a few seconds during dealer switching comparisons to attract prospective buyers.

Another problem is that for voices that are heard in large spaces live the acoustics of these spaces causes the treble to fall off faster than middle and bass frequencies. When they are played in a small room where the acoustics of the large space was not fully captured on the recording (never is), this phenomenon doesn't happen and the net result is that the total sound has a greater proportion of hf energy than was heard live.

Decades ago, most speakers did not produce sufficient treble. A few such as those manufactured by Acoustic Research and Alison Acoustics used very wide dispersion tweeters which helped a lot but those concepts are not popular today and have largely disappeared from the market. They also needed a treble boost to make them sound flat, their HF often rolling off.

Use of bipolar speakers such as electrostatics (where the treble is bi-polar as well as the rest of the range) and careful equalization is used, the problem can be mitigated but not completely resolved. Far better understanding of acoustics and hearing will be required before this problem is actually solved. Buying silver bullets such as vacuum tube amplifiers, expensive wires, and other expensive gimmicks that supress the treble is invariably a waste of money. If they work at all to mitigate or cure this problem, they just create others.
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Old 12th June 2011, 08:22 PM   #8
bear is offline bear
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Fwiw, I agree with much of what soundminded said... but as far as decades ago, a lot depends on how many decades ago you want to go.

If you go back to the 50s and early 60s, pre solid state, speakers of quality had quite a bit of HF response. Examples include things like the Altec 604 and Tannoys. Both have issues, but an awful lot of your favorite older recordings were monitored on Altec 604s...

However the quality of the *average* driver today is far better than of yesteryear thanks to slick computer software including measurement systems, AND the incremental improvement in basic design based on better understandings of the way that speakers work...

Although most folks do not have it, you can build and perhaps purchase a speaker system that is a full order of magnitude lower in IM and THD than was possible two decades or more in the past... also the typical signal path of the better equipment has much lower *objectionable* harmonic distortion than in the past. The better source material (downloaded high bitrate/bit depth for example) is substantially cleaner than the typical source material available to a home enthusiast in the past... playback of redbook source also has risen to a higher level on average. An inexpensive CD player today arguably can be better sounding and have better specs than the most expensive units of even 10 years ago.

This means that the demands are greater in one regard, and in another the potential is greater than ever before...

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Old 12th June 2011, 08:32 PM   #9
mondogenerator is offline mondogenerator  England
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I also think alot of non audiophiles see a bright treble response as a sign of high fidelity, probably due to the horrific treble produced by some bugdet systems, and cheapo midi systems with rubbish FR drivers. I have even found that although in GENERAL i like the sound of the A6 and other FR drivers, i do find the rising response around 5-8k fatiguing, despite the intention of improving off axis power response, (which it does), Id still prefer a FLAT response. the TB w3-1285sg im using has a rising response above 10k which i find less objectionable, esp since it seems to be over a very narrow angle indeed. Soundminded makes some great points, which i cannot really improve on hmmmm the 'over-spaciousness' of some large hall recordings seems unduely compressed, (even though it ISNT intentionally so), due to the reproduction in a small room, and NOT as some would believe, because of compression in studio mixing. studio compressors are very good nowadays, and compression CAN be used which is almost imperceivable.
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Old 12th June 2011, 08:39 PM   #10
Soundminded is offline Soundminded  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bear View Post
Fwiw, I agree with much of what soundminded said... but as far as decades ago, a lot depends on how many decades ago you want to go.

If you go back to the 50s and early 60s, pre solid state, speakers of quality had quite a bit of HF response. Examples include things like the Altec 604 and Tannoys. Both have issues, but an awful lot of your favorite older recordings were monitored on Altec 604s...

However the quality of the *average* driver today is far better than of yesteryear thanks to slick computer software including measurement systems, AND the incremental improvement in basic design based on better understandings of the way that speakers work...

Although most folks do not have it, you can build and perhaps purchase a speaker system that is a full order of magnitude lower in IM and THD than was possible two decades or more in the past... also the typical signal path of the better equipment has much lower *objectionable* harmonic distortion than in the past. The better source material (downloaded high bitrate/bit depth for example) is substantially cleaner than the typical source material available to a home enthusiast in the past... playback of redbook source also has risen to a higher level on average. An inexpensive CD player today arguably can be better sounding and have better specs than the most expensive units of even 10 years ago.

This means that the demands are greater in one regard, and in another the potential is greater than ever before...

_-_-bear


"If you go back to the 50s and early 60s, pre solid state, speakers of quality had quite a bit of HF response."

IMO the horn speakers of the 1950s and 1960s all had harsh high ends and their dispersion was awful. Horn speakers by their very nature have limited HF dispersion. AR3/3a had much better dispersion but their high ends were rolled off. Most speakers of that era had almost no high end to speak of. The Lansing Heritage site says I think on the page for JBL Paragon that until 1958 they didn't have to contend with any program material above 12 Khz. These horn speakers came from the motion picture industry where efficiency and high SPL from small amplifiers was the design goal.

If speakers are so well designed to day, why the topic of this thread which is a very common complaint, the shrillness and excessive sibilance of many modern loudspeakers? They are not that good, their flaws are just different.

"you can build and perhaps purchase a speaker system that is a full order of magnitude lower in IM and THD than was possible two decades or more in the past."

I'm not so sure about that. The AR 12" woofer had 5% THD at 30 hz and could be equalized flat to the lowest audible frequencies 55 years ago. The same basic design was used by them from around 1955 to 1985. It's still a pretty tough benchmark to beat.

The issue is HF dispersion. In general the common goal for today's designers is to restrict HF dispersion to improve "imaging" in a sweet spot and increase efficiency. Excessive sibilance is one result.
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