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Multi-Way Conventional loudspeakers with crossovers

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Old 11th February 2019, 03:24 AM   #251
Patrick Bateman is offline Patrick Bateman  United States
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I've never had a listening room that was remotely this big. When I heard the Summas in 2005 at RMAF I was living in a 1200' house, and my listening room was around 150', basically a bedroom. I bought me some JBLs MPROs and they were fun for a while, but eventually I had to get me The Real Thing and I bought the Summas.

Three years later I had a 2700' house in Oregon, and I *was* getting good sound from the Summas when I dedicated an entire floor to them - about 700'. But that setup looked like something that Doc Brown would cook up, so I eventually scrapped it and moved the Summas to my living room. I had some people over to hear that setup, but the speakers never had a lot of room; they lived in a long narrow room and were spaced about six feet apart.

If I am understanding your post correctly, it sounds like I could compensate for a small room by using a WIDER beamwidth?

The thing that I find remarkable about this setup, with the speakers so far apart, is that there isn't a 'hole' in the center of the soundstage. With conventional speakers, when I spread them far apart, a 'hole' appears and it sounds like the music is emanating from the speakers, instead of seeming to be a continuous soundstage.
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Old 11th February 2019, 03:57 AM   #252
GM is offline GM  United States
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Correct, what I implied and WC basically stated, so make a scale drawing of your room layout, desired speaker placement and draw patterns to find the ideal horizontal overlap at the LP where there's no reflections off the sidewalls in front of the LP's ears, then measure what angle it is to find what placement[s] juggling is required if using OTC CD horns. FWIW I prefer horns that control down to ~500 Hz, though IIRC Dr. Geddes has posted that ~1 kHz is sufficient, the default where smallest practical is desired.

If old tech rising on axis horns [expo or similar] are used, then typically these need to cross on axis somewhere between the ears to up to a couple of feet in front. For instance, with Altec sectoral and most multi-cell horns I've found that the best overall compromise is to point the left horn axis at the right LP and vice versa.

GM

edit: Another way to look at it is that if you stand dead center between in-wall mounted speakers [180 deg polar response] you have a 'perfect' stereo response, so as you move away the response must collapse with increasing distance and why narrow directivity horns are often referred to as 'long throw'.
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Last edited by GM; 11th February 2019 at 04:02 AM.
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Old 11th February 2019, 05:22 AM   #253
Patrick Bateman is offline Patrick Bateman  United States
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I love how the Cosynes sound. But they are BIG and I was curious how a conventional waveguide speaker would sound. As noted in a previous post, I've never had speakers set up so far apart, ever.

So I dragged my Yamahas out of the den and set them up in the same location as the Cosynes.

Here's a subjective evaluation of the two:

When I placed the Yamaha DXR 12s in the same location as the Cosynes, the soundstage was noticeably bigger. Both speakers produce a stage that exceeds the boundaries of the room, but the Yamaha sounds "bigger" somehow. The stage of the Cosyne sits at eye level, whereas the Yamaha is a bit more nebulous. When a singer steps up to the mic, it seems like they're almost life sized, even in height.

After listening to the Yamahas for just 10-15 minutes, I started to think "well I should just use these. The Cosynes sound nice but WOW are they big."

Something that I've spent a lot of time pondering, is how does a Unity horn differ from a conventional horn? Does a Unity horn have a better soundstage? Does it have better midrange? Does percusssion sound worse?

As Geddes has observed, there's no free lunch, so those midrange taps will certainly have an impact on performance. The question is whether the advantages of a Unity horn outweigh the disadvantages. So pitting the Yamaha against the Cosynes is an interesting project I think.

After the first ten or twenty minutes of listening, the Yamahas seemed to be winning. Though they weren't light years ahead of the Cosynes by any means, they are MUCH smaller. I think the treble on the Yamahas has a bit more 'sparkle.'

Click the image to open in full size.
Here's a measurement that I made of my Yamaha DXR12. The Yamaha and Bill Waslo's Cosyne use the exact same compression driver. The Cosyne uses a passive crossover and the Yamaha uses a DSP FIR xover, and the measured response demonstrates that the Yamaha has measurably more output in the top octave.

So at this point in my listening session, the Yamaha has a bigger sound stage, and the treble has more "sparkle", and the Yamahas are tiny in comparison.

Here's the thing I noticed, as I continued to listen to tracks I know well:

It seemed like all the voices sound the same. I'd put on a Talking Heads track, and the voice would have a noticeable 'signature' that was also present when listening to a George Michael track. This is hard to describe; almost like a mild version of autotune.

I mostly work at home and I listen to a LOT of podcasts, and one of the things that I love about Unity horns is that they have this incredible ability to sound articulate. And I think that the Yamahas lack of that articulation was making the midrange sound a bit "off."

I've also noticed this "signature" on midrange crossovers with a steep slope. Something about the delay of a steep filter screws up the midrange response. Even Linkwitz himself - inventor of the LR4 filter - used shallow slopes in his later designs. Another nice thing about Unity horns is that you can get away with shallower slopes because the center-to-center spacings are so tight. The Yamaha, with a center-to-center spacing of about ten inches, likely uses a steep filter. If you look at my measurement of the Yamaha, there's a dip in the polars at around 2200hz which likely points to a xover there.

I want to make it clear, this isn't a condemnation of two-way speakers with waveguides; in this case, I think the 'weirdness' in the Yamaha midrange is a combination of the following:

1) the crossover point is much higher than I would prefer. It appears to be about 2200hz. Yamaha probably went this route to keep the speaker from blowing up in it's intended market, which is professional sound reinforcement. In a home situation, you could probably drop that xover down to 1500hz. Geddes uses a 900hz xover in his Summa, but with a larger and more expensive compression driver. The Celestion compression driver used in the Yamaha DXR 12 and the Cosyne is a $45 unit.

2) I wonder if a shallower slope would help here.

3) The midrange in the Yamaha is fairly basic. It's not a piece of junk by any means, but it's nothing fancy either. No shorting rings, no underhung motor, nothing crazy. It's a basic 12" prosound woofer and maybe pushing it up to 2.2khz is a bit much.

4) The waveguide on the Cosyne is four times the size of the Yamahas. About twice as wide. So the Yamahas are 'spraying' sound off the backwall in the octave from 500-1khz, whereas the Cosyne still maintains pattern control in that octave. The reflections off the back wall may be contributing to the 'diffuse' imaging of the Yamaha.


But wait! Here's the crazy part:

With the Yamaha, I *really* enjoyed listening to it. Going back to my 'autotune' analogy, the Yamaha reminds me a bit of that. The images aren't as "pinpoint" as the Cosyne and the midrange is a bit euphonic but I could listen to these speakers all day long. The images are a bit out-of-focus and the midrange is possibly TOO smooth but there's not a whole lot to dislike about them.

Having said all that, I'm sending them back to the den upstairs lol

After putting the Cosynes back in the same spot, I could perceive that the stage isn't necessarily "smaller" it's just more accurate. Listening to music that's mostly mono, the Cosynes sound like there's a mono center channel - when I don't have a center at all. And if the recording is huge, it sounds huge on the Cosynes. The Yamahas are more euphonic.

It would be interesting to get the opinions of 'regular' folks though. I wouldn't be surprised if they prefer the Yamahas, because they definitely have a way of making everything sounds silky smooth.

Last edited by Patrick Bateman; 11th February 2019 at 05:25 AM.
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Old 11th February 2019, 06:27 AM   #254
ErnieM is offline ErnieM  United States
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High directivity speakers require exceptional recordings to really shine IMO. I ran into the same problems with my dipole coaxials in a large room.

Most recordings sound one dimensional and mostly center image oriented. Late reflections help fill out the sound but not the same as say a small two-way monitor in a typical living room.

The good ones with well recorded or synthesized reverb and precisely panned sound sources are incredible on high directivity systems. Surprisingly hard to find at times. Very addictive when you find enough of them to make a playlist with music you actually enjoy for their musical composition and/or message.

It comes back to conclusion some people on this forum have come to. You almost need two systems or additional sound sources to light up the room for some recordings and precise directivity for the good ones. Or a continuum between the two. That's for stereo playback of course. Never had the pleasure of listening to high quality multi-channel recordings on an optimized system.

Last edited by ErnieM; 11th February 2019 at 06:46 AM.
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Old 11th February 2019, 06:36 AM   #255
GM is offline GM  United States
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Absolutely! Live vinyl recordings such as Yusef Lateef, Live at Pep's can be scary real with properly set up vintage horns.

GM
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Old 11th February 2019, 06:42 AM   #256
ErnieM is offline ErnieM  United States
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I also believe this is the reason(at least part of it) wide dispersion direct radiator systems have been winning against well designed horn systems in recent comparisons. Ultimately they are just more forgiving.

I listen to a Sangean table radio in the kitchen with a 3" fullrange and it's plenty satisfying with a very wide range of program material.
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Old 11th February 2019, 09:33 AM   #257
KaffiMann is offline KaffiMann  Norway
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Bateman View Post
...
Here's a measurement that I made of my Yamaha DXR12. The Yamaha and Bill Waslo's Cosyne use the exact same compression driver. The Cosyne uses a passive crossover and the Yamaha uses a DSP FIR xover, and the measured response demonstrates that the Yamaha has measurably more output in the top octave.
...
What are your impressions after toggling the D-Contour switch a bit?
The DXR8 might be a better speaker?
Seems like maybe they have the same HF units, if this is the case, the 8" probably does better at the xo, the 12" seems to struggle a bit after 1500hz or so.
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Old 11th February 2019, 12:20 PM   #258
Cask05 is offline Cask05  United States
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I put together a FAQ for corner horn owners a number of years ago to help them with imaging (which you have recently discovered, above), then produced a wiki article on this forum later on (which was subsequently lost during forum software upgrades then retrieved by Jason, the admin here). There are some things in this article that might help you. Just read around the more basic stuff:

Corner Horn Imaging FAQ

Corner-Horn Imaging FAQ - 2-Channel Home Audio - The Klipsch Audio Community

Chris
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Old 11th February 2019, 06:20 PM   #259
Patrick Bateman is offline Patrick Bateman  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KaffiMann View Post
What are your impressions after toggling the D-Contour switch a bit?
The DXR8 might be a better speaker?
Seems like maybe they have the same HF units, if this is the case, the 8" probably does better at the xo, the 12" seems to struggle a bit after 1500hz or so.
Click the image to open in full size.

I think that Cask05 nailed it, in his wiki where he states that "If you are putting a lot of reflected energy on the walls, ceiling and floor around your speakers, what this does is smear out the sound image into a larger area (which can be a good thing from a casual listener's perspective) AND introduces phase delays in the direct-to-reflected energy (which is always bad in terms of small-room imaging performance) if you are in the "Haas zone" of delayed reflections.

This totally mirrors my impression of the DXR12. At first I liked it - it has a stage that's a bit larger than the Cosynes, though the images are more "diffuse." The Cosyne is extremely pinpoint. So the Yamaha makes mono recordings sound bigger than they do on the Cosyne.

And at first, I was like "hey, this is cool. Much much smaller box, bigger stage, what's not to like?"

But there's something funky going on in the midrange. It doesn't sound BAD, it just seems like various male singers all sound similar on the Yamaha. Again, almost like an "autotune" filter.

My first hunch was that it was likely the midrange crossover filter. For instance, an LR4 crossover introduces 360 degrees of phase shift, so you end up with a speaker where the frequency response looks correct, but tweeter is an entire wavelength out-of-phase with the midrange. This creates a sonic signature that's really annoying, IMHO.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

But after reading Cask05's wiki, I think it may be another possibility:

If you look at the Yamaha cabinet, it's REALLY well-suited to corner loading. The back of the cabinet is beveled at a 45 degree angle, you can REALLY cram these things into a corner.

The cabinet is 14" wide and it has a sharp edge on the corners. 964Hz is fourteen inches long. So I think another thing that's happening with the Yamahas is that we're getting diffraction off those sharp edges. Diffraction off the edge will create a secondary source of sound, and that sound will be delayed by about one millisecond. (Due to the distance from the edge of the cabinet to the diaphragm.)

The Cosynes ALSO have a sharp cabinet edge, but the waveguide is WAY bigger - 25.5" in diameter. Because the Cosyne is bigger, diffraction off the edge will be delayed further in time, and the Cosyne waveguide will control the wavefront about an octave lower.

So basically there's a series of things happening in the Yamaha's midrange that might be impairing things:

1) possibly a steep xover, which is also complicated by it's use of FIR filters

2) diffraction off that sharp cabinet edge

3) my walls are 100% untreated, and according to cask05's wiki, I need to address that

4) the Yamaha fits very tightly into a corner, so reflections off the walls are likely more audible. Or are they less?
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Old 11th February 2019, 09:53 PM   #260
Cask05 is offline Cask05  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Bateman View Post
4) the Yamaha fits very tightly into a corner, so reflections off the walls are likely more audible. Or are they less?
The side walls will affect the center imaging most strongly of all the room surfaces. One 2'x2' pad of 0.75" absorbent material on the side walls and one in each corner on the front wall, centered on the horn and woofer apertures, will dramatically increase your phantom center imaging performance.

Chris
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