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Multi-Way Conventional loudspeakers with crossovers

Best way to balance speaker for a flat response
Best way to balance speaker for a flat response
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Old 10th August 2019, 03:39 PM   #1
sal87 is offline sal87  United Kingdom
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Default Best way to balance speaker for a flat response

So, I知 learning on the job and built an active 3 way speaker which I知 really not happy with! The thing I知 not happy with is the balance. I知 still learning tonnes when it comes to building speakers and I love it but I get frustrated as I知 not quite sure how to get it right.
I end up tweaking and tweaking and tweaking some more until it sounds just as bad as when I started lol. The tonal balance is just bloody terrible.

It値l be great to get some advice on how you guys go about balancing your speakers ie what tools you do use, which might help me in my quest for a great balanced speaker in the end.

Thanks for any advice given.
Sal
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Old 10th August 2019, 04:01 PM   #2
adason is offline adason  United States
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REW or HOLM Impulse are two free good softwares. Buy a umic and you are good to go.
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Old 10th August 2019, 04:06 PM   #3
CharlieLaub is offline CharlieLaub  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sal87 View Post
So, I知 learning on the job and built an active 3 way speaker which I知 really not happy with! The thing I知 not happy with is the balance. I知 still learning tonnes when it comes to building speakers and I love it but I get frustrated as I知 not quite sure how to get it right.
I end up tweaking and tweaking and tweaking some more until it sounds just as bad as when I started lol. The tonal balance is just bloody terrible.

It値l be great to get some advice on how you guys go about balancing your speakers ie what tools you do use, which might help me in my quest for a great balanced speaker in the end.

Thanks for any advice given.
Sal
When you try to "tweak" a speaker you often up going in circles. Siegfried Linkwitz called it the "circle of confusion" (this was talking about speakers using in mixing recordings, but the problem is the same). You are using recordings and your ears to judge the sound. Recordings vary in their tonal balance, and hearing is adaptable to different tonal character over a short period of time. This often means that you do not have a reliable reference point to hone in on. After listening to one recording it might sound OK, then you switch to another and it sounds terrible.

If and when I "tweak" my crossovers, it would only be as the final step in a long process. I would only be making very small adjustments here and there to what already is known to work. I use listening, but I make sure to take breaks during which I don't listen to anything, and the process is repeated over several days until I am satisfied that I have struck the right balance with a variety of music types.

What you (likely) need is a way to get very close to "done", e.g. 95% of the way to perfect, without using your ears. The best way (in my opinion) to do that is with measurements and modeling. To do this you will need a microphone (and possibly a mic preamp) and a computer. A crossover design software program should be used. This will combine the measurements and other info into a good model of the loudspeaker as seen from the listening position. Then you can add the crossover to the model and tweak all the values until you get to that 95% point. At this point you can build or implement the crossover and do any final tweaking if you feel it is necessary. There is some knowledge and skill required during this process, and you must take the "right" kind of measurements to be able to have a good quality and accurate model.

But maybe I should ask you to back up a minute and explain a bit more about what you build and how:
Is it a kit, is it based on an existing design, or did you create it from scratch?
Are you using a passive or active/DSP crossover? Please share details about it?
Please provide a physical description of the speaker or post pictures so we know how large it is, where the drivers a positioned on the baffle, etc.
Have you build speakers before, or is this your first go at it?
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Old 10th August 2019, 04:31 PM   #4
Robh3606 is offline Robh3606  United States
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You need some measurement capability. One of the biggest issues is that the woofer is typically the least sensitive driver so you need to dial down the other drivers or it won't sound right. Once you get the driver levels balanced things will sound better and the you can go for your "house curve".

Rob
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Old 10th August 2019, 05:01 PM   #5
eriksquires is offline eriksquires  United States
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Measure --> Simulate --> Build
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Old 10th August 2019, 05:31 PM   #6
sal87 is offline sal87  United Kingdom
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And this is why I bloody love this site. Thank you so much for all the info!
I知 at a gig right now but will reply with any questions once I致e digested all the info.

I use a dbx driverack which has an RTA so it痴 useful but as you致e pointed out about tweaking and tweaking, it痴 clearly not the right approach.
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Old 10th August 2019, 05:32 PM   #7
sal87 is offline sal87  United Kingdom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieLaub View Post
When you try to "tweak" a speaker you often up going in circles. Siegfried Linkwitz called it the "circle of confusion" (this was talking about speakers using in mixing recordings, but the problem is the same). You are using recordings and your ears to judge the sound. Recordings vary in their tonal balance, and hearing is adaptable to different tonal character over a short period of time. This often means that you do not have a reliable reference point to hone in on. After listening to one recording it might sound OK, then you switch to another and it sounds terrible.

If and when I "tweak" my crossovers, it would only be as the final step in a long process. I would only be making very small adjustments here and there to what already is known to work. I use listening, but I make sure to take breaks during which I don't listen to anything, and the process is repeated over several days until I am satisfied that I have struck the right balance with a variety of music types.

What you (likely) need is a way to get very close to "done", e.g. 95% of the way to perfect, without using your ears. The best way (in my opinion) to do that is with measurements and modeling. To do this you will need a microphone (and possibly a mic preamp) and a computer. A crossover design software program should be used. This will combine the measurements and other info into a good model of the loudspeaker as seen from the listening position. Then you can add the crossover to the model and tweak all the values until you get to that 95% point. At this point you can build or implement the crossover and do any final tweaking if you feel it is necessary. There is some knowledge and skill required during this process, and you must take the "right" kind of measurements to be able to have a good quality and accurate model.

But maybe I should ask you to back up a minute and explain a bit more about what you build and how:
Is it a kit, is it based on an existing design, or did you create it from scratch?
Are you using a passive or active/DSP crossover? Please share details about it?
Please provide a physical description of the speaker or post pictures so we know how large it is, where the drivers a positioned on the baffle, etc.
Have you build speakers before, or is this your first go at it?
I値l explain what I知 doing as soon as I can thanks man
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Old 10th August 2019, 05:49 PM   #8
scottjoplin is offline scottjoplin  Wales
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It is a classic case of needing to measure, then the question becomes where to place the microphone
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Old 10th August 2019, 06:05 PM   #9
mbrennwa is offline mbrennwa  Switzerland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottjoplin View Post
It is a classic case of needing to measure, then the question becomes where to place the microphone
...and how to interpret the measurements in terms of what your ears don't like. For example, it is possible that one tweaks a loudspeaker to almost perfectly flat anechoic on-axis SPL response, and it still sounds TERRIBLE. The trick is to understand what the measurements (don't) tell you, and how they relate to what you hear. I am trying to learn this art since a few decades now.

Two important lessons I learned so far is (1) to also look at off-axis response, which tells you how the speaker interacts with the room (2) to arbitrarily change things in the x-over and check how this changes the measurements and the perceived sound.
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Old 10th August 2019, 06:54 PM   #10
adason is offline adason  United States
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True, very true. Don't neglect phase.
I was tweeking small bookshelf, based on aurum cantus ac130 and horn loaded fountek ribbon, meant to be used with subs, and finally achieved ruller flat on axis, almost perfect off axis behaviour, and flat phase...now that's one neutral sounding well behaving no fatigue sound. All it needs is better subs to sit on.
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