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Multi-Way Conventional loudspeakers with crossovers

Samsung's Convergence
Samsung's Convergence
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Old 12th February 2020, 02:25 AM   #1
Patrick Bateman is offline Patrick Bateman  United States
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Default Samsung's Convergence

Harman has made no secret that they're using a target curve for all of their loudspeakers, and they've hired a couple of the pioneers of this work.

Kevin Voecks came from Snell in the 90s and has been designing Revel's speakers to this standard.

Floyd Toole wrote the book on this and worked at Harman up until a few years back.

In a nutshell, all of their speakers are designed to achieve similar goals. To me, it's interesting to see that the brands are sloooooowly converging on designs that are very similar.

To me, the reason that this is interesting is that we should be able to reach a point where loudspeakers are SO GOOD, they will be as difficult to distinguish from one another as it is to differentiate two Class AB amplifiers.

Click the image to open in full size.

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At CES in 2017, I had the opportunity to hear these three speakers in a row. The JBL 4367 retails for $15,000. The Concerta F36 sells for $2000 online. The Revel Ultima sells for $22,000 per pair.

Hearing the F36 after the 4367, I was honestly stunned by how similar they sounded. The spectral balance was similar. The 4367 had ridiculously pinpoint imaging. The F36 had a more diffuse soundstage.

To me, this was particularly interesting: magazines like Stereophile promote this idea that "Speaker A" images better than "Speaker B", but listening to the 4367 back-to-back with the F36 made me realize that the F36 sounds *different* not necessarily *worse.*

I am on a bunch of Facebook audio forums, and I've noticed that a lot of people have become convinced that there's some kind of link between "soundstaging" and "expensive tweeters." And from what I've found, objectively and subjectively, expensive tweeters mostly just play louder. IE, I can make a $20 tweeter image really well with the right waveguide and the right enclosure.

That last part is HUGE, and it completely bums me out that people seem to ignore that part:

I've found that the enclosure shape makes a *tremendous* difference in imaging.

For instance, the Revel Ultima costs more than both speakers, and it's imaging was indisputably better than the F36. The Ultima and the F36 sounded similar, but the Ultima "disappears" better. And IMHO, that has more to do with the roundover on the baffle than the quality of the tweeter. IMHO, of course.

Arguably, the biggest advantage of the Ultima over the F36 is more headroom, more power handling, more dynamics. There's a strong correlation between power handling and bandwidth. For instance, there are full-range speakers that can cover 40hz to 20khz with a single driver. But they're lucky if they can hit 100dB. The Ultima is a four way, with big voice coils and careful attention to cooling.

Click the image to open in full size.

Here's the woofer from the $15,000 JBL 4367. Look at those heat sinks, look at that voice coil. This isn't a cheap woofer.

If any of you are at an audio show and you have this opportunity, I recommend it highly. I walked into the JBL room prepared to write a check for a set of 4367s, and after listening to the Revels I was re-evaluating why I listen to horn in the first place. (I'm still a horn guy, listening to Yamaha DXR 12 as I write this.)

I wrote about this phenomenon here.

And there's a monster thread over at AVS Forum where the Revel beat the JBL M2 Reference in a blind test.
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Old 12th February 2020, 03:06 AM   #2
Patrick Bateman is offline Patrick Bateman  United States
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Click the image to open in full size.

With Samsung / JBL's new "HDI" series, the JBL mainstream speakers and the Revel mainstream speakers are nearly in lock-step.

Both Revel and JBL offer a two-way monitor with 6.5" woofer and waveguide. The JBL uses a JBL 2410H-2 compression driver and "high definition imaging" waveguide, at a markup of 100% over the Revel. Interestingly, the JBL cabinet has a roundover while the Revel does not. To get a roundover on your Revel cabinet you have to pay quite a bit more.

In addition to the two ways, there's a 2.5 way from both Revel and JBL, the F36 and the HDI 3600, respectively.

Now if I can just find a showroom where I can hear both the Revels and the new JBLs...
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Old 12th February 2020, 07:22 AM   #3
kipman725 is offline kipman725  United Kingdom
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Imagine what a 15,000usd budget could do in diy! Certainly a lot more than these speakers. I feel they should be compared not to speakers but whole sound systems with quad 21" subs, racks of amps etc. As that is how much they cost.
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Old 12th February 2020, 07:41 AM   #4
Boden is offline Boden  Netherlands
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Hi John/Patrick,


What program material have you used to come to the "crazy pinpoint" experience? I am in full agreement with the "Housecurves as per Toole", but apart from e.g. Chesky Records, I rarely experience the crazy imaging part. Most popular material seems to be butchered by deaf-at-the-age-of-27 recording guys in trainingsuits.
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Old 12th February 2020, 08:12 AM   #5
jtgofish is offline jtgofish  Australia
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Originally Posted by kipman725 View Post
Imagine what a 15,000usd budget could do in diy! Certainly a lot more than these speakers. I feel they should be compared not to speakers but whole sound systems with quad 21" subs, racks of amps etc. As that is how much they cost.

In fairness some of the Harman speakers represent extremely good value because they are mass produced and therefore can be produced cheaply.The JBL Studio 590s for example were fantastic sounding speakers for not much money.They were designed by Greg Timbers and measured extremely well for a horn type speaker so as much design work and expertise probably went in to them as far more expensive speakers.


The Revels do seem to have a "house" sound but perhaps that is just down to them using SB Acoustic drivers which have a "house sound .Smooth and warm is how they tend to sound.
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Old 12th February 2020, 10:38 AM   #6
Neph is offline Neph
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Originally Posted by kipman725 View Post
Imagine what a 15,000usd budget could do in diy! Certainly a lot more than these speakers. I feel they should be compared not to speakers but whole sound systems with quad 21" subs, racks of amps etc. As that is how much they cost.
I believe that at this level of engineering, the price chiefly reflects the R&D capacity and accumulated knowledge of the Harman group, both equipment and personnel-wise (Drs Toole, Keele, Voecks).

The DIY has an abundance of very bright minds but the question is, can an isolated DIYer with 15k$ (or infinite budget and time for that matter) create an objectively better system than a revel Ultima, judged on the Harman chief designing criteria (on-axis, polars, power response etc, excluding SPL)?
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Old 12th February 2020, 11:56 AM   #7
kipman725 is offline kipman725  United Kingdom
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I think copying and even surpassing the Salon 2 would be quite easy:
Salon2 | Ultima2 Loudspeaker Series, 4-Way Floorstanding Loudspeaker
1. The crossover points and diaphragm sizes are known and listed
2. The placement of the drivers and overall dimensions are also listed
3. Its clear that a key criteria was piston behavior of the drivers in their operating band, this can be achieved by using Be and ceramic coated drivers. (expensive but the budget is large)
4. The Salon is using a primitive passive crossover, the budget would allow for full FIR processing and dedicated amp channels for each driver group.
5. The box dimensions, roundovers etc. can be estimated from the publicly available photos.
6. Quasi anercoic measurement techniques are now easy to use.
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Old 12th February 2020, 01:54 PM   #8
Robh3606 is offline Robh3606  United States
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I am on a bunch of Facebook audio forums, and I've noticed that a lot of people have become convinced that there's some kind of link between "soundstaging" and "expensive tweeters." And from what I've found, objectively and subjectively, expensive tweeters mostly just play louder. IE, I can make a $20 tweeter image really well with the right waveguide and the right enclosure.


Hello Patrick

Have you ever tried comparing compression drivers using different diaphragm materials and coated vs non-coated using the same horn?? I have and it was interesting. I agree that the horn/waveguide is without a doubt the major contributor but there are subtle differences in low level detail depending on what you are comparing.

For example with Beryllium you end up with your break up modes considerably higher and most of the hash caused by them is pushed up as well. If you look at the CSD compared to other materials they are much cleaner with the Be.

The same thing happens when you coat a metal diaphragm with a dampening compound. JBL uses aquaplas on all of it’s SL diaphragms. All of their high dollar systems still using conventional compression drivers use the coated diaphragms.

I wonder if this might be a contributor to that impression as the overall effect is greater clarity in the mud so to speak so low level ambient material in the recording are easier to hear. It could also be better integration of the overall speaker system in the more expensive speakers.

Rob
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Old 12th February 2020, 03:45 PM   #9
Patrick Bateman is offline Patrick Bateman  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boden View Post
Hi John/Patrick,


What program material have you used to come to the "crazy pinpoint" experience? I am in full agreement with the "Housecurves as per Toole", but apart from e.g. Chesky Records, I rarely experience the crazy imaging part. Most popular material seems to be butchered by deaf-at-the-age-of-27 recording guys in trainingsuits.
For the past 18 months I've been rotating through a series of speakers with various waveguide sizes:

1) Behringer B2030p w/6" waveguide

2) Waslo Cosyne w/24" waveguide

3) Kali LP6 w/6" waveguide

4) Yamaha DXR12 w/12" waveguide

As the waveguide gets bigger, the soundstage gets more pinpoint.

But this isn't always ideal. For instance, with the Cosynes, a lot of recordings sound mono because they basically ARE mono!

So, I'd speculate that there may be a benefit to using a waveguide that's big, but not excessively so. Something in the neighborhood of 12-15" may be the sweet spot.

All of this is complicated by the fact that the beamwidth matters too. IE, a waveguide with a beamwidth of sixty degrees will not sound the same as a waveguide with a beamwidth of ninety degrees.

As I tinker more and more, I'm starting to think that a fairly large waveguide with wide beamwidth is ideal. Of course, based on that, it starts to sound like a JBL M2.

I think the beamwidth of the JBL 4367 may be a little bit too narrow. One of the things that I noticed about the Revels, listening to the two back-to-back, was that the additional ambience was euphonic.

Another possibility may be to go dipole. For instance, I purchased my Waslo Cosynes from a forum member who owned Quads. We listened to both speakers, back-to-back. He prefers the Quads, hence why he sold me the Cosynes. I don't have the data in front of me, but IIRC, the Quads have narrow beamwidth. But they're *also* illuminating the back wall, adding ambience.

Bill Waslo basically has the best of both worlds with his Small Syn speakers: the high efficiency and beamwidth control of a waveguide, and he's also added some ambience speakers to turn it into something like a bipole. To be honest, this is something that I really should spend some time exploring. A few years back I did something similar, but I used speakers to *cancel* the signal, not *augment* the signal. And the difference in soundstage was night and day. It was like I'd knocked the sidewalls down with a sledgehammer. I actually had to stop using the processing because the soundstage was so big it was obnoxious!

But I digress...

It's a really tricky subject because I don't think anyone's figured out what the ideal beamwidth is. (I may be wrong.)

Another factor is how you listen. For instance, if you're doing five channel for home theater, narrower beamwidth would probably be preferable, because the additional ambience is provided by the recording itself.

Last edited by Patrick Bateman; 12th February 2020 at 03:50 PM.
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Old 12th February 2020, 03:56 PM   #10
Patrick Bateman is offline Patrick Bateman  United States
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Originally Posted by kipman725 View Post
Imagine what a 15,000usd budget could do in diy! Certainly a lot more than these speakers. I feel they should be compared not to speakers but whole sound systems with quad 21" subs, racks of amps etc. As that is how much they cost.
I'm actually a big proponent of buying, not building speakers. Particularly with collectible speakers, you can get a lot of your money back.

For instance, I could assemble a JBL 4367 from parts for about $4000. But if I try to sell it, it's going to be nearly impossible to find someone who wants to spend $500-$1000 for a DIY project.

OTOH, if you buy a set of 4367s, you're going to be in a club of about a hundred people, and there's always going to be someone who's interested in purchasing them.

There's a set of 4367s on Craigslist right now, and I'll bet if I bought them, I could re-sell them for 80% of what I paid, whenever I feel like it. If I held on to them for five years, that works out to about $30 per month for the pleasure of listening to JBL 4367s, which sounds like a pretty good deal I think.

The main reason that I DON'T do this, is that I think you can get quite close to the performance of the 4367 for a whole lot less money. (Hence, why I posted this thread!) I think you could probably replicate 95% of it's performance for 20% of the cost.
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