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Las Vegas CES

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Anonymous
January 14, 2005 3:34:25 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Last week I spent a day at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show
and came away feeling pretty smug. I spent the morning talking to
computer manufacturers regarding stuff for my business. Got that
done by mid-day and had the rest of the day to play over at the
Alexis Park hotel where the hi-end audio was being shown.

I have to say that in an afternoon, you can only see about 1/3rd
of what was there, so I did miss quite a bit. Of what I heard,
there were three systems that stood out among the rest. The
first was from Aurum Acoustics.

http://www.aurumacoustics.com/home.html

They had a very interesting and somewhat daring approach. Their
flagship product is an integrated tri-amplified loudspeaker. The
electronics all come on one large chassis. It contains:

- Tube (6SN7) based driver and active crossover stage
- Four channels of 300B driven power amplification
- Two 100 watt Bryston solid state amplifier modules

The 300B amp channels drove the tweeter and mid-range
drivers, and the 100 watt Bryston modules drove the
12" Vifa bass drivers. The tweeter is a Seas Excell
driver and the mid-range is 6" treated paper cone from
B&C Components.

Good imaging, good tonal balance, solid deep powerful
bass. I liked the way they sounded and felt it was a
real work of art. $27,000 for the full system.

Next up was a Danish manufacturer, whose name I forgot.
Can't pronounce it anyway. But they had their line of
humoungous power amps, preamps, CD player, yadda, yadda,
all driving Avalon Acoustics Eidolon loudspeakers. Like
the Aurum system, it had all the things you want. It
especially excelled at giving you that 3-D quality to
the image. Lovely! Total system cost at about $100,000.

Next up was the MBL of Germany system.

http://www.mbl-germany.de/english/start.html

They were playing their full reference line of equipment.
Enormous mono power amps and other components to match.
Cables big enough to beat a rhino to death. And some of
the planet's most bizarre looking loudspeakers. Damn if
they didn't sound good! Equal to either of the previous
two systems mentioned above. Total tab at about $165,000.

So why am I feeling smug?

None of them sounded better than the Linkwitz Orion based
system I have at home. My electronics are pretty pedestrian
compared to the stuff I was listening to, but if you accept
the possibility that all decent CD players really can sound
alike, then the real difference is in the loudspeakers.

http://www.linkwitzlab.com/orion_challenge.htm

You can purchase a fully built set of Orion Loudspeakers,
with active crossover and amplification for about $7,000
total. If you're willing to do some work, you can do it
all for less. If you are a DIY guy who can roll his own
8 channel solid state amp, build the crossover (with the
supplied Linkwitz PC board), and build the speaker enclosure,
you could probably do the whole thing for as little as
$2500.

The Orions have the same 3-D imaging that the very best
cost-no-object systems I heard at CES. They have a wonderful
warmth and naturalness that is a real pleasure. And they
have all the dynamic range and power you could ask for.
I drive them with four Hafler pro-grade P1000 power amps
at 50 wpc and I have yet to drive them into clipping with
any material. I play symphonic works, big band jazz and
even let friends play rock and roll on 'em. Plenty of
head room!

My preamp is a 12 year old NAD 1700 because I wanted to
rack mount everything. That's also why I got the Haflers
as well as for their MOSFET sound. My CD player is just
a Tascam rackmounted unit. Nothing sonically special
about that.

Oh. And my speaker wire is 14 gague zip cord from
Parts Express with standard steel lugs at the ends.
The speakers have standard screw terminal strips.

The best part of my front end is my Linn LP12 table
on a Target wall mount.

I've loved hi-end audio since before Nixon did his stupidness
at Watergate. I've seen and heard a lot of great hi-end stuff
over the decades. My previous system was based upon a full-range
curved diaphram electrostatic loudspeaker from X-Static. I know
something about good hi-end.

Now I have to admit that the standard Orion has a styling I'm not
crazy about. If anything it's Danish Modern. Siegfried doesn't
do anything that doesn't have some sort of sonic impact, and that
includes the shape of the side panels. I live in a Craftsman
bunalow and wanted something that had a Mission furniture look
to it, so you can see what I ended up with here:

http://www.button.com/family/photos/russ/orion/

Siegfried himself came over to the house and said that my modifications
to his design had minimal impact on the sonics and he thought they
sounded as they should. I didn't do the cabinetry myself. That
was done by Jason Daniels of Oakland, CA. He's willing to take
commissions for a reasonable fee.

Siegfried Linkwitz has done something truly remarkable. If you
go to his web site, he lists a number of people willing to let
you come listen. If one of them is in your area, I recommend you
take the time to pay them a visit. The very finest cost-no-object
sound in hi-end audio is within reach of many more of us than you
might think

Russ Button

More about : las vegas ces

Anonymous
January 14, 2005 11:32:13 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Russ Button wrote:
> Last week I spent a day at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show
> and came away feeling pretty smug.

[snip - reviews of Aurum, MBL, & some Danish high end company]

> So why am I feeling smug?
>
> None of them sounded better than the Linkwitz Orion based
> system I have at home.


That might be more a condemnation of hotel suite room acoustics than
anything else!

I spent a good deal of time at the EgglestonWorks suite (Andra II's),
the dcs suite (where they had Verity Parsifals), the Lipinski Audio
suite (L-707's) & the Naim suite down the road at the ST.Tropez T.H.E.
show (where they had Harbeth Monitor 30's) ...and I came away feeling
that none of them sounded *significantly* better than the Tannoy System
800's I have in my living room! Now, I'm not foolish enough to believe
my $1000/pair Tannoys can go toe-to-toe with these esteemed speakers
that cost >5x that. But I'll happily put my living room up against any
of those hotel suites as a critical listening room.
Anonymous
January 15, 2005 7:20:59 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Buster Mudd wrote:
> Russ Button wrote:
>
>>Last week I spent a day at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show
>>
>>None of them sounded better than the Linkwitz Orion based
>>system I have at home.
>
>
>
> That might be more a condemnation of hotel suite room acoustics than
> anything else!

We've all heard how room acoustics are an important factor in
system performance. And we can purchase room treatment gizmos
such as Tube Traps and the like. I don't know how it is for
everyone else, but it always seems to me that when I move into
a place, you walk around and there's really only one place you
can put stuff due to considerations that the rest of the family
has to live there too.

I can't turn my living room into a giant set of headphones totally
dedicated to audio. Not and stay married I can't. I'm sure a lot
of other audiophiles have similar situations.

In my current room, there just isn't any place to put room acoustic
treatments anyway. I've experimented with speaker placement in my
room and what's optimal acoustically isn't optimal with regards to
furniture and where things are. I can pull 'em out on those
occaisions when I want to do some serious listening or when I have
my audio buddies over, but I can't just leave 'em there.

You can complain about hotel room acoustics, but really they're
no worse than the rooms many, if not most of us, have to put
our audio gear in. My living room is about 14' wide and 17' long.
Not a tiny space but not expansive either. And given the layout,
the speakers have to sit at one end and just wouldn't work anywhere
else.

I think a commercial loudspeaker needs to be able to sound good
most anywhere you put it. Certainly you can try to be cognizant
of room acoustics and do what you can, but I'd think that many,
if not most, audiophiles have a limited ability to do much
about the acoustics of the room they find themselves in.

I remember liking the big Apogee loudspeakers years ago. But
they were always shown in a very large room with plenty of
space about them, and sitting at least 6 feet from the back
wall. That would take up 1/3rd of my living room and just
isn't practical.

> I spent a good deal of time at the EgglestonWorks suite (Andra II's),
> the dcs suite (where they had Verity Parsifals), the Lipinski Audio
> suite (L-707's) & the Naim suite down the road at the ST.Tropez T.H.E.
> show (where they had Harbeth Monitor 30's) ...and I came away feeling
> that none of them sounded *significantly* better than the Tannoy System
> 800's I have in my living room! Now, I'm not foolish enough to believe
> my $1000/pair Tannoys can go toe-to-toe with these esteemed speakers
> that cost >5x that. But I'll happily put my living room up against any
> of those hotel suites as a critical listening room.

I wish I could have had an extra couple of days to get around to see
everything. I was listening for several qualities.

- tonal balance and naturalness of the mid-range
- tonal balance of the low end
- dynamic range and transient response
- 3D imaging

The material I used for listening was:

"A Slow Hot Wind" from "The Voice That Is!" - Johnny Hartman

Hartman's voice is very revealing of mid-range anomalies.
I actually prefer "You Are Too Beautiful", from the alblum
John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman, but I didn't have it with
me.

"That's All", from "Scott Hamilton is a Good Wind Who Is
Blowing Us No Ill"

This alblum is great for overall tonal balance and 3D
imaging. What's even more interesting about this recording
is to compare the CD version with the vinyl version. Do
that once and you'll NEVER think about dumping your vinyl.
But even at that, the CD sounds pretty good and is quite
useful for evaluations.

"Cuba Te Liama" from "Night of the Living Mambo" - Mamborama.

This recording is good for dynamics and 3D imaging.

"Dream of the Witches' Sabbath", movement #5 from the
Symphonie Fantastique, Hector Berlioz, on the Telarc
label.

This is a great recording of a large symphonic work
with extraordinary dynamic range, 3D imaging, and a
variety of tonal colors.

Buster, your Tannoys are likely quite natural sounding
and musical within their limitations. But when you want
to have:

- good naturalness of tonal balance and timbre
- full extension at both ends of the audio spectrum
- and a dynamic range capable of the most extreme recordings `
- 3D imaging that lets the speakers "disappear"

.....then it just gets expensive. And that's where the very
inexpensive loudspeaker systems show their limitations.

Given a choice, I'd opt for a natural and fair tonal balance
any day. Especially on voices.

I remember hearing the Rega loudspeakers a couple of years ago.
They were pretty small and didn't have much low end extension
or great dynamic range. But they sounded so natural on voices!
Not the best loudspeaker at the show that day, but certainly
were the best at the show at their price point!

And that's kind of what I was getting at with my first post
on the CES. The cost-no-object gear, setup correctly, can
sound truly wonderful. But as good as it is, there's a much
less costly alternative that matches up in every way, and that's
the Linkwitz Orion system.

Today while my wife was out of the house, I put on a couple of
Maynard Fergusen alblums I used to listen to back in the 70's
and cranked 'em up just to remember what they were like.
I had 'em up far louder than I normally listen and probably
far louder than anyone would want to hear them at. Didn't
strain the system a bit. Full throttle power at both ends
of the audio spectrum, great imaging, and they still sounded
natural. You try standing 5 feet in front of a good lead
trumpet player playing G above high C at double forte and
tell me if you think any $1000 speaker could safely do that.

The Orions can, just as could any of the three systems I
wrote about earlier. It's just that you can do it for a
LOT less $$$ with the Orions than you could with any of
the other great systems seen at CES.

Coolness.

Russ
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Anonymous
January 15, 2005 7:23:41 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

">
> So why am I feeling smug?
>
> None of them sounded better than the Linkwitz Orion based
> system I have at home. My electronics are pretty pedestrian
> compared to the stuff I was listening to, but if you accept
> the possibility that all decent CD players really can sound
> alike, then the real difference is in the loudspeakers.
>
> http://www.linkwitzlab.com/orion_challenge.htm
>
>>
> The Orions have the same 3-D imaging that the very best
> cost-no-object systems I heard at CES. They have a wonderful
> warmth and naturalness that is a real pleasure.

You may be feeling smug and your speakers will do some weird imaging things
that you may like - but they are utterly incapable of recreating the sound
of a real acoustic source as it would sound if it was in the same room. (Yes
I have a friend who has a pair so I know them well).

They have a power response that has severe and extreme discontinuities, a
midrange driver that literally rings like a bell with breakup modes well
above the passband response level, bass drivers that are slow and muddy
(probably due to severe hysteresis in the roll surrounds) and the mixed
order crossovers alter the quality of the sound too as they are incapable of
reconstructing the time domain response of the input signal even if the
speakers were taken out of the equation!

I am glad you enjoy your system, but that does not equate to accuracy or
correctness or even my definition of high fidelity let alone high end - just
because it plays some things well or sounds nice to you.

John Matheson
Anonymous
January 16, 2005 7:20:19 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

"You may be feeling smug and your speakers will do some weird imaging
things
that you may like - but they are utterly incapable of recreating the sound
of a real acoustic source as it would sound if it was in the same room.
(Yes
I have a friend who has a pair so I know them well).

They have a power response that has severe and extreme discontinuities, a
midrange driver that literally rings like a bell with breakup modes well
above the passband response level, bass drivers that are slow and muddy
(probably due to severe hysteresis in the roll surrounds) and the mixed
order crossovers alter the quality of the sound too as they are incapable
of
reconstructing the time domain response of the input signal even if the
speakers were taken out of the equation!

I am glad you enjoy your system, but that does not equate to accuracy or
correctness or even my definition of high fidelity let alone high end -
just
because it plays some things well or sounds nice to you."

Gosh, feeling a bit touchy are we that one need not toss 100 k or 10 k or
even 2 k to get a superior system? Exactly which 100 k system did you
select? How do you know those technical details about the speakers?
There is technical detail on the pages of the designer which don't match
your notions. Slow bass is an urban myth. But of course when it comes to
speakers none can recreate the signal on the cd as heard in the recording
control room without being in that control room with that gear, even your
100 k choices. One suspects that your real objection is that the more it
costs the better it is school of audio is these days under sever attack,
what with cd sources and amps and wire all being in the category of
commodities now with little if any difference in sound, the last refuge
has always been speakers and now some guy has put that into question also.
Anonymous
January 16, 2005 7:24:45 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

John Matheson wrote:

> You may be feeling smug and your speakers will do some weird imaging things
> that you may like - but they are utterly incapable of recreating the sound
> of a real acoustic source as it would sound if it was in the same room. (Yes
> I have a friend who has a pair so I know them well).

Well that's why they say this is a free country.

You're free to have your own opinion and I'm free to have mine. I've
made my judgements based upon what I'm listening to.

> They have a power response that has severe and extreme discontinuities, a
> midrange driver that literally rings like a bell with breakup modes well
> above the passband response level, bass drivers that are slow and muddy
> (probably due to severe hysteresis in the roll surrounds) and the mixed
> order crossovers alter the quality of the sound too as they are incapable of
> reconstructing the time domain response of the input signal even if the
> speakers were taken out of the equation!

Hmpfff... Obviously you and Linkwitz are of different opinions. Not that
this is any kind of surprise really. Audio Engineering still has a lot of
art in it, as much as people would like to think that it's all scientific.
If engineering were as clearly defined as we'd like to think, then there
wouldn't be so many different attempts at producing hi-end audio. We'd
all know what worked and what didn't.

Since you think the Orions are such inaccurate loudspeakers, perhaps
you'd like to share with us your own design of what an accurate
loudspeaker would be?

> I am glad you enjoy your system, but that does not equate to accuracy or
> correctness or even my definition of high fidelity let alone high end - just
> because it plays some things well or sounds nice to you.

I thought that was the criteria that we each use in making a purchase.
We each listen to equipment and choose what seems to us to be what
we want. I've listened to a *LOT* of gear over the years and have a
pretty good idea of what sounds natural and accurate to me.

And it's not just from listening to records either. I've been playing
trumpet for over 40 years, in just about any kind of ensemble or group
you could imagine. Everything from orchestral to brass ensemble to
big band swing to Chinese funeral band. My wife is a professional
violinist who plays both modern and baroque violin. She's recorded
with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchesta and San Francisco Bach Soloists.
I listen to her practice both instruments all the time and know what
sounds like what.

I think I know something about what natural sound is.

So you don't like the Linkwitz Orions, and I presume you've told
your friend his aren't accurate or correct either. What was his
response? Is he planning to sell them now that you've told him
they didn't measure up? And then one might ask why he didn't
ask you first before wasting his money on them?!

Russ
Anonymous
January 18, 2005 5:10:37 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Russ Button wrote:
>
> I think a commercial loudspeaker needs to be able to sound good
> most anywhere you put it.


Well, we can dream, can't we? :) 

Unfortunately, we can't circumvent the laws of physics.



>
> Today while my wife was out of the house, I put on a couple of
> Maynard Fergusen alblums I used to listen to back in the 70's
> and cranked 'em up just to remember what they were like.
> I had 'em up far louder than I normally listen and probably
> far louder than anyone would want to hear them at. Didn't
> strain the system a bit. Full throttle power at both ends
> of the audio spectrum, great imaging, and they still sounded
> natural. You try standing 5 feet in front of a good lead
> trumpet player playing G above high C at double forte and
> tell me if you think any $1000 speaker could safely do that.
>


Having spent the past 30 years working as a musician, and 27 of them as
a professional recording engineer, I've spent enough time 5 feet from a
good lead trumpet player (and even more time in front of a bad lead
trumpet player!) to know that not only can't a $1000/pair of speakers
reproduce that "naturally", but that neither can any
speaker...including yours.

Now, you want to talk about speakers that can reproduce that musical
experience "convincingly" or "satisfyingly" or "accurately enough to
allow the momentary suspension of disbelief", then there might be some
contenders.
I will certainly concede that achieving the peak SPL of the
aforementioned trumpet player while simultaneously maintaining a
modicum of fidelity is probably beyond the capability of most
$1000/speakers. But I will also strongly opine that sheer SPL is the
least difficult part of reproducing an acoustic instrument "naturally".
Anonymous
January 18, 2005 5:12:39 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

John Matheson wrote:
> You may be feeling smug and your speakers will do some weird
> imaging things that you may like - but they are utterly
> incapable of recreating the sound of a real acoustic source
> as it would sound if it was in the same room.

Gee, that sound like the basic problem with stereo itself, as was
well established by some pretty smart people based on first
principles some 70 years ago.

> They have a power response that has severe and extreme
> discontinuities,

A property that EVERY musical instrument in existance shares to
degrees FAR worse than loudspeakers do. Ever seen the frequency
dependent radiation patterns or power response of a violin, a
trumpet, a flute, timpani, pipe organ, piano, guitar? By your
implicit criteria, they'd sound perfectly awful in a room.

But they don't. If you think that a speaker with perfect power
response and non-frequency dependent radiation pattern will
accurately recreate the sound of a real acoustic source such as
the examples above, then you need to seriously rethink your
assertion. If a real acoustic source has a highly non-uniform
power repsonse and radiation pattern, how will reproducing the
sound of such from one or two points that have a completely
different radiation pattern sound the same (hint: it won't because
it can't)?

> I am glad you enjoy your system, but that does not equate to
> accuracy or correctness or even my definition of high fidelity

YOUR definition of high-fidelity? Who asked you? Who cares but you?
If your definition is based on wrong assumptions such as you make
above, then we'd be better of not asking.

> because it plays some things well or sounds nice to you.

And that is EXACTLY the criterion the speaker need to meet, for
him. In that context, the speaker are perfect. As yours are for
you.
Anonymous
January 19, 2005 4:01:27 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Buster Mudd wrote:

> I will certainly concede that achieving the peak SPL of the
> aforementioned trumpet player while simultaneously maintaining a
> modicum of fidelity is probably beyond the capability of most
> $1000/speakers. But I will also strongly opine that sheer SPL is the
> least difficult part of reproducing an acoustic instrument "naturally".

Ah, Do you remember the motto of Cerwin Vega?

"Loud is beautiful if it's clean."

We may all go deaf, but at least it wasn't distorted while
we were going deaf.

Didn't they go into the automobile sound business?

Russ
Anonymous
January 19, 2005 4:05:06 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

"John Matheson" <jmatheson@adelaide.on.net> wrote in message
news:csbg2d03gp@news3.newsguy.com...
>">
>> So why am I feeling smug?
>>
>> None of them sounded better than the Linkwitz Orion based
>> system I have at home. My electronics are pretty pedestrian
>> compared to the stuff I was listening to, but if you accept
>> the possibility that all decent CD players really can sound
>> alike, then the real difference is in the loudspeakers.
>>
>> http://www.linkwitzlab.com/orion_challenge.htm
>>
>>>
>> The Orions have the same 3-D imaging that the very best
>> cost-no-object systems I heard at CES. They have a wonderful
>> warmth and naturalness that is a real pleasure.
>
> You may be feeling smug and your speakers will do some weird imaging
> things
> that you may like - but they are utterly incapable of recreating the sound
> of a real acoustic source as it would sound if it was in the same room.

What speakers do you believe will do that?

(Yes
> I have a friend who has a pair so I know them well).
>

Did he build the cabinets or have them shipped completed?

> They have a power response that has severe and extreme discontinuities, a
> midrange driver that literally rings like a bell with breakup modes well
> above the passband response level, bass drivers that are slow and muddy
> (probably due to severe hysteresis in the roll surrounds) and the mixed
> order crossovers alter the quality of the sound too as they are incapable
> of
> reconstructing the time domain response of the input signal even if the
> speakers were taken out of the equation!
>

Is this your opinion or do you have measured data that backs it up?

> I am glad you enjoy your system, but that does not equate to accuracy or
> correctness or even my definition of high fidelity let alone high end -
> just
> because it plays some things well or sounds nice to you.
>
This seems like some needlessly snobby criticism, especially if it is not
based on measured performance. Linkwitz has designed a truly high quality
speaker that has gotten many favorable reviews. He is also highly regarded
expert in the field, so if you can provide reliable measured data, I would
truly love to hear about it.

There is always a chance that what you heard might be the result of other
factors, such as defective or abused drivers, improperly wired xover, or
other builder related problems.
Anonymous
January 19, 2005 4:07:07 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

<dpierce@cartchunk.org> wrote in message
news:cshran02shl@news4.newsguy.com...
> John Matheson wrote:
>> You may be feeling smug and your speakers will do some weird
>> imaging things that you may like - but they are utterly
>> incapable of recreating the sound of a real acoustic source
>> as it would sound if it was in the same room.
>
> Gee, that sound like the basic problem with stereo itself, as was
> well established by some pretty smart people based on first
> principles some 70 years ago.
>
>> They have a power response that has severe and extreme
>> discontinuities,
>
> A property that EVERY musical instrument in existance shares to
> degrees FAR worse than loudspeakers do. Ever seen the frequency
> dependent radiation patterns or power response of a violin, a
> trumpet, a flute, timpani, pipe organ, piano, guitar? By your
> implicit criteria, they'd sound perfectly awful in a room.
>
> But they don't. If you think that a speaker with perfect power
> response and non-frequency dependent radiation pattern will
> accurately recreate the sound of a real acoustic source such as
> the examples above, then you need to seriously rethink your
> assertion. If a real acoustic source has a highly non-uniform
> power repsonse and radiation pattern, how will reproducing the
> sound of such from one or two points that have a completely
> different radiation pattern sound the same (hint: it won't because
> it can't)?
>

Dick, I don't disagree with most of what you say above. But I also can't see
why it contraindicates what I said either. You do seem to be implying that a
loudspeaker with a severely discontinuous power response should be
acceptable because all real acoustic sources are like that. I can't agree
that mitigates the need for a smooth power response in a speaker intended to
replay a variety of types of recorded sounds.

On a slightly unrelated matter, given that: 1. noise induced hearing loss is
a V-notch centred around 4kHz; 2. nearly all conventionally designed
speakers have a power response hole in this region due to driver and
crossover design; 3. sibilance is important to intelligibility and 4; the
human auditory system integrates the first few tens of milliseconds of
energy as far as speech intelligibility is concerned, it is no wonder that
many older people (particularly men who tend to get more exposure to noise)
have real problems understanding dialog, for example lyrics in songs or
dialogue in movies, when played through real speakers in real rooms.

I find supplying speakers with ones that don't suffer such a deep power
response hole is a very personally rewarding occupation for me because of
the very real joy it brings to so many of my clients' lives. That joy comes
from the ability to hear and understand dialogue at normal speaking volumes
in real rooms without strain. The same property makes music reproduction
better too - all other things being equal (which I accept they never are).
Anonymous
January 20, 2005 3:45:51 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

John Matheson wrote:
> <dpierce@cartchunk.org> wrote in message
> news:cshran02shl@news4.newsguy.com...
>
> Dick, I don't disagree with most of what you say above.
> But I also can't see why it contraindicates what I said
> either. You do seem to be implying that a loudspeaker with
> a severely discontinuous power response should be acceptable
> because all real acoustic sources are like that.

I WOULD seem to be saying that only if you did not read what
I wrote.

> I can't agree that mitigates the need for a smooth power
> response in a speaker intended to replay a variety of types
> of recorded sounds.

I never said it did. I was basically challenging YOUR assertion
that a speaker without a smooth power response was incapable
of reproducing the sound of a real musical instrument in
that same space. Specifrically, in one VERY constrained context,
you're right, but only because in the broader context, NO speaker
is capable of faithfully replicating the sound of the instrument
it is attempting to produce in that same space.

> On a slightly unrelated matter, given that: 1. noise induced
> hearing loss is a V-notch centred around 4kHz; 2. nearly all
> conventionally designed speakers have a power response hole
> in this region due to driver and crossover design;

I would instantly challenge you to support this assertion: that
"nearly all" conventionally designed speakers suffer form this
problem. Having seen a LOT of conventionally designed speakers,
the mere statistics of your claim are rather easy tp test. Have
you, in fact, done so, or is this simply assuming this to be
axiomatic without once challenging the assumption?

> I find supplying speakers with ones that don't suffer such a deep
power
> response hole is a very personally rewarding occupation for me
because of
> the very real joy it brings to so many of my clients' lives. That joy
comes
> from the ability to hear and understand dialogue at normal speaking
volumes
> in real rooms without strain. The same property makes music
reproduction
> better too - all other things being equal (which I accept they never
are).

Having actually measured it at one point, I find that my copy
of an 18th century fenhc double haprsichord has some pretty
serious holes in the power response at a number of frequencies.

Why have the last 5 centuries of harpsichord makers not experienced
the joy of filling in these serious defects? What's wrong with them?

I'm not being in the least facetious: You basically assert that
an even power response is requisite to the proper enjoyment of
music. I counterassert that such a view is extremely narrow and
overly constrained to the point where it ignore some of the most
fundamental drawbacks at the level of first principles in terms
of recreating a realistic sound field of a musical event. No
doubt even power response is a great specification to crow about,
and one that, really, is not all that hard to achieve. But in doing
so, precisely WHAT problem have you fixed?

Back to the original question: Why is a speaker with a perfect power
response, with a uniform, frequency-independent radiation pattern,
requisite to the production of a realistic sound field of an
instrument in the same venue?

If you say the uniform directivity and power response is good, then
you are also asserting that the lack of such in a real instrument
is bad. If you are saying that the radiation pattern of the instrument
is good, then maybe what you are saying is that uniform power response
and radiation pattern is not necessarily bad, but maybe irrelevant.
Anonymous
January 21, 2005 3:17:56 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

In article <cshran02shl@news4.newsguy.com>,
dpierce@cartchunk.org wrote:

> > They have a power response that has severe and extreme
> > discontinuities,
>
> A property that EVERY musical instrument in existance shares to
> degrees FAR worse than loudspeakers do.

Your response is strange to say the least. The point is to
capture the instrument's strange and discontinuous power response
accurately.
Anonymous
January 21, 2005 3:36:51 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

John Matheson wrote:

>
> I can also claim to be part of the germination of the choice of
methodology
> behind the recent extensive double blind evaluation of dozens of
> professional monitors by the BBC in London recently. This is probably
the
> single most extensive and bias controlled evaluation of speaker
> "naturalness" ever undertaken anywhere. The results of that
evaluation was
> the recommendation across the board to use an appropriate sized model
of
> Dynaudio speakers for all monitoring applications at BBC Radio and
BBC
> Music. I assure you that Dynaudio are a brand of speakers which do
rate well
> against the aforementioned criteria and the outcome of the BBC's
research
> just reinforces my opinions.

John,

I would love to know more details about this BBC monitor search and
their evaluation methods, criteria, results, etc. ANywhere I can read
up on this? Thanks.

Roscoe East
Anonymous
January 21, 2005 10:28:31 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

"Roscoe East" <roscoeeast@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:cspir301pam@news4.newsguy.com...
> John Matheson wrote:
>
>>
>> I can also claim to be part of the germination of the choice of
> methodology
>> behind the recent extensive double blind evaluation of dozens of
>> professional monitors by the BBC in London recently. This is probably
> the
>> single most extensive and bias controlled evaluation of speaker
>> "naturalness" ever undertaken anywhere. The results of that
> evaluation was
>> the recommendation across the board to use an appropriate sized model
> of
>> Dynaudio speakers for all monitoring applications at BBC Radio and
> BBC
>> Music. I assure you that Dynaudio are a brand of speakers which do
> rate well
>> against the aforementioned criteria and the outcome of the BBC's
> research
>> just reinforces my opinions.
>
> John,
>
> I would love to know more details about this BBC monitor search and
> their evaluation methods, criteria, results, etc. ANywhere I can read
> up on this? Thanks.
>
> Roscoe East

There is a sanitised marketing department version of it on Dynaudio's
international web site - but it reveals no real details of the methodology.
(http://www.dynaudio.com/) I happen to know a bit of the methodology
anecdotally because of personal connections. I think the BBC would like to
keep quiet about it to avoid severely upsetting a lot of manufacturers, many
British too.

John Matheson
Anonymous
January 21, 2005 10:30:47 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

<dpierce@cartchunk.org> wrote in message
news:csmuvv025hb@news4.newsguy.com...
> John Matheson wrote:

>> On a slightly unrelated matter, given that: 1. noise induced
>> hearing loss is a V-notch centred around 4kHz; 2. nearly all
>> conventionally designed speakers have a power response hole
>> in this region due to driver and crossover design;
>
> I would instantly challenge you to support this assertion: that
> "nearly all" conventionally designed speakers suffer form this
> problem. Having seen a LOT of conventionally designed speakers,
> the mere statistics of your claim are rather easy tp test. Have
> you, in fact, done so, or is this simply assuming this to be
> axiomatic without once challenging the assumption?
>

It is easy to test and I have tested it hundreds of times. But even if I
hadn't:

1. It is a consequence of the laws of physics (which all manufacturers
share - none get exemption) of conventional cone mid-range drivers &
high-order crossover design;
2. There is a gazillion published polar plots and off axis frequency
responses in the public domain that prove the assertion.

>
> Having actually measured it at one point, I find that my copy
> of an 18th century fenhc double haprsichord has some pretty
> serious holes in the power response at a number of frequencies.
>
> Why have the last 5 centuries of harpsichord makers not experienced
> the joy of filling in these serious defects? What's wrong with them?
>

It doesn't need fixing - it's clearly part of the character of the sound of
the harpsichord. It does mean that the room the harpsichord is in has a huge
bearing on how the harpsichord sounds - but that should not be news to
anyone.

> I'm not being in the least facetious: You basically assert that
> an even power response is requisite to the proper enjoyment of
> music.

I am not sure how you drew the conclusion that I asserted any such thing.

I counterassert that such a view is extremely narrow and
> overly constrained to the point where it ignore some of the most
> fundamental drawbacks at the level of first principles in terms
> of recreating a realistic sound field of a musical event. No
> doubt even power response is a great specification to crow about,
> and one that, really, is not all that hard to achieve. But in doing
> so, precisely WHAT problem have you fixed?

The problem that is fixed is better described by some of the references I've
made in other posts than I could do justice to here. Basically it's about
perceived sound quality. I think it is a sufficiently well scientifically
established to be accepted for good practice in speaker design.

> Back to the original question: Why is a speaker with a perfect power
> response, with a uniform, frequency-independent radiation pattern,
> requisite to the production of a realistic sound field of an
> instrument in the same venue?

I have not suggested such a speaker system. I suggest now that it needs a
flat(ish) on axis response and a declining power response (that is a
frequency-dependent radiation pattern). Why a declining power response?
Because nearly all real acoustic sources that we want to listen to have
declining power responses, where by power response I mean total radiated
energy versus frequency. I accept that doesn't mean the speaker is capable
of replicating the sound of any individual source in that space. To do that,
clearly it would have to have the SAME power response (and much more
importantly) the SAME directional response as the original source. Clearly
that is impractical for a hi-fi.

> If you say the uniform directivity and power response is good, then
> you are also asserting that the lack of such in a real instrument
> is bad. If you are saying that the radiation pattern of the instrument
> is good, then maybe what you are saying is that uniform power response
> and radiation pattern is not necessarily bad, but maybe irrelevant.

If I said it - well I didn't! I had not until this post made any comments
about the power response of real sound sources. Of course that causes a
dilemma in recording real sources - where do you put the microphones. I
maintain that the best option for a speaker is a power response that is free
of major discontinuities and I think that should be fairly self evident from
your own essay. After all why would you want a speaker to overlay IT'S power
response irregularities on top of your recordings? The challenge is to find
a reasonable average power response that mimics sources such as, say
orchestra and voice. Funnily enough (or maybe not) the power response (not
directional response) requirement for these two disparate sources is not
dissimilar.
Anonymous
January 22, 2005 10:02:03 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

John Matheson wrote:

> Linkwitz is entititled to his opinion and to publishing it - having it and
> publishing it just doesn't make those opinions any righter.

Have you ever considered writing to Linkwitz with your concerns?
His website lists his e-mail address and he does respond to
questions. Perhaps if you were to discuss his choice of drivers
with him, you might discern why he made the choices he did.
Together you might also come up with possible improvements
or even a completely new design.

> I am far too humble to think I could design an accurate loudspeaker.

But you're not too humble to speak harshly of what I, and many other
people consider to be a very good sounding design. But since you've
made the point of dumping all over the Orions, you should tell us
what it is you listen to at home.

Tell us about the room you have your system in. Do you
use acoustic room treatments such as tube traps?

Is your own system one you consider to be "accurate"?

How much money do you have invested in your system?

Why did you choose the components you have?

Are you someone with budgetary restrictions?

How did they play into your choices?

> You posted a reply to my admittedly churlish reply to your original post,
> but are you interested in the basis of the four claims I made about the
> Orions performance? I think the four claims are (relatively) easily
> demonstrable and irrefutable (excepting for an over-riding bias on the
> part of the reader - truth like beauty may be in the eye, or ear, of the
> beholder), but since you did not ask I have not attempted to address them
> here.

There is never a need to be "churlish" in a discussion. Certainly not
when you are first introducing yourself. First impressions are typically
lasting ones. Acting "churlish" never helps to bring credibility to your
claims.

One of the reasons I made my original post was to suggest that the Orions
sounded as good as the best systems I'd heard at CES. I admit that I
saw only a fraction of what was there, but it was still a pretty good
sample. The Orions are a real bargin compared to the very fine systems
I heard at CES. I have about $4000 invested in the package consisting
of the Orion drivers, speaker enclosures, crossover and power amplification.
Compared to $27,000, $100,000 or $165,000, the prices for the three
systems I referenced, $4000 looks pretty good.

Audio engineering, like so many other types of engineering, is often about
designing within constraints and/or making compromises. The most visible
constraint for most of us is budget. I'd like to suggest that whatever
sound system design you present, that costs be part of that description.

I wouldn't be reading this forum if I weren't interested in learning
more. So please enlighten us.

Russ Button
Anonymous
January 24, 2005 2:52:46 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

John Matheson <jmatheson@adelaide.on.net> wrote:

> Ross, I didn't mean my post to be churlish - it just came out that way -
> sorry. Maybe I had indigestion at the time. However criticism is what drives
> improvement and I am not ashamed to play a part. I wasn't at CES so I can't
> comment on your findings other than to say it doesn't surprise me. I haven't
> had any reason to talk to Linkwitz - he is one of a thousand speaker DIY'ers
> with and internet site.

er..he's rather a bit more than *that*, actually.

from
http://stereophile.com/interviews/503/

//
Siegfried Linkwitz was born in Germany in 1935. He received his
electrical engineering degree from Darmstadt Technical University
prior to moving to California in 1961 to work for
Hewlett-Packard. During his early years in the USA, he did
postgraduate work at Stanford University. For over 30 years Mr.
Linkwitz has developed electronic test equipment ranging from
signal generators, to network and spectrum analyzers, to
microwave sweepers and instrumentation for evaluating
electromagnetic compatibility.

He has also had a long and distinguished second career as an
audio engineering visionary. Along with Russ Riley he developed
the famed, and widely used, Linkwitz-Riley crossover filter in
the mid-1970s. Since then, he has contributed several important
technical papers covering a variety of measurement and speaker
issues to such publications as the Journal of the Audio
Engineering Society, Electronics (Wireless) World, and Speaker
Builder.
//
Anonymous
January 25, 2005 3:16:21 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

On 1/23/05 10:35 AM, in article ct0jnu024co@news2.newsguy.com, "John
Matheson" <jmatheson@adelaide.on.net> wrote:

> I concur with Floyd Toole's findings that a speaker needs a smooth power
> response declining with rising frequency for naturalness in sound
> reproduction in a general sense. In his papers he gives a very thorough
> dissertation on what is important to get right and what doesn't matter in
> speaker design and although I haven't read his papers for some time I
> remember feeling that my experiences were in line with his findings. I am
> not a fan of the dipole / bipole school. I believe in most instances a
> monopole with flattish on axis frequency response, smoothly declining power
> response and relatively free of colouration (or self-signature) is an easier
> speaker to live with for most people, given the variability of recordings
> and people's listening rooms. Linkwitz's claims on the dipole behaviour of
> speakers does not bear too close scrutiny - acoustic behaviour in real rooms
> is much more complex than his arguments assume.

Interesting then that nearly all the speaker divisions Floyd oversees at
Harman make extensive use of high order crossover networks and metal cone
drivers. This includes Infinity, Revel, and JBL.In fact, if you look at the
top of the line Revel products you see 4th order networks, titanium midrange
cones, and aluminum dome tweeters. Yet the spec sheets and product
descriptions make strong claims of extremely smooth on and off axis response
and very low distortion. What's going on here? Does Floyd not understand
that such claims are simply impossible? How can he allow such "hash
generators" to be released into the market?
Anonymous
January 25, 2005 3:22:08 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

"Steven Sullivan" <ssully@panix.com> wrote in message
news:ct1dce0adg@news2.newsguy.com...
> John Matheson <jmatheson@adelaide.on.net> wrote:
>


>> - he is one of a thousand speaker DIY'ers
>> with and internet site.
>
> er..he's rather a bit more than *that*, actually.
>

Oops, Steven, I'll re-order the words and add back in the context you
deleted:

....he has one of a thousand speaker DIY internet sites. He is obviously a
knowledgeable person...
Anonymous
January 25, 2005 3:25:43 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

John Matheson wrote:
> I haven't had any reason to talk to Linkwitz - he is one of a
> thousand speaker DIY'ers with and internet site.

Perhaps with your extensive knowledge of who does and does not
have an internet site, you might consider one internet site,
www.aes.org, on which you will find that the good Mr. Linkwitz
has some association, to wit:

Linkwitz, S. H., "Active Crossover Networks for Noncoincident
Drivers," J. Audio Eng. Soc., Volume 24 Number 1 pp. 2-8;
January/February 1976

Linkwitz, S. H., "Passive Crossover Networks for Noncoincident
Drivers," J. Audio Eng. Soc., Volume 26 Number 3 pp. 149-150;
March 1978

Linkwitz, S. H., "Shaped Tone-Burst Testing," J. Audio Eng.
Soc., Volume 28 Number 4 pp. 250-258; April 1980

Linkwitz, S. H., "Why Is Bass Reproduction from a Dipole Woofer
in a Living Room Often Subjectively More Accurate Than from
a Monopole Woofer?" J. Audio Eng. Soc., Volume 51 Number 11
pp. 1062-1063; November 2003

It might be worth noting that Mr. Linkwitz, who, according to you,
is a simple "DIY'er with a website," also happens to be the same
author of the aforementioned AES articles cited by the likes of
D'Appolito in his articles on crossovers, among others.

So, then, who is the authority on this topic? A "DIY'er with a
website who just HAPPENS to have a number of technical articles
on the topic puplished in a peer-reviewed technical journal? Or
a person who:

"currently doesn't have a system at home at the moment",

Someone who:

"owns a hi-if shop"

who

"bought and sold hundreds of speakers over the years"

and who

"used to have access to a large indoor void"

and

"used gated software based measurement systems ... and LEAP..."

???
Anonymous
January 26, 2005 3:27:02 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

John Matheson <jmatheson@adelaide.on.net> wrote:
> "Steven Sullivan" <ssully@panix.com> wrote in message
> news:ct1dce0adg@news2.newsguy.com...
> > John Matheson <jmatheson@adelaide.on.net> wrote:
> >


> >> - he is one of a thousand speaker DIY'ers
> >> with and internet site.
> >
> > er..he's rather a bit more than *that*, actually.
> >

> Oops, Steven, I'll re-order the words and add back in the context you
> deleted:

> ...he has one of a thousand speaker DIY internet sites. He is obviously a
> knowledgeable person...


And yet you still don't seem to realize, he's not just a knowledgeable
person with a 'speaker DIY website'. He's a famous figure in the speaker
design field, dating from before there *was* a WWW.
Anonymous
January 27, 2005 3:31:21 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

> John,
>
> I would love to know more details about this BBC monitor search and
> their evaluation methods, criteria, results, etc. ANywhere I can read
> up on this? Thanks.
>
> Roscoe East

Roscoe,
Michael McKelvy <deskst49@peoplepc.com>

alludes to it in his post:

For those who Like the BBC LS3/5A (long)

I couldn't find it there but found it here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/foi/docs/freedom_of_information/se...

John Matheson
Anonymous
January 29, 2005 1:57:39 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

John Matheson" wrote:
>

> >>Unfortunately the Thiele Small alignment model
> >>and it's derivatives are just that - models - that have fundamental
> >>limitations. They can't predict the real world sound of systems - yet I
> >>have
> >>known many speaker designers that put more faith in the modelling than
> >>their
> >>own ears!


John Stone wrote:


>Well isn't that what you are doing here? You say the midrange can't be
>good,
>not just because you don't like the sound, but because you see an out of
>band breakup mode on the data sheet. Then you turn around and say you
>don't
>like the bass, but you admit to having no technical reason for doing so. It
>just seems to me that your dislike of this speaker is based as much on
>preconceived notions as it is upon what you are hearing. And I strongly
>suspect that one influences the other.


I'm just a home brew audiophile, but as I've mentioned a number
of times before, I've listened to a lot of systems over the past
30+ years I've enjoyed hi-end audio.

I'm not an electrical engineer, but I know enough to get myself in
trouble. I certainly don't have access to speaker driver test equipment,
let alone know how to use it. Like so many of us, a lot of what I take
an interest in begins with reputation. A piece of equipment or a
loudspeaker gets favorable comment from a variety of sources and
then I go take a look-see for myself.

I'm not a member of the "Component of the Month Club". I typically
own and operate a set system configuration for several years at a
time. My previous system was in operation for about 10 years
before I decided to move to the Linkwitz Orion. I've never spent
that much ($4000) at once on an audio system. That's a lot of
money to me. Not to you perhaps, but it is to me.

I respect anyone's reputation, but the real test comes from when
I listen. I didn't look at any driver documentation or test
results. I just listened.

Frankly I wasn't unhappy with the sound of my old system. I had
moved to a smaller home and it was just too big for the room it was
in. My previous loudspeakers were X-Static, full-range, curved
diaphram electrostatics. They did wonders with voices and
acoustic instruments. I augmented them with a pair of Thiel
aligned sub-woofers I'd built some years ago that were powered
by a separate amp/Marchand active crossover. A wonderful system.
So I know what I'm listening to.

There was only one dynamic loudspeaker I'd ever heard that
compared to my 'stats, and that was what I heard from Avalon
Acoustics. Great stuff but waaaaaaaaay out of my price range.

And then I heard the Linkwitz Orion.

You can engineer and design all you want, but in the end,
the point of all this is that it all comes down to listening.
John Stone is correct in that you can come to an audition
with pre-conceived notions based upon what you've read on
the spec sheet. It's all about expectation really.

Like so much of life, you don't always get what you want,
but you always get what you expect.

It had been my expectation that I'd never find a dyanmic
loudspeaker that sounded as good on voices as my old 'stats.
With the exception of the Avalon line, that had always been
true until I heard the Orion. A friend whom I respect a
great deal told me about them and so I went and listened.
I was skeptical on the way over, but in the first 5 seconds
knew they were for real. It took another hour or so of
critical listening to be sure, but it was clear from the
start that these were extraordinary.

I looked at the mid-range driver and just sort of shook
my head because it went against everything I'd read about
mid-range drivers over the years. But heck. What do I
know? The listening told me that I didn't know as much
as I thought I did, and that's the point here.

You go listen and you make your choice.

More than once, I asked John Matheson to tell us what he
liked, if he didn't like the Linkwitz Orion. What did
he have at home? Why did he choose that? What loudspeakers
did he like? Why?

He never answered any of those questions, instead preferring
to say he had nothing at home and listened to a lot of things
at his hi-fi shop. When then, what was it he was selling
that he did like?

You obviously have a lot of good professional experience John
Matheson, but when you criticize something, you have to back
it up with alternatives to educate us. Tell us you like this
or that and give us pointers to go listen. Without that,
there's nothing for us to reference your perspective against,
and thus you have little credibility.

Russ Button
!