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|Tuesday, June 18th, 2013 |
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|Commentary on the Audibility of Electronic Upgrade Improvements With Respect to Speaker Capabilities (Educational)||Jan 1st, 2005|
|I know that many people will debate me when I tell them that I have encountered far too many "supposed" esoteric, expensive, fancy cabinet design speakers and gimmicky speaker designs to be extremely lacking in regards to phase accuracy, or at least having reasonably wide frequency response or dynamic linearity to be accurate enough to honestly judge the “supposed” attributes of special capacitors, resistors, wire, or what-ever.|
The simple and tragic view point I hold is that most speaker designs which use simple dynamic drivers (i.e. woofers and tweeters with voice coils and magnets.) are severely limited in their ability to truly expose audio detail honestly. Often what listeners hear are phenomenon of room boundary reflections, phasing artifacts of woofer to tweeter crossover design, baffle reflections, and poor power dispersion of frequencies (ever notice how your speakers can sound incredibly different if, when listening, you move a foot or two off position? The speaker’s tonal character and imaging capabilities will change dramatically due to the phasing of the drivers and cabinet launching of acoustic waveforms; different size cabinets will portray different diffusion of frequencies).
Another interesting phenomenon is that virtually all woofers are non linear in their dynamic motion i.e. they don't move inward as equally as they move outward. Ultimately this may create the effect of different detail in bass frequencies and also may be responsible for the illusion that by reversing the positive and negative leads to a speaker's terminals supposedly correcting for "absolute phase." This is in fact the woofer responding more or less musically to the bass transients in the program material i.e. impact of bass notes and their harmonics. Most consumers and reviewers of audio equipment are simply not aware of these effects. These are only a few of the problems. This obviously proves the point (and many engineers who write seriously about these matters will back me up) that most speakers, even some of the expensive fancy stuff have serious limitations as to their ability to resolve true phase correct imaging.
From a practical stand point, I have repaired modified and corrected hundreds of speakers in the last 25 years and have realized that the price of a product and exotic cabinet designs does not solve the basic problems of speaker imaging. Making judgment calls about the sonic qualities of pre-amps or CD players and for that matter even the music program material can be extremely subjective.
As an anecdotal point, the worst speaker designs typically have either upward or downward firing woofers which can be even more non-linear in bass response. True engineering attempts to design crossovers with speaker component woofers and tweeters which are truly matched for dynamic linearity and even frequency dispersion are not common market products. I seldom see any advanced technical thinking implemented, I see only the same old stuff, just packaged to appeal for an emerging market driven by contemporary (popular) aesthetic requirements.
However, amazingly enough, I have discovered some original makers of their own parts and designs which are incredibly advanced in the realm of dynamic drivers, that sell for half the money or even less which have better reliability, better phase response, better frequency response and better transient details. With minor alterations to account for personal taste or room positioning, I hear and measure a far superior product although many listeners may not prefer accuracy. Instead they say I want something that “sounds good to my ear.” Engineer oriented companies are not excessively driven by marketing forces to spend big advertising money for clever ads in their promises of sonic design advances and promotion of mangled concepts of technology.
At this point, I am hesitant to bring up commentary about marketing and its psychological manipulation of peoples’ thinking when buying products. But it is obvious that a company’s style of advertising and the color or shape of its product is often more persuasive than what the product’s merits are. Have you ever seen a car commercial with the hood up and a technician telling the consumer how the engine is designed? No!! And seldom will it be seen in the audio world or other realms of merchandising.
Of course, this is just my opinion, but recently more electronic engineers have come forward to write their critiques on the internet, which has created a renewed vision of what is technically good and exposes what is suspect.
The truth should set us free, hopefully to advance our listening enjoyment.
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Full Article Details
|Tuesday, June 18th, 2013 |