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Thread: Is speaker adjustibility a marketing gimmick?

  1. #21
    Member Sponsor [WBF Founding Member]
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    I *get* what Frantz is saying. I don’t give a damn how great something sounds, if it weirds you out every time you look at it and makes you feel uncomfortable, you shouldn’t buy it. And yes, I have heard the speakers with Steve and Myles and they do sound great-specially playing tape at RMAF. The top of the line new Vandersteens were still my pick of the show though for dynamic speakers.

  2. #22
    The Giyas look as if, at any moment, they might uncurl and attack. The Ovals are kinda cool, though...



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  3. #23
    [Industry Expert] Addicted to Best! Mosin's Avatar
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    I can't speak as to the capability of all speakers to adjust that various manufacturers claim, but there are legitimate instances in history. One of them, the RCA LC-1A was a vented speaker that had a port which could be opened, closed or semi-closed, depending upon room size. Its designer, Harry Olson, provided charts with waveforms to explain how it worked in real terms with real measurements. He also covered the upside and the downside of making any changes.

  4. #24
    Member Sponsor [WBF Founding Member] FrantzM's Avatar
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    Hi

    Where should the correction be performed, since the room is an infinitely variable element:

    At the speaker?
    At the preamp/amp?

    let's leave aside the issue of signal purity for a while. Speakers make a mockery of most electrical signal ...

    My personal take is that this should be done at the preamp level, feeding a corrected signal specific to the room and speaker combination;. of course that means DRC. Or at the very least some kind of EQ.. The more I understand analog EQ, the least I am tempted to use anywhere but in the low bass so that leaves me with DRC. i would prefer the control on a speaker to be few and coarse...
    Frantz
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  5. #25
    Gentlemen,

    So Wilson audio is marketing this driver adjustability as a huge benefit in their most expensive WAMM speaker. https://www.wilsonaudio.com/products/wamm

    On the other hand, Magico, says it's all B.S. http://www.theabsolutesound.com/arti...for-alon-wolf/

    Here's a quote from "Sterile" Jon Valin - Wolf:

    "...Much is made of time and phase alignment in loudspeakers. We see everything from DSP’d drivers to fixed staggered arrays to articulating boxes capable of minute adjustments. How does Magico handle the issue of time and phase alignment?

    The notion of time/phase alignment/coherence, at least as it is advanced in today’s high-end loudspeaker marketing schemes, is extremely misleading (I will address the shortcomings of the concept in a passive design first.)

    Trying to keep things simple, let me just highlight the two MUST conditions where such concepts are even probable: 1) a first-order acoustical crossover, i.e. a perfect 6dB-per-octave acoustical slope from the designated bandpass; 2) a physical alignment of the drivers’ acoustical centers, which, unless a concentric driver is used, is only possible for one point in space at a time. Only if both conditions are met is time/phase coherency even probable. Just moving drivers around will not suffice to achieve time coherency. In fact, such designs will ensure a “non-optimal condition” at any point due to the fact that, if a first-order XO is not used, any driver movement will require XO realignment to keep the proper phase relations among drivers at the XO points.

    There have been honest attempts at such designs, including some that do meet the basic conditions; however, even if these criteria are met, the compromises needed to be taken to achieve these conditions are detrimental to overall sound quality.

    Staggering drivers, in order to align them, in a stepped baffle creates tremendous amounts of diffraction. Unlike time/phase coherency, which has never been proven to be a factor in perceived sound quality, diffraction has indeed been proven to be a big detraction.

    A 6dB-per-octave acoustical slope requires a very complex XO, with many parts, which also cause degradation in SQ and by themselves introduce time delays (that is why the actual notion of a truly time-coherent passive loudspeaker is questionable). A simpler XO is possible using non-psionic drivers, at the cost of losing low-level information and increasing distortion due to non-pistonic cone movement. Moreover, with 6dB-per-octave slopes in a typical three-way design, the bass drivers will be only ~18dB down at 2kHz, playing right into tweeter territory. Not to mention the tweeter playing into the bass region.

    The unavoidable inherent trade-offs of such [time-and-phase-aligned] design are significant:

    1) Big increases in IMD (intermodulation distortion), which clearly affects SQ.

    2) Increased 2nd and 3rd harmonic distortion due to shallow crossover slopes.

    3) Drivers firing at the listening position asymmetrically—i. e., off-axis (the need to “tilt” drivers to aim at listening position).

    4) Limited vertical dispersion.

    5) Reduced power handling.

    So, weighing all these trade-offs against the fact that it has never been proven that time alignment is essential to SQ, time/phase alignment/coherence as a goal in loudspeaker design is easy to pass..."



    It is obvious that the fans of either brand will find a way to justify that the engineering in their favorite brand is correct, while the other approach is B.S. Just basic human nature to resolve cognitive dissonance in our minds.

    Is there anyone out there who understands what is really going on and can argue both sides?
    Last edited by caesar; 12-06-2017 at 05:54 AM.

  6. #26
    [WBF Founding Member] Addicted to Best! JackD201's Avatar
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    There will always be an area in space where the distance to the sets of drivers is perceived as most optimal. Many times we see people moving back and forth, up and down hunting for that sweet spot. Some loudspeaker designs have more of a sweet "zone" but that only means the area is bigger and not that the zone is the whole space. Saying that physical driver alignment is BS is IMO misleading too. The effects are obvious when changing seating positions on something as movable as an XLF then adjusting it to the new position. The difference is just there. Same for something like an Ascendo or a Blumenhofer. Even with 2 way monitors changing rake angle brings changes, one of them being driver distance, the other being the change in axial response relative to the listener.

    On the other hand, this can be done electronically too whether via DSP, line level or speaker level delay lines. The question is then, are you a spot or zone listener? Guys like me who move and putter around a lot tend to like speakers that have a large zone. Hopefully even get to the point where sound while not optimal in all places in the room is never quite repugnant either. Obviously standing in corners or having your ears to the drivers is just plain creepy so that doesn't count. Looking at spec sheets of speakers I like, the vast majority do not use 1st order XOs. In my mind 1st order and Class A have themselves become buzzwords as they are not a requisite for great sound. With some companies, you see a combination of both.

    There are so many variables in speaker design that pegging any one thing is really a bit naive.

    I see both Wilson's and Magico's approach as valid. Taking an approach and making those work is another story. IMO these two, and others, have done just that....give their owners good results.
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  7. #27
    [Industry Expert] Addicted to Best! Leif S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caesar View Post
    Gentlemen,

    So Wilson audio is marketing this driver adjustability as a huge benefit in their most expensive WAMM speaker. https://www.wilsonaudio.com/products/wamm

    On the other hand, Magico, says it's all B.S. http://www.theabsolutesound.com/arti...for-alon-wolf/

    Here's a quote from "Sterile" Jon Valin - Wolf:

    "...Much is made of time and phase alignment in loudspeakers. We see everything from DSP’d drivers to fixed staggered arrays to articulating boxes capable of minute adjustments. How does Magico handle the issue of time and phase alignment?

    The notion of time/phase alignment/coherence, at least as it is advanced in today’s high-end loudspeaker marketing schemes, is extremely misleading (I will address the shortcomings of the concept in a passive design first.)

    Trying to keep things simple, let me just highlight the two MUST conditions where such concepts are even probable: 1) a first-order acoustical crossover, i.e. a perfect 6dB-per-octave acoustical slope from the designated bandpass; 2) a physical alignment of the drivers’ acoustical centers, which, unless a concentric driver is used, is only possible for one point in space at a time. Only if both conditions are met is time/phase coherency even probable. Just moving drivers around will not suffice to achieve time coherency. In fact, such designs will ensure a “non-optimal condition” at any point due to the fact that, if a first-order XO is not used, any driver movement will require XO realignment to keep the proper phase relations among drivers at the XO points.

    There have been honest attempts at such designs, including some that do meet the basic conditions; however, even if these criteria are met, the compromises needed to be taken to achieve these conditions are detrimental to overall sound quality.

    Staggering drivers, in order to align them, in a stepped baffle creates tremendous amounts of diffraction. Unlike time/phase coherency, which has never been proven to be a factor in perceived sound quality, diffraction has indeed been proven to be a big detraction.

    A 6dB-per-octave acoustical slope requires a very complex XO, with many parts, which also cause degradation in SQ and by themselves introduce time delays (that is why the actual notion of a truly time-coherent passive loudspeaker is questionable). A simpler XO is possible using non-psionic drivers, at the cost of losing low-level information and increasing distortion due to non-pistonic cone movement. Moreover, with 6dB-per-octave slopes in a typical three-way design, the bass drivers will be only ~18dB down at 2kHz, playing right into tweeter territory. Not to mention the tweeter playing into the bass region.

    The unavoidable inherent trade-offs of such [time-and-phase-aligned] design are significant:

    1) Big increases in IMD (intermodulation distortion), which clearly affects SQ.

    2) Increased 2nd and 3rd harmonic distortion due to shallow crossover slopes.

    3) Drivers firing at the listening position asymmetrically—i. e., off-axis (the need to “tilt” drivers to aim at listening position).

    4) Limited vertical dispersion.

    5) Reduced power handling.

    So, weighing all these trade-offs against the fact that it has never been proven that time alignment is essential to SQ, time/phase alignment/coherence as a goal in loudspeaker design is easy to pass..."



    It is obvious that the fans of either brand will find a way to justify that the engineering in their favorite brand is correct, while the other approach is B.S. Just basic human nature to resolve cognitive dissonance in our minds.

    Is there anyone out there who understands what is really going on and can argue both sides?
    I do but I can't tell you
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  8. #28
    VIP/Donor [VIP/Donor] microstrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caesar View Post
    Is there anyone out there who understands what is really going on and can argue both sides?
    IMHO any one understanding the basic mechanisms of stereo and how most of the time the illusion is created using cues in spite of the crudeness of the system will understand what is going on.
    Under construction around a pair of Wilson XLF's , the Forsell Air Force One, the ARC Phono 2SE and the DCS Vivaldi 2.0 stack : ARC REF40 + ARC REF250, TA OPUS MM2 +TA XL digital, TA XL gen V power cables and CenterStage feet ...

  9. #29
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    It's difficult enough just to get the placement and toe-in correct and the rest of the room acoustics dealt with IMO. More adjustments just add more uncertainty.

    I'll tell you what works for me. I have 1/4 round tube traps behind and inside my speakers. These can be adjusted to get a really wide image or a pinpoint focus image just by rotating them in or out. They mostly affect the backwave from the speakers. I have used this technique in my media room and at several trade shows in my exhibit with good results. I even sold extra traps to a friend and transformed his system with them.

    The other great thing about the 1/4 round traps is they make a flatscreen between and behind your speakers disappear if they are positioned optimally.

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  10. #30
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    I'm with Alon on this one. He has physics on his side. The math is fairly simple, and I've talked about it numerous times.

    The question for me isn't whether adjustability helps, but rather if it's helping the problem it creates or not. My answer would be that in general, yes, that it is trying to nominalize the problems. But this is mostly when talking about midbass and up. Having the lowest frequencies able to change positions of reproduction can be the only way to save them at times - that and or most of the speaking moving is to get them acceptable sometimes.

    The adjustability would have to be much higher in many situations to deal with room problems.

    Although sometimes being able to aim the tweeter towards the ear is useful. The problem with that is the way the sound lobes out of the speaker, it may not work to just aim the tweeter but require the midrange to move too. So speaker that do allow that are not necessarily helping always.
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