Love Is Always Better the Second Time Around: The Sanders Sound Systems 10e Hybrid Electrostatic Speaker

speshal

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You are talking about the audible effects of using the BACCH program to process stereo playback as heard from the listening seat. See the detailed TAS review and discussion of how BACCH works here. That device uses a pair of small microphones which you place in your ear canals to set up the system by measuring the sound impinging on your two ears at the listening position and "correcting" what the speakers sound like to compensate for a number of effects related to headshadowing and the fact that stereo imaging is not "real" but "virtual" in the sense that the brain operates on what your two ears hear to create phantom virtual images from the two separate sources (two speakers) generating the sound rather than the single "real" source we hear in nature.

The goal of BACCH is not so much to create a flat frequency response than to create a more (MUCH more) three dimensional sound field. From the demos I've heard of it so far (at the 2022 AXPONA event), the system goes far beyond what I hear at a live event in creating three-dimensionality. If normal stereo soundstaging is not three dimensional enough, BACCH sounds surreal in a laughable fun-house way. Others seem to disagree (see the linked review), but I think they are just fascinated with the rather obviously exaggerated stereo effects BACCH produces compared to what one hears in a concert hall. Interesting and fascinating perhaps, but hardly realistic. And BACCH effects are hardly new to the audio scene. Ralph Glasgal's Audiophonics, the Carver Sonic Hologram, and TacT's XTC system are all eariler attempts. Yes, BACCH removes the "phasey" tugging at your ears that prior systems tend to produce, but it also further exaggerates the stereo effect far beyond what is natural.

Having measured the frequency response of my audio systems when the Carver Sonic Holgram and the TacT XTC were employed, I know that such systems drastically alter the measured response one gets from a measuring microphone positioned between where your ears would be in the listening position, especially when measuring both channel outputs at once. The idea of such systems is not to produce flatter frequency response, but to alter the way our brain perceives the soundfield sound generated by two separate loudspeaker sources. Frequency response manipulation is part of the processing involved in that effort.

I think you will find (at least I do) that setting up the Sanders 10e speakers as I have to eliminate room reflections to a great extent, you will hear much more three-dimensional stereo than with most other speakers. You can improve the stereo effect with all speakers using acoustical room treatment, but you get further with the Sanders since, other than the back wave, it is so very directional in the first place. What I hear in terms of soundstaging is quite natural sounding to me, much moreso than what I've heard from any of these systems, including BACCH. That's my current opinion, obviously, subject to alteration on further experience with BACCH at the coming AXPONA.
Interesting comment, but I think your experience of "exaggerated 3D" is easily explainable since you mentioned your benchmark is a "live concert". The Bacch doesn't seek to recreate a live concert....unless that's what was intended in the recording. Most recordings are studio based and not the prototype concert or live event that you are using as a benchmark.

The Bacch is giving you a more accurate representation of the spatial cues based on the mics to the instruments. If the mic is hung from the ceiling and a standing bass is being played below it, you likely won't think the location you hear of the bass represents a "live event" presentation...but it's more ACCURATE...Elvis Presley "Fever" is a perfect example of that with the Bacch...we have pics of the recording studio to confirm the orientation of instruments and mics.

There's no technology YET that will place you in the soundfield wherever YOU want, but as I showed in a recent video...it's coming. However, it will require HRTF measurements and certain recording mics.... which gets back to your experience. What specific recording(s) did you listen to where the soundfield is "exaggerated"?

One thing that the Bacch will expose is poor spacing in cardioid mic placement, such that it's possible you'll find some recording flaws more evident... although it's rare. It shouldn't exaggerate anything and, if fact, few people get high enough XTC to make it perfect, so "exaggeration" is a term that would only apply if you have a flawed benchmark and don't want a more accurate representation of what was recorded.

How do I know with 100% certainty that the Bacch isn't exaggerating 3D (assuming you took measurements correctly and your room is treated to let you hear your speakers and not the room)? All you have to do is bring up a YouTube video of a binaural recording. You can literally watch how it was recorded as it is being played back. You can't get any greater proof than that...or can you?

You can go one step further. You can use the mics on the Bacch to make recordings yourself. Record yourself snapping your fingers around your head at various distances and then play it back on your system with the Bacch filter. You'll see that it's far more accurate than without the Bacch, but if anything it's still falls short of 100% 3D, so your claim of "exaggeration" will be tempered by reality if you try these things. As good as the Bacch is, almost nobody would say it gets the recording 100% equal to the spatial aspects of snapping your fingers live near your head. It again will be FAR better than without using Bacch, but nobody would claim it's exaggerated after doing that test.

Nevertheless, even if you STILL believe that the 3D effect is exaggerated, there's another solution built into the program. There is a slider where you can dial back the crosstalk cancellation from 100% to whatever percentage you feel meets your benchmark of a live event. You can literally do this on each song to your taste...this gives you a slam dunk advantage over any system WITHOUT Bacch. Plus, you can also bypass the effect totally on certain recordings if you want.

If anything, the 3D effect will only get greater over time as more binaural recordings become standard and people pivot to better speakers and rooms. Thus, it's important to understand that it's only revealing spatial ques in the recording itself. If you think it's too exaggerated and you don't like a fly buzzing around your ear like with Grantchester Meadows, I would take it up with the recording artist that mastered it different from YOUR preferred benchmark of a live event. It's now much closer to where the recording intended with Bacch, and the experiments I outlined should prove that unequivocally to you if you get a chance.

BTW, Edgar uses the Sanders in his home, so the variable of "type of speaker" is also taken out of the equation. That's a nice speaker you own and I can see why you like it without Bacch, but you may need to revisit your exposure and accurately calibrate your benchmarks to realize what you are hearing isn't artificially exaggerated unless that's what the recording reveals.
 
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tmallin

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I do agree that most audiophiles (not me, though!) have long abandoned the goal of reproducing the concert hall spatial experience at home. If most audiophile reviewers attended more live concerts and used this goal as a touchstone, they would never be sucked in by the effects produced by BACCH. Any classical concert goer knows in seconds that this is not how live concert hall performances sound from a spatial perspective. Impressive and astonishing perhaps, but natural concert hall sound, no, definitely not.

But most listeners rarely if ever listen to classical or other acoustic music at home, much less attend unamplified concerts. Thus I agree that this touchstone of mine may seem outmoded or even irrelevant.

However, I think your comment reinforces what I said about my limited experience with BACCH very well indeed.

Most thinking audiophiles agree that the biggest problems with playback of most commercial recordings at home originate not in inherent shortfalls in the reproduction equipment or home room set up, but in seemingly insuperable miking and mixing problems at the recording end, among them:

-Too many microphones (more than two) are used
-The microphones used are often placed too close to the musicians picking up too much treble and not enough bass, or up high on or near the stage, a perspective from which no one would optimally hear the live event
-The microphones have inherently exaggerated treble response (look at the manufacturer's specs for microphones, old or new, if you doubt this)
-In many "purist" recording techniques (such as widely spaced omnis and the Decca tree) the left and right stereo microphones are placed further apart than human ears would be and will thus tend to pick up exaggerated stereo effects due to their perspective on the soundstage (just cup your hands behind your ears to see what hearing things with more widely separated ears sounds like--or use the old Serious ListenEars product)
-In "purist" miking using three or more widely separated omni mikes (e.g., Telarc, Mercury Living Presence, RCA Living Stereo, Chandos), it is impossible to know what that mike pick up should sound like since we only have two ears and they cannot be widely separated
-In studio mixer-based recordings the left/right positioning of any given microphone's pick up is arbitrarily positioned by the mixer pan-pots

If the goal of BACCH is to more "accurately" reveal what the mikes "heard" from their perspective on the live or studio-created event, that means that all these miking mistakes will be amplified, or, in my terms, "exaggerated." While the result may sound more spatially spectacular, it usually does not sound more like what a listener would have heard if present at the live event. For studio created mixes, the result will be random and perhaps interesting, but certainly not like any live sound anyone has ever experienced. It also will not sound like what the recording or mixing engineer experienced in the studio or expected home listeners to hear. This, I think, is why I found the effect surreal in an exaggerated, amusing sort of fun-house way.

If amplified/exaggerated spatial effects are what you are after, then surely BACCH can be deemed at least a partial success. But I'm a curmudgeon who still believes that at least as to home music playback of unamplified acoustic music recordings, the goal is to mimic the live concert hall experience. Thus, to me, this "hearing what the microphones heard" goal is a fundamentally flawed goal, given the body of currently available commercial recordings, most of which incorporate one or more of these listed miking errors. Admitting that the goal of BACCH is NOT to move toward closer approximation of what a listener would have heard at a live event, admits that the whole concept of XTC is basically flawed as applied to current miking and studio mixing techniques.

Edgar's demo I heard was made up primarily of Chesky Binaural+ recordings which Edgar had consulted/worked with Chesky in producing. When I repeatedly asked him to play earlier Chesky Blumlein (two mike, quasi-coincident placement), he flatly refused. He did also play a few two or three mike widely spaced omni recordings including the old Everest of the Three-Cornered Hat. He also consented to play a recording I and many others have found to sound quite concert-like with ordinary stereo playback. That is the Reference Recordings disc of John Rutter's Requiem. The result was quite unpleasant and spatially confused sounding. After that playback he admitted that BACCH does not well handle the recording techniques used by Keith Johnson. He then went back to his pre-programmed choice of mostly Chesky Binaural+ recordings.

I agree that the Chesky Binaural+ recordings sound quite 3D both through speakers and headphones without BACCH processing. With the processing, the effect is more "pulled apart," moreso than would ever be heard in real life unless the performers are arranged in a circle or arc around you. That may actually have been how the musicians were arranged, but that arrangement was not an arrangement one would usually hear at a concert.

I understand that many Chesky recordings have been made with such unusual physical musician arrangements in order to better volume-balance the pick-up of instruments and voices from a single stereo microphone pair. For instance, going right back to the very beginning, Chesky JD-1, the Johnny Frigo disc, was recorded with Frigo positioned behind the Blumlein pair. This shows up on the unprocessed recording as Frigo's sound being in opposite absolute phase with that of the other musicians. He snaps into better focus, at the expense of the other musicians, if you reverse the absolute phase of your system.

But this sort of unusual musician placement is not something that was intended to be heard as such by the original Chesky engineers. The idea was simply to provide a solid stereo image such as one can only get from a quasi-coincident stereo mike pair even when the musicians could only be volume balanced without a mixer by manipulating their physical distance from the two-mike array in an unusual way.

For loudspeaker listening, generally the best stereo recordings are made with a single pair of stereo mikes placed quasi-coincidently from an audience perspective. Darn few such recordings have ever been made, but some early Chesky's come closer than most. Most home listeners don't get the "full effect" from such recordings since they have not moved the listening position and/or speaker positions to provide a subtended angle between the two stereo speakers of 90 degrees or more as is necessary to hear accurate 3D stereo from such miking techniques.

For headphone playback, the best, most natural sounding recordings are generally those made using Kunstkopf techniques where the mikes are inserted into the ear canals of a dummy head, such as in Binaural recordings. Without BAACH processing these techniques produce excellent solid-stereo recordings. Some of the best stereo for headphone (or even loudspeaker) listening comes from bootleg concert recordings made via a headworn pair of stereo mikes by the recordist.

Granted, these days recording engineers may well often strive for fuller envelopment or fuller surround effects from electronic or other musical genres even when heard on two-channel playback systems. They do this by manipulating phase, even if the recording is not released in a multi-channel surround format. I hear a lot of envelopment on such recordings via my Sanders 10e set up. To the extent that the music recording industry wants to move in the direction of providing more envelopment and surround sound from two-channel listening, BACCH provides a way to do that. Whether it will a huge commercial success, we'll have to wait and see.

However, judging by the market's reaction to past surround-sound processes (I'm old enough to remember Quadraphonic sound from LP grooves), at least in the classical music market most listeners have not long been fascinated with recording/playback techniques which put the listener in the center of a group of musicians. While there is an audiophile market segment today which greatly appreciates the application of surround sound processes to acoustic music (e.g., the author of The Absolute Sound's review of BACCH), most such listeners still want the musicians to be heard clearly in front, with the surround sound speakers generating only concert hall ambiance, real or synthesized.
 
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tmallin

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I cannot stress enough how important it is to hear quasi-coincidently miked stereo recordings such as Blumlein, X-Y, ORTF, etc. with a subtended angle of at least 90 degrees between the two stereo speakers as heard from the listening position. If you have not tried this, you don't know the inherent and very real fidelity potential of these recordings. Without such separation, such recordings can easily sound at least a bit spatially confused and overly bright in the mid highs.

This is THE major shortcoming of my personal Sanders 10e setup. If I move my listening position forward enough to create such a subtended angle instead of my usual 60 degree angle, I am then listening to the speakers from 15 degrees off axis of each. The horizontal dispersion of the Sanders is so narrow (as I have them set up with the back wave absorbed as much as possible) that I basically lose the top two octaves of treble response. Thus, I really can't hear my very best stereo imaging/staging recordings as they are meant to be heard. But such recordings make up less than a very few percent of even my very audiophile-oriented collection.

The real breakthrough in reproduction realism would be for those who record classical and other acoustic music to standardize on such miking. Accent mikes could be added for a vocalist or other soloist if desired, but only at the minimum mixed in level necessary to provide a bit of an accent to the soloist. The main mikes should always be quasi-coincident. If that were to happen in the pro-audio world, hearing such recordings in full glorious very solid stereo would be free: just adjust your speaker set-up accordingly to provide at least 90-degree separation between the two stereo speakers. There would be no need for expensive digital processing and the results would be far more natural sounding. And for studio-mixer-created recordings, the phasing-based envelopment possibilities from two-channel rigs would be greatly enhanced as well.

I'm hoping that my next speaker system will somehow conflate most of my Sanders 10e set-up virtues with wider dispersion so that I can again hear my best recordings as they should be heard. I can only hope....
 
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speshal

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I cannot stress enough how important it is to hear quasi-coincidently miked stereo recordings such as Blumlein, X-Y, ORTF, etc. with a subtended angle of at least 90 degrees between the two stereo speakers as heard from the listening position. If you have not tried this, you don't know the inherent and very real fidelity potential of these recordings. Without such separation, such recordings can easily sound at least a bit spatially confused and overly bright in the mid highs.

This is THE major shortcoming of my personal Sanders 10e setup. If I move my listening position forward enough to create such a subtended angle instead of my usual 60 degree angle, I am then listening to the speakers from 15 degrees off axis of each. The horizontal dispersion of the Sanders is so narrow (as I have them set up with the back wave absorbed as much as possible) that I basically lose the top two octaves of treble response. Thus, I really can't hear my very best stereo imaging/staging recordings as they are meant to be heard. But such recordings make up less than a very few percent of even my very audiophile-oriented collection.

The real breakthrough in reproduction realism would be for those who record classical and other acoustic music to standardize on such miking. Accent mikes could be added for a vocalist or other soloist if desired, but only at the minimum mixed in level necessary to provide a bit of an accent to the soloist. The main mikes should always be quasi-coincident. If that were to happen in the pro-audio world, hearing such recordings in full glorious very solid stereo would be free: just adjust your speaker set-up accordingly to provide at least 90-degree separation between the two stereo speakers. There would be no need for expensive digital processing and the results would be far more natural sounding. And for studio-mixer-created recordings, the phasing-based envelopment possibilities from two-channel rigs would be greatly enhanced as well.

I'm hoping that my next speaker system will somehow conflate most of my Sanders 10e set-up virtues with wider dispersion so that I can again hear my best recordings as they should be heard. I can only hope....
I think you do a good job of highlighting some issues people have with certain recording techniques, but you're still looking at it through the lense of your personal preferences as well as false comparisons and benchmarks.

You keep wanting a live concert to evolve in front of you regardless of it was mic'd that way or not. That's an unreasonable comparison and ask for ANY product to do.

Are you saying you prefer these inferior recordings PLUS crosstalk from your room??? That's the ONLY comparison and option here... There is no option that will always give you a concert in front of you regardless of recording technique, so using that as your basis for criticism is actually a huge compliment. If that's the only thing you want it to do that it can't...well...literally nothing will do that, so this is the next best thing.

Yes... You are right that the Bacch will expose poor mic'ing issues, but it's important to note that it's rare to have that become a huge issue. In all my testing over several weeks and hundreds of songs, I only found one where I prefer it turned off.

Nevertheless, even if you find some ridiculously high amount of say 50% you prefer it off, that still means you have a better option now for playback on the other 50% of your music. That's still a huge benefit.

The bypass button is there for a reason and you can also change the percentage of crosstalk cancellation as I also mentioned if you think it's exaggerated. Dial it in to whatever YOUR preferences say is "not exaggerated".

The fact that you can bypass, change the percentage of XTC and do it very easily means that it's still a net positive. Yet...You are totally ignoring that positive and contorting it as some sort of negative because it won't be preferable 100% of the time with no manual adjustment to your taste.

Imagine liking both chocolate and vanilla ice cream. Now...imagine telling yourself that you will never eat vanilla ice cream again because you don't like it 100% of the time better than chocolate. It's totally irrational and contorted logic.

You don't have to like the Bacch or buy the Bacch for any reason you want... Even if it's just that you don't like the logo.

However, if your is logic based on an unreasonable comparison to a live concert regardless of how the engineers recorded it... ...AND... Think anything less than 100% benefit on every recording is the other benchmark... Then you have created a scenario where no product PERIOD exists that meets those benchmarks

No cable, DAC, tweak, speaker, or other piece of equipment in the hobby will EVER be your 100% preference all the time and forever.

The fact that the Bacch gives you MORE options that you can choose on the fly makes it better by default than any of those other pieces you could buy... Plus make a greater A/B difference where you could pass blindly 10/10 times easy.
 
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tmallin

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Here are some key set up hints that I suggest for the Sanders 10e after owning them for well over a year now. Most all these steps are discussed in more detail in prior posts sprinkled among the prior 10 pages of my posts.

One optional hint for those who don't have an electrostatic air cleaner as part of your home's HVAC system: For such owners (I'm one of them) I recommend removing and storing or just never installing the wooden trim strips and the woofer grill cloth. The speakers sound at least as good if not better without those parts. No, they are not nearly as handsome looking that way, but removing those parts considerably eases the required routine cleaning process at my house. The speakers act as giant electrostatic air cleaners, attracting huge amounts of dust from the air. All exposed parts of the panel and the woofer cabinet require serious dusting with a dry or damp handkerchief (that material seems to work best for this dusting) every two weeks or so in the months I'm not running air conditioning since my heat is a hot water boiler with no fan-driven air circulation through an air filter. The panels turn from black to mottled gray from the dust in my home every two weeks or so when the air conditioning is not running. The woofer grill cloth is impossible to keep clean without thoroughly vacuuming it routinely and then the fabric will start to stretch out from the suction required to clean it.

1. Use Sanders Magtech stereo amps for both the bass and panel. If you do this, the dbx VENU360 crossover settings need not be adjusted with respect to low or high frequency gain; both should be operated at unity gain.
2. Sanders own speaker cables are probably best, but I've been very happy with the results using the much less expensive four runs of Blue Jeans Cable Canare 4S11, one cable each for the highs and lows of each channel.
3. Tape over or, better yet, electrically disconnect the front panel lights of the Magtech amps to eliminate distraction from the overly bright blue light and slightly improve the sound.
4. Listen from the near field.
5. Keep the speakers away from the side walls and wall behind them.
6,. At least if you have a small room like mine, damp the side walls and the wall behind the speakers with thick acoustic foam. The amount of this foam will vary with the room size and listening distance. In my small room, I use 4-inch-thick AlphaSorb flat foam covering the corners behind each speaker for 6 lineal feet, 8 feet high. That's a total of 96 square feet of foam. I also use about 48 square feet of diffusing panels on the wall behind the listening seat.
7. Use a 60-degree subtended angle between the speakers. Use the Cardas speaker placement calculators--either the monopole or dipole version (I use the dipole calculator)--to place the speakers and listening position in your room.
8. Follow the manual's suggestions on how to make sure the speakers are equidistant from your listening seat. The pin in the center back of your listening chair is key, as is using the bottom inside corner of each panel as the measuring reference point after making sure the speakers are vertical front to back and side to side.
9. Make sure your ears are at least 12 inches above the bottom of the stat panel when listening. Otherwise, on some material you may start to hear out the physical position of the woofer. If you listen at least that high, all you will hear is the panel, with or without bass as you cut the woofers in and out.
10. DOWNLOAD AND USE THE DBX VENUE360 APP TO ADJUST THE SPEAKERS!!!! I cannot stress this enough. This is vastly easier than using the physical controls on the front of the dbx unit. The app invites experimentation; the physical controls on the unit do not.
11. Once you are using the app, construct a light shield for the dbx unit's front panel controls to avoid their distraction. All you need for this is one piece of 12" x 14" black construction paper.
12. Take pains to adjust the gain structure of your system by adjusting the input sensitivity and output voltage of the dbx VENU360. This is the one major adjustment you must do from the dbx device's physical controls since these adjustments are not available from the app. The exact settings you use will depend on the output voltage of your source or other upstream component. Adjust the gain structure so that using your quietest source (try the BBC Radio 3 stream) your system volume control, when maxed out, provides just a little more SPL than you would ever need for serious listening. If you do this, you will maximize the system's signal to noise+distortion ratio and definitely should hear absolutely no hiss from the panels even with your ear within an inch of the panel.
13. Disable the 10 dB bass boost at 30 Hz Sanders pre-programs into one of the PEQ bands of the dbx unit.
14. Disable the high-pass 23 Hz filter Sanders pre-programs into the low frequency crossover of the dbx unit.
15. Disable the 20 kHz low pass filter Sanders pre-programs into the high frequency crossover of the dbx unit.
16. Once you've done, 12 - 15 above, use the AEQ function of the dbx unit to equalize the speakers to FLAT, NOT THE RECOMMENDED CURVE.
17. Measure from the listening position the result of 16 with OmniMic v2 or another frequency response measurement program you really trust. Use the additional available parametric EQ bands of the AEQ and PEQ functions to get the response as flat as possible below 3 kHz. Over most of the this range, I can achieve plus or minus 0.5 dB. Do not attempt to adjust the response above 3 kHz flatter than what the AEQ function does automatically. Hold band 14 of the AEQ function in reserve in doing this.
18. Use band 14 of the AEQ to construct a low shelf filter with the following parameters: Frequency = 172 Hz; Slope = 5; Amplitude = +4.8 dB. Adjust the Amplitude to taste.
 
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Ron Resnick

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Hi!

Isn't 6.

. . . DAMP THE SIDE WALLS AND WALL BEHIND THE SPEAKERS WITH THICK ACOUSTIC FOAM!

. . .

more a matter of personal taste and preference?

Or do you think the back wave should be absorbed in all cases?
 
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tmallin

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Yes, I suppose this is a personal recommendation for a small room like mine. I have edited my post to more clearly indicate that.

Personally, I think that all panel dipoles (e.g., Magnepan, Sound Lab, Quad, Sanders, etc.) more accurately reproduce their input if the back wave is absorbed to the extent possible unless your listening room is of such a large size that the speakers can be positioned at least eight feet from the side walls and the wall behind them and the listener can also simultaneously be positioned at least eight feet from the wall behind the listener. The idea is that unless the back wave can be delayed that much, the reflections from the walls will act as an overlay of the direct sound you hear from the front side of the speakers, significantly blurring the direct sound with a type of slap echo, rather than merely adding a perhaps pleasing sense of spaciousness which the ear/brain does not interpret as part of the direct sound.

Many so-called dipole speakers are merely open back speakers which have dynamic drivers the backs of which are not enclosed by a cabinet. While such speakers do radiate significant energy to the rear, the structure and radiation pattern of dynamic drivers is such that the rear radiation will not be nearly as strong as the radiation to the front. This is especially true for dome tweeters where the rear radiation is almost totally blocked by the magnet and mounting plate.

I think speakers should reproduce the ambiance input to them, not generate a constant overlay of small-room ambiance from the listening room's reflections. In terms of reflected sound, ideally, a dipole speaker should sound in your listening room the same way it would sound if played outdoors with nothing but empty space behind the speakers. To determine how closely you can achieve that result within your listening room, compare the reproduction of a "clap track" via headphones to what one hears from the "clap track" via your speaker set up. Through headphones this clap signal consists entirely of a sharp transient with no trailing echo. The more trailing echo you hear from the "clap track" via your speakers, the more constant overlay of room-delayed sound your system is generating. This overlay is not on the recording and thus represents inaccurate reproduction of the program material. For a clap track test track, see this disc. Another good test of this is to listen to studio announcers' voices on various radio stations. Most studios are quite dead sounding. If all or most announcers sound like they are speaking in a reverberant room, you know that your system is constantly overlaying your listening room's reflections on what you hear from the music you play. Again, you can test this by comparing the sound of the announcers' voices heard via headphones to how they sound via your speakers.

I know that Sanders has pictures on the Sanders website of the 10e speakers positioned very close to the wall behind them with no sound absorbing material on that wall. Some listeners, including Roger Sanders himself, seem to enjoy the sound of the speakers so positioned. All I can say is that, to me, this definitely does not sound good or accurate in my small room.
 
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Ron Resnick

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Thank you for elaborating.

I totally agree that panel dipoles should be positioned five to eight feet (or more) in front of the front wall. If they cannot be positioned this far in front of the front wall, then I agree that the back wave should be absorbed.

In my experience with Magnepans and Martin-Logans I don't think panel dipoles need to be "positioned at least eight feet from the side walls." (emphasis added) I think that side walls are relatively inconsequential for panel dipoles. Bob's reported experiences with Alsyvox suggest the same.

I also don't think it's necessary for the listening position to be eight feet in front of the rear wall (wonderful, but not necessary).
 
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Ron Resnick

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In terms of reflected sound, ideally, a dipole speaker should sound in your listening room the same way it would sound if played outdoors with nothing but empty space behind the speakers.

Where does this ideal come from? Isn't this a question of one's high-end audio objective?

I don't think the sound during a performance at Walt Disney Concert Hall sounds the same as if the entire orchestra and audience were in an open field outside.
 

Ron Resnick

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Personally, I think that all panel dipoles (e.g., Magnepan, Sound Lab, Quad, Sanders, etc.) more accurately reproduce their input

I think speakers should reproduce the ambiance input to them,

I may be wrong, but it seems to me that these ideas about accuracy, and about reproducing as accurately as possible the input signal, suggest the high-end audio objective of 2) reproduce exactly what is on the tape, vinyl or digital source being played.

I feel like some of these views are based on achieving this particular high-end audio objective, which is, of course, totally fine and valid. But the equally valid pursuit of a different high-end audio objective, such as 4) create a sound that seems live might lead to different speaker positioning protocols and to different desired sonic results regarding reflected sound.
 

picears

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...The idea is that unless the back wave can be delayed that much, the reflections from the walls will act as an overlay of the direct sound you hear from the front side of the speakers, significantly blurring the direct sound
Do you prefer an RT60 significantly below what some room designers intend? I have long been under the impression that for a dipole one could use an RT60 less than if one used a box speaker.
 

Ron Resnick

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Mr. Mallin's posts suggest to me that, at least for a room on the smaller side, he likes a quite heavily acoustically damped room.

It's entirely possible that I'm just lazy with regard to speaker positioning, but, from my 25 years of experience owning Magnepans and a load of Martin-Logans, I actually think that panel dipoles are less sensitive to needing millimeter-precise placement than are box speakers.
 
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gleeds

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May 29, 2018
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Interesting comment, but I think your experience of "exaggerated 3D" is easily explainable since you mentioned your benchmark is a "live concert". The Bacch doesn't seek to recreate a live concert....unless that's what was intended in the recording. Most recordings are studio based and not the prototype concert or live event that you are using as a benchmark.

The Bacch is giving you a more accurate representation of the spatial cues based on the mics to the instruments. If the mic is hung from the ceiling and a standing bass is being played below it, you likely won't think the location you hear of the bass represents a "live event" presentation...but it's more ACCURATE...Elvis Presley "Fever" is a perfect example of that with the Bacch...we have pics of the recording studio to confirm the orientation of instruments and mics.

There's no technology YET that will place you in the soundfield wherever YOU want, but as I showed in a recent video...it's coming. However, it will require HRTF measurements and certain recording mics.... which gets back to your experience. What specific recording(s) did you listen to where the soundfield is "exaggerated"?

One thing that the Bacch will expose is poor spacing in cardioid mic placement, such that it's possible you'll find some recording flaws more evident... although it's rare. It shouldn't exaggerate anything and, if fact, few people get high enough XTC to make it perfect, so "exaggeration" is a term that would only apply if you have a flawed benchmark and don't want a more accurate representation of what was recorded.

How do I know with 100% certainty that the Bacch isn't exaggerating 3D (assuming you took measurements correctly and your room is treated to let you hear your speakers and not the room)? All you have to do is bring up a YouTube video of a binaural recording. You can literally watch how it was recorded as it is being played back. You can't get any greater proof than that...or can you?

You can go one step further. You can use the mics on the Bacch to make recordings yourself. Record yourself snapping your fingers around your head at various distances and then play it back on your system with the Bacch filter. You'll see that it's far more accurate than without the Bacch, but if anything it's still falls short of 100% 3D, so your claim of "exaggeration" will be tempered by reality if you try these things. As good as the Bacch is, almost nobody would say it gets the recording 100% equal to the spatial aspects of snapping your fingers live near your head. It again will be FAR better than without using Bacch, but nobody would claim it's exaggerated after doing that test.

Nevertheless, even if you STILL believe that the 3D effect is exaggerated, there's another solution built into the program. There is a slider where you can dial back the crosstalk cancellation from 100% to whatever percentage you feel meets your benchmark of a live event. You can literally do this on each song to your taste...this gives you a slam dunk advantage over any system WITHOUT Bacch. Plus, you can also bypass the effect totally on certain recordings if you want.

If anything, the 3D effect will only get greater over time as more binaural recordings become standard and people pivot to better speakers and rooms. Thus, it's important to understand that it's only revealing spatial ques in the recording itself. If you think it's too exaggerated and you don't like a fly buzzing around your ear like with Grantchester Meadows, I would take it up with the recording artist that mastered it different from YOUR preferred benchmark of a live event. It's now much closer to where the recording intended with Bacch, and the experiments I outlined should prove that unequivocally to you if you get a chance.

BTW, Edgar uses the Sanders in his home, so the variable of "type of speaker" is also taken out of the equation. That's a nice speaker you own and I can see why you like it without Bacch, but you may need to revisit your exposure and accurately calibrate your benchmarks to realize what you are hearing isn't artificially exaggerated unless that's what the recording reveals.
Audiophile Junkie, regardless of theoretical or actual difference I applaud your efforts to bring this product to more audiophiles. I have never heard the Bach processor but understand it is based on some pretty serious science. Do you have plans to demo the technology at an upcoming show so more people can experience it for themselves? Good luck with your efforts.
 
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tmallin

WBF Technical Expert
May 19, 2010
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The back wave of panel dipoles, if toed int 30 degrees so as to fire precisely at the listening position as is necessary with the extremely narrow dispersion Sanders 10e, does in fact reflect a lot off the side wall behind the speaker. Those reflections reach the listening position later than the reflections of the back wave from the room's front wally, but are considerably stronger than the reflections off the room's front wall--at least in my small room--since the side walls are only about 3 feet from the speakers while the front wall is five feet away.

This is a common misconception about dipoles. Dipoles do not reflect too much sound off the part of the side wall which is at a right angle to the panel. If the panel faces straight ahead, that will be directly to the left or right of the panel. If you aim the Sanders that way, not much sound will reflect off any side wall since the dispersion at mid and high frequencies is so narrow. But then you won't hear much of the top two octaves or more from the listening seat, either.

Once you toe in a dipole, there will be an area of the sidewall behind the speaker which receives strong reflections from the panel. This is the area which needs heavy damping. In my room, I damp a floor-to-ceiling area extending 4 feet out from the corner on the sidewall next to each speaker and only 2 feet along the front wall behind the speaker. When I view the speakers from the listening position, this padding seems to extend roughly equidistant to the left and right of each panel.

With the panels toed in to face my ears, the area of the side walls which needs damping with every other speaker I've had in this room (non-panel, cone and dome speakers) is the area on the side wall from which I can see a reflection of any part of the speaker in a flat mirror placed against the side wall. With the Sanders toed in 30 degrees and a listening position which creates a 60-degree subtended angle between the speakers, the reflection I see in a mirror so positioned is of the panel edge on. Since the Sanders put out very little sound when heard edge on, this area of the sidewalls of my room does not need any damping, contrary to the case with all other speakers I've used in this room.
 
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tmallin

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The idea that "In terms of reflected sound, ideally, a dipole speaker should sound in your listening room the same way it would sound if played outdoors with nothing but empty space behind the speakers" comes from theory. If the goal is maximally realistic reproduction of the spatial qualities captured on the recording, you do not want to hear any second venue reflection or "ambiance" introduced due to reflections of sound off the surfaces of your listening room. Even the late arriving pleasing ambiance you get when dipoles can be sufficiently distant from the walls of a large listening room is not technically a reproduction of the recording, but a new and constant spatial effect added by your listening room. Pleasing it might be, but accurate reproduction, it is not.

This concept was discussed by Robert E. Greene published in The Absolute Sound, Issue 64, March/April 1990, p. 40, in an article called "High End Systems Reproduction of Music & the Reproduction of Music, Part III; Directional Hearing--How to Listen to Stereo." To my knowledge, the only current online source of this article is available as an attachment to messages REG and I wrote as part of REG's online forum. You have to join that forum to read the message and article. The link to my posting is here.
 
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tmallin

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May 19, 2010
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Creating a "sound that seems live" is all well and good, but you'd better have a solid concept of how live sound sounds in terms of the sound of live unamplified music in a concert hall. If you don't frequent concerts of unamplified acoustic music, you have at best a vague idea or memory of what such sound really sounds like.
 
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tmallin

WBF Technical Expert
May 19, 2010
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I do think my small room needs a lot of acoustical damping. This is because no set up can get the speakers or listening position very far from the room surfaces. I do not use RT-60 as a concept in adjusting the room acoustics. This concept has limited applicability to small rooms, only large spaces like concert halls, church sanctuaries, etc. I listen for clarity, lack of obnoxious slap echo, and lack of high frequency grunge do to early reflections. I add damping at the correct spots and otherwise adjust my set up (e.g., using speakers with limited dispersion, listening in the near field, and toeing he speakers in to point at my ears) until I achieve a sound which seems to maximally reveal what's on the recording while adding as little as possible of the sound of my small listening room. The Sanders 10e's limited horizontal and vertical dispersion above the bass makes this easier to do than with other speakers I've owned.

I do find that precise distance adjustment makes an important sonic improvement in the reproduction of recorded space with the Sanders, at least in my small room. I think small rooms make all geometrical considerations of the set up of any speaker more critical than in a large room. But as to dipoles, I can understand that if the back wave is not well absorbed, the spatial reproduction you hear from the speakers will be blurred at least a bit and that this might mask the audibility of precise geometric positioning. The back wave will arrive later in time and to the extent that the ear/brain is adding the sound of the reflected back wave to the direct sound from the panel, the adjustment of the panel's position might seem less critical.
 

tmallin

WBF Technical Expert
May 19, 2010
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I will get another opportunity to hear and evaluate the subjective effect of the BACCH processor at the upcoming 2023 AXPONA, April 14 - 16. I believe different speakers will be used this time. Visit Room 1102, if you get a chance to attend. I will keep an open mind.
 

mtcurrie

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Jan 6, 2023
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After speaking with Roger Sanders, I decided to give Mogami 3082 cable a try. He recommends this cable for the 10e panels (and for all stats) due to its combination of low capacitance and inductance combined with moderate resistance. I figured that there was little to lose, as this cable is pretty inexpensive. So, banana terminated World’s Best Cables Mogami 3082 purchased on Amazon at $89.00.

The manufacturer recommends 175 hours of break in. I have no idea yet if that’s accurate, but there’s no question that the first 10 hours were characterized by a distinct ‘haze’, after which it slowly disappeared. I am now at about 75 hours, and I must say that these things are excellent. Needless to say, I’d be delighted if they continue to improve, but I already consider this purchase to be a true upgrade. The low cost is icing on the cake. Might be worth a try for you stat owners.
 

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