What is it about the "jump factor" that only expensive speakers get close to "real"?

May 30, 2010
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All you mentioned fail
Not IMHO.

BTW, it seems to me some people are defining "jump factor" as "sounding like a horn". :)

The best I have ever listened in therms of "jump factor" (whatever it means ...) was the German Physics Gaudi (88dB/W)- everything else, horns included, paled when compared to them.
 

morricab

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Apr 25, 2014
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Not IMHO.

BTW, it seems to me some people are defining "jump factor" as "sounding like a horn". :)

The best I have ever listened in therms of "jump factor" (whatever it means ...) was the German Physics Gaudi (88dB/W)- everything else, horns included, paled when compared to them.
If you don't know what it means then how can you say the Gaudis have it?? I have heard them and while they certainly make a big sound they don't have the "breath of live" that is jump factor.
 
May 30, 2010
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If you don't know what it means then how can you say the Gaudis have it?? I have heard them and while they certainly make a big sound they don't have the "breath of live" that is jump factor.
"Jump factor" is extremely subjective . And in my opinion Gaudi's played loud really have the "breath of live" - I would not mind listening to the King Lyon opening theme played through them! :)

One of our members owns the Empreror, perhaps he can also post on this subject.

Soundlabs or XLFs, in the proper system and room, with some recordings, also have it.
 

bonzo75

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PeterA

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LOL, you are responding to 4+ year old posts......but it is an interesting subject.

I agree that horns can have that immediacy and jump factor. to me the issue is a combination of speed and coherency in the mid-bass---lower mid range area. can the amp stay linear and supply the immediate needs of the speaker? and is there enough driver surface to have enough traction to fully move enough air with low enough driver excursion to stay linear? speakers showing amps tough loads will restrict the jump factor, and speakers without proper driver surface need too much excursion. will cabinet resonance impact accuracy in this frequency range?

horns do address these areas nicely. but dynamic speakers can also if enough is done about it. maybe small 2 ways have certain advantages here too. so either mega buck or small. it's the in between dynamic speakers that are wanting in the 'jump' factor.

so naturally more expensive speakers have more driver surface, lower excursion, and better cabinet construction. and they might be an easier load but price does not necessarily follow that issue.
Mike, I agree that some small two way speakers can sound quite dynamic in the right system. However, they do not have much driver area, and the mid/woofer must have a lot of excursion, so how is this possible? My Minis are more dynamic that quite a few larger speakers that I have heard. I happen to think that the speaker/listener/room relationship has a lot to do with it as well as inert speaker cabinets. I'm sure there are other factors as well. Sharp, sudden, impactful bursts of energy are the challenge, but I have heard small speakers perform very well in this area given the right circumstances. I don't really know what those circumstances are though.

Two LPs that I use to test "jump factor" are the Sheffield Drum Record and "For Duke". It helps when a sudden sound erupts out of near silence. And yes, the recording has to capture it.
 
Aug 25, 2010
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I think probably the biggest advantage horns have as far as Jump Factor is their higher efficiency. Many systems cannot track the peak levels because they are simply on the wrong side of the power curve. All you have to do is crunch the numbers and it becomes very obvious you are better off having speakers that have a higher than average SPL @ 1 watt is a big plus if you want them to have Jump Factor. A 6db difference and you are burning 1/4 the power. A 10db difference and the higher sensitivity system requires 1/10 the power. If you think it through with a 100 watt amp you are comfortably running at 10 watts vs. 100 Much better off at 10 watts much less stress for both amp and speaker.

Rob:)
 

Mike Lavigne

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Mike, I agree that some small two way speakers can sound quite dynamic in the right system. However, they do not have much driver area, and the mid/woofer must have a lot of excursion, so how is this possible? My Minis are more dynamic that quite a few larger speakers that I have heard. I happen to think that the speaker/listener/room relationship has a lot to do with it as well as inert speaker cabinets. I'm sure there are other factors as well. Sharp, sudden, impactful bursts of energy are the challenge, but I have heard small speakers perform very well in this area given the right circumstances. I don't really know what those circumstances are though.

Two LPs that I use to test "jump factor" are the Sheffield Drum Record and "For Duke". It helps when a sudden sound erupts out of near silence. And yes, the recording has to capture it.
i'm not exactly sure why some 2 ways seem to have that 'jump factor'; the better one's seem to trade more extension and authority for greater coherence and immediacy. maybe they do it at lower overall SPL levels when they are 'right sized' for the space they are used in. and agree it's not such a simple equation and likely involves listener preferences and room synergy.

'For Duke' is also one I use all the time for 'live-ness/vividness', as well as the 45 of 'Ben Webster--Live at the Renaissance' "Georgia On My Mind". nothing like live recordings.
 

Bso

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"Jump factor" is extremely subjective . And in my opinion Gaudi's played loud really have the "breath of live" - I would not mind listening to the King Lyon opening theme played through them! :)

One of our members owns the Empreror, perhaps he can also post on this subject.

Soundlabs or XLFs, in the proper system and room, with some recordings, also have it.
Yes, latest Sound Labs with Bass Focus Panels and Consummate Backplates reproduce music recordings that have a jump factor.

I recognize two kinds, the macro-jump, often confused with "slam", and the micro-jump, that has to do with the technic of the player, the score and the instrument itself. Yes, the "macro" is there with DTD horn recordings, snare drums, and so on. This is easy to recognize although perhaps not that easy to reproduce well. It is sometimes un-nerving, and it can be just in about any kind of music.

What is most pleasing to this music lover are the micro-jumps - they catch you out - are they supposed to be there? How well do you know the score or the interpreter? This is when you can tell that a piano is truly a percussion instrument, and not a string instrument. For example, when the pedals are being used in certain passages. Just a couple of notes - come from out of nowhere - it is as if they are poking at you. Wow. This "micro-dynamics" is analogous to that associated with some Decca, Dynavector, EMT, Ortofon, and strain-gauge cartridges. (I am listening to a xylophone right now in Carnival of the Animals on some "highest quality" streaming music service and it sounds like the impact occurs after the sound - bleah!)

An example of micro-jump - the other night when I was playing an Angel recording of Agustin Anievas performing Chopin Improptus. I dialing in the VTA on my Analogue Artisan TT with the Gold Mongoose Arm using its SRA remote control. I knew I had it dialed in when in certain passages just a few notes jumped out at me. How wonderful a listening experience! (I was not trained on the piano so I am not exactly sure which pedals were or were not used.) Unexpected, I was not anticipating it; it took me unawares! It makes me want to run out and get the score for the piece and look to see how Chopin or the artist annotated it. I need to get more of Anievas' recordings. The spirit of all those involved in the recording, the piano; some call it pyrotechnics!
 
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Oct 30, 2017
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This thread has an astounding jump factor. Four years between notes is a long time. :D

This is a very interesting topic but, as many have said, it "screams" for a definition of jump factor (pun intended). This is a very personal thing but to me jump factor is that which startles the human psyche, which to me is a function of the velocity of SPL rise at the listening position. To me this is also somewhat frequency dependent, the "startle" being inversely proportional to frequency for a given SPL rise velocity, but I am guessing this is a also personal thing.

If you agree with this view it seams to me that amp speed (rise time, capacitance, instantaneous current etc.) are as important as a speaker's ability to launch the waveform with scale and velocity. With this definition it is hard for me to agree with comments here that jump factor is about realism or even fidelity and not about speed and ultimate SPL. The most startling events in my room come in passages where SPL goes from 0 db to 100 db instantaneously.
 
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Jan 23, 2011
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I sold a pair of voyager speakers today( with the woolfelt upgrade ) , the guy brought his own amp as i Always ask .
It was a " entry level " NAD amp , i was curious so we connected them to the XPE speakers , amazing how good it sounds , my advice is get the Jump factor / big speakers , and skip on the amp if nescessary.
The 20 - 50 hz region is very important if you want the full jumpfactor (full range ) sound.

Although roomsize / speakercoupling also plays a role off course
 
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LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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This thread has an astounding jump factor. Four years between notes is a long time. :D

This is a very interesting topic but, as many have said, it screams for a definition of jump factor. This is a very personal thing but to me jump factor is that which startles the human psyche, which to me is a function of the velocity of SPL rise at the listening position. To me this is also somewhat frequency dependent, the "startle" being inversely proportional to frequency for a given SPL rise velocity, but I am guessing this is a also personal thing.

If you agree with this view it seams to me that amp speed (rise time, capacitance, instantaneous current etc.) are as important as a speaker's ability to launch the waveform with scale and velocity. With this definition it is hard for me to agree with comments here that jump factor is about realism or even fidelity and not about speed and ultimate SPL. The most startling events in my room come in passages where SPL goes from 0 db to 100 db instantaneously.
I have zero technical knowledge...but I would go with your definition. Particularly where you describe launching a waveform with scale and velocity.
 

Bso

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Sep 30, 2016
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There is a "jump factor" in the performance of music itself. I used a piano as an example. If the equipment one is using does not reproduce the macro and micro of the performance the equipment in the chain is obviously flawed.

Consider that if one is using PA type speakers such as dynamic and horn speakers at high SPLs in a home system you are damaging your hearing in order to get the jump you want. I see that all the time at demonstrations and at hi fi shows as well as poorly set up rock concerts. One requires ear defenders. It is loud but there are no dynamics. Inherently flawed, these expensive magazine darlings sound distorted at low SPLs, to many listeners.

The person above was talking about the jump factor of just a simple amplified guitar band - of course the immediacy is there. He is right when he says most equipment cannot capture and deliver that immediacy. An aside: This is especially noxious when one is using digital recording or sound reinforcement, etc., and the input exceeds 0dB inducing clipping in most, not all, A/D converters whereas proper analogue recording can handle signals over 0dB perhaps with some distortion. This is called headroom.

But you get similar crescendos (or SPLs if you wish) at a symphony without the accompanying distortion. However! Some technic of performance - for example notes on the violin played as harmonics - can on some equipment sound like distortion! I point to some of Heifetz's recordings, or Hann if you want someone you can listen to today. Listen to John Luther Adams "the Wind in High Places" - so many harmonics but not all have the edge. The ones that do are part of the score, performer, and violin technic. Those few notes are the micro jump I want to hear.

Where would the sublime Hendrix be without induced distortion and jump? The unheralded voice of Howlin' Wolf? But should your equipment add to it or be transparent? I favor the latter.
 
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Fred

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May 31, 2010
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I'll go out on a limb and opine "jump factor" is probably referring to what is described as "visceral impact." I know my Canton Vento Reference 1 DC's possess that characteristic in spades. But in truth the amp that drives the speakers need to have the ability to maintain grip in that scenario.
 
Here's the sad truth:

Most expensive speakers have great performance as prototypes, but once they get into production, there is no tweaking of the tuned ports on bass boxes. This is the one thing that can make a speaker jump. Most tuned ports are only off by a small amount, maybe a 1/4". If the tube were longer or shorter by this amount, the jump factor would increase significantly. I modded my own speakers and found this to be the case. They were off by 3/4". A slight lengthening of the port made all the difference.

This is why I believe ultra-expensive speakers should have their ports custom-tuned for each customer.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
 
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Al M.

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If you agree with this view it seams to me that amp speed (rise time, capacitance, instantaneous current etc.) are as important as a speaker's ability to launch the waveform with scale and velocity.
Absolutely. I have heard on my speakers an amp that does not produce explosive dynamics (even though overall dynamic range is good), and another one that does. And yet another one that was in between.
 

DaveC

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Nov 16, 2014
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Absolutely. I have heard on my speakers an amp that does not produce explosive dynamics (even though overall dynamic range is good), and another one that does. And yet another one that was in between.

One advantage of tube amps is the high voltage PS requires less capacitance vs SS, so you can use better caps. High capacity film caps have become more common in recent years, Mundorf and Clarity both offer low-ESR film caps for tube amp power supplies. I've tried both and prefer Clarity TC by a tiny bit. They make a massive difference vs electrolytics in dynamics as well as clarity. This also goes for line level power supplies too, I use Clarity TC in the preamp and driver stage power supplies too, which are all separate. It helps more with dynamics on the amp but imo any tube PS should use them.




Steve, not sure about that conclusion. Computer simulation as well as my experience doesn't back that up... there might be other factors at play in your case.
 

Al M.

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One advantage of tube amps is the high voltage PS requires less capacitance vs SS, so you can use better caps. High capacity film caps have become more common in recent years, Mundorf and Clarity both offer low-ESR film caps for tube amp power supplies. I've tried both and prefer Clarity TC by a tiny bit. They make a massive difference vs electrolytics in dynamics as well as clarity. This also goes for line level power supplies too, I use Clarity TC in the preamp and driver stage power supplies too, which are all separate. It helps more with dynamics on the amp but imo any tube PS should use them.
Here's what I found in a review of the Octave V 80 amp (I have the R320, producing explosive dynamics):

"But Hofmann is just as opposed to feedback über alles to cheaply compensate for power supply insufficiencies. Instead, the heavily stabilized power supplies of Octave amps allow rather modest (ca. 10dB) NFB. If you now expect a killer-sized power trafo, the V80's is quite substantial but for its 440-watt RMS rating, bigger has been spotted elsewhere. Good-bye mondo mythos too. Ditto for beer-can capacitor fetishists. Rather than indulge in extreme capacitance posing, Herr Hofmann stresses that his suppliers Epcos and Frolyt are among the world's foremost and that it isn't simply a matter of cubic inches (which would be easier to communicate) but the speed whereby stored energy is made available; the related charge times; and the long-term stability of electrical parameters." (End quote.)

Link:
http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/octave2/v80.html

I do also have from Octave an external capacitor bank for the power supply, of shoe-box size (seriously), the so-called 'Super Black Box' (mine is silver ;)).
 

DaveC

[Industry Expert]
Nov 16, 2014
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Here's what I found in a review of the Octave V 80 amp (I have the R320, producing explosive dynamics):

"But Hofmann is just as opposed to feedback über alles to cheaply compensate for power supply insufficiencies. Instead, the heavily stabilized power supplies of Octave amps allow rather modest (ca. 10dB) NFB. If you now expect a killer-sized power trafo, the V80's is quite substantial but for its 440-watt RMS rating, bigger has been spotted elsewhere. Good-bye mondo mythos too. Ditto for beer-can capacitor fetishists. Rather than indulge in extreme capacitance posing, Herr Hofmann stresses that his suppliers Epcos and Frolyt are among the world's foremost and that it isn't simply a matter of cubic inches (which would be easier to communicate) but the speed whereby stored energy is made available; the related charge times; and the long-term stability of electrical parameters." (End quote.)

Link:
http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/octave2/v80.html

I do also have from Octave an external capacitor bank for the power supply, of shoe-box size (seriously), the so-called 'Super Black Box' (mine is silver ;)).
If it's shoe-box size it might use oil-filled motor run caps, they are much larger vs the newer film caps but very good. Thomas Mayer's amps are known for their quality and typically have many of these... but hiding them is a box is not a bad idea either!