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Speakers ... again #1800759 12/05/11 11:26 AM
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Long ago I had assumed that I needed better speakers. The Clav sounded "okay" through headphones, but not so good through speakers. (I have a pair of JBL towers, 3-way, 10" ... supplemented with a pair of KLH mini-cube satellites.)

When I bought the Ivory and Galaxy packages, I discovered that speakers were not the biggest problem. The Clav sounds were holding me back, and the piano libraries gave a BIG boost in sound quality. Through headphones the sound is as good as I could ever want. But the speaker sound (though better than with native Clav sounds) still needs improvement.

There have been many threads here on the subject of monitors. But I definitely don't want powered monitors.

Here are my needs:
- I have amps that are plenty adequate.
- I don't want to use a subwoofer.
- I like towers.
- I would like REALLY tall towers. Mine are 36" tall. I'd like something at least 42" tall (to bring the tweeters up to ear height).
- Used speakers are good since they cost much less than new ones. But I'd want ones no more than 10 years old.

Suggestions?

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Re: Speakers ... again [Re: MacMacMac] #1800794 12/05/11 01:30 PM
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Mac, I've have a fair bit of ear time with DIY monitors/towers/subs and can understand why you'd want a pair of towers that are not self powered monitors. I happened to have an extra pair of monitors with really good drivers that can actually play down to to the low A fundamental and it is quite refreshing compared to integrating a subwoofer.

What sort of budget are you looking at? Do you need a fancy finish? Are you able/have desire to DIY (woodworking skills, and ability to solder)? Do you have the amp/pre-amp already?

Re: Speakers ... again [Re: MacMacMac] #1800803 12/05/11 01:53 PM
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Yeah DIY was the first thought that came to mind for me. My friend built a pair of speakers that stands like 4 feet tall or more. Three-way, with a 12-inch woofer for low notes. He tells me it would be perfect...I'm going to have him bring it over and demo it with my piano soon (big and heavy, though it may be). Apparently the parts were only like $300.

Unfortunately, building speakers is just intimidating enough that I've never done it myself, but since I now know someone IRL with experience, I think I'm going to give it a try. If you have interest and some skills, you might think about that path as well.

Re: Speakers ... again [Re: MacMacMac] #1800804 12/05/11 01:56 PM
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Speaker building isn't terribly difficult. The hard part is finishing it to make the wife happy (in my case) and the crossover (what makes or breaks a design, and is really the hard part). The good news is, you can get designs already done and even semi DIY where you just have to assemble and route the driver holes! If you want to talk about this route more, hit me up :-D I love DIY speakers and have built my fair share.

Re: Speakers ... again [Re: MacMacMac] #1800808 12/05/11 02:00 PM
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...and if DIY, more specific to MAC: These beasties right away came to mind.
http://www.speakerdesignworks.com/Statements.html
http://www.speakerdesignworks.com/MiniStatements.html

(because of horizontal polar response of MTM's, you really want your ears at tweeter height if you build the big Statements)

Re: Speakers ... again [Re: MacMacMac] #1800812 12/05/11 02:05 PM
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I don't build anything. I just buy.

I'd like to spend no more than $250 for a pair. That's why I'd likely try to buy used ... once I have a good idea WHAT to buy.

Re: Speakers ... again [Re: MacMacMac] #1800816 12/05/11 02:13 PM
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Let me see what I can find:)

Re: Speakers ... again [Re: MacMacMac] #1800829 12/05/11 02:30 PM
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I see an offer on Craig's List for a seven-speaker set:
2 x RTi8
4 x RTi4
1 x CSi3
I don't need them all ... but the price is right, even though I'd only use the RTi8 pair.

Are they any good for piano?

Re: Speakers ... again [Re: MacMacMac] #1800838 12/05/11 02:40 PM
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I'm sure they will be fine. They won't however reproduce the fundamental well (27hz A) but most speakers don't and iirc, the loudest component of the low notes is actually the harmonics.


Re: Speakers ... again [Re: MacMacMac] #1800844 12/05/11 02:53 PM
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MacMacMac and Gomer, can you explain the aversion to a subwoofer? For the very low frequencies isn't a sub a more efficient way to get a good sound than to build or get speakers that have a tremendous big cone?

Is it just an aesthetic thing or is there a significant audio cost to having the low notes generated from a separate box than the higher ones?

I'm just remembering when I had KRK RP8's and got a subwoofer to go with them and there was a very noticeable improvement in the resulting sound, despite the fact that RP8's have a big woofer and supposedly do low notes pretty well. It seems to me that subwoofers are a good thing.

Edit: also, for the "statements" that you pointed out, Gomer, are those 8" really sufficient to do the whole audio spectrum? I would have expected one bigger driver. (I ask because my friend's DIY speaker uses 12" and the subwoofer I used to use had 10"). It seems like 1 larger driver would be better than two smaller ones. I also ask because of my experience with 8" studio monitors that don't cut it.

Last edited by gvfarns; 12/05/11 02:57 PM.
Re: Speakers ... again [Re: MacMacMac] #1800855 12/05/11 03:12 PM
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Subs are great, but smoothly integrating phase and their crossover point is non trivial if you critically care about the transition.

As far as spectrum with an 8", that really is dependent on the driver parameters. Some 12" drivers can't play below 100hz and some 5" can play to 30hz. Size really comes down to displacement and how hard a speaker cone needs to move for a given frequency and spl.
I have 7" in my monitors and they play plenty low
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=296-600&FTR=usher%208945a

The Statements use this driver
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/pshowdetl.cfm?&DID=7&Partnumber=295-356&ctab=1#Tabs
My modeling show that in a typical ported enclosure (as designed), The anochaic F3 is about 30hz and with room gain, is probably more like 20-25hz (highly room dependent).

Re: Speakers ... again [Re: MacMacMac] #1800858 12/05/11 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac

Here are my needs:
- I have amps that are plenty adequate.
- I don't want to use a subwoofer.
- I like towers.
- I would like REALLY tall towers. Mine are 36" tall. I'd like something at least 42" tall (to bring the tweeters up to ear height).


A couple of concrete cinder blocks under your 36" speakers will make then 42" tall. Yes seriously.

You have good enough speakers and amps. What matters just as much is the combination of
(1) Location and aim points of the speakers
(2) The rest of the room, how the walls, ceiling and floors reflect, scatter and absorb sound.

For many people it is easy to buy equipment but it takes lots of time and testing and work to set it up, so they skip that part.

If you like the sound in headphones, and own decent speakers then what needs fixing is the room itself. So much of what you hear is "indirect" sound that has bounced around before it hits your ears, this "bouncing" modifies the sound either to your liking or not.

So I was not kidding about getting some speaker stands and cinder blocks make good stands, cover them with fabric, carpet or wood if you don't like the look. (I've used brown package wrap paper.) How far from the wall are they? Do they point in to straight forward or even outward?

Where are the "primary reflection points"? To find them sit where you normally do and have some one else hold a small mirror flat to a wall and ceiling and move it around until you can see the speakers in the mirror. Mark those spots in pencil. Then do something to kill those reflections, cover up the pencil marks with acoustic panels or whatever. Next go after large clear areas of blank space. With effort you can make your music room have a "headphone sound" if that is what you like. There could be as many as 12 spots where you can see a speaker in the mirror. Depends on your setup.

The problem is that you likely have many parallel hard surfaces and the effect is like a "comb filter". Buying a very expensive speaker does not change this, you'd still have the comb filter effect and very uneven frequency response. The comb filter is just because of the way some frequencies add in phase and some out of phase. A bare squarish room is is un-musical. Ever seen a guitar with a square sound box, no one builds then like that because some notes would boom out and others would be silent. The speakers work with the room not unlike a guitar or violin sound box. People with lots of budget, like recording studios will make their rooms the shape of an ir-regular pentagon with ceiling not parallel to the floor or they put a curve on a back wall. That is over the top nuts for a home but you can get 80% of the way there for cheap.

You might budget as much for speakers as for room treatment. That is a reasonable split for a home music room.

Buying new speakers likely will not help nearly as much

Last edited by ChrisA; 12/05/11 03:41 PM.
Re: Speakers ... again [Re: MacMacMac] #1800874 12/05/11 03:44 PM
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I recommend Paradigm speakers; moderately priced, but extremely good sound for the money. I have the 7's, two mid-towers, excellent bass (tight and accurate, not boomy), clear mids, and nice crisp highs without sounding harsh at all. Excellent for all types of music, piano sound reproduction is accurate and pleasing with a good amp. With all my many sound options (PA, surround systems, reference monitors, sense headphones, etc), I always go back to my 7's when I want to listen to the best.


Between the drums, guitars, and my CA63, I am in desperate need of more hands!
Re: Speakers ... again [Re: Gomer] #1800882 12/05/11 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Gomer
Subs are great, but smoothly integrating phase and their crossover point is non trivial if you critically care about the transition.

As far as spectrum with an 8", that really is dependent on the driver parameters. Some 12" drivers can't play below 100hz and some 5" can play to 30hz. Size really comes down to displacement



The perfect example of this is brass instruments. Look at the mouth piece of a tuba and a trumpet. They are very much the same thing. But tubas play low bass notes. It has to do with the length of the horn.

A speaker is NOT just a driver in a box, the box has air in it and the air is of a certain volume and there is an effective column length of that air and the combination of driver, air column, and suspension and mass has a resonant frequency. As rough rule speakers with more air inside the cabinets can play lower bass.

Designing a speaker is a bit of an art, you don't want them to finely tuned or they will be "boomy" and you can only sell then to teenage kids for car speakers. For home HiFi they are tuned for a wide range of bass and then tweeters are used for the highs.


Re: Speakers ... again [Re: ChrisA] #1800888 12/05/11 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by ChrisA

A speaker is NOT just a driver in a box, the box has air in it and the air is of a certain volume and there is an effective column length of that air and the combination of driver, air column, and suspension and mass has a resonant frequency. As rough rule speakers with more air inside the cabinets can play lower bass.


Hoffman's Iron Law:
Efficiency. Box size. Low frequency Extension.
You can only choose 2.
:-D

Re: Speakers ... again [Re: MacMacMac] #1800906 12/05/11 04:21 PM
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Interesting stuff.

So I guess the open speakers that are basically a driver on a flat surface with nothing behind them require a lot of power or big woofers to get the low frequencies?

Last edited by gvfarns; 12/05/11 04:21 PM.
Re: Speakers ... again [Re: MacMacMac] #1800917 12/05/11 04:30 PM
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Back to Mac: I glossed over you already having 36" speakers. Chris had some good advice. Placement is a huge factor. Try playing with that first smile


gv, what you describe is called an infinite baffle speaker. under infinite volume conditions (try not to think of dipole speakers here which mix the forward and reverse wave), the speaker Q = the box Q, so you need to use specific drivers for that application. These speakers usually have really good extension without requiring a huge amp. An example of the extreme opposite end would be something like a Sunfire subwoofer which uses massive amps/equialization.

Here is way more info then you want to know on IB subs smile
http://home.comcast.net/~infinitelybaffled/

Last edited by Gomer; 12/05/11 04:31 PM.
Re: Speakers ... again [Re: MacMacMac] #1801113 12/05/11 11:43 PM
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I have very little experience with this stuff.

However, if I were actively looking for just the right speakers ...

I would take a long look at these: ESI nEar Experience 05 speakers

I know someone, whos judgement in these things I trust, who suggested these a couple of years ago.

There may be better versions today but I would definitely look into them.


Don

Kawai MP11SE, Focal Professional CMS 40 near-field monitors, Yamaha HS8S Powered Subwoofer, SennHeiser HD 559 Headphones, Pianoteq and numerous other VSTs (Seldom Used)
Re: Speakers ... again [Re: MacMacMac] #1801156 12/06/11 01:19 AM
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dmd: Thanks, but I don't think the ESI speakers fit my need. I can't really use amplified speakers. Also, I don't want monitors, I want towers. And I especially don't want near-field monitors.

ChrisA: I think I'll try the "booster" suggestion. I'll raise my existing tower speakers a bit. That might help. And it costs nothing to try, eh?

Meanwhile, I'll also look into a local sale of used Polk RTi8 speakers. My concern is that they have 6-1/2" "woofers". That's a step down from the 10" woofers in my existing JBLs, and I might then need a subwoofer.

gvfarns: To answer your question about subs. I don't have anything against them per se. But I'd prefer to avoid the added expense. And, more importantly, I just don't have room for a sub.

Chris: Here's the room layout. It's perhaps not ideal, but the speaker locations don't suffer from the worst of the typical "offenses". Do you see any particular problem with it?
[Linked Image]

Re: Speakers ... again [Re: MacMacMac] #1801274 12/06/11 10:42 AM
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Mac, I originally had my external speakers in a position like your drawing. It sounded fine, but once I moved them to right behind, an up close to the DP and turned the DP internals speakers up, the sound got A LOT better. My speakers are also low for piano use and fine for home theater.
http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b...0673_1512982591_2834321_1752860722_o.jpg

Even if you currently don't have room for that orientation, temporarily try it out and see if it makes a huge improvement for you too. If so, then you can see about adjusting the room :P Speaker placement (and possibly risers) can ime make an enormous difference smile


No experience with them, but these people carry short speaker stands that are nicer the cinder blocks (if you want something nicer)
http://www.racksandstands.com/Speaker-Stands-l5-O35~Wood+Technology.html

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