Have I been spoiled by dipoles? The JBL NSP1 doesnt do it for me :\

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by BenG, Jan 24, 2002.

  1. BenG

    BenG Agent

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    My previous setup:
    Optimus PRO-CS5 center channel (Linaeum dipole ribbon tweeter)
    2 Optimus LX-5 surrounds (Linaeum dipole ribbon)
    2 Optimus LX-10 towers (long-discontinued tower versions of the LX5's, same tweeters)
    SVS 20-39PC
    This is a quite inexpensive, overall well-performing matchup, but the timbre-matching between the center, the fronts, and the surrounds left much to be desired. And I have always been disappointed in the midrange for music playback (using the two LX10's in stereo)
    Looking to replace the speakers (not the sub though [​IMG] ), I began looking around for some good bookshelf speakers that would improve on these two weaknesses, and not set me back a heck of a lot of money. I figured that towers were probably a waste of money, with the SVS 20-39 quaking my apartment at one-quarter volume [​IMG] After reading many hearty approvals on this forum, I picked the JBL NSP-1 set (one N-Center and four N-24's) for $299.
    This is definitely a decent surround setup (for the money!). The midrange is incredibly better, and the overall sound is clearer and more well-defined. The highs arent bad, but are nothing to rave about. What is bothering me is how totally "boxy" these speakers sound compared to my old setup. I suppose it is just my ears not used to hearing a non-ribbon tweeter, but I cant get over that I'm listening to "speakers playing music" rather than just "music", even if the sound is more accurate. Watching a few DVDs also left me feeling like I just invested $300 on a downgrade, rather than an upgrade [​IMG]
    Does anyone have experience going from ribbon/dipole setup to a dome-tweeter based setup, or have any suggestions on other speakers that might be better? Or am I making no sense? There arent enough words in the thesaurus to describe a financially-challenged audiophile's frustration [​IMG]
     
  2. BenG

    BenG Agent

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    Correction to my post:

    The Optimus PRO-CS5 has a monopole tweeter, not a dipole. :b
     
  3. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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    You are making perfect sense. You'll have to decide for yourself what's important for you - the so-called 'audiophile' properties like soundstage, flat frequency response and so on, or making music sound like music. I used to be in the former camp, and I slowly realized that I was analyzing my music more than listening to it. Since then, I've slowly been moving over to the 'other side'.
    AFAIK, very few people have gone from ribbons back to boxes. Especially at the lower end of the budget... you're talking multiple thousands per speaker pair to get that kind of openness out of box speakers. Of course, this is an opinion formed mostly on hearsay and limited experience, so take it for what it's worth.
    You might want to keep the NSP1 for HT and hold on to your ribbon L/R fronts for music - that's one solution. Hooking it up would probably be a little complex.
    You could email me if you want to discuss this further, as I don't check this board as much as I used to. These days I'm usually busy building my amps and speakers [​IMG]
     
  4. BenG

    BenG Agent

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    I just saw the website with the Magnepan MMGs for $550... Anyone heard these? Is the midrange/accuracy going to be satisfactory?

    They're a bit more expensive, but a few hundred dollars more would be well worth the investment.
     
  5. Jack Gilvey

    Jack Gilvey Producer

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    I own the NSP-1 and owned the MMG's. I think the NSP-1 is quite the overachiever, but the MMG's walk all over it in two channel, and I suspect will do the same if deployed all around the room Stonehenge-style. Rather disparate price points, obviously.
    Funny, though, I was listening to some stuff this evening calibrating a newly-finished sub and remarked to myself how good the JBL's sound in two-channel, also. [​IMG]
     
  6. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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  7. ling_w

    ling_w Second Unit

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    With dipoles (planar dipoles, not THX,) it is a one way ticket. Once you get them, you never go back.

    Even though the MMG is pretty much the bottom of the line in terms of sound for magnepan, it is vastly superior to box speakers in its price range. It just throws a open, coherent soundstage. You just feel like you are there. You could see how speakers in the thousand and tens of thouands of dollars allocate most of the cost to cabinet technology, while throwning in ordinary drivers. Planars bypasses that step completely and concentrate mostly on the drivers/crossover.

    The main issue is with the center channel, which is a pretty expensive option if you get magnepan's MGCC1/MGCC2. Some low budget guys use 1 MMG and place it sideways. It does limit the center channel's horizontal dispersion though. Gusy who does this usually split the cost of a pair of MMG with another member.

    Other issues might be the planar bass, which does not give you that punch of the box speakers. Some people hate it, other people think it is more natural. And for people who like it, they will never cross over to the sub at the std 80-100hz. The integration of mid bass at that high a freq is just not seamless. People constant talk about crossover freq of 40-50hz.
     
  8. derek

    derek Second Unit

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    BenG,
    I'm currently using a similar setup for my home theater as you. LX-10's for mains...and 2 sets of LX-5s for the surround and back surrounds. I have a Atlantic Tech 250 center (which has timbre adjustments which help match the LX-10's you may want to search for something similar.) I haven't heard a monopole yet even close to the price range of the Optimus speakers that can match that wonderful Lineum tweeter. Also stuffing your LX-10s may help with the midrange (I haven't done this myself but thinking about it.) If you decide to keep the Optimus setup...I'm looking for a NSP1 set for my brother if you like to sell. [​IMG]
     
  9. Tom Brennan

    Tom Brennan Screenwriter

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    Ling---Some folks go back. I owned Maggies many years ago and went back to horns. The Maggies were nice but lacked dynamics and life, very nice speakers for FM radio listening though. And I know a guy with a pair of Acoustat Monitor 4 electrostats, dipoles superior to anything Magneplanar ever made IMO. They're sitting in the garage and he listens to Bose bookshelfs.
     

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