Speakers rated above 22kHz

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Ron Reda, Apr 7, 2004.

  1. Ron Reda

    Ron Reda Cinematographer

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    I recently checked out the specs on the new Infinity Beta series and noticed that their new tweeter is rated at 40kHz (http://www.infinitysystems.com/homea...es=BET&cat=BFS). What other speakers manufacturers produce a speaker that goes as high as that? Will the higher frequency make a big difference with the high-res formats (SACD and DVD-A)?
     
  2. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Probably some Sonys. As far as it making a difference, the answer is an unequivocal no. For starters, there's virtually no audible musical information up there as musical energy is roughly proportional to 1/f. Then there's the issue of what levels would be needed in order to be audible coupled with a decrease in sensitivity to higher frequencies as we get older coupled with the technology (microphones, mixing boards, etc.) is band limited to begin with.
     
  3. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    There are plenty of ribbon tweeter (or perhaps super-tweeters) that go to 40,000 Hz–50,000 Hz. These are incorporated into the design of several speakers.

    As Chu Gai implies, there is not a lot of point.
     
  4. Mike SJ

    Mike SJ Supporting Actor

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    ...
     
  5. Kevin Deacon

    Kevin Deacon Second Unit

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    It'll just piss off the animals more.
     
  6. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    they're (the speaker companies) definitely marketing it as such, aren't they? i've seen this sort of claim quite a bit lately.
     
  7. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    You know, in the case of the infinities, it just might be that the reason they happened to use a tweeter with signficant output above 20 kHz had to do with entirely different reasons such as its behavior in the audible region of the audio spectrum as well as how it mated with everything else.
    As for the Tannoy SuperTweeter, we have the following from their website regarding the crossover...
    I tend to read stuff like the above a little differently. I'd imagine if you're no longer listening to vinyl and have speakers that lack signficant HF output, then this product might be of benefit (costly though!). Further, even if the phase errors are corrected this begs the question were they even audible to begin with? After all, we have all the phase errors from the microphones, the mixing consoles, the wiring that might've been hooked up improperly, the phase errors introduced by your player, preamp, and amp. The audiophile business is infamous for creating to solutions to problems that aren't in fact problems.
     
  8. Philip>L

    Philip>L Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't see why it's such a stretch to think that even though frequencies above 20kHz are inaudible that they do not somehow add to the experience.

    After all, people around here spent an inordinate amount of time on the bottom few bass frequencies that are also inaudible.
     
  9. Ron Reda

    Ron Reda Cinematographer

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    Wow, I'm glad I asked...I knew the industry sold a lot of snake oil, but this one kinda made sense at first!
     
  10. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Well if it's inaudible then the only experience I can see is that one's had the experience of being separated from their money. The issue with bass is an entirely different matter. One can have signficant audible energy in the lower frequencies as well as energy that can be felt. The converse is true for the upper frequencies.
    It's not snake oil but an example of clever advertising that let's the reader's mind take off in directions.
     
  11. Eric Eash

    Eric Eash Second Unit

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    the new ONIX ref 3's are rated to 50k i think.
     
  12. TimMc

    TimMc Stunt Coordinator

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    What Chu says, for cryin' out loud...

    First question - how old are you (assuming you're male, and so far it looks like that's the majority)? 30? 40? 50+? If you answered "yes" to any of those, then it likely will not matter at all. It's physiology, it's also called "maturing", and if you fit into any of those categories it's really unlikely that greater than 20K or 16K or even 12K may matter much if at all. Depending upon which study you read the measured loss or drop in high-frequency acuity was something around -8 or -11db, the drop was generally measurable in 30-yr old males, and the dropoff was not just measured at 20KHz. Given the relative lack of acuity, the relative lack of program material ('cause of microphone, etc.) it won't much matter if it's advertised as a 44K or 50K or 100K tweeter.

    And if you truly did have a golden ear then it also may not matter any more. If you've been listening at higher SPL levels for years and years before (and after) you hit 30 (or 40 or 50+) then it's also less likely that you'd still have the hearing acuity to have any experience at those KHz's. Unless you really turn it up...
     
  13. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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    Even though we'll never be able to hear the frequencies that high, it's still a good marketing tactic on Infinity's part. Heck, potential purchasers will see the higher number and assume that it's a good thing and buy it.
     
  14. Marc H

    Marc H Second Unit

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    Most speakers will respond well above 20kHz but seldom do the manufacturer's test them beyond that range now. It used to be commonplace back before CDs came along when vinyl reigned supreme.

    It's not that you can't hear those frequencies but how they interact with the frequencies you can hear to create harmonics and sub-harmonics which contributes to the realism of the reproduction and helps bring out the flavours to the instruments.
     
  15. Ron Reda

    Ron Reda Cinematographer

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    Hey Marc,

    Long time no speak! I hope you are doing well.

    After reading about these types of "super tweeters" a bit, your explanation makes sense to me. I read a review in the February '04 Home Theater on the Tannoy Sensys and the reviewer (who seemed skeptical at first) stated that he heard a difference when he blocked the tweeter with a sock. Of course it's marketing materials, but here's what Tannoy's website has to say:

    This question, often asked, takes us to the very heart of what Tannoy WideBandTM technology is all about: Musical instruments produce considerable energy above 20kHz and, with effects of harmonics and overtones, achieve frequencies well beyond what might generally be considered as the limit of human hearing. For instance, the over 20kHz energy of a trumpet, fitted with a particular type of mute, does not drop into the noise floor until 100kHz. Violin and oboe exhibit energy above 40kHz, while sibilants in speech can also be shown to have energy above 40kHz. Research has shown, through the measurement brain wave activity, that humans do perceive ultrasonic components within music. Concluding that the mechanism of ultrasound transmission is through bone conduction, probably via an organ in the inner ear, called the saccule, to the cochlea, the organ responsible for hearing. In addition, WideBandTM technology reduces phase error and significantly improves transient performance below 20kHz. This leads to increased tonal accuracy throughout the whole frequency range, even bass information is faster and tighter, effectively enhancing the total listening experience. Music, speech and soundtrack effects have an increased immediacy, airiness and impact, providing a performance that sounds more natural and true to life. Extreme physical demands are placed on the high frequency unit when performing at such extended bandwidth levels. The need to achieve completely consistent constructional and acoustic quality has led Tannoy to design and produce its own titanium dome driver at its Scottish based manufacturing facility.
     
  16. DarrenHo

    DarrenHo Stunt Coordinator

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    but, if you listening to cds, is this extended ability doing you any good?
     
  17. Ron Reda

    Ron Reda Cinematographer

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    I was thinking more about high-res formats.
     
  18. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Again, so what? For starters, you're presupposing that the microphones that are being used have the ability to faithfully, or some reasonable facsimile thereof, ability to record signficantly above 20 kHz. Know of any in large commercial use? Then you're presupposing that the medium where the recording is taking place, and that includes all the electronics, have the capability of recording those frequencies. Then you're presupposing the energy is of sufficient magnitude that the ultrasonic frequencies are audible. In a typical listening room environement? At what age...15?
    Now what harmonics are say is 30 kHz going to create? 60, 90? Of what relevance is this? Let's say you're thinking that perhaps 30 kHz and 35 kHz are somehow going to beat together to give you a 5 kHz difference. Well 5 kHz is audible but there's a catch to this. In order for this to occur in the ear two conditions must be met.

    1) That which creates the difference must be able to pass and detect the frequencies that will beat.
    2) 1) must occur and the device (ear) must be nonlinear.

    Well the ear is nonlinear however condition 1) is not met.

    Ron, brain activity to an ultrasonic and being able to hear it are two different things. As far as bass being faster, well what we have here is an example of the boys in marketing sharpening up their pencils. Fast bass is a bit of an oxymoron don't you think?
     
  19. Philip>L

    Philip>L Stunt Coordinator

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    Or maybe what we have is someone who can't believe that something exists simply because he can't explain it.

    Maybe there's something to speakers (and whole audio chains) that can reproduce ultrasonic frequencies, and maybe there isn't.

    But until psychoacoustics, brain activity in general, and many other areas of study that play into sound reproduction are 100% exact sciences that are completely understood, I will rely on the best tool that I have for making decisions about whether a particular piece of audio hardware is better than another -- my ears.
     
  20. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    You've got over 150 years of research and counting into the nature of human hearing from Helmholtz to Fletcher. I think it's explained fairly well. The audibility of these claims has been well studied. We know with very great confidence what the thresholds limitations are and within this body of work you will find no contradictions regarding such. The fact that you may not know of them does not negate the research.
    That a tweeter which has response to the nether regions may sound different with musical sources from one that has response to 20 kHz would not surprise me but it wouldn't be due to the extended frequency response. In a way this is like buying a car because tests have shown that it can go 170 mph but it comes with an electronic governor that limits it's speed to 120 mph.
     

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