what is the improvement over speakers from 10 years ago?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by felix_suwarno, Jun 4, 2002.

  1. felix_suwarno

    felix_suwarno Screenwriter

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    is there any breakthrough? or is it just evolution? new appearance, new driver, smaller size, but same basic technology?
     
  2. Mike Bledsoe

    Mike Bledsoe Stunt Coordinator

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    Felix

    I would say there isn't much that has happen in the last ten years. If I remember most of what we have now came out about ten years ago (Dome tweeters, skinny towers,new plastics for driver constrution etc.

    Mike
     
  3. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Tweeter materials have definitely changed. There were fewer metal tweeters back in the day, where now they seem to be almost the norm. Soft domes are around, but still not extremely common. There are some new exotic cabinet materials being used in ultra-high dollar speakers, but other than that, I don't think there have been leaps and bounds. Ten years ago, dedicated, powered subs were not too common in the home, but the design & construction are nothing new. Manufacturing techniques have changed & improved, but speakers are still speakers.
     
  4. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    Powered subs in speakers?
     
  5. Craig Woodhall

    Craig Woodhall Supporting Actor

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    if you look at some of the older speakers, a lot of them use a big woofer in them.. it seems today, you are more likely to find multiple smaller drivers instead of the big 12" woofer in the mains..

    Craig
     
  6. matthew_rm

    matthew_rm Second Unit

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    Tall and skinny.
     
  7. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

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    I think at the beginning of the 90s, most speakers were still using foam surrounds. That has changed. Otherwise, metal tweeters have gain popularity and has migrated towards lower cost speakers. And dependent on your taste, this may or may not be an improvement. Also, low cost speakers' performance has improved a lot. Just look at JBL's N- and S-Series, for example. Almost any speaker under $300.00/pair has improved compared to what was available back then.
     
  8. Mal P

    Mal P Stunt Coordinator

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    Cone materials have also changed, we now have superior metal cones drivers (SEAS etc), Aerogel (Audax), Kevlar (Focal) and so on.

    Cheers,
    Mal
     
  9. BobRoulier

    BobRoulier Second Unit

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    Better built cabinets[​IMG]
     
  10. Jason Wilcox

    Jason Wilcox Supporting Actor

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    I'd say a bigger focus on style for speakers. (the opposite for amps/receivers)
     
  11. felix_suwarno

    felix_suwarno Screenwriter

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    i wish there were websites that cover all "prehistoric" speakers. i really want to see what psb and boston acoustics had many many years before.
     
  12. Ted Kim

    Ted Kim Stunt Coordinator

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    I would say that there has been a big shift in the driver placement. Now almost all box speakers have the drivers on the narrow baffle of the speaker, so that the speakers are narrow and deep. Years ago, the drivers were placed on the wide baffle and the speakers were wide but shallow.

    What difference does this make? A difference in the dispersion pattern of the reflected sound from the front baffle and thus changes to the frequency response to compensate. If you look at most modern on axis speaker measurements, they rise at the bass to compensate for the smaller baffle. What benefit does the smaller benefit have? Better imaging due to the smaller baffle and better SAF due to the slender appearance.
     
  13. BryanZ

    BryanZ Screenwriter

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    Availability (internet) and different designs (nOrh, for example). Pricing has also gone down overall due to increased competition.
     
  14. Tom Brennan

    Tom Brennan Screenwriter

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    Driver technology has not improved appreciably since the late 1930s when the huge scientific resources of Bell, RCA and the movie industry were focused on loudspeakers. The first metal dome tweet was the WE 555 compression driver of 1925, used a 2" aluminum dome with an edgewound voicecoil in a 20,000 gauss magnetic field, I don't think this has really been improved upon. Really good loudspeakers are built as they were in the late 30s, save the switch from field-coil to permanent magnets (and I know guys who'll argue that was a regression) but there has been a big improvement in lesser loudspeakers with various diaphragm materials (all of which have problems but usually DIFFERENT problems) and the advent of competant, cheap dome tweets in the 1970s and 80s. The Quad 57 of 1957 was a breakthrough for electrostatic speakers, many would argue it's the best ES ever made. Basically we have alot of speaker manufacturers and buyers chasing their tails, the same old technology goes round and round with some guy giving it a little twist once in a while. Guys will go from one cone woofer-dome tweeter speaker to another, trading one problem for another, hoping for that "big breakthrough". This is how I see it anyway.
     
  15. Jim J

    Jim J Second Unit

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    yes you can definitely get more for the money these days.

    I also think that cheap computer modeling has helped things quite bit.

    Look at the Axioms everybody is raving about. I think the reason they sound so good is the lack of crossover on the woofer. While the technology hasn't significantly {or inherently} changed, those drivers are aluminum with a natural roll-off at desired freq, and no bad resonance spike. And while drivers like this may have been around for a while, now they are affordable.
     
  16. Justin Doring

    Justin Doring Screenwriter

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    I think the budget speakers (under $1000) have improved exponentially in the last decade, and mid-fi ones (under $3,000) have gotten a lot better as well. On the upper end (over $3,000), however, I don't think speakers have changed much over the last decade. Some things have been improved and refined, but nothing earth shattering. Evolution, and slow at that, is definitely the word for it.

    My current speakers (NHT 3.3) debuted nearly ten years ago, and I think they still continue to compete with current speakers costing twice as much. Also, I don't think amps and preamps have changed much either. What has significantly improved, however, is digital gear and CDs in general. Your average, decent $1000 CD player today sounds far better than a state of the art $50,000 model from ten years ago.

    If you had written twenty years instead of ten for speakers, then I'd say that things have changed substantially in most areas. The late 1980s and early 1990s saw large and rapid advances in speaker technology in the high end.
     
  17. Nicholas Renter

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    Here's some fuel for debate...

    I think 2 prime examples of avant-garde speaker manufacturers are Martin Logan and B&W (Nautilus line).

    Both of these manufacturers have refined their approach to speaker design. B&W have integrated such technologies as:

    Kevlar® cones - The same properties that make Kevlar® the right material for bulletproof vests also benefit the design of wide bandwidth drivers.

    FST midrange drive unit - No, not Flat Screen Technology, but Fixed Suspension Transducer - the latest refinement of the Kevlar® cone.

    Flowport - Golf ball aerodynamics theory points the way towards lower distortion reflex ports.

    Sphere/tube enclosure - A development of the technique of tapered tube loading that is effective over a wider bandwidth.

    Matrix - Cabinet bracing taken to the ultimate.

    Decoupling - Also known as vibration isolation, this technique is used to prevent the vibration of the driver diaphragm being transmitted to other parts of the speaker structure.

    Tweeter on top - Ensures the tweeter output is both time aligned to the other drive units and causes minimal diffraction effects at the cabinet's edges.

    Martin Logan has made huge strides in ESL technology:

    The curved transparent panel that all MartinLogan speakers use is called an electrostatic (ESL) transducer. The transducer converts energy from one state into another. The electrical energy from your amplifier is converted into mechanical energy via the motion of the ESL's mylar diaphragm. This causes the air pressure in your listening room to rise and fall exactly as the recorded music does. The sequence of rising and falling air pressure is picked up by your auditory system and interpreted by your brain as sound.

    Thoughts?
     
  18. Larry B

    Larry B Screenwriter

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    Many things have improved over the last 10 years: drivers, cabinets, cross-overs, etc. You name it, it's been improved. An example familiar to many would be to compare B&W's old Matrix line to their current Nautilus line. The difference between them is night and day, though one pays for it.
    Another issue of key importance is that of coherence. While not many manufacturers focus on this extensively, those that have, have achieved some wonderful results. A crowning achievement in this technology is Jim Thiel's tweeter-within-a-midrange, which yields nearly perfect coherence. See http://www.thielaudio.com/THIEL_Web/Pages/cs6.html
    In the area of electrostats (which are not my favorite, and Martin Logan's probably my least favorite of all), tremendous improvements have been made in integrating the cone woofer with panel. While I haven't listened to every 'stat on the market, I daresay that Roger Sanders of the Inner Sound has done the best job; while not perfectly seamless, they are pretty darn close.
    The are many other examples, but these are the ones that come to mind.
    Larry
     
  19. Rob Roth

    Rob Roth Stunt Coordinator

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    Computer modeling and testing (mlssa) results in better focused R&D. The availability of high quality drivers from specialty mfrs. reduces mfr. investment in plant. New driver materials take advantage of rapid progress in materials sciences. Better time alignment and phase coherence has helped.

    On the downside there are some pretty expensive speakers out there which, to my ears, sound like shit. I guess the bottom line is that there are a great many designs and voicings to choose from- but you have to do the work and narrow the field by listening.

    Forget about the technology and start by deciding what YOU like about music. For me, it's the midrange. For others bass extension or high SPLs may be the ticket. You are the one who will have to live with the speakers.
     
  20. matthew_rm

    matthew_rm Second Unit

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    About the kevlar drivers, I do not see how it can be THAT good. You do know RCA uses them for there boom boxes..[​IMG]
     

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