What makes speakers feel live?

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Jonathan T, Jun 18, 2003.

  1. Jonathan T

    Jonathan T Second Unit

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2002
    Messages:
    360
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Like everyone else here, I'm on a quest for the music experience that is closest to live, in my loft. Personally, I live a warm sounding speaker. A speaker that is bold, fills the room with music, a speaker that sounds big and lively. A speaker that disapears once you push the play button and makes you feel like you are right in frount of a performance. A speaker where you can easily tell the difference between panio and metzo panio It's difficult to explain, but I'm sure at least some of you understand what I'm talking about. So, what do you think gives a speaker these properties? I'm not looking for a recomendation for a speaker, just your thoughts about my question.
     
  2. Jason_Me

    Jason_Me Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Messages:
    215
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Its not one thing. Its a combination of all things (driver selection, cabinet construction, and most importantly, x-over design and voicing).
     
  3. Jonathan T

    Jonathan T Second Unit

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2002
    Messages:
    360
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Voicing?
     
  4. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 1998
    Messages:
    1,867
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Read over this White Paper ... Speaker Design: Audio-Art and Science by Dr. Floyd Toole. He established Harman's Listening Lab and instituted a standard process by using not just measurements but also rigorously controlled listening tests with both audiophiles and civilian listeners, engineers can better correlate measured performance with subjective sound quality and push their designs in directions that listeners repeatedly prefer.

    My JBL S26's were designed using his process above and the value his work was highlighted in this Jul 1, 2001 article “OBJECTIVE SUBJECTIVITY" by Scott Wilkinson for Electronic Musician.

    FYI: You can read what I thought of my JBL S26's in my subjective review.

    Phil
     
  5. Jason_Me

    Jason_Me Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Messages:
    215
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  6. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2002
    Messages:
    1,865
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    One of the closest experiences i've had to live sound was auditioning a pair of Linkwitz Phoenix dipoles.

    The Phoenix Dipoles were tri-amped with high end transistor separates and sent to an active crossover and PC. The speakers were adjusted to have a perfect room response using a calibrated mic. The dual stereo subwoofers used two peerless 12s in a dipole configuration.

    The dipoles made the performance sound like it was free and floating in the room without the slightest hint of sounding boxy. Since the frequency response was perfectly flat, there was no peak or dip to give them a recognizable signature.

    During some recordings it sounded as if the instruments were right there in front of the room and the soundstage had depth like i've never heard before. Since Dipoles use the room, it sounded as though the performance was "Live" in that room.

    To have a speaker sound "live" I think it has to be able to play dynamics with ease, not sound bright or warm, but have a neutral sound to all recordings. Soundstage should be focused and wide, with lots of depth. The speakers should also sound very revealing showing everything on the track just like it was recorded. I think achieving a flat frequency response can also help reproduce the sound the same way it was recorded.
     
  7. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    3,181
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Chis,

    I am just *guessing* here, that you likes the Phoenix's?

    They certainly use some of the best drivers available and
    the fact that they are actively EQ'd and Tri Amped plus the
    Dipole Stereo Bass and Open Baffel Mids should make for one
    hell of a musical speaker.

    I wonder, how loud can they go, though? Open Baffle tends
    to trade off efficiency as does the Dipole Bass setup. Will
    they do 100 or 110 DB in a modest room? Amplification has to
    be fairly stiff also considering you need at least 3 stereo
    amps or 6 mono blocks.
     
  8. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2002
    Messages:
    1,865
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    You could say that I love the Phoenixs. I have a love for Seas Excel simply because I liked the phoenix and heard the potential.

    The amps had me think they were at least 200 watts per channel.

    He demoed a bass song at a relatively high volume. There was some nice depth to it and the bass was well equalized and definitely couldn't be localized. Wasn't "home theater" impressive, but the sound quality was definitely there.

    My car's tempest has bass output (at cabin gain frequencies) that I have yet to put to shame. Anthony still has to invite me to hear his tumult. If I like the tumult I might think of putting one in my Car to replace the tempest in a sealed LT tuned to car audio "boom". jk, my tempest is enough.
     
  9. Kevin_R_H

    Kevin_R_H Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Messages:
    124
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Jonathan,

    Don't waste your time trying to approach "live music" with any speakers (or other components) you might want to purchase. Even if every component in your system would be absolutely faithful to the original source, it won't happen. Even if your room is perfectly dimensioned and tweaked to not allow anything to be added or subtracted from the original source, it still won't happen.

    Why?

    Because the original source is not live music. The original source is a recording of live music. And the recording process itself "adds and subtracts" from the performance.

    When you hear idiots say something like "my system is so great that Diana Krall appeared in my listening room", I would bet $2.50 that she had never sung for them in their listening room, and therefore wouldn't know what that would sound like (hearing her in concert doesn't count).

    Therefore, just look for the speaker that sounds best to you. Don't care what other people think. The only "ears" that matter (when it comes to your system) are your ears.

    Good luck,
    Kevin
     
  10. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2001
    Messages:
    1,591
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ah, reducing room interactions... that's probably most of the reason why the Phoenixes are so good. Using active XO/EQ and six amplifiers can't hurt, either. After all there are millions of speakers out there that use "the best" drivers, and most of them probably don't sound very "live."

    Brett, when not displacement limited I think dipoles are slightly more efficient than monopoles because the back wave is allowed to propagate, instead of being shut up in a box. But over-excursion is a big factor at bass frequencies... for an Orion-like dipole with a pair of 10-12" woofers, I think you'd have to cross over around 60-80Hz to get most of the output potential. And I don't know how low Linkwitz runs the midrange, so that driver might not be good for high output either. If I see a dipole speaker with big dynamic output, you know what I'll be saving up for.
     
  11. Robert_Dufresne

    Robert_Dufresne Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2002
    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Jonathan

    Don't listen to the skeptics, that "live in the room"
    feeling does exist. The first time I experienced it
    I got goose bumps it's a wonderful feeling , you close
    your eyes and you are there. Isn't that what it's all
    about[​IMG]

    Robert
     
  12. Eric Kahn

    Eric Kahn Guest

    Unless you go to Accoustic shows in small venues or the Local Symphony, Live shows are not really "live", you will actually get a better dynamic range from most recordings at home than at a "live" rock concert.
    concert sound is very compressed so it can be played at high volume without speaker destroying peaks or clipping.

    every small band I have seen locally have such bad speakers that I end up leaving almost immediately if I have forgotten my earplugs and I love the DJ's who say that their system only sounds good when played very loud

    The worse part about this is that none of my friends even notice how bad some of this stuff sounds and just look at me crazy when I leave because of the bad sound at a bar show

    I think that is why I will no longer go to see any "local" acts at bars and such, the act may be great, but the sound system is so bad that it would instantly make you wish for the sonic clarity of the old Close-n-play record player they used to sell for kids to play 45's, it had no amp, just a needle pushed hard into the record that rubbed against a plastic diaphram shaped like a speaker cone

    the only true live shows I have ever seen are the Cincinnati Symphony and local school marching bands

    I have gotten the "live in room" experience with my current Klipsch chorus II's while listening to 2 channel music, but you have to realise that with 99.9% of recordings, the musical soundstage "image" that you hear and see in your mind only ever existed on the settings of the sound board in the recording studio, but it is still great to relax and have that "image" in your mind
     
  13. Greg Bright

    Greg Bright Second Unit

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2000
    Messages:
    265
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    110
    Real Name:
    Gregory Bright
    Robert writes:

    Don't listen to the skeptics, that "live in the room"
    feeling does exist. The first time I experienced it
    I got goose bumps it's a wonderful feeling , you close
    your eyes and you are there.

    Jonathan, what Robert is referring to is a speaker that can more successfully transform the original source - a recording of live music, as Kevin so succinctly put it - into a believeable aural experience that transcends the recording and places the listener at the recording venue. Or alternatively, the performer at the listening venue. Methinks the latter is most preferred in high-end speakers. And that may be why they are so expensive. Tailoring the drivers and crossovers and cabinet design to create an image of "they are here" , as opposed to an accurate reconstruction of the available data, is, IMHO, more art than science. It has to be more than just flat frequency response. So just what is it? Replies welcome, encouraged, and highly recommended.
     

Share This Page