- Well, it is not a good name. Radiation pattern is better
because the issue is not just one thing, like directivity
(power response versus on axis response) but rather
a combination of what with off axis responses in the frontal
Several things come to mind. One is that Keele and similar
people with their interest in constant directivity are,
whatever one thinks of the theory, pretty much off track
musically. This is a natural engineering criterion--engineers
tend to think that any measurement ought to be flat--
but it is of course quite wrong. And people have KNOWN that
it was quite wrong for a very long time.
One reason audio never makes any progress really is that people
forget everything. More than 25 years ago, Peter Walker ,among many
others, explained clearly why speakers should narrow their pattern
in the top end(unless they were super directional to begin with,
in which case the pattern hardly matters). Everyone ought to know
that flat power is not a reasonable goal unless the speaker is very directional to begin with.
A second thing that people have always known is that speakers ideally ought to be up against the wall--or better yet, in corners. Again
Peter Walker explained this carefully. A speaker out in the room is inevitably going to be seriously compromised unless it is WAY out in the room. And for that one needs a big room. At least seven feet behind would be a good goal.
Anyone who has ever heard a good up-against the wall speaker knows it has remarkable properties. The rear wall is effectively erased and the recording venue replaces it. One can get similar effects by sitting close to speakers which are far from the back wall. What one cannot do is put the speakers a little out from the wall and one's self a long way from them. Well, unless you want an unsystematic version of the Bose idea of bouncing a lot of sound off the walls to create a sense of space, space not in fact recorded. This is not morally unacceptable, so to speak, but it is a different idea of high fidelity altogether, where one attempts to create the impression of a live event but not necessarily the exact live event that was actually recorded.
- Incidentally, I think TM's repeated remarks on how
speakers out to be, or at least adjusted to be, "softer"
tonally than anything like flat and flat power
deserve constant consideration.
Real music is not nearly as thin sounding as "flat" audio is--
when one plays recordings as they are today.
Yet one more time, I explained why here
I reread this article the other day. Sorry about the typos occasionally
but this is the real deal. As I often say to myself,
I really only needed to write this. Probably I should
have quit audio writing when I finished this article!
And just reprinted this one over and over, along with its
The truth is that in most respects the old AR models sounded more like
real music when playing recordings as they are made than
almost anything else. And if you look at TMs in room response meaasurements on his, you will see why.
This is , if you like, a sad commentary not on audio equipment but on how recordings are made(especially the older ones). Quite often
when one listens to orchestral music at audio shows. it seems that the whole field has utterly lost its way. I recall not long ago listening to "Witches Brew" on some fancy and very expensive turntable. It was like some sort of sick joke, tinny , edgy, nasty sound, nothing at all like real orchestral music. Amazingly bad.
Some contemporary recordings are a lot better. But what is surprising was that these people were trying to demostrate how good their turntable was with results that were incredibly awful sounding--because of the record.
After 100 years or so of trying to hear what is on the recordings, one would think people would be a little tired of what is on most of them, so bad is it, if one reproduces it with a simple minded idea of "flat". It is all very well to say that one ought to hear what is there and that people hearing what is there will eventually lead
to recordings improving. Not bloody likely has come to be my view of that!(although a little improvement has happened)