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Re: [regsaudioforum] Re: Interim report from Newport

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  • Tom Mallin
    Yes, directional speakers take more of your listening room out of the equation. But at least in my smallish room (about 20 x 13 x 8 ), even the Gradient 1.5
    Message 1 of 17 , Jun 5, 2012
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      Yes, directional speakers take more of your listening room out of the equation.  But at least in my smallish room (about 20' x 13' x 8'), even the Gradient 1.5 speakers have benefited significantly from absorption on the walls.  With the Gradient 1.5 and (I imagine) the Revolution, treating the ceiling and the high portions of the sidewalls and the wall behind the listener is especially important since the upper range drivers are aimed up so that these short floor-standing speakers fire more treble at a listeners ears, which will usually be several inches above the tweeters.  In a wider room, this may not matter as much, but in my room, with the 1.5 speakers toed in a lot so there is more bass, the treble could actually be heard echoing off the high part of the opposite side wall.

      And now, with the Sanders 10C speakers, as very directional as these flat-panel electrostats are above the bass, the back wave really must be damped to avoid having a constant overlay of listening room sound.  With the speakers toed in to fire the panels at your ears so that your hear the treble, the back wave beam reflects very strongly off the side walls behind the speakers.  With bare walls behind the speakers, this can sound nice and "alive" with music recorded with some hall sound. 

      But once you notice that a radio announcer's voice also has the same ambient glow around it even though the announcer is speaking in a dead studio with his mouth a foot or less from the microphone, you know that that ambience is being totally produced by your listening room, not the program material. The radio announcer test (I use WFMT's announcers since they usually are in the same studio and the station never has any background to the announcer's voice) is very easy to do; if the announcer does not sound as if he is speaking inside a closet full of clothes, your listening room is still adding its own signature to everything you play on your stereo. 

      I don't want to make too much of this.  I'm sure that larger, squarer rooms would be less needful of room surface damping to get the listening room mostly out of the equation with speakers which are fairly directional.  And other speakers with broader dispersion (e.g., the Ohm Walsh 5) have needed a lot more damping to even begin to approach the level of spatial performance which directional speakers easily provide with no or relatively little room surface damping.  But if your room is smallish like mine, and especially if you have dipole radiating speakers, you will need soft stuff on the walls and around your room to break up or absorb room reflections if you want to hear what even quite directional speakers are really capable of in terms of revealing the space captured on the recording.

      Harbeth M40 and M40.1 speakers, by the way, really need several feet between them and the side walls in order to truly reveal what they are capable of in terms of spatial reproduction.  They throw a lot of energy in the presence range toward the side walls, as shown in the Stereophile test report.  I did not hear them at their best, even with lots of Sonex wall treatment and near-field listening, until I oriented them to fire across the short dimension of the room so that the nearest "side" wall was then about 80" away from the speakers.  I speculate that one reason they work so well in REG's room above the bass is that his room is squarish so that the speakers are similarly far from the sidewalls regardless of which direction they are set up.    

      On Tue, Jun 5, 2012 at 11:41 AM, tonycdk <tcdk@...> wrote:


      Gradient can sound good in a small room (in fact any room) because of the radiation pattern of the speakers. Speakers with directional characteristics have less interaction with the room and so you will get a better direct-to-room sound ratio.

      If you get a chance try listening to some directional speakers to get a feel for yourself.

      If you ever get to the RMAF you are welcome to come and listen to my QUADs.


      --- In regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com, "jeff" <jeffstakehifi@...> wrote:
      > Maybe Gradient spends less? Usually hotels charge more for more space.
      > Is there any reason (other than ability to generate adequate output levels) that a small room would sound better than a large room. We discussed this a few weeks ago and I thought everyone agreed that big rooms were better for hifi reproduction.
      > jeff
      > --- In regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com, "Alex" <pervenets@> wrote:
      > >
      > > ps.
      > > Estelons, to say the least didn't impress me one bit this year while being demoed in a bigger room (two previous times at THE and CES in smallest rooms to me they sounded GREAT).
      > > I wander why Gradient is always on display in a smallest room there is:-). Robert, what do you think?
      > >
      > > Best Regards.
      > > Alex Zaets
      > >
      > > --- In regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com, "Robert" <regtas43@> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > Gradient sounded good--not surprising.
      > > > Lotus was good, in a dipole indefinite
      > > > kind of way.
      > > >
      > > > Hardly anything else that I listened to
      > > > sounded like much of anything I would want around the house.
      > > >
      > > > I have not been to Sanders yet, another
      > > > thing that often sounds good at shows.
      > > >
      > > > Show conditions are hard to deal with.
      > > > No doubt some things could be made to sound
      > > > better at home than the show sound suggested.
      > > > On the other hand, it is striking how consistently
      > > > Gradient has sounded good at shows--for many years
      > > > (not to mention at home)
      > > >
      > > > I am going back tomorrow. More later.
      > > >
      > > > REG
      > > >
      > > > PS The post from MW
      > > > about ARC more or less covers
      > > > my view. I have indeed had various big ticket
      > > > high powered tube amps around--I would rather
      > > > not say which ones, as I am not inclined
      > > > to review things informally that I have not
      > > > reviewed formally. (Show comments are different
      > > > because presumably everyone knows that they
      > > > are just show comments and not to be taken
      > > > as too serious.)
      > > > But for what it is worth, they were all just
      > > > as colored as their high output impedance would suggest,
      > > > just as unduly expensive because of their complexity,
      > > > and in no way superior to much cheaper solid state amps.
      > > > An amp has a simple function in life: replicate its
      > > > input voltage at a high level at the speaker terminals
      > > > (or if you like at the amp ends of the cables).
      > > > This amounts to flat response into loads, low distortion,
      > > > and wide bandwidth--flat to DC or close to it, flat
      > > > to high enough up to avoid audible phase effects at
      > > > the top end(around 200 kHz is plenty).
      > > > Solid state wins on all counts. And that is all there is.
      > > > (Phase and "timing" in amps are a consequence of frequency
      > > > response , amps being min phase systems).
      > > >
      > > > REG
      > > >
      > >

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