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Old 02-22-2014, 10:02 AM   #81
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Lots of great speakers in years past, but I always felt there was nothing better than the sound from headphones. I had Beyer's.
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Old 02-22-2014, 02:46 PM   #82
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Now, you are telling me that my consumer-grade Koss and JVC headphones are not good enough. There goes the LBYM lifestyle. Well, I guess a $200-300 headphone is still cheap compared to what else we spend, but the real question is whether I can hear the difference; the expensive headphones may be worth it, but my aural acuity is of course always in question. But, I have my plate full, and the family room is still a mess with these speakers and wires...

Anyway, I have done a few frequency sweeps to see the effects of the new tweeter. Yes, of course that brings up the high end. But I saw several things that bring forth even more questions. Let me just say that I am still pondering over the results, which I am not ready to share because I need to understand them first.

But I can say that I have learned quite a bit more with these hand-on experiments than the many years of just reading about this subject. For example, my speaker stand of 3ft high for open-air measurement is a joke. Serious measurements call for 50ft height to avoid ground reflections. See the following excerpt from a Wikipedia article.
Measurements made outside will usually show ripples in the mid-range caused by ground reflection interference... Raising both speaker and microphone on poles has been used as a way of reducing ground effect, and some speaker manufacturers specify a height of 50 feet (15 m) in their measurements.

Even if I could do that, the chance is fairly high that one of the neighbors would blast my setup with a shotgun.

OK, so how about this half-space approach.
An alternative is to simply lay the speaker on its back pointing at the sky on open grass... Digging a hole and burying the speaker flush with the ground allows far more accurate half-space measurement...
Now, I do not think I will go through the trouble of the trouble of digging holes, then tamping dirt around the speaker. But this is a reasonable approach, as the speaker would be radiating to the sky, and its sound will not be too annoying to the neighbors.

However, the real problem remains this. All these idealistic measurements may not mean much when the speakers are brought indoors, and placed in practical positions. So, should I just forget about the outdoor measurements, and just equalize the speakers for my actual indoor deployment?

And ERD50 is right about having the crossover outside the cabinet for experimenting. I do not want to drill holes in the cabinet, not even the back cover, so will run the driver wires through the vent hole to the crossover borrowed from the other speaker.

By the way, other than changing out a burned L-pad, I have not changed out any cap. As you can see from the response curves I posted earlier, I do not know if any cap has gone bad yet.

I may be really busy with this, and you may not see me for a while.

For more info, see: Loudspeaker Measurement - Wikipedia.
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Old 02-22-2014, 07:16 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by DFW_M5 View Post
Lots of great speakers in years past, but I always felt there was nothing better than the sound from headphones. I had Beyer's.
I've never really cared for the "sound inside the head" effect that I get from all the headphones I've tried so far (Koss, Senheiser, Grado, Sony and a whole bunch of cheaper ones). I understand there are some headphones being developed now that will allow for the same perspective (i.e a performance in front of me) one gets when listening to live music or regular speakers.
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Old 02-22-2014, 08:12 PM   #84
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Lots of great speakers in years past, but I always felt there was nothing better than the sound from headphones. I had Beyer's.
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I've never really cared for the "sound inside the head" effect that I get from all the headphones I've tried so far (Koss, Senheiser, Grado, Sony and a whole bunch of cheaper ones). I understand there are some headphones being developed now that will allow for the same perspective (i.e a performance in front of me) one gets when listening to live music or regular speakers.
Yes, headphones can provide outstanding sound, but it really is a different experience from speaker. Not better/worse objectively, just different.

I just recalled, even years and years ago, there were 'boxes' that were used to blend the stereo channels for headphone listening. IIRC, the blend was adjustable, and I think frequency dependent. It supposedly gave a more natural sound to headphones, and that makes sense to me. I'm sure they are still made, or could be replicated right in the computer, if you use that for a source.

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Now, you are telling me that my consumer-grade Koss and JVC headphones are not good enough. There goes the LBYM lifestyle. Well, I guess a $200-300 headphone is still cheap compared to what else we spend, but the real question is whether I can hear the difference; the expensive headphones may be worth it, but my aural acuity is of course always in question. ...
So this might tie in with the earlier thread about 'fun spending', but maybe 10 years ago I decided I should 'treat' myself, and buy some really high quality headphones. It is easy to justify, because reasonably high end headphones are far cheaper than reasonably high end speakers.

I was really ready to buy some $600 headphones (I forget the brand now, might have been Beyer's), but I kept reading reviews and it seemed that the Grado SR125's I were close (but not the same) for about 1/4 the price. I ended up with the Grados, and I'm glad as I just don't use them that much, and they are very good, so I'm not really regretting not moving up the scale. But if headphone sound is important to you (and you have the $$$), there are better ones, no question.

And I'm almost embarrassed to admit this on an audiophile-related thread - but I'm constantly amazed at just how good most $10 'ear-buds' sound. Back in my teens, I would have killed for the sound quality I get out of my $35 Sansa Clip Plus and cheap ear-buds. It's mind-blowing to me, I never could have imagined the progress that audio equipment has made.

Someone was talking about how they'd have to spend thousands more to get significantly better sound. I agree, once you hit a level of 'very good', spending more money is diminishing returns. You could roughly say that at that point, a doubling of $ provides a 'just noticeable' increase in quality. And if you don't require big room-filling volume, the threshold for 'very good' can be pretty low.


Hmmm, with so many LBYM/frugal types here, maybe a 'High-Value/ Low-$ Audio' Thread would be worthwhile? There certainly are amazing bargains out there if you are not looking listening for the pinnacle of audio nirvana.

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Old 02-22-2014, 08:38 PM   #85
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...
Anyway, I have done a few frequency sweeps to see the effects of the new tweeter. Yes, of course that brings up the high end. But I saw several things that bring forth even more questions. Let me just say that I am still pondering over the results, which I am not ready to share because I need to understand them first.

But I can say that I have learned quite a bit more with these hand-on experiments than the many years of just reading about this subject. ...
Lawdy, I just don't have the patience to go through all that! Though the geek in me does understand the 'fun' in it.

I'm reminded now that I did do some of this as part of my employment - not high end audio, but any audio measurements run into these issues. It's a real mine-field, I don't envy the people making these measurements.

Quote:
For example, my speaker stand of 3ft high for open-air measurement is a joke. Serious measurements call for 50ft height to avoid ground reflections. ...
Hah, hah - even as I read that I was thinking ahead - but you could do a half-space measurement!

Yes, with all the room effects, one has to wonder about the importance of these measurements. I might be more worried about a sudden peak or trough, than any general roll-off or tilt. The gentle slopes might work well with the room, or be fairly easy to correct, but a narrow peak/trough could produce issues that are noticeable and tough to correct. They might be associated with very low electrical impedance at certain frequencies, which can be tough on the amplifier.

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Old 02-23-2014, 02:49 PM   #86
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Now, you are telling me that my consumer-grade Koss and JVC headphones are not good enough. There goes the LBYM lifestyle.
I never said that. I also had Sennheisers and Yamaha (in expensive) which were also great HPs in my opinion. Anyway, back then (1960s/70s), I never heard of LBYM.
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Old 02-23-2014, 04:47 PM   #87
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I never said that. I also had Sennheisers and Yamaha (in expensive) which were also great HPs in my opinion. Anyway, back then (1960s/70s), I never heard of LBYM.

Back in the 70s I had no means to live beneath...
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Old 02-23-2014, 10:35 PM   #88
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OK, so I am back. I have been working on/off on this speaker project the last couple of days, and have made some progress and have a story to tell.

DFW_M5, no you did not say that, but I put the words in your mouth just to make a post.

I have looked back on this thread, and posters here have all spent a lot more money than I have. I said in another thread that I thought I spent a total of perhaps $3-5K over my entire life for audio stuff (not including video and TV hardware), and that's nothing compared to people here. I looked up Dunlavy and Vandersteen speakers, among other gears that people mentioned. Wow, really good stuff, and expensive too!

As I am not an audiophile and don't even get out much, I did not know about these high-end rarities. Well, but I am having a lot of fun with my low-brow equipment too.

Anyway, I discovered that my little differential amp that I built in a pinch for instrumenting the crossover responses had a cold solder joint. Its intermittence drove me nuts until I discovered it. Then, I re-swept the crossover, and got much more reasonable results. See the plot below. The 3-way crossover appears as a perfect low-pass for the woofer, band-pass for the midrange, and high-pass for the tweeters. The rising and fading slopes are text-book perfect 12dB/octave. Darn! My attempt at blaming earlier goofy results on parasitics of the crossover components was ridiculous hand-waving!

Note the 5-dB knock-down of the mid-range. They padded the output of that section to intentionally attenuate it.

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Old 02-23-2014, 10:39 PM   #89
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With the new tweeter mounted, the response of the speaker is as shown below. I still used my open-air stand, and have not tried the "half-space" measurement. The response looked OK, with about +-2dB variations across the range. I think these variations were caused by ground reflection.

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Old 02-23-2014, 10:43 PM   #90
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In the plot above, note the big bump between 10KHz and 20KHz. That really bothered me, even though I would not be able to hear this aberration. I can only hear up to 13KHz anyway. But I simply had to know the cause.

I finally found the cause: it's the response of the Vifa tweeter. I later swept the tweeter by itself, mainly to see its dispersion pattern off-axis. Yes, the bump is there! Other than that, the dispersion seems wide enough within a +-45 deg cone. Isn't that reasonable for a $15 tweeter? The SPL falls off rapidly past 60 degrees.

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Old 02-24-2014, 09:27 AM   #91
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That is a very nice frequency response you are getting on post #89. Now bring the speaker indoors and see how it all goes crazy in a hurry!

Here is a sample I took way back when I was evaluating some different components
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Old 02-25-2014, 04:50 PM   #92
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I looked at your spreadsheet. Yes, only when taking accurate measurements does one appreciate how hard it is to get a flat response, either outdoors or in. It looks like you took manual measurements. I just found some freeware to do pink noise RTA to check the room acoustics. However, I must finish restoring these Pioneers, and then the bigger Sansuis and make sure they work properly before moving on to room acoustics. Not sure what I would do if there would be any major deficiency caused by room acoustics (rearranging furniture? remodel the room?), but it will be a learning experience.

This has been a great way to spend some leisure time, and learn something on the side. And it does not cost much at all to resurrect these speakers, which I have had for many years without being able to enjoy them the way they should sound.
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Old 02-25-2014, 05:17 PM   #93
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... Not sure what I would do if there would be any major deficiency caused by room acoustics (rearranging furniture? remodel the room?), but it will be a learning experience.
...
When you get to that point, you'll see there is a whole lot of ideas on improving room acoustics. Bass traps are a common one (IIRC, a big drum-like tube, tuned to a bass peak, it absorbs the energy at its resonant freq), and side and top panels of absorption material to reduce reflections.

I'm in big need of the panels to cut early reflections that 'garble' the sound (that ping-ping-ping-ping-ping rising tone test I mentioned earlier), but my listening room is the 'living room', so appearance is an issue. And I'm lazy.

Speaking of rooms, just about anytime I've tried running those test tones to detect distortion, I've found it. But it turned out to be something in the room that would rattle, not the speaker. A decorative box on a shelf, a CD case, a picture frame. One time my volume control went microphonic. I wonder how much that affects the listening experience if you don't often hit that exact note in the music?

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Old 02-25-2014, 06:03 PM   #94
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The "room" is part of the system, Jim's book or DVD is worth a look.
Get Better Sound
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Old 02-27-2014, 09:21 AM   #95
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My frequency response measurements are quite simple. There is "working" and "not working" When I first got the Dunlavys they were mated to a Hafler 500 amp whose output was so dirty it would blow Vifa tweeters routinely. I still have a couple left from the dozen I ordered. Finally got smart and realized it wasn't the speaker's fault.
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Old 02-28-2014, 03:45 PM   #96
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Lots of great speakers in years past, but I always felt there was nothing better than the sound from headphones. I had Beyer's.
I have Senheiser but prefer listening through my speakers. Not quite the same.
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Old 02-28-2014, 05:39 PM   #97
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The "room" is part of the system, Jim's book or DVD is worth a look.
Get Better Sound
There goes my LBYM. I just bought the book. This is probably the gateway to wonderful adventures. All of them no doubt involving my spending money.
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Old 02-28-2014, 09:19 PM   #98
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There goes my LBYM. I just bought the book. This is probably the gateway to wonderful adventures. All of them no doubt involving my spending money.
It could lead to that, but the info is more about getting the most out of what you have. Time to tinker... yep I've got time. Enjoy
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Old 02-28-2014, 09:51 PM   #99
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My dad bought new crazy audio stuff every year until Alzheimer's finally incapacitated him, into his 80's. My hearing just isn't up to the task any more. I'll keep my good stuff, but anything new may be high quality mass market (?) instead of esoteric.
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Old 02-28-2014, 09:58 PM   #100
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There goes my LBYM. I just bought the book. This is probably the gateway to wonderful adventures. All of them no doubt involving my spending money.

Dammit. There goes my LBYM too. That looks like a great book! Had to buy it.
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