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Can A Stand Mounted Speaker Be Considered "High Fidelity?"

MattHooper

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Hey folks, just curious about opinions on this.

Based off other discussions about the pursuit of High Fidelity - in this case interpreted as reproducing the encoded source signal as accurately as possible - we will come to possibly ambiguous areas. E.g. you could have a tower speaker that plays from 20Hz to 20k, but with some deviations from neutral in the frequency response here or there. On the other hand you could have a stand mounted speaker that measures beautifully neutral through it's frequency range, but if it only goes down to, say, 45 or 40 Hz, it isn't capable of producing content that is on a lot of recordings. It's "distortion by omission." So which owner could lay more claim to getting closer to "high fidelity" than the other? The owner of the speaker that can reproduce the full spectrum of sound, though with some deviation, or the owner of the stand mounted speaker that is neutral but which omits plenty of source detail in it's own way?

The obvious answer to the High Fidelity question would be "A full range system (and if you have a stand mount speaker, employ subs) that has been treated/DSP'd to play the full sound spectrum accurately." Hence you have plenty of people owning subs. Though in the last poll there were still 30% of ASR respondents who didn't use subs (and likely among those, people who aren't using truly full range speakers).

Also, in a forum devoted to high fidelity, we see Amirm giving "recommendations" to plenty of stand mounted speakers that omit the lower bass frequencies.

So...I'm looking for your various opinions. For "stand mounted speaker/monitor, think of those limited in bass frequency response, unaccompanied by a subwoofer. One could also include any speaker that doesn't go down to 20Hz, but I'm using stand mount/monitors as an easy example:

Does it make sense to consider a stand mounted speaker a reasonable purchase for someone who has the goal of "High Fidelity?" Even if it measures picture perfect within it's frequency range?
 
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MattHooper

MattHooper

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Thanks! That was fast!

I don’t see what’s the usefulness of categorizing a bookshelf as high fidelity or not high fidelity.

At the end of the day any purchase is a compromise, so whoever did a purchase picked the compromise that makes the most sense for their life-style.

Personally I agree with your statement about picking our compromises.

Though your first sentence seems a bit puzzling especially on this site.
High Fidelity is a goal shared by many on this site, and most products are evaluated on their deviations from, or adherence to, accuracy (e.g. looking at distortion levels of various types). Why except small speakers from this evaluation? If it's all about personal compromises anyway, as you seem to suggest, why then look at any audio products for their qualities of high fidelity?
 

abdo123

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Thanks! That was fast!



Personally I agree with your statement about picking our compromises.

Though your first sentence seems a bit puzzling especially on this site.
High Fidelity is a goal shared by many on this site, and most products are evaluated on their deviations from, or adherence to, accuracy (e.g. looking at distortion levels of various types). Why except small speakers from this evaluation? If it's all about personal compromises anyway, as you seem to suggest, why then look at any audio products for their qualities of high fidelity?
Honestly because of how important low frequency extension is in the perception of sound i think it’s absolutely without a doubt the most important factor in speaker preference.

But i’m not going to go out of my way to tell people with small speakers that their setup is not good enough.
 

dfuller

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Sure? I don't understand why "standmount" automatically = "low fidelity".
 

ahofer

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Killingbeans

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Does it make sense to consider a stand mounted speaker a reasonable purchase for someone who has the goal of "High Fidelity?" Even if it measures picture perfect within it's frequency range?

Sure, if you want as much fidelity as you can get without annoying your neighbors.

But it has the potential for higher fidelity than floorstanders, as the flexibility of sub placement lets you manage room modes more easily?
 
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MattHooper

MattHooper

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Honestly because of how important low frequency extension is in the perception of sound i think it’s absolutely without a doubt the most important factor in speaker preference.

But i’m not going to go out of my way to tell people with small speakers that their setup is not good enough.

I don't think the question is about browbeating anyone. Just looking at personal evaluations.

Speakers for instance are regularly criticised when they don't measure neutral. Is that telling someone the speaker they own (if it's one of those) isn't "good enough?" I dunno, maybe indirectly. But I'm not sure how it's different from answering the question I asked (?)
 
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MattHooper

MattHooper

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Sure? I don't understand why "standmount" automatically = "low fidelity".

I'm not saying they are, only asking opinions.

Depends on what you consider to be the goal of "high fidelity" and why.

If it's to accurately reproduce what is on our musical source material, this has implications that I wrote about.

If you received a text document over some transmission system and every 4th sentence or so had been dropped, would you consider that a "high fidelity" transmission system? I'd suspect not.

But then, what about a speaker that, by virtue of only going down to 40 or 45Hz, randomnly "drops" musical information - all that bass information it's incapable of producing from one track to the next - why consider that a "high fidelity" transmission of the signal, if you wouldn't think that of my former example?

Hence...my question about what people think and why.

Cheers.
 

Steve Dallas

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A great many people choose genres of music that have little to no content below 40-45Hz. In their use case, good standmounts can be considered high fidelity.

Having said that, placing a pair of BMRs in my home office, where I do not have room for subs, was a revelation in low frequency extension!
 

Timcognito

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BDWoody

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My kh420 are standmount and it's very low fidelity.

Same with my 708Ps. I'm not busy thinking how I wish I had real hifi speakers.
 

Gene LeClair

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Isn't "high fidelity" just one of those marketing terms that you slap on your brochures to sound cool? Is there any precise definition of "high fidelity", that would be universally accepted?

If we go with the "has been treated/DSP'd" requirement, wouldn't the same question apply to tower speakers as well? This question really seems to be about semantics.

Anyway, I think most people just buy the gear that best fits their needs and don't really care if it fits to somekind of ill-defined category like "high fidelity" or not.
 

Blumlein 88

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Speakers are the lowest fidelity part of the entire chain. In every parameter as well. So by talking about stand mounted speakers you are focusing on the low end reach in terms of hertz and power I assume. Where would you draw the line? 50 hz, 100 hz, 200 hz? Even that is less clear cut because sealed vs ported vs panels all roll off at different rates. And those interact with room size and distance to determine the actual low end reach.

Or do you wish to say it has to reach 20 hz cleanly at high enough sound levels? I guess that would represent something like maximal fidelity. If you follow through with that approach you'll end up saying no speakers are of high fidelity, and we are dealing with various levels of fidelity.
 

Blumlein 88

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A better question to me would be: Can any set of stereo speakers of any type be considered "high fidelity"? Toole's book essentially argues that they cannot.
Not if your source is stereo. It at least has the chance to be high fidelity to the source. The source being handicapped in fidelity to the real event.
 
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MattHooper

MattHooper

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Speakers are the lowest fidelity part of the entire chain. In every parameter as well. So by talking about stand mounted speakers you are focusing on the low end reach in terms of hertz and power I assume. Where would you draw the line? 50 hz, 100 hz, 200 hz? Even that is less clear cut because sealed vs ported vs panels all roll off at different rates. And those interact with room size and distance to determine the actual low end reach.

Or do you wish to say it has to reach 20 hz cleanly at high enough sound levels? I guess that would represent something like maximal fidelity. If you follow through with that approach you'll end up saying no speakers are of high fidelity, and we are dealing with various levels of fidelity.

Yes I think that's getting to the bottom of the issue, at least in my personal view (though I'm also asking for other views).

I'm interested in the coherence of some of the thinking about fidelity. A number of folks have expressed they have the goal not of "sounds good to me" but of High Fidelity, in terms of accurate reproduction of the signal - whatever the signal sounds like, is what it sounds like.

That allows for a certain level of objective verification, which is a good thing.

But given that, as you say, there is often going to be compromises to weight in many real world scenarios, I think brings in these interesting gray area questions about what then would constitute "high fidelity."

So speakers are often critiqued here for having frequency deviations. For instance a 6dB frequency dip say between 2 - 5k may be cited as a deviation from accuracy, and we want accuracy. Why is this a deviation from High Fidelity to the signal? Well, relatively speaking, it's reducing, hence losing, sonic information in that region. But if we are concerned about losing sonic information, how about losing the entire bottom octave or more of the musical spectrum with a speaker that only goes down to 40 or 45Hz? Why critique the former on grounds of deviating from accuracy/high fidelity, but not the latter? (To use an analogy posed by a friend of mine, someone saying his speaker is "accurate" though it only goes down to 45Hz, missing lots of bass content on many tracks he plays, is in a way like someone saying "I have an accurate Television set. Sure my TV doesn't produce any of the red spectrum, but it's blue and green colors are perfectly accurate!")

Just throwin' it out, seeing how people are thinking about these questions.
 
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