• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are many reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

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

MakeMineVinyl

Major Contributor
Joined
Jun 5, 2020
Messages
3,558
Likes
5,878
Location
Santa Fe, NM
Technically, yes, a speaker which doesn't cover the entire audio range is introducing a 'distortion' to what (might) be the lowest frequencies on the recording. I wouldn't say however that a speaker which falls into this category isn't 'high fidelity'.

I would say that people should purchase the largest speaker they can within the constraints of their rooms and their budget in order to reduce the omission of the lowest frequencies. Or embrace the reality that a 'full range' speaker system should include subwoofers from the get-go.
 

thewas

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 15, 2020
Messages
6,939
Likes
17,111
It depends also on listening distance, room acoustics, placement, listened SPL and music content if the loudspeakers can reproduce the biggest part of its frequency spectrum.

For example for my desktop system I don't need a sub because thanks to room gain and close to the front wall placement I get linear 35 Hz - 20 kHz at the listening position at a for me acceptable SPL with my compact 5" loudspeakers with not too much EQ:

index.php


If someone listens only to some chorus music in nearfield not too loud even an small and old LS3/5a which starts dropping response below already 100 Hz can be "high fidelity" to the input recording material.
 

Spocko

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Sep 27, 2019
Messages
1,621
Likes
3,004
Location
Southern California
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?
Definitely content specific. For movie content, bass effects below 40 Hz is essential. Imagine watching Jurassic Park without a subwoofer! It's not just reproducing source material accurately but rather delivering the intended dramatic effect of the director! For a movie, I'm ok with a screwy frequency curve that's inaccurate (like Klipsch) but still preserves the entire bandwidth necessary to deliver the dramatic effect required by the movie. Similarly, dub music is all about low frequency impact, so it doesn't matter if things aren't so accurate above 200Hz as long as everything below 50Hz is present.
 
Last edited:

Spocko

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Sep 27, 2019
Messages
1,621
Likes
3,004
Location
Southern California
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.
Dr. Toole addresses this and describes it as part of the "circle of confusion" because what the music producer and mastering team heard through their room/speaker (or hopes you will hear) will have very little to do with what you hear because you have no way of reproducing what they heard. So even "accurate reproduction of signal" could mean accurately reproducing a signal that was designed to be heard through Airpods or 70's era AM radio.

Worse still, music mastered for vinyl is very different than the same music mastered for digital so if not properly remastered for digital playback, will sound terrible and you end up blaming your system for nothing!

Exploring this process is an exercise in futility because "accurate reproduction of the signal" is not really what you're after - you want accurate reproduction of what the mastering team hopes you will hear.
 
Last edited:

Duke

Major Contributor
Audio Company
Forum Donor
Joined
Apr 22, 2016
Messages
1,624
Likes
4,014
Location
Princeton, Texas
If I was limited to stand-mount speakers, I'd start with a big stand.

RM7VMESA+RS.gif


Seriously, imo Grimm and Dutch & Dutch and Kii have pushed the bar pretty high for stand-mount speakers. I'd call them "high fidelity", even if I don't have a precise definition of the term.

(For home audio my priority would be the creation of a convincing illusion, rather than the maximizing of objective accuracy, in the event that tradeoffs must be made between the two.)
 
Last edited:
OP
MattHooper

MattHooper

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
Messages
7,549
Likes
12,730
Question for you: how much musical information do you think there is under 40-45hz? There is not much.

Not enough for me to want to keep my subwoofers (I sold them). :)

Though most here seem to use subwoofers (which I realize can also be about evening room response, though playback of the lower frequencies when they are there are also part of the point, I presume).
 
OP
MattHooper

MattHooper

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
Messages
7,549
Likes
12,730
I disagree... A speaker cannot have any bearing to the original event, only to the signal fed to it... That is what "High Fidelity" is.

I think you might have misread what I wrote, because that's just what I said "High Fidelity" means to many on this forum. (It's the usual definition I'm given, here).

Accuracy is defined by numbers, by metrics/numbers that can be verified by Science, in the form of Physics or Psycho-acoustics.

Yup, exactly. That's why I've said the notion of "High Fidelity" presumed by many here is a useful one.
(Even though it's not the only notion of "High Fidelity"...nor necessarily a complete one).
 
OP
MattHooper

MattHooper

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
Messages
7,549
Likes
12,730
Exploring this process is an exercise in futility because "accurate reproduction of the signal" is not really what you're after - you want accurate reproduction of what the mastering team hopes you will hear.

Those are often purported to be one and the same. Why care about accurate reproduction of the signal? Because that's what the mastering person wants you to hear. But it seems however we put it, things succumb to the "Circle Of Confusion" in any case.

Nice comments Spocko!

Imagine watching Jurassic Park without a subwoofer!

I don't have to imagine. I'm well aware of how the track sounds with subs, but don't use subs in my home theater and personally don't miss them :)
 
Last edited:
OP
MattHooper

MattHooper

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
Messages
7,549
Likes
12,730
Can petite women can be as nice as tall women? ;)
This post somehow has the same vibe lol

It would indeed...if this were a place in which "beauty" was routinely discussed - and the standard of beauty proposed at least seemed to imply Tall Women were the standard of beauty ;)
 

dfuller

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 26, 2020
Messages
3,444
Likes
5,328

FrantzM

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 12, 2016
Messages
4,397
Likes
7,931
It depends also on listening distance, room acoustics, placement, listened SPL and music content if the loudspeakers can reproduce the biggest part of its frequency spectrum.

For example for my desktop system I don't need a sub because thanks to room gain and close to the front wall placement I get linear 35 Hz - 20 kHz at the listening position at a for me acceptable SPL with my compact 5" loudspeakers with not too much EQ:

index.php


If someone listens only to some chorus music in nearfield not too loud even an small and old LS3/5a which starts dropping response below already 100 Hz can be "high fidelity" to the input recording material.
Always a matter of perspective and .. distance .. thus perspective ;)... Same with headphones; but for most in-room situations, Small-Room Acoustics, almost mandate the use of multiple subs for best bass reproduction which tend to account for a lot in ultimate fidelity/accuracy..
 

Vintage57

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 2, 2018
Messages
412
Likes
598
Location
Ontario, Canada

Wolf

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
576
Likes
616
Location
Indiana
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?
My 3way stand mounts are 1ft^3 and have an Fb/3/10 of 30/26/19Hz, so yes, i feel they can apply to ultra high fidelity, and are my best work over all.
 
OP
MattHooper

MattHooper

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
Messages
7,549
Likes
12,730
My 3way stand mounts are 1ft^3 and have an Fb/3/10 of 30/26/19Hz, so yes, i feel they can apply to ultra high fidelity, and are my best work over all.

Sounds amazing! I'd love to hear them.

In making the thread title I realized there was some ambiguity because of course there are stand mounted speakers that can go full range.
I immediately thought of the Kii Audio Three, for instance. But I referenced stand mounted monitors, with the (hopefully clarifying caveat regarding frequency range) because they are visual distinct from full range floor standing speakers and generally speaking they are known for less bass extension.
 

dfuller

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 26, 2020
Messages
3,444
Likes
5,328

thewas

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 15, 2020
Messages
6,939
Likes
17,111
Always a matter of perspective and .. distance .. thus perspective ;)... Same with headphones; but for most in-room situations, Small-Room Acoustics, almost mandate the use of multiple subs for best bass reproduction which tend to account for a lot in ultimate fidelity/accuracy..
Depends also on the placement possibilities of the loudspeakers and listener and mostly if the bass should be optimised just for one location or more, for the latter of course multiple subs are a must, for a desktop listening system not always.
 
Top Bottom