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

Bleib

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There are stand mounts which go deeper than 40hz, I've owned a few over the years...including now.
 

witwald

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Question for you: how much musical information do you think there is under 40-45hz? There is not much.
Just as an example, consider a concert grand piano. The information I have at hand indicates that there are musical notes at the following frequencies below 40Hz: 27.5Hz, 29.1Hz, 30.9Hz, 32.7Hz, 34.6Hz, 36.7Hz, and 38.9Hz. Can we assume that concert pianists use the entire available range of notes when called upon to do so?

Below is a spectrogram of a music track called "Bass I Love You", by Bassotronic. This shows lots of low-frequency energy around 30Hz, as well as 18Hz and 8Hz. All three of those frequencies are well below 40Hz.
1644484725379.png


Then there is the opening part from the classic album "Dark Side of the Moon" by Pink Floyd. Below is the spectrum taken from that. It is seen that there is a strong 30Hz component.
1644485368576.png

To reproduce those low frequencies at the appropriate relative level to the rest of the music, it seems that a loudspeaker with a –3dB point of no higher than about 25Hz is what is required to do these pieces justice. Most people wouldn't want to remove sentences from a novel that they are reading, so why allow the removal of low-frequency content that has been placed there intentionally by the aritist?
 
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Mart68

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High Fidelity isn't the same thing as Maximum Fidelity.

I think for Maximum Fidelity you do need a response down to 20 hz, not all music requires it but most people will have some music that does have that depth of bass. If you're not reproducing that then you are straying away from Maximum Fidelity.

I don't use subs, but I should do if I want maximum fidelity to some of the music I listen to. It bothers me but not enough to go to the hassle and expense of implementing it.

Not sure why we would have a distinction for stand mount speakers since most tower speakers will not have useful output down to 20Hz either. Mine don't, they are ported and roll off sharply below 45 Hz.
 

simrae

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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?
Bandwidth is only one of many measures of fidelity. Concentration on only one aspect misses the point.
 

Duke

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Just as an example, consider a concert grand piano. The information I have at hand indicates that there are musical notes at the following frequencies below 40Hz: 27.5Hz, 29.1Hz, 30.9Hz, 32.7Hz, 34.6Hz, 36.7Hz, and 38.9Hz. Can we assume that concert pianists use the entire available range of notes when called upon to do so?

My understanding is that on a concert grand piano the fundamentals of those very low notes are so low in energy that they are effectively inaudible, and likewise even the first overtone for the very lowest of them. The ear infers the fundamental (and the pitch) from the spacing of the overtone pattern. My understanding is that the lowest frequency of audible significance for a typical concert grand piano is the 61.8-Hz first overtone of low-B (30.9 Hz on your list). This was my conclusion after researching "where the goal posts are" for a prosound speaker specifically intended for electric piano.

Not that I'm against reproducing frequencies below 40 Hz; I'm a subwoofer manufacturer.
 
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fineMen

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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?

You later mention distortion of many kinds. Non-linear ones I assume. A floor stander would most probably up-use less real estate, whilst providing more internal volume and more front area to use additional woof/mids. That is key for high-fidelity. I think Toole himself didn't think too high of stand mounted speakers, taking the worst of two oppportunities. For me personally stand mounters are out of the game. Let alone the pretentious appearance, icon-like, prone to fall down--don't move ;-)
 

HeadDoc12

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I actually like this question: speakers that can do 20Hz-20khz in a flawed presentation vs. highly accurate speakers that miss the bottom octave. Before discovering this site, I had a pair of Zu Omen Dirty weekends. They are (annoyingly) well-reviewed in certain places, and I felt like I was getting one of those "bang for your buck" audiophile deals. I then found ASR, and soon after got the Kef LS50 Wireless II. I LOVED the differences I heard (and I realize ACTIVE standmounts introduce an entirely different set of variables into the comparison, but we're on ASR, so we are REQUIRED to discuss active standmounts...). Anyway, they lacked bass, and I listen to a fair amountt of bass-heavy music (Hip Hop being the most obvious, but also doom metal, electronic, and other genres). But, what's great about standmounts is I could add subs (you can add subs to towers, but most people with towers big enough to reproduce 20 Hz are probably trying to avoid subs, ASR-crowd excluded, of course). So, I got a pair of KC62s - not the best, most powerful bass for the money, but suitable for my purposes. The whole thing takes up NO floor space in my listening room (they are all on a Kallax shelf), the wife likes them, and I have the best sound I've ever owned. Point-source, minimal distortion, full-range, etc. AND, the subs don't always kick on, as I also listen to acoustic music - in those instances, the LS50s are doing ALL the work, and are extremely good at it (to my ears). Given how my LS50s sounded before subs, I still say they are more "high fidelity" than most towers, especially those that make tons of compromises to reach 20 Hz.
 

fineMen

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... they are more "high fidelity" than most towers, especially those that make tons of compromises to reach 20 Hz.
Even 40Hz is hard to reach with significant levels. 40Hz versus 20Hz is only 1/4 of a necessary excursion from the cone. 20Hz is quite impossible to do for floorstanders of civilized size.

My equipment comprises 60 liter reflexed bass/midrangers with a dia of 12". In comparison to common fashion that's insanely massive. Still this setup benefitted from the addition of a 3rd order bandpass (biventilated by drones) subwoofer, which comprises just one 7" driver, 30 years old. The extension from 40Hz down to 30Hz is not discernable with most programs, but can make a difference (Bohren, Kleiner Finger; beware, YT has very bad versions flying around).

So, if there is need for a sub due to the preferred program, I would strongly suggest not to downsize the main speakers. Such an attempt would reduce the capabilities in the upper bass / lower midrange, which, by my experience, compromises the whole presentation a lot.
 
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FeddyLost

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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?
System designer needs to have "high fidelity" of resulting sound field at main listening place and LF extension sometimes is not a main metric of fidelity due to personal preferences of listener.
It's kind of multiparametric quiz with final personal evaluation.
So, it's all up to customer's needs. For mastering studio you really need 20-20K, for other purposes - it depends.
There are some "witnesses of 20 Hz" and some "no bass - no problems" sectarians, and we don't even mention resourses and restrictions of any audio project.
 

Barry_Sound

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"Stand mounts" is a generalization for speakers ranging from 100 bucks to infinity. I never read hifi as "able to reproduce all wavelenghts" so a great stand mounted speaker not emitting 30hz bass can well be "hifi" to me. My stand mounts are rated down to around 40hz and I dont feel like I´m missing any bass signal.
 

Frgirard

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"Stand mounts" is a generalization for speakers ranging from 100 bucks to infinity. I never read hifi as "able to reproduce all wavelenghts" so a great stand mounted speaker not emitting 30hz bass can well be "hifi" to me. My stand mounts are rated down to around 40hz and I dont feel like I´m missing any bass signal.
The high fidelity is Inseparable from the physical sensation of sound. Listen to Messiaen's turangalila symphony 1 meter from the conductor or a pianist tapping an angry cluster...
My 10" are far from the high fidelity. The recordings also.
 

Barry_Sound

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The high fidelity is Inseparable from the physical sensation of sound. Listen to Messiaen's turangalila symphony 1 meter from the conductor or a pianist tapping an angry cluster...
My 10" are far from the high fidelity. The recordings also.
Your definition of hifi is "Messiaen's turangalila symphony 1 meter from the conductor"? Ok then.
 

witwald

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High fidelity is the real sound level.
That makes sense as an overarching requirement. Then, I suppose, it would depend on what sound level is the real sound level. The at-a-rock-concert sound level might be somewhat higher than the recording-mixdown sound level. Hence, the latter might be easier to achieve on a regular basis.
 

witwald

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My understanding is that on a concert grand piano the fundamentals of those very low notes are so low in energy that they are effectively inaudible, and likewise even the first overtone for the very lowest of them. The ear infers the fundamental (and the pitch) from the spacing of the overtone pattern. My understanding is that the lowest frequency of audible significance for a typical concert grand piano is the 61.8-Hz first overtone of low-B (30.9 Hz on your list). This was my conclusion after researching "where the goal posts are" for a prosound speaker specifically intended for electric piano.
That's interesting, and it makes sense. After all, the strings in a piano are hardly efficient radiators at low frequencies.
Not that I'm against reproducing frequencies below 40 Hz; I'm a subwoofer manufacturer.
:)
 

thewas

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That makes sense as an overarching requirement. Then, I suppose, it would depend on what sound level is the real sound level. The at-a-rock-concert sound level might be somewhat higher than the recording-mixdown sound level. Hence, the latter might be easier to achieve on a regular basis.
Exactly, almost no loudspeakers would be able to reproduce the level and dynamics of several music genres, thus it is the work of the mixing and mastering engineer to modify them to make them "living room compatible" and this is the reference which a good audio system should be able to mirror.
 

witwald

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Not that I'm against reproducing frequencies below 40 Hz; I'm a subwoofer manufacturer.
Subwoofers are of great benefit. Having loudspeaker systems that are able to reproduce frequencies below 40Hz is certainly very worthwhile, as there's plenty of music that delves into that sub-40Hz region. Ignoring things like explosions, there are also many movies that utilise low-frequency sounds carefully blended into their soundtracks.

As another example of music that contains strong low-frequency content, which would be missed by many stand-mount loudspeakers, below is a frequency spectrum obtained from "Secret Dancer" by David Crosby, on his 2021 album "For Free". This track has a large peak at 34.4Hz (from the exported spectral response data). To be able to reproduce that frequency with no more than about 0.5dB (5%) of attenuation using a vented-box loudspeaker, the 4th-order Butterworth high-pass alignment would need to have a –3dB low-frequency cut-off point no higher than 26Hz. That 5% (0.5dB) attenuation target is important, as we possibly feel the vibration caused by the pressure from that low frequency signal more than we hear it.
1644572988471.png

Having a loudspeaker with a –3dB cut-off point at 40Hz, let alone 45Hz or even 50Hz, is simply adding plenty of (linear) amplitude distortion into the reproduced sound. That's not really high fidelity sound reproduction, by any stretch of the objective or subjective imagination, and is something that can be easily avoided by partnering one or more subwoofers with many of the typically-compact stand-mount loudspeakers.
 
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