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Chane A1.5 Review (Bookshelf Speaker)

Vladimir Filevski

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They list the tweeter as "leaf tweeter". I've heard of ribbon, planar, but never leaf. A quick google church turned up zilch.
Leaf tweeter = planar tweeter.
The name "leaf tweeter" goes back to 1981 where I saw it first time in the Speakerlab catalogue.
 

Maiky76

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Chane A1.5 bookshelf 2-way speaker. I purchased it at suggestion of members and donations toward it. It costs US $329 a pair from the company as of this writing. It is apparently the fifth revision of this design and hence the numerical designation.

Despite being small, the cabinet feels quite heavy and solid:

View attachment 149568

I like the binding posts but they are too close to each other making it hard to run them:

View attachment 149570

This speaker seems to have a massive following ignited by a review of earlier version of it by CNET praising it.

Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Using computational acoustics, far-field response is computed and that is what I present. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than an anechoic chamber.

I performed over 1000 measurement which resulted in error rate of about 1%. Clean high frequency response is responsible for ease of measurement in this regard.

Reference axis is approximately the center of the tweeter (vertically and horizontally). As a funny aside, when I was searching for measurements of this speaker, I landed on a massive thread in AVS Forum with a person claiming I will be botching this as I am supposed to contact the company to get the acoustic center. Well, if it is very different than assumed, company best to provide that information to all of its users. More on this later.

Chane A1.5 Measurements
Acoustic measurements can be grouped in a way that can be perceptually analyzed to determine how good a speaker is and how it can be used in a room. This so called spinorama shows us just about everything we need to know about the speaker with respect to tonality and some flaws:

View attachment 149571

Ouch. This is not what I expected to see for a speaker with so much praise. Efficiency was low as also evidenced by me having to crank up the levels to get it to measurement point. Response peaks in treble region and there is some nasty business both in on-axis and off-axis response around a few hundred hertz to nearly 2 kHz. By measuring the drivers and port we get some clues as to potential reasons:

View attachment 149572

We see the classic budget speaker cabinet/port resonance peaking as the woofer response is going down causing it to be much more of a problem than it would be otherwise. Tweeter response is also quite uneven.

Early window response due to poor directivity is a mess:

View attachment 149573

Normally I could tell you to both absorbers here and there to help the situation but I can't think of anything. Each reflection contributes randomly to the response -- by eye anyway.

No wonder then that our predicted in-room response is quite choppy:

View attachment 149574

It also appears to not slope down much so likely sound bright.

Company talks a lot about the distortion levels in the woofer and seems like there is something to that:
View attachment 149575

As seen though, they need to do something about the tweeter.
View attachment 149576

Even during the sweep with hearing protection I could tell at 96 dB SPL there were problems.

As we would expect, horizontal beamwidth cannot be described at any fixed angle:

View attachment 149577

It is so uneven and broad at some frequencies that I think the sound will be very room dependent. Same is seen in our contour map:

View attachment 149578

Vertically the tweeter heavily beams at the top of its range with strong narrowing of the response:

View attachment 149579

Symmetry of the measurements is very good which means we did nail the acoustic center! :D

Here is our 3-D balloon plot at three mid frequencies;

View attachment 149580

Sound source starts as a uniform surface but then splits into two before unifying back again.

Impedance for the most part is high so your amplifier should be happier:

View attachment 149581

Then again the low sensitivity as noted earlier will require a powerful amplifier to play loud.

You all have asked for impulse response, so here it is:

View attachment 149582

Chane A1.5 Listening Tests and EQ
I must say, despite glancing at the measurements before listening to the A1.5, I was not ready for the experience that greeted me. The sound was hyper bright and was energizing the room in a way that I have rarely heard. Higher notes would linger in my large space. The combination at first was impressively addictive until you some notes literally poke a hole in your eardrum and you realize you are listening to the classic "showroom sound." Mind you, it is one of the best implementations of that besting what even Klipsch does but wrong it is. So out came the EQ tool with shelving to bring the highs down:

View attachment 149583

That wasn't enough so I went after the irregularities in 500 to 1500 hertz with dual filters to build a flat top (I did it visually and hence the fractions). Once there, I tamed 90% of the brightness but some notes would still stand out. I tried adding a bit of bass boost where there is a dip in upper bass/lower mid-range but that caused the speaker to run out of headroom and distort. And kind of made it boomy so I omitted it.

Power handling was very good. The little woofer doesn't upset easy. But something else was nice: there was this great spatial qualities to the speaker which I think is due to very wide directivity in lower treble area. This may also be why it sounds bright because I don't have any side wall absorption.

With all the filters in place, I listened for a good bit and soon I lost track that I was testing the speaker and instead enjoying its sound.

Conclusions
Objectively the Chane A1.5 violates many rules for good sound in speaker design. Sadly the same was present in listening tests. Unless the showroom effect is in play, I can't figure out why the speaker is so popular. Maybe people are using it in home theater applications where equalization is very common. If so, sure, I could get pushed to get on board if you EQ them well.

As is, I can't recommend the Chane A1.5. You must use EQ and if you do, then you can get good sound out of it and maybe some unique characteristics.

-----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/


Hi,

Here is my take on the EQ.

These EQ are anechoic EQ to get the speaker right before room integration. If you able to implement these EQs you must add EQ at LF for room integration, that usually not optional… see hints there: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...helf-speaker-review.11144/page-26#post-800725

The raw data with corrected ER and PIR:

Score no EQ: 3.3
With Sub: 5.6

Spinorama with no EQ:
  • Lots of resonances
  • Port
  • Directivity errors
Chane A1.5 No EQ Spinorama.png
Directivity:
Better stay at tweeter height
Horizontally, better toe-in the speakers by 10deg and have the axis crossing in front of the listening location, might help dosing the upper range.
Chane A1.5 2D surface Directivity Contour Only Data.png


Chane A1.5 LW Better data.png

EQ design:

I have generated two EQs. The APO config files are attached.
  • The first one, labelled, LW is targeted at making the LW flat
  • The second, labelled Score, starts with the first one and adds the score as an optimization variable.
  • The EQs are designed in the context of regular stereo use i.e. domestic environment, no warranty is provided for a near field use in a studio environment although the LW might be better suited for this purpose.

Score EQ LW: 5,2
with sub: 7.4

Score EQ Score: 5.9
with sub: 8.0

Code:
Chane A1.5 APO EQ LW 96000Hz
August262021-155953

Preamp: -2 dB

Filter 1: ON HPQ Fc 40.10,    0.00,    1.15
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 114.00,    -1.50,    1.90
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 392.00,    2.00,    3.00
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 733.00,    -2.00,    3.87
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 1670.00,    1.50,    3.82
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 2776.00,    -1.00,    2.47
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 4000.00,    -2.50,    2.70
Filter 8: ON PK Fc 8205.00,    -3.00,    2.70

Chane A1.5 APO EQ Score 96000Hz
August262021-154707

Preamp: -2.2 dB

Filter 1: ON HPQ Fc 44.76,    0.00,    1.21
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 125.44,    -1.91,    1.28
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 362.66,    1.79,    1.73
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 854.51,    -1.69,    2.76
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 1678.66,    1.98,    5.85
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 2639.22,    -1.90,    4.22
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 3934.75,    -3.06,    2.43
Filter 8: ON PK Fc 9497.59,    -3.58,    1.40

Chane A1.5 EQ Design.png


Spinorama EQ LW
Chane A1.5 LW EQ Spinorama.png


Spinorama EQ Score
Chane A1.5 Score EQ Spinorama.png


Zoom PIR-LW-ON
Chane A1.5 Zoom.png


Regression - Tonal
Chane A1.5 Regression - Tonal.png


Radar no EQ vs EQ score
Nice improvements
Chane A1.5 Radar.png


The rest of the plots is attached.
 

Attachments

  • Chane A1.5 APO EQ LW 96000Hz.txt
    426 bytes · Views: 11
  • Chane A1.5 APO EQ Score 96000Hz.txt
    431 bytes · Views: 11
  • Chane A1.5 2D surface Directivity Contour Data.png
    Chane A1.5 2D surface Directivity Contour Data.png
    268.8 KB · Views: 11
  • Chane A1.5 3D surface Horizontal Directivity Data.png
    Chane A1.5 3D surface Horizontal Directivity Data.png
    449.1 KB · Views: 9
  • Chane A1.5 3D surface Vertical Directivity Data.png
    Chane A1.5 3D surface Vertical Directivity Data.png
    446.9 KB · Views: 12
  • Chane A1.5 Normalized Directivity data.png
    Chane A1.5 Normalized Directivity data.png
    933.7 KB · Views: 11
  • Chane A1.5 Raw Directivity data.png
    Chane A1.5 Raw Directivity data.png
    1.3 MB · Views: 11
  • Chane A1.5 Reflexion data.png
    Chane A1.5 Reflexion data.png
    508.4 KB · Views: 11
  • Chane A1.5 LW data.png
    Chane A1.5 LW data.png
    468.2 KB · Views: 12

Haint

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I will say the dispersion appears quite unique for a relatively small bookshelf, both the horizontal and vertical are quite large.
 

wwenze

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It's a pity we can't just apply a shelf filter to shift up the directivity... Or can we...?

Or maybe I should think about it the other way, is there a way to gimp the directivity of the woofer. Like smother it with a pillow or something.
 

milosz

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That distortion at the lower limits of the tweeter response is typical of ribbon & planar drivers, and some AMTs too. These drivers just can't handle the excursion required at these low-ish frequencies. Generally speaking, to use a ribbon or other planar driver properly you need to cross it over more like 4,000 or 5,000 Hz. You'd need a dedicated midrange, a 3-way design to really get the best out of drivers like these.

There are some exceptions- supposedly Raal has a ribbon tweeter that works well down to 2,000 Hz, but I don't have experience with Raal drivers so I can't say that with certainty. I think some AMT drivers can also work in a 2-way, but again I have no detailed experience with them.

The Bozhen tweeter looks like a ribbon, but it is not a ribbon or a planar driver- it has a flat voice coil mounted at 90° to the pleated driver surface. See https://audioxpress.com/article/Test-Bench-Bozhen-CQ76-Ribbon-Tweeter The Bozhen tweeter works OK down to 2,000 Hz with low distortion, but although it's diaphragm is a flat rectangle, it actually has a voice coil so is not driven by magnetic forces acting on audio currents conducted through foil on the surface of the diaphragm like a planar, or where the diaphragm itself is a conductive flat foil suspended in a magnetic field in the case of an actual ribbon driver. The arrangement is unique and produces a sound partway between a dome and a ribbon, with good extension even above 20 kHz and no major "oilcan" resonance

Zaph Audio did a test of several planar / ribbon tweeters a while back, see http://www.zaphaudio.com/nondomes/
 

voodooless

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It’s really strange that these planar tweeters all get lumped into the same cathegory. It’s the same as calling a soft dome and a compression driver the same..
 

Transmaniacon

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This result is really quite perplexing, I own the A1.4 and none of the results in this review are evident to me when listening. I don’t detect any distortion when pushing these hard and I’m using a very capable amplifier. Brightness is also something that I don’t get all. I am sensitive to sibilance and don’t get any from these speakers.
 

abdo123

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This result is really quite perplexing, I own the A1.4 and none of the results in this review are evident to me when listening. I don’t detect any distortion when pushing these hard and I’m using a very capable amplifier. Brightness is also something that I don’t get all. I am sensitive to sibilance and don’t get any from these speakers.

this is the A1.5, if it matters that is.
 

Transmaniacon

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BYRTT

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.....Unless they drastically departed from this response with the A1.5, I'm puzzled.

Of course the Klippel has much more resolution, but even a simple measurement like these would show the massive rise in the tweeter, and we aren't seeing it. Then all the comments I've read over the years about how they don't sound bright at all. People who have listened to these and the Infinity bookshelves say the Infinity's have the more energetic-sounding treble of the two. Your Klippel measurements just aren't showing that. That's why I scratch my head.....

Thanks share that manufacture graph but i think you be little surprised seeing their 100dB Y-axis & 20Hz-40kHz X-axis scales overlaid to Amir's anechoic analyze as seen below :)..

Chromatischism_x1x1_800mS.gif
 
Last edited:

Colonel7

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Thanks share that manufacture graph but i think you be little surprised seeing their 100dB Y-axis & 20Hz-40kHz X-axis scale overlaid to Amir's anechoic analyze as seen below :)..

View attachment 149670
As always, love your comparative animations and putting things on same scale. 100 db scale makes anything look flat, including 8db swings that end up looking like a tiny ripple
 

mhardy6647

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They list the tweeter as "leaf tweeter". I've heard of ribbon, planar, but never leaf. A quick google church turned up zilch.
The term "Leaf" tweeters has historically (AFAIK) been applied to planar tweeters (not true ribbons) -- at least, in the parlance of the 1980s/1900s.


1629981483539.png

source: https://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/flipbook/1984_radioshack_catalog.html

see: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...o-many-types-of-them.24745/page-4#post-889450 (and the post following it)
 

Transmaniacon

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Why not? If they changed the drive units, isn’t it logical to expect a different response/sound?

The different generations have sought to tweak the sound and not make drastic changes that would explain these results.
 

sarumbear

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The different generations have sought to tweak the sound and not make drastic changes that would explain these results.
The only way you tweak the sound is to change the measurements, which means changing the drive units, correct?
 

BYRTT

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.....Just trying to save you from the fangs of some of those AVS members ;)
.....Let them get mad. :)

Thanks for review and great data..

Good spotted MZKM :) tilted verticals minus 10º is visualized below if it can help AVS members, that said DI (Directory index) curve is a directly quality curve revealer and Chane A1.5 is bad there so the tilt will only help on paper in few other directivity curves, we can see that in the the lower left side graph where Chane A1.5 have its listening window smoothed flat as a pancake or say normalized, now compare that normalization to a performer with smoother DI curve as seen for the KEF example in lower right side.

MZKM_x1x1_800mS.gif


MZKM_2.png
 

Billy Budapest

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I have always been very curious about these given their cult following. I guess people like the “showroom sound.” On the bright side, I guess there is something to the “split gap woofer technology” they proclaim.
 
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