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Evidence-based Speaker Designs

Xulonn

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I enjoyed the actual sound of the Devore speaker not *just* how they look
I've not heard the Devore Orangutans, but they look like cardboard shipping cartons covered with fancy wood veneers and placed on funks, squat stands.

As a hobbyist fine woodworker, their looks would be not encourage me to like them.

1212devore.promo_.jpg
 

Xulonn

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I know rock music the best, and one of the huge issues with this is that rock music is produced by loud instruments, often highly distorted.
Rock music is "produced" by amplifiers and loudspeakers. I'm sure you have heard an electric guitar played while not plugged in - not a pleasant sound.

Do you know any manufacturer that "voices" their home audio loudspeakers by comparing them to a Marshall stack and a bunch of stage monitors and PA speakers to ensure "accuracy" with respect to live rock?

Snark aside, I still ocassionally listen to my 70's-80's "oldie" rock and pop-rock recordings, but I will never again experience the in-home experiences I had with my pair of custom 16 cubic foot ported speaker systems from Honkers Sound Company in Berkeley with their JBL S8 driver set. (Picture below is a JBL Olympus with same drivers.) Without question, they were the best rock and roll speakers I ever owned. (Here is a LINK to a post about them I made at AudioAsylum.com in 1999 when I was a moderator for three of their forums. It is hard to believe that I have been participating off and on at internet audio forums for 20 years! And that post was made 23 years after I owned the JBL's)

JBL Olympus S8.JPG


And speaking of stage amplifiers, Hank was a McIntosh dealer, and I believe he was involved with the Grateful Dead's "wall of sound" PA system that employed 48 of the 128 pound, 300wpc McIntosh MC2300 stereo power amplifiers.

With respect to the primary subject of this thread - if I were to choose speakers strictly for rock and roll, I would not be worried accuracy and "evidence-based design" but rather I would just go for the classic JBL sound. Perhaps a pair of current production front-ported JBL's - the biggest and baddest I could afford. And then break with the past and drive them with a powerful, lightweight Hypex stereo amplifier...
 

Xulonn

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To me the added spatial impression more than compensates for the lower resolution of modest gear.
Fascinating - that correlates with Dr. Toole's finding that mono reveals flaws most readily, and stereo less so. And you are saying that 5.1 multichannel masks flaws even more. Sounds like an opportunity for further research.
 
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I've not heard the Devore Orangutans, but they look like cardboard shipping cartons covered with fancy wood veneers and placed on funks, squat stands.

As a hobbyist fine woodworker, their looks would be not encourage me to like them.

View attachment 23643
Yup. Aesthetics are subjective.

I love the funky retro-look and having seen them in person the finish and build look fantastic; much higher than the typical speaker. The O/96s routinely receive high grades for looks and finish in reviews and among many who've seen them in person.

But, again, whether they appeal is subjective and I totally get that you see them the way you do.

Me, I feel at odds with many audiophiles who seem to love seeing every bit of technology they can in their set up. Speakers with lots of drivers are a big visual turn off for me, like a number of Paradigm and Revel speakers. Even the Revel Salon2, despite it's superb sound quality, is a visual turn off to me - there is such an industrial look to all those bare drivers facing me, and many audiophiles LOVE seeing the drivers on speakers. Not me.
Visually, the fewer drivers the better, and I always prefer they are covered by speaker grills when possible. (I know that in many cases speakers will come with grills, but the point I'm making is that aeshetically many people seem to enjoy the look of a speaker without grills, viewing all the flashy drivers, whereas I don't).
 

Kal Rubinson

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Yup. Aesthetics are subjective.

I love the funky retro-look and having seen them in person the finish and build look fantastic; much higher than the typical speaker. The O/96s routinely receive high grades for looks and finish in reviews and among many who've seen them in person.

But, again, whether they appeal is subjective and I totally get that you see them the way you do.
They do not appeal to me in their appearance. They are nicely finished and, to me, they conjure up memories of the products of amateurs with good woodworking and finishing skills but not much in the way of aesthetic or acoustic ones. That's my bias.
 

Bjorn

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Some speakers are designed to sound best with the grill on.

I've preferred the sound of some speakers with the grills on.
Perhaps tuned in terms of the frequency response, but you don't get away from the diffractions caused by the frame or the fact that the fabric doesn't attenuate evenly. So either way it's not something one would choose for a SOTA speaker design.
 
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Perhaps tuned in terms of the frequency response, but you don't get away from the diffractions caused by the frame or the fact that the fabric doesn't attenuate evenly. So either way it's not something one would choose for a SOTA speaker design.
That's ok with me. Whatever those diffraction effects may be, they are so subtle I don't seem to notice them, and having the grills on some speakers I've owned didn't seem to hold them back in sounding more than competitive with plenty of newer speakers I auditioned sans grills (e.g Paradigm, Revel, Magico, others). I think that all the other design choices in a speaker overwhealm the effects of a good speaker grill. The Revel Salon 2 I'd expect would sound SOTA grills on or off. Likewise, I have not found "grills on/off" to be a determining factor for being blown away, or not, by a pair of speakers (UNLESS the grills are truly crap and significantly reduce sound quality).

For me the sonic detriment of a speaker with grills (especially those designed w grills in mind) are far outweighed by the aesthetic/psychological effects of not seeing speaker drivers. When I see speaker drivers it's hard for me to forget the sound is coming from those drivers. Once they are covered up, for me a good looking speaker just looks like a piece of furniture not a transducer, and the musicians just "appear"around and between those pieces of "furniture." Helps with the illusion. But, again....that's me....
 

Floyd Toole

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That's ok with me. Whatever those diffraction effects may be, they are so subtle I don't seem to notice them, and having the grills on some speakers I've owned didn't seem to hold them back in sounding more than competitive with plenty of newer speakers I auditioned sans grills (e.g Paradigm, Revel, Magico, others). I think that all the other design choices in a speaker overwhealm the effects of a good speaker grill. The Revel Salon 2 I'd expect would sound SOTA grills on or off. Likewise, I have not found "grills on/off" to be a determining factor for being blown away, or not, by a pair of speakers (UNLESS the grills are truly crap and significantly reduce sound quality).

For me the sonic detriment of a speaker with grills (especially those designed w grills in mind) are far outweighed by the aesthetic/psychological effects of not seeing speaker drivers. When I see speaker drivers it's hard for me to forget the sound is coming from those drivers. Once they are covered up, for me a good looking speaker just looks like a piece of furniture not a transducer, and the musicians just "appear"around and between those pieces of "furniture." Helps with the illusion. But, again....that's me....
You are right. In well designed loudspeakers the grille can be an audibly "invisible" factor. For many speakers the most serious issue is the grille frame, not the fabric. Integrating the frame to avoid reflections and diffractions costs money. If that has been done, removing the grill could conceivably degrade the performance.

Exposed drivers are often not only unattractive to many, but they send meaningful cues to technically minded listeners - a biasing influence. For some, I suspect that there is a macho factor. But those are personal issues, not generalizations. Some of it is in the imagination.

Taking the discussion one (big) step beyond grilles, having conducted numerous blind stereo listening tests I can say that not seeing the loudspeakers at all can change the perception of the soundstage. So, how about removing the speaker grilles and replacing them with an acoustically transparent, visually opaque screen across the room in front of the loudspeakers. Now that would indicate a truly serious interest in hearing everything in a recording without external distractions.:)
 
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