• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Heard a Revel and JBL Synthesis for the first time: F208, F228Be, 4367. A surprise for sure!

fpitas

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 7, 2022
Messages
977
Likes
926
IMHO, horns have a special magic. They're tough to design with, hard to get right, and expensive if you expect the best sound. But some of us crazy fools love them.
 

Digby

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Mar 12, 2021
Messages
835
Likes
640
It's the standard audiophile delusion all over again, ie "what I am hearing, sighted, is so clear that it must be in the sound waves - it simply has to be."

Nope. It ain't.
I understand what you are saying, but it isn't, as a matter of course, only the visual/expectation differences that are in play. They likely do sound different and sound different in different rooms too.

Does different=better? I suppose it depends on whether you are looking at graphs or trusting your ears. Both have merits, but at the end of the day, good or bad, you have to live with your own ears (and whatever other unconscious biases you may have). Perhaps it is just psychologically easier to believe one's own ears/biases than fight them.

But instead of resigning himself to acknowledging that he has to keep the speaker from which he prefers the sound waves less -- because he can't stop his non-sonic prejudices from overwhelming his actual sound wave preference -- he twists it into thinking it has something to do with the test conditions not being realistic.
Maybe or, maybe, the M2 did sound better in his room with extended listening, as opposed to the kind of listening done in these tests.

Visual aspects and expectations are strong, but I struggle to see them overcoming what you hear and think is better, especially so in your own space, unless you consciously admit the decision is not based on sound.

You have good points, I just feel you are overstating them. I'd like to think I'd choose whichever speaker sounded better, to me, in whatever circumstance. If it was hideous or unattractive, I'd like to think I could consciously credit the fact, rather than believe it was something to do with the sound.

It is possible I am giving myself (and others) too much credit, I dunno...
 
Last edited:

fpitas

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 7, 2022
Messages
977
Likes
926
It seems you are suggesting that JBL 4367 is the junk food of speakers. This isn't Klipsch. Look at Erin's Audio Corner and you will see these are objectively very good speakers and sound alive at the same time. I'd love to have these an a set of Salon2 in my room to A/B/X but that's not going to happen...
Yeah, it was a very rude post.
 

LTig

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
4,423
Likes
7,186
Location
Europe
Next up the JBL 4367. From the moment the music started my jaw was on the floor. Everything sounded real, alive, in the room. The acoustic guitars, clarinets vocals, you name it sounded amazing, accurate, and life like. Bass was amazing and tactile. It ran circles around the Revels while still having great tone, clarity and smoothness.

Unfortunately, they were out of F328Be and Salon2 so I couldn't compare.

Has anyone else experienced this? Is it the horn loaded compression driver that is crossed over at 700 Hz that gives it the life like sound? The high sensitivity? Both? I'm curious but I've got to know at this point as I've got to have speakers that do this, but I can't afford the $16k!

Thoughts?
I've experienced similar "liveness" with horn loaded speakers (Avantgarde Acoustic) but only with pop, rock, jazz, blues. Play some classical music with voices (opera, especially male) and the magic is gone as voices just don't sound natural - at least to me. I haven't come across a speaker with horns I could live with. But I haven't heard the big JBLs at all yet.
 

Bleib

Senior Member
Joined
May 13, 2021
Messages
464
Likes
722
Location
Sweden
So....what? It is obvious a Revel (or any similarly small speaker) is not going to sound like a JBL 4367, whether the test is done blind, double blind, triple blind - upside down, inverted, next dimension blind or any other kind of blinding event you choose.

Small speakers are small, because they are what sells and what people (and their wives) will accept in their rooms. They are a significant compromise when reproducing sound and are never going to get close to imitating a real sound in the way a high quality large speaker will.

There is just something a large speaker like the JBL does, almost certainly related to how easily and efficiently it moves large amounts of air, that allows it to sound rather truer to life than any small speaker. You can produce as many graphs as you like, this will always and forever remain the same. This is something that is evident not only at loud volumes, but ones well within the smaller speakers limits too.

Small speakers are highly compromised. People won't admit as much because they want to point to x amount of graphs that are besides the point. They are missing the wood for the trees.
Whilst I do think that bigger speakers can sound bigger I have tons of experience in them not necessarily going as deep in the bas as some smaller bookshelves.
In my own recent experience Canton GLE490 sounds thinner in the bas than my current main speaker Guru Audio Junior.
Sometimes too many drivers also leads to many drivers being a lot less in sync with each other and that can sort of lead to muddiness.
 

ROOSKIE

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 27, 2020
Messages
1,402
Likes
2,438
Location
Minneapolis
People have to stop confusing themselves (and their readers when they report their impressions).

What he didn't report properly was that it was his cognitive bias that was prejudicing him in favour of the M2 -- ie he preferred the idea of the M2 and couldn't overcome that prejudice when sighted listening.

His decision to report it, even to believe it, as 'preferred the M2 in real world listening', is truly deluded if it is meant to imply he preferred the sound waves when in the 'real world'. He has demonstrated to himself which sound waves he prefers -- the Revel's. But instead of resigning himself to acknowledging that he has to keep the speaker from which he prefers the sound waves less -- because he can't stop his non-sonic prejudices from overwhelming his actual sound wave preference -- he twists it into thinking it has something to do with the test conditions not being realistic.

It's the standard audiophile delusion all over again, ie "what I am hearing, sighted, is so clear that it must be in the sound waves - it simply has to be."

Nope. It ain't.
Naw, friend I suspect you are up against your own cognitive biases right now.

Among what is possible it is totally possible what that what you have stated is true, and totally likely it is not IMHO.

Many times I have preferred a speaker long term and lost interest in another.
This is not unusual and I can assure you, I had to kill the occasional darling.
I don't think doing so was classic audiofoolerly or standard delusion.

You are way to confident in your conjectures in this thread.

It is cool to postulate, but you are mistaking an near unknowable for what you seem to reverently believe is a fact. To many nopes. That is not scientific at all by the way. As others have said think about the possible variations with just two speakers and the ability to set them up over time and then factor is something like bass corrections, yikes, it gets up there fast in the way things play out. Then PEQ, yikes I have had a speaker go from maybe to awesome with just a 1db hair shaved off the treble of a slightly overly energetic but otherwise solid design. Or maybe it was excellent but a little thick in the lower vocal range before a bit of room mode attention and yet a thinner tuned speaker may have sounded better in contrast only when PEQ was not in play.

I can tell you that in my consistent experience it can sometimes take some time to listen to 2 great speakers and really decide. Many tracks. Factor in different rooms and different dispersion characteristics and you have a lot to process with your brain.
Not to mention strange unknowns such as the quiet of home. I can assure you I hear things a bit differently after 2 days of relative solitude vs a social weekend. (I imagine the test involved some social time, funny how the stereo portion was not blind and yet folks decided Toole was right that the testing holds in stereo. We don't know that from this test, at least in terms of having blind data. Plus that stage was highly social as stated.)

In terms of choosing speakers, something like ear/brain adjustment is important - otherwise you might be listening for what is already familiar(or different from familiar) and or using a lot of cognitive power to make sense of the new experience vs enjoying the sound. People do this unintentionally and it takes time to overcome, not will. Not to mention having to parse out new rooms, I did that last fall when I moved. What an experience. Did it again when testing some stuff this spring in a smaller room with a different shape.

When switching speakers, I have several speakers I switch so sometimes I go w few weeks between models.
Each time I plug say the BMR(quite wide D.) in after not using them for a few sessions, and maybe after listening to a significantly narrower design in between, it does take 2,3 or 4 tracks for my ears to get used to them. ( When they do it is lovely and I hold that ability for a few days even if I switch.) Same goes for some others. There are some speakers that I get used to right away on the 1st track even after awhile of down time and yet that doesn't mean I prefer them.
I also seem to hear differently in general if I have been listening for several days each day vs going a week with no hifi sessions.
I can assure you I am certain that could affect a short blind test.

I think that blind testing is supremely important and yet it is still quite limited due to the nature of a test team ultimately needing to draw lines for it to be humanly manageable.

'Real world' was my term for his listening reports in his own system vs. the shootout.

And yes... Shame on him for telling the world what he preferred to own. :rolleyes:

And wow... calling him deluded as if you have the authority to declare what is and 'ain' t in the sound waves'. And how, pray tell, do you know that?

You don't.

The blind shootout wasn't EQ'd. So which speaker's raw frequency response had the greatest deviation from preference? How do you know that some--or all--attendees wouldn't have preferred a different speaker with different EQ applied? You don't.

Do you know if he was using EQ in his personal system? What about automatic room correction? Do you know which one? If so, how do you know what effect room correction might have had on the tonality of each speaker in his system? You don't.

And yet you say he's deluded and you somehow know what wasn't in his soundwaves?

We have no idea what variables led him to prefer one speaker over another in his system, and perhaps most importantly we don't have a blind test that demonstrates preference with each speaker fully optimized.

Perhaps we should stop inferring more credibility to this incomplete and amateur blind speaker test than is warranted. Read it with interest, but also understand the limitations.
Great points IMHO.
 

MakeMineVinyl

Major Contributor
Joined
Jun 5, 2020
Messages
3,558
Likes
5,717
Location
Santa Fe, NM
I've experienced similar "liveness" with horn loaded speakers (Avantgarde Acoustic) but only with pop, rock, jazz, blues. Play some classical music with voices (opera, especially male) and the magic is gone as voices just don't sound natural - at least to me. I haven't come across a speaker with horns I could live with. But I haven't heard the big JBLs at all yet.
Classical orchestral or opera are difficult to get right with horns, and it is something I've struggled to get right. The way I've addressed it is that in my active crossover system I have a variable 'voicing' EQ which can be easily adjusted for different recordings and music types (the range of curves from REW - at the listening position -are below). Expecting a large horn speaker such as a Klipsch or JBL to sound right with something like an opera is just not going to happen most of the time unless you're lucky. Classical recordings vary widely, especially in the pickup of the violins which can sound strident even with a conventional speaker, but especially with an aggressively midrange-forward voiced horn, and that typifies Klipsch, JBL and others I'm sure.

Untitled-1.jpg
 
Last edited:

GXAlan

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 15, 2020
Messages
1,170
Likes
1,890

fpitas

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 7, 2022
Messages
977
Likes
926
Horn speakers have progressed tremendously since the bad old days of Klipsch etc. Maybe it's fun to make off-the-cuff comments based on listening to some horn speaker in 1960, but if you really want to know what you're talking about you need to hear something like the 4367.
 

goat76

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2021
Messages
339
Likes
288
Yes, that's been my unsupported impressions of large horns many for decades.
Speakers that can easily couple to the room and move a lot of air have mostly seemed to offer those positive traits..
If you can't afford the $16k see if your guy can get you a listen to something a little further down in the price points of the Synthesis line.
I've got the HDI-3600 and am very pleased.
I went to a demo of the JBL HDI-3600, or was it the bigger brother HDI-3800?
Anyway, I think they sounded excellent except for one thing that stood out as a negative, the singer on the recordings that should have been located in the phantom center was clearly coming from both the speakers. It was most probably a speaker setup problem, I think.
Are horn-loaded speakers generally more dependent on how they are positioned when it comes to toe-in?

We have a saying in my country that some speakers "sounds like speakers". It's like the sound never leaves the speakers and clearly comes from the position of the two speakers instead of "disappearing" sound-wise as it should be with a correctly reproduced phantom image.
 

fpitas

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 7, 2022
Messages
977
Likes
926
I went to a demo of the JBL HDI-3600, or was it the bigger brother HDI-3800?
Anyway, I think they sounded excellent except for one thing that stood out as a negative, the singer on the recordings that should have been located in the phantom center was clearly coming from both the speakers. It was most probably a speaker setup problem, I think.
Are horn-loaded speakers generally more dependent on how they are positioned when it comes to toe-in?

We have a saying in my country that some speakers "sounds like speakers". It's like the sound never leaves the speakers and clearly comes from the position of the two speakers instead of "disappearing" sound-wise as it should be with a correctly reproduced phantom image.
It's not necessarily a horn thing, in any event. That complaint is aimed at a lot of speakers. My 511s image eerily well, you just can't tell the sound is coming from the speakers.
 

Inner Space

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
1,117
Likes
2,403
Classical orchestral or opera are difficult to get right with horns ...
True as a general statement, but I found the Tune Audio "Anima" to be totally wonderful for orchestral music. (I think @Frank Dernie uses them.) I wasn't convinced by other genres through them, though.

Personally I have found the JBL 4367s to be very convincing all-rounders - in fact when my older pair got damaged, I replaced them like for like, which is super-rare for me ... usually I feel like trying something new, but not anymore ... got to mean something.
 

MakeMineVinyl

Major Contributor
Joined
Jun 5, 2020
Messages
3,558
Likes
5,717
Location
Santa Fe, NM
Horn speakers have progressed tremendously since the bad old days of Klipsch etc. Maybe it's fun to make off-the-cuff comments based on listening to some horn speaker in 1960, but if you really want to know what you're talking about you need to hear something like the 4367.
I have, and the same horn 'problems' exist with some music types. I'm not saying that they are bad or don't sound good, and obviously some people like the way horns present classical music. But horns haven't progressed as much as much as you seem to think - the problems are still there and there isn't a silver bullet to solve them; the weaknesses can only be minimized. Some are better than others, but they're still horns and play by different rules than conventional speakers. Realizing this and designing accordingly can yield spectacular results, but those JBLs are just not voiced with classical music in mind, and considering what a vanishingly small percentage of people listen to classical music, I would agree with JBLs choice to assume classical music listeners will buy something other than a horn. That was certainly their mentality when I was an engineer there. In fact, I don't remember a single instance where I heard classical music being used in their R&D lab.
 
Last edited:
OP
P

paulgyro

Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
88
Likes
65
Come off it, of course 'you' do.

Well that's what I meant anyways! OP didn't do it (except roughly by ear, sighted) and left himself exposed IMHO.
Not by ear, I used spl meter on my phone.
 

fpitas

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 7, 2022
Messages
977
Likes
926
I have, and the same horn 'problems' exist with some music types. I'm not saying that they are bad or don't sound good, and obviously some people like the way horns present classical music. But horns haven't progressed as much as much as you seem to think - the problems are still there and there isn't a silver bullet to solve them; the weaknesses can only be minimized. Some are better than others, but they're still horns and play by different rules than conventional speakers. Realizing this and designing accordingly can yield spectacular results, but those JBLs are just not voiced with classical music in mind, and considering what a vanishingly small percentage of people listen to classical music, I would agree with JBLs choice to assume classical music listeners will buy something other than a horn. That was certainly their mentality when I was an engineer there. In fact, I don't remember a single instance where I heard classical music being used in their R&D lab.
You make some good points. I was thinking about the better crossovers today, higher order than the old BW2, and the newer horns like the 4367 that were seemingly inspired by the TAD TH4003.
 

MakeMineVinyl

Major Contributor
Joined
Jun 5, 2020
Messages
3,558
Likes
5,717
Location
Santa Fe, NM
You make some good points. I was thinking about the better crossovers today, higher order than the old BW2, and the newer horns like the 4367 that were seemingly inspired by the TAD TH4003.
I've gone through all the crossover order types, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th with BW and LR alignments and ultimately settled on LR 2nd at 500Hz. The problem is that even this can be subject to change to accommodate some recordings, so I have to choose my battles carefully. In my experience, horn systems are far more sensitive to music type and to the balance of particular recordings than conventional cone 'n dome speakers which tend to be very forgiving. Not so with horns which reveal everything. The newest horns I've heard haven't changed that view. Again I need to stress that what I'm saying has to do with classical music reproduction only.
 

fpitas

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 7, 2022
Messages
977
Likes
926
I've gone through all the crossover order types, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th with BW and LR alignments and ultimately settled on LR 2nd at 500Hz. The problem is that even this can be subject to change to accommodate some recordings, so I have to choose my battles carefully. In my experience, horn systems are far more sensitive to music type and to the balance of particular recordings than conventional cone 'n dome speakers which tend to be very forgiving. Not so with horns which reveal everything.
Yeah, that they do. It's nice to hear every detail, but any problems are highlighted. I settled on LR4, after some experiments. For one thing I like to keep the filter response down by at least 20dB by the horn cutoff.
 

Triliza

Active Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2021
Messages
231
Likes
259
Location
Europe
So some of you guys are the horny types, some the Revel type and some I'd suppose the Genelec-like type. What would give some answers about the general preferences would be a Dr. Toole style blind testing with many diverse listeners and music genres among the flagships of the above speakers type. Everything else is just speculations, although the known science is still valid when discussing about these things, and some good points were made in this thread.
 

fpitas

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 7, 2022
Messages
977
Likes
926
So some of you guys are the horny types, some the Revel type and some I'd suppose the Genelec-like type. What would give some answers about the general preferences would be a Dr. Toole style blind testing with many diverse listeners and music genres among the flagships of the above speakers type. Everything else is just speculations, although the known science is still valid when discussing about these things, and some good points were made in this thread.
I heard both the JBL K2 S9900 horn speakers and the Revel Salon2s at the JBL Times Square facility. I was impressed by both of them. Hard to pick a winner.
 
Top Bottom