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Human Speakers 81 dk Review

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 205 88.4%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 18 7.8%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 1 0.4%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 8 3.4%

  • Total voters
    232

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Human Speakers 81 dk. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $1,270 (kit or finished?).
Human Speakers 81 dk 2-way bookshelf speaker review.jpg

Everything from the grill to lacquer finish looks gorgeous. Like the hand written notes on the back (and very recent production date):
Human Speakers 81 dk 2-way bookshelf speaker back panel review.jpg


The grill was stiff and hard to remove so I left it in place. As usual, measurements are performed using Klippel Near-field scanner. I roughly identified center of tweeter through the grill and set it as the acoustic axis.

Company hand builds/modifies its own drivers.

If you are not familiar with my tests, I highly recommend that you watch my video on understanding speaker measurements.

Human Speakers 81 dk Measurements
Let's start with our frequency response measurements:
Human Speakers 81 dk 2-way bookshelf speaker anchoic frequency response Measurements.png

Ouch. We clearly have design issues around the crossover region: peaking before, dip during, followed by a strong resonance. Near-field driver measurements shows why:
Human Speakers 81 dk 2-way bookshelf speaker near field frequency response driver Measurements.png


I think they use a low order crossover which is a mistake together with too low of a woofer drop off relative to where tweeter takes over. Tweeter response also drops by 5 kHz or so. Off-axis response can't help but be as bad:
Human Speakers 81 dk 2-way bookshelf speaker early window anchoic frequency response Measureme...png


Resulting in poor predicted in-room response:
Human Speakers 81 dk 2-way bookshelf speaker predicted in-room frequency response Measurements.png


I was surprised how bad distortion was:
Human Speakers 81 dk 2-way bookshelf speaker relative THD DIstortion response Measurements.png



Human Speakers 81 dk 2-way bookshelf speaker THD DIstortion response Measurements.png


I could hear distortion during the test sweeps through my hearing protection at 96 dBSPL!

Dispersion is wide making it less critical to toe in the speaker:
Human Speakers 81 dk 2-way bookshelf speaker Horizontal Beamwidth Measurements.png

Human Speakers 81 dk 2-way bookshelf speaker Horizontal directivity Measurements.png


We have the usual, narrow 2-way vertical smoothness:
Human Speakers 81 dk 2-way bookshelf speaker vertical directivity Measurements.png


Impedance is reasonable but shows a number of resonances:
Human Speakers 81 dk 2-way bookshelf speaker impedance and phase response Measurements.png


Same as waterfall:
Human Speakers 81 dk 2-way bookshelf speaker CSD Waterfall Measurements.png


Finally, here is the step response:
Human Speakers 81 dk 2-way bookshelf speaker Step response Measurements.png


I am a bit under the weather so no listening tests. If I get a chance, I will take a listen tomorrow and post.

Conclusions
Sometimes beauty is skin deep and that is what we have with 81 dk. Company is proud of its custom drivers but both demonstrate very obvious flaws. Woofer has a strong resonance and tweeter lacks high frequency treble response. Crossover design adds to this by allowing the woofer resonance to force its way out and a gap to exist with the tweeter response. Result is a colored and flawed speaker.

Can't recommend the Human Speakers 81 dk. Company needs to up its game, measure and fix obvious issues with its design. The enclosure is gorgeous and deserves better guts.

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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/
 

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amirm

amirm

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Location
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ModelDriver
Complement
Power
Handling (RMS)
Frequency Response (+/-2 dB)Dimensions in inches
(H x W x D)
Weight in pounds (each)
81 DK8" woofer
1" tweeter
17538 to 26k18½ × 11½x 14½ 29
 
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ReDFoX

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What a terrible start of a new year...
 

Hart

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Feel better A...why would you take all the trouble of creating a speaker company, modify drivers, spend the money on good cabinets...and end up with a really uneven product? It seems like you would create a really good sounding prototype first, then you have something to take to market. Seems backwards.
 

alex-z

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Hand building drivers is almost never a good thing. There are so many cheap and decent drivers you can just buy off the shelf these days.

Out of curiosity, would you say the majority of those resonances come from the cabinet, or is it just the woofer behaving poorly?
 

Blumlein 88

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Have we seen any speaker that looks like a big ugly box, that’s actually any good?
This is a good question. I built some speakers as your basic box once. It was a disappointment though we didn't have the ways to measure we do now. I concluded the flat baffle was an issue. I made sculpted front piece that was rounded and something like a smooth version of what Harman uses around the tweeter. I thought it significantly helped the sound. My meager measurements concurred. Maybe there is a market for making such an add-on to improve old well built box speakers.

Anyone haves spin curves for a Harbeth? Or do they all end up something like the Monitor 30 Amir tested?
 
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