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Neumann KH420 vs Revel PerformaBe F228be or F328be

a|F

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Out of curiosity, why would this be an issue with 4.1 but not 5.1? I can’t imagine how the addition of a center channel would alleviate consistency issues with the rear surrounds at extreme seat positions.

In particular, what I want to remain possible in a music room setup is at least “good” sound even from a couch spanning the rear wall. It seems like the closer you are to the rear corners (if there are surrounds located there), the more distorted the soundstage will be due to the SPL of the surround increasing at 1/r^2 as r approaches 0 (as well as it’s time of flight decreasing), whereas with only wide beam front speakers there are no such “singularity artifacts” in the rear sound field to contend with.
I had a similar predicament in my last house with the couch on the rear wall and ended up mounting the rears quite high to maximize the distance to nearest seat. No one ever complained and given your expected compliment of speakers... could work well if surrounds are on the docket.

My basement setup has F208's in stereo and a 2nd couch on the back wall. The sound back there is phenomenal. The wives don't complain.

I just skimmed the thread, so apologies if these thoughts aren't all that applicable.
 
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echopraxia

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Maybe I misunderstood your original statement, but the stereo soundstage gets spatially distorted as soon as you move off-center, and it's not because of reflections at all, it's because the phantom image created by the direct sound doesn't work properly unless the listener is in the center. Using a center speaker stabilizes the soundstage so that it is no longer highly dependent on the listener's position. The surround speakers add envelopment/width of the soundstage/whatever you want to call it, but that's all they do. It also fixes the timbre problem that stereo has due to comb filtering but that's not directly relevant.

The question about whether the surrounds are disruptive or not is purely one of distance to me. If they have to be right against a listener's ears, then yeah, that's going to be a problem. If you have at least 0.5m distance though, I don't think the likely 3-4dB change going from, say, 1m in the center to 0.5m is going to be a deal breaker. More distance is better of course, if you can manage 1.5m-to-speaker for side seats and 2m for center seat, that's only going to be a change of maybe 1.5-2dB in most rooms. (using Toole's 3-4dB DD standard throughout here, not 6dB) I doubt most people could even notice that considering the levels of the surrounds in general are going to be heavily masked by the far louder fronts.



That's true but we're not discussing quad here really(rear surrounds), we're discussing sides, which do pretty well for envelopment in that study even without the center.
Ah, yeah what I was describing as stereo soundstage distortion is not the shifting effect when moving around with stereo speakers, but just the inevitable outcome of sitting with your ear up against (or audibly closer to) a rear surround speaker.

However, I hadn’t thought of mounting them on the ceiling or otherwise high up, while pointing angled down (to guarantee some reasonable minimum distance). With coaxials, I’m sure it would be capable of rendering some amazing soundstage results. However, that would get both pricey and a lot of work to set up. If that’s what it takes to rival the soundstage capabilities of ultra wide dispersion stereo speakers, then I must say there’s still something pretty appealing/impressive from the value proposition of wide dispersion stereo towers.

That said, I should probably try to set up my 8330A’s as surrounds in the 8351B system (since I already have them), and see how far I can get that way towards a more enveloping soundstage experience. Maybe it will transcend to a new level of amazing, after which I’ll never look back to stereo again :)
 

Sancus

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However, that would get both pricey and a lot of work to set up. If that’s what it takes to rival the soundstage capabilities of ultra wide dispersion stereo speakers, then I must say there’s still something pretty appealing/impressive from the value proposition of wide dispersion stereo towers.

Well I think of upmixed stereo as more of a "value add" to a multi-channel system. That's why I have a combined film/tv and music setup. I agree the value is probably not quite there as a pure upmixing system. Especially when you consider the mounting/cabling requirements.
 

HooStat

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That said, I should probably try to set up my 8330A’s as surrounds in the 8351B system (since I already have them), and see how far I can get that way towards a more enveloping soundstage experience. Maybe it will transcend to a new level of amazing, after which I’ll never look back to stereo again
What would you use for the multi-channel processing? A pre-pro of some kind? Or a computer?
 

Arnandsway

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One thing to be aware of when comparing the 8C to other speakers is it's ability to be cardioid in the bass region and have a constant directivity, compared to the more "regular" controlled directivity speakers.

The selling point of the 8C is also that it's a complete system with the ability to load EQ profiles etc. It limitation might be output compared to the other high end speakers. But the cardioid aspect resulting in clearer imaging etc. might trump over output/headroom? I honestly have no idea, because I haven't heard any of those speakers, let alone in a controlled environment.

But it might be good to be aware of the difference in design goals :)
 

Soniclife

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Interesting discussion.

How would the Kii3 fit in, it's a slim box with a shallow waveguide on the tweeter, so I've always assumed it's wide from 2K. Without the bass modules it will strugle with loud compared to the others, but with them it should go plenty loud.
 
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echopraxia

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How would the the KH310+ a sub compare to the KH420?
The KH420 measurements are significantly smoother than the KH310.

On further inspection, it does seem like the Neumann KH420 horizontal beam width is almost exactly the same as my Genelec 8351B’s, so it’s not clear that the Neumann would actually sound much different in terms of the soundstage (which is what I’m looking to find more diversity in).

So while the KH420 is an interesting comparison to Revel towers due to similar price and SPL power, it seems they’re quite different beam styles — wide and smooth DI for the Revels, versus medium and ~constant DI for the Neumann (and Genelec).

So given I already have medium beam width constant DI speakers (Genelec 8351B), it seems if I explore something new it shouldn’t be the Neumann KH420 as that would likely be too similar to the Genelec’s.

That puts the Revel F328Be and D&D 8C at the top of the list. It would be interesting to experience the sound of cardioid bass from the D&D 8C. I wonder if this quality of the bass has any impact on “envelopment” or other soundstage attributes, etc.
 

richard12511

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They are an option, but given that I’ll probably have multiple speakers across multiple rooms over time, it seems like this would be a good opportunity to try something new first in case I like it better. And if I don’t, as long as it’s still a good option for another room, no harm done :) I’m pretty confident I won’t be disappointed with anything from either of these brands.

I'm all for multiple systems and trying something new :). You also seemed to enjoy the F328Be over the Salon2, and the Salon2 over the 8351b. My guess is that wider dispersion is to blame for that.

My problem with the F328Be(without subs) is the extension (-3dB 35Hz). I'd really love to see a dispersion width comparison between the Salon2 and the F328Be. The F328Be is certainly much smoother(measurement wise). Personally, I would have to have subs to complement the F328Be(similar to the 8351b)

I'm torn. On one hand, for true full range sound at ~4m, I might lean towards KH420 or D&D 8C. D&D 8C seems (imo) a bit better at equal volumes than KH420, but it sacrifices max output for LF directivity control. W371A fixes the max output problem, and does the LF directivity even better than the 8C, but at $30,000 is overpriced an almost 3x the cost. The KH420 is (imo) an amazing value(arguably the best) for true full range 2.0 sound, but based on your preferences for wide dispersion, I'd worry about the narrower dispersion. It looks ever so slightly narrower than the 8351b to my eyes(and MS paint), and the fidelity isn't as good, but it makes up for it with max output and extension.

Are you stuck on 2.0? If not, based on your previous preferences, I'd be leaning F328Be + subs. For 2.0, I'm torn between Salon2 and F328Be.
 

richard12511

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Out of curiosity, why would this be an issue with 4.1 but not 5.1? I can’t imagine how the addition of a center channel would alleviate consistency issues with the rear surrounds at extreme seat positions.

In particular, what I want to remain possible in a music room setup is at least “good” sound even from a couch spanning the rear wall. It seems like the closer you are to the rear corners (if there are surrounds located there), the more distorted the soundstage will be due to the SPL of the surround increasing at 1/r^2 as r approaches 0 (as well as it’s time of flight decreasing), whereas with only wide beam front speakers there are no such “singularity artifacts” in the rear sound field to contend with.

IME, it doesn't start beating stereo until you get to 9 channels and Auro3D. The soundstage and image stability is so much more stable with Auro3D than it is with stereo, and the image is 99% as tight. Unfortunately, Auro2D puts the wrong type of sounds in the rear and side channels. I prefer stereo over Auro2D or anything under Auro3D. It annoys me that it takes 9.1(LCR + SL + SR + 4H) to reach a good multichannel upmixer. Why is Auro2D not the same algorithm, but scaled down???
 

richard12511

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I've been summoned! Unfortunately, we don't have NFS results for the Salon2 yet, so I can't do the most accurate comparison, but Soundstage Network's anechoic results should suffice as their directivity measurements have correlated closely with Amir's before. 60 degrees horizontal is the widest overlapping angle (the NRC uses 15-degree increments), plus it's a typical angle for sidewall reflections, so it's what I'm using for this comparison. Keep in mind the NRC also uses a different listening window calculation (+/- 15 degrees for both horizontal and vertical), but that shouldn't affect these results much.

Below I've plotted the Listening Window, 60 degree measurement, and a "60-degrees directivity index" for each speaker. (Ignore the tall spikes at the ends of the graph, that's a small glitch)

View attachment 151028

It seems @echopraxia's ears were not lying =] The Salon2 is, as expected, much wider than the Gelenec in the range where it counts. The F328Be and the Salon2 are actually very similar throughout most of the important range, from roughly 1-10kHz, but the Salon2 ultimately ends up being a little wider due to the bit of a directivity mismatch at 1kHz with the F328Be. What goes on beyond 9-10kHz is unlikely to be of major importance for spatial presentation, but we see the Salon2 does drop off highly in this region.

That said, this is just one angle. I've noticed that sometimes speakes have a quicker or slower 'directivity roll-off' at further angles. If If I estimate the F328Be's 75-degree angle in VituixCAD by interpolating the 70 and 80 degree results, and compare it against the Salon2's measured 75 degree angle as actually measured by SSN, the Salon2 appears to maintain its wide directivity a little more (not to mention the 1kHz problem remains in the F328Be):

View attachment 151029

Although the F328Be does appear to be a little flatter than the Salon2 and it has better controlled vertical directivity per the spinorama, the Salon2 is still the slightly wider speaker and appears to have better controlled horizontal directivity overall. Indeed, I'm quite sure the Salon2 is still the widest directivity speaker that also has directivity this well-controlled that I've seen anechoic data for (and I've messed with the data for a LOT of speakers). I think the spinorama graph alone significantly underestimates the Salon2's performance.

Couple that with better bass output (per Harman's spins, the NRC measurements arent reliable below 100Hz), and IMO the Salon2 still reigns as the best of the Harman speakers in terms of my interpretations of the measurements.

Wow! Thank you so much for this. This is exactly what I've been looking for. I probably need to hear them side by side(I'll be in NYC in December).
 
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richard12511

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Interesting discussion.

How would the Kii3 fit in, it's a slim box with a shallow waveguide on the tweeter, so I've always assumed it's wide from 2K. Without the bass modules it will strugle with loud compared to the others, but with them it should go plenty loud.

From what I understand, the Kii3 is noticeably wider dispersion than the 8C, and better in terms of LF directivity control, but it suffers even more for max output.
 

richard12511

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The KH420 measurements are significantly smoother than the KH310.

On further inspection, it does seem like the Neumann KH420 horizontal beam width is almost exactly the same as my Genelec 8351B’s, so it’s not clear that the Neumann would actually sound much different in terms of the soundstage (which is what I’m looking to find more diversity in).

So while the KH420 is an interesting comparison to Revel towers due to similar price and SPL power, it seems they’re quite different beam styles — wide and smooth DI for the Revels, versus medium and ~constant DI for the Neumann (and Genelec).

So given I already have medium beam width constant DI speakers (Genelec 8351B), it seems if I explore something new it shouldn’t be the Neumann KH420 as that would likely be too similar to the Genelec’s.

That puts the Revel F328Be and D&D 8C at the top of the list. It would be interesting to experience the sound of cardioid bass from the D&D 8C. I wonder if this quality of the bass has any impact on “envelopment” or other soundstage attributes, etc.

Couldn't agree with this more. The KH420 worries me(based just on your preferences) in that it would just be a slightly less perfect 8351b with better extension. I'd much rather have several different systems. The F328Be brings the wider dispersion(but may need subs), and the 8C brings the low frequency directivity control(which research shows leads to higher subjective scores). Erin's review of the 8C showed that it can do 105dB full range at ~4m, which is pretty loud.
 

Frgirard

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Couldn't agree with this more. The KH420 worries me(based just on your preferences) in that it would just be a slightly less perfect 8351b with better extension. I'd much rather have several different systems. The F328Be brings the wider dispersion(but may need subs), and the 8C brings the low frequency directivity control(which research shows leads to higher subjective scores). Erin's review of the 8C showed that it can do 105dB full range at ~4m, which is pretty loud.
105 in a room untreated it's easy for numerous speakers.
The cardioid doesn't works under 100 Hz. Area where the challenge is big.
 

galanakop

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Can you tell me a good combination of preamplifier for 328fe ??? I'm thinking about buying right away
 
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echopraxia

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Can you tell me a good combination of preamplifier for 328fe ??? I'm thinking about buying right away
No need to “pair” things, just find really good components as reviewed by ASR. Thanks to Amir’s equipment measurements, we know now that we can buy signal chain components that are perfectly audibly transparent — without paying exorbitant “high end audio” prices.

In my case, since all my sources are digital, all I need is a really good DAC and power amps, and I’m done! Many of the best DACs reviewed by ASR have a built-in volume knob as well, which achieves the same effect as digitally controlling the volume. So for example I typically use my miniDSP SHD as a DAC (which I can also use for DSP room correction of the bass) and “digital preamp”, depending on the source. I’ve also tried the Topping DX7 Pro DAC (which is a better DAC than the miniDSP SHD), but I cannot tell any audible difference, so I’m satisfied that both DACs are on a level of perfection far in excess of what even the best speakers are capable of revealing.

Often I stream music from my Sonos Port, where I connect the digital output from the Sonos Port into the digital input of the miniDSP SHD, so that I bypass the Sonos Port’s DAC and use the miniDSP DAC’s (which ASR has measured and I know are very good). Often I just allow the Sonos Port to digitally control volume levels so the volume can be easily adjusted from my phone/tablet where I am controlling the streaming content.

There isn’t really any loss of sound quality AFAIK when using a DAC and digitally attenuating the signal — as long as the DAC’s measured dynamic range is good enough, I believe it’s linearity and SINAD will often give better results than adding an intermediate dedicated preamp stage to the chain, though I could be wrong.
 

Laserjock

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No need to “pair” things, just find really good components as reviewed by ASR. Thanks to Amir’s equipment measurements, we know now that we can buy signal chain components that are perfectly audibly transparent — without paying exorbitant “high end audio” prices.

In my case, since all my sources are digital, all I need is a really good DAC and power amps, and I’m done! Many of the best DACs reviewed by ASR have a built-in volume knob as well, which achieves the same effect as digitally controlling the volume. So for example I typically use my miniDSP SHD as a DAC (which I can also use for DSP room correction of the bass) and “digital preamp”, depending on the source. I’ve also tried the Topping DX7 Pro DAC (which is a better DAC than the miniDSP SHD), but I cannot tell any audible difference, so I’m satisfied that both DACs are on a level of perfection far in excess of what even the best speakers are capable of revealing.

Often I stream music from my Sonos Port, where I connect the digital output from the Sonos Port into the digital input of the miniDSP SHD, so that I bypass the Sonos Port’s DAC and use the miniDSP DAC’s (which ASR has measured and I know are very good). Often I just allow the Sonos Port to digitally control volume levels so the volume can be easily adjusted from my phone/tablet where I am controlling the streaming content.

There isn’t really any loss of sound quality AFAIK when using a DAC and digitally attenuating the signal — as long as the DAC’s measured dynamic range is good enough, I believe it’s linearity and SINAD will often give better results than adding an intermediate dedicated preamp stage to the chain, though I could be wrong.
I can bring my Schiit Freya S
 
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