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omnidirectional loudspeakers = best design available

EJ3

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Who ever said that?
The local dealer at the time.

Many people had them hung in precise locations like hanging plants.

About 6 years ago my wife & I were 60% owners of a Karaoke Club in Guam and she had bought some industrial BOSE speakers on stands. She did not like the sound compared to a set of speakers (which ones, I don't know I was not on Guam at the time) that she took from our home to compare them to. She relegated the BOSE to the VIP room & used our home speakers for the main room. (When I did come home on weekends, I was to busy to be checking what she had hauled to the bar). The speakers that I was using on the main home system where my Dahlquist 905's and it wasn't them, so I wasn't concerned.
 
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oivavoi

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What omnis do better than any other speaker design IMO is incorporate the sound of the room into the music being played to create the illusion of live music being played in one's own room. This only works for certain recordings without a lot of room effects or added room effects already in them, i.e. recordings made in acoustically dead recording studios and mastered without any added reverb. These kinds of recordings wouldn't sound particularly lively on controlled directivity studio monitors in an acoustically controlled room where room effects are minimized.

What they don't do well is give someone a "window" into the recording and create the illusion that he is sitting in a concert hall for example. They can create a very convincing three dimensional hologram of sound, but they are not going to transport you to another place.

I wouldn't recommend them to anyone who is only going to have one system. They are too restricted in utility when it comes to the range of music we have available.
Very much this. This applies to broad vs narrow dispersion generally. Narrow dispersion can create a more precise window onto another room, whereas wide dispersion creates the impression that music is being played in your own room. I like both, but if I have to choose I will go for the "musicians in your room" experience. Omnis and (some) horns are on opposite ends of the spectrum, with most speakers landing somewhere in the middle. There is certainly room for both. For me, being a relatively experienced amateur musician and singer with a love for acoustic music, other kinds of setups never really fool me into believing the soundstage is real (I've never been to a concert where the soundstage changed when I stood up). But I also love big horns for example. Horses for courses.

Btw, which iteration of the Morrison speakers do you have? I ordered a pair a couple of years ago, never having heard them, but based on attempted rational design considerations (I like omnis in general, and these seemed to me to be the best design out there). But Morrison ran into some production challenges, so I'm still waiting! In the future I hope to build up a good multichannel rig as well, either logic 7 or auro 3d and appropriate speakers. One setup for the ultimate "musicians playing in my room" experience, and another for the ultimate "being transported to another venue" experience.
 

nerdoldnerdith

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Very much this. This applies to broad vs narrow dispersion generally. Narrow dispersion can create a more precise window onto another room, whereas wide dispersion creates the impression that music is being played in your own room. I like both, but if I have to choose I will go for the "musicians in your room" experience. Omnis and (some) horns are on opposite ends of the spectrum, with most speakers landing somewhere in the middle. There is certainly room for both. For me, being a relatively experienced amateur musician and singer with a love for acoustic music, other kinds of setups never really fool me into believing the soundstage is real (I've never been to a concert where the soundstage changed when I stood up). But I also love big horns for example. Horses for courses.

Btw, which iteration of the Morrison speakers do you have? I ordered a pair a couple of years ago, never having heard them, but based on attempted rational design considerations (I like omnis in general, and these seemed to me to be the best design out there). But Morrison ran into some production challenges, so I'm still waiting! In the future I hope to build up a good multichannel rig as well, either logic 7 or auro 3d and appropriate speakers, with narrow dispersion speakers. One setup for the ultimate "musicians playing in my room" experience, and another for the ultimate "being transported to another venue" experience.
I have the Model 19.1's with upgraded Model 29 tweeters that I had to use to replace the 19.1 tweeters after blowing them.
 

Harmonie

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Interesting. The OP said a few provocative things and disappeared...:)
That's exactly what I was thinking yesterday and @watchnerd got the point in his last post #80.

It's not the first time that a relatively new member opens a thread and we folks just debate here and there, fill page after page and hopefully end with a pizza with pineapple subject.

I'll be more careful in the future and refrain from just jumping in.
Hope that @BDWoody will help us all here and just close it.
 

Duke

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I have a female friend that has a pair sitting on top of her Altec Lansing's in a walk in closet. She says the the 901's only sounded good when used in conjunction with the Altec's (although she did set up the 901's as per spec, then added that Altec's to the room).
This is extremely creative and very intriguing!

Here is what I'm envisioning, can you correct as needed? Her speakers, big(?) Altecs with 901's on top (presumably with the eight drivers facing backwards and the one forwards) are both in a large walk-in closet. Then she listens in the room that the closet faces into. Is this about right?

Is the closet filled with clothes, or what? Roughly how big is it? I'm interested in what sort of environment the 901's are "seeing".

What are your impressions of the sound?

Thanks!
 

EJ3

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This is extremely creative and very intriguing!

Here is what I'm envisioning, can you correct as needed? Her speakers, big(?) Altecs with 901's on top (presumably with the eight drivers facing backwards and the one forwards) are both in a large walk-in closet. Then she listens in the room that the closet faces into. Is this about right?

Is the closet filled with clothes, or what? Roughly how big is it? I'm interested in what sort of environment the 901's are "seeing".

What are your impressions of the sound?

Thanks!
At this point in time the Altecs (having ben refurbished) come out for use, the BOSE may also come out but I have not seen them out in quite sometime. In a previous home they were in the room with the BOSE (set up however they were supposed to be and run first) and the ALTECs run by themselves, adjusted to personal preference as to location, toe in, etc. Then the combination was run. She states that the BOSE by themselves do not sound particularly good but that in conjunction with the Altecs, the two seem to be complimentary. This was in a moderate sized bedroom, as is the current location. At the current location her partner doesn't give a damn about music, so however she listens no is not set up as she would like it to be. And I am not privy to their bedroom, so...
 

Duke

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Thank you EJ3. So the closet is just where they are stored when not in use.

Still imo this is a VERY INTERESTING system.

She states that the BOSE by themselves do not sound particularly good but that in conjunction with the Altecs, the two seem to be complimentary. This was in a moderate sized bedroom...
So she is getting a clear stream of direct sound from the highly directional Altecs, followed by a time gap with relatively few early reflections (imo she'd probably be better off with a thick foam block strapped in front of that single forward-facing Bose driver), and then a "surge" of relatively late-onset reflections as the rear-firing energy of the 901s arrives, along with reflections from the Altecs. The Altecs are presumably much higher in efficiency than the 901's, so the relative contribution from the 901s isn't actually very large.

One thing that the rear-firing energy of the 901s does is this: It pushes the temporal "center of gravity" of the reflections back in time, and therefore disrupts the "small room signature" that would otherwise dominate. This makes it more likely that, with a good recording, the acoustic signature of the recording venue will come through and dominate.

It is also possible that the rear-firing energy of the 901s improves the timbre. If so that would be a happy accident, as obviously the two were not designed to complement one another. In any event the 901s will offset any tendency of the Altecs to sound a bit "dry".

The reason your post about the Altec/901 hybrid system caught my eye is because I've been doing something conceptually similar for many years, and plan to keep doing it for many more.
 
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jhaider

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Good catch! I should have said something like "assuming they get the on-axis response right, omnis NAIL the spectral balance of the reverberant field." Obviously if the one is "dark", then so is the other. Thanks for pointing out my mistake.

edit: Maybe I sorta covered it by using this qualifier: "a good omni..."
I'm curious what you're suggesting, then: omni with flattish on-axis FR rather than downsloping?

OMD-5 as voiced from the factory will have a power response similar to a standard monopole. That can be changed with some fairly simple EQ...
 

EJ3

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Thank you EJ3. So the closet is just where they are stored when not in use.

Still imo this is a VERY INTERESTING system.



So she is getting a clear stream of direct sound from the highly directional Altecs, followed by a time gap with relatively few early reflections (imo she'd probably be better off with a thick foam block strapped in front of that single forward-facing Bose driver), and then a "surge" of relatively late-onset reflections as the rear-firing energy of the 901s arrives, along with reflections from the Altecs. The Altecs are presumably much higher in efficiency than the 901's, so the relative contribution from the 901s isn't actually very large.

One thing that the rear-firing energy of the 901s does is this: It pushes the temporal "center of gravity" of the reflections back in time, and therefore disrupts the "small room signature" that would otherwise dominate. This makes it more likely that, with a good recording, the acoustic signature of the recording venue will come through and dominate.

It is also possible that the rear-firing energy of the 901s improves the timbre. If so that would be a happy accident, as obviously the two were not designed to complement one another. In any event the 901s will offset any tendency of the Altecs to sound a bit "dry".

The reason your post about the Altec/901 hybrid system caught my eye is because I've been doing something conceptually similar for many years, and plan to keep doing it for many more.
 

EJ3

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Duke, the system has gone though a drastic change: I texted back & forth with her a couple of times (very unusual for her, she's more of a "I don't text" type person than I am (and I have a considerable aversion to texting). The current system that she is using involves Electro Voice (I presume that is what she meant by EV's) & Cerwin Vegas. She says that the arrangement is not optimal because she is space limited. I think that sometime this month I'll make the drive and take a look.
She said that she hasn't used the 901's in a couple of decades (as for me, I was 8000 miles away from 2001-2018), so I missed being around when she changed out.
 
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Duke

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I'm curious what you're suggesting, then: omni with flattish on-axis FR rather than downsloping?
Personally I neither use nor generally advocate omnis. I do use and advocate some types of polydirectionals (and can get more specific if you'd like but it involves stuff that I'm commercially involved with, and I try not to be overly commercial.)

I have a preference for minimizing the spectral discrepancy between the direct and reverberant sound, which implies a preference for using no more absorption than necessary in the room. In situations where minimizing the difference is feasible, my observation (based on feedback from customers and colleagues) is that both the direct and reverberant sounds should be gently downward-sloping in spectral balance. Briefly, I think the ear/brain system finds it easier to correctly classify reflections when they are spectrally similar to the first-arrival sound, and "flat" sounds "too bright".

But exactly where the goal posts should be presumably varies from one loudspeaker topology to the next. Floyd Toole on the subject:

"Remember, the Harman curve relates to conventional forward-firing loudspeaker designs. Legitimate reasons for differences are different loudspeaker directivities - omni, dipoles, etc. - or rooms that are elaborately acoustically treated, or both."
 
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Alice of Old Vincennes

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Yes and no. Under controlled circumstances where someone isn't off at an absurd angle this is an option. When the seating does have such angles though, to where the off-axis levels drop to much, omnis have a distinct advantage. For example when I was a kid and we watched movies I would easily be 60-75 degrees off-axis at times. For such extreme cases I think omnis serve a purpose.
I just don't buy it. A 3 way center with good spin will handle dialogue at extreme off-axis. I just tested. I can hear dialogue at 90 degrees. Very few centers meet this criteria.
 

EJ3

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Personally I neither use nor generally advocate omnis.

A new response from my female friend as to why she dropped the BOSE out of her system: They need to be refurbished and I m not really interested in doing it. She just went to something else from that era.
 
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I just don't buy it. A 3 way center with good spin will handle dialogue at extreme off-axis. I just tested. I can hear dialogue at 90 degrees. Very few centers meet this criteria.
Let's walk through this objectively:

I think we can agree that any good 3-way should have good horizontal dispersion, let's take the NHT C3 for example. Soundstage measured it here. Compare the on-axis sound level to the 60 and 75 degree levels. We're seeing 5-8dB down easily before 1Khz. Imagine you had five of these in a 5.1 configuration and some seating falls in line or right of the right channel. Combine this with being off-axis of the center by 60 degrees or more. Yes, this sounds like dumb placement and you'd be right! You could be well within the listening window of the right channel, but struggling with the center and don't even dream about hearing the left. If the right channel is quiet you might hear some dialogue, but something happens and you're battling masking. I've been to multiple friends' homes over the years and there's a non-trivial amount that had compromised seating like that. Unfortunately you'll have to take my word that such a poor layout can and has existed.

This is all before you even get into arguments with other viewers about loudness. Remember, those in the sweet spot are likely the ones controlling the volume. As such that 5-8dB difference is the difference between clearly hearing for you and being obnoxiously loud for them.

The above is the type of situation later Mirage designs used to get recommended for a lot, especially wallmount omnisats as they were easy to place and seen as "forgiving" from a coverage standpoint. Omnis can still work in some of the most lackluster situations, especially small/medium room home theaters. They will never be the best, but they can be a fallback nuclear option when fixing positioning/layout simply isn't an option due to whatever constraints. That is the only claim I'm making.
 

bluefuzz

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You then have a chance to hear the artists intent.
We all like to laugh at the 'even my wife could hear it' stories, but there is an implicit acknowledgment in these stories that different people hear different things even in the same room listening to the same sounds. Not only do we all have different physical characteristics – eg. ears – we all have different interests, biases, psychological makeups, life histories etc. It's ridiculous and naïve to imagine just by using traditional 'monkey coffin' speakers brings you any closer to 'the artists intent' than omnis or any other kind of loudspeaker technology. Even if we could magically reproduce the exact acoustic properties of the concert hall or mixing room in our own home we still can't get inside the artist's or producer's head to know what she really heard or wanted to hear. All we can hope to reproduce is the actual recording, be it cd, vinyl, tape, stream etc.
If you throw Omni speakers into the end of that chain it doesn't make any sort of logical sense to believe you will magically have "live music sound" or any other such nonsense
Of course not, but as long as the omni (and the rest of the audio chain) can reasonably accurately reproduce the frequencies on the recording then they are as valid a way to listen as any other speaker type ...
 

RayDunzl

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What is the optimal number of omni speakers to have in a room?
 

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