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Roger Sanders' views on audio: The discussion thread

garbulky

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#81
I listen to Sanders speakers at every audio show. They sound really good on some content. The problem I have with them is that you always hear the signature of the speakers over the music. Everything sounds large, tall, etc. when they shouldn't.

Roger writes extremely well though. I really like his articles (which he wrote for us in another forum) on electronics, and general audio topics.
As stereo cannot accurately account for height in recordings AFAIK, I guess the only way to keep scaled sizes proper is by having appropriately sized speakers?
 

garbulky

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#82
From what I gather beaming means that room reflections are changed. Have there been any listening tests done to describe the difference in listening?
 
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#83
As stereo cannot accurately account for height in recordings AFAIK, I guess the only way to keep scaled sizes proper is by having appropriately sized speakers?
I think a good speaker can reproduce height although I'm not sure many recordings have height information.

The Audiocheck site has a number of speaker imaging tests among them being a height test called UP Left and UP Right and an Over test where the sound travels from one speaker to the other in an arc.

https://www.audiocheck.net/audiotests_ledr.php

Lots of other interesting tests (including hearing loss :eek:) on the site.
 

Jakob1863

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#84
Although any height information isn´t encoded in the usual stereophonic programm material that does not prevent listeners from experiencing differences in height.
It seems that our brain always tries to construct something useful from the informations processed and in doing that it relies strongly on past experiences. Which cues are processed (and in which way) depends on the presentation (i.e. different speaker directivity patterns and soundfield distribution) and on learned information. Sometimes it obviously makes more sense to our brain to perceive something above the speaker plane, see for example the elevation of a "phantom sound source" perceived in the median plane infront of the listener if both speakers (assuming a two channel stereophonic setup) are reproducing the same content.
 

watchnerd

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#85
Well yes, but I added some other plots after your reply. Sorry, didn't intend to trip anyone up. The Sanders speakers seem to have less of an issue than other ESLs. The Salon and Magico shows conventional speakers can be quite exceptional. And there are several more brands of conventional speakers that do well on the decay aspect.
Here are the decay plots for the Dynaudio Contour 20 (disclosure: I own a pair), with decay results pretty much on par with the Magico (at a fraction of the price):


Having lived with 2 sets of Martin Logans for 15+ years, I can say that SOTA cone/dome midrange now pretty much matches electrostats in subjective detail and resolution (at least comparing my Contour 20 to ML), and almost, but not quite on transient speed. Ringing and box resonances very controlled these days, meaning things don't sound "boxy".
 

Cosmik

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#86
...SOTA cone/dome midrange now pretty much matches electrostats in subjective detail and resolution (at least comparing my Contour 20 to ML), and almost, but not quite on transient speed.
If the cone/dome measures correctly in terms of its frequency and phase response (assuming DSP because it's SOTA), how can "transient speed" be anything but perfect?
 

Jakob1863

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#88
Interesting. Please do!
Audiostatic ES900R distortion see the image attached.

JA measured distortion on the Quad 2805 and mentioned having seen Martin Colloms obtaining numbers <0.1% from the Quad ESL63 as well:

https://www.stereophile.com/content/quad-reference-esl-2805-loudspeaker-measurements

Iirc i´ve measured comparable numbers from Quads roughly ten years ago, but unfortunately have not saved it; maybe i´ll do it again.
Measurement uncertainty is a bit higher than usual as distortion for a microphone isn´t specified at these low levels, so i can specify the source/amplifier and analyzer but not the microphone/preamplifier combination.
Of course we can extrapolate from the numbers given by Brüel & Kjaer for much higher sound pressure levels (should be safe) and for the microphone preamplifier as well (which normally only contributes significantly to the distortion overall if the clipping limit is nearly reached).
So the distortion figure for the mic/preamplifier combination is probably around or even below 0.01% if measurements are done at ~80 - 90 dBr / 1m .
 

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oivavoi

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#89
Audiostatic ES900R distortion see the image attached.

JA measured distortion on the Quad 2805 and mentioned having seen Martin Colloms obtaining numbers <0.1% from the Quad ESL63 as well:

https://www.stereophile.com/content/quad-reference-esl-2805-loudspeaker-measurements

Iirc i´ve measured comparable numbers from Quads roughly ten years ago, but unfortunately have not saved it; maybe i´ll do it again.
Measurement uncertainty is a bit higher than usual as distortion for a microphone isn´t specified at these low levels, so i can specify the source/amplifier and analyzer but not the microphone/preamplifier combination.
Of course we can extrapolate from the numbers given by Brüel & Kjaer for much higher sound pressure levels (should be safe) and for the microphone preamplifier as well (which normally only contributes significantly to the distortion overall until the clipping limit is nearly reached).
So the distortion figure for the mic/preamplifier combination is probably around or even below 0.01% if measurements are done at ~80 - 90 dBr / 1m .
Thanks! That distortion does indeed seem close to unmeasurable.
 

Jakob1863

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#90
You´re welcome. :)
Compared to measuring distortion from for example amplifiers it is more complicated to get the microphone calibrated to know about the uncertaincy if you want to assess the distortion at low levels.

Just found some information about the measurement conditions wrt Audiostatics. The measurements were done by a german hifi magazine called "Hifivision" in 1990. They used an anechoic room for measurement (anechoic down to 150 Hz) and sound level was 90 dB (100 Hz - 4kHz) above 4 kHz - 10 kHz the level was reduced to be more comparable to the level distribution in typical music material. I couldn´t find detailed informations about the calculations used.

Brüel & Kjaer information about microphone/microphone-preamplifier distortion, see the attached picture.
 

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RayDunzl

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#91
That distortion does indeed seem close to unmeasurable.
My MartinLogan electrostats:

upload_2018-4-16_5-35-49.png


Higher SPL will bring the harmonics up some more, but for reasonable listening levels, clean enough. The third is -65dB above. Higher harmonics are still below the noise floor.

The only thing I have measurements for that would beat/match it is DallasJustice's new M2 setup.
 

oivavoi

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#92
So it does seem, based on input from @Jakob1863 and @RayDunzl , that electrostat technology is capable of delivering extremely low distorsion and energy storage etc.

But it also seems like some modern cone & dome speakers might be able to rival or at least come close to those distorsion numbers these days.

Is that a reasonable summary?
 

RayDunzl

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#93
But it also seems like some modern cone & dome speakers might be able to rival or at least come close to those distorsion numbers these days.

Is that a reasonable summary?
Yes, but distortion measurements, though considered absolutely essential for published commentary on electronic gear, seem to be almost entirely lacking with speaker reviews/measurements, so you don't know until you do it yourself or demand it from someone else who can.

My modern cone & dome JBL doesn't do as well.
 
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Fitzcaraldo215

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#94
I listen to Sanders speakers at every audio show. They sound really good on some content. The problem I have with them is that you always hear the signature of the speakers over the music. Everything sounds large, tall, etc. when they shouldn't.

Roger writes extremely well though. I really like his articles (which he wrote for us in another forum) on electronics, and general audio topics.
I don't know about Sanders speakers. I have not heard them. But, with my own, tall electrostats, I just don't hear the "large, tall" you describe. That is also true in comparison to other more conventional dynamic driver systems, though those comparisons are from memory in different rooms at different times, not side-by-side, but similar in some ways to how you formed your own impressions visiting different rooms at shows.

I use tall ML Prodigys up front together with a horizontal ML Stage center plus ML Claritys in the 110 degree surround positions, but up on 2 foot tall stands. The center is mounted above my TV, even extending somewhat above the tops of the Prodigies, but carefully aimed down to ear level at the sweet spot via a laser level. So, most everything except the center extends via the panels from below ear height to well above it in terms of wave launch. The horizontal center has a short, cropped electrostat midrange and a dome tweeter flanked by two small woofers, used at lowish xover points.

Since the visual cues from stats or other panels strongly suggest "tall", and since spatial presentation is a high priority of mine, I have tried to pay close attention to whether there was a sense of vertical stretching or smearing of the image. So far, I have heard absolutely none that I notice. Visiting audiophile friends concur in comparison to their own non-panel systems.

What I do perceive is an uncanny ability to portray apparent height with some recordings. I believe I can often determine if middle and rear sections of an orchestra are on risers or not via recordings. Subsequent searches for photographic or other evidence of the physical deployment of the orchestra always seemed to bear this out when I had no a priori knowledge for a specific orchestra. Again, my audiophile friends concur and remark at the phenomenon, which their own Magico, Revel, etc. systems seem unable to reproduce, certainly to nowhere near the same extent.

Last week, I attended a sublime concert at Corpus Christi Church in NYC by Stile Antico, a brilliant, young English a capella choral group specializing in Renaissance and Elizabethan sacred music. Their Harmonia Mundi Mch SACDs are among my very most precious. Playing their recordings upon returning home again revealed no vertical stretching of the image of a dozen or so point source vocalists arrayed in a gentle arc across the stage. Corpus Christi and its largely Georgian (?) reproduction interior of wood and plaster did not acoustically provide the same degree of wonderful, diffuse envelopment that their Mch recordings do, including in the vertical dimension, likely because the recording venues are older, taller, larger English churches, abbeys and cathedrals of masonry.

I also pay close attention to whether that differently configured, horizontal center channel speaker causes any imaging discontinuities at center stage, again including vertical ones, due to the mounting height of my center channel. I hear none with Stile Antico. The voices have always appeared to be in a continuous horizontal line across the frontal soundstage, just as they are in performance, and I am really glad I finally got to see and hear them live. Ditto with center imaging for small ensemble chamber groups, like string or piano trios, string quartets, sextets, octets, etc.

But, actually my recordings of Stile Antico come off strikingly well in all ways vs. my impressions from live performance. And, I cannot say it enough, their music is simply spellbinding. It was for the music that I attended the concert and it is for the music that I play recordings at all. But, wearing the other hat and analyzing the sonics is also an inseparable part of my DNA. I don't find it detracts from my enjoyment of the music itself in any way. Actually, it enhances it.

Sorry for all the anecdotal and subjective impressions. But, we are talking imaging, a topic for which we lack good objective measures.
 

Frank Dernie

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#95
Yes, but distortion measurements, though considered absolutely essential for published commentary on electronic gear, seem to be almost entirely lacking with speaker reviews/measurements, so you don't know until you do it yourself or demand it from someone else who can.

My modern cone & dome JBL doesn't do as well.
HiFi News measures distortion at 100 Hz, 1kHz and 10 kHz for 90dB at 1m in their speaker tests. They also show a frequency response and waterfall plot and -6dB point in bass and treble.
 

RayDunzl

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#96
with my own, tall electrostats, I just don't hear the "large, tall" you describe
When I switch between my little JBL and the panels, it's width that noticeably changes, not height.

The JBL are up high, tweeter about 15" above my head, woofer about even with the middle of the panel, just because that's where I could stick them (on top of flanking subs), so that may affect my mileage.
 

RayDunzl

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#97
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Jakob1863

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#98
Studio monitor manufacturers usually publish distortion figures/graphs for their loudspeakers and beside the british mag Frank Dernie mentioned, the german stereophile measures routinely level and distortion vs. frequency for 85 - 100 dBr (or is it dB SPL, i´ve to check) and at least for a while a weg mag cooperated with Anselm Goertz who did the measurements for loudspeakers, see for example :

https://www.fidelity-magazin.de/2016/08/23/kef-reference-1-messungen/

Unfortunately it is quite rare....
But imo it needs some experience to get an useful impression of the performance from measurements (provided a decent quality is given) as the reader has to consider a lot of dependencies.
Geddes/Lee did some experiments and concluded that during usual music listening THD numbers don´t correlate with percepted performance.
 

Frank Dernie

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#99
This HiFi News?

http://www.hifinews.co.uk/news/article/revel-performa-f208-pound;4750/20495

I looked at five speakers, just a subjective summary available to me (non-subscriber) is shown, no measurements at all noted.

---

Oh, I see, downloaded a PDF of the print issue:

View attachment 12181

Doesn't tell me which harmonics are present.
That is it, the distortion figure is just a percentage, as it is with their reviews of other parts of the system. Pickup cartridges are the poorest performing in terms of distortion and often frequency response too.
 

hvbias

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I listen to Sanders speakers at every audio show. They sound really good on some content. The problem I have with them is that you always hear the signature of the speakers over the music. Everything sounds large, tall, etc. when they shouldn't.
How do you think this can be explained measurement wise?

Or simply the simplest one of the speakers are just tall and that's why they always sound large/tall or something else?

I hear this whenever I've heard Sound Labs and Martin Logans at shows/dealer as well. Also the one time heard Acoustats (2+2?). IME it's most unsettling with solo instrument music and lesser extent on baroque cantatas, where the choir is standing layered in rows.

I think this was present to a lesser extent on Magnepans, even the large ones, and I say this because I can't recall them doing this, with the electrostats mentioned it was something that stood out immediately. I also owned the Magnepan MMG at one point and they projected images that were "normal size" and these are not tall speakers.
 

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