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Speakers that produce astonishing soundstaging/imaging?

DanielT

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If this helps? An image, a cross-section in any case. I did not find any technical data, but I just did a quick check.

$_59.jpeg



Edit
Sorry missed it before but,...

shot_2022-01-14_20-20-59.png
 

eddantes

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Cabinet looks good - angled braces should help avoid resonances (or push them up higher). Not sure what that tube is but, I believe in another model they link two woofers with a metal tube, like Kef used to do. I don't think thats a port. It might be a "brace" to connect the woofer the to rear panel. I assume they're time aligned, but that offset looks huge - doesn't seem the two drivers are aligned on acoustic center, so perhaps theres some sort of phase compensation? And it appears that there's some sort of anti-reflection material under the tweeter? But that's hard to guess.

I dunno - assuming the drivers are well matched and the xover is well designed, I don't see why these wouldn't sound OK. The only points my dilletante ass would raise, is the time alignment and the possible difraction issues from that cabinet design and any port issues from that slit at the bottom.

1642188622754.png
 
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puppet

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They did a review. They generally liked the speaker but added that extended listening becomes tiring.
He also remarked how picky they seemed to be with regard to placement.
 
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gn77b

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Cabinet looks good - angled braces should help avoid resonances (or push them up higher). Not sure what that tube is but, I believe in another model they link two woofers with a metal tube, like Kef used to do. I don't think thats a port. It might be a "brace" to connect the woofer the to rear panel. I assume they're time aligned, but that offset looks huge - doesn't seem the two drivers are aligned on acoustic center, so perhaps theres some sort of phase compensation? And it appears that there's some sort of anti-reflection material under the tweeter? But that's hard to guess.

I dunno - assuming the drivers are well matched and the xover is well designed, I don't see why these wouldn't sound OK. The only points my dilletante ass would raise, is the time alignment and the possible difraction issues from that cabinet design and any port issues from that slit at the bottom.
That's a phase plug that extends towards the rear wall (my friend told me this and he knows it from the dealer who sold the speakers so take it for what it's worth) where it's bolted. An allen bolt is visible there. If I recall correctly he told me that they remove the dustcap and fit that contraption there.

But TBH I don't care. It's pointless to speculate based on incomplete data. Pics, generic specs. All I know is how they sound.
 
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gn77b

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They did a review. They generally liked the speaker but added that extended listening becomes tiring.
He also remarked how picky they seemed to be with regard to placement.
That was my impression also. To me these speakers are about detail to the detriment of all else. They were at my home for 2 weeks and at first I was excited to try something new but they have that in your face sound which made me give up and move them in a corner after a day. I believe these were made for string quartets or something like that, definitely not for full-range music. They hold their own when it comes to detail, I'll give them that. It's hard to explain but there was this song with a bass sax which sounded more real compared to mine. But after a couple of hours of listening I wanted to just stop playing music. Oh and my friend's room is different in all ways imaginable, he has an open space living/kitchen, there's way more (and I do mean way more) space behind the listening position compared to my living room. But still...
 

audio2design

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They did a review. They generally liked the speaker but added that extended listening becomes tiring.
He also remarked how picky they seemed to be with regard to placement.

Yes read the review.

Some comments. As noted, the speaker is well back of the acoustic center. Perhaps it is corrected in the crossover, but parts age, and if e-caps are being used to do that, the acoustic alignment could be way out now.

The woofer and tweeter are not pointed on the same axis and are fairly different and unadjustable. That could make seating height critical. That was noted in the review as well as image being very sensitive to left and right.

The offset tweeter mount with the woofer right at the same spot is likely to create some unusual response anomalies. Nothing like doubling your baffle step issues. The cross-over would have to be complex to fix all these issues.

The phase plug is the rocket ship cone part in the center. The tube out the back looks like support. Nothing wrong with that.

All in all I could see this being a very difficult speaker to get right, one that could be sensitive to cross-over drift, listening position, listening height and who knows what else if there are frequency/phase anomalies. Looking it, it looks like a poster child for why measurements matter.
 

audio2design

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That was my impression also. To me these speakers are about detail to the detriment of all else. They were at my home for 2 weeks and at first I was excited to try something new but they have that in your face sound which made me give up and move them in a corner after a day. I believe these were made for string quartets or something like that, definitely not for full-range music. They hold their own when it comes to detail, I'll give them that. It's hard to explain but there was this song with a bass sax which sounded more real compared to mine. But after a couple of hours of listening I wanted to just stop playing music. Oh and my friend's room is different in all ways imaginable, he has an open space living/kitchen, there's way more (and I do mean way more) space behind the listening position compared to my living room. But still...

Had a speaker like that once. Excellent drivers. Well made cabinets. The crossover was a nightmare. If the music was simple, i.e. not too much variance in tone at a given point, then it could sound excellent. Acoustic guitar was wonderful. Male vocals were very good. Female vocals hit and miss. I question whether the company making them even had measurement tools, at least sufficient ones, or knew how to use them.
 

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Somebody put a lot of work into that enclosure design.

My guess is that the driver offset is compensation for the phase lag in the crossover. For instance it might be a 4th order crossover. A 4th order crossover results in the tweeter and woofer being "in phase" at the crossover frequency, but with the woofer lagging the tweeter by 360 degrees, or one cycle, at the crossover frequency. So the two drivers are "in phase", but not "in time", with one another, because the woofer's output is one cycle behind the tweeter's. By physically placing the tweeter one wavelength further away at the crossover frequency, their outputs now arrive "in time" (as well as "in phase") with one another. [edit: Apparently it's a second order crossover, so 180 degrees of phase lag, correctable with 1/2 wavelength of offset.]

It is imo quite possible that the resulting additional diffractive edges near the tweeter are blurring the imaging. Let me explain:

The ears judge the azimuth (horizontal directional angle) of a sound source by the difference in arrival time at the two ears. The sound first arrives at the closest ear, then after a small time delay it arrives at the other ear, and we hear this time difference as the arrival direction. Very early reflections off of enclosure features around the tweeter arrive within this critical early directional-cue time window, and therefore can be interpreted as false azimuth cues. These false azimuth cues are not strong enough to dramatically shift the image locations, but they are strong enough to blur them, and/or to draw attention to the speaker as the sound source.

(Incidentally recording engineering techniques which DO result in amazing image placements [Q-Sound for example] are deliberately cancelling out normal azimuth cues and substituting strong new ones which place the image locations at angles outside the plane of the speakers.)

Minimizing these very early reflections (those which arrive within about .68 milliseconds of the direct sound) is imo part of the puzzle as far as precise image localization goes.
 
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audio2design

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@Duke,

I expect response anomalies (uncorrected) are more likely that timing errors w.r.t. localization, especially since it will be symmetric for both speakers, and time based location is based on differential arrival times between the same sound from both speakers.

Q-Sound is interesting, but very position sensitive. Okay if you sit in one spot and don't move too much. The marketing says it does not affect the sound negatively outside the small sweet spot. There are some that disagree.
 

LTig

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A compromise between these two antipodes, obviously, might give best overall results.
I'm biased here as I was affiliated with the company and was involved with the development, but the HEDD Type 30 and Type 20 monitors have killer soundstage (and are excellent speakers overall) for reasons that are not always fully identified (for some speakers things just happen to fall perfectly in place whereas for others it doesn't and as designer you cannot simply say it's because this or that).
I would count the K&H O300D (which I own) and the Neumann KH310 (its successor) to this group of speakers.
 

Duke

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I expect response anomalies (uncorrected) are more likely that timing errors w.r.t. localization, especially since it will be symmetric for both speakers, and time based location is based on differential arrival times between the same sound from both speakers.

So if I understand you correctly, in this case equalization should fix the imaging?
 

puppet

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In reading the review article, they put the xo @1.8khz and I believe they stated it was a 2nd order filter. Those are hard to get right as far as phase alignment ... enter the stepped baffle.
 

audio2design

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So if I understand you correctly, in this case equalization should fix the imaging?

I made a post earlier. I expect this "unusual" design creates all kinds of response anomalies but also dispersion anomalies. Who knows how "correct" the crossover is, or given it is 15-20 years old, how good the capacitors still are. In a heavily damped room perhaps you could equalize it for good imaging, maybe, but I expect in the average listening room you woud just be painting a pig.
 
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gn77b

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I was also amazed by the effort that went into making those speakers. The shape of the box, the finish, that phase plug thing etc. Oh and one thing and I just remembered. That top box where the tweeter is mounted is not attached firmly to the rest of the case, there's some play. Not adjustable in position but not glued or bolted to the rest of the case. In comparison, my speakers are a very basic design in most way. Rectangular bass-reflex boxes, both drivers are not flush mounted, no horizontal offset, no chamfered edges, no slanted baffle. The filters are 1st order and impedance equalized (there are 2 PCBs, one on the rear wall and one on a side wall). Not hard to drive. Would I chose them, price no object? Hell no, I've heard much better and not insanely priced. But until I'm sure (where sure means after listening to them in a similar room with my music, not in a dealership where everything is tuned to perfection or at least supposed to be) I want to upgrade I'm staying with these.

Someone said above that if electrolytics are used in the filters they are subject to aging. My friend told me that they use silver wiring, I can't imagine the type of person to use "audiophile" cables inside a speaker opt for electrolytics. Look at pic no 4 here: https://www.marktplaats.nl/v/audio-tv-en-foto/luidsprekers/m1768910572-mc-systems-m3 There's a Siltech sticker at the back. You can see that we're in mumbo jumbo territory here.

Oh and one more thing. While looking them up I ran across a pic of the M3 where the tweeters are ribbons, not domes. Maybe not a coincidence.

As I said above, to me it sounds like whoever designed the M3s has a very specific taste in music and sound and made them for like people. IMO definitely a niche type of sound which I'm not a fan of.

But IMO we're speculating based on some pics and basic specs. In my native language we like to call this wandering in the fields.

If you run the model on Google images there are so few pics online that it's obvious it's an obscure brand, likely mostly known in The Netherlands. Possibly no distributors outside the country. I'll take a wild guess and say that there aren't any measurements of these speakers. Like I said, way, way too much speculation based on very little info.

Oh and last thing. I believe it's obvious that tweaking them is absolutely out of the question because 1 the resell value in the audiophile market would become zero 2 there's no guarantee it's worth it and my friend doesn't have the inclination and is a busy person.
 

DanielT

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Fun with dipoles is to work with the distance from the back wall, the farther away the smaller the diplos character of the sound.

Electrostats are appreciated by some, or many .Low distortion they may have, but they may also have terribly uneven FR.
Buy expensive electrostatic speakers and then not EQ them, I would beware of that.


Regarding the pair of M3 speakers. As little as I would go to an EE / acoustician get to fix a hole in my teeth, just as little I would buy a speaker designed by a dentist.

In the sweet spot, imaging, true imaging, i.e. recreating what is on the source material, is a factor of on-axis frequency response, equal on-axis frequency response between both channels, equal phase response between channels up to about 1500Hz, lack of significant rapid phase shift from 200-1500Hz (more debatable), keeping distortion under control, speaker width (angle), speaker distance (if driver integration comes into play), and importantly, keeping the level of reflections low especially under 6KHz (but not <200Hz). ....... That won't guarantee you will get what the person making the recording intended, but you will get an accurate representation of the "image" that is in the recording.

Will you like it? No idea. I am not you. Many, probably a majority will give up a bit of imaging accuracy for wider perceived soundstage, i.e. sound outside the speakers, but that is artificial, so you need to accept that it is artificial. The greater the level of direct sound to reflected sound, the better the imaging accuracy, but at the expense of other qualities most people like.

Smooth off-axis response will widen the potential sweet-spot, and allow, if desired, less raking of the angle, again allowing a wider sweet spot. In an untreated or lightly treated room it will also reduce room response peaks and valleys, which will just sound bad, and also in an untreated or lightly treated room, will effect "imaging", or "sound-stage".

Most speakers without major flaws, operating in an area of lower distortion, equalized, in an absorptive room, will image accurately. When you move away from an absorptive room, and reflections come into play, and you need to balanced direct/room response for equalization, then things get much more difficult.

When you look at things like open-baffle, dipoles, and line arrays, they don't inherently image better, they either enhance a quality that people like, or they "fix" an issue in untreated rooms. Open-baffles tend to have less side-wall reflections. Dipoles as well. Then they add in euphonic reflections that people like, that sense of space, whether it was on the recording or not. Line arrays reduce ceiling and floor reflections and provide a closer to 1/R drop in response versus 1/R^2 drop in response from about 500Hz and up (for typical floor to ceiling). That helps with untreated floors and ceilings but also improved sizes of the sweet spot.

No magic, just science, and all relates directly to how we perceive location.

I throw in the torch. Although I'm an objectivist when it comes to measurements, so what's the purpose, the goal, what do you when you listen to music? You know what's coming now.
What kind of sound do you like to listen to? That is exactly what decides. Manipulated or not that it is up to the listener to decide for themselves.:)
 

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DanielT

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I was also amazed by the effort that went into making those speakers. The shape of the box, the finish, that phase plug thing etc. Oh and one thing and I just remembered. That top box where the tweeter is mounted is not attached firmly to the rest of the case, there's some play. Not adjustable in position but not glued or bolted to the rest of the case. In comparison, my speakers are a very basic design in most way. Rectangular bass-reflex boxes, both drivers are not flush mounted, no horizontal offset, no chamfered edges, no slanted baffle. The filters are 1st order and impedance equalized (there are 2 PCBs, one on the rear wall and one on a side wall). Not hard to drive. Would I chose them, price no object? Hell no, I've heard much better and not insanely priced. But until I'm sure (where sure means after listening to them in a similar room with my music, not in a dealership where everything is tuned to perfection or at least supposed to be) I want to upgrade I'm staying with these.

Someone said above that if electrolytics are used in the filters they are subject to aging. My friend told me that they use silver wiring, I can't imagine the type of person to use "audiophile" cables inside a speaker opt for electrolytics. Look at pic no 4 here: https://www.marktplaats.nl/v/audio-tv-en-foto/luidsprekers/m1768910572-mc-systems-m3 There's a Siltech sticker at the back. You can see that we're in mumbo jumbo territory here.

Oh and one more thing. While looking them up I ran across a pic of the M3 where the tweeters are ribbons, not domes. Maybe not a coincidence.

As I said above, to me it sounds like whoever designed the M3s has a very specific taste in music and sound and made them for like people. IMO definitely a niche type of sound which I'm not a fan of.

But IMO we're speculating based on some pics and basic specs. In my native language we like to call this wandering in the fields.

If you run the model on Google images there are so few pics online that it's obvious it's an obscure brand, likely mostly known in The Netherlands. Possibly no distributors outside the country. I'll take a wild guess and say that there aren't any measurements of these speakers. Like I said, way, way too much speculation based on very little info.

Oh and last thing. I believe it's obvious that tweaking them is absolutely out of the question because 1 the resell value in the audiophile market would become zero 2 there's no guarantee it's worth it and my friend doesn't have the inclination and is a busy person.
If there was nothing wrong with them, that is, broken, so it goes without saying that you did not like them.. But you probably just did not like the sound with them in that room, placed as they were. As simple as that. Skip those now. Put the gunpowder on something else.

There is still nothing you can do about it. Everyone has made bad purchases within Hifi from time to time. It's part of the hobby. Called learning money.:)

Edit:
... of course you can fix them, but why rebuild?It's just a waste of money and time. New speakers instead.

Or you who seem to like technology and speaker design fix some DIY instead. It will give you so much more. Then you have control yourself and do not have to modify any existing speakers.

(these are not my speakers! ..sure)
 
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Jim Matthews

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But TBH I don't care. It's pointless to speculate based on incomplete data. Pics, generic specs. All I know is how they sound.
Certainly this bears further examination, under the standards accepted here at ASR. Your attitude, however is a bit "Dutch" for my taste.
 
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gn77b

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Or you who seem to like technology and speaker design fix some DIY instead. It will give you so much more. Then you have control yourself and do not have to modify any existing speakers.

(these are not my speakers! ..sure)

I'm past 40. I ventured into DIY territory before. The results varied from ok to a waste of money and more importantly time. I'm absolutely sure there are world class DIY designs out there. But I'm all for buying used, ready made speakers. Because you can listen before buying and unless your gut tells you for some reason they're the ones you should always listen before buying anyway. I don't have the time and energy I used to have, I don't like feeling frustrated because I spent hours gluing veneer to cabinets and I'm too tired to take a shower before bed. Been there, not worth it. I don't have a garage where I can work. Too many cons, very little pros. I prefer to go for a bike ride because that's more important to me, now.

As for my friend, he's simply not the type. But maybe we should remember the original subject of this thread.
 
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