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Verdant Audio Bambusa MG 1 Speaker Review

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Verdant Audio Bambusa MG 1 Bookshelf speaker. It is on kind loan from the company. The MG 1 costs US $4999 for a pair.

As the model number implies, the MG 1 cabinet is made out of laminated Bamboo which I like:

Bambusa MG 1 Bookshelf Speaker Audio Review.jpg


The back panel is shows nice quality binding posts that are easy to manipulate:

Bambusa MG 1 Bookshelf Speaker Back Panel Binding Posts Audio Review.jpg


When the owner contacted me to send me the speaker I cautioned him that if measurements don't look good, I would still be publishing them. To my pleasant surprise he said he had no issue with that whatsoever.

Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.

All measurements are referenced to the tweeter axis with frequency resolution of 2.7 Hz.

Spinorama Audio Measurements
Acoustic measurements can be grouped in a way that can be perceptually analyzed to determine how good a speaker can be used. This so called spinorama shows us just about everything we need to know about the speaker with respect to tonality and some flaws:

Bambusa MG 1 Bookshelf Speaker Spinorama CEA2034 Audio Measurements.png


We normally want to see a flat on-axis response here. Alas, that is not what we have. There is a dip in likely crossover region followed with elevated energy at treble frequencies. The company advertising says as much:

1585949383726.png


More on my listening impressions later. For now, this is our predicted in-room response:

Bambusa MG 1 Bookshelf Speaker Spinorama CEA2034 Predicted In-Room Response Audio Measurements.png


And important early reflections:

Bambusa MG 1 Bookshelf Speaker Spinorama CEA2034 Early Reflections Audio Measurements.png


Typical of non-coaxial 2-way speakers, vertical response is not good so advise thick carpeting at least.

Horizontal and vertical directivity is as expected:

Bambusa MG 1 Bookshelf Speaker Horizontal Directivity Audio Measurements.png


A few degrees above the tweeter axis seems to improve the response so you may want to get less tall stand that puts the tweeter a bit below your ear level:

Bambusa MG 1 Bookshelf Speaker Vertical Directivity Audio Measurements.png


Impedance graph shows higher than normal impedance which is easier on amplifier:

Bambusa MG 1 Bookshelf Speaker Phase and Impedance Audio Measurements.png


Distortion graph shows something going a bit wrong around 400 Hz:

Bambusa MG 1 Bookshelf Speaker Distortion Audio Measurements.png


Otherwise mid to high frequency distortion is quite low which bodes well for that elevated response.

And finally our waterfall:

Bambusa MG 1 Bookshelf Speaker CSD waterfall Audio Measurements.png


Speaker Listening Tests
I had my son who is in his twenties with me for this part of the test. Without showing him the measurements I asked his impression. He said "metallic parts of music are exaggerated." That was exactly my impression. What is there is clean mind you, but definitely stands out. And as advertising said, bass does not stand out. I dialed in some bass boost and that made a very positive impression but caused the woofer to bottom out at elevated playback volume. With two speakers (my tests are with one), that may work.

Conclusions
The sound of Bambusa MG 1 seems to be as designed both objectively and subjectively. I have a feeling that in quick listen and for a target market of aging audiophiles, elevated highs may be a good idea. It is not what I like to live with though. What would be nice then is a switch in the back that puts in a resistor in the path of the tweeter to dial down its energy some. Alternative a target curve that brings down the highs may do the trick.

The directivity dip is harder to fix and would create some room dependency.

As is, I can't recommend the MG 1 but I am so appreciative of the attitude of the company to volunteer to have its speakers tested.

-----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

I may have killed some of my tomato seedlings due to forgetting to water them. :) Appreciate a few dollars to buy more seeds and planting soil by donating using : https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

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MZKM

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#4
The company says "Speakers will be sent to Excelsior Audio for independent 3rd Party measurement.", but I would assume that's no longer necessary.

Sensitivity: 82.4dB (300Hz-3000Hz) @ 2.83V @ 1m
Frequency Response: -6dB @ 38Hz
Impedance: 8 Ohm
Distortion: <0.5% THD @ 93dB from 500Hz-10kHz
 
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edechamps

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#6
I have added the Verdant Audio Bambusa MG 1 to Loudspeaker Explorer where it can be compared to other speakers.

Looks like the speaker has a significantly better response when listened to slightly off-axis - I wouldn't toe these in:

visualization(46).png


These angles in particular might be a bit better:

visualization(47).png
 

MZKM

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#8
I think we have seen better performance for much lesser price. And just using excellent drivers is not sufficient.
Yeah, these drivers alone are ~$1000 including the 10% off for bulk orders. The fact that their directivities aren't matched and the weird dip between 1000Hz-4000Hz (intentional or slow roll-off and not perfectly phase matched?) is a bummer.

As for low tweeter distortion, it's native sensitivity is 89dB, so it's being fed just ~3W in Amir's test.
 
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MZKM

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gr-e

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#10
The fact that their directivities aren't matched and the weird dip between 1000Hz-4000Hz (intentional or slow roll-off and not perfectly phase matched?) is a bummer.

As for low tweeter distortion, it's native sensitivity is 89dB, so it's being fed just ~3W in Amir's test.
That's what you get when you put a driver with no waveguide on a narrow baffle with no roundovers
 

617

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#11
Extremely normal design using very capable drivers. I'm sure a lot of tuning by ear was done. Sort of funny to see that cheap port on a speaker with such nice drivers.

What's sort of funny about this speaker is that this is almost a best-case scenario for smooth directivity using drivers mounted on a 180 degree waveguide; very robust tweeter allowing a low and shallow crossover, smaller woofer with fairly extended HF, although breakup can be an issue. Amir still points out the bump in the DI, but most speakers are going to be quite a bit worse; there are countless speakers using dome tweeters and 18cm woofers and that bump in the DI will be a lot worse.

Reading the website of the producer, looks like this is a DIYer turned manufacturer, so I wish him all the success in the world, but god help you if you're spending $200 on a woofer to make a speaker which performs worse than what Revel can offer at significantly less using cheap drivers (lower end models.)

The size of our ambitions are limited by our understanding of the world - I used to want to make speakers like this, and since I lusted after the most expensive drivers offered by Madisound/PE/Solen/etc I assumed that the 'ultimate' speaker was one that used Eton or ScanSpeak or Transducer Labs or RAAL drivers. Since then I've come to understand that a SEAS Millenium tweeter has far more in common with every other 25-28mm dome tweeter than it is different, and that to create great sound required a bit more knowledge.

ASR is slowly showing that excellent speaker designs are not dependent on the things DIYers obsess over - expensive drivers, ultra inert cabinets, diffraction treatment, complex crossovers using tons of expensive capacitors and foil inductors, copper binding posts, etc. It depends on 3d measurements and their careful interpretation, which in fairness some DIYers obsess over.
 

tuga

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#12
ASR is slowly showing that excellent speaker designs are not dependent on the things DIYers obsess over - expensive drivers, ultra inert cabinets, diffraction treatment, complex crossovers using tons of expensive capacitors and foil inductors, copper binding posts, etc. It depends on 3d measurements and their careful interpretation, which in fairness some DIYers obsess over.
By excellent speaker designs you mean excellent directivity characteristics.
 

beefkabob

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Interesting. Amir, you did a service to this company, showing them where their ears are faulty. Getting your speaker properly measured otherwise probably costs thousands. Maybe they'll pull a Schitt move and actually improve the product.
 

617

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#15
By excellent speaker designs you mean excellent directivity characteristics.
Excellent directivity characteristics translate into neutral and similar frequency responses in the direct and reverberent field of the room, which is the hard thing to get right in a speaker design and the most important thing once sufficient output is possible.

It's assumed a stand mount speaker like this will have modest bass and output, so smooth directivity is the best it can offer in my opinion.
 

617

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Interesting. Amir, you did a service to this company, showing them where their ears are faulty. Getting your speaker properly measured otherwise probably costs thousands. Maybe they'll pull a Schitt move and actually improve the product.
I think any speaker designer acting in good faith would love to have their speakers measured by this system; preferably each driver measured seperately without crossover. The data this system produces allows optimization which is very difficult to accomplish using traditional methods. I'm fairly confident I could design amazing speakers if I had one of these things at my disposal (and wasn't trying to make a living.)
 

napilopez

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#17
Great of the company to send to you. Interesting results for many reasons.

As @edechamps said, off axis listening seems to be key here. I'm actually curious what the spins would be like if we set, say 20 degrees off axis as the reference. The off-axis curves are much more consistent then. Would affect the listening window but early reflections probably wouldn't be so bad (that SM_PIR score!)
 

Cahudson42

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#20
I think ASR testing has clearly shown where the future of 2-way Bookshelf speakers the approximate size of the MG1, M16, R162, JBL 530, DBR-62 will be going:

Build the physical box as solid as practical, 5.25 -6.5 woofers as long throw as possible, tweeters that don't break up or with resonances - and waveguides layout etc to give the best possible DI.

Then throw out the fixed analog crossover. Directly bi-amp each driver. Preceed the external (for future service/upgrade) 'quality AB dual amp' (90 + SINAD, no hiss) with a full DSP pre-processor with fully configurable digital XO, shelving, driver leveling, phase, and multiple/8 PEQ per driver.. Controlled by an Android app on your phone

The 70 yo can shelf raise the treble...Someone else might shelve the bass.. Others PEQ distortion points, resonances, port rasping, etc. One - or everything...

Something like the $449 R162 pair plus $500 for the 4-channel amp and pre-processor... Designed and built as a system...not unlike the Genelec 8431. For $1000.

The 'next generation' of active bookshelf speakers.. No Roon EQ necessary. Nor AutoEQ or miniDSP. It's all included. All configurable.

Are we there yet?
 
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