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What are the best speakers that try to emulate live music?

BingaMoon

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I'm not very knowledgeable about speakers so excuse my lack of knowledge but there are speakers that are really great speakers and then there are great speakers that try to emulate the music sounding like the artist is in the room with you. Some examples of where I've heard people talk about this effect is Omnidirectionals, Electrostatic speakers, Ohm Walsh, Klipsch Forte, Martin Logan ESL. What other models should I be looking at to get this effect?
 

Holmz

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Ones with a good impulse response and good step response would be where I would personally start.
Those are time domain things.

The radiation pattern is a bit of a separate thing.
And also frequency response is different than time domain response.


… What other models should I be looking at to get this effect?

At some point budget will be asked.
Might as well open with that.

And usually “new or used”, is another “early on” question.

How loud you like it and room size are also “early on” questions.
 

Chrispy

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You may find a speaker to your liking across different design lines....live music of what sort, the ones using speakers/monitors for amplification at a live event or you just want something accurate for certain acoustic recordings or ?
 

Beave

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Ones with a good impulse response and good step response would be where I would personally start.
Those are time domain things.

What constitutes a "good" impulse response and good step response?
 

amper42

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I'm not very knowledgeable about speakers so excuse my lack of knowledge but there are speakers that are really great speakers and then there are great speakers that try to emulate the music sounding like the artist is in the room with you. Some examples of where I've heard people talk about this effect is Omnidirectionals, Electrostatic speakers, Ohm Walsh, Klipsch Forte, Martin Logan ESL. What other models should I be looking at to get this effect?

When you are new to audio gear or are an acoustical musician looking for a sound similar to what you experience while playing live in a room without amplification you may lean toward a 360 degree sound like the Ohm F, or other omni-directional speakers. However, it doesn't take long for much of the shine to wear off. The reason is most live music is miked and played back thru a directional speaker anyway and most omni-directional speakers don't offer the same dynamic range or sound stage as a directional speaker.

While I enjoyed the Ohm F it never had the dynamics or power of my Revel F328Be. I find using a directional speaker with a smooth, wide directivity is the sweet spot I'm looking for now. It complements a large array of musical styles and offers the dynamics and sound stage I prefer. Also, if you use your speakers for home theatre you will find directional speakers provide improved clarity, impact and power with a 9.2.4 system.

We all have our own path. I just remember wanting the sound you are talking about many years ago only to realize later its limitations.
 

Holmz

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What constitutes a "good" impulse response and good step response?

There are 7 pages in here (Start at page 1, and pg 2 and pg 3 shows step response.):
 

Beave

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There are 7 pages in here (Start at page 1, and pg 2 and pg 3 shows step response.):

I've read that.

Did you read page 4, where he quotes Toole: "The advocates of accurate waveform reproduction, implying both accurate amplitude and phase responses, are in a particularly awkward situation. In spite of the considerable engineering appeal of this concept, practical tests have yielded little evidence of listener sensitivity to this factor...the limited results lend support for the popular view that the effects of phase are clearly subordinate to amplitude response?"

And then JA adds: "This is also my view. Of the 350 or so loudspeakers I have measured, there is no correlation between whether or not they are time-coherent and whether or not they are recommended by a Stereophile reviewer. However, I feel that if other factors have been optimized—on-axis response, off-axis dispersion, absence of resonance-related problems, and good linearity—like a little bit of chicken soup, time coherence (hence minimal acoustic phase error) cannot hurt. In my admittedly anecdotal experience, a speaker that is time-coherent (on the listening axis) does have a small edge when it comes to presenting a stereo soundstage, in terms of image focus and image depth. But time coherence does not compensate for coloration, poor presentation of instrumental timbres, a perverse frequency balance, or high levels of nonlinear distortion."

So a "good" impulse response and a "good" step response are relevant only insofar as they yield a good frequency response (since they're related by Fourier transforms.)
 

Holmz

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So a "good" impulse response and a "good" step response are relevant only insofar as they yield a good frequency response (since they're related by Fourier transforms.)

Well one can have a DIRAC DSP implementation that might not change the frequency response, but can definitely tighten up the impulse response. While they are related by the Forier transform, one needs the inverse FFT to get from the Frequency domain back to the time domain.
Basically the amplitude frequency response graph tells us nothing about the time domain.
If we have both the amplitude and phase as the frequency response, we might get there… but an impulse response is easier.
And those tell us nothing about the step response.

Many people advocate the DIRAC approach while simultaneously quoting Toole.

And I cannot explain that.


For a live music sound the time domain might be more important than for studio albums.
Or maybe not.
The step function response for few mics, recorded live, can still be recording engineered to be bad in phase. It is just seems like it is easier to have the phase jacked up with more instruments and more mics in a multi track studio album.
 

Digby

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Large ones, likely larger than 90% of people want in their rooms. I'm not convinced small speakers are going to provide the realism necessary. Small speakers are nice and some come with very flat FR and the like, but can they do realism in the way larger ones can, I just don't think so.
 

Sancus

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Stereo speakers are never going to consistently provide this. Some combinations with some recordings may come close if you are lucky. To actually have consistently good spatial representation multichannel is a hard requirement.
 

Holmz

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The human voice and piano are difficult sounds to fake.
There is something more than the sheer speaker size which make some speakers better, or worse, at the human voice and pianos.
 

telemike

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Each instrument had it's own speaker array with vocals in the center cluster. even today, most live shows are mixed mono

eI3Q5EH.jpeg
 

Digby

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Stereo speakers are never going to consistently provide this.
The only two sounds I am consistently convinced are real when played back through stereo speakers are bass heard through the wall (it was in a podcast recording) and sirens. Neither are particularly musical, sadly.
 

Plcamp

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I have Paradigm towers in one room and large open baffles in another.

The OB’s are better at giving me a feeling of live music, but curiously they are not as detailed as the Paradigms.

I suspect the very different off axis pattern of OB’s must have something to do with these impressions.
 

Blumlein 88

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You can never divorce what you see from what you hear in general usage. Long time electrostat lover/owner here. And hear!

They do sound different and clean in some sense.

Sounds like what you lack is listening experience of the different kinds.

For instance, not my cup of tea, but Klipsch Horns do something really special like almost no other. That ability to just play louder than you ever need even if fed a few watts. I once saw a dance club that had 8 K-horns mounted in the ceiling each pair driven by a 24 wpc NAD receiver. If needed they could deafen everyone there.

Old and newer Quads do something very special (and very much were my cup of tea). I've some Soundlab ESLs currently. What do I mostly listen to these days? Revel F208's in stereo and they front a surround system.

I've not heard the MBL omni's, but have heard the old Ohm Walsh omnis. Something very different, but again not my cup of tea. My college lecture hall in the economics building had these in the ceiling which was weird.

At one time most box and cone speakers were so terribly deficient in general these other approaches at least offered something strikingly better if only for some small part of the overall experience. Think of the parable of the 5 blind men all feeling an elephant. IF what they did spoke to you then you went in that direction. LS 3/5a's. They would throw up such a 3D soundstage it was beguiling. But not my cup of tea. It was so, so small, and no bass, and not really much treble and well one trick pony I couldn't get on with, but some people did. For the intended purpose of monitoring BBC broadcasts in a BBC sound van, perfect for those needs. Please though not in my home.

So some of these old myths of various approaches hold some truth, which amongst todays quality box and cone speakers wouldn't really be all that apparent. You just don't know how dreadful otherwise respectable cone and box speakers were in years past.
 

Beave

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Well one can have a DIRAC DSP implementation that might not change the frequency response, but can definitely tighten up the impulse response. While they are related by the Forier transform, one needs the inverse FFT to get from the Frequency domain back to the time domain.
Basically the amplitude frequency response graph tells us nothing about the time domain.
If we have both the amplitude and phase as the frequency response, we might get there… but an impulse response is easier.
And those tell us nothing about the step response.

Impulse response and step response are mathematically related, just as impulse and step functions are, in an LTI system.

Many people advocate the DIRAC approach while simultaneously quoting Toole.

And I cannot explain that.


For a live music sound the time domain might be more important than for studio albums.
Or maybe not.
The step function response for few mics, recorded live, can still be recording engineered to be bad in phase. It is just seems like it is easier to have the phase jacked up with more instruments and more mics in a multi track studio album.

I don't know how to respond to this because I'm not sure what is being said.
 

Blumlein 88

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Impulse response and step response are mathematically related, just as impulse and step functions are, in an LTI system.



I don't know how to respond to this because I'm not sure what is being said.
Despite the oft repeated idea impulse response is some special thing, it is directly related to simple frequency response. And yes a slow frequency sweep can derive the impulse response of a speaker. There is no special magic here. The best frequency response will be the best impulse response.
 

Beave

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Despite the oft repeated idea impulse response is some special thing, it is directly related to simple frequency response. And yes a slow frequency sweep can derive the impulse response of a speaker. There is no special magic here. The best frequency response will be the best impulse response.

Tell that to Holmz. :D
 

NiagaraPete

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I'm not very knowledgeable about speakers so excuse my lack of knowledge but there are speakers that are really great speakers and then there are great speakers that try to emulate the music sounding like the artist is in the room with you. Some examples of where I've heard people talk about this effect is Omnidirectionals, Electrostatic speakers, Ohm Walsh, Klipsch Forte, Martin Logan ESL. What other models should I be looking at to get this effect?
I came from the live music industry, granted it was in the 70's. Back then the best I heard was the Linn Isobarik. With the right power they just made you want to dance. I owned a pair of Linn Sara 9's up until a few months ago. I don't dance anymore :)
 
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