What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by Spannko »

Lego wrote: 2023-04-28 21:44 So let me get this right .In order to detect musicality in the source the speaker has to be musical.
I think that’s taking what I said a bit far!
Lego wrote: 2023-04-28 21:44 Could you hypothesis what happens when the source is not musical but the speaker is very musical and the speaker is not musical but the source is extremely musical ?
No!
Lego wrote: 2023-04-28 21:44 How does one tell if it's the speaker that's musical rather than the source and vice versa ?
Musicality isn’t a binary concept, it exists on a continuum. Both sources and speakers will have a degree of musicality.
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by Spannko »

Lego wrote: 2023-04-28 21:52 I'm not sure if this is a sarcastic question or not Spannko as what I am talking about is one of the main purposes of the waterfall measurement .It's how a speaker handles short sharp tones.My bad, I presumed the fact you gave waterfalls as an example that you had came across them .Please expand your insight .
It certainly wasn’t a sarcastic question Lego. Sorry if it came over that way. I’m reasonably familiar with waterfalls and have generated my own with REW on many occasions. I’ve generally understood them to pictorially describe how energy decays over time wrt frequency. I thought you were suggesting that waterfalls showed the initial reaction to the transient, which may be possible since I believe the data is usually recorded, but I’ve not seen it used in that way.
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by Spannko »

LinnGary wrote: 2023-04-28 22:05
@Spannko, brother can you tell me why you don't like the 308? You sure have the knowledge to inform me of where I might be confused. You appear to be close to the boss here but y'all seem at loggerheads with the 308s.
I wouldn’t say I don’t like the 308’s. I just find them ok with the equipment I have at hand and I’m not really interested in taking it any further.
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by Spannko »

LinnGary wrote: 2023-04-28 23:27 I guess as I enjoy my key lime pie I has 1 question on the university level education supplied here.
You won’t be getting university level education from me, that’s for sure! Everything I think I know is self taught, and everything I say comes from direct experience or I’ll quote the source.
LinnGary wrote: 2023-04-28 23:27 Brother Spannko says drive units have innate musicality. How do you know that bro? Seas uses a Kilppel machine to test drive units. Doesn't that equipment tell a speaker designer if a drive unit has faults?
Simply by listening to a wide range of drive units. Their tune playing abilities are easy to hear. Interestingly, whilst a drive units sound changes when placed in an enclosure, it’s musicality still shines through.

Re: Klippel. I’ve never used one, but I believe that it can indicate a faulty unit, particularly when compared to a reference unit.
LinnGary wrote: 2023-04-28 23:27 Also, you say drive units are matched for enclosure matching at the design stage. Lord knows I'm not the brightest cog. But I figures most drive units are OEM. So at the time of the design do the makers knows what enclosures they're going into?

I'll kick back & enjoy my coffee.
What I mean is manufacturers generally produce a range of drive units with different electrical and mechanical properties to suit a wide range of enclosure sizes and designs specifically for the diy market.
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by Spannko »

LinnGary wrote: 2023-04-29 00:01 Now you done confused me more brother.

Do you find the 308s to be musical or not? The boss of this operation and many folks on here does. I does.

What does ok mean in a musicality sense?
With the only preamp I had to hand, they weren’t amazing and they weren’t bad. They were somewhere in between. I do think though, for a couple of hundred pounds, they’re very good value for money.

Don’t be confused. If you like them just enjoy them!
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by Spannko »

LinnGary wrote: 2023-04-28 23:47 Sorry if I upset some folks but isn't binary a lil dicey these days? Ways I see it musicality is yes or no. Using old TuneDem yes or no becomes I prefers A or B. Isn't that so Brother Spannko?
Yep, that’s just about what a comparison boils down to. What’s more tuneful, A or B?
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by Spannko »

LinnGary wrote: 2023-04-29 00:24 Sorry brother Spannko, I thought from your timbre that you is an expert in loudspeakers.

Where did you pick up your learning bro? Any university level books you can recommend fo me to peruse?

My understanding of the Klippel machine is that it finds any problems with drive units without any need for a reference unit.

On drive units what you said was that makers have enclosures in mind before they makes the drive units. You changed yo mind brother?
The only book I’ve read is How to Bluff Your Way in Loudspeaker Design.

I’ve not read any loudspeaker design books that I would recommend tbh. You won’t find any information in them that will help you design a speaker as good as your 308’s.

What I said was manufacturers generally produce a range of drive units with different electrical and mechanical properties to suit a wide range of enclosure sizes and designs specifically for the diy market.
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by Spannko »

LinnGary wrote: 2023-04-29 00:35 So brother were the 308s musical or not? If not why not?

They were somewhere in between what?

You see my hardship here is yo the musicality main cat on here brother. Yo held andy2's feet to the fire & that cat been at Linn for 40 years.

If the boss of the operation and others think they're as musical as I does, are you suggesting musicality is subjective brother?
I refer the gentleman to my previous answers!
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by Spannko »

LinnGary wrote: 2023-04-29 00:54 Are you avoiding my questions brother?

Is the 308 a musical speaker? It's a yes/no question by good ol TuneDem or the Tune Method? If yo didn't find them musical why not?

Most importantly do you think musicality is subjective brother?

The boss of this operation sho don't think so.
You’re just trolling now.
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by lejonklou »

LinnGary wrote: 2023-04-29 00:54 The boss of this operation sho don't think so.
What I have said is that the choice of speakers is the most personal of all choices in HiFi.

Not only are their level of musicality the most difficult to agree upon, but they also have to both suit your taste and interact well with your room.

There is no speaker that is best in every room.

And musicality certainly isn’t binary.

Andy2 has never worked for Linn, but has been a retailer.

Enough of the nonsense.
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by beck »

I have been on this forum for many years now. I do not know much about speakers but I can listen.

My favorite is Hermanns Isobariks. They speak to me in a way I cannot shake off.

That is my very personal choice. :-)


What makes them musical? I do not know………
Playing cd’s…………
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by Lego »

Spannko wrote: 2023-04-28 23:52
Lego wrote: 2023-04-28 21:52 I'm not sure if this is a sarcastic question or not Spannko as what I am talking about is one of the main purposes of the waterfall measurement .It's how a speaker handles short sharp tones.My bad, I presumed the fact you gave waterfalls as an example that you had came across them .Please expand your insight .
It certainly wasn’t a sarcastic question Lego. Sorry if it came over that way. I’m reasonably familiar with waterfalls and have generated my own with REW on many occasions. I’ve generally understood them to pictorially describe how energy decays over time wrt frequency. I thought you were suggesting that waterfalls showed the initial reaction to the transient, which may be possible since I believe the data is usually recorded, but I’ve not seen it used in that way.
I've used rew and Dirac live out of curiosity.
I was meaning that by looking at the waterfall plot you can see how well the speaker handles transients,is that not the case?
I know that tune
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by lindsayt »

Spannko wrote: 2023-04-28 06:52
lindsayt wrote: 2023-04-28 03:09
If a source and amplifier sound bad with one pair of speakers whilst sounding good with another, is that the fault of the source and amplification, or a fault with the speakers?
I’m not sure tbh. Personally, I’d like to think that a genuinely good loudspeaker should sound good with all sources, but to elevate the performance from good to excellent could require an element of “systems” design, where all components are optimised to work with each other symbiotically.
lindsayt wrote: 2023-04-28 03:09
Crossovers. There's a school of thought, that makes sense to me, that no crossover is the best crossover, if you can get away with no crossover. And that a first order crossover is the next best after that. It's the less is more approach to crossovers. Some sets of drivers lend themselves better to no crossover or a first order crossover than others.
Yes, this certainly makes sense, but no one has ever managed to design a good loudspeaker without a crossover. It seems that unfiltered driver resonance is more harmful to the music than the effect of a well designed crossover. Who knows, with advancements in driver technology, one day this may be possible
lindsayt wrote: 2023-04-28 03:09 I don't agree that a speaker with vibrating walls would be more musical if they were vibrating in a musical way.
Unfortunately, the alternative is having a loudspeaker with walls vibrating in an unmusical way! The BBC thought that if it was possible to get enclosure vibrations roughly 30dB below the driver output they shouldn’t be audible. They discovered that increasing wall thickness made enclosure vibrations more audible, hence their damped thin wall approach. However, the BBC didn’t evaluate the effect of enclosure mass on a speakers tune playing ability, so for our purposes their research is only something to be kept in mind and not necessarily followed.
lindsayt wrote: 2023-04-28 03:09
I personally think that it's really difficult to get the highest levels of tuneful bass with ported cabinets. Sealed boxes can, in my experience offer tuneful bass. So yes, I'd be happy to put the cabinets higher in the hierachy than the drivers.
This is my experience too, but cabinets higher in the hierarchy than drivers? Personally, I see a cabinet as being the support act, not the leading lady!
The better alternative to having a speaker with walls that vibrate in a "musical" way is to have a speaker with walls that vibrate in a less audible way. So that the vibrations are too buried in the mix to be audible most (or even all) of the time.
At generous volumes it's inevitable that vibrating energy will be fed into the fabric of the home by speakers that have tuneful bass. But then if you had someone playing a drumkit live in your room, even if it were somehow magically reduced in volume to the sort of levels that we tend to listen at, there would be a considerable amount of energy fed into the fabric of the room. So that it's fair to say that speakers that give you that seat of the pants bass kick (via coupling to the floor) are (potentially) being musical.

Something that was trendy in 1960's American millionaire's homes was to have two holes in an inner wall in which boards were mounted to which speaker drivers were mounted. So that the speaker cabinets were a thick board plus 10 tons of bricks and mortar. This also gave true infinite baffle bass.

Yes I'd be happy to put the drivers higher in the hierachy than the cabinet too. I don't mind where anyone wants to put these things in their hierachy. I think it's a case of aiming to get the crossover, driver choice and cabinet all right.

There have been "good" speakers that have no crossover. Quad electrostatics (they wouldn't be my personal choice but I can understand why some owners love them). "Full range" single driver speakers, eg Fane 12 250TC sealed box DIY'd speakers are very good for the money.
Last edited by lindsayt on 2023-04-29 11:13, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by lindsayt »

LinnGary wrote: 2023-04-28 22:05 1 aspect of this forum drew me in the way my JBL308P engage me. This discussion of speaker musicality baffles me in 1 sense.

Lots of y'all love the 308P, others do not.
Lots of y'all love the Briks, others do not.
Lots of y'all love the Kans, others do not.
Some of y'all love other Linn speakers, others do not.

@Spannko, brother can you tell me why you don't like the 308? You sure have the knowledge to inform me of where I might be confused. You appear to be close to the boss here but y'all seem at loggerheads with the 308s.
What I have found over the years from conducting numerous listening tests is that sometimes you come across someone that has a large amount of pre-existing bias as well as a lack of integrity when listening. So that they will spout a load of nonsense about the relative merits of the equipment. These people tend to be very much in the minority.

Most people either don't have that amount of pre-existing bias. Or they are able to put their bias to one side. Or they have enough integrity to report results that go against their pre-existing bias.

This means that in my experience AB listening tests tend to produce very good concensus amongst the listeners in attendance.

It also means that in my experience, the most common reason for 1 person rating something highly that another rates as mediocre is the difference in what they've compared the item in question against.

And, when it comes to speakers, The choice of whether to buy and own isn't determined by the price and the sound alone. There's also things like the looks, the size, the positioning, how easy to knock over or damage etc.
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by Spannko »

lindsayt wrote: 2023-04-29 10:53 The better alternative to having a speaker with walls that vibrate in a "musical" way is to have a speaker with walls that vibrate in a less audible way. So that the vibrations are too buried in the mix to be audible most (or even all) of the time.
Yes, this certainly makes sense. I’ve just built 3 enclosures with identical internal dimensions but with 9, 12, 15mm walls to try and understand just how thick/braced/damped an enclosure needs to be achieve this.
lindsayt wrote: 2023-04-29 10:53
I think it's a case of aiming to get the crossover, driver choice and cabinet all right.
Yes, I absolutely agree!
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by ThomasOK »

What makes a loudspeaker musical? In my house a set of panels with almost no enclosure and drivers with exceedingly low mass driven over their whole surface. But that's just me. I do speak of my rebuilt Quad ESL (the originals often called 57s). They actually do have a crossover and are a three way with part of the midrange panel being driven by the highs. But the crossover is complex, involves a big transformer with multiple windings and a lot of resistors with a few capacitors. It tailors the rather different responses of the panels and controls a resonance or two. Later Quads, which I am not a fan of, don't have a crossover, but they have other electronic devices that I don't feel help the music at all.

Hey, I had to throw it in here at some point! I do also find well driven Isobariks very musical and all the best driven ones I have heard had some version of Tundra driving them (although I have heard them be good with Naim 250s, 135s and various LK2 series amps, especially LK280/SPARK, but not to the same level of musicality as a Tundra). But I have enjoyed the ATC SCM100s, both active and passive with TM2.2s, JBL 3677s and the JBL LSR308 mk1s, and Kans when installed and driven properly. I also rather like the modified and rebuilt Meridian M3s in my video system, although I haven't tried them in my main system. Some of these do have low bass limitations (although my Quad ESL not as much as they are reputed to do) but they can still be very enjoyable within their limitations.
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by beck »

With open discussions and clips of many different systems and speakers bias can be challenged.

Bias is always present but as long as we keep an open mind it can be dealt with in a constructive manner.
Playing cd’s…………
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by matss »

LinnGary wrote: 2023-04-30 07:34It's sad fo folks like us in the audio community that Samsung stopped these audio engineers from publishing their findings. These cats sho wrote volumes of papers & books we all benefit from.
Floyd E. Toole and his teammates from JBL/Harman has written a highly recommended book on sound reproduction: loudspeakers and rooms https://www.amazon.com/Sound-Reproduct ... b_image_bk. It doesn’t deal with speakers musicality as such, but if you think a loudspeakers never can be musical on its own bar only make an as faithful as possible reproduction of the inherent musicality in the recording, then I say it is a really ear opening read.

Another recommended read is https://www.amazon.com/This-Your-Brain ... 0452288525 for an increased understanding why we react to music the way we do.

/mats
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by Spannko »

Thanks for recommending these two books matss. “What is Music” looks fascinating. There’s even a whole chapter dedicated to foot tapping!
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

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beck wrote: 2023-04-30 09:18 With open discussions and clips of many different systems and speakers bias can be challenged.

Bias is always present but as long as we keep an open mind it can be dealt with in a constructive manner.
Exactly.

Bias isn’t necessarily a bad thing either.
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by matss »

Thanks! Yes, it is a fascinating read on why we like music. And the Floyd Tooles book is like the "standard introduction" if you're into understanding the challenges for sound reproduction through loudspeakers in a room.
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by lindsayt »

LinnGary wrote: 2023-04-30 13:48 Thx brother Matss!

Letivin is on route to me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEZkz4Li-0M

1st few mins deals with bias. Mr. Sean Olive is compelling.
We're getting to a spin-off topic of a spin-off topic.

The issue with blind listening tests is that they put the listener in a state of stress. Because there's the possibility of making a fool of yourself in front of others and it's not the usual state of affairs to be listening to equipment you can't see.
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by matss »

Blind testing procedure is a necessity as a means to eliminate expectation bias, if you are interested in making any scientific claims with your investigations. It has certain limitations and challenges as already mentioned. And it is primarily useful to rank better from worse, rather than determine absolute levels of good or bad. But from my own experience I believe things like sound level calibration, repeatability and elimination of other factors than currently under investigation are good things to use in all types of evaluations. Too easy to be fooled otherwise.

If science is not your purpose you are free to use whichever evaluation method you like to decide what you prefer for yourself. I myself would never decide on any investment on other grounds than full open testing with all senses involved.
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

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Spannko wrote: 2023-04-27 23:46 What makes a loudspeaker musical?

Drive units definitely have their own innate musicality. For example, one of the reasons Kans and Isobarik’s worked so well is because the B110 is a very musical bass/mid unit. However, a drivers musicality can be tempered if it’s not loaded correctly (acoustically) by the enclosure.

In addition to loading the bass unit acoustically, the enclosure has the potential to obscure the musicality of the drive unit due to how it’s constructed. I’ve built about half a dozen enclosures of varying shapes and wall thicknesses (with the same internal volume) and they all sound different from one another, particularly from a musical perspective. At this moment in time I wouldn’t like to speculate on the exact reasons why. I’ve just built three additional enclosures which are identical to my current favourite, with the exception that the wall thicknesses vary. After listening to them, things might be a bit clearer.

Crossover components and circuit topology also has a very big effect on a loudspeaker’s musicality.

If there’s a hierarchy, I’d probably put crossover first, followed by drivers, then enclosure, simply because of source first theory. Get the x/o wrong and it doesn’t matter how good the drivers and enclosure are, it’ll never sound musical. However, a so-so driver can’t be compensated for by a good x/o either. Everything is important, so I’d guess at something like x/o (41%), drivers (39%) and enclosure (20%). This may change as I learn more.
Agree to everything.

Can add:
A cabinet might sound better If the different walls has different resonance frequencies- different thickness on opposite sides. This is not easily done and one cant measure how a good cabinet will sound, one has to listen. A stiff cabinet with a high resonance frequency wilI however always sound better than a low frequency resonating one. A stiff cabinet with different resonance frequencies on different walls will sound even better, If its done right.

The cabinet resonances shouldnt appear exactly on a musical tone frequency. This will blur the pitch.

It might be an advantage to use damping material that dont behave as a spring - sheep wool is good. Soldering every connection makes a clear difference for the better. Using the same cable inside the cabinet as outside is always a benefit, If a good cable is used . Every cable behave as a musical filtering , and one kind of filtering is better than many. Loudspeaker terminals thats not magnetical sounds better, just like unmagnetical RCA plugs sounds better.
All this can be verified using the tunemethod to valuate better or worse.

A very good source will make a bad or simple speaker sound good.

One can also look how Linn did their speakers before they had to cut costs with good enough constructions. The kustone panels on the back wall did shift the resonance frequency on that wall and also broke up the standing wave from the driver/back wall.
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by Rutger »

matss wrote: 2023-04-30 12:23 Thanks! Yes, it is a fascinating read on why we like music. And the Floyd Tooles book is like the "standard introduction" if you're into understanding the challenges for sound reproduction through loudspeakers in a room.
Its might also be a challenge to realise that F. Toole isnt right about many things. How music works, ( its ordered frequencies ), why two loudspeakers in a room shouldnt measure flat , how to use tunemethod etc .
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