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Alternative loudspeakers


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The single most impacting sound quality variable are the loudspeakers. As such, having alternative speaker sets may bring about different sound flavors and attribute profiles, which could re-visit all the room treatments, tube-rolling and DAC/source tweaks we have applied throughout our music listening experience.

 

Unfortunately, there are quite few reasonably priced alternatives for the low-power amplification market segment, like SETs and SEPs. One of them, of course, is the DM 945 group of Decware offerings, a sample of which I've owned for the last two and a half years.

 

My new project is to find an alternative set of loudspeakers to alternate with my DM 945's and refresh my listening stimuli. I'm sure people in this forum have had differing experiences using some of the available products out there, like Omega, Tekton and Zu.

 

I'm particularly interested in learning from this forum's experiences concerning the following short list:

 

1. Tekton Lore Reference or Lore 2.0 (or anything within the Lore group)

2. Omega Super 3 Monitor line (3i, 3U, Super 7)

3- Hoyt-Bedford Type 1 Monitor.

 

These in particular share two things: Higher tan 94 Db efficiency and a more comfortable 8 Ohm average impedance curve, which would theoretically boost my Mini-Torii's relative power.

 

Since I cannot audition these and my location is far from these markets, I rely on research and consulting from others' experiences.

 

Please feel free to be blunt and candid in sharing your relevant anecdotes. Thanks for the assistance.

 

David.

Decwarenut

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Loudspeaker drivers and S.E.T. amplifiers should always be band-passed, not used in full-range applications.

 

In my view, your best shot would be a pair of 3-way horns with an active LF channel.

 

R

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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Loudspeaker drivers and S.E.T. amplifiers should always be band-passed, not used in full-range applications.

 

In my view, your best shot would be a pair of 3-way horns with an active LF channel.

 

R

 

Would you care to elaborate? My perception is crossovers waste power and tone. We're talking 4 watts per channel at 8 Ohms, not much juice. Granted, full range drivers may recess the extreme frequencies some, but these also enhance everything in-between, including dynamics. Another possibility is to have a two-way arrangement with a particularly efficient crossover.

 

Besides, having a tower speaker perform active LF duties is really saturating the cabinet design ... a dedicated active Sub should work much better IMO, but I'm open to correction.

 

I should mention that I listen nearfield (i.e., sweet spot at the vortex of an equilateral triangle of between 4 and 5 feet per side). Thanks for your post.

Decwarenut

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Would you care to elaborate? My perception is crossovers waste power and tone. We're talking 4 watts per channel at 8 Ohms, not much juice. Granted, full range drivers may recess the extreme frequencies some, but these also enhance everything in-between.

 

Besides, having a tower speaker perform active LF duties is really saturating the cabinet design ... a dedicated active Sub should work much better IMO, but I'm open to correction.

 

I should mention that I listen nearfield (i.e., sweet spot at the vortex of an equilateral triangle of between 4 and 5 feet per side). Thanks for your post.

 

I'm not knowledgeable enough to explain, but S.E.T. amplifiers have high output impedance and their frequency response is greatly affected but loudspeaker load which varies with frequency; if you use them band-passed you'll be able to optimize the interaction between speaker and amplification.

See here:

 

Questions of Impedance Interaction | Stereophile.com

 

As for single-driver speakers, besides the narrower frequency range there are other shortcomings like uneven power response, uneven frequency response, intermodulation distortion.

Multi-driver speakers do have crossovers but they use drivers at their best operative range.

 

I don't understand what you mean by "enhance everything in-between" nor "saturating the cabinet design".

 

R

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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I'm not knowledgeable enough to explain, but S.E.T. amplifiers have high output impedance and their frequency response is greatly affected but loudspeaker load which varies with frequency; if you use them band-passed you'll be able to optimize the interaction between speaker and amplification.

See here:

 

Questions of Impedance Interaction | Stereophile.com

 

As for single-driver speakers, besides the narrower frequency range there are other shortcomings like uneven power response, uneven frequency response, intermodulation distortion.

Multi-driver speakers do have crossovers but they use drivers at their best operative range.

 

I don't understand what you mean by "enhance everything in-between" nor "saturating the cabinet design".

 

R

 

I meant that the cabinet volume sound propagation is already taxed accommodating the sound waves of two or three different frequency band transducers. Adding the complexities of the LF in the same cabinet (i.e., integrating an active subwoofer) is not an easy task.

 

By everything in-between I meant that the pay off of the recessed tails of the frequency distribution is compensated by an enhancement of the available frequency range, with much less compromise, offering meatier broad mids at a faster pace.

 

It's all a tradeoff, what designers try to do is find the less taxing compromises for an overall presentation. Not too many people miss the over 18 K or the under 50 Hz frequencies, most of us just naturally focus on the rest of the scale.

 

As I understand it, tube amps deal with voltage, not current, and usually provide a constant power output in spite of changing frequencies. Part of the load the amp sees is precisely the added path complexities and resistance of crossover devices.

 

I am not knowledgeable about these things either, I just want to make sure I understand the basics so I can make the right decision. Thanks!

Decwarenut

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I meant that the cabinet volume sound propagation is already taxed accommodating the sound waves of two or three different frequency band transducers. Adding the complexities of the LF in the same cabinet (i.e., integrating an active subwoofer) is not an easy task.

 

I see what you mean.

But I was referring to a 3-way horn (with powered LF channel) like the Avangarde Uno or Duo...

The high sensitivity (>100dB) of the horns is also a better match for a S.E.T. amplifier which produces much more distortion as power increases.

 

By everything in-between I meant that the pay off of the recessed tails of the frequency distribution is compensated by an enhancement of the available frequency range, with much less compromise, offering meatier broad mids at a faster pace.

 

"Meatier broad mids" is a subjective classification but you can have a single band-passed driver covering the whole midrange band with less distortions and flatter frequency response than if you use a single wide-band driver to cover the whole (or as much as possible) range.

But you've got me with "faster pace"...I'm struggling to find a relation between "pace" and playback.

 

It's all a tradeoff, what designers try to do is find the less taxing compromises for an overall presentation. Not too many people miss the over 18 K or the under 50 Hz frequencies, most of us just naturally focus on the rest of the scale.

 

But as I have mentioned previously, it's not only a matter of narrower frequency response.

There are other more serious shortcomings...

 

It's all a tradeoff, what designers try to do is find the less taxing compromises for an overall presentation. Not too many people miss the over 18 K or the under 50 Hz frequencies, most of us just naturally focus on the rest of the scale.

 

As I understand it, tube amps deal with voltage, not current, and usually provide a constant power output in spite of changing frequencies. Part of the load the amp sees is precisely the added path complexities and resistance of crossover devices.

 

Stereophile measures the frequency response of tested amplifiers with a dummy load that simulates the interaction between amplifier and speakers.

Here are a couple of examples:

 

attachment.php?attachmentid=15847&stc=1

Wavelength Gemini, 45 tube, 8 ohm tap, frequency response at 1V into (from top to bottom at 2kHz):

dummy loudspeaker load, 16 ohms, 8 ohms, 4 ohms, and 2 ohms (2dB/vertical div.).

 

attachment.php?attachmentid=15848&stc=1

 

Yamamoto A-08, frequency response at 1V into (from top to bottom at 2kHz):

simulated loudspeaker load, 8, 4, 2 ohms (1dB/vertical div., right channel dashed).

 

As you can see from the above, the frequency response gets decidedly wobbly when the amplifer is presented with the simulated load.

 

R

Wavfig01.jpg

306YAMFIG01.jpg

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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I see what you mean.

But I was referring to a 3-way horn (with powered LF channel) like the Avangarde Uno or Duo...

The high sensitivity (>100dB) of the horns is also a better match for a S.E.T. amplifier which produces much more distortion as power increases.

 

 

 

"Meatier broad mids" is a subjective classification but you can have a single driver covering the whole midrange band with less distortions and flatter frequency response than if you use a single wide-band driver to cover the whole (or as much as possible) range.

But you've got me with "faster pace"...I'm struggling to find a relation between "pace" and playback.

 

 

 

But as I have mentioned previously, it's not only a matter of narrower frequency response.

There are other more serious shortcomings...

 

 

 

Stereophile measures the frequency response of tested amplifiers with a dummy load that simulates the interaction between amplifier and speakers.

Here are a couple of examples:

 

attachment.php?attachmentid=15847&stc=1

Wavelength Gemini, 45 tube, 8 ohm tap, frequency response at 1V into (from top to bottom at 2kHz):

dummy loudspeaker load, 16 ohms, 8 ohms, 4 ohms, and 2 ohms (2dB/vertical div.).

 

attachment.php?attachmentid=15848&stc=1

 

Yamamoto A-08, frequency response at 1V into (from top to bottom at 2kHz):

simulated loudspeaker load, 8, 4, 2 ohms (1dB/vertical div., right channel dashed).

 

As you can see from the above, the frequency response gets decidedly wobbly when the amplifer is presented with the simulated load.

 

R

 

Interesting, I'm not familiar with horns, but I've heard not everyone likes them. In any event is worth investigating the concept further. But your example is waaaaay to expensive. The classical here would be either model from the Horn Shoppe, but I'm definitely not familiar with the concept, although I can see horns are definitely an alternative for low powered amps.

 

By fast pace, I mean a lower mass single driver is easier to move fast and so connects the listener directly with smaller time response from the speakers.

 

Impedance matching is indeed important, although these days amps are designed more or less following universal compatibility standards, unless these are special one-off designs. But, you're right about the need to match them properly.

 

I need to read about other people's actual hands on experience with low power tube amps either with the candidates in my short list or else. Thanks.

Decwarenut

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Horn Shoppe speakers use a different topology called the back-loaded horn, a system which amplifies only the lows below a certain frequency; above that they perform like any other direct-radiating cone speaker.

It's not the same.

 

As for "fast pace", I guess it's yet another one of those unique attributes that give shape to the single-driver myth, a path that I once followed and which resulted in an unnecessary waste of time and money.

 

R

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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How big is your listening room?

 

I have the Tekton Lore S and have driven them with a single ended Dennis Had Inspire tube amp. These are not as efficient as the regular Lores, and I preferred driving them with a 30 watt push/pull tube amp in my large family room. I am currently using the single ended amp to drive a pair of Spatial M2 Turbos in the family room and am loving it. I think they're rated 100db efficiency. I have them mated with dual subs (and dual core eq'd). The Tektons do not require a sub.

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