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Thoughts on ideal speakers for quadraphonic

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DaveLaPorte53

Active Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2017
Messages
54
Location
Rockledge, Fl
Hi all, I can't believe this has not been discussed before but I couldn't find anything from searches. I recently considered buying some Goodmans Dimension 8 speakers off ebay, then buying another pair in the future for a quadset-up. I want them because a) they look 'groovy' and b)they are from the same period as my Sansui QRX8001. They are supposed to give a wide sound-stage and I cant decide if this would be good or bad for a quad system as opposed to speakers that have 'good imaging'. Maybe it wouldn't be quite as good for sitting in 'the sweet spot'? Or maybe it would result in a wider more enveloping sound field? Any thoughts? I should add that I haven't had any of my quad gear up and running yet. While we are at it, what speakers do you use with your old receivers?
I run a Pioneer 948a receiver front end, Maranz 150 W per channel amp driving voice matched CerwinVaga spkrs. Fronts have 15” woofers, rears 12” woofers Sounds great, with plenty of power for the bass.
 

bktouchstone

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2013
Messages
228
I have decided that Hi-fi is essentially a sad-masochistic endeavor. As I have developed my knowledge of this hobby, the love/hate (or is it hate/love?) has only intensified. For speakers, I usually like a some B&W to go with my S&M. But that still doesn't really address the bass problem and sub-woofer nausea. Because I use the same speakers for audio and home theater, the sub levels are hard to determine because I really despise having the reset the levels for every. single. thing. I listen to. My current uneasy truce (and I tried various options and ideas) is to go the route of dumping everything below 80 hz on the fronts to the sub and then just adjust the sub if I need to. So I recommend B&W CM10 s2 speakers but any surround speaker solution is a holistic endeavor involving all of the gear and your intended usage. And there is lots of really good stuff out there at many different price points.

Lastly, I went to a higher end audio seller in a very wet western city and was amazed at how ignorant they assumed I was. As a result their sales presentation was terrible. Always take the time to listen to the actual gear if you can but it is unlikely you will hear any speakers in the context of "your" system, so it's a bit of a crap shoot. Listen to advice that seems reasonable but make your own judgements. Making other people's mistakes teaches you far less than making your own. Don't be afraid to make adjustments to settings etc if it doesn't sound "right." But even if you do everything right, you may never be completely satisfied. There is always something better whether it be imaginary, or just economically out of reach.
 

jimfisheye

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Messages
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Sub channel? Home theater? That means movies right? Movie soundtracks?

Some movie soundtracks have the crudest mixes known to mankind IMO. Your sub channel is probably set and calibrated correctly. Some movie soundtracks are just apparently mixed by 8 year olds or something. "Huh huh, check out this bass! Huh huh."

And then we have the volume war CDs for some stereo mixes with the crude 30db treble boosts they did in "mastering". (The quotes there reflect my opinion on that work.) That's pretty great to hear after investing in a reference system, no? /s

Meh. Keep the system calibrated. Have a knob or two to reach for when crude shit comes along. 1 out of 100 movie soundtracks might be on point. Everything else will have you jumping for the volume control at least. Sub levels being flat out screwed up wrong by 30db in movies is common.
 

DaveLaPorte53

Active Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2017
Messages
54
Location
Rockledge, Fl
I agree, my Marantz has a direct 7.1 input option, by using the fr, fl,rr,rl inputs I am able to easily switch from 7.1 for movies ect. to 4.0 for my Quad. audio set up. I use the Headphone jacks to send the signal to my AV amp.( which is very far away from my Pioneer 949A.
fullsizeoutput_60a.jpeg
 
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multi_est

Member
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May 9, 2017
Messages
14
I put up a pair of 193's in near-coincidend (ortf) in the middle of a string quartet last week. Seemed like the thing to do for the gig.

Again, if someone is truly being genuine and has a problem with high end high def digital... enjoy the 7 recordings you found in the world that actually make your standard in that fancy listening room you built! If you're operating at that level, do you even have words for the crude volume war trebly stuff?

Dismissing everything else isn't right though. Shaming the volume war crowd is a better starting place.

Get a few more 5.1, 4.0, etc well done mixes out there.
Our stupid (Russian) ISP-censorship system blocked this website today, so I had to use TOR to get in.

Some of the best chamber music recordings I ever made were with ORTF pairs, but they were "special" thanks to Calrec. The biggest problem has always been "getting inside there" to make the 2nd vln and vla well defined with the finer harmonics of the cello.
When paired with a piano, even the BBC constantly get it wrong in their studio recordings forcing the "solo" instrument fwd and losing the piano.
I don't really listen to commercial recordings any more, 90% of them are horrible.

Listening to France-Musique & the BBC live is generally speaking as good as you will get, but there in the EU we have this vast advantage over the USA and most other places around,- of having live FM stereo national broadcast systems.
Even in Germany they don't have that, dividing up music broadcasting into regions,- really annoying when you are driving any distance, as let's face it, the raison d'etre for listening to music esp hi end and surround HAS to be the car.
(I'm working on an ESL based system in car, but obviously putting in multi Kv high voltage cabling in this environment with vibration and a big mobile 350V HT powered amp is a challenge..).

A little OT.
Russia is a nightmare, the chances of getting a decent live broadcast are absolute zero, which of course is why I am working in there.
Attempting to put the machine into reverse, feels like a lost battle and militating for bringing back at least SOME of the standards they had with people that worked at MELODIYA an uphill struggle.

So yes, I am only interested in auditioning our recordings back home, so that we can always do better.
We did an excellent, no expense spared, Boheme, a while back and that stretched the whole team to the limit.

The verdi requiem was "not my ticket", so of course then when you become the "gendarme" of the team, it's "err...WTF did you do here"...and why does this sound so bad, mea culpa and that inevitably means 24bit is meaningless, - we are already working with that and beyond that level a long time, combing thru the bugs and killing the evil algorithms!
 

chucky3042

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
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Apr 9, 2012
Messages
1,474
2/ total waste of time.
I hate very small listening areas, makes a total nonsense of the whole concept of surround.

3/ IDEM, hate highly directional speakers, this is the equivalent of cardioid microphones in the reverse.

Any decent sound engineer will tell you cardios have their place, for location cues where they are ultra precise but proper engineers use omnis for very obvious reasons, as the good old neumann KM83-84 for series are almost impossible to find. (Idem Calrec).

ESL are very very far from perfect and have additional aggravation of presenting a near short circuit to the amp as soon as you start approaching 15khz.
They are NO GOOD at all for bass response and can't be controlled with pure current drive.

The resolution questions of ESL are the only place they beat every other design, but most people are unable to make the difference between 16bit and 24bit resolution anyhow.

Sorry I disagree with so much of what you say, and software in my mind makes nothing better (DSP speakers included, no matter how much people claim "perfection")
On my point 3, I ruled the line between 2 types of listeners and stated that wide dispersion has its place..............

3 I know this is contradictory......If you are antisocial like me and only like listening privately use highly directional speakers (yes electrostatics are perfect) and sit in the 3 cm of joy sweet spot. If you are a social butterfly use wide dispersion speakers (we have a very wide dispersion electrostatic - yes it can be done)

I own and have owned a succession of electrostatic and hybrid electrostatic speakers from pin point beam dispersion to as broad as a conventional cone and by far the best surround experience in terms of dimension and reality was in the 3 cm of joy laser beam sweet spot (as impractical as it can be). Wide dispersion for most people is more practical. Unfortunately very few people have experienced our other alternative "SST - Sweet Spot Technology" that gets rid of the sweet spot.
 

ssully

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As anyone who knows me will know that I am very biased and I declare my interest that we do manufacture electrostatic speakers.

Having said that my answer is as follows

1 Scrap the external subwoofer idea if you can, it really was only put out in the first place to sell little Bose like cubes where you could lift the bottom crossover frequency on the lie that you cannot directionalise base.

There are room issues that can be addressed with subwoofers that simply can't be addressed by (supposedly) full range loudspeaker placement, unless one resorts to physical room treatments.

And no, you cannot 'directionalize' *low bass*. If you are crossing over your subs too high, yes, you will 'hear' where they are, due to upper bass frequencies being localizable..

I'd say scrap the *LFE* on music releases. A different thing. LFE was never intended for music and there appears to be (from measuring LFE content in various releases) no standardization in how it is used for music releases. However, subwoofers would still be very useful even without dedicated .1 channel content.

4 Piss off the center channel lie
Since you seem interested in historical reasons: physics and psychoacoustics says otherwise, going all the way back to Bell Labs, who basically invented audio reproduction. It was originally specified as needing a minimum of 3 front channels. Two channel was a compromise.

Your language is overwrought. The things you say are 'lies', aren't. Needless to say, with such erroneous claims behind them, I wouldn't be buying your products.
 

chucky3042

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
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Messages
1,474
There are room issues that can be addressed with subwoofers that simply can't be addressed by (supposedly) full range loudspeaker placement, unless one resorts to physical room treatments.

And no, you cannot 'directionalize' *low bass*. If you are crossing over your subs too high, yes, you will 'hear' where they are, due to upper bass frequencies being localizable..

I'd say scrap the *LFE* on music releases. A different thing. LFE was never intended for music and there appears to be (from measuring LFE content in various releases) no standardization in how it is used for music releases. However, subwoofers would still be very useful even without dedicated .1 channel content.



Since you seem interested in historical reasons: physics and psychoacoustics says otherwise, going all the way back to Bell Labs, who basically invented audio reproduction. It was originally specified as needing a minimum of 3 front channels. Two channel was a compromise.

Your language is overwrought. The things you say are 'lies', aren't. Needless to say, with such erroneous claims behind them, I wouldn't be buying your products.
Hello Ssully

The issue with subwoofers is as you correctly pointed out is where you put the crossover frequency. The commercialisation of the concept has happened more due to its use reducing the cost and size of loudspeakers with the intimate embodiment of the small Bose like cubes etc. Some 10 years ago we conducted quite a lot of research into the application of subwoofers and specifically one of the points covered was the question of - at what frequency do you fail to directionalise the placement of the subwoofer. The common mythology was and is that is around 80 Hz.

At the time we owned a subwoofer company "Whise" that produced very low distortion subwoofers. This was critical to the tests as the harmonic distortion frequency components are one of the prime factors in the directional location of woofers. So the distortion was well below 0.5% (cannot remember the actual number). We then used very high order variable frequency steep cut filters so we could adjust the low pass frequency from between 20 Hz to 1 kHz. We had a propper home theater room that seated around 20 people with staircased levels of seating. We then found 11 test subjects, blindfolded them and invited them into the room one by one with a mission of asking them to point out the position of the subwoofer. The start frequency was 1 Khz and we moved downwards after each trial. The trial was initially with pure sine wave tone and the second trial was with band limited pink noise.

The unexpected result was contradictory

1 On pure sine wave tone no one could directionalise the speaker placement RIGHT UP TO 800 Hz. Literally people would point to opposite directions!

2 On band limited pink noise everyone could precisely point to where the woofer was all the way down to 35 Hz!

So there you have the dilemma music resembles pink noise more than sine wave tone as it has multi frequency components - not just one spot tone. Subsequent testing also revealed that after a minute or so the listener began to fail to localise the woofer position in the presence of associated music. our conclusion is the brain starts to put it together and fool itself that the placement was with the satellite speakers. I have noted this effect many times with subwoofer based systems where I hear where the woofer is places on the initial turn on and then after a while I ignore it. Interestingly we later showed this process of mentally reposition the subwoofer was associated with headaches!

Now to the curly issue of the center channel.

To understand the "need" of the center channel is to understand the downside of stereo 2 speakers. Two speakers is great IF your speakers image well (we have done lots of work studying that - but that's a bigger issue) and that you are sitting precisely in the sweet spot. Outside the sweet spot the frontal image falls apart typically with the central vocalist shifting hard left or right depending on what side of the sweet spot you are sitting. So its great for the one listener in the sweet spot but else where its just lousy.

This is where the center channel "works" if you can extract the center channel component or have a recorded separate central channel you can nicely place the central vocalist where it belongs- in the center. Ina addition it helps cheap poor imaging speakers to create an apparent frontal image. My personal problem with the center channel started in the late 80's where I constructed my first 5 channel surround system with great enthusiasm only to be disappointed and go back to stereo afterwards. The most disturbing thing I noticed was the center channel pushing the central image BELOW the TV. It greatly bothered ME that I would see the visual image shifted around 30 degrees from the sonic image completely disassociating the central image. This could be fixed by using 2 centers above and below the TX but convincing the wife was not an option! It was just easier to go back to stereo.

Some 20 years later I was looking at the problem of sweet spot associated with electrostatic speakers and spent 2 years thinking about it. Eventually out of the blue (between a phone call from an idiot lawyer and a bike crash) the idea hit me and we tested and patented it. It is our SST (Sweet Spot Technology). The result is a consistent frontal image in all positions of the room - from all seated positions. Sorry you are not in the right part of the world to hear it but suffice to say everyone who has listened to it now randomly sit anywhere in the room not caring about the sweetspot - and the image is in line with the TV with just 2 frontal stereo speakers. You need to take my word on that one!

So if you sit outside the sweet spot yes a center channel is a good idea - if it is in line with the other speakers and not under the TV! But if you are in the center and don't not use our SST the center spot is the place to be with great imaging speakers

My comments have nothing to do with my business as for example our Y4 surround system that we are pushing is in fact a bookshelf electrostatic system with 2 satellite subwoofers crossing over at 200 Hz! The Y4 is actually a 10 channel system - just sayin. At home I do not use a sub or our SST as I am antisocial and chose to use my very large Nakamichi Dragon electrostatics (that we designed for Naka before they effectively went broke) with no center channel



Like all things in Hifi we tend to test the existing thought and see if it pans out, yes there may be studies done in the past- even by the great Bell labs but was it done correctly? Its way easier to sell things if everyone else in the market are singing from the same book as it reinforces the sales talk.

regards
 
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Soundfield

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Since you seem interested in historical reasons: physics and psychoacoustics says otherwise, going all the way back to Bell Labs, who basically invented audio reproduction. It was originally specified as needing a minimum of 3 front channels. Two channel was a compromise.
Well, Bell Labs certainly didn’t invent multichannel reproduction (the Frenchman Clement Ader did that in Paris with binaural telephone circuits from theatres in 1881!) and Alan Blumlein's pioneering stereo work for EMI in 1931 predates that of Bell Labs by a couple of years.

Arguably, Bell’s system was the compromise. They were using spaced omni-directional microphones which rely on time of arrival information making placement critical, finding they had to use three or more channels to make a wall of sound effect, it was not because three channels were intrinsically better. Quite the reverse in fact, Blumlein used cardioid pressure / velocity microphones (and invented the crossed pair microphone technique) and so his two channel system imaged well, was simple to set up and became almost universally adopted.
 

quadaholic

Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2010
Messages
43
Location
Newtonville MA
Hey folks, I've been enjoying this thread, I would only mention that we should keep it upbeat and refrain from the occasional mudslinging. Anyway, I used to be really picky about speakers, sound and all the rest, but I've come to a point where I want my setup to be solid, but not "sky's the limit" awesome. I like speakers to be clear and dark (just because). I found 4 bookshelf speakers by a company called psb and a matching center speaker. Of course the center speaker doesn't apply to quad. I also have a polk audio sub that is decent but not amazing. It is all going through an old yamaha rxv2500 receiver that is somewhere around 10-15 years old. It is a little bright sounding, and the psb speakers counteract that very well. When listeing to old quad stuff, these speakers (at least to me), do a great job at capturing the tonality of those old recordings. With classical quad, they empahisize the roominess of the old recordings and deemphasizing the close miked sound of newer classical recordings which I don't care for. Outside of a little volume adjustment of the speakers, I don't run any eq or cal programs, as I never liked what they did. I don't know if the program in the receiver is the problem, but certainly the cheap mike they give you with the receiver can't be accurate to begin with.
One last thing about the "average quality" speakers. I do some daw mixing from time to time, and having darker speakers to mix on helps me, as they aren't fatiguing, plus they make me have to work on the mixes a little more to make things sound clear (but that's just my messed up brain at work).
So anyway, I've been enjoying hearing about all these amazing setups, but if you are on a short budget (like most of us probably), that shouldn't stop you from enjoying your music and movies, as there are plenty of less expensive options around.
 

ssully

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
Since 2002/2003
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Messages
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in your face
Well, Bell Labs certainly didn’t invent multichannel reproduction (the Frenchman Clement Ader did that in Paris with binaural telephone circuits from theatres in 1881!) and Alan Blumlein's pioneering stereo work for EMI in 1931 predates that of Bell Labs by a couple of years.

Arguably, Bell’s system was the compromise. They were using spaced omni-directional microphones which rely on time of arrival information making placement critical, finding they had to use three or more channels to make a wall of sound effect, it was not because three channels were intrinsically better. Quite the reverse in fact, Blumlein used cardioid pressure / velocity microphones (and invented the crossed pair microphone technique) and so his two channel system imaged well, was simple to set up and became almost universally adopted.

Points taken, but Blumlein's work unfortunately went often uncited until the late 1950s, while home audio predates that. It is at the same time true that Bell was concerned mainly with cinema audio, not so much home audio reproduction, so my claim needs that qualifier as well. The *intrinsic* superiority of a third, center channel for home audio in normal rooms, however, is argued for by, among other, Floyd Toole.
 

quadaholic

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Himey, I expect PSB must make way spiffier speakers than the ones I have. Mine are pretty basic, and must be toward the bottom (if not the bottom) of their speaker options. When I say "sky's the limit", I'm talking about amazing speakers/amps that I can't afford at the moment. The PSB's I had were pretty inexpensive (might have been floor models or discontinued ones).
 

chucky3042

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
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Messages
1,474
Good comment from Lou but I really cannot understand how that configuration recommended by RCA works
1579387383169.png


As the negative is common on most amps, you would get a left reinforcement, aside from no actual separation of the center. Oh center separation is mathematically impossible but we do it in the SM by a wacky path.
 
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