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do loudspeakers have a sound ?

plus 1

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do loudspeakers have a sound character of their own ?

i have read many reviews where a loudspeaker is described as being "bright sounding" even "harsh" but these characteristics often change once the electronics or signal being fed to them change.

(think of a switch from solid state to tube / valve based electronics).

ultimately a loudspeaker can only play the signal being fed to it anyway hence the term "rubbish in, rubbish out" agreed ?
 

abacus

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A perfect speaker would output 100% of the input with no alterations, however no speaker yet made (Or likely to be made in the near future) can come anywhere near to this, thus manufactures do the best they can, but only the purchaser can decide if the compromises the manufacture has made suit their taste. (Electronic (Amplifiers etc.) differences are minor in comparison)

Bill
 
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chris661

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Oct 30, 2019
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What Bill said.

To expand:
Most speakers use magnets to wave bits of cardboard around. It really is that high-tech. Not.

Loudspeakers are compromised devices, and different manufacturers will choose different sets of compromises to work with.

Want more bass? You either need to lower sensitivity, or use a bigger box. I have some 6.5" mini-subwoofer drivers here that barely crack 80dB@1w, but they go nice and low in a really small box.

There's a long list of that sort of thing.

After all that, you've still got to implement a cabinet (non-trivial) and a crossover. The latter is what tries to get the (flawed) loudspeaker drivers working together in harmony. Some manufacturers take a minimalist approach here, while others are more willing to add components where needed. My current speakers have made an extreme sport of crossovers, with something like 15 components per box, for a 2-way design.

Even after all that, you've still got the penny-pinchers who have to make sure the speaker is being made as cheaply as possible.

The fact that anything is even listenable still astounds me a little. The fact that some of it can actually sound pretty good is impressive.

Chris
 
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nik70

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do loudspeakers have a sound character of their own ?

i have read many reviews where a loudspeaker is described as being "bright sounding" even "harsh" but these characteristics often change once the electronics or signal being fed to them change.

(think of a switch from solid state to tube / valve based electronics).

ultimately a loudspeaker can only play the signal being fed to it anyway hence the term "rubbish in, rubbish out" agreed ?
I have dali zensor 3 speakers coupled with 2 integrated amplifiers, teac and marantz

the sound of the speakers changes clearly with the two amplifiers the marantz prefers medium / low frequencies

the teac prefers medium / high frequencies but in both cases the sound is powerful clear and pleasant

what emerges instead are the design limits of the dali which are excellent but inexpensive speakers

both the low and high frequencies of the zensor 3 are excellent instead the medium frequencies are clear but dirty

the problem lies in the mid woofers which have to fulfill the task of separating the various frequencies in the best way possible

in this case dali gave greater emphasis on low frequencies at the expense of medium frequencies these design limits are put on display both by the teac and the marantz

summing up changing electronics the sound changes but the design limits of the speakers are permanent
 
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Al ears

Moderator
Simple answer is yes.
Most loudspeaker designers have a difficult job of presenting a speaker that will replicate an incoming signal let alone deciding how that speaker is going to sound in a particular room.
The speakers are the end-point in your system, you have to adjust the input signal to get what you desire out of a given pair of speakers.

Can I just say I am glad you didn't ask the same about cables.... :)
 
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Squall Leonhart

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both the low and high frequencies of the zensor 3 are excellent instead the medium frequencies are clear but dirty
I found the Dali Oberon 1 sounds really nice in the midrange. I haven't heard the Oberon 3 though.

My Dali Rubicons sound flawless from top to bottom
 

millennia_one

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Sep 1, 2014
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That’s a good question, I guess they have a character but to me it’s more the room, I could have the speaker in five different rooms. And will sound different every time. Each being exited in a different ways by the speaker and bring out certain aspects of that speaker/room, while other aspects take a back seat. But they’re, I guess are aspects that will always remain.
 

Mr. C Nation

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Mar 21, 2020
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There are two ways of testing the audio ouput of loadspeakers.

1] In a room reasonably appointed to resemble the 'real life' room where the speakers might be installed. This need not include having a bus stop outside which serves a large secondary school, as does the room of a friend who has many albums and a major Hollwood movie sound track to his credit. But such is real life.

2] In an anachoic chamber with, in the extreme, a porthole where the reviewer's head pokes thru' into the chamber. Otherwise, just the reviewer on a seat.

2] is not useful to consumers of audio equipment.

In the real world, we live in conditions that are not ideal for listening to loudspeakers.

I have spent hundreds of hours in the control rooms of recording studios. Note that after a take has been agreed as satisfactory, a rough mix is made and this is played thru' a pair of 'near field monitors' installed on the mixing console. For many years these were, in all the studios I went to, Yamaha N10s. These would not be considered 'hi-hi' by 'hi-fi' mags. But they were 'real world'.

The effect on my attitude to 'hi-fi' is this. Allocate a budget to your total purchase. Make it as big as you sensibly dare. This sum will be allocated to 3 or more units, depending on the number of sources delivering your music. The more sources, the more slices from the budget. My view of the current fad for vinyl is that the 'Golden Ears' syndrome is back.

Once you've worked out how much to spend on which box, go shopping. A round-up of reviews from mags and websites will help. It might be all you need because, above a certain price and taking the reputation of the brand into consideration, 'hi-fi' is like cars. These days pretty much everything is good gear.

Once you've assembled your system and given it a reasonable audition, unless there's something clearly amiss, live with that system, enjoy the sounds it makes and give up chasing a non-existent pot of gold at the end of a 'hi-fi' rainbow.

I deliberately down-graded [you might think] because it suited ny new living conditions. I sold my Musical Fidelity B1 [described in a review when it was lunched as 'unnecessarily good'] because it had no digital inputs. I sold my Marantz CD63 KI [rated by some 'hi-fi' mag as one of the 10 best ever audio products of any kind in the 40 years of the mag's production]

I play CDs on a Blu-Ray player connected to a Marantz PM6006. I've got rid of a box, got excellent digital audio from the TV and discs and, tho' I could probably improve on the Monitor Audio 5 Bronze spkrs, when I listen to what's coming out of them I know I really don't need to - unless to spend money for the sake of it.
 
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insider9

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Wow, way too much reading. Sorry chaps. Self isolating so drunk already.

Yes, speakers have a sound. Secret is finding the ones that don't.
 

plus 1

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Dec 5, 2019
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overall then, although a loudspeaker can only play the signal being sent to it, the loudspeaker quality itself is still a greater factor when evaluating the sound of a system and, ultimately, how the loudspeaker reacts to the room its in is of equal or even more importance.
 
overall then, although a loudspeaker can only play the signal being sent to it, the loudspeaker quality itself is still a greater factor when evaluating the sound of a system and, ultimately, how the loudspeaker reacts to the room its in is of equal or even more importance.
All correct - a speaker is limited by the incoming signal, and can only perform based on that, no matter how good they are. Feed them a brash signal, the end result will sound brash. The speaker will then reproduce that to the best of its abilities, but also add in any of their own natural colorations and characteristics based on its design and drivers used.
And the room has a big say in what you hear, particularly the further the listening distance is - but choosing the right loudspeakers can minimise that issue.

 

Romulus

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I think like food HiFi attracts seasoning of its own kind to make it attractive and sometimes to stand out and have maybe a cult following. This kind stretches to speakers to attract all kind of listeners.
 

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