Very small speakers

matthewpiano

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After hearing the little 22cm tall Acoustic Energy Compact 1s the other day I've been able to borrow a pair, which is proving interesting.

Yes, they lack the bass warmth of my Mordaunt-Short Aviano 2s. That is predictable going from a 165mm drive unit to a 100mm one. What you generally don't feel is that you are missing a lot because the overall sonic picture is so informative.

The little AEs have something that none of the larger small speakers I've tried has had and that is an uncanny ability to make instruments somehow sound whole. This sounds slightly contradictory and I don't quite understand it myself yet. For example all the notes of a piano sound like they are part of the same instrument and there is none of the soundstaging confusion that often plagues this instrument. Orchestral soundstaging is quite stunning and there is a very high level of timbral detail that really brings out the colours in the orchestra.

Vocals are the same. They have focus, and more breathing space. They consistently sound like they are coming from a human being and, even in harmonies of several voices it sounds like you are listening to several human beings singing rather than voices all merging into a confusing huddle.

Does this make sense? Are these typical advantages of going for small boxes/drive units? Is there less colouration because the box is so small?

I'm interested in people's thoughts about compact speakers and their characteristics.
 
A

Anonymous

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I recall many years ago the first (original) Wharfedale Diamond. It was tiny but from what I remember it had a big sound. My brother had these speakers and the first time I heard them I was really amazed. I can't remember their dimensions but they were small. So, I hope to have a listen to these new Acoustic Energy soon. I actually wrote in a few months ago about speakers I intend to buy for my Marantz PM6003/CD6003. I have narrowed it down to 3 models. In no particular order, Boston A26, KEF Q100 & monitor Audio BX2. My budget is around £300. After Christmas I will be getting one of these. Hey, I might even listen to this tint Acoustic Energy at the same time!
 

CnoEvil

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That pretty much sums up what I liked about the SA1s, but they were swamped by a big room (no surprise).

I also heard something similar years ago (if my memory isn't playing tricks), with the Goodmans Maxim.
 

paradiziac

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I don't know how relevant this is to your question, but I thought the Dali Lektor 1 was a lot more musical in the kinds of ways you described above than its bigger sister the 2 (and the largest of the 2 way standmounters in that range, the 3's, never seemed to take off in a big way...)
 

Frank Harvey

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Because of their lesser emphasis on bass, smaller speakers can be more informative, sound faster, have greater focus and produce a far more three dimensional soundstage than larger speakers, which can sometimes produce far more bass than is needed.

Whatever system you have, even if you do have bassy floorstanders, there's a few ways to replicate this sort of difference. You can plug any reflex ports with the supplied bungs, or pull the speakers well out into the room, about a metre or more. Or you can simply turn down the bass on your amplifier. How we hear lower frequencies affects how we perceive higher frequencies - turning off the subwoofer in a sub/sat speaker system will show what I mean - with the subwoofer on, the satellites sound sweeter, but without it they can sound quite harsh. Get the balance right, there's plenty of detail, get it wrong, and that detail can be swamped by excessive bass.

This is why some people prefer standmount speakers to floorstanders. Standmounts don't have excessive low frequencies masking mid and high frequencies, and they can be easier to place in a room too. I have to admit that there's not many floorstanders below £2,000 that I'd choose to use in my own system at home. My AV system uses standmount speakers rather than floorstanders in order to make the most of the midrange detail on offer. I do have floorstanders for my hi-fi system, but they don't suffer the detail loss of other floorstanders, even though they do reach below 20Hz.
 
A

Anonymous

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matthewpiano said:
After hearing the little 22cm tall Acoustic Energy Compact 1s the other day I've been able to borrow a pair, which is proving interesting.

Yes, they lack the bass warmth of my Mordaunt-Short Aviano 2s. That is predictable going from a 165mm drive unit to a 100mm one. What you generally don't feel is that you are missing a lot because the overall sonic picture is so informative.

The little AEs have something that none of the larger small speakers I've tried has had and that is an uncanny ability to make instruments somehow sound whole. This sounds slightly contradictory and I don't quite understand it myself yet. For example all the notes of a piano sound like they are part of the same instrument and there is none of the soundstaging confusion that often plagues this instrument. Orchestral soundstaging is quite stunning and there is a very high level of timbral detail that really brings out the colours in the orchestra.

Vocals are the same. They have focus, and more breathing space. They consistently sound like they are coming from a human being and, even in harmonies of several voices it sounds like you are listening to several human beings singing rather than voices all merging into a confusing huddle.

Does this make sense? Are these typical advantages of going for small boxes/drive units? Is there less colouration because the box is so small?

I'm interested in people's thoughts about compact speakers and their characteristics.
Do we sense a PURchase shortly ? :)
 

atanakata

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Great piece of info by David :clap: This is exactly what I felt yesterday. I decided to give a go to my satellites ( M.Short-Mezzo 1 ) at the main stage - as front speakers.I`ve never done it before.And the result was astonishing. It seems like they`ve been gagging for it... They were singing so sweet at jazz and instrumental ( like Eric Clapton- Unplugged ) There is more detail in the sound, the soundstage is clearer...it simply sounds better to me. However they lack the control and the rhythm in the lower end of their big brothers ( the Mezzo 6 -my original floorstanders ), especially in some demanding rock ( Queen for example) or R&B tracks . My room is 20 sq.m and now I am keeping the Mezzo 1 on their stands for a week to listen to all types of music and decide whether or not to change form floorstanders to standmounts. By the way ,what floorstanders do you have,David ? - just out of interest
 
matthewpiano said:
After hearing the little 22cm tall Acoustic Energy Compact 1s the other day I've been able to borrow a pair, which is proving interesting.

Yes, they lack the bass warmth of my Mordaunt-Short Aviano 2s. That is predictable going from a 165mm drive unit to a 100mm one. What you generally don't feel is that you are missing a lot because the overall sonic picture is so informative.

The little AEs have something that none of the larger small speakers I've tried has had and that is an uncanny ability to make instruments somehow sound whole. This sounds slightly contradictory and I don't quite understand it myself yet. For example all the notes of a piano sound like they are part of the same instrument and there is none of the soundstaging confusion that often plagues this instrument. Orchestral soundstaging is quite stunning and there is a very high level of timbral detail that really brings out the colours in the orchestra.

Vocals are the same. They have focus, and more breathing space. They consistently sound like they are coming from a human being and, even in harmonies of several voices it sounds like you are listening to several human beings singing rather than voices all merging into a confusing huddle.

Does this make sense? Are these typical advantages of going for small boxes/drive units? Is there less colouration because the box is so small?

I'm interested in people's thoughts about compact speakers and their characteristics.

This is exactly my findings when comparing the RS6 (ORRP 600) and PMC DB1is (770 squid). The PMCs, although lacked bottom end punch, sounded more natural. I suppose it depends, over longer listening sessions, whether you prefer the precision of the AEs or the warmer Avianos.
 

AEJim

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Glad you're enjoying the Compact 1's Matthew!

I use them at home for the same reasons really - small speakers definitely have some benefits over larger designs, especially in modern, small British living rooms. It does depend how they're tuned as well though - We tested all the relevant competition when designing the Compact 1 and found some (not all) tried to make up for lack of bass a little too hard and ended up sounding bloated - especially when placed near walls, which sort of negates the point of having a small speaker in the first place!

Of course if you wanted more bass you could always buy some of David's floorstanders, or 133 pairs of Compact 1's for the same price... ;)
 

AEJim

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Technically it could be done as an array and the results would be impressive (and loud!) - but you'd have to stand well back for it to work well - similar to the speaker rigs at rock concerts etc. :)
 
T

the record spot

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AEJim said:
Technically it could be done as an array and the results would be impressive (and loud!) - but you'd have to stand well back for it to work well - similar to the speaker rigs at rock concerts etc. :)

Now look at what you've started...!
 
A

Anonymous

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AEJim said:
Glad you're enjoying the Compact 1's Matthew!

I use them at home for the same reasons really - small speakers definitely have some benefits over larger designs, especially in modern, small British living rooms. It does depend how they're tuned as well though - We tested all the relevant competition when designing the Compact 1 and found some (not all) tried to make up for lack of bass a little too hard and ended up sounding bloated - especially when placed near walls, which sort of negates the point of having a small speaker in the first place!

Of course if you wanted more bass you could always buy some of David's floorstanders, or 133 pairs of Compact 1's for the same price... ;)
Now have you got that many compacts 1's in stock Jim ? Merry xmas :grin:
 

Frank Harvey

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AEJim said:
Technically it could be done as an array and the results would be impressive (and loud!) - but you'd have to stand well back for it to work well - similar to the speaker rigs at rock concerts etc. :)

It'd sort of lack the 'single point' thing though
smiley-laughing.gif
 

BenLaw

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FrankHarveyHiFi said:
AEJim said:
Technically it could be done as an array and the results would be impressive (and loud!) - but you'd have to stand well back for it to work well - similar to the speaker rigs at rock concerts etc. :)

It'd sort of lack the 'single point' thing though
smiley-laughing.gif

Unless you were a *really* long way back :grin:
 

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