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chebby

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Jun 2, 2008
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FrankHarveyHiFi said:
Is Max still to answer this, or has that moment passed?
Yes he has.

In response to this...

John Duncan said:
These are the two possible options, which are logically mutually exclusive. Which one do you agree with?

"a more accurate speaker may not necessarily be identifiable audibly"

"a more accurate speaker will always be identifiable audibly, for any given value of 'more'"
Max answered...

ooh.. said:
It's a not a question of what i believe, the only one of the two choices that makes sense is the first one.
 

BenLaw

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Nov 21, 2010
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simonlewis said:
BenLaw said:
oldric_naubhoff said:
but I'm sure that in a few days time we're gonna see known "active speakers are better because they have active xover which distorts less and therefore active speakers are more accurate" kind of posting... :grin:
What are your thoughts then on page 16 of this, ATC's view on the benefits of active over passive?

(Also recently posted by Rick.)
Exscuse me i might be a bit thick here, but it only goes up to page eleven ???
It's page 16 of 20 of the actual brochure, numbers in the dark bars on the sides of each page. Page 9 of 11 as it's coming up on my phone.
 

simonlewis

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BenLaw said:
simonlewis said:
BenLaw said:
oldric_naubhoff said:
but I'm sure that in a few days time we're gonna see known "active speakers are better because they have active xover which distorts less and therefore active speakers are more accurate" kind of posting... :grin:
What are your thoughts then on page 16 of this, ATC's view on the benefits of active over passive?

(Also recently posted by Rick.)
Exscuse me i might be a bit thick here, but it only goes up to page eleven ???
It's page 16 of 20 of the actual brochure, numbers in the dark bars on the sides of each page. Page 9 of 11 as it's coming up on my phone.
Ahh, i see it now, it would help if i looked at it properly, apologies.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
FrankHarveyHiFi said:
I wouldn't say that was an answer. I'd agree with his choice, but I agree because I believe it.
It's hardly of much relevence now, is it?

Anyways, i'm compiling a little summation of my own. Won't be long.
 

oldric_naubhoff

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Mar 11, 2011
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BenLaw said:
oldric_naubhoff said:
but I'm sure that in a few days time we're gonna see known "active speakers are better because they have active xover which distorts less and therefore active speakers are more accurate" kind of posting... :grin:
What are your thoughts then on page 16 of this, ATC's view on the benefits of active over passive?

(Also recently posted by Rick.)
well Ben, you gave me some challenge. a lot of writing (I hate a lot of writing) but I'll do it.

firstly I'd like to note that I'm not anti active. there are a lot of scientific eveidence saying that, technicaly, active speakers should perform better than passive speakers. what I'm against are false facts re: active speakers superiority praised by some over here. what bugs me more is that those persons overheard some marketing propaganda on another forum and repeat it ever since without even trying to verify what they learnt.

back to your question. all ATC is claiming is true but there need to be made some notes, as this info only represents one side of the problem.

1. very true. but there's 1st order xover which, regardless if passive or active, will always maintain linear phase (no phase shift) and therefore good group delay characteristic. the advantage of active xover in these respect is that you can design active filters maintaining those properties with much steeper slopes. analog active filters would usually be 4th order and DSP based xovers would easily be 8th order or higher. higher filters are better because they take some responsibility off drivers, which otherwise must be linear over wide freq spectrum.

however, the best result you can obtain is with one driver. no phase shifts, no power losses due to xover network, single sound source. since there are no good quality full range drivers you have to go with second best solution, namely wide bandwidth. my current speakers cross over at 650Hz (quite low) and they definitely image better than any mini monitors I previously owned. I'm pretty much sure it's due to the fact that xover point was shifted lower into the midrange where it's not interfering with spacial clues coming form higher up the freq spectrum.

that's the reason why, when I'll be upgrading my speakers, it's going to be for something with a driver which will be able to cover even wider spectrum, like from 200 Hz or lower up to audibility limits. rather than wondering if I should use active or passive xover.

2. true again. but, again, 1st order passive xover is immune for that.

http://sound.westhost.com/parallel-series.htm

(see graph 1.5 and its description)

furthermore some manufacturers of the drivers deliberately give up on using copper coils in exchange for aluminium coils (for instance Dynaudio). the end result is substituting higher conductivity of copper for better thermal properties of aluminium - slightly smaller efficiency in return for much better power handling and thermal impedance stability.

and it's worth noting that described mechanism plagues only dynamic/ moving coil speakers and ribbons. if you have ESLs or other more exotic designs (piezoelectric, or NXT type drivers) you have no problems with rising temperature of coil with rising power form amp. also ribbons are very much immune to that because voice coil has usually much larger surface (especially in cased of large ribbons) made of aluminium so it can dissipate heat more efficiently.

3. all right, this one stinks of marketing blurb. 20dB lower form what? what is the reference point? anyway, I think it's a very good point nonetheless. IMO intermodulation distortion (IMD) is much more useful type of distortion than THD in terms of evaluating performance of amps. because you can easily squash THD in benchmark test by applying feedback. nobody measures THD for open loop amp where real THD measures are seen. almost every amp manufacturers builds amps with global feedback loop which aim is to compensate for THD (and also linearise frequency response and lowering output impedance). you could find some amps which use no global feedback and then you know that if the amp measures low THD it in fact produces low THD. but I'm slightly drifting off topic now. anyway, global feedback is not so good in repressing IMD figures, so by evaluating IMD you can see if you're dealing with quality amp or piece of c**p (you noticed how every amp on the market measures 0.05% THD or lower and yet not all of them are of equal quality. that's the reason why).

so, I asked on the beginning of this point what is the reference point? because quality full range stereo amps can have IMD as low as -110dB - -100dB (for instance Soulution, MF, Mark Levinson, MBL. just as a point of reference Roksan Kandy K2 has IMD at -90dB), which by itself is pretty inaudible. if we assume amps in ATC's active speakers measure IMD at -120dB, will it really make any difference compared to -100dB?

and there's one more point that needs investigating. even in case of active speakers a typical HF amp would have to cover spectrum from around 2-3 kHz to 20 kHz, which still is large. so IMD may still be an issue. I say "may" because I'm not sure. I need to dig more into the problem.

4. this is absolutely true. active bass sounds faster because of that. it's easier to maintain desired system Q. in case of most passive systems Q is too high hence you've got flabby bass, but you could also design passive speakers with low Q to compensate for it. but it'll be always easier to keep Q stable in case of actives.

5. true too. but it should be noted that this statement, although true, stinks of marketing blurb as well. if you have well matched drivers in terms of sensitivity and you're using nice and simple passive xover network you shouldn't be expecting 6dB power losses. in fact there would be hardly any loss at all. in case of one driver being more sensitive than the other you need to compensate for that fact which will indeed introduce serious losses.

but it should be noted here that most modern passive speakers don't exceed a certain efficiency threshold. 85dB would be considered the lower end of spectrum. this in fact is more than enough for most domestic use anyway. most moderately powerful (say 50Wpc), quality amps will have no problems driving such speakers to high volume levels. power losses issue is more important in pro audio world, especially for sound reinforcement gear. you know that for every 3dB volume raise you need to apply 2* more power. when you operate at kilowatts levels this makes a difference.

so, my point is not everything is so black & white as some may describe it. and active technology definitely serves well dynamic drivers, but with different driver technologies gains are not so clear cut.
 

BenLaw

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Nov 21, 2010
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Very interesting, thanks oldric :) The difference between THD and IMD is interesting. I take your point about 'marketing speak', although presumably it means '20dB lower than it would otherwise be'. Your point of -100 v -120 is fair in a domestic context, although may have more relevance in the concert hall setups or even nightclub setups ATC's big actives are used in.

A lot of the science is beyond my level: it'd be really interesting if you joined ATC forums and were able to discuss these issues with Shadorne.
 

idc

Well-known member
Jan 2, 2008
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John Duncan said:
ooh.. said:
All other things being equal, an active version of the exact same, passive speaker, will suffer less from distortion, and therefore be more accurate
Correct, in theory. However, there are two points to make;

1) there are so few examples of speakers where active and passive versions are available, that the point is almost moot.

2) theoretical superiority needs to be tested, rather than stated as fact without any reference to how that superiority manifests itself in practice. Which is why I can say "I preferred the sound of PMC's powered passive speaker over a broadly similar active equivalent", whereas it is somewhat dangerous to say "this active speaker is better than JD's system" when you haven't heard one of them, let alone ABXed the two :)
I was going to trawl through this thread, but thankfully came across JDs post on the first page and would like to give it a big thumbs up. I have been listening to some actives round at a mates and am glad to get back to the detail and clarity of my headphones. In other words, even if actives are "better" than passives, headphones are "better" than actives. IMO subjectively speaking.
 

CnoEvil

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oldric_naubhoff said:
so, my point is not everything is so black & white as some may describe it. and active technology definitely serves well dynamic drivers, but with different driver technologies gains are not so clear cut.
Oldric, given how good, pure Class A sounds, is Crossover Distortion as big, or perhaps an even bigger issue than distortion created at the Crossover?
 

oldric_naubhoff

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Mar 11, 2011
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BenLaw said:
Very interesting, thanks oldric :) The difference between THD and IMD is interesting. I take your point about 'marketing speak', although presumably it means '20dB lower than it would otherwise be'. Your point of -100 v -120 is fair in a domestic context, although may have more relevance in the concert hall setups or even nightclub setups ATC's big actives are used in.

A lot of the science is beyond my level: it'd be really interesting if you joined ATC forums and were able to discuss these issues with Shadorne.
your welcome :)

and thanks for the invitation. I may pop in sometimes to take a look but I don't think I'd be willing to become active member. I don't want to get involved into too many fora. besides I'm most interested in planar speakers ATM. I don't really think dynamic speakers will take me further from where I am. therefore I pop in from time to time to planars and exotics on DIY forum :). at least they don't argue which speakers are better, passive or active and you can learn some useful things too.
 

oldric_naubhoff

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CnoEvil said:
oldric_naubhoff said:
so, my point is not everything is so black & white as some may describe it. and active technology definitely serves well dynamic drivers, but with different driver technologies gains are not so clear cut.
Oldric, given how good, pure Class A sounds, is Crossover Distortion as big, or perhaps an even bigger issue than distortion created at the Crossover?
sorry CNO, I wouldn't know. all I know that open loop class A amp will have lower THD than open loop class AB amp of similar design. that's not to say that open loop class A amp will measure topically 0.0001% or something similarly low THD. it'll be lower but not that low. of course, closed loop measurement will show that both amp types will measure similarly (very low) due to applied feedback. in which case, due to feedback, it's very hard to say how much an amp really distorts and you can't compare it with distortion caused by xover IMO.
 

Ajani

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Apr 9, 2008
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John Duncan said:
ooh.. said:
All other things being equal, an active version of the exact same, passive speaker, will suffer less from distortion, and therefore be more accurate
Correct, in theory. However, there are two points to make;

1) there are so few examples of speakers where active and passive versions are available, that the point is almost moot.

2) theoretical superiority needs to be tested, rather than stated as fact without any reference to how that superiority manifests itself in practice. Which is why I can say "I preferred the sound of PMC's powered passive speaker over a broadly similar active equivalent", whereas it is somewhat dangerous to say "this active speaker is better than JD's system" when you haven't heard one of them, let alone ABXed the two :)
Even if we accept the theory at face value (which I have no problem with), there are still a few issues:

1) Distortion is just ONE variable when talking about sound quality. So just because an active speaker has less distortion than a passive speaker doesn't mean that you will prefer the sound of it. Much the same way that you shouldn't just buy the speaker with the most detail or the biggest soundstage, you need to determine if the whole package works for you.

2) Think of the absolute worst sounding speaker/amp combo you've heard. Now imagine them combined as an active design. They would have lower distortion, but does that mean you'll like the sound?

3) Is distortion the only measure of accuracy? Unless it is, then we can't automatically conclude that an active speaker MUST be more accurate than a passive one, just because it has lower distortion.
 

Overdose

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Ajani said:
2) Think of the absolute worst sounding speaker/amp combo you've heard. Now imagine them combined as an active design. They would have lower distortion, but does that mean you'll like the sound?
The poor sound would most likely be down to hideous distortion, caused by a combination of poor design and under-peforming components, that and the fact that the whole lot probably cost less than a fish and chip supper for two.

A very bizarre way of looking at things, you have.
 

idc

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Jan 2, 2008
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This is like arguments about jitter.

1- are we not just talking about levels of jitter/distortion that are all inaudible anyway?

2- what is the evidence that no jitter/distortion sounds better than just a little at the very limit of what is audible?
 

Ajani

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Overdose said:
Ajani said:
2) Think of the absolute worst sounding speaker/amp combo you've heard. Now imagine them combined as an active design. They would have lower distortion, but does that mean you'll like the sound?
The poor sound would most likely be down to hideous distortion, caused by a combination of poor design and under-peforming components, that and the fact that the whole lot probably cost less than a fish and chip supper for two.

A very bizarre way of looking at things, you have.
Nothing bizzare about my post. As for point 2: I suppose the part that was unclear is by "worst speaker/amp combo" I was refering to a proper HiFi system (not the cheapest mini-system or some such)... Just about everyone has heard a HiFi combo they thought sounded rubbish (often from well respected brands)....

The point being that if you didn't like the passive combo, then turning it active is unlikely to turn a frog into a prince. So if you detest say a Cyrus/Monitor Audio combo (both respected brands in their own right) then it's doubtful that an active version of the same combo is going to solve all the problems you had with the sound....
 

Overdose

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Ajani said:
Overdose said:
Ajani said:
2) Think of the absolute worst sounding speaker/amp combo you've heard. Now imagine them combined as an active design. They would have lower distortion, but does that mean you'll like the sound?
The poor sound would most likely be down to hideous distortion, caused by a combination of poor design and under-peforming components, that and the fact that the whole lot probably cost less than a fish and chip supper for two.

A very bizarre way of looking at things, you have.
Nothing bizzare about my post. As for point 2: I suppose the part that was unclear is by "worst speaker/amp combo" I was refering to a proper HiFi system (not the cheapest mini-system or some such)... Just about everyone has heard a HiFi combo they thought sounded rubbish (often from well respected brands)....

The point being that if you didn't like the passive combo, then turning it active is unlikely to turn a frog into a prince. So if you detest say a Cyrus/Monitor Audio combo (both respected brands in their own right) then it's doubtful that an active version of the same combo is going to solve all the problems you had with the sound....
Not so, if the crossover is the problem and the amplifier is unsuitable to drive the speakers.
 

oldric_naubhoff

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Overdose said:
Ajani said:
2) Think of the absolute worst sounding speaker/amp combo you've heard. Now imagine them combined as an active design. They would have lower distortion, but does that mean you'll like the sound?
The poor sound would most likely be down to hideous distortion, caused by a combination of poor design and under-peforming components, that and the fact that the whole lot probably cost less than a fish and chip supper for two.

A very bizarre way of looking at things, you have.
well, in that case, why is it that so many people like sound of tube amps? it's proven they produce more harmonic distortion then solid state and somehow, despite this fact, it doesn't drive people from listening to tube amps.

another thing is distortion level which is produced by a speaker. so far I haven't seen an active speaker which would be considerably better in terms of harmonic distortion levels. in fact actives and passives are quite comparable, despite the fact that actives take advantage of active xover. could anybody who claims that active speakers produce less distortion show me a proof of that fact? so far I haven't seen any active speaker which produces anything near 0.0001% distortion, unlike some people's claims.


(it's getting really boring contradicting those unsupported by any proofs lies. what's happening here quite reminds me of Goebels's propaganda strategy; "a lie repeated for a 100 times becomes truth", or something along those lines...)
 

Overdose

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oldric_naubhoff said:
Overdose said:
Ajani said:
2) Think of the absolute worst sounding speaker/amp combo you've heard. Now imagine them combined as an active design. They would have lower distortion, but does that mean you'll like the sound?
The poor sound would most likely be down to hideous distortion, caused by a combination of poor design and under-peforming components, that and the fact that the whole lot probably cost less than a fish and chip supper for two.

A very bizarre way of looking at things, you have.
well, in that case, why is it that so many people like sound of tube amps? it's proven they produce more harmonic distortion then solid state and somehow, despite this fact, it doesn't drive people from listening to tube amps.
Maybe it's the supposedly warm sound that they are purported to give. I wouldn't know, having never listened to one, but why would you want to add distortion to a sound that wasn't there in the original recording? Are we not looking for transparency and clarity in our 'hi-fi'?
 

matthewpiano

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Nov 23, 2007
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I think the whole point is that we are all looking for slightly different things in our hi-fi, as we all look for different things in most areas of our lives.

Actually, I wonder how many people out there can appreciate how significantly different pianos can sound. Put a Schimmel K230T next to a Fazioli F228, for example, and they are both recognisably a piano but the tonal qualities are actually quite different. Is one right and the other wrong? No. Both are beautifully made instruments but they offer different qualities. Some pianists will prefer the Schimmel and others will prefer the Fazioli. It is the same if you compare a Martin acoustic guitar with a Yamaha, or a Buffet clarinet with a LeBlanc. With this sort of variation between seemingly similar instruments is it any wonder that we all like different things in our hi-fi?
 

CnoEvil

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Overdose said:
Maybe it's the supposedly warm sound that they are purported to give. I wouldn't know, having never listened to one, but why would you want to add distortion to a sound that wasn't there in the original recording? Are we not looking for transparency and clarity in our 'hi-fi'?
I would thoroughly recommend you listen to a few.......never let an over reliance specs put you off trying it for yourself. You might just be pleasantly surprised.
 

Clare Newsome

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matthewpiano said:
I think the whole point is that we are all looking for slightly different things in our hi-fi, as we all look for different things in most areas of our lives.

Actually, I wonder how many people out there can appreciate how significantly different pianos can sound. Put a Schimmel K230T next to a Fazioli F228, for example, and they are both recognisably a piano but the tonal qualities are actually quite different. Is one right and the other wrong? No. Both are beautifully made instruments but they offer different qualities. Some pianists will prefer the Schimmel and others will prefer the Fazioli. It is the same if you compare a Martin acoustic guitar with a Yamaha, or a Buffet clarinet with a LeBlanc. With this sort of variation between seemingly similar instruments is it any wonder that we all like different things in our hi-fi?
Even pianos from the same manufacturer can vary. Yamaha has a room in its piano plant where you can try a range of factory-fresh models and pick your favourite. Amazing place :)
 

Paul.

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My laptop screen (for work) is calibrated to be perfectly neutral. My tv is calibrated at home to look how I like it. Is it not the same thing? I dislike all this neutral rubbish. Since its impossible to replicate what the artist is hearing, I may as well eq it for my enjoyment.
 

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