AV NIRVANA Speaker Evaluation Event - Tower Speakers $1200 or Less (Results)

lcaillo

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In my experience you are correct, but there are also speakers that have good balanced response and are revealing not because they emphasize certain frequencies, but because the have very low distortion and good off axis response. This has been my experience with the Arx 5. I have not heard the new version nor the Emotivas. I would suggest reading the reviews carefully, as they are very thorough and have lots of detail, including the specific recordings being auditioned. These guys really know what they are doing and have lots of experience with reviews like this.
 

AudioThesis

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There comes a point when you realize that an accentuated top end isn't really adding detail, but simply giving you more energy on the top end. A detailed presentation is from the top of the frequencies all the way to the bottom. This is something that took me several years to understand and really didn't 'hit' me until I began getting into more boutique and high end brands.
 

tesseract

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There comes a point when you realize that an accentuated top end isn't really adding detail, but simply giving you more energy on the top end. A detailed presentation is from the top of the frequencies all the way to the bottom. This is something that took me several years to understand and really didn't 'hit' me until I began getting into more boutique and high end brands.
"Bright" can be taken as "forward", but I try to differentiate between the two. Bright, to me, indicates a tendency toward treble energy. Forward is a feature of soundstage presentation, or proximity of the listener to the virtual stage.
 

AudioThesis

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A forward speaker projects a soundstage that is in front of the speaker. A recessed speaker does the opposite. Your example is a great one of how many terms many in this hobby are ignorant about but use frequently. I know I was guilty of it for a handful of years and every now and then, I still experience something new with a speaker that makes me reach for the nearest adjective to describe it.
 

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The JBL was the one that stood out to me as being bright, or close to bright.

The term Detail is used a lot of ways. It often refers - indirectly - to a region around 2 to 4 kHz. A small lift in the frequency response there, along with low distortion of course, will have you hearing a recording in a new way. In that range, many instruments and voices have a lot of harmonic information available, plus our hearing is most sensitive there, Even a small "voicing" response bump, 1 dB, can breathe life to a drab sounding speaker.
 
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gooddoc

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Why do all of the Dirac curves slope up after 10kHz? That had to be intentional target curve? Why?
 

Matthew J Poes

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Why do all of the Dirac curves slope up after 10kHz? That had to be intentional target curve? Why?
I asked the same question. Wayne isn't certain. It showed up in all the measurements and was not a part of the target curve. It is suspected to be an artifact of doing a single point measurement and correction approach they used to save time.

I did some of my own experiments after this to see if I could replicate the anomalous results and could not. What I can say is that having tested 1, 3, 6, and 8 point measurement corrections in Dirac, I didn't find a major difference in the sound quality when sitting in just a single seat. The more measurements included in the correction the lower the standard deviation of the measures, but within the box that your head sits, the differences were small.

I artificially created the same curve that Wayne created with my speakers to see if I could hear the up tilt at 10khz and could not with certainty. Suffice it to say, I don't think that this created any sound quality problems to be concerned with. Our ears are pretty insensitive to such high frequencies.
 

tesseract

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Hey, @gooddoc , glad to see you here!
 

gooddoc

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I asked the same question. Wayne isn't certain. It showed up in all the measurements and was not a part of the target curve. It is suspected to be an artifact of doing a single point measurement and correction approach they used to save time.

I did some of my own experiments after this to see if I could replicate the anomalous results and could not. What I can say is that having tested 1, 3, 6, and 8 point measurement corrections in Dirac, I didn't find a major difference in the sound quality when sitting in just a single seat. The more measurements included in the correction the lower the standard deviation of the measures, but within the box that your head sits, the differences were small.

I artificially created the same curve that Wayne created with my speakers to see if I could hear the up tilt at 10khz and could not with certainty. Suffice it to say, I don't think that this created any sound quality problems to be concerned with. Our ears are pretty insensitive to such high frequencies.
Hmmm. Yeah, hard to say. So many variables. I can hear 1 dB adjustments in the 2-10 KHz range, and those curves are impacting that FR range as well, making them either flat or slightly rising in some instances. Even flat here will make a well designed speaker sound bright.

But in the big picture likely not to fundamentally change overall impressions of these speakers.

The impact of the room corrrection solutions above Schroeder are fairly dependent on the speaker design, room, and number of speakers. They are detrimental in my system for 2 channel above Schroeder, but helpful above that for my multichannel Atmos calibrations.

And I've used Dirac, Audyssey, and ARC in my room. Currently using ARC.
 
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gooddoc

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Hey, @gooddoc , glad to see you here!
Thanks! The quality of the posts here immediately caught my attention. Glad to be here and I'll try not to lower the level of discourse :nerd:
 

Hlam

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Just found and finished reading this thread. Made for a great read.
Great job on the evaluations. Thanks for putting in all the work.
 

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Thanks fellas, fun read :)

I put together a playlist on Spotify of the tracks mentioned, gonna re-read and do a follow along listen next chance I get.
 

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Tried to reproduce the HF lift in the measurements, and my guess is that I accidentally used the wrong calibration curve in the Dirac Live project. The Dirac projects do not save a record of the mic cal file used, but that is my best guess. All things considered, I believe the impact to be minor, and our results to be valid just the same.

The lesson? There are 1 zillion details to keep straight and be careful about, and they ALL MATTER.
 

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The impact of the room corrrection solutions above Schroeder are fairly dependent on the speaker design, room, and number of speakers. They are detrimental in my system for 2 channel above Schroeder, but helpful above that for my multichannel Atmos calibrations.
Good comments, and I will not argue your assessment about 2-channel and Dirac, except that Schroeder was not a soundstage and imaging guy.
 

gooddoc

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Tried to reproduce the HF lift in the measurements, and my guess is that I accidentally used the wrong calibration curve in the Dirac Live project. The Dirac projects do not save a record of the mic cal file used, but that is my best guess. All things considered, I believe the impact to be minor, and our results to be valid just the same.

The lesson? There are 1 zillion details to keep straight and be careful about, and they ALL MATTER.
Yes, there are so many potential little details to be inadvertantly missed. But letting the perfect be the enemy of the good would result in no one wanting to try anything, and no knowledge gained whatsoever. No one should impugn the efforts here. Experimentation is not about figuring out the one way to do something, but instead figuring out the many ways NOT to do something :wits::T
Good comments, and I will not argue your assessment about 2-channel and Dirac, except that Schroeder was not a soundstage and imaging guy.
Yeah, and he's also not in your room listening :greengrin:, so if anyone thinks full range EQ works better in their system, by all means use it!
 

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So true, gooddoc.

Schroeder was not a soundstage and imaging guy
...All due respect for his contributions to the state of the art. And an admonition to not be afraid to think for oneself.
 

Matthew J Poes

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So true, gooddoc.



...All due respect for his contributions to the state of the art. And an admonition to not be afraid to think for oneself.
I'm still convinced of Dirac's benefit in both 2 channel and multi-channel, but I have found that its effectiveness is very room and speaker dependent. The better the initial setup and speakers the less obvious the effect is. With some kinds of music I've had a number of people tell me in my theater that they couldn't tell what Dirac was doing, that its effect wasn't obvious to them. While this wasn't blinded for me (since I was switching), I'll readily admit that I too didn't think I could hear much difference. In rooms with lesser speakers or where the room itself is not as good, it seems like it always made an obvious difference. As a whole I like it better than without by quite a bit.

Gooddoc has exceptional speakers that use active biamplification which ensures perfect speaker to speaker consistency in the filter's and perfect/ideal filters themselves. The speakers also have ideal directivity. That would make the benefit of Dirac mostly in removing remaining room anomalies (which won't be as prevalent as with most speakers) and bass issues (which Gooddoc may not have had). While I find that Dirac correction always measures substantially better than without correction, There is a strong argument to be made that these anomalies above FS are not overly audible.
 

gooddoc

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I'm still convinced of Dirac's benefit in both 2 channel and multi-channel, but I have found that its effectiveness is very room and speaker dependent. The better the initial setup and speakers the less obvious the effect is. With some kinds of music I've had a number of people tell me in my theater that they couldn't tell what Dirac was doing, that its effect wasn't obvious to them. While this wasn't blinded for me (since I was switching), I'll readily admit that I too didn't think I could hear much difference. In rooms with lesser speakers or where the room itself is not as good, it seems like it always made an obvious difference. As a whole I like it better than without by quite a bit.

Gooddoc has exceptional speakers that use active biamplification which ensures perfect speaker to speaker consistency in the filter's and perfect/ideal filters themselves. The speakers also have ideal directivity. That would make the benefit of Dirac mostly in removing remaining room anomalies (which won't be as prevalent as with most speakers) and bass issues (which Gooddoc may not have had). While I find that Dirac correction always measures substantially better than without correction, There is a strong argument to be made that these anomalies above FS are not overly audible.
Bass has always benefitted from RC in my room for sure. I could live with a fully corrected 2 channel as well, but there is no doubt I prefer no correction above 1 or 2kHz. As you point out, the differences are fairly subtle and only heard in critical 2 channel listening.

I think there is plenty about my room that could potentially be corrected to improve the SQ. The problem is that I'm not convinced any RC, Dirac included, can process the signals reaching the microphone at the listening position and know everything that needs correction and everything that doesn't. In the process of correcting things that need correcting, it is also correcting things that don't need correcting. And that may be the reason why I don't prefer full range EQ for 2 channel.

With multichannel, for multiple reasons, it seems the magnitude of the benefits outweigh any mistakes being made.
 

tesseract

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Most every implementation of Dirac Live I have heard, many rooms and system including my own, has been an improvement.

There were a few instances during this evaluation that I preferred no Dirac, I cannot put my finger on why. I do like to shut it off at home when I want the bombast of high SPL coupled with my manual house curve, playing tracks like from Bassotronics or watching action movies. Mostly because Dirac has dialed back the bass a bit more than I like.
 

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I'm not convinced any RC, Dirac included, can process the signals reaching the microphone at the listening position and know everything that needs correction and everything that doesn't. In the process of correcting things that need correcting, it is also correcting things that don't need correcting
Not meaning to re-state the obvious, and your personal preference and experience are certainly what matter...

The way this is accomplished is part of the "secret family recipe" that makes Dirac Live special. They DO claim to have a way to accomplish exactly what you suggest, by analyzing the poles and zeroes of the possible filter points across the speaker measurements, and determining what filter points are needed and will "do no harm," or not make matters worse elsewhere in the room or in a neighboring frequency band.

I will also say that I was a slow convert to Dirac Live, believing that I could do better via hand-tuning. I finally had to admit that Dirac did better than I could by hand every time, and got there a LOT faster.
 

Eric SVL

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Most every implementation of Dirac Live I have heard, many rooms and system including my own, has been an improvement.

There were a few instances during this evaluation that I preferred no Dirac, I cannot put my finger on why. I do like to shut it off at home when I want the bombast of high SPL coupled with my manual house curve, playing tracks like from Bassotronics or watching action movies. Mostly because Dirac has dialed back the bass a bit more than I like.
Audyssey was guilty of the same thing - I just increase my sub levels after calibration to run them where I want them, which is around +5dB with normal damping, and +10dB with high damping (because high damping sounds like leaner bass).

Anyway, getting off topic. Great speaker eval, and it has helped me put together a short list for my own eval.
 
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Matthew J Poes

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Audyssey was guilty of the same thing - I just increase my sub levels after calibration to run them where I want them, which is around +5dB with normal damping, and +10dB with high damping (because high damping sounds like leaner bass).

Anyway, getting off topic. Great speaker eval, and it has helped me put together a short list for my own eval.
But unlike Audyssey, Dirac gives you full control over the bass. You can make it as hot as you want.
 

Eric SVL

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But unlike Audyssey, Dirac gives you full control over the bass. You can make it as hot as you want.
My AVR (Denon X4000) lets me adjust sub levels after Audyssey calibration. You always want to do it this way rather than adjusting the dials on the subs.
 

Matthew J Poes

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My AVR (Denon X4000) lets me adjust sub levels after Audyssey calibration. You always want to do it this way rather than adjusting the dials on the subs.
Dirac’s house curve adjustment is completely different. It isn’t just raising the bass of the subwoofer. It ensures more seamless integration. My point was that where as Audyssey locked you into their chosen response curve, you could do just about anything you wanted with the response shape in Dirac. A great deal more flexibility.
 

Eric SVL

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Dirac’s house curve adjustment is completely different. It isn’t just raising the bass of the subwoofer. It ensures more seamless integration. My point was that where as Audyssey locked you into their chosen response curve, you could do just about anything you wanted with the response shape in Dirac. A great deal more flexibility.
Of course, and in the future I hope that makes its way into electronics that are more accessible to consumers, such as AVRs. That will probably be when I get my hands on it.

I was just replying to tesseract's issue with Dirac's low bass levels.

The other way Audyssey dealt with that issue was with Dynamic EQ, which altered the curve based on output levels, in line with Fletcher Munson.
 
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