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Red Spade Audio

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About Red Spade Audio

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    Melbourne
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    Australia
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    Paul
  1. TWO WAY SPEAKERS ARE REALLY NOT VERY GOOD.

    Nigel, I tend to agree in context. Same place ... how long ago was that other little GTG? Welcome to swing by when you're in the area. When is the MotoGP?
  2. TWO WAY SPEAKERS ARE REALLY NOT VERY GOOD.

    If we are talking about a low compromise system then I tend to agree but I would go one step further - 3 way + subs. If we're talking about conventional speakers, we then have four specialist drivers: 1. Tweeter 2. Midrange In moving beyond a 2 way system, now we have a mid with much less excursion and the design can be optimised for a smooth and extended response. Without the need for high excursion, we can have a surround which is now better optimised to control the cone edge. We can use smaller cones and we have various options to push breakup much further away from the crossover region. A dedicated midrange is clearly superior. In a 2 way system we are forced to use a general purpose midwoofer. Serious breakup behaviour is typically very close to the crossover region. There is a tug of war between the very different requirements of bass and midrange. 3. Woofer Free from the requirements of midrange, the woofer can be larger with higher excursion. So the woofer not only allows the midrange to do its job better, but it also adds greater depth and dynamic capability. Most people are happy to stop here and many will even find they get "too much bass" for reasons related to the room more than the woofer itself. 4. Sub A sub adds a few advantages I've talked about many times (including that SNA article I'm too lazy to link). For some it's the ability to get as much bass as you want, as deep as you want it in a box that might be smaller than a woofer. For others it's the ability to add EQ without upsetting one's inner audiophile with such things are ADA conversions and ..... *gasp* adding another DAC to your signal chain! Much sleep that you might have lost can be saved right here. And there is also the advantage of being able to put a sub in its most optimal location. This alone can mean a sub with no special magic qualities, can give you better bass than your main speakers. Maybe, maybe not. A further advantage (as if you needed any more) is the ability to create just the right balance of bass. A room curve much like the one that Harman found the vast majority of audiophiles actually prefer. You might get it with your 3 way speakers but often you won't. A sub creates the possibility of getting an ideal room curve in any room. But sometimes you get lucky. You might put a really nice 2 way into a room where the two fit together like a glove. And if you then were to plonk some 3 ways next to them, the results might be a surprise, contrary to everything I've just written. And adding the sub, could just turn it all into a gigantic mess that fails in spectacular fashion. The potential does not automatically translate into a blissful listening experience - it takes a series of good decisions and in the case of setting up a sub, skilled calibration.
  3. Subwoofer under 5k - mostly music

    Let me put it another way. It's a simple problem to find out your bank balance, even if no one else has access to that information. It's a complex problem to understand women, even if you're married to one of them for your entire life! Geddes developed a distortion metric, which he called the Gedlee metric. As far as I'm aware, it's never been used to evaluate subwoofers. It has a strong correlation with perception. The challenge with these kinds of measurements is actually making them meaningful. I believe there is a lot of research that could be done to advance our understanding but in general I don't see a push for this kind of work. Manufacturers don't typically like to publish measurements of their subs and consumers don't demand it. The greatest push for data comes from DIYers. It's an interesting question for sure but I don't have a short answer that won't derail the thread. But I will say one thing. The increased accessibility of affordable linear phase DSP devices now means it's more easy for people to start to investigate things like the audibility of group delay.
  4. Subwoofer under 5k - mostly music

    The challenge with choosing a subwoofer is that there are two types of requirements. The basic parameters like size, extension and output that you mention are the easy part. The difficult part is determining quality. It's not a trivial problem. That's an interesting point. Some aspects of the performance of a sub are universal and some are a matter of preference. When bass is done well, most audiophiles will recognise it, even though people can differ in how much bass they prefer. Hi Andrew, That's a great question but I hesitate to take this thread down a tangent. My short answer is an emphatic YES. As a rule, I would tend to stick to drivers and brands that I have had positive prior experience with. In terms of alignment, most people have requirements that lead logically to a few often equally viable options.
  5. Subwoofer under 5k - mostly music

    That was addressed to you, because you used the word "specific." Even though it was addressed to Ittaku, I still think it's a point worth talking about. Of course, we agree on the importance of integration. In general, I see the choice of sub and the calibration and the room acoustics as extremely important. However, in both my own journey in addition to working with clients in many different rooms with many different subwoofers, there have been instances where the choice of subwoofer was a greater obstacle than the room or the calibration. This is not something that I would have expected. Musical is a subjective term. When you experience it, you certainly know it. In reality, it's a poorly defined objective. In my experience, it varies from person to person. Given that this is a subjective term, it's not so easy to define in terms of objective metrics.
  6. Subwoofer under 5k - mostly music

    It really depends on what you mean by "specific." There are many subs you could buy that will not sound musical, even in an ideal room with exceptional acoustics and an appropriate calibration. If you happen to own one of these subs, your specific sub might be a source of great frustration. The requirements for a musical sub are not necessarily as narrow as some believe. It's not necessarily a matter of a select few brands or even a high end price tag. There are certainly many musical subs below $5k. However, in my experience, price, brand, reviews and reputation are not always reliable indicators of musicality in a sub. I have built and tested sub drivers manufactured in the same factory, where one was musical in various alignments even prior to calibration and the other was not musical regardless of the alignment, room or calibration.
  7. Subwoofer under 5k - mostly music

    It's an old idea that subs are only beneficial for home theatre - ideas like this tend to be persistent and there are still many who think that way. However, people are coming around to the idea that subs can actually enhance the experience. The popularity of subs for music is growing quite fast. It isn't being driven by cave-man like urges but rather an evolving understanding. People are learning that you can not only get deeper and more bass but also more tight and articulate bass. It isn't automatic but the potential is there.
  8. Subwoofer under 5k - mostly music

    My experience in hearing and calibrating many systems suggests that it's best not to assume either way. High output does not equate to high quality. Small subs don't necessarily sound "fast." Large subs don't necessarily sound "slow." High output does not equate to poor musicality. However, when someone says they want a musical sub, that often means they are a discerning listener. So an earthquake making sub going for a walk in the park might get dumped in the park by its owner who was hoping for something more.
  9. Subwoofer under 5k - mostly music

    Thanks for the mention! People have been asking Rythmik for a long time to make an 18" and I didn't think they were going to do it. We're in the process of pricing these and they won't be cheap. Not even the kits! There isn't any single measurement that I would suggest will indicate that a sub is good "musically." It's not so much that you can't test a sub objectively but rather it's more complicated than any single measurement. You can learn a lot about the performance of a sub by looking at tests - frequency response, distortion, compression but you won't necessarily be able to pick the more musical sounding sub just by looking at these tests. Personal preference does come into it but mainly in terms of things like how much bass you like. What sounds anemic to one person is just right to another. There is a really great quote attributed to Menken that applies here: "For every complex problem there is an answer that is simple, easy to understand and wrong." I noticed! It's worth bearing in mind that a second sub is not always a step forward. It might surprise people to discover how this can actually go wrong and how often it happens.
  10. It's great to have those comparisons that shift your perspective, when you are surprised to discover what you prefer is not what you expected. But I'd still argue that now is by far the best time to be in this hobby. Back in the day, valves and big speakers were the only show in town. Now you can still have both and the choice is so much more. The science and the technology has advanced in many ways, even if it's not evident in this particular comparison. It seems what won your comparison was 4 things - imaging, sound staging, dynamics and tonal balance. Both modern and vintage speakers can offer you these things.
  11. The Dolby Atmos Path

    Hi Stuart. Yes - we have a premium Atmos speaker, available in kit or finished form. This is a high output design based around a pro style coaxial with an 8" midwoofer and compression driver.
  12. The Dolby Atmos Path

    Initially I didn't think it was worth it. My initial concern is that it might water the budget down, meaning a larger number of lower quality speakers. My first Atmos experience also demonstrated poor use of the technology. However, an AES (Melbourne) presentation at Soundfirm changed my mind. I wrote a little about it here: http://redspade-audio.blogspot.com.au/2015/02/dolby-atmos-is-it-worth-pursuing.html The evening included a very impressive demo taken from Gravity. The room was a medium/large commercial sized theatre and the impressive thing was the greater degree of creative freedom to move sounds through the room. It also has more subtle possibilities.
  13. A system to thump me in the chest

    The experience is going to be different in every system and room. I've heard many different Dynaudio speakers in many different rooms, ranging from their smaller stand mounts to their larger models. I personally like how they sound and I'd describe them as well balanced overall. I wouldn't call them lean in the bass as a rule but where that is the listening experience, the cause is most likely to be room related.
  14. The new "Listening Room"

    My suggestion is don't try to glue it just yet - try it out first. Perhaps even propping it up on your shelf or a chair as a trial. Then if you want to keep it, modify your panel slightly so you can fix it to the wall. Your panel then might glue on to the back or you might modify a frame so it just sits in there. If you want to glue it on, two options to consider. One is a simple flat foam absorber. You can get them in modules which may or may not work. Foam is not ideal for many things but for what you want here, it's actually fine. Another option is black polymax XHD - not much I can say there without getting into trouble with the rules as this is one of our products. Thickness - 50mm is my suggestion. The thickness determines how low in frequency it will absorb. Thin panels absorb only highs. Thicker panels start to provide absorption into the lower midrange region and this provides balance.
  15. The new "Listening Room"

    Sound stage depth is one challenge but there is another that's equally or perhaps even more important. The reflection off a bare flat surface creates comb filtering. It sounds bad in a highly reverberant room but in an average room, the worst aspects are tamed by furniture, furnishing, carpet etc. The unfortunate thing is that people often stop there and don't find out how much improvement they can get. In a system like this, which already sounds very good, it can come as a surprise. The right treatment takes you to another level of transparency and the sound becomes smoother and more natural. With dipoles you can enhance the depth and at the same time get a more natural and transparent sound. Sound stage depth in a small room is always a challenge - your best chance is diffusion. What you are doing with diffusion is taking a discrete reflection and redirecting it in all directions, which tends to lead to the reflections arriving later having traveled further around the room. Therefore those reflections are coming to your ears at a lower level and later in time. This is similar to making your room larger except the sound would tend to be better than if you simply had a larger room. So you have a few options for the front wall: 1. Diffuser - the ideal (acoustic) choice even if not your wife's first choice 2. Scatter panel 3. Wall art 4. Weird stuff that no one knows anything about For your panel to work acoustically, it needs to operate either on the basis of amplitude or phase. Most diffusers work on the phase principle, where different depth parts provide high frequency diffusion for a limited range of HF where it matters most. With your panel, the depths are quite small and not much different, so it would work better on the principle of amplitude - like say for example RPD BAD panels or Vicoustic Wavewood. In other words, if you had an absorber (say black) behind your creation, the different sizes and widths would give you scattering, based on the fact that the gaps between would absorb. So my suggestion in a nutshell: consider trying an absorber behind. It will give you a little absorption in the midrange and then scattering in higher frequencies.
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