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Red Spade Audio

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  1. This is a very interesting point. I've thought for a long time the difference is partly due to the lack of social mores surrounding online interactions. Face to face - we've had thousands of years to figure that out. Online - we've had just a few decades. One of the problems with online forums is that people lack "skin in the game." When you post under your own name, your reputation is on the line and it can change how you behave. One of the first forums I signed up for required people to use their real names for that reason. I decided to do that across the board.
  2. Congratulations ... contact us to receive your bucket! (Thanks Dave) Deeply disappointing I know
  3. Terrified, petrified, mortified ... and I'll award a free audio grade pot to the first person to get the movie reference.
  4. Is it even possible for one to be worthy?
  5. My wife and I started down this path so that she could turn on the living room system! Now even my mother in law can walk into the living room and say "Alexa, turn on the TV..." and it all springs to life. We started with a Harmony wireless remote + hub, then added an Alexa Echo dot and smart sockets. We also added a smart doorbell. Recently when neighbours got robbed, we were able to hand over video footage of a dodgy person coming to our door, who was obviously figuring out which house would be his next target. Smart smoke detectors can notify you if your house is burning down when you're at work. Smart sockets are great for those things you accidentally leave on ... like a heater or that compressor in the workshop that cycles on after you've gone to bed. We went with Amazon Echo Dot over Google as apparently it has more support for more devices.
  6. Short answer: Yes and no! The direction doesn't matter, except where it changes: 1. The orientation - up or downfiring causes cone sag compared to sideways mounting. Some drivers handle this better than others. 2. Clearances - downfiring or rear firing close to a wall both create an air cavity, which impacts the response. 3. Position - if the cabinet is fixed in position, then each direction will engage the room differently - enough to measure and hear a difference. These are all quite minor in comparison to locking in positions that may turn out to be vastly inferior to other options. In many rooms this is make or break.
  7. When choosing sub positions, by far the most important performance issue is the room transfer function. In other words, the frequency response you get from particular positions - both the sub/s and your listening position. It's not very common that you will end up with subs in those positions you mention after a proper assessment. Those positions usually reflect not having gone through a well considered assessment. There are some rooms in which a good position for the mains is also good for the subs. Not very common but even in these cases, generally it's not so much that these positions are better, rather they are "good enough" to work with. In those situations, do you actually need a sub? You might but it's then about some of the lesser advantages of adding a sub. Things like adding a fuller bass or getting more extension. For most people, the bigger advantages are that other positions work much better to give you a smoother frequency response. Most of the time, putting subs near the mains will negate the biggest advantages of having subs!
  8. This driver arrangement won't make any real difference regarding room interaction. It replaces a single driver with a compound driver arrangement energising the room from 3 positions. In some cases, you can get a slightly better in-room response, based on effectively having 3 subs close together. The offsets can smooth each other out very slightly. The improvement is marginal. In many cases, adding subs that are metres apart doesn't offer any real advantage. This kind of driver configuration does have real advantages, including: opposing forces resulting in a more inert cabinet avoiding a sub that "walks" (not a common problem) multiple smaller drivers will often give you more thermal power handling and reduced thermal compression you can get away with less excursion, which is helpful if you want to create that modern look without big visible rubber surrounds So why doesn't everyone make subs like this? Short answer: it's a very expensive way to make a sub. In a 3.5 x 3.5m room you can be fairly confident you will get a big nasty mode around 50Hz. This will tend to stick out like a sore thumb, very often masking lower bass that you might actually have but not appreciate. Sometimes you can get in-room extension well below the tuning of your speakers but have a room mode that takes your attention away. A lot of assumptions get made about getting bass right in rooms and very often they prove to be wrong. Subs don't always provide the expected advantage. 2 is not always the right number. Where and how you should bring in a sub is often not known before you investigate the room. But one assumption that is fairly safe is that you will most likely need some EQ. Coming back to your question ... all of those subs will work well if you get the integration right. Choosing the sub is the fun part and easy part!
  9. It depends on what you are actually measuring. For personal use in your listening room, you probably don't need to look any further than the usual suspects. In many cases, it might not even be critical to have it calibrated at all. Firstly, keep in mind that with in-room testing, you will get big variations simply based on position. If you want to see how your room measures acoustically, an uncalibrated Behringer ECM is perfectly fine. Even one that varies considerably from average. For integrating subwoofers, including EQ, the situation is similar. Of course, many aren't happy with the uncertainty, especially regarding very low bass. If you want to be more confident, it's not much more to get a mic from Cross Spectrum. The exchange rate is a bit nasty right now, so it's not the best time. For in-room measurements, USB mics are very tempting due to their simplicity. Convenient, cheap, easy. For designing and testing loudspeakers outdoors, you might start to get more particular. Here you want to be more confident. Here I prefer XLR mics with a long cable. Computer indoors, speakers elevated outdoors. Try doing this with a USB cable and a laptop outdoors on a sunny day. With speaker testing, it's not just about calibration but also factors including noise floor, distortion and SPL. Pro mics are optimised with different parameters in mind, that's why there are so many of them. If DEQX becomes an integral part of your system, it's worth considering an Earthworks mic. On the other hand, for most personal use in a listening room, there isn't a real need to go beyond a basic entry level measurement mic.
  10. There is no direct connection between size and sound quality. It's not the case that bigger is better. The mouth size determines how low in frequency you can maintain a given dispersion angle. In a two way where a tweeter horn mates with a direct radiator, a good rule of thumb is the waveguide or horn should be close to the width of the mid. It's not quite that simple but close enough for our purposes here. Typically in an econowave type design, the waveguide or horn will match the dispersion of the mid at the intended crossover point. So a 12" midwoofer goes with a 12" waveguide that only has to maintain dispersion down to about 1.2k. The PSE horn is larger because we're horn loading the midrange, with the goal of keeping a consistent beamwidth down to around 350 Hz. The result is that it behaves differently in a room. You maintain a narrower beamwidth in the midrange. Normally the only way you hear that in a room is with dipoles but they have a figure 8 pattern. When you do this with a horn, you don't have all the rear energy. Hence the sound is very different. A dipole has a deeper soundstage due to the energy going back to the front wall but the image is not as sharp.
  11. Movies are mixed for considerable dynamic range. This means when dialogue is at a comfortable level, you can run into more dynamic parts that are louder than you can get away with. The simplest solution is a "night mode" which reduces the dynamic range, which means the louder parts aren't as loud compared to quieter parts (including dialogue). Sometimes the best solution to a bass problem is the exact opposite of what you might expect. Too much bass? Get a sub! Here is an example: This is the bass response of the mains in an apartment with concrete floor, ceiling and walls - it's a cave! The bass booms around 35 Hz which would disturb the neighbours but the midbass is actually missing, around 40 - 60 Hz. So in this example, the neighbours are disturbed but in the room you are still missing out on a lot of bass. In the same room, here are some sub positions that work much better. Just two small subs would work well. The blue position has much better upper bass, the red position has more midbass. There were no perfect positions that completely avoid mid bass dips, it's quite a difficult room. Now let's see how they compare: We used a little EQ on the subs in this example but you can see that no amount of EQ is going to get the mains to equal the smoothness of the subs. On top of this, you might filter out more of the low bass. The result is better bass and less disturbing neighbours. You could probably turn up movies a little more before disturbing anyone. Keeping in mind, this might not be the situation experienced in this case at all. It's just one example of how subs can be used as part of the strategy for getting the best bass in your room. Measurements are required to work out the best positions and if subs provide you with an advantage in your room. It's not universally true that subs will always give an advantage. There are rooms in which the mains are in ideal positions for bass, with little to no improvement in room response with subs. In most cases, however, we can find sub positions that work better. An inexpensive unit like MiniDSP 2x4 is great for applying EQ and filtering. Typically it will give you the power to do things an AVR won't allow but it does require setup from someone who knows how to measure and manually apply EQ and filters.
  12. Not many speakers allow for this. Most serious equipment has moved away from tone controls. Even if they are suitably transparent, quite often they just don't do what is needed. Bass tone controls often have too much low midrange energy and I always found they took away headroom to quickly. Eventually I found a better result in creating a more satisfying bass balance with a sub with DSP. Far greater control. The surprise for many is that doing this improves everything - not just the bass. Sometimes a system can sound too forward or bright because there is not enough good bass which provides balance. Likewise, treble controls are often not quite right either. I'd argue that it's less about tone controls being suitably transparent and more about the fact that better equipment has moved away from including them.
  13. Horns are a very big group and many of them are turd. It's a very diverse group. When horns fail, they can do it on a grand scale. So you can't really say they are all good for one particular reason. They aren't all good and there are multiple things they get right when they do work well. You can design cone and dome box speakers with good directivity. Harman focus on this based on their research which showed a preference for smooth transitions and well behaved off axis response. Some people might prefer horns that actually have an inferior design in terms of directivity - it could be about dynamics and a particular tonal balance. Audiophiles are a funny group sometimes! You can also design speakers that are very good with directivity but limited in dynamic range. Some people find that underwhelming after getting a taste of horn dynamics. In my experience, when someone likes a speaker, it's never really just one thing.
  14. Sometimes what grabs your attention in a shorter demo gets annoying when you live with it. This can be compounded by the way we can tend to zero in on flaws - now we can't stop hearing them! Sometimes the answer is as simple as a different tonal balance. How your speakers are voiced can be a big part of what you seem to be experiencing. For decades the trend has been to eliminate any chance the listener has to alter this in any way! This could be a matter of preference rather than good/not good.
  15. More than likely quite a few things are going on at the same time. Let's say we are comparing to a conventional cone and dome speaker. If the direct sound matches in response, the reverberant field is different. If the response is matched in the listening position, this requires EQ which will reduce the difference in tonal balance, so we are altering the direct sound. Either way we have a different balance. Cone and dome speakers generally need to have a flatter on axis response. If you reduce the treble they are more likely to sound dull when you put the speaker in a room, with more high frequency absorption and a falling response off axis. When you put a compression driver into a waveguide or horn, I find that you generally need to attenuate the treble in the axial response but this varies with different combinations. This involves a room interaction that can have a huge impact. Further, every speaker has a sweet spot - an SPL level you can listen without fatigue. Often much lower than the max SPL on paper. A horn might be loafing along where another speaker is showing signs of stress.
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