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QuackQuack

What makes a good soundstage for speakers?

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I was running a pair of Magnepan MMGs until I broke them recently and replaced them with a pair of JBL LSR305 studio monitors (very big jump in type of speaker, I know). I like a lot about the new speakers, they are dynamic with good midbass and the freedom to not have five foot rectangles in the middle of my room. What I don't like however is that the soundstage feels very shallow in width and depth, it's imprecise, and although there is a weak phantom centre I can still hear where the speakers are. With the MMGs I never had any sense of the speakers and the sounds had depth and a natural staging. I've tried all sorts of positioning changes and toe-in but to no avail.

 

My question is where did I do wrong? Is it because I got a pair of studio monitors, or is that dipole speakers are so good that I've been spoiled?

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You've been spoiled with the MMG.   The Magnaplanar do a huge sound stage and will never sound like out of the box or strained.  I've heard all the cones that Bill Maclean sells or has on offer and nothing beats the Magnaplanar in terms of realism, soundstage,  and attack.  All the others had on show I felt was a let down and with some restricted by its limitations.  Feed Magnaplar the power and they will deliver! 

 

Have a 1.7 here in the classified if you're interested...:P  seriously! 

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1 hour ago, QuackQuack said:

 

Is it because I got a pair of studio monitors, or is that dipole speakers are so good that I've been spoiled?

 

 

Like AtM, I would say you've been spoiled by the MMGs!  :)

 

1 hour ago, QuackQuack said:

... the freedom to not have five foot rectangles in the middle of my room. What I don't like however is that the soundstage feels very shallow in width and depth, it's imprecise, and although there is a weak phantom centre I can still hear where the speakers are. With the MMGs I never had any sense of the speakers and the sounds had depth and a natural staging. I've tried all sorts of positioning changes and toe-in but to no avail.

 

If you no longer have speakers "in the middle of the room" ... then maybe your lack of soundstage depth is because you have the JBLs too near the front wall?

 

Have you tried them 1.5m out from the front wall?

 

Andy

 

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You might find using the setup procedure outlined at http://soundoctor.com/testcd/index.htm and the PDF file at http://soundoctor.com/testcd/Soundoctor_Test_CD_v2-7-2.pdf quite useful.

 

You don't actually need the setup CD if you can provide the required tracks from something like REW.

I did buy it as it was $US18 about $A25 which took just a week to arrive.

 

Very happy with the results, took some time to go through the setup procedure but in my case I believe it worth the effort.

Edited by soundbyte

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@QuackQuack The Maggies image extremely well, you'd have to spend considerably more to get that with box speakers. If as you say the soundstage is shallow, imprecise and has a weak phantom centre,then I think you've answered your own question, nice dynamics and mid bas notwithstanding. Hifi is all about compromises,so it comes down to what you're prepared to live with. Talk to @Addicted to music re his 1.7's for sale. Excellent bargain there. I also run 1.7's, what's wrong with big rectangles in the middle of the room? :)

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@Blk plastic

 

there use to be a member here who I got to know very well by loaning him a M51,  had some old reference KEF with compression drivers.  They would have been at $5-6k New at the time and had great reviews.  He came over with nc400 driving the 1.7.  Decided to bring the KEFs over for a comaprision and even though I thought the KEFs has certain qualities it just didn't stack up to what the 1.7 could do.  Within a few days he purchased a pair of .7 and never looked back! 

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@Addicted to music Yep, I agree. I must say I'll never go back to boxes that's for sure. If anything, I might look at adding some subs at some point. I'm happy with their bass response in my room,but I will try some subs just to satisfy my curiosity. I can't believe yours haven't sold yet, the universe is upside down.

Edited by Blk plastic

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@addicted I have a pair of old SMG's, can't find the right size speaker connectors to sit nice and tight in the terminals. I think the fuse and terminal plate may have worked loose. Big and cumbersome but they are amazing for imaging. The shortcoming of the SMG in my opinion was not the bass, or the lack of it, I thought it had more than enough, it was the roll off at the top, from memory they only went to 16Khz.

 

Might have to drag them out and have another listen.

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1 hour ago, allthumbs said:

@addicted I have a pair of old SMG's, can't find the right size speaker connectors to sit nice and tight in the terminals. I think the fuse and terminal plate may have worked loose. Big and cumbersome but they are amazing for imaging. The shortcoming of the SMG in my opinion was not the bass, or the lack of it, I thought it had more than enough, it was the roll off at the top, from memory they only went to 16Khz.

 

Might have to drag them out and have another listen.

Yes,  i do feel the bass is lacking on the 1.7.   I just don't have the time to integrate them with my 11" Eton.  I have a diy ribbon that integrates perfectly with the Eton  that's why the 1.7 must go, WAF. Tooo many speakers in the house!

IMG_1470.JPG

Edited by Addicted to music

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Do you guys think that Maggies image so nicely because of their ribbons or because of the dipole design? I would love to hear one of those box speakers with the rear facing 'ambience tweeter' to see if they work similarly.

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5 minutes ago, QuackQuack said:

Do you guys think that Maggies image so nicely because of their ribbons or because of the dipole design? I would love to hear one of those box speakers with the rear facing 'ambience tweeter' to see if they work similarly.

What "rear facing ambience tweeter" ?

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1 minute ago, Addicted to music said:

What "rear facing ambience tweeter" ?

the OP is talking about "box" speakers with a rear facing tweeter - I've not seen any, but some of  the Martin Logan ESLs have a rear facing tweeter, and some Linkwitz open baffle designs using traditional dynamic drivers have a rear facing tweeter.

 

@QuackQuack - too hard to tell what part of a well designed speaker is the "bit" that makes the difference (in this  case open baffle or ribbon tweeters) - it's all about the design working as a whole.

 

Mike

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Quote

 

A bit of an earthquake out Korumburra way and that dumbbell could cause a bit of damage.:ohmy:

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6 minutes ago, QuackQuack said:

Like in this design, for example (I'm not talking about Maggies but how you might recreate the soundstage, to be clear) http://www.rutherfordaudio.com/shop/cad/news/review_of_burmester_ba_71

I'm sure they would sound great, but wow, that rear tweeter would just complicate room placement and treatment.

Traditional box speakers struggle with soundstage and imaging usually because because of less than ideal crossover design and inherent challenges in maintaining consistent coverage pattern (directivity) when crossing from 1 driver to another - a rear facing tweeter won't change this.

 

Mike

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likely the best sound stage I've ever heard was a set of Quad ESL 63's (a bipolar design), where the singer presented centrally just in front of the speakers, and the rest of  the band was just behind the speakers.

 

I've never been able to replicate this sort of accuracy of soundstage with my speakers in my room (horn top end crossed at 350Hz to box mid bass).

 

Who knows whether it's the open baffle design, Electrostatics, the "horn" sound of my speakers, or my room?

 

If you liked the sound of the Maggies - just stay with it!

 

Mike

Edited by almikel

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What makes a good soundstage for speakers?

 

Try using a well sorted pair of Quad 57s with appropriate amplification.

 

All better now.:)

 

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1 hour ago, MusicOne said:

What makes a good soundstage for speakers?

 

Try using a well sorted pair of Quad 57s with appropriate amplification.

 

All better now.:)

 

the 57 is a truly great speaker - possibly better than the 63 - in their sweet spot, just sublime.

 

 Unfortunately move left or right 500mm and the image collapses to one side, and they won't cop SPL.

 

I have ultimate respect for Peter Walker, his speakers and amps, but 57's wouldn't survive in my setup when the volume is elevated - unfortunately....

....but in my setup  I can move way off axis and the image never collapses to one side - all the electros I've listened to (Quad 57's, 63's, Martin Logans) all suffer from the image collapsing once  you get off centre.

 

Fine if you're listening alone in the sweet spot - with 2 people on a couch each person hears 1 speaker - this is not ideal.

 

Mike

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53 minutes ago, almikel said:

 

the 57 is a truly great speaker - possibly better than the 63 - in their sweet spot, just sublime.

 

 Unfortunately move left or right 500mm and the image collapses to one side, and they won't cop SPL.

 

I have ultimate respect for Peter Walker, his speakers and amps, but 57's wouldn't survive in my setup when the volume is elevated - unfortunately....

....but in my setup  I can move way off axis and the image never collapses to one side - all the electros I've listened to (Quad 57's, 63's, Martin Logans) all suffer from the image collapsing once  you get off centre.

 

Fine if you're listening alone in the sweet spot - with 2 people on a couch each person hears 1 speaker - this is not ideal.

 

Mike

 

Also if you like the sound you are hearing to cover more than 100 - 15kHz ... then 57s / 63s etc are not for you!  :P

 

Andy

 

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I'll bet you haven't got the JBLs set up properly. Experiment with their position in the room. They may need to be closer to the boundaries than you expect.

 

They will never sound like Magnaplanars, but they should still give a decent central image.

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1 hour ago, dcathro said:

I'll bet you haven't got the JBLs set up properly. Experiment with their position in the room. They may need to be closer to the boundaries than you expect.

 

They will never sound like Magnaplanars, but they should still give a decent central image.

@QuackQuack @dcathro

There will be lots of systems not properly setup for best results in room, I've heard quite a few.

Hence my suggestion to try the Soundoctor method.

 

Quote from http://soundoctor.com/testcd/whitenoise.htm

 

"Here is a method for "aiming" (and learning) speakers --- for determining the splay angle AND the "lobe" of the sound coming out of [any] speaker. This method is far more accurate than ANYTHING else, even lasers. Doing it with your ears with this procedure takes EVERYTHING into account, including interchannel digital delays or anomalies, circuit group delay, phase shifts, if any, anywhere in the chain, including the crossovers, and it also takes into account mechanical interchannel timing issues (often somewhat incorrectly called time alignment) caused by the simple fact that the speakers or the drivers are different distances from your face. You will be able to aim and adjust your speakers to within 1/4" or better with this method."

 

Quite a statement!

What have you got lose?

Maybe an afternoon, you never know?

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1 hour ago, dcathro said:

I'll bet you haven't got the JBLs set up properly. Experiment with their position in the room. They may need to be closer to the boundaries than you expect.

 

They will never sound like Magnaplanars, but they should still give a decent central image.

I've spent most of the day messing around with their positioning, and I found that I can get a reasonable soundstage if I'm seated about 1.5 m away from them in an equilateral triangle with plenty of room around the speakers. If I move off of this position though I lose it completely and am back to hearing the boxes. I ended up hooking up some old Mordaunt Short bookshelves and they are pleasing me a lot more. The imaging isn't very precise, but it feels like the music is being played in the room rather than through the speakers.

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The important thing is the interaction between speakers and room.Some speakers do not image well in some rooms but do in a different one.Speakers with controlled directivity devices like horns,waveguides or felt surrounds are probably less prone to these differences and dipoles are probably most prone to it.

As far as I can tell there is no way of predicting which speaker will image well in your room.You have to try it.

I have owned dipole ribbons that imaged poorly in a room that normally has excellent imaging.And yet dipole electrostats imaged well there.A pair of Lenehan two ways that have a repution for good imaging also failed to do so in the same room.

Edited by THOMO

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53 minutes ago, soundbyte said:

@QuackQuack @dcathro

There will be lots of systems not properly setup for best results in room, I've heard quite a few.

Hence my suggestion to try the Soundoctor method.

 

Quote from http://soundoctor.com/testcd/whitenoise.htm

 

"Here is a method for "aiming" (and learning) speakers --- for determining the splay angle AND the "lobe" of the sound coming out of [any] speaker. This method is far more accurate than ANYTHING else, even lasers. Doing it with your ears with this procedure takes EVERYTHING into account, including interchannel digital delays or anomalies, circuit group delay, phase shifts, if any, anywhere in the chain, including the crossovers, and it also takes into account mechanical interchannel timing issues (often somewhat incorrectly called time alignment) caused by the simple fact that the speakers or the drivers are different distances from your face. You will be able to aim and adjust your speakers to within 1/4" or better with this method."

 

Quite a statement!

What have you got lose?

Maybe an afternoon, you never know?

Ok cheers! Looks interesting, I'll give it a go tomorrow.

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