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"Midrange Suckout" and room size


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I was recently reading about a phenomenon that has been given the name "midrange suckout". This refers to how some speaker manufacturers (predominantly English apparently) voice the speakers to be a bit more polite in the mid-range. 

 

Is it possible they do this because the English tend to listen to hi-fi in smaller rooms than say Americans, and this takes some of the problematic room modes out of play?

 

If that was the case, shouldn't it be the same for European manufacturers, because I think most Europeans would have to listen to rooms of similar dimensions to English listeners? And yet European speaker manufacturers (say Dynaudio) don't tend to do things this way. 

 

Or, is it done because even though it might not be tonally accurate, it makes the speakers more pleasant to listen to (as judged by their customers)?

 

Any thoughts? 

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Do you know which English speakers this refers to? As far as I can tell, the BBC licensed monitors have an excellent midrange.

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Some of it is in creating an "audiophile" or "brand" sound.

 

Something that exaggerates some of the frequency spectrum and ducks some of the rest to give you a speaker that sounds different and justifies your expenditure and interest in their offering.  A lot of brands also exaggerate the treble to make the speakers more "detailed" but this often becomes fatiguing over time. Some of the Uk speaker manufacturers accentuate the midrange at the expense of bass too.

 

You should check out some measurements of various speaker brands and see what their frequency response curve looks like as many that are respected audiophile brands are far from linear. 

 

As much as people shitcan the AudioScienceReview website, their speaker tests are very useful at seeing frequency response, SPL, directionality and estimated in room response.

 

For example:

 

 

 

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I think it's about attempting to mask the inevitable deficiencies of a small speaker, one of which is reduced bass.  A hump in the upper bass and a dip in the midrange give the impression of extra bass.   Speaker design is all about compromises.

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6 minutes ago, Steffen said:

Do you know which English speakers this refers to? As far as I can tell, the BBC licensed monitors have an excellent midrange.

Well, they might be a perfect example. LS3/5a were designed to be optimal in a caravan outside the event where the BBC Outside Broadcast Unit were working. So, in that environment, they might measure perfectly. Put them in a large room, and the midrange might measure as too light.

 

I can't put my hands on the original article, but PMC, Harbeth, Falcon were mentioned. 

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10 minutes ago, BugPowderDust said:

Some of it is in creating an "audiophile" or "brand" sound.

 

Something that exaggerates some of the frequency spectrum and ducks some of the rest to give you a speaker that sounds different and justifies your expenditure and interest in their offering.  A lot of brands also exaggerate the treble to make the speakers more "detailed" but this often becomes fatiguing over time. Some of the Uk speaker manufacturers accentuate the midrange at the expense of bass too.

 

You should check out some measurements of various speaker brands and see what their frequency response curve looks like as many that are respected audiophile brands are far from linear. 

 

As much as people shitcan the AudioScienceReview website, their speaker tests are very useful at seeing frequency response, SPL, directionality and estimated in room response.

 

For example:

 

 

 

Thanks. Interesting you describe one speaker as "bad" and another as "good" based on these measurements. In the ASR world, speakers that measure in alignment with their ideals are "good", speakers that measure differently, are "bad". Yet plenty of people would swear by Harbeth for example, which get a bit of a thrashing.

 

I also find it hard to reconcile with my experience, where I found (as an example), one amp which measures perfectly as fatiguing on my ears, and one that probably didn't measure as well (a guess, I haven't seen measurements) as offering a better approximation of what I hear in the real world from a violin player, guitar player or vocalist. 

 

Other examples are their perfect-measuring DACs (eg Topping), where people might prefer Chord for "musicality". In the ASR world, that definition can't be used because it can't easily be defined.

 

I may have opened a can of worms here, but I won't apologise, since this is a forum, that is basically my intent ?

 

Keen to hear other views, particularly on the aspect of warm vs cold (or analog vs digital sounding), especially where those concepts are not measurable. What experiences have others had?

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18 minutes ago, tfj100 said:

Well, they might be a perfect example. LS3/5a were designed to be optimal in a caravan outside the event where the BBC Outside Broadcast Unit were working. So, in that environment, they might measure perfectly. Put them in a large room, and the midrange might measure as too light. 

 

In that case, I wouldn’t worry about this “suck-out”.  The LS3/5a variants I’ve owned or borrowed had the best midrange of any speakers I’ve heard (sticking to 4-digit price tags).

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2 minutes ago, Steffen said:

 

In that case, I wouldn’t worry about this “suck-out”.  The LS3/5a variants I’ve owned or borrowed had the best midrange of any speakers I’ve heard (sticking to 4-digit price tags).

Oh, personally I'm not worried about it. I'm mostly curious about the distinction between "good" measuring and "bad" measuring speakers in situations where a listener might prefer the "bad" measuring speakers. I'm also interested in room mode effects on that when you are comparing your own experience with what a reviewer has measured (maybe in their own environment). 

 

It would be great to be able to look at a review or a set of measurements and think "that is the speaker for me" without having to listen to it. Instead, you really have to demo a new speaker purchase in your own environment to get the exact outcome, and that is not always (or even often) possible. 

 

 

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20 minutes ago, tfj100 said:

It would be great to be able to look at a review or a set of measurements and think "that is the speaker for me" without having to listen to it. Instead, you really have to demo a new speaker purchase in your own environment to get the exact outcome, and that is not always (or even often) possible. 

 

 

That would be possible, I guess, if you also had an exact characterisation of your room response, for a given speaker position and listening spot. But nobody has that.

 

 

 

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Just now, Steffen said:

 

That would be possible, I guess, if you also had an exact characterisation of your room response, for a given speaker position and listening spot. But nobody has that.

 

 

 

Yep, and you'd also need to know the source and amplification they used vs what you use since that will impact on the sound as well

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