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The BIGGEST Change in Electrostat Speakers in years...


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This kind of 360 dgeree ESL design has been done before in order to "fix" the beaming effect of ESL's, as mentioned.   Theoretically it can be expected to be good at putting out a medciocre sound to

Looks kind of like a water cooler. And also reminds me of the mbl's. Some interesting concepts. I think they are very expensive. New Martin Logan, Neolith looks interesting also (although more size



I heard them at Newport and spoke at length to the designer--Interesting speaker--have to admit the sound was OK but not spectacular as one was led to believe.

 

Whilst they do fill the room adequately -they haven't surpassed the Soundlabs for visceral punch.plus the $50KUSRRP could be a factor against similar Units in that field.

 

I admire the dexterity and application to surmount a "beaming" problem sometimes evident in ESLs

 

But not sorry not on my shopping list

 

Yes Rob --audition though by all means

 

Willco

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Notwithstanding the coolosity of the omni-directional ESL head section on that speaker, I would have grave concerns about its small size and radiating surface area.

All electrostatics generally get better as they get bigger if your room can take it, as intimated by Willco a la Soundlab.

Edited by Steve M
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This kind of 360 dgeree ESL design has been done before in order to "fix" the beaming effect of ESL's, as mentioned.

 

Theoretically it can be expected to be good at putting out a medciocre sound to all parts of the room. Just the thing for a multimillionaire impressing his clients at a cocktail party.  Exactly the sound an audiophile would deride. 

 

The beaming effect of panels is one of great strengths of ESL's for an audiophile who isnt interested in cocktail bling or GTG's. Interestingy the beaming effect increases as the panels get wider.  No doubt this a factor that makes Bryan"s Acoustat design so highly regarded.

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I'm sure I can hear Roger Sanders at his keyboard at this very moment pounding out words of agreement with you, Nada.

Edited by Catostylus
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RTR made something a bit like that in the 70s.

 

This one?

RTR DR-1 Electrostatic/dynamic hybrid loudspeakers

 

672152-rtr_dr1_electrostaticdynamic_hybr

 

 

 

 

672153-rtr_dr1_electrostaticdynamic_hybr

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Audionutz has a pair!    What doesnt he have?

 

I am flabbergasted...but then I suppose I should not be...I agree totally Nada...what does Nutz not own or has not owned...me thinks the list would make interesting reading...Rob

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I heard them at Newport and spoke at length to the designer--Interesting speaker--have to admit the sound was OK but not spectacular as one was led to believe.

 

Whilst they do fill the room adequately -they haven't surpassed the Soundlabs for visceral punch.plus the $50KUSRRP could be a factor against similar Units in that field.

 

I admire the dexterity and application to surmount a "beaming" problem sometimes evident in ESLs

 

But not sorry not on my shopping list

 

Yes Rob --audition though by all means

 

Willco

 

Thanks for the "heads up" Wilco & I am sure Steve M is correct too...I think the black ones look great...pity the sound does not replicate the looks...Rob

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The beaming effect of panels is one of great strengths of ESL's

 

Yikes.    I could not agree less.

 

Not radiating sound with an 'even' spectral balance in all directions is the biggest (by FAR) problem with loudspeakers (not only ESLs).

 

 

It is the single most fundamental measure of speakers performance.  I cannot fathom how it could be considered a "strength"....  or even a problem which can be safely ignored unless you listen in a very large room   (ie. free field = no reflections)

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putting out a medciocre sound to all parts of the room

 

Of course, that being said....   Obviously a speaker which attempts to solve the issue, isn't any watertight guarantee of good sound either.

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Yikes.    I could not agree less.

 

Not radiating sound with an 'even' spectral balance in all directions is the biggest (by FAR) problem with loudspeakers (not only ESLs).

 

 

It is the single most fundamental measure of speakers performance.  I cannot fathom how it could be considered a "strength"....  or even a problem which can be safely ignored unless you listen in a very large room   (ie. free field = no reflections)

 

 

Roger Sanders reckons

 

"Beaming" is not a fault.  It is a huge advantage.  It is the only way to achieve truly high performance in a loudspeaker."

 

more here:

http://sanderssoundsystems.com/technical-white-papers/147-dispersion-white-paper

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Otherwise if you go for a 3x1 wide array for a tight one man sweet spot

 

 

The problem with this is that you narrow dispersion only at higher frequencies.... and consequently maintaining an even direct to reflected balance over the whole spectrum becomes impossible.

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Roger Sanders reckons

 

"Beaming" is not a fault.  It is a huge advantage.  It is the only way to achieve truly high performance in a loudspeaker."

 

more here:

http://sanderssoundsystems.com/technical-white-papers/147-dispersion-white-paper

 

He does make ESLs, gotta defend their poor off axis response somehow. Why not turn it into a marketing positive by claiming it's how all speakers, sorry all speakers that achieve truly high performance should behave.

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I cannot understand what makes people think that omni radiation is desirable for audio, in rooms. It's a flawed premise. Okay, I can understand it, because it seems logical -- but actually is wrong.

 

OTOH I'm not going to go with the idea that an increasingly beamy, wide dipole panel is wunderbar, either.

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He does make ESLs, gotta defend their poor off axis response somehow. Why not turn it into a marketing positive by claiming it's how all speakers, sorry all speakers that achieve truly high performance should behave.

 

Fair point, but bear in mind that he spend quite some time building curved 'stats (indeed he invented them). So he does have a tiny bit of experience in the field of on and off-axis response

 

And speaking from personal experience, I could not agree less with Dave's assertion that beaming "is the biggest (by FAR) problem with loudspeakers"

Edited by Sir Sanders Zingmore
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Roger Sanders reckons

 

"Beaming" is not a fault.  It is a huge advantage.  It is the only way to achieve truly high performance in a loudspeaker."

 

more here:

http://sanderssoundsystems.com/technical-white-papers/147-dispersion-white-paper

 

 

"I eventually came to understand that there are three serious problems caused by wide-dispersion in speakers."

 

 

Yes.  I agree very much.   Even more so than Sanders ?!

 

FWIW, I agree Sanders is on the right track  (wide is bad) ... but that a panel is not the ideal solution.

 

  • A panel speaker transitions from narrow to wide dispersion though the critical frequency range
  • A change in directivity with frequency is even more important than if it was "wide" or "narrow" to begin with

 

The real reason for wide speakers.... is that it is a simple way to ensure that the speaker does not drastically change it's "beaming" with frequency  (it radiates equally everywhere) ... the ultimate iteration in this concept is the omni in the OP.

 

However...  we may have a terminology problem.   When I say beaming, I think of a transition (it's a doing word) from wide to narrow dispersion.... and a change in dispersion is a big problem, as it means a change in the direct to reflected balance of sound.

 

 

Otherwise.  Making a speaker which doesn't change dispersion with frequency is very difficult.

 

This is the reason why panel speakers are described as having a particularly different treble sound.    It isn't anything to do with low distortion  (in a harmonic distortion sense).

 

 

 

So, what I am saying is that the only thing more important than a narrow dispersion .... is not changing dispersion with frequency.   Unfortunately a 'panel' speaker, cannot avoid it (due to it's shape).

 

Examples of some dipoles which avoid this are the latest works from Linkwitz and Kekovsky     (they alter their shape to be small relative to wavelength)

 

 

 

 Finally, the question arises, "Why doesn't the reflected sound from the dipole beams mess up the phase just like in a wide dispersion speaker?"  The answer is that the reflections from a dipole radiator are only one rather than thousands. 

 
Although I agree not to attempt to absorb the rear wave  (as it is required to achieve an appropriate direct / reflected balance) .... I've lost his logic here.
 
The rear wave from a dipole reflects no differently than the front.   The assumption of a boundary directly behind the speaker, only makes it worse  (rear wave will always be reflected from one or more surfaces).
 
 
 
Hopefully I'm not too far off-topic.    Any excuse for a rant    ;)
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Nada and Zingy are on the money here, the beaming effect of flat electrostatics and other planars is definitely a positive, but only in the hot seat. Not good if you stand up or listen from elsewhere in the room, but in the hot seat it is a very focussed and pin-point listening experience. The reason for this is that the sound from the stat comes direct to your ears without interacting with the room so much. There is some interaction from the rearward dipole reflection, but this is mainly counteracted by the sound coming out of the front of the speaker. All stats (and point source drivers) will give a stronger central image lock than just about any conventional speaker, because of this beaming effect.

Edited by Steve M
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@@Roger Sanders:"But this is a physical oxymoron."

 

Dear Mr Sanders, I do believe that your term "physical oxymoron" is itself an oxymoron. I wonder if there is a special name for oxymorons that include the word oxymoron?

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And speaking from personal experience, I could not agree less with Dave's assertion that beaming "is the biggest (by FAR) problem with loudspeakers"

 

It isn't my assertion.   I am parroting the common consensus of the experts in the field.

 

 

If you examine a speaker from directly in front .... you get a response (hopefully a nice one) .... when you move 20 degrees away from straight on.... you have different response.   There are peaks and dips which do not match the direct sound.    The way in which this sound differs from the direct sound is particularly audible.

 

The problem with reflections isn't that they exist.... it is that they differ (often drastically) from the direct sound in spectral balance.

 

 

This is the problem we are trying to avoid  (the abrupt change)

 

This is an attempt  (but the transition is a problem)

 

This is the goal   (ignoring what requirements our room itself has for a constant direct/reflect balance)   EDIT:  Thanks @@gainphile   <waves>

Edited by davewantsmoore
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All stats (and point source drivers) will give a stronger central image lock than just about any conventional speaker, because of this beaming effect.

 

Perhaps I was misunderstood.

 

I am (very much) in agreement that a more constant directivity improves imaging.      EDIT:   Well, again I'm just parroting what the boffins say   (I just tested their wisdom and found they are correct)

 

 

The point is:

 

(Typical) panel speakers cannot achieve the ultimate in constant directivity, because they are too wide (dispersion) at LF and arguably too narrow at HF.     They change dispersion with frequency   (to me that is the definition of "beaming" ... and this isn't' considered a positive attribute)

 

A change in the directivity with frequency sounds unnatural

Edited by davewantsmoore
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Perhaps I was misunderstood.

 

I am (very much) in agreement that a more constant directivity improves imaging.      EDIT:   Well, again I'm just parroting what the boffins say   (I just tested their wisdom and found they are correct)

 

 

The point is:

 

(Typical) panel speakers cannot achieve the ultimate in constant directivity, because they are too wide (dispersion) at LF and arguably too narrow at HF.     They change dispersion with frequency   (to me that is the definition of "beaming" ... and this isn't' considered a positive attribute)

 

A change in the directivity with frequency sounds unnatural

 

 

But if you are in the "sweet spot" why do you care if the directivity changes outside the sweet spot

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But if you are in the "sweet spot" why do you care if the directivity changes outside the sweet spot

 

In the sweet spot you still get all of the reflected sounds, these come from somewhere away from the direct axis and if they have uneven freq response at the different angles which are reflected (mostly the first order reflection points, side walls and rear wall are of interest)

Edited by hochopeper
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The goal is 75 deg wide dispersion @ -6 dB?

 

 

I also think that graph goes a bit too far on the LF side of things .... my understanding is that directivity gets less important once the ear+brain is using phase differences rather than level differences for sound localisation.

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But if you are in the "sweet spot" why do you care if the directivity changes outside the sweet spot

 

Firstly, the Sanders paper is wrong in almost every paragraph. It is a typical white paper.

 

Secondly, hochopeper beat me to my second point! Sanders tried to argue that ELS speakers don't produce much room interaction, so the direct sound in the centre is all that counts. Of course, cutting out room interaction brings us closer to anechoic sound, which is highly disliked and hence undesirable. Fact is, it's like Goldilocks' porridge: there can be too much or too little reflected sound. There is a 'just right' amount, from the 'just right' surfaces, in 'just right' delays, with 'just right' spectral balance. Omni's and flat panels both get it wrong.

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But if you are in the "sweet spot" why do you care if the directivity changes outside the sweet spot

 

Reflections....  unless you are listening outside, sound bounces of the walls and gets in your ears.   The degree to which the reflected sound matches (in spectrum) the direct sound is particularly audible  (this is to do with how delayed sound is integrated by the ear when it is different in spectral balance)

 

 

Think of a sound occurring in a room  (eg.  smashing a glass with a hammer) ....  this radiates (relatively) equally in all directions

 

... now imagine the sound again, but in certain directions... or at certain frequencies ..... 4x more or less  (6dB) sound is radiated.     I'm sure you can easily imagine how this sounds "unnatural".

 

... but now if you look at an example panel speaker .... we can see that over an octave or so, the sound output at 45 degrees of axis  (prime reflection territory) than the sound balance differs by up to 12dB (or more?!) ... ie.   16 times less sound radiated from one octave to the next.

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Firstly, the Sanders paper is wrong in almost every paragraph. It is a typical white paper.

 

Secondly, hochopeper beat me to my second point! Sanders tried to argue that ELS speakers don't produce much room interaction, so the direct sound in the centre is all that counts. Of course, cutting out room interaction brings us closer to anechoic sound, which is highly disliked and hence undesirable. Fact is, it's like Goldilocks' porridge: there can be too much or too little reflected sound. There is a 'just right' amount, from the 'just right' surfaces, in 'just right' delays, with 'just right' spectral balance. Omni's and flat panels both get it wrong.

 

I'd be interested to know on which points he is wrong

 

As for room interactions, my understanding (and I may be wrong of course) is that you have them with all speakers. The benefit with very directional speakers is that the reflections are much lower in energy and therefore the brain is better at ignoring them

 

In any event, despite you guys telling me how bad my speakers (and other electrostats) must sound, in my opinion the best two systems I have ever heard at any price have been electrostats 

Edited by Sir Sanders Zingmore
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I think the part that is often missed in this conversation about directivity goals is that the human ear has roughly three ways of dealing with reflections:

 

1st takes all early sounds and sort of combines them together ... so the first order reflections become part of what is perceived as part of the direct sound. (say up to 6-10ms I can't remember the exact numbers but 6 is generally the starting point as a goal for setting up a room)

 

2nd The slightly later reflections are perceived as the decay. (Dave/Newman do you have the numbers for this? I think it's roughly 80ms or so but that's from memory.)

 

3rd The really really late reflections are perceived as echos.

 

 

For an idea of the delay of reflections from each side wall, and front and rear walls have a look at this blog where the speaker/listener locations are drawn in and delay contours are drawn.

 

So Sanders is really only addressing point number one with his concerns around directivity and has missed the importance of the second and/or assumes relatively large rooms with optimal speaker/listener placement.

 

If you've got a room where the first order reflections are outside that ~6ms window you might avoid the 1st or at least limit it. For listener preference the second time period that I mention above should still be a relatively good match for the speaker's direct sound and preferably mostly side wall reflection (apparent source width). The 3rd really should be avoided (absorption).

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As for room interactions, my understanding (and I may be wrong of course) is that you have them with all speakers. The benefit with very directional speakers is that the reflections are much lower in energy and therefore the brain is better at ignoring them

 

The ear works with levels and time ... reducing the level may help in some situations, but the ability of the brain to filter that sound also depends on when it arrives. If you have some frequencies that are being rejected and others that are retained in the sound that you 'hear' then there will be some problem in the way the sound is percieved.

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I'd be interested to know on which points he is wrong

 

The generalisation that reflections are to be avoided via very narrow dispersion implies a direct sound to reflected sound ratio which is too low in the opinion of some.   The observation that a reflected sound to direct sound ratio which is >> 0 is preferred for good sound  (ie.  you want some reflections), implies that reflections shouldn't be considered as purely comb-filtering distortion.  

 

Also the frequency range where most panels 'beam' their sound  (ie.treble / 5khz +) is the area where it is found not to matter as much.    One reason for this is that sound reflects to poorly these frequencies, but there may be others.....   however, the frequencies where a typical panel might change it's directivity over  (say 500->3000)  are the ones where it's found to matter most (or at all).

 

If you think about a speaker playing a sound, VS that same sound naturally occurring ....  a major difference between the two events is that the speaker radiates unequally.   Different frequencies radiate more or less strongly in different directions....  whereas natural sounds are more omni-directional  (without us getting more complex and considering boundary effects).

 

 

 

Back to the theme.   Omni radiators can fix the changing directivity with frequency problem... but seem to have a too low overall directivity for most recording techniques and/or listener preference.

 

All speaker have compromises.  Most major.   So it seems mean to rip on panel speakers by holding them up to a fairly lofty goal.

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In any event, despite you guys telling me how bad my speakers (and other electrostats) must sound, in my opinion the best two systems I have ever heard at any price have been electrostats 

 

They have different compromises to most speakers.   They sound quite different.   They sound a lot closer in many ways to my ideal speakers (moderate, but controlled directivity) than most wide dispersion speaker  (especially ones with large lumps off axis, like many narrow box cone/dome)

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Firstly, the Sanders paper is wrong in almost every paragraph. It is a typical white paper.

 

Wow! Newman ... I didn't take you for a world-renowned hi-fi "expert"!  So where do you get any cred as a hifi 'oracle'?  :nana

 

Whereas Roger Sanders has made a career out of designing and producing products which punters buy.  That's his day job.  :P

 

 

Andy

Edited by andyr
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Gents

 

We have removed an image from this post, as it was "NSFW". The key is to link the images with a warning that it might be NSFW please. 

 

Alistair 

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