Tag Archives: loudspeaker

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

I don’t agree with this one, especially as relates to bass, but what do I know?

Speaker size should match the room

This fact or fiction question is an interesting one because the notion of matching speaker size to room dimensions is so ingrained into our culture as to be taken for fact. But, some facts aren’t true no matter how much we want them to be.

Here’s the deal. Any size loudspeaker will work in just about any sized room. The exceptions are easily found with common sense: no, a pair of bookshelf speakers won’t work in the Astrodome just as an IRSV won’t fit into a closet.

As long as we’re on the same page with respect to common sense, let’s take a look at where these ideas came from.

Our natural human tendency is to match object size to the space they occupy, which is why a small dining room table in a big home looks out of place, or a king sized bed hardly works in a tiny room. But it’s our visual sensibilities that are at fault here, not the size mismatch. In fact, for a family of two with the occasional visiting couple, a 4-seat dining room table is all we need irrespective of the dining room’s size. And I can tell you from personal experience a king bed sleeps as well in a cramped room as it does in a palatial suite.

I remember one of my trips to NYC, while on a visit with Lyric HiFi owner Mike Kay. He took me to an old Brownstone somewhere on the city’s West Side to visit an IRSV owner. To my surprise, the giant 4-piece Infinity speaker system dominated their tiny living room to such a degree that the owners had to walk between the midrange and woofer towers to access their upstairs bedroom. The beasts consumed 80% of their living room and looked absurdly out of place to me, but oh man did they sing! These were some of the finest sounds I had ever heard from a pair of the massive speakers—almost as nice as another tiny room filled with them at the home of the Absolute Sound Magazine’s publisher, Harry Pearson.

With common sense boundaries in mind, I am calling this one fiction.

 

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Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

Single driver speakers are better than multi-driver designs

Fact or fiction? There are so many ifs to consider it’s hard to give a good answer but let’s first examine what this all means.

For many years of early hifi development, single driver loudspeakers ruled. My first hi-fi system was a single driver setup that I describe here from my upcoming memoir 99% True:

“It was a beauty of a system, and the envy of my friends—especially David, who coveted that stereo. I’d built it myself from scratch, from pieces discarded from my father’s do-it-yourself hi-fi. It was my magnum opus: a single cabinet that stood about four feet tall, and 20 inches wide and deep. On top was mounted a turntable I’d lovingly resurrected from Dad’s junk pile, and below that was an old Fisher 500 receiver. Its scratched, gold-painted face plate was peeling, and the tuner didn’t work (though the dial lit up), but miraculously, the phono amplifier sounded fine after I replaced the tubes. Farther down the plywood tower was the best part, hidden by a grille cloth cut from an old set of yellow curtains Mom had retired: an 8-inch woofer with a whizzer cone. A woofer is the drive-unit that makes bass and, in this case, midrange sounds as well; the whizzer cone—a small, funnel-shaped paper add-on to the center of the woofer—helped reproduce the higher frequencies, such as those produced by snare drums and cymbals. I’d found the speaker in dad’s shop. Although its paper cone had a large rip in it and the whizzer needed repair, some rubber cement and patience put that beauty back together again.”

The benefits of a single driver system are its lack of a frequency dividing crossover network and different types of drivers for each frequency range. The downsides include doppler and intermodulation distortion, beaming.

On the flipside, the benefits of a multi-driver loudspeaker system are the elimination of the former system’s distortion issues at the expense of driver differences, phase issues, frequency overlap, and time alignment.

At the end of the proverbial day, I would have to say fiction since the problems associated with woofers trying to play the role of tweeters overwhelm the most fixable difficulties of crossover designs.

and…

I am getting closer to actually publishing my memoir—two years in the making—which has now turned out to be nearly 500 pages! It’s called 99% True and is chock full of adventures, debauchery, struggles, heartwarming stories, triumphs and failures, great belly laughs, and a peek inside the high-end audio industry you’ve never known before.

When it launches I plan a few surprises for early adopters, so go here to add your name to the list of interested readers.  There’s an entire gallery of never before seen photos of people you know but haven’t seen like this.