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The goals for an "ideal speaker..."


kkantor

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Without reference to loudspeaker design theory, measurement techniques, schools of thought, efficiency, output capability, reliability, size, price, brand, etc, can you describe what the goals of an ideal, uncompromised loudspeaker are? Really, this is not a loaded question or any kind of set-up for an argument. (I would not ask this question of a clueless doob.) I'm trying to establish the basis of a discussion. Examples of the kind of answer I am looking for would include:

1- The ideal loudspeaker produces a pressure waveform at the outer ear that is identical to the electrical signal sent to its terminals regardless of listener location, head position or room acoustics.

or

2- The ideal loudspeaker creates a local soundfield in the vicinity of the listener's head that is an exact replica of an equivalently-sized region existing at some other location.

or

3- The ideal loudspeaker is one which creates for the listener the exact perceptual experience that the recording engineer had when listening to their studio monitors.

or

4- The ideal loudspeaker is capable of producing any target set of HRTF's that can be mathematically defined.

or

5- The ideal loudspeaker makes any listener unaware of local room acoustics and substitutes the perception of stable virtual sources and defined environments according to a finite set of input parameters.

or

6- The ideal loudspeaker is one for which no listener ever prefers a different loudspeaker when presented with some optimal and standardized set of recordings, in any listening room.

or

7- The ideal loudspeaker is one for which no listener ever prefers a different loudspeaker on any recording.

or

???

I don't personally have an answer to my own question; but I am not asserting the existence of an ideal loudspeaker.

-k

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Thanks, Howard. I appreciate your thoughtful answers. I am very surprised that more people didn't jump in here. It seems like such a fundamental and interesting question, and I can't imagine taking a strong position about anything in audio without discussing the basic goals. I supposed people are generally happy with status quo.

I generally agree, with a few comments:

1- This can be done, essentially, with headphones.

7- This one is the trickiest question. If one could make a speaker that magically is always preferred over all others, I find it hard to argue the value of a speaker that sometimes is less preferred. One could suggest that the speaker must make demands of the recording, but that line of reasoning turns circular.

8- Noted, but I was trying to stay away from personal preferences, in favor of theoretical ideals. (Also, we get back into the debate over the definition of "flat.")

-k

Wow! Great questions. My answers:

1. An impossible goal. No speaker can do this.

2. Not impossible, but difficult, and made doubly so by the fact that rooms differ and so do listening locations, not to mention the way recordings are made. Unless the original material is in the same-sized room as playback it is going to be impossible to come close to doing this without surround sound and good DSP.

3. Doable, but not always desirable, because the studio monitors used might not be all that good and the playback room used during the mixdown at the studio might not be all that good, either. The listener in the home-listening room might actually be able to get more realism than then the engineer achieved, particularly if he applies good DSP and surround sound to two-channel sources.

4. I suppose so, or at least one could come close, but it would be very hard to define the exact parameters required.

5. To an extent. However, getting to this level required more than just a perfect loudspeaker, or even any number of perfect loudspeakers. I do not think it possible to erase the acoustics of small playback rooms completely. Good DSP and plenty of surround channels can get fairly close, however, or certainly close enough to get an improvement over a simple two-channel playback arrangement. Much depends upon the size and shape of the playback room. The bigger, the better, at least if not overdone. I continue to believe that Villchur's LvR sessions proved that in some locales, and with the recordings done just so, and with the live source and speakers arranged just so, a near-perfect simulation is possible - even with speakers that are not all that perfect. The ear is surprisingly easy to fool.

6. I have never encountered any loudspeaker combo (including my own) that was SOTA with every recording I encountered. I have two systems that are substantially different from each other, and with some software one has the edge and with other software the other has the edge. Also, my moods also have a big impact and at times neither installation does the job the way I would like, and at other times each sounds superb - with the same recordings. Neither system sounds as good as I would like when I am demonstrating them to visitors, and they each always sound at their respective best when I am listening alone.

7. See my number 6, above.

8 (kind of). My preferred speaker has smooth response (maybe flat or maybe downward tilted towards the treble), with very low distortion and a wide bandwidth. (Getting the bass bandwidth extended enough has always required using a subwoofer, for me at least, since I demand a solid reach to 20 Hz.) I "prefer" the spacious sound of a wide-dispersing model (a good wide-dispersing model), but I am well aware that wide-dispersing speakers can have problems in certain rooms. They do not like side walls that are too close, nor do they like them with side walls that are too far away, and they do not like rooms that are highly damped. Rooms like that work better with "aimable" speakers. However, with whatever kind one uses, the response at the ears needs to be smooth. I do not see why this would be all that hard to achieve. The hard thing to achieve is creating a replica of a live-music sound field that is nearly always larger than the playback room. DSP can only come close.

Howard Ferstler

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The 'ideal' loudspeaker (to me at least) is one that is there in your room, but you don't sense that it's there. It is a faithful reproducer of the music that let's you enjoy the music to it's ultimate potential in a way that you aren't focused on the sound of the music, but rather the visceral experiance of the performance that was recorded.

I was lucky enough to stumble on a pair of speakers a friend was selling that seem to fulfill what I described above. The speakers, coupled with my mid-fi electronics take me away on a musical journey that I am completely content with each time I listen to them.

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I am very surprised that more people didn't jump in here. It seems like such a fundamental and interesting question, and I can't imagine taking a strong position about anything in audio without discussing the basic goals.

I appreciate your encouraging me to step it up, but we are many beers behind my having the requisite chops to get there. While I proceed vaguely in the abstract, it is not entirely blind.

What I do believe is that the room should be ancillary if it is to effectively translate to others, and know that whatever I personally might like merely comprises a bias, and is of little significance.

In these respects, Toole and Olive have done a very clever pragmatic end run; I suspect there are worthy clues to the ideal in their work. Parsing room and speaker affords fundamental insight.

"Science is tentative -- the rationality of scientific method does not depend upon the certainty of its conclusions, but on its self-corrective character; the process can detect and correct its own errors, and thus eventually lead to discovery of truth." Peirce, loosely.... :unsure:

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1- The ideal loudspeaker produces a pressure waveform at the outer ear that is identical to the electrical signal sent to its terminals regardless of listener location, head position or room acoustics.
This would be great if you could achieve it but I'm not sure you can get past the room acoustic's addition. A necessary condition?
2- The ideal loudspeaker creates a local soundfield in the vicinity of the listener's head that is an exact replica of an equivalently-sized region existing at some other location.
Sounds like number one with a perfect recording system added to the mix. Not necessarily possible but would be ideal. A good binaural system should take a run at this. Speakers in a room?
3- The ideal loudspeaker is one which creates for the listener the exact perceptual experience that the recording engineer had when listening to their studio monitors.
So if he listened over crappy Auratones and loathed the experience, I could do likewise? Thanks.
4- The ideal loudspeaker is capable of producing any target set of HRTF's that can be mathematically defined.
Sounds overly restrictive.
5- The ideal loudspeaker makes any listener unaware of local room acoustics and substitutes the perception of stable virtual sources and defined environments according to a finite set of input parameters.
Sounds like you've mastered the imaging part. What about balance, colorations, etc.
6- The ideal loudspeaker is one for which no listener ever prefers a different loudspeaker when presented with some optimal and standardized set of recordings, in any listening room.
Sounds like a good achievement. Doesn't guarantee accuracy, just total satisfaction, at least with ideal recordings.
7- The ideal loudspeaker is one for which no listener ever prefers a different loudspeaker on any recording.
Even better. No guarantee of accuracy, just satisfaction.

Its surprisingly hard to define the aspirational goals. Easier to define the desirable measurement parameters of the speaker. If we were talking about cars we could say: Neither understeers or oversteers. Responds proportionately to every control input. Has more power than you could ever want. Makes you a better driver. Doesn't punish you behind the wheel, at the pump or upon resale, etc. etc. Gets you there in style and comfort.

The subject of "accuracy" came up before and that always makes me think of "waveform fidelity". Yet if phase response isn't an essential (I don't think it is) then total waveform accuracy isn't a prerequisite.

Interesting.

David

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"I appreciate your encouraging me to step it up, but we are many beers behind my having the requisite chops to get there. While I proceed vaguely in the abstract, it is not entirely blind."

Z-

While my question started out as a rhetorical point mostly directed your way, by the time I posted it, I got myself all worked up and somewhat confused. As I said, I don't have an answer myself. And I fully, totally agree that possible weaknesses in the theory are no excuse for inaction. New models can only be built based on data and experience.

"What I do believe is that the room should be ancillary if it is to effectively translate to others,"

Agreed.

"and know that whatever I personally might like merely comprises a bias, and is of little significance."

Maybe. Perhaps what you like could become vastly important.

"In these respects, Toole and Olive have done a very clever pragmatic end run; I suspect there are worthy clues to the ideal in their work. Parsing room and speaker affords fundamental insight."

T&O certainly represent as "worthy clues to the ideal" as we have at this point in time. Their work has precedent as surely is it will have successors.

"Science is tentative -- the rationality of scientific method does not depend upon the certainty of its conclusions, but on its self-corrective character; the process can detect and correct its own errors, and thus eventually lead to discovery of truth." Peirce, loosely.... ;)

"If frequency response is dead, everything is permitted!"

- Jean Paul Satire

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Neither understeers or oversteers. Responds proportionately to every control input. Has more power than you could ever want. Makes you a better driver. Doesn't punish you behind the wheel, at the pump or upon resale, etc. etc. Gets you there in style and comfort.

OK, how about: Neither harsh nor dull! Articulates the most subtle differences between recordings and electronics! Dynamic range from the softest silence to the Heavy Metal threshold of pain! Responsibly green yet authoritatively self-indulgent, without breaking the bank or clashing with your decor! Ruthlessly accurate and unfailingly satisfying, this is the one speaker sure to be envied by your friends, praised by your accountant and somewhat accepted by your spouse!

Can I use this?

-k

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OK, how about: Neither harsh nor dull! Articulates the most subtle differences between recordings and electronics! Dynamic range from the softest silence to the Heavy Metal threshold of pain! Responsibly green yet authoritatively self-indulgent, without breaking the bank or clashing with your decor! Ruthlessly accurate and unfailingly satisfying, this is the one speaker sure to be envied by your friends, praised by your accountant and somewhat accepted by your spouse!

-k

I think this was the text of an ad I just read in Stereophile. Or, several ads.

In terms of 'ideal,' I'm having difficulty determining where the speaker's responsibility starts and where the recording's and pre-amp's processing functions end.

Steve F.

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I think this was the text of an ad I just read in Stereophile. Or, several ads.

In terms of 'ideal,' I'm having difficulty determining where the speaker's responsibility starts and where the recording's and pre-amp's processing functions end.

Steve F.

I think it may a bit presumptious to expect a speaker to turn a sow's ear (poor recording) into a silver purse. Unless, someone is able to invent a speaker that can measure room acoustics in real time and instantly make corrections using a built in EQ. We had a guy at our audio society meeting a few years back who claimed to have a speaker that could make most CD's sound good. Some years back I read an interesting series of articles which lent credence (IMO) to the notion that a really good speaker should be able to show all of a recording's warts rather than mitigate them.

What do others here think?

Perhaps the speaker's responsibility should end wherever the designer/engineer & marketing department thinks it should.

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OK, how about: Neither harsh nor dull! Articulates the most subtle differences between recordings and electronics! Dynamic range from the softest silence to the Heavy Metal threshold of pain! Responsibly green yet authoritatively self-indulgent, without breaking the bank or clashing with your decor! Ruthlessly accurate and unfailingly satisfying, this is the one speaker sure to be envied by your friends, praised by your accountant and somewhat accepted by your spouse!

Can I use this?

As soon as you reach a universal consensus on the definitions of "harsh" and "dull..."

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In terms of 'ideal,' I'm having difficulty determining where the speaker's responsibility starts and where the recording's and pre-amp's processing functions end.

The speaker should accurately reproduce the signal it receives.

If that were less of a crap shoot, the recording industry might have cause to pay better attention to the quality of what they produce.... ;)

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The speaker should accurately reproduce the signal it receives.

If that were less of a crap shoot, the recording industry might have cause to pay better attention to the quality of what they produce.... ;)

Nah, no matter what the quality, the mantra is LOUDER IS BETTER! :P

Haven't you heard about the loudness wars?

Fortunately for classical music lovers like myself, we have been spared from the loudness wars for the most part.

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Every once in a while I muse over designing myself a "perfect" pair of speakers. By perfect I mean I would spare no effort to see how good I could make the driver response, on the cabinet, in the far field. Large radiuses and low diffraction, a very wide angle waveguide on the tweeter so that its directivity is a good match to the woofer's. A laminated high loss cabinet that was totally resonance free. The goal would be to extract the most ideal performance possible out of a pair of drivers, then the crossover design would be very straightforward. Very clean response on and for a reasonable range off axis would be the desired response.

This would be a noncomercial venture, just a personal challenge to see how good a simple loudspeaker could be. Probably an 8" or 6 1/2" two way. I don't like the extra difficulties posed by 3 ways (don't see the benefit) and if I wanted more bass extension a subwoofer could be added. No concessions to styling, no concessions to commercial realities or time constraints.

To me, this would be an ideal system.

David

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...a very wide angle waveguide on the tweeter so that its directivity is a good match to the woofer's.

Not sure what you mean by "very wide," but the wider that is, the more it puts the room in control, and it seems Ken and I are agreeing that it's desirable to minimize involvement of the room.

I believe consensus is 90° is optimum, and Howard and I agree that's still within "moderately wide," though Geddes calls it "narrow." "Wide" begins at 120° in my view, and we have available waveguides that'll do that (-6 dB). I'm talking compression drivers here, for dynamics; you have far more experience building them for domes, but nobody has made that work with good directivity control in the top octave even at 90° that I've seen. To be clear, these specs are included angle, not off-axis.

Then come the tradeoffs of woofer size and directivity, center-to-center distance between woofer and waveguide, and the impact of that and crossover frequency upon height of the forward lobe. You can see in my AR4x experiments that I've been able to make all of that happen nicely with several available waveguides, my current favorite being the 6" square 90° x 90° (déjà vu ;)) PT waveguide used in AC16:

http://www.jblproservice.com/pdf/AE%20Seri...els/AC16-WH.pdf

That one requires a bit of baffle patching to retro in AR4x, but the 8" square 90° x 50° in AC18 is a perfect fit:

http://www.jblproservice.com/pdf/AE%20Seri...s/AC1895-WH.pdf

Pic below. Also available in 120° x 60°:

http://www.jblproservice.com/pdf/AE%20Seri...s/AC1826-WH.pdf

More:

http://www.classicspeakerpages.net/IP.Boar...ost&id=3931

That little 18-Sound elliptical (top left) is a very nice fit, too. Look at the performance they got with it in the polar maps at the end of this paper:

http://www.eighteensound.com/staticContent...8Sound_kit8.pdf

[Delicious...! :P ]

post-102716-1271878237.jpg

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Note that I am not trying to pick a fight. However, the bottom line, no matter how many measurements are made, is how speakers sound in good rooms with good recordings. On a personal level, unless that issue is faced all other items (textual research, measuring, hear-say comments and commentaries from others) are inconsequential.

Clearly, Howard, as there is no room, no ears, and no music but your own up to the task of satisfying your acceptance criteria, may I respectfully suggest, as I have on several previous occasions here, that you get your ass out into your shop and build it.... ;)

http://www.jblpro.com/catalog/support/getf...&docid=1078

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Try as you might, you cannot insult me, Howard, nor will these paltry attempts at doing so diminish the validity of my position. You are welcome to establish whatever criteria you like, but nobody but you has to abide by them. There is nothing I could possibly do that would satisfy; that burden thus falls upon you.

I have made NO claims with respect to the performance of what I do, which I further submit is entirely irrelevant with respect to the merits of the case I have presented here. You long since lost our debate on technical grounds, and no smokescreen you throw up at this point is going to obviate the necessity of your fast-forwarding 40 years into the realm of current understanding in the field of your alleged expertise.... ;)

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\

Oh, I accept the opinions from a lot of people about how things sound, once I am pretty sure that they actually did do some careful listening with good recordings in a good room, and hopefully with some comparison work. Nevertheless, for me, at least if the idea is to determine criteria for systems that I have actually experienced and might purchase (and certainly if I am going to review them for a published article) the bottom line is my own listening experience as well as measurement work, particularly if that experience involves level-matched comparison work. I have done it, and obviously even Toole has done it - but have you?

All I ask is that when somebody pontificates about the performance of preferred or not-preferred speaker systems or their preferred design approach they offer up as proof more than (1) what they read from their favorite writer/researcher, (2) some in-house and small-room measurements done with a computer program, and (3) speculation as to what those measurements mean. The bottom line is how the stuff sounds, and to get a good idea of they they have to listen in a good room, with good recordings, and hopefully do some careful A/B comparing.

In other words, if somebody is going to talk about speaker performance and how their favorite brand or favorite design option is superior to others, I think they need to offer up some listening-experience examples. Operating out of a room jammed full of old and refurbished speakers and test gear, with no real listening area to speak of, does not qualify anybody as an expert on speaker sound, at least if they are intending to influence people who will locate their speakers in good home-listening areas. They may be a whiz with a soldering iron, be able to read schematics with full expertise, and even be able to build a good amplifier from scratch, but if they are going to talk about speaker sound they need to do some proper listening work to back up their claims. And the best way to illustrate that here on this group's site (or anybody else's site, too, for that matter) would be to post some photos of more than a pair of speakers sitting on a shop bench. They need to show us just what kind of listening environment they are using to come to their final conclusions.

I am certainly going to make my own listening and comparison experiences the standard by which I satisfy my acceptance criteria. All I ask is that anyone else who does so do something to satisfy their conclusions beyond doing nothing but measurements and article/book reading and making references to company white papers and spec sheets.

Howard Ferstler

I think it's time for HF and Zilch to 'pony up', put the squabling on hold and combine their skills (and some $) into a worthy effort that might, just might be of some real benefit to themselves as well as others who visit here.

I seriously doubt HF is going to go out to his shop and do an E-wave project. So, I propose they share the cost of Zilch shipping to HF a pair of his Econo-waveguide speakers for HF to test and review. It can't be all that expensive. About $100 each way (West to East coast?) split between the two? Maybe a pair of Econo-waved KLH 17's or similar smaller size speakers will run even less.

If they are as good as Z claims, he will have won over a skeptic on a number of fronts and be able to claim additional bragging rights way beyond those of his already E-waved converts and volume of posts/views at AK.org.

What say you guys?

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In terms of listening to a good example of a well-executed "wide dispersion" speaker that doesn't suffer from the unavoidable interference of multiple drivers operating in the same frequency band, I would suggest speakers like the 10Pi and 11 (laid on their sides, so their mid-tweets are vertical), the 9, 90, 91, 92, 9LS, 98LS, 78LS, or Ken's 303, 302, or 338.

These are all designs with dome mids and tweeters, flush-mounted drivers, no intrusive cabinet molding, nice vertically-arrayed drivers for clean H dispersion. In other words, these products will give an excellent representation of so-called "wide dispersion," without the overly-jumbled response/reflection problems of an LST or Allison-type speaker.

Nice, clean, forward-facing, wide-dispersion "normal" speakers, all. All of the aforementioned speakers have excellent on-axis FR, documented in various test reports from credible sources and smooth, wide off-axis response as well. Listen to any of these in a good, well-balanced room with a wide variety of good program material, and you'll get a valid impression of whether or not a "wide dispersion" speaker is to your taste.

"Ideal"? Your call. My preference? Yes.

Steve F.

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I think it's time for HF and Zilch to 'pony up', put the squabling on hold and combine their skills (and some $) into a worthy effort that might, just might be of some real benefit to themselves as well as others who visit here.

I seriously doubt HF is going to go out to his shop and do an E-wave project. So, I propose they share the cost of Zilch shipping to HF a pair of his Econo-waveguide speakers for HF to test and review. It can't be all that expensive. About $100 each way (West to East coast?) split between the two? Maybe a pair of Econo-waved KLH 17's or similar smaller size speakers will run even less.

If they are as good as Z claims, he will have won over a skeptic on a number of fronts and be able to claim additional bragging rights way beyond those of his already E-waved converts and volume of posts/views at AK.org.

What say you guys?

Maybe we can organize some kind of home listening test chain. I'd be willing to spring for the cost of shipping a pair to the next person (ideally, a chain of people going from one end of the country to the other so nobody has to ship anything all the way cross-country) if someone else shipped them to me. Then everyone could decide for themselves. Otherwise, if all that's going to happen is another squabbling exchange, this topic is going get closed real soon.

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I think it's time for HF and Zilch to 'pony up', put the squabling on hold and combine their skills (and some $) into a worthy effort that might, just might be of some real benefit to themselves as well as others who visit here.

I seriously doubt HF is going to go out to his shop and do an E-wave project. So, I propose they share the cost of Zilch shipping to HF a pair of his Econo-waveguide speakers for HF to test and review. It can't be all that expensive. About $100 each way (West to East coast?) split between the two? Maybe a pair of Econo-waved KLH 17's or similar smaller size speakers will run even less.

If they are as good as Z claims, he will have won over a skeptic on a number of fronts and be able to claim additional bragging rights way beyond those of his already E-waved converts and volume of posts/views at AK.org.

What say you guys?

This is likely far more complicated than it appears on the surface, because it entails far-reaching matters of ego, emotional investment, psychology, all of that. It's a given (to me, at least) that both Z and HF are well-read, experienced audio aficionados who bring 'much to the table,' so to speak. But they are coming from such different directions, they have such different perspectives, and they've each 'dug their heels in' about certain audio concepts and philosophies so strongly that I think it would be as difficult for HF to publicly admit to liking the Econowave as it would be for Z to come right out and say, "Ya know, after spending an extended amount of time with model 'xyz' that HF likes so much, I have to say, I like it very much also. He was right about its fetching qualities all along."

Politics, religion, wine, art, music, FOX vs. MSNBC, Crispy vs. Original, Frazier vs. Ali, Red Sox vs. Yankees, Vented vs. Sealed, you name it: A public embrace of the 'enemy's' position after a lifetime of convincing yourself (and trying to convince others) of the inherent 'correctness' of your position is an unlikely occurrence.

Just a hunch.

Steve F.

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This is likely far more complicated than it appears on the surface, because it entails far-reaching matters of ego, emotional investment, psychology, all of that. It's a given (to me, at least) that both Z and HF are well-read, experienced audio aficionados who bring 'much to the table,' so to speak. But they are coming from such different directions, they have such different perspectives, and they've each 'dug their heels in' about certain audio concepts and philosophies so strongly that I think it would be as difficult for HF to publicly admit to liking the Econowave as it would be for Z to come right out and say, "Ya know, after spending an extended amount of time with model 'xyz' that HF likes so much, I have to say, I like it very much also. He was right about its fetching qualities all along."

Politics, religion, wine, art, music, FOX vs. MSNBC, Crispy vs. Original, Frazier vs. Ali, Red Sox vs. Yankees, Vented vs. Sealed, you name it: A public embrace of the 'enemy's' position after a lifetime of convincing yourself (and trying to convince others) of the inherent 'correctness' of your position is an unlikely occurrence.

Just a hunch.

Steve F.

The proposal is predicated on the assumption both are men of honor. If egos get in the way then it falls apart. I'd be greatly dissapointed if that were the case and wouldn't believe anything either of them wrote in the future. Then again, I believe HF would do a fair assessment job and perhaps Z believes that as well based on his repeated requests of HF to build one.

Besides, what would HF's review be like if he did go out to his shop and build one? If wasn't glowing, I'm sure Z would have a million questions about how he did this and that piled on top of doubts as to whether or not it was done right.

OTOH, my proposal eliminates all of that and allows Z to ship what he considers a correctly built and, of course, measured set of Econo-waves.

Let's hear what each has to say before we jump to too many conclusions about the outcome.

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This is likely far more complicated than it appears on the surface, because it entails far-reaching matters of ego, emotional investment, psychology, all of that.

Indeed so, and what most everyone is missing in this is that the debate has NOT been about which is "better" with respect to dispersion width, rather, whether the fundamental thesis of a dominant reverberant field as posited by Allison and Berkovitz affords a basis for understanding how loudspeakers work in typical listening spaces. Readers will recall (which is easily verifiable by looking back to the earliest posts here in The Kitchen,) that this work was put forth as indisputable evidence invalidating that of Toole et al. THAT has been the subject of these discussions, and I suspect they have been instructive for most all who have participated.

Without repeating the conclusions again here, these clearly have implications which go to the very core of our individual perspectives as to how loudspeakers work in rooms, and understanding our personal preferences, both essential elements in coherently addressing the subject matter of this thread, "The Goals for an 'Ideal Speaker.'" In posing the question, Ken has specifically stated: "Without reference to loudspeaker design theory, measurement techniques, schools of thought, efficiency, output capability, reliability, size, price, brand, etc, can you describe what the goals of an ideal, uncompromised loudspeaker are?" In my view, THIS subject clearly transcends whether or not EconoWave might sound good to Howard in his listening room(s).... ;)

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His disclaimers notwithstanding, Zilch cerainly has opinions about how stuff sounds, and he has repeatedly indicated that wide-dispersion speakers screw up the sound, compared to controlled, narrow-dispersion versions.

YOU said that, Howard, (and just reiterated it above,) and further, that wide-dispersion's only salvation is multi-channel, discrete preferred.

Bottom line of this, which is spot on-topic here, is a fundamental insight offered by Toole, namely, that the only rational approach is to look at the loudspeaker and room independently, and determine the properties of each standing alone; only under these conditions may order be found amid chaos. That means data, and T&O reduced it to a meaningful metric well-correlated with listener preferences.

Once we DO isolate the loudspeaker and find that its characteristics are ascertainable, the logical inquiry arises by extension: which among these renders any particular loudspeaker more and less vulnerable to the influence of use in various rooms and listening conditions? And further, how can we design to minimize this without sacrificing other positive attributes? Thus, I find room-independence to be an achievable goal for the "Ideal" loudspeaker, and place it at the top of my list.... ;)

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It's that reading comprehension thing again, Howard; the T&O metric includes:

1) A spatially averaged "Listening window" power response within a +/-30° horizontal and +/-10° vertical axial range,

2) An "Early reflections" power response averaging frequency response at angles estimated for first reflections in typical small rooms,

3) "Sound Power," an average of all 70 measured frequency responses with each one weighted according to the proportional area of the sphere represented by the measurement, and,

4) Directivity index as the difference between the listening window and sound power curves.

Indeed, these curves do "fill the book" in 500+ pages of discussion relating to their interpretation and significance; it is unfortunate that you failed to understand them in your apparent cursory scan of the material for references to Allison's work and approbation for your erroneous perception of how loudspeakers and rooms interact, and worse, that you pan Toole's work publicly on the basis of this.... ;)

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