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A Speaker Company with Lots of Interest?


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There is a lot of fuss, or at least some glaringly positive reviews  ..................  sound better than speakers ten times their cost  I have not heard any of them.  

As he usually refrains from commenting on any other manufacturer's products, I don't expect Richard to chime in here.  But, FWIW, I have heard him say that many designers simply bolt a bunch of drivers to a flat baffle.  I do know this contradicts his design philosophies.

I can't help but think of the saying  if it seems too good to be true, it probably isn't  

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Guys, this is a typical case of someone making speakers who knows little about it.  They use a ton of drivers, yada yada.  They have 'marks' who live on Audiogon and other sites to plug their gear.  If you have ever listened to their offerings (I have heard what I was told was their top speaker), you'd quickly realize it's all hype (at least to my ears).  

When I see the Tektron situation it reminds me of the lemming population to be brutally honest.  JMHO

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On 9/19/2021 at 8:05 AM, ctsooner said:

When I see the Tektron situation it reminds me of the lemming population to be brutally honest.  JMHO

I thought that the Lemming deal was a Disney creation?: https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=wildlifenews.view_article&articles_id=56

Those speaker boxes have a lot of drivers.  Kind of like a spider or a fly’s eyes.
How do they hook them all up?

  • If they are in parallel then the impedence would be low.
  • If they were in series and then parallel, then they would all need to be pretty consistent to not have back EMF rattling them around like a teeter-totter.

So it is at least interesting as to how they might be hooked up, irregardless of whether they sound good or not.

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i just don’t see the value in this discussion , a design and execution SO at odds for even the basic design and musical reproduction first principles important to Vandersteen. Best to smile and move on. There will be fans, even rabid fans. Big world out there. Room for lots of tastes, players…. etc

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1 hour ago, TomicTime said:

i just don’t see the value in this discussion , a design and execution SO at odds for even the basic design and musical reproduction first principles important to Vandersteen. Best to smile and move on. There will be fans, even rabid fans. Big world out there. Room for lots of tastes, players…. etc

Is it possible that  it could have value.

  • What is the goal of using 15 tweeters?
  • How it is better than a single tweeter?
  • How are they presenting that load to the amplifier?

The only saving grace I can see if possibly that they excursion is lowered to 1/15th and maybe that lowers the various distortions a lot.

Whether that is a problem or not, I am not sure. The MR and woofers seem to be where the motor non linearity induced distortions are higher… as they have higher excursion.
But I am unsure about whether the tweeters have break up modes like MR and woofers. I suppose that they must, just at a higher frequency.

 

What are the first principles of Vandersteens?.

I thought it was primarily time and phase coherence, but using more speakers do not automatically mitigate those.
As an aside; how do planar speakers do with step function response measurements?

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16 hours ago, Holmz said:

Is it possible that  it could have value.

  • What is the goal of using 15 tweeters?
  • How it is better than a single tweeter?
  • How are they presenting that load to the amplifier?

The only saving grace I can see if possibly that they excursion is lowered to 1/15th and maybe that lowers the various distortions a lot.

Whether that is a problem or not, I am not sure. The MR and woofers seem to be where the motor non linearity induced distortions are higher… as they have higher excursion.
But I am unsure about whether the tweeters have break up modes like MR and woofers. I suppose that they must, just at a higher frequency.

 

What are the first principles of Vandersteens?.

I thought it was primarily time and phase coherence, but using more speakers do not automatically mitigate those.
As an aside; how do planar speakers do with step function response measurements?

Vandersteen design principles:  1) Time and Phase Correct (requires first order filters). 2) One driver per frequency range above 200Hz as they will smear each other (mid-woofer no larger than 7 inch, mid cone 4.5 inch and tweeter 1 inch). 3) Pistonic driver cones/domes where possible per price point.  Planar speaker have huge amounts of stored and delayed energy (check out the waterfall plots).  They cannot be truly coherent because of the large distance differences from top vs bottom and on the centerline at ear height.  There are hundreds of speaker designs that sound good but still today only a few that are so addictive and often cause goosebumps because of their realism.  Homogenized sound with lots of drivers, lots of time smear and  cabinets that have a lot of resonances well done make everything sound good but nothing magical that will startle with realism which hi-end specialty is all about.  At these levels most amps are good enough, wire sound pretty much the same and the source less relevant.  This is what most of the world is content with.  Remember specialty is defined by how few really care!  True for wine, beer, cars, cameras, furniture, etc. including me in several of these areas!  My Hi-Fi and my music is a very different matter.

RV

RV

RV 

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7 hours ago, Richard Vandersteen said:

Vandersteen design principles:  1) Time and Phase Correct (requires first order filters). 2) One driver per frequency range above 200Hz as they will smear each other (mid-woofer no larger than 7 inch, mid cone 4.5 inch and tweeter 1 inch). 3) Pistonic driver cones/domes where possible per price point.  Planar speaker have huge amounts of stored and delayed energy (check out the waterfall plots).  They cannot be truly coherent because of the large distance differences from top vs bottom and on the centerline at ear height.  There are hundreds of speaker designs that sound good but still today only a few that are so addictive and often cause goosebumps because of their realism.  Homogenized sound with lots of drivers, lots of time smear and  cabinets that have a lot of resonances well done make everything sound good but nothing magical that will startle with realism which hi-end specialty is all about.  At these levels most amps are good enough, wire sound pretty much the same and the source less relevant.  This is what most of the world is content with.  Remember specialty is defined by how few really care!  True for wine, beer, cars, cameras, furniture, etc. including me in several of these areas!  My Hi-Fi and my music is a very different matter.

RV

RV

RV 

 

Thanks for the informative response.

I am not sure I was more lucky or wise to have gotten the 2Cs as my first set of speakers. I would like to think it was the later, but in the early 80s it took some searching to find the things )and that was in SoCal).

And the lucky part was that I had Joe’s guiding hand…

 

I would argue that your #1 is not so much “Specialty” as it is born out of something which is technically a truism. I suspect that these days one could get there digitally with a fully active speaker using multiple amplifiers, but the market is built upon a backbone of amplifiers and preamps so it is not clear that a large segment of the market would be highly resistant to it.

#3 seems like it is a totally natural progression, and while it seems like few people looked at the cone having all sorts of wobbly modes as something worth fixing… but you actually did it. And it seems like #2 was also something that preceded #3 for maybe the same distortion reducing reasoning(??).

Obviously I am not a mind reader, and there was likely a more happening… but from my perspective it seems like the speakers were born out of more of a scientific rigour of addressing basics.

So I like that the speakers have a provable technical basis that they are good.  Maybe they are “specialty”, but they seem to be more technically right, and not “specialty” solely of looks or opinions on rightness.

Anyhow excuse my presumptions, but it is my perception. I probably would have had a handful of other speakers by now if I had started with a more subjective “specialty” speaker. So I guess paying a bit more initially saved me a cycle of selling and buying over 3.5 decades.

Admittedly;  I am probably arrogant enough to believe that I could make speakers that are about as good if I followed those basic design principles… and if I could live another 50 years, and had some drive. (I certainly cannot figure out how to even approach it with 15 tweeters, or what the rational would be for it, one could likely get a good set of 3 drivers for the cost of the 15, and save a lot headache on how to even wire 15 together).

So it is just bewildering to me that so few speakers have a decent step function/impulse response. I get that it is cheaper to use speakers that perform in a narrower bandwidth, and people want to save some coins where they can (hence steeper XOs)… but it is a bit too utilitarian for me to pay maybe 60% for something that only lasts a few years compared something able to lasting decades and pretty much hang with the best of them.  But those carbons I could picture being an bearable upgrade.

All the best to you Sir.

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Interesting you mention a steep slope digital,filter network  but it like most design choices is not free. While great progress is being made, the steep filters in the A2D and then in the D2A honk up phase. A very well done analog recording is probably STILL the best way to wring the most out of whatever Vandy model you are running. The impact of those digital filters are somewhat well understood BUT writing new less harmful filters requires investment, energy, ears and engineering expertise… That exercise is best summarized   by the “ listen or measure switch setting implementation in the Ayre Qb-9 DAC. Charlie was a superb engineer w ears and snark. I miss him…

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48 minutes ago, TomicTime said:

Interesting you mention a steep slope digital,filter network  but it like most design choices is not free. While great progress is being made, the steep filters in the A2D and then in the D2A honk up phase. A very well done analog recording is probably STILL the best way to wring the most out of whatever Vandy model you are running. The impact of those digital filters are somewhat well understood BUT writing new less harmful filters requires investment, energy, ears and engineering expertise… That exercise is best summarized   by the “ listen or measure switch setting implementation in the Ayre Qb-9 DAC. Charlie was a superb engineer w ears and snark. I miss him…

There is so much of ^this^ that is questionable. I mean I like analogue as much as the next fellow, but if that signal is identical to a signal that come from a DAC, then they can be said to be the same… or at least said to have no difference. But the idea of vinyl and the whole process of the stylus converting movement into magnetic fields is just too cool. It is a little motor/generator.

With FIR filters the main drawback is the compute processing load.
Also the delay gets more as the # of taps increases, which is inversely proportional to the frequency resolution.  So a movie for instance could have lip movements from back a few frames.
If the filter is a symmetric FIR filter, then the phase is not honked up at all… zero… nada.

Even using brick wall slopes there is no phase artefacts in the passband. There is very little skill involved in creating symmetric  FIR filters, as Blackman, Harris, Hamming, Hanning, etc all paved the way.

The EQ’ing filters for phase EQ or group-delay EQ are harder and require some additional engineering skill, but the automatic-EQ equipment is doing that for the user, is based upon the impulse response and FFTs and Inverse FFTs engineering and wrapped in s/w.

So one would be mad to choose IIR over FIR in a home setup if they are basing things on performance and capability.

 

1 hour ago, TomicTime said:

.but….a digital filter that does not honk  up  time and phase  or pre ring or post ring…is one near holy grail….

unfortunately the oversampling , frequency response and S/n sects are not hyper focused on time and phase…

Not grail lore at all.

Just the FIR units cost more historically, and still do. And beginner  can more easily understand IIR filters.

 

One could easily argue that the multi-channel/multi-amped Dirac and similar systems, are pretty clued in on time and phase. This is more commonly done in the car audio world. It is literally the digital equivalent of the “Vandersteen design principle #1.” (However may people are using large drivers and operating them outside of the pistonic range… so principles #2 and #3  do not appear to be as well addressed. But the idea of “cabinet resonances” are occasionally addressed.)
It’s just hard to sit back with a glass of red in hand with the vinyl playing, whilst driving in a car.

 

I am not hell bent one way or the other. I like the vinyl, and the math approach with the digital has a lot of appeal to correct things that would be difficult to do electrically and mechanically. And if we assume that there is a limit to how close to perfect one can get mechanically, then the only easy solution after that is to digitally compensate for the remaining residuals.

 

Of course that 15 driver example we are talking about, does not appear to fall into the category of this sort of DSP math nor of design principles. Unless one was envisioning a phased array, where one might use DSP on each channel to fire the sound out at an odd angle relative the face’s perpendicular normal 90 degrees. Sort of like radio astronomy for audio.

There may be some parallels between how we perceive audio stereo imaging in our brains, and how modern computational physics and phased arrays work?

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5 hours ago, GdnrBob said:

Whew, you guys are talking way above my level.🤪

Thankfully, Google helps with deciphering some of this.-

https://dspguru.com/dsp/faqs/iir/basics/

Check this out: Not exactly audio related, but she was playing classical music at Oxford while working on her pHd (after leaving Australia).

The video has almost nothing to do with the 15 tweeter speakers, but that speaker does reminds me of phased array. And I think that that speaker manufacture may not be as smart as Ms. Cleo Loi.
But it does show some of the power of computational mathematics, given someone can apply it.

And like a phono stage it is running on magnetic fields.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Of the 15 tweeters, only one actually handles high frequency information. The rest work together to produce the midrange. The idea is, since a tweeter can play mid frequencies just as well as a mid driver, just quieter, add a bunch of them together to reach the target SPL. The advantage is smaller drivers have less mass and are easier to control.

I can't say if it works, I've never heard them. A guy on Reddit had a pair, along with the big bass towers. He raved about them. Seemed like an interesting design, but as others have said, multiple drivers introduces wave interference. Unless a design specifically accounts for that, it seems unavoidable.

I'm curious as to Richard's thoughts on concentric drivers. I'm sure there is a fundamental problem, or else I would think we would see them in Richard's designs. In principle, they should be the ultimate phase-correct speaker.

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14 hours ago, Ross B. said:

Of the 15 tweeters, only one actually handles high frequency information. The rest work together to produce the midrange. The idea is, since a tweeter can play mid frequencies just as well as a mid driver, just quieter, add a bunch of them together to reach the target SPL. The advantage is smaller drivers have less mass and are easier to control.

I can't say if it works, I've never heard them. A guy on Reddit had a pair, along with the big bass towers. He raved about them. Seemed like an interesting design, but as others have said, multiple drivers introduces wave interference. Unless a design specifically accounts for that, it seems unavoidable.

I'm curious as to Richard's thoughts on concentric drivers. I'm sure there is a fundamental problem, or else I would think we would see them in Richard's designs. In principle, they should be the ultimate phase-correct speaker.

We use concentric drivers in our products that are designed to be used where vertical time alignment is not practical, ie: center channel, book shelf speaker (difficult to move the shelf up or down to put one's ears in alignment) and on wall surface mount speakers for the rear channels.  They are compromised by the fact that the tweeter is baffled by the mid/woofer which is always moving by design (Dopler distortion).  In these examples Time and Phase trumps when vertical alignment is not practical with displaced drivers and proper tilt.

 

RV

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