• To directly access the forum, ensure your bookmark url includes /forum.

How much further can we go ?

MartinC

Wammer
Wammer
Jul 29, 2005
8,806
4,995
158
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Yep sounds like a studio monitor. It's why I choose not to listen to music via my Neumanns. Both the Neumanns and Hedds are great for mixing because they are boring and flat.

That may be my ultimate conclusion but right now I've got them sounding A LOT better than the dull/boring default. I'm enjoying some music as I type this whereas that honestly wouldn't have been true with them as they were. What Hedds have you used out of interest?

I'm running them ported and full-range currently, and just with tone control adjustments on the speakers used rather than any external DSP (+2 dB treble lift and -2 dB bass cut). I've not measured anything yet.
 

plasticpenguin

Legend Wammer
Wammer
Aug 8, 2018
6,201
2,888
148
Bookham, Surrey
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I would also suggest, purely my own little conceit, that tone controls are boys toys. The fact you can manipulate the sound gave me buzz.

I believe that magazines influence how we hear our hi-fi. More and more mag reviews are along these lines.

FOR: Great detail retrieval
Or
AGAINST: Doesn't quite have the clarity and detail of the best.

To answer the OP's title "How much further can we go?", will ultimately depend on customer requirements. How often have their been threads titled "My speakers are too bright" or something on those lines.

This is where tone controls help out. The purists don't like them but they serve a purpose. And regardless of whether tone controls detract the accuracy or not it's fun. That's what hi-fi should be: Fun and enjoyable.

This is just my view.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MVJ and Nativebon

andrew s

Wammer
Wammer
Feb 10, 2014
1,396
1,287
148
Cheshire
AKA
Andrew
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
On reflection I feel that how far we can go is severely limited by our limited understanding of psychoacoustics. I doubt the hi fi industry will (can afford to) invest in such research but studies in virtual reality might give further insights that the hi fi industry can exploit.

Not holding my breath but it might help bridge the gap between perception and measurement.

Regards Andrew
 

DomT

Food and coffee and rock n roll
Wammer Plus
Jul 23, 2019
7,518
5,237
183
Nottingham
AKA
Dom
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
That may be my ultimate conclusion but right now I've got them sounding A LOT better than the dull/boring default. I'm enjoying some music as I type this whereas that honestly wouldn't have been true with them as they were. What Hedds have you used out of interest?

I'm running them ported and full-range currently, and just with tone control adjustments on the speakers used rather than any external DSP (+2 dB treble lift and -2 dB bass cut). I've not measured anything yet.
In between my two pairs of Neumanns I briefly used a pair of Adam 5. You probably know that the guy who designed the Adams evolved the design further when he founded Hedd. I am told that they are very similar.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MartinC

MartinC

Wammer
Wammer
Jul 29, 2005
8,806
4,995
158
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
In between my two pairs of Neumanns I briefly used a pair of Adam 5. You probably know that the guy who designed the Adams evolved the design further when he founded Hedd. I am told that they are very similar.
The one area I've repeatedly read that the Hedds differ significantly is in the high frequency (tweeter) region, where apparently many find Adams a bit bright/fatiguing whereas Hedds are smoother/non-fatiguing. When it comes to 3-ways I've also come across a general preference for Adams over Hedds in terms of mid-range performance actually. They likely have more in common when compared to the like of Neumann though I guess.
 

DomT

Food and coffee and rock n roll
Wammer Plus
Jul 23, 2019
7,518
5,237
183
Nottingham
AKA
Dom
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
In regard to analogue tone controls my view and experience with modified equipment and minimalist designs is that they have a detrimental impact on the signal.
Notwithstanding their use can be beneficial to “correct” or “compensate” tonal balance issues with recordings or equipment, and perhaps room issues.
Digital EQ when we’ll implemented can be audibly transparen.
I was brought up to believe by the HiFi press and companies like Naim that tone controls affect the sound negatively. From a technical perspective they probably do affect the sound in some way. But I feel very proud that despite this shortcoming that when I had a Naim SuperNait 3 on home demo, as I reported here at the time, the Marantz PM11S2 easily out performed the Naim Supernait 3 on pretty much every measure. The Naim Supernait 3 was excellent just not as good as the PM11S2 despite the tone controls.
 

DomT

Food and coffee and rock n roll
Wammer Plus
Jul 23, 2019
7,518
5,237
183
Nottingham
AKA
Dom
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
The one area I've repeatedly read that the Hedds differ significantly is in the high frequency (tweeter) region, where apparently many find Adams a bit bright/fatiguing whereas Hedds are smoother/non-fatiguing. When it comes to 3-ways I've also come across a general preference for Adams over Hedds in terms of mid-range performance actually. They likely have more in common when compared to the like of Neumann though I guess.
I was not aware of that. I was relying on what my pro audio dealer told me. The Adam 5 were non fatiguing to me but of course the rest of the signal chain also plays a part.

The Neumanns are quite different to the Adams with the Neumanns being a lot more transparent, detailed and quiet but not fatiguing.
 
  • Like
Reactions: tuga

tuga

. . .
Wammer
Aug 17, 2007
12,723
5,167
173
Oxfordshire, UK
AKA
Ric
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I was brought up to believe by the HiFi press and companies like Naim that tone controls affect the sound negatively. From a technical perspective they probably do affect the sound in some way. But I feel very proud that despite this shortcoming that when I had a Naim SuperNait 3 on home demo, as I reported here at the time, the Marantz PM11S2 easily out performed the Naim Supernait 3 on pretty much every measure. The Naim Supernait 3 was excellent just not as good as the PM11S2 despite the tone controls.

That is proof that good implementation in a lesser topology can actually outperform a potentially better topology. (I will assume that the Marantz measures better too :p)
Just like bass reflex: in theory it performs worse but well implemented it can outperform a poorly-designed sealed cabinet.


Another interesting example is a comparison between the original 1989 Spendor S100 (designed by Derek Hughes) and the more recent 2012 SP100R2 update (designed by Terry Miles?). Even though the latter uses much more "advanced" drivers and probably electronic components in the crossover the former performs much better from a technical perspective:



I must admit to some puzzlement over the Spendor SP100R2's measured performance, especially as, other than having tighter, better-controlled low frequencies, it doesn't appear to perform as well as Spendor's S100 from 20 years ago. Certainly, these measurements don't indicate why AD liked the speaker as much as he did. An enigma.—John Atkinson
 
  • Like
Reactions: andrew s

tuga

. . .
Wammer
Aug 17, 2007
12,723
5,167
173
Oxfordshire, UK
AKA
Ric
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Something I've been up to today is becoming increasingly relevant to this thread...

Today has been the first day I've been trying out some Hedd Type 07 Mk2 active studio monitors. These are a very modern design, with class D amps and extensive use of DSP for crossovers, tone controls and impulse response correction. I'll be honest first impressions with the default settings were not good (dull/boring frankly), buy they're getting more interesting as I've stated edging up the treble control. These are going to take a bit of work to decide if they stay...

The first thing that comes to my mind is that many audiophiles are used to and/or enjoy an overly bright presentation, perhaps that is what is happening here?

It would be interesting to see a response measurement of one of the speakers from your listening spot. Will you be starting a topic about them?
 

MartinC

Wammer
Wammer
Jul 29, 2005
8,806
4,995
158
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
The first thing that comes to my mind is that many audiophiles are used to and/or enjoy an overly bright presentation, perhaps that is what is happening here?
I think significant factors are likely to be not listening in the nearfield, and the room. One discussion I found when Googling suggested that unusually low tweeter distortion might be a fact too. I don't believe my personal preference is for a brighter system than most listening for pleasure - more the opposite if anything.

Related to the main topic of this thread are a couple of the options that this speaker offers that nothing else I've seen does (but may have missed):
  1. It can be run in ported or sealed modes, which importantly involves the DSP crossover etc being adjusted too and so is not the same as merely stuffing the ports on a conventional speaker.
  2. It has on-board phase correction to optimise the impulse response (a bit like Dirac Live does) that can be switched on and off.
I've not experimented with either yet but these are things that 'my dad's' speakers didn't do.
 
  • Like
Reactions: tuga

tuga

. . .
Wammer
Aug 17, 2007
12,723
5,167
173
Oxfordshire, UK
AKA
Ric
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I think significant factors are likely to be not listening in the nearfield, and the room. One discussion I found when Googling suggested that unusually low tweeter distortion might be a fact too. I don't believe my personal preference is for a brighter system than most listening for pleasure - more the opposite if anything.

Never say never. :pBut yes, lower distortion may be a cause too, the tweeter not calling attention to itself and just getting on with its job. Another side of the same coin.

The room is a possibility if your side walls are not treated. The Hedd's tweeter has a much narrower vertical directivity than a dome tweeter and your Hot Rods produce a massive flare at the bottom of the tweeter's passband (around 3-4kHz):

Medfig5.jpg

https://www.stereophile.com/content/meadowlark-hotrod-shearwater-loudspeaker-measurements

Related to the main topic of this thread are a couple of the options that this speaker offers that nothing else I've seen does (but may have missed):
  1. It can be run in ported or sealed modes, which importantly involves the DSP crossover etc being adjusted too and so is not the same as merely stuffing the ports on a conventional speaker.
  2. It has on-board phase correction to optimise the impulse response (a bit like Dirac Live does) that can be switched on and off.
I've not experimented with either yet but these are things that 'my dad's' speakers didn't do.

Option 1 is interesting. Any clue on how DSP is used to improve performance when the port is plugged?

In regard to Option 2, I presume that you are referring to the speaker's impulse response?
If so, both the Kii and the D&D do this (possibly also the Beolabs) using DSP, and the PSI Audio do it in analogue by way of a very complex crossover filter.
I am unsure why one would want to turn it off other than to hear the actual difference.
 

MartinC

Wammer
Wammer
Jul 29, 2005
8,806
4,995
158
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Although first developed in the early 70s, the performance and use of the AMT tweeter is arguably still an innovation that potentially enhances performance over more traditional tweeters.

Option 1 is interesting. Any clue on how DSP is used to improve performance when the port is plugged?

I've not seen clear details anywhere of what changes Hedd make between the filtering for the two modes. The phase corrections for the impulse response optimisation will definitely be different, and I think that the sealed mode has a low frequency boost applied to counter the earlier roll-off that plugging the ports would normally cause. Hedd don't quote a different bass extension for the two modes anywhere that I've seen, and there is a comment to this effect towards the end of the following video but it's not totally clear to me if it applies to the whole range (my guess) or just the subwoofers:



In regard to Option 2, I presume that you are referring to the speaker's impulse response?
If so, both the Kii and the D&D do this (possibly also the Beolabs) using DSP, and the PSI Audio do it in analogue by way of a very complex crossover filter.
I am unsure why one would want to turn it off other than to hear the actual difference.

The principle reason someone may want to switch the 'Lineariser' off for some applications is because it adds an extra ~10 ms of latency. In principle it also gives users the option to choose which they prefer the sound of, although I don't recall reading of anyone preferring if off. From a marketing perspective it also presumably helps to be able to switch it on and off, so that it can be demonstrated what it does.
 
  • Like
Reactions: tuga

DomT

Food and coffee and rock n roll
Wammer Plus
Jul 23, 2019
7,518
5,237
183
Nottingham
AKA
Dom
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
That is proof that good implementation in a lesser topology can actually outperform a potentially better topology. (I will assume that the Marantz measures better too :p)
Just like bass reflex: in theory it performs worse but well implemented it can outperform a poorly-designed sealed cabinet.


Another interesting example is a comparison between the original 1989 Spendor S100 (designed by Derek Hughes) and the more recent 2012 SP100R2 update (designed by Terry Miles?). Even though the latter uses much more "advanced" drivers and probably electronic components in the crossover the former performs much better from a technical perspective:

[/URL]

[/URL]

I must admit to some puzzlement over the Spendor SP100R2's measured performance, especially as, other than having tighter, better-controlled low frequencies, it doesn't appear to perform as well as Spendor's S100 from 20 years ago. Certainly, these measurements don't indicate why AD liked the speaker as much as he did. An enigma.—John Atkinson
You will understand the meaning of the measurements than me. I hadn't seen these before so it would be good to hear your thoughts. FYI the PM-11S3 was also measured against the PM11 S2 in this article with the PM11S2 having -20db lower distortion in the preamp output stage than the PM11S3 as well as measuring better than the PM11S3 in other areas.
https://www.audioholics.com/amplifier-reviews/marantz-pm-11s3/measurements
https://www.stereophile.com/content/naim-supernait-integrated-amplifier-measurements
 
  • Like
Reactions: tuga

StingRay

Legend Wammer
Wammer
Apr 27, 2016
9,862
5,209
148
Suffolk, UK
AKA
Ray
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
The first thing that comes to my mind is that many audiophiles are used to and/or enjoy an overly bright presentation, perhaps that is what is happening here?
Do they? I know a few that prefer a brighter presentation but I thought most preferred a less bright sound.
 

StingRay

Legend Wammer
Wammer
Apr 27, 2016
9,862
5,209
148
Suffolk, UK
AKA
Ray
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
On my old Arcam amp, it had tone controls and also a direct switch. The tone controls were very subtle, I never used them. When switching between direct and tone controls on neutral, there was a change in sound, direct was clearer but it was not a huge difference.
 

MartinC

Wammer
Wammer
Jul 29, 2005
8,806
4,995
158
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
The first thing that comes to my mind is that many audiophiles are used to and/or enjoy an overly bright presentation, perhaps that is what is happening here?

In case it's informative to you, below is a quick measurement of the in-room response difference between the default (in blue) and the tone-control adjusted version that I prefer (in red). The bass adjustment was definitely due to the 100 Hz peak being too dominant on some tracks.

Hedd EQ Difference.jpg

Edit: the measurement was for the right speaker on its own.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: tuga

tuga

. . .
Wammer
Aug 17, 2007
12,723
5,167
173
Oxfordshire, UK
AKA
Ric
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Do they? I know a few that prefer a brighter presentation but I thought most preferred a less bright sound.

I got that impression whenever I've compared notes from shows, also from looking at many people's systems. But maybe I'm wrong, it's not factual.
 

tuga

. . .
Wammer
Aug 17, 2007
12,723
5,167
173
Oxfordshire, UK
AKA
Ric
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
In case it's informative to you, below is a quick measurement of the in-room response difference between the default (in blue) and the tone-control adjusted version that I prefer (in red). The bass adjustment was definitely due to the 100 Hz peak being too dominant on some tracks.

Hedd EQ Difference.jpg

Edit: the measurement was for the right speaker on its own.

Can you not address the peak with your miniDSP? (or maybe it doesn't have a digital output)
400Hz to 20kHz looks very good.
Red treble looks good (the tilt pitch is mostly a matter of taste) but I would probably go for the blue bass if I could deal with the peak.
And you could cross into the subs at 100Hz. Does the Hedd have a high-pass filter?