Jump to content

Active loudspeakers: why so few floorstanders?


norliss

Recommended Posts

Super Wammer
33 minutes ago, lindsayt said:

Event Opals, Linn Keilidhs, Adam Artist 6...

If the only car you've ever driven is a Dacia Sandero, if you then got a Ford Focus, you might think that the Ford was a fantastic car. Maybe the best car ever made.

If the only audio you'd ever owned was an alarm clock radio, you might think that Event Opals, Keilidhs, Artist 6's are fantastic speakers and are the best speakers ever made.

The sound of hi-fi is a all relative. One man's "This is rather good" is - all too often - another man's "OK, but nothing special."

.

.

What I personally do when looking at internet / forum reviews / feedback on audio equipment is to look to see if they mention any sonic weaknesses. If they don't - especially with speakers - and extra especially with small to medium sized speakers, then that tells me that I should pretty much ignore what they say on hi-fi.

It's the people who freely express the sonic compromises in equipment that they own - that I've found are the ones whose opinions on hi-fi I can trust and respect the most.

Sounds to me like you have it all worked out so why do you bother to read other peoples opinions. 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 28/05/2021 at 20:15, hearhere said:

Now that's interesting - the linkage between the bass enclosure and upper frequencies enclosure.  It looks like small spikes into protecting cups ie a non-isolation solution.  Or am I wrong - difficult to see from the photo?

I ask because I recently bought Avantgarde Duo XD speakers and have modified the support method for the mid horn enclosure.  The original AG design uses a solid connection with upright poles and bolts and with spikes to the floor.  I wanted to get rid of the upright poles for aesthetic reasons, but also thought that isolating the mid horn from bass-induced vibration should be better than a solid connection. 

I had made a support frame in steel, but the connections between the bass enclosure and the frame and between the frame and horn tube are made using Sorbothane.  I've also changed the spikes for isolating feet.

Photos show the original and modified (slimmed down) speakers, though both are on isolating feet.  Do you think I'm doing the right thing?  Peter

IMG_6081.jpg

IMG_6082.jpg

IMG_6083.jpg

They look great. How do they now sound?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Gizza said:

They look great. How do they now sound?

Not at all bad really!  

Actually I find Avantgarde speakers truly fantastic.  My first pair (Unos) was bought in 2002 soon after I found some ATC50 Active speakers that I was very disappointed with and I wanted to move them on.  Reading Stereophile, I noticed that the Unos had been chosen as their Speaker of the Year 2000, so I read the excellent full 15 page review.  Robert Deutsch described the sort of sound I was looking so convincingly (and totally opposite of the ATC's sound) that I arranged a quick demo in a dingy basement showroom quite unsuitable for big speakers, but that was enough to convince me to buy them.  I kept these Unos till 2019, replaced by 2006-vintage Duos and now the latest Duo XDs.  The Martin Logan Expression 13As that I bought expecting them to trounce my ancient Unos just didn't work in my peculiar room so sadly they went to a new home and the AGs stayed.  

Peter

PS - Since this is an Active Speaker thread, I should say why I didn't like the ATC 50As.  These are essentially studio speakers rather than domestic ones and I think there's a difference that buyers should be aware of.  Studios require one over-riding feature in a speaker – full frequency range accuracy.  As "audiophiles" (ghastly expression) we primarily want to be thrilled by the music we listen to - the excitement factor of lifelike presentation - even perhaps at the cost of a little accuracy.  That's what the Avantgardes provide in spades whereas the ATCs were far too much "in yer face" for me.  I wanted to push them 20 ft further away but that was impossible where I then lived (320 sq ft), although I'd like to try the latest version in my present 975 sq ft room.

A few modern Actives are quite different from the traditional way that ATC does things.  ATCs split the incoming low level signal into bass, middle and top and send these 3 signals to 3 amps and on to 3 drivers.  No passive crossover so a better sound if done right - as ATC does.  Modern designs such as Dutch & Dutch and Kii are the way to go in my opinion, particularly if you are all-digital.  The speaker houses electronics that include an active crossover, room correction and DACs are well as the amps and drivers - plus a streamer!  Nothing else required apart from a subscription to Qobuz and maybe a NAS with your own stored music.

As the OP suggests there are very few of this new type of active floorstander currently on the market.  The Kii can be married up with a bass unit to create a costly floor stander and B&O used to offer a hugely expensive floor stander.  I’d like to see a floor standing Dutch & Dutch as I think they’ve done great work with their 8c model.  Better still, perhaps Avantgarde will go fully active with their next Duo.  The current XD one is partly active as it has a built-in active XO and room correction and amp for the bass section only.

Edited by hearhere
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, hearhere said:

Not at all bad really!  

Actually I find Avantgarde speakers truly fantastic.  My first pair (Unos) was bought in 2002 soon after I found some ATC50 Active speakers that I was very disappointed with and I wanted to move them on.  Reading Stereophile, I noticed that the Unos had been chosen as their Speaker of the Year 2000, so I read the excellent full 15 page review.  Robert Deutsch described the sort of sound I was looking so convincingly (and totally opposite of the ATC's sound) that I arranged a quick demo in a dingy basement showroom quite unsuitable for big speakers, but that was enough to convince me to buy them.  I kept these Unos till 2019, replaced by 2006-vintage Duos and now the latest Duo XDs.  The Martin Logan Expression 13As that I bought expecting them to trounce my ancient Unos just didn't work in my peculiar room so sadly they went to a new home and the AGs stayed.  

Peter

PS - Since this is an Active Speaker thread, I should say why I didn't like the ATC 50As.  These are essentially studio speakers rather than domestic ones and I think there's a difference that buyers should be aware of.  Studios require one over-riding feature in a speaker – full frequency range accuracy.  As "audiophiles" (ghastly expression) we primarily want to be thrilled by the music we listen to - the excitement factor of lifelike presentation - even perhaps at the cost of a little accuracy.  That's what the Avantgardes provide in spades whereas the ATCs were far too much "in yer face" for me.  I wanted to push them 20 ft further away but that was impossible where I then lived (320 sq ft), although I'd like to try the latest version in my present 975 sq ft room.

A few modern Actives are quite different from the traditional way that ATC does things.  ATCs split the incoming low level signal into bass, middle and top and send these 3 signals to 3 amps and on to 3 drivers.  No passive crossover so a better sound if done right - as ATC does.  Modern designs such as Dutch & Dutch and Kii are the way to go in my opinion, particularly if you are all-digital.  The speaker houses electronics that include an active crossover, room correction and DACs are well as the amps and drivers - plus a streamer!  Nothing else required apart from a subscription to Qobuz and maybe a NAS with your own stored music.

As the OP suggests there are very few of this new type of active floorstander currently on the market.  The Kii can be married up with a bass unit to create a costly floor stander and B&O used to offer a hugely expensive floor stander.  I’d like to see a floor standing Dutch & Dutch as I think they’ve done great work with their 8c model.  Better still, perhaps Avantgarde will go fully active with their next Duo.  The current XD one is partly active as it has a built-in active XO and room correction and amp for the bass section only.

Lol, sorry, what I meant was whether your modifications had improved the sound or at least not impaired it. I heard some Avantgarde's when I bought my Quad 63/Gradient active setup. I quite liked them, especially as they didn't have the shoutiness that horns sometimes exhibit, but I do prefer my electrostatic/ open baffle dipole woofer combo with active crossover.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, lindsayt said:

What I personally do when looking at internet / forum reviews / feedback on audio equipment is to look to see if they mention any sonic weaknesses. If they don't - especially with speakers - and extra especially with small to medium sized speakers, then that tells me that I should pretty much ignore what they say on hi-fi.

It's the people who freely express the sonic compromises in equipment that they own - that I've found are the ones whose opinions on hi-fi I can trust and respect the most.

My mention of the Event Opals was not taken from reviewers in magazines, but members on this forum, so I tend to believe people that have actually gone out and spent their own hard earned.  That's not to say they may be a little biased, but it was their choice of speaker, when there are too many to choose from.  Without going back and re-looking at the thread I cannot remember if anyone stated the weaknesses in their speakers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, darthvadersdad said:

Sounds to me like you have it all worked out so why do you bother to read other peoples opinions. 

Because the more I've gotten to know about hi-fi, the more comparative listening tests I've done, the more I realise how there are so many potentially great audio products and components that have been made in the last 100 years that I don't know enough about.

On the Dunning Kruger graph I'd be over the first hump and still with a long way to go to the 2nd peak.

1 hour ago, antonio66 said:

My mention of the Event Opals was not taken from reviewers in magazines, but members on this forum, so I tend to believe people that have actually gone out and spent their own hard earned.  That's not to say they may be a little biased, but it was their choice of speaker, when there are too many to choose from.  Without going back and re-looking at the thread I cannot remember if anyone stated the weaknesses in their speakers.

How well do you know the Event Opals personally?

How often have you seen owners rate something highly, only for it to disappoint when you've gotten it into a bake-off against a reasonable reference?

I can think of a few products I've heard over the years that were rated by owners as the best thing since sliced bread when they were only the equivalent of a supposed gourmet meal made from sliced bread.

If you are not personally familiar with Event Opals, what do you think are the chances that they are merely good for low efficiency small / slimline 2 way ported speakers, as opposed to them being good compared to cherry-picked speaker and amp combinations you could get for less money including full sized floorstanding speakers?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, lindsayt said:

Because the more I've gotten to know about hi-fi, the more comparative listening tests I've done, the more I realise how there are so many potentially great audio products and components that have been made in the last 100 years that I don't know enough about.

On the Dunning Kruger graph I'd be over the first hump and still with a long way to go to the 2nd peak.

How well do you know the Event Opals personally?

How often have you seen owners rate something highly, only for it to disappoint when you've gotten it into a bake-off against a reasonable reference?

I can think of a few products I've heard over the years that were rated by owners as the best thing since sliced bread when they were only the equivalent of a supposed gourmet meal made from sliced bread.

If you are not personally familiar with Event Opals, what do you think are the chances that they are merely good for low efficiency small / slimline 2 way ported speakers, as opposed to them being good compared to cherry-picked speaker and amp combinations you could get for less money including full sized floorstanding speakers?

I have not heard them Lindsay, but since one of the owners replaced his Obelisk's with a pair, and he had also owned ES14's, which were my last two speakers, these Opal's interested me.  I have heard active speakers before, and enjoyed them, so the thought of using them in my home would not put me off.  You talk about cherry picking speakers, and amps that work together well, what better way could there be to build a fine sounding system.  Oooh, hang on, many on here have a wife to consider, and in many cases what she says go's :D  Can I ask, what speakers are you talking about that get past the fashion princess and are also easily accommodated in todays modern homes?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Super Wammer
10 hours ago, lindsayt said:

Because the more I've gotten to know about hi-fi, the more comparative listening tests I've done, the more I realise how there are so many potentially great audio products and components that have been made in the last 100 years that I don't know enough about.

On the Dunning Kruger graph I'd be over the first hump and still with a long way to go to the 2nd peak.

How well do you know the Event Opals personally?

How often have you seen owners rate something highly, only for it to disappoint when you've gotten it into a bake-off against a reasonable reference?

I can think of a few products I've heard over the years that were rated by owners as the best thing since sliced bread when they were only the equivalent of a supposed gourmet meal made from sliced bread.

If you are not personally familiar with Event Opals, what do you think are the chances that they are merely good for low efficiency small / slimline 2 way ported speakers, as opposed to them being good compared to cherry-picked speaker and amp combinations you could get for less money including full sized floorstanding speakers?

I know the Opals very well and had them in my music room for over six months of uninterupted use so I do feel I know them well and speak with authority about them in my room. I don't need your blessing to write about my opinions you can take or leave it just remember we are all entitled to express our views you included just try not to be so condesending please.

cheers Steve..

  • Like 2
  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, antonio66 said:

I have not heard them Lindsay, but since one of the owners replaced his Obelisk's with a pair, and he had also owned ES14's, which were my last two speakers, these Opal's interested me.  I have heard active speakers before, and enjoyed them, so the thought of using them in my home would not put me off.  You talk about cherry picking speakers, and amps that work together well, what better way could there be to build a fine sounding system.  Oooh, hang on, many on here have a wife to consider, and in many cases what she says go's :D  Can I ask, what speakers are you talking about that get past the fashion princess and are also easily accommodated in todays modern homes?

Let me put it this way.

Let's say that someone bought a 2 bedroomed terraced house. And because it had some feature - say triple glazed windows for example - the owner that bought it started saying that it was a good house, a great house, one of the best houses in the world.

For sure, there's nothing wrong in buying a triple glazed 2 bedroomed terraced house. There's nothing wrong in someone being happy with their 2 bedroomed triple gazed home. It's when the owner makes it out to be something that it's not that it gets ridiculous.

  • Like 1
  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 hours ago, Gizza said:

Lol, sorry, what I meant was whether your modifications had improved the sound or at least not impaired it. I heard some Avantgarde's when I bought my Quad 63/Gradient active setup. I quite liked them, especially as they didn't have the shoutiness that horns sometimes exhibit, but I do prefer my electrostatic/ open baffle dipole woofer combo with active crossover.

Sorry Gizza if I misunderstood you!  As far as the minor mods that I've made are concerned, I think no reduction in SQ and maybe a little better.  If you are a believer in isolation, then they should sound marginally better but with only one pair, I can't now compare!

After 17 years living with (and enjoying) the Unos, I thought it was time for a change and that electrostatics may be the way to go.  I bought a pair of used Quad 2905s, modified by Quad with 2912 transformers, etc and I was encouraged - they sounded pretty good in my room, but they looked dreadful - barn doors in the middle of the room obstructing my view from floor-to-ceiling windows.  Encouraged I listened to the much slimmer and semi-transparent Martin Logan 13As at a London showroom and they sounded great.  However they didn't sing in my own room despite Anthem's efforts to maximise SQ, so it was back to Avantgardes.  Unos to Duos and now Duo XDs with both the Duos modified in different ways to ditch the scaffolding that supports the horn tubes.  IPeter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, hearhere said:

Sorry Gizza if I misunderstood you!  As far as the minor mods that I've made are concerned, I think no reduction in SQ and maybe a little better.  If you are a believer in isolation, then they should sound marginally better but with only one pair, I can't now compare!

After 17 years living with (and enjoying) the Unos, I thought it was time for a change and that electrostatics may be the way to go.  I bought a pair of used Quad 2905s, modified by Quad with 2912 transformers, etc and I was encouraged - they sounded pretty good in my room, but they looked dreadful - barn doors in the middle of the room obstructing my view from floor-to-ceiling windows.  Encouraged I listened to the much slimmer and semi-transparent Martin Logan 13As at a London showroom and they sounded great.  However they didn't sing in my own room despite Anthem's efforts to maximise SQ, so it was back to Avantgardes.  Unos to Duos and now Duo XDs with both the Duos modified in different ways to ditch the scaffolding that supports the horn tubes.  IPeter

1 hour ago, hearhere said:

Sorry Gizza if I misunderstood you!  As far as the minor mods that I've made are concerned, I think no reduction in SQ and maybe a little better.  If you are a believer in isolation, then they should sound marginally better but with only one pair, I can't now compare!

After 17 years living with (and enjoying) the Unos, I thought it was time for a change and that electrostatics may be the way to go.  I bought a pair of used Quad 2905s, modified by Quad with 2912 transformers, etc and I was encouraged - they sounded pretty good in my room, but they looked dreadful - barn doors in the middle of the room obstructing my view from floor-to-ceiling windows.  Encouraged I listened to the much slimmer and semi-transparent Martin Logan 13As at a London showroom and they sounded great.  However they didn't sing in my own room despite Anthem's efforts to maximise SQ, so it was back to Avantgardes.  Unos to Duos and now Duo XDs with both the Duos modified in different ways to ditch the scaffolding that supports the horn tubes.  IPeter

Great to hear that you're happy with your AG's, Peter. i love how they look and agree with you about the awful looks of the Quads. It's like looking at a pair of the stone Obelis from the film '2001 A Space Odyssey'! I'm very lucky that we were able to buy a house that has 2 reasonable size living rooms so that I am able to house my hifi/AV system in one of them without worrying about how it looks. Cost was also a factor in buying these speakers, I think I paid £1500 for the Quad/Gradient combo (used) and another £2000 for a 2nd pair of EAR monoblocs to enable the active biamping, which I believe is a great price for the sound quality obtained. I really don't have any hankering at all to change them. I think the size of the room is the most limiting factor. Don't get me wrong, they sound wonderful to me but I know that they would sound even better in a bigger room.

Anyway,I hope your system continues to satisfy. All the best, Gary.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, lindsayt said:

Let me put it this way.

Let's say that someone bought a 2 bedroomed terraced house. And because it had some feature - say triple glazed windows for example - the owner that bought it started saying that it was a good house, a great house, one of the best houses in the world.

For sure, there's nothing wrong in buying a triple glazed 2 bedroomed terraced house. There's nothing wrong in someone being happy with their 2 bedroomed triple gazed home. It's when the owner makes it out to be something that it's not that it gets ridiculous.

I'll change tack here, have you heard the Event Opals?  If not you don't know whether or not they are match for your recommended system  (you didn't say which speakers you were thinking of) I'm not saying any of my recommended items will make someones system into one of the best systems in the world, and I don't think any of the owners of the Opals were either, but at a given price, I think the Opals are approx £2,500, they make a good fist sound quality wise to their owners, and are room friendly with not having amplifiers on show.  Possibly the gentleman who purchased the 2 bed terrace with triple glazed  windows might not have room for your speakers either. :D

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Personally I find it important to match the capabilities of a hi-fi to the room that they are operating in. I have no issue with loud music, love it in fact, but in my sitting room, not so much. The same is true of bass extension, too much just sounds wrong in a regular room.

I tried the Opals a few years ago, they were a little more affordable then, but came to the conclusion that they were too much. I like power and presence in a system, but I found them a touch overbearing, not a fault of the speakers, just that they did was not quite what I wanted in my domestic environment.

From a practical point of view I like a conventional, old school, 15 inch plus compression driver system, I have owned several over the years, but 10 cubit foot enclosures are not really that practical in my home so I compromise. My Adam speakers give me most of what I want, most of the time. They are compact, smart and practical, right now that is more than enough.

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, antonio66 said:

I'll change tack here, have you heard the Event Opals?  If not you don't know whether or not they are match for your recommended system  (you didn't say which speakers you were thinking of) I'm not saying any of my recommended items will make someones system into one of the best systems in the world, and I don't think any of the owners of the Opals were either, but at a given price, I think the Opals are approx £2,500, they make a good fist sound quality wise to their owners, and are room friendly with not having amplifiers on show.  Possibly the gentleman who purchased the 2 bed terrace with triple glazed  windows might not have room for your speakers either. :D

How many 2 bedroomed terraced houses do you need to live to know that you'd rather not live in another.

Even if it's located in Mayfair, has all mod cons and a garage and a garden shed?

At what point do you get to the stage where you realise that 2 bedroomed terraces are inherently compromised? And that you'd rather live in a different type of house altogether?

How many small low efficiency 2 way ported speakers do you think I need to listen to?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some of what you say makes sense, but you most definitely need to work on the delivery.

  • Haha 2
  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...