Owston 2019 - Listening Impressions

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chris661
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Owston 2019 - Listening Impressions

Post by chris661 » Mon Jun 03, 2019 10:43 pm

After some thought, I decided to start this thread. If we're all very polite about everything, I don't think we learn anything much. I do hope, though, that this post is taken in the spirit that it's intended. I'm not looking to put people down so much as suggest what might improve the sound to my own ears.

I don't think I heard all the different iterations that went on - for me, the event is as much about the social aspect.

So, here we go, in approximate order of listening:

- Ed's Fostex-loaded speakers were interesting - it's always cool to hear what you can get out of a single driver. There was a peak somewhere in the lower treble that I'd want to iron out, but it wasn't overly-prominent. The black MTM speakers are something I would've liked to hear more of, but perhaps with an amplifier with a bit more grunt about it - it seemed to me that they could really have done with something that'll really grab them.

- Steve's 12" Fanes, in my opinion, sounded better in his living room where they had some reinforcement in the lower-mids and bass from the back wall. At Owston, then, they ended up with a presentation that was more forward/bright than I'd typically like. Again, cool to hear what can be done with a single driver per side, and I'm consistently impressed with the HF extension on offer there.

- The 3-way OBs in the corner (sorry, I missed the intro so didn't catch who the owner was!) showed potential, and I like the concept of a dipole system over a wide frequency range. I just think the crossover could've done with some more work as some tracks showed some roughness in the lower treble - perhaps the 8" Fostex could've done with a steeper lowpass..? I was also wondering if the H-frame was exhibiting some resonance in the 500Hz range, but looking at the pictures there was a raised platform directly behind them, which could easily be the culprit.

- I liked the Tannoy 15"s. The bass might've been a touch boomy, but that could also have been the room. Not a lot wrong with those. I did find the dispersion was a little narrow through the midrange, which meant you had to stand in the right place to get a good balance.

- I thought my system was okay, but clearly limited in volume. The 10" sub also turned to mud when driven hard (DTB - if the sub was adding distortion components, that'll definitely start masking musical information as the level rises), so I'll think about upgrading that in the future. IIRC the driver was from a mid-range Tannoy home-theatre sub, so fine for movie rumbles but apparently not much more than that! The little Fostex monitors were pretty good, but again fell victim to the size of the room. I've come away with some thoughts for my next speaker design.

- Colin's latest Edingdales were rather good, in a no-nonsense, play-anything kind of way. They told you if the music wasn't particularly well-recorded, but didn't let that stop the enjoyment of the music. It'll be interesting to see how they measure.

- Nick's turntable through Steve's speakers was an interesting listen, and about as good as I've heard a turntable sound. The music/volume levels weren't for me, but Steve's speakers seemed to do quite well. Perhaps a touch lean on the bass in that room, but I'd expect that to fill out closer to a wall.

- Thomas's Quasar-style OBs with Lowther drivers were pretty good when the relative levels were dialled in, although that peak at 4kHz got in the way at times. I do think they benefited from being driven by the big Crown amplifier, but it's difficult to judge when the Tower of Power was without its regulators.

- The Quad ESLs were nice to listen to. I'd really like to hear what can be done if you add cone drivers below, say, 200Hz to free up some headroom. I'm acutely aware that's a path that's been explored before, though. If it's of interest, I do have some very nice 15" drivers and would be willing to put together a shallow H-frame for next year.
I started to wonder what effects would come up from having them so close to Steve's speakers, but decided it was much too complicated, and enjoyed the music instead.

- Back to Colin's speakers with Les's amplifier. Sounded fine to me - a no-nonsense sort of amp.

- Mark's horn and ribbon combination showed some promise, which IMO was later realised when we gave them a 15" Tannoy to play with. A couple of measurements later to balance the highs vs lows, and the sound was rather enjoyable.


Later on Saturday, we tried Thomas's OBs with my Powersoft amps and some DSP to knock the 4kHz peak down and bring the low end forwards a touch. Definite improvements there.

On Sunday I brought some slightly bigger speakers* which were able to go quite a lot louder than the Fostex monitors. I think they need some more work on the crossover as the lower treble was more peaky than I'd like.
* 18Sound 6ND430 and a Das M3 per side, 1.6kHz crossover.

After that, we had Simon's 4" Audax carbon fibre cones running up to 3.5kHz and crossing to the HF horns in the PA speakers, with the 10" sub covering <120Hz. At sensible volume levels, that was rather good. The small drivers did show signs of stress at higher levels, but quite right too - they were receiving around 40v peaks before I turned it down.

So, there we have it.

Cheers, all.
Chris

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Re: Owston 2019 - Listening Impressions

Post by simon » Mon Jun 03, 2019 11:01 pm

Brave man Chris, and well done for starting this. I've added some comment on the page with the photos.
chris661 wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 10:43 pm
- The 3-way OBs in the corner (sorry, I missed the intro so didn't catch who the owner was!) showed potential, and I like the concept of a dipole system over a wide frequency range. I just think the crossover could've done with some more work as some tracks showed some roughness in the lower treble - perhaps the 8" Fostex could've done with a steeper lowpass..? I was also wondering if the H-frame was exhibiting some resonance in the 500Hz range, but looking at the pictures there was a raised platform directly behind them, which could easily be the culprit.
That was mine. There's a bit more description on the blog page of the photos but essentially they were knocked up at Christmas quickly as an experiment, largely to experiment with a plain baffle for the 208s without side returns which I thought might be adding some distortion. The H frames were the simplest way I could think of to house the bass driver.

No one really expressed any opinion of the sound of the system so I'm grateful for your perspective and there are a few pointers there for me to think about, cheers. I'm also open to suggestions :-).

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Re: Owston 2019 - Listening Impressions

Post by Cressy Snr » Mon Jun 03, 2019 11:06 pm

Yes, the brightness was not there on my amp (old ears) but I can see where you’re coming from. A bright source is not going to be kind to them, or the unfortunate listener, stuck on axis to the hairy blighters!
Personally, though I do think they do more right than wrong.
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Re: Owston 2019 - Listening Impressions

Post by IslandPink » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:13 pm

I liked the results from the 285's in the H baffles, Simon, the Supravox tone was still there. On the 208's and the tweeter, I know we differ somewhat in taste, I have suggested behind the scenes how I got what I wanted from them, I have optimised the 208's myself and need a notch to take down the rising response and the 4Khz peak ; also the tweeter ( was it with a single cap ? ) seemed to be further sharpening the treble.
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Re: Owston 2019 - Listening Impressions

Post by IslandPink » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:17 pm

I immediately noticed the tone quality of Colin's new speakers in the upper-mids and treble when played on Nick's P6's. The driver quality is coming through, the tweeters , particularly, are very good.
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Re: Owston 2019 - Listening Impressions

Post by IslandPink » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:30 pm

Chris said : "To take an example, Mark (Island Pink) often talks about "tone" in his long-running thread. I find that a little difficult to quantify for myself, which sometimes puts us at odds"

So, for me, this is a crucial factor in what I want. I can explain it in photographic terms most easily - it's like the colour saturation. I want as much as possible. Many systems render music as if it's in black and white, or a pale sepia colour. I want to find the colour knob and turn it up.
Speakers are often the culprit in running tone, as they are the least technical successful part of most systems. Small cones generally have better tone than big cones ; horn-loading gives more tone than box loading.
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Re: Owston 2019 - Listening Impressions

Post by vinylnvalves » Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:03 pm

Mark.. intrigued by your statement “speakers are often the culprit in running tone, as they are the least technical successful part of most systems. Small cones generally have better tone than big cones ; horn-loading gives more tone than box loading”

If horn loading is adding tone.... isn’t that a bad thing :( It isn’t tone it’s HOM distortion- or shout. For me all I want from a horn is dynamics.
This whole audiophile concept is a load of bollocks imho. Tone controls allow you to get the tone you require. Munson curves are an interesting thing, I have different DSP setting - voicing for different volume levels we used to call it loudness. For low level listening to rock music and such that, which always sounds better loud.

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Re: Owston 2019 - Listening Impressions

Post by simon » Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:16 pm

Thanks for the feedback Mark, it's useful.

I have considered whether, especially in my listening room which isn't huge, different drivers in a sealed cab might be better as they have to go quite close to the wall. And the right driver would go lower too. But I'm not sure I'd find another driver with the same tone qualities as the 285. Nice description of tone BTW, very helpful for me too.

The 208s are a bit of a conundrum. On the face of it removing the side baffles of the Quasar has solved the worst of the peak I was hearing, and at the expense of adding more filter components for the notch I think I can probably live with them. For now anyway.

It's the supertweeter filter that I'm most unhappy with. Ideally I'd like to bring them in somewhere over 8kHz, but whatever I've tried I can't get the corner higher than 3kHz. I've no idea why. I've done the maths, or used online calculators anyway, but whatever values for first and second order filters I've tried it just won't respond and I'm bemused why. The Fostex datasheet recommends a second order, I guess to help protect the T90A, but you did indeed hear a first order from 3k which wouldn't have done any favours, certainly not with the peak you're sensitive too.

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Re: Owston 2019 - Listening Impressions

Post by Mike H » Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:26 pm

simon wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 11:01 pm
No one really expressed any opinion of the sound of the system so I'm grateful for your perspective and there are a few pointers there for me to think about, cheers. I'm also open to suggestions :-).
OK I will. :D I thought it was really good. I remember some while ago you brought a huge breadboard (actually, several breadboards joined end to end) and warned us that the treble wasn't very good, and you'd been having a lot of bother with it (there is/was a topic about it). 'X' years later, it seems to me you've got something now that you can be entitled to be pleased with.

Just IMHO...
 
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Re: Owston 2019 - Listening Impressions

Post by simon » Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:55 pm

Okay thanks Mike :-)

The copper GM70s just have something that works for me.

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Re: Owston 2019 - Listening Impressions

Post by IslandPink » Tue Jun 04, 2019 9:00 pm

Sorry, 'running' should have read 'ruining' .
vinylnvalves wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:03 pm
Tone controls allow you to get the tone you require.
Well that shows me you didn't understand AT ALL what I posted about tone above. Tone colour is what Romy calls 'absolute tone' , by the way.
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Re: Owston 2019 - Listening Impressions

Post by steve s » Tue Jun 04, 2019 9:58 pm

IslandPink wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 9:00 pm
Tone colour is what Romy calls 'absolute tone' , by the way.
Alot of these internet guru's may well be true experts with close to perfect systems...
... and they may not be too...
I like/ dislike what I hear ..
not what others may say! their idea of whatever floats their boat mat not be mine.
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Re: Owston 2019 - Listening Impressions

Post by Mike H » Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:04 pm

Image

Image
 
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Re: Owston 2019 - Listening Impressions

Post by steve s » Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:10 pm

Steve's speakers seemed to do quite well. Perhaps a touch lean on the bass in that room, but I'd expect that to fill out closer to a wall.
I think that's a complement Chris, cheers
I can understand you saying that, but I do wonder if you are describing the difference between ported (reflex) and my speakers.
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Re: Owston 2019 - Listening Impressions

Post by IslandPink » Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:12 pm

My point was nothing about whether Romy has a perfect system or whether people are entitled to like or dislike what they build or have their own opinions. I was just trying to explain what I meant by tonal colour or tone :roll:
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