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Archive for juni, 2011

22
Jun

Acoustics revisited

How the room influences reproduction of audio is constantly present for anyone involved in the audio profession. This awareness concerns reflections, nodes and reverberation time. Recently I visited a client trying out Earos at home, “there is no bass” he said. True enough, at the listening position the low end was not present. This situation occurs in all rooms and at all frequencies, the things is that as frequency falls wavelengths become longer and the space where these nulls exist are more prominent.  With higher frequencies and decent acoustics both direct and reflected sound is more uniformly distributed and the nulls are not a noticed. The cure is not primarily to fork out for a room correction device but to actually rearrange location of speakers and listening position. There is no one single speaker in the world that can be brought to perform it´s best unless it is given a fair opportunity by proper room acoustics.

Room correction devices used may in fact make matters worse in one area whilst attempting to correct in another. For instance in our case of no bottom end, the room correction device would attempt to raise the low end. What now happens is that your speaker may be forced to operate out of its linear range increasing distortion and reducing headroom for transients.

One thing room correction cannot do is alter the reverberation time. The way all frequencies decay over time is a characteristic footprint of the rooms tonality.

Within the high end audio world there is in my opinion far too little attention on room issues, perhaps as it is held in some obscurity about how it works and what to do. The good news is that this is a well researched science why there are both services and tools available to cure most issues. Fixing room acoustics is going to the root of the issue whilst digital room correction deals with the symptom.

But what about the other side, the side where music is brought to life, how has acoustics shaped the art?

Take the acoustics of a cathedral, hard and reflective surfaces and a structural design to support this yields long reverberation times. This environment is very good for vocals without rhythm. Many say that this is “great acoustics” whilst it in fact is good only for this particular type of music.  Jazz, Rock and Orchestral works will not work there at all and recording in such rooms is very difficult. This raises an interesting point made very clear in a TED talk by Talking Heads singer David Byrne. He offers an intriguing proposal that music is created for the environment it is intended to be played in and he makes a strong case for it. See it here; http://www.ted.com/talks/david_byrne_how_architecture_helped_music_evolve.html

This subject then takes us back to our own place of musical worship. If music was made for a particular acoustic environment then how shall my listening rooms properties be to justify the musical content? For sure, you don’t want a room that alters the tonality in any way. The room should be neutral so that the acoustics of the recording can be conveyed without unknown additions.

A flat frequency response is not all, reverberation time across audio spectrum is important too as is how sound is dispersed in the room. Keep in mind when you spend all that money on esoteric devices that you may in fact be missing the most effective investment you can make by tuning your room acoustics.  As a speaker manufacturer it is part of our overall mission and also passion to bring good sound to you, we do have control over what the speaker does but not the room.

21
Jun

Review from T.H.E Newport

The webzine SONICFLARE.COM  just published a review ”the bleeding edge of single driver speaker design”  following first contact at T.H.E Show in Newport. Read it here;

http://www.sonicflare.com/archives/review-earo-eight-loudspeakers.php

19
Jun

T.H.E Newport Beach, Los Angeles

I have returned from Los Angeles and the 2011 T.H.E show in Newport Beach and also survived the less amusing return trip to Stockholm. Jetlag, I found after years of feigning pills of all kinds, was made nonexistent by small dose of Melatonin before bedtime upon return.

Sitting in my retreat cottage in Lapland, overlooking a mirror calm lake with occasional arctic char or trout fetching an insect in mid air, I feel the mood is the right for some philosophical contemplation on recent events with Earo.

We are continuing along the path to make the launch in the US and our partner in this vast country, Atenga Inc. with its subsidiary Earo-US are doing a great job not only in establishing a presence but also standing solid in their conviction to take on the cumbersome work to create brand awareness from scratch.

T.H.E in Las Vegas was by no standards poor for Earo, on the contrary, but the Los Angeles event was so much more, greater number of exhibitors and more real endusers as visitors.

The venue, The Hilton,  proved to have rooms with less acoustic issues than what is usual, only a slight bottom end boom at the preferred listening position did not mask the characteristics that we wished to convey. The setup was as before, files played from Apple laptop running Itunes to an audiophile DAC whose balanced audio was fed straight to the two pairs of Earo Eight and TheUlf respectively. The W4S DAC features a remote volume control exactly where you want it in the chain.  We got several comments on how simple it was to get high-end sound and a great many visitors where clear about the diverging trends, one part of the industry will retain a motive force with passionately engineered and presented devices for the buyer to experiment with. The other path, the short one to high end and high definition music experience, is the one that will be entirely digital and “filebased” all the way to the last mile, the transducer. Or,  loudspeaker as we prefer calling it.

Our three days of public reception were just wonderful. Per and myself did not have our wifes with us this time why we had less opportunity to leave the room to rummage the venue, we were busy playing music  and discussing most of the time available. We tried to play as varied music as possible and to respect the visitors need to manage time so it was a medley of Classic, Jazz, Blues  plus some softer Rock. All mixed to present as much of the characteristics by  throwing as many difficult passages as we could at the speakers. We did miss out on having heavier Rock as we did get some requests for this. I hurried downstairs and searched the audiophile record sales but it appears good recorded Rock is difficult to find…At the end of the day, female vocals do very quickly reveal what it is all about and we played a lot of this. Here it´s important to present a medley so that a particular recordings tonality is not perceived to be the one of the speakers.

The feedback did not wait long. Regardless of how confident one may be as designer, no one can deny the importance of listener feedback and we got it, tons of it in fact and it was very, very good. One visitor sat for a long time , then held up his arm with hairs standing to attention “this is how good it sounds”. Others just stayed on and the demo slid into musical enjoyment rather than speaker demo, that’s another sign that you got it right.  Another visitor, after playing both tunes with loud and high pitches said “you sit there and wait for the moment it limits or breaks up but it never happens”

One distributor that spoke with my colleague said “there are five speaker brands on the show that are of interest and yours is one of them”.  Being in some pretty amazing company, this hit home well.

A couple of gentlemen came in and began asking some questions revealing their particular knowledge in the field of horns. One of them said “we know how difficult it is to make this type of design work and most fail but this is proof of what success is. I have never heard anything so good”

SonicFlare noticed us too;  http://sonicflare.com/index.php?page=2

The keyword in client feedback is “realism”. That is just fine :-)

Summing it up, the overall and lingering emotion is that of great enjoyment meeting all these fantastic individuals and to listen to their music (we are open to BYO always) and share the passion for the art. Profound thanks to you for making this such a great event.