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martinshorn
Germany
Posts 107
Joined on 04-14-2017

Post #: 1
Post ID: 24831
Reply to: 24831
New superlative horn build - ESD acoustic
Hi guys

I just spotted something breathtaking yesterday:

http://www.esdacoustics.com/
 
Ive been actually listening to it this weekend on the exhibition.
Trying to sort my thoughts.
I had many many hours of intense listening.
Also plenty of time with the engineers and CEO making no secret about their technology.
Its impressive, uncomparable, full of state-of-the-art maxima features, and interesting story.

It was my this year favorite experience. Its an industry benchmark. It blows living voice out of the water.


to be continued...
cheersJosh
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Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 2
Post ID: 24833
Reply to: 24831
Sitting on a fence ...
Indeed I am welcoming a newcomer to a horn world. It looks like a Chinese company that makes me slightly to be withdrawn. So far I did not see original Chinese production that did not cut corners or did not impersonalize western product but in bad, sort of “cargo cult” way. I will be glad to be proven wrong. 
 
The first thing first, it is damn 2018, who in sane world today write sites like this?! 
 
After agonizing efforts to navigate the site the filing I got a following: I do not like the company
 
They throw the names like Dr. Bruce Edgar and some of the things they do/say does indicate that they consulted with Bruce initially, or just embraced some of the Bruce’s idea but I see that is no way Dr. Edgar evolved in dally company’s operation or at least in marketing.  How else the stupid comments like this might show at the company web site: 
 
“The directivity of horn system has turned the “sweet spot” into a “sweet zone”; classical outlook design incorporates our system into your home environment; convenient control allows everybody to enjoy the system freely. We wish you and your family and friends share the joy of music. It's our goal to help you share joy of music as it was meant to be heard.” 
 
Bruce Edgar and Sam Saye collaborated for years on adopting beryllium diaphragms and a few other project but it was good 10 years ago. Sam was a big field coil promoter as I remember.  I do not know where they are now with all of it. It looks to me that some Chinese industrialists decided to cash out on Bruce and Sam findings. My feeling is that if Bruce and Sam run the show and use the Chinese folks as manufacturing platform then it might be an interesting operation. If the whole project is purely Chinese development and they just use Bruce Edgar and Sam Saye as a publicity figures then the company and the product would be garbage, as many other companies we have seen. The Chinese folks have Carbon Fiber large press, I doubt that the press stamps just horns. I am sure that it is some kind of industrial scale press that dose parts for refrigerators, washer machines or agricultural apparatuses  and a few hour a month they press horns. Most likely the guy who run the shop does audio and he desired to branch out to hi-fi audio. The Avantgarde Acoustic started in the same way when the owner inherited a large ABS press and did not know what to do with it. 
 
Now, back away from my feelings to the actual horns. The Carbon Fiber horns are a great idea. The new beryllium diaphragms, probably in fiber-reinforcement plastic, is great idea. The way how they assemble horns is kind of worrisome. The “EDS acoustic trade-in “program is kind of ridicules ides. So, basically whatever come from Bruce and Sam is fine, whatever come from the Chinese folks kind of ridicules. God, I sound like a racist but I assure you I am not. Basically the main question is who owns the horns integration. If it was supervised by Bruce then it might be something worse to consider. If the integration was made by Chinese side then I would be concerned. 
 
For sure the 5 ways system pushes near close to 20Hz but there is a bigger question into it. Did they modulate the field coil voltage, drooping it with horns side? In my view it would be a key to make 5-way field coil successful. I never deal with Sam Saye and I do not know his view in the subject that this is the only thing (probably with integration subject) that I feel is “secretive” for me in that new system. 
 
I do think that an update for their 5-way system will be coming that will have a dedicated LF module with open bottom. Driving the ESD’s 5-way system as it is now, with a single amplifier would be practically impossible to assure proper loading and proper harmonics reproduction for a tweeter and bass horn. There is two way to deal with it with very smart DSET or with VERY smart modulation of voltage in field coil but it would be VERY delicate thing that might not hold across the whole dynamic range… 
 
So, I am sitting on a fence for now with my judgment. I would like to have somebody like Cessaro to embrace the new ESD drivers if they are good driver and step away from TADs.


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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martinshorn
Germany
Posts 107
Joined on 04-14-2017

Post #: 3
Post ID: 24834
Reply to: 24833
Prejudice vs experience...
Hi Romy 

Indeed you sound a little racist, but i think we all have our prejudice.  

Funny enough, i didnt recognize nor cared, spotted the horn with my eyes, went in and listened.
Now, read this carefully: I listened to the system with closed eyes, for half an hour.
This shaped my judgement on the sound quality and relevance bout sharing this experience.
Neither did i know how it was build, nor by whom at that time.
The next day, i wanted to whipe out possibility of wrong perception, over excitement, faulty judgments.
This happens to everyone once in a while (as it did to me with LivingVoice, i dont like them anymore) and only intense long repetitive concentrated listening in good state of health (zen, balance, relax etc) can verify your impression.
 
I also listened to Cessaro, again this year, multiple times, and to cut the off-topic short: theyre no good. They lack all dynamics, colors, beauty. They have no faulty tonality or something obvious, theyre simply dead and unpleasant. I tried to share my thoughts with the main representative. He did not care, as all the other arrogant morones on the exhibition. Ok... 

Now, back to ESD. Its a family business. I guess that drives the comment you quoted, combined with different culture & attitude. They were very friendly, welcoming, and talkatively honestly sharing all construction details without hesitation. They did not decline to answer any of my questions, though they could or should have, and i really drilled them with questions!So let me quote them a bit: 

The dad is the sponsor, initiator and CEO. He had many horns, including Goto, Ale, etc. He was not pleased so asked his son to develop one.
His son is an engineer. As he got deeper into the topic, they spotted the need to do everything, from DAC down to the horn and driver and all inbetween.
Theyre doing DAC, preamp, poweramp, fieldcoil-current-unit, drivers and horns.
He gathered a team of developers, things took a route and so on.
Now as you throw names, youre actually throwing right direction, Sam Saye and Bruce Edgar are part of their team. He did design the horns, and theyre 1:1 according his supervision. The diaphragm are customized by Truextend which involves Saye as much as the field coil.

Now, before scaring everyone off with looong text, ill have plenty of info from my "interview" and ill share post by post separately regarding: 
- horn design 
- field coil innovation 
- beryllium  
- phase plug innovation 
- amps chain etc 
- unique sound  
Josh
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martinshorn
Germany
Posts 107
Joined on 04-14-2017

Post #: 4
Post ID: 24835
Reply to: 24834
The horn design from Bruce Edgar
So first in line, the horns.  
They stressed out that particularly the horn flares where not within the comfort zone of their own developer team.
That triggered the recruitment of Bruce Edgar. The design is only his, and they took it 1:1. Of course tooling is very expensive.
So initially the prototyping was done by wood due to cost reasons.  

Once final, they had their own molding tooling made for them. Actually 3 per horn. For an inner, outer, and inbetween form.
Theyre actually 3 layer sandwiched which has many advantages in production and rigidity later, such as leaving a cavity at the thickened mouth for gravel.
This is to dampen the horn as theyre not baffle mounted. A knocking confirms, the horns are more than silent. Quiet impressive. The finishing quality looks and feels marvelous. 

Now Bruce Edgar advised to vary the horn shapes depending on their usage.
He advised, not like LeCleach, to have one flare only, but rather use faster opening in the higher octaves, more narrow in the lower.
The fast opening is supposed to be benefitial for the sound perception in heights. So the upper 3 are tractrix, with 3 different opening rates or t-factors. The higher the octave, the smaller the t-rate. 

The fundamental horn is non tractrix but exponential. Though, the t-rate is much higher. 
That lowers the Q of the horn, and us such, smoothenes the group delay, and together with crossover gives a lower order roll-off.

In the base, Bruce chose to use a 3 meter hyperbolic with even higher t-rate.
Indeed the roll-off balances nicely most room modes and boominess (i can confirm it was very dry and clean transient in the lows).
Its supposed to stand close to a side-wall with hard stone / concrete to mirror the mouth. This makes the t-rate less than it looks. 

Different than LeCleach, who praised to always use horns as big as possible, with fast opening wide roll and XO 1 octave above the cuttoff.
Bruce Edgar decided to use the mouth and flare functions collaborating with the driver and crossover, shaping the final crossover Q's.
 

At least that much reached and remained between my ears. I receive this information. Though i remain critical to small mouth and slow opening profiles.Bigger are much more efficient. Though, the one that fits into your real-estate is still better than no-horn.I once owned a terrible undersized basshorn and it was no good.But, i did not spot any negative coloration here, that i could associate to this.Also i know and own the JBL 2312 horns with similar flare, which indeed confirm the lower Q to work properly. 

Josh
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martinshorn
Germany
Posts 107
Joined on 04-14-2017

Post #: 5
Post ID: 24836
Reply to: 24835
Field coil with feedback
It was honestly like "oh a big horn, gotta listen .... nice, who did that, hello, how did you..." .... "lets go outside for a talk". I actually thought to the last moment that they were japenese. Coz majority of eastish industry is, and me as western dump i dont spot the difference Smile  
Now, coming to the field coil, they had nice ideas.
They were not pleased with soft magnets.
But also they dared to take the Goto apart to measure the flux. I guess no one did that before Smile 
Including Goto themselves. They found to have only 1.6 of the claimed 2.4. Funny enough...
That actually confirms the theory of a buddy i know who sais according to their material and geometry Goto cannot reach that high tesla.
Doesnt matter, Goto sounds nice, and thats what matters. 
But how to get real 2.4 tesla? 

So they got Sam on the boat, and just did hugely oversized field coils.
The saturation clips at 2.2 tesla. 
Unless you use the hell expensive permadure, then it takes u to 2.4 tesla measured in this reality. 
But they had a ugly warm up phase, like western electric.
Also eddy current, and temperature dependent current. Like all field coils have.
The transient attacks soften. Not nice.
What they do, they have one big device that looks like an amp, that has one individual circuit per driver, so 10 in total (2x5), for the field coils.
Its a current-driven dc-amp. That makes the voltage variable, but constant current. By that the warmup is eliminated. The transients are are back to full attack. Theres even an eddy-current flux sensor integrated with a feedback-loop to the dc-amp that compensates the flux-modulation. This really kills even the tiniest motor-distortion possibly left. 
The next problem in line then was the temperature in this design. The coils did just melt down.
Also they didnt fit the magnet around the phase-plug, and the throat-tunnel became very long which was coloring sound.
This was solved by 2 steps, one is described later within the phase-plug part.
The other explains why the drivers are so big: theyre wrapped in coolers. That covers for most circumstances.
As an emergency backup, a temperature sensor is connected to the dc-supply with a protection circuit.
 Im impressed to see how much care went into each detail. 
 Josh
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martinshorn
Germany
Posts 107
Joined on 04-14-2017

Post #: 6
Post ID: 24837
Reply to: 24836
Beryllium and inversed phase plug
Something they mustve obviously done better than others using beryllium. Judging the sound. In a positive way. 
The lower 3 are titanium, but all upper 3 are 4/3/2 inch BE sourced from truextend. 
The suspensenion however is soft and allows excursion.
In order to solve the field coil issue described earlier, along with long throat colorations, they mounted the horn onto the diaphragm side of the magnet.
This will not press the sound through the magnet but release immediately from the phaseplug free to the horn. 
By using WE/goto oldfashioned phaseplugs however, the bandwidth suffers. Also the groupdelay on the upper knee.
This was improved in using a modern radial-multi-slid which is not possible on the front-firing-driver.
Their solution was to invert the dome towards the magnet, with a negative dome-shape pole-plate.
By that a normal slit-plug is used in a front-fire towards the throat, outside of the magnet.
As a next, they did not use standard slit-plugs. All industry is using conical constant widening phase-plugs.
Actually being more precise, the throat should start curved already as a continuation of the horn shape.
This was applied on all drivers, which is a lot more complex and expensive to manufacture.  

 The lower octaves are also tangerine plugs, while the upper are radial.
Theyre using non-standard metal plugs to keep resonance rining of plugs above their operating range.
The tweeters use heavy soft non metallic plugs with a resonance below operating range.
The faceplate is mounted on the horn in a way that the phase-plugs are immediately on the horn-throat.
It was nice to see the seemless transition with my torch. 
 

The BE brakeup combined with soft long excursion suspension gives the drivers the advantage of huge bandwidth, used for one nice extra feature described later in the devices part (amps etc.).   
It was nice to talk to the Son and engineer providing proud all details with glow in the eyes, instead of rejecting like other companies "this is proprietary secret". You can really see they love what theyre doing Smile  
Josh
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Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 7
Post ID: 24838
Reply to: 24836
OK, it is more clear now, thanks to you.
 martinshorn wrote:
Indeed you sound a little racist, but i think we all have our prejudice.  

 
I do not think that it is racist in any way or form. Racism is a prejudice against a race in my case it is prejudice and historical narrative against a country able/wiling to furnish a certain class of high-end products.

 martinshorn wrote:
I also listened to Cessaro, again this year, multiple times, and to cut the off-topic short: theyre no good. They lack all dynamics, colors, beauty. They have no faulty tonality or something obvious, theyre simply dead and unpleasant. I tried to share my thoughts with the main representative. He did not care, as all the other arrogant morones on the exhibition.
I have no interest to defend Cessaro and I in fact never heard them. There are zillions reasons why they might not sound good but it is not eliminate the fact that Cessaro were the first topologically-properly made horns.

 martinshorn wrote:
The dad is the sponsor, initiator and CEO. He had many horns, including Goto, Ale, etc. He was not pleased so asked his son to develop one.
His son is an engineer. As he got deeper into the topic, they spotted the need to do everything, from DAC down to the horn and driver and all inbetween.
Theyre doing DAC, preamp, poweramp, fieldcoil-current-unit, drivers and horns.
He gathered a team of developers, things took a route and so on.
Now as you throw names, youre actually throwing right direction, Sam Saye and Bruce Edgar are part of their team. He did design the horns, and theyre 1:1 according his supervision. The diaphragm are customized by Truextend which involves Saye as much as the field coil.
It is nice to know. Thanks for sharing the information.
 
 martinshorn wrote:
So first in line, the horns.  They stressed out that particularly the horn flares where not within the comfort zone of their own developer team. That triggered the recruitment of Bruce Edgar. The design is only his, and they took it 1:1.
I wonder how the relationship with Bruce was structured. I feel it is very important. If they used Bruce as a contractor who designed to them horns then they are not entitled to drum the Mr. Edgar’s name and promote Bruce and some kind of “founder”. If Bruce is the “shareholder" of the company and have ingoing participation in the company developed then it is fine but please let Bruce to vet  the marketing BS that they make publicly available and at present time their on-line presentation sound like they are clueless.

 martinshorn wrote:
Now Bruce Edgar advised to vary the horn shapes depending on their usage. He advised, not like LeCleach, to have one flare only, but rather use faster opening in the higher octaves, more narrow in the lower.The fast opening is supposed to be benefitial for the sound perception in heights. So the upper 3 are tractrix, with 3 different opening rates or t-factors. The higher the octave, the smaller the t-rate. The fundamental horn is non tractrix but exponential. Though, the t-rate is much higher. That lowers the Q of the horn, and us such, smoothenes the group delay, and together with crossover gives a lower order roll-off.
That is super intelligent and applaud Mr. Edgar for going in this direction.

 martinshorn wrote:
In the base, Bruce chose to use a 3 meter hyperbolic with even higher t-rate.
Indeed the roll-off balances nicely most room modes and boominess (i can confirm it was very dry and clean transient in the lows).
This “dry and clean transient in the lows” when we are talking about bass hos is something that I very much do not like in bass horns. It is VERY hard to get there but it is VERY none-musical. It is very impressive during demonstrations but in my view is very much annoying. Bass need to have fast transient but to be wet not dry. A dry bass does not provide a proper harmonic support to lover mid-range. This is the ugly bass that Goto, ALE and the rest of high-flax drivers produce. There is way to deal with it but I do not see folks are looking in this direction.

 martinshorn wrote:
Bruce Edgar decided to use the mouth and flare functions collaborating with the driver and crossover, shaping the final crossover Q's.
So, Bruce will be deciding and designing crossovers for them?
 
 martinshorn wrote:
Now, coming to the field coil, they had nice ideas.
They were not pleased with soft magnets.But also they dared to take the Goto apart to measure the flux. I guess no one did that before, Including Goto themselves. They found to have only 1.6 of the claimed 2.4. Funny enough...
That actually confirms the theory of a buddy i know who sais according to their material and geometry Goto cannot reach that high tesla.
Doesnt matter, Goto sounds nice, and thats what matters. 
But how to get real 2.4 tesla? 
So they got Sam on the boat, and just did hugely oversized field coils.
The saturation clips at 2.2 tesla. 
I absolutely do not support this way of thinking and I think to peruse higher tesla number is very much foolish idea. Why one need to go 2.4T? The T number is relevant ONLY in context of performance of a specific diaphragm, a specific suspension type, a specific type of loading, a specific driver range etc… There is absolutely no need to get max T from an abstract driver.
 
 martinshorn wrote:
What they do, they have one big device that looks like an amp, that has one individual circuit per driver, so 10 in total (2x5), for the field coils. Its a current-driven dc-amp. That makes the voltage variable, but constant current. By that the warmup is eliminated. The transients are are back to full attack. Theres even an eddy-current flux sensor integrated with a feedback-loop to the dc-amp that compensates the flux-modulation. This really kills even the tiniest motor-distortion possibly left. The next problem in line then was the temperature in this design. The coils did just melt down. Also they didnt fit the magnet around the phase-plug, and the throat-tunnel became very long which was coloring sound.This was solved by 2 steps, one is described later within the phase-plug part.The other explains why the drivers are so big: theyre wrapped in coolers. That covers for most circumstances.
Ok, the invested in some field-coil investigation, this is nice. Probably they bought out or licensed the Sam Saye’s idea, or perhaps brought him aboard. Indeed, there is some complexity to saturate electro-magnetic force at a very focusing pint and to keep the things cool enough in order do not introduce dynamic “sinking” as the field-coil getting hot. One way to do so do not go after crazy amount of Teslas.  Different companies resolve the problem differently, I have no idea why no one go for liquid cooling, it would be so simple and so effective.  The variable voltage at electro-magnet makes me very uncomfortable.  If they still experimenting with it then it is fine but at the final product if much not be there.


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 8
Post ID: 24839
Reply to: 24837
Thanks....
 martinshorn wrote:
It was nice to talk to the Son and engineer providing proud all details with glow in the eyes, instead of rejecting like other companies "this is proprietary secret". You can really see they love what theyre doing 
Indeed, is it is very nice to hear about it.
 
Regarding the rest that you described in the “Beryllium and inversed phase plug” section. Is it along the line what the RCA 900 drivers were doing? What you described is interesting but it has very little theoretical sense as it would be useful ONLY to the people who practically experimented with all of it. There are very few people out there who more or less methodologically honestly played with all of this, it would be literally a dozen alive people at the whole planet. So, it is very hard to analyze or to try extrapolate any causelity or dependencies in this field as no one has any sensible references about what cause what. They make a complete driver with own combination of diaphragm, suspension, geometry, materials, plugs, the exits channels, the damping principles and many other know and not know factors. We can only evaluate a complete holistic result (sound) but I do not know if anyone could attribute a specific sonic characteristic of a complete driver to a minute aspect of a given driver design.  We can say that some universally bad sonic aspects might be correlated with some universally bad design decisions of compression driver but it is a very murky territory. So, I am glad that the ESD people are happy with their design but even listening their explanations I do not know what it means.


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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martinshorn
Germany
Posts 107
Joined on 04-14-2017

Post #: 9
Post ID: 24840
Reply to: 24839
Explosion
Hi Romy 
 No offense, i really meant we all have our prejudice due to experience. 
 
I dono the RCA but i think the old ones didnt have slits or?You can actually see it leaning towards the screen here on that explosion-drawing how its built.Look at the dia-plug-throat zone:http://tempuri.org/tempuri.html
 
 I agree they took a lot on their sholders. But not even all the driver from scratch. Even all electronics.Its kind of crazy a bit, and i bet they mustve licensed some topologies of their electronics from others.Though they insist its all theirs. The DAC even has its patent. Or, either majority of industry is lazy or those guys never sleep. I mean, i know it from software development side.Some startups kick ass within 2 years from 0 to hero. While big corps strugle years for shitty updates.Why not in audio too... 

Josh
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Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,130
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 10
Post ID: 24841
Reply to: 24839
Hi-Tech
Josh, thanks for sharing.  Of course I have not listened to these speakers, but I can say their marketing looks and reads pretty much the same as other manufacturers who aim at wealthy nerds who want to own "the best".  Altec-Lansing was very much like this when they started trying to reach "consumers" in the early 60s.  I agree with Romy that there is no "proof" that higher flux density makes better music in one's home, yet this old saw keeps getting passed around like it's Gospel.  I also agree that there are probably fewer than 12 people on the planet who have made a significant, "rational" study of the relationships between different materials and configurations and the sound they make when embedded in various *repeatable* systems and environments.  Really, this is the work of a lifetime, and it is also the stuff of madness, if you ask me, and it remains true that it's still a matter of taste.  Happy is he who simply happens upon something acceptable that - somehow - simply "works" for him.  While I would not try to take away from any success that anyone ever got, the various "lines of logic" in hi-fi are too myriad to effectively "explain" everything in entirety, IMO, so they -in effect - wind up making a sort of "tapestry" or "fugue"  of information that is relatively germane but it really neither fully explains nor fully guides a person in search of "the ultimate sound".  Not saying there's anything wrong with the end products shown here; but I see no compiled reasoning that shocks like lightning.  People will still have to pay their money and take their chances.


Best regards,
Paul S
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martinshorn
Germany
Posts 107
Joined on 04-14-2017

Post #: 11
Post ID: 24843
Reply to: 24841
Yes just hi tech
Hi Paul. Dont get me wrong, i dont want to sound like advertising it. Yet they made me excited with their approach and achievement. So I cant prevent sharing a little. Of course investing huge effort & ressources wont guarantee amazing results. Look at Cessaro, theyre using great stuff and it reads like the best ever... until you listen. Ouch! But "everything could be bad, and sucks until proven otherwise" is also not the right default mindset Smile I recommend anyone to have a listen if you got the chance. 
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martinshorn
Germany
Posts 107
Joined on 04-14-2017

Post #: 12
Post ID: 24844
Reply to: 24843
Amps, electronics and voicings
So what was next...
They build the DAC, patented the clock... ok.
They build their own preamp. Fully descrete class-a balanced, john curl wouldnt do it differently. Nice. Low and adjustable gain - very nice. Constant impedance step attenuator - my favorite!
So they know how to do it.
 
The amps are silicium, not for the SET fans. But theyre all fully active. 5 mono amps per side. A total of 10 amps running in their demonstration. Pure class A, god that was hot in the room !
Well, theyre running all on a single ended MOSfet with hi bias. Nice topology! Heard, had and compared such at home... sounds pretty much like tubes.
They did not go for tubes becoz of SNR. The FETs could have way lower noise by design. Sounds reasonable. For 110dB sensitivity speakers too. Im sure though some caps couldve lowered the last dc-noise further - just no one likes caps for no reason...      Now my favorite part: The active crossover device, running prior to the amps, is very flexible. 
The steepness is variable, the frequency too. And the speaker is designed to make a difference. 
The 8" - 4" - 3" - 2" cones or respectively the more relevant here 4" - 2" - 1" throats together with different horn shapes all have different beamwidth.Now for a lively room, you can just set all XO higher.In a dry environment you can put them all down.The lower the steeper, it also influences the lobing and so on.The system will be installed incl. voicing service.I know everyone can do the same but... Not if you dont care to have such continuous proportional size steps. And most of all: the beryl + hixcursion gives way higher bandwidth (±6 octaves) than normal horns (>2 octaves).
Funny enough, they arrived some days earlier but not the speakers.They got not time for proper voicing prior to the exhibition.So the second day i came it developed further. They had to make it in the evening between the days.It was really better the other day. 
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martinshorn
Germany
Posts 107
Joined on 04-14-2017

Post #: 13
Post ID: 24845
Reply to: 24844
Finally - the sound
Well what was special in the sound?
In general it was very good - my favorite of the whole exhibition, 3 days, and many dozens of the best commercial installations of this planet. All the big usual stuff - you name it.
Now, the dry base meant to me: it was the only one that did not have the big boom headache base.
The lows were really nicely bouncing clearly articulated.
The highs were brilliant sparkling when required - gentle as silk, or totally decent stepping into the background if not in the recording (which was mainly the case) - impressive combination. Normally sparkling and non-intrusive is hard to combine, often either or. This was particularly lovely.
 
Now 3 things really stood out, you would recognize in a second:
- percussions, guitar and transients where totally neutral, uncolored, wide open unlimited breathing - floating in the air realistically
- while strings, flutes and such steady-state instruments where still remaining their emotional harmonics, the color, the sweetness that touches
- and also, if the recording carried, the echo was projected into the room very authentic. The speaker couldnt be localized but the phantoms, their room was expanding beyond the wall, very authentic.  

To me no single one of those 3 attributes was new like oh wow thats best ever.
But I always thought you need to decide. 
Some have a balanced tonality that makes percussion like real - but steady state boring or even sharp.
Some have amazing emotion in the harmonics of strings - but you hear the honky colors in the squares / transients / percussion.
Here it was really a good combination of both worlds. And that impressed me. That you can have one without sacrifying the other.  

It was very lovely and emotional. I calmed down from the exhibition stress.
Wish i had listened even more.
Too bad the playlist was only 10 songs short and I got quickly bored Smile 
I anyhow tried to sit in a good spot, closed eyes, about 2-3 hours net focused listening to really catch a stable impression that will stand against doubt.
The room did suck a lot, about 20-30 squaremeter, really shitty and squeezed, no aircon...

Anyhow, itll be interesting to see how they develop and how others will describe their experience.

cheers,Josh
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Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,130
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 14
Post ID: 24846
Reply to: 24843
USA SOTA FUBAR
Josh, I admit I pretty much ass-u-me things sound bad until proven otherwise, because that's how it's gone for the 55 years or so I've been at this.  Still, these are just the sorts of speakers I'd go out of my way to hear, given 1/2 a chance.  Ironically, our own local T.H.E. Newport Show imploded after a particularly bad show last year, and I wonder if this year will be down to fashion models, hot rod cars, streaming audio options, apartment/dorm living options, tee shirts, and expensive long shots, like last year, only worse.  One thing I know is that "huge effort and resources" going in are often an indicator of ultimate failure in terms of the manufacturing/transport/marketing/sales/customer service matrix of running an actual hi-fi "business".  Not to mention, and as hard as it is to swallow, it's usually the "best" stuff that disappears fastest, for one reason or another, but mostly because of the tiny "market" for truly good sound.  How disheartening for the few who actually care about sound more than technology, but once those who try "the best of everything" are spent, where's the market to support an ongoing effort?  And if those idiots who do pay up are like me, they typically don't even bother to re-sell the stuff they're tired of!  Why not try the Avantgarde Duo Mezzo for a more "affordable" horn?  Also, I think you have to "customize" most factory products to integrate them and make them work in your house.



Best regards,
Paul S
05-14-2018 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
xandcg


Rio de Janeiro, BR.
Posts 161
Joined on 09-07-2014

Post #: 15
Post ID: 24847
Reply to: 24846
Too light?
Hi.

Wouldn't carbon fiber bass-horns be to light? I mean, un-prevent vibrations and similar effects?

Cheers!



Think for yourself, do not be sheep.
05-14-2018 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
anthony
Posts 187
Joined on 08-18-2014

Post #: 16
Post ID: 24848
Reply to: 24847
Is this the room?
They certainly need more room to fit things.  That is a lot of silver boxes!
20180510_180008

Did they move you like the Klaus Speth horns that you previously wrote about?  I personally can't see how they get 20Hz out of those quarter mouth horns without placing them against the wall as they have and without a filter that boosts power below the horns lower cutoff frequency.

Interesting though, and presumably pricey given the amount of "stuff" in the entire system.  Thanks for sharing. 
05-14-2018 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 17
Post ID: 24849
Reply to: 24844
Ok, Let gig it.
 martinshorn wrote:
So what was next...
They build the DAC, patented the clock... ok.
They build their own preamp. Fully descrete class-a balanced, john curl wouldnt do it differently. Nice. Low and adjustable gain - very nice. Constant impedance step attenuator - my favorite!
So they know how to do it.
 
The amps are silicium, not for the SET fans. But theyre all fully active. 5 mono amps per side. A total of 10 amps running in their demonstration. Pure class A, god that was hot in the room !
Well, theyre running all on a single ended MOSfet with hi bias. Nice topology! Heard, had and compared such at home... sounds pretty much like tubes.
They did not go for tubes becoz of SNR. The FETs could have way lower noise by design. Sounds reasonable. For 110dB sensitivity speakers too. Im sure though some caps couldve lowered the last dc-noise further - just no one likes caps for no reason...      Now my favorite part: The active crossover device, running prior to the amps, is very flexible. 
The steepness is variable, the frequency too. And the speaker is designed to make a difference. 
The 8" - 4" - 3" - 2" cones or respectively the more relevant here 4" - 2" - 1" throats together with different horn shapes all have different beamwidth.Now for a lively room, you can just set all XO higher.In a dry environment you can put them all down.The lower the steeper, it also influences the lobing and so on.The system will be installed incl. voicing service.I know everyone can do the same but... Not if you dont care to have such continuous proportional size steps. And most of all: the beryl + hixcursion gives way higher bandwidth (±6 octaves) than normal horns (>2 octaves).
Funny enough, they arrived some days earlier but not the speakers.They got not time for proper voicing prior to the exhibition.So the second day i came it developed further. They had to make it in the evening between the days.It was really better the other day. 
   
Wow, a great effort and very commendable.  The 5 way, filly active multi-amped with own smart drivers and own smart horns. Indeed, it is very noble. I do wish they make this site as presentable as the objective to make the playback. So far reading the site they presented themselves as Morons, they need to change it. 
 
Let go with some looking deeper. They claim that they have 100Hz out of midbass horn and 20hz out of bass horn. At the picture I see no more than 150Hz and 70Hz. The EQ will help of you have own amps and your drivers can handle a lot of excursion but the would make OK lower response for juts little bit, to get a full octave or two by EQ is to make bass kind of ugly. bass They would do much better to claim 40-50Hz out of bass horn and then to introduce a complimentary LF section. I am sure they will do it eventually.  
 
It does look like Bruce keep consulting them. There is no way a marketing people would turn the horns to the wall. Bruce knows that direct radiation from the horn like this would sound like sewer belching and he pointed the horn to the wall letting the bass to “developed” and do some phase randomizing.  In interactive but the only appropriate gutsy move, I am sure that it was Mr. Edgar move. Regarding the martinshorn exuberance, sorry Josh, with all respect I do not invest a lot of credibility in this case about the sound from the system under discussion. With the horns like this you should have a very well defined resonance if the very prominent bend. With the high magnetic force drivers and SS amplification with higher dumping factor they will not be able to smear the resonance and it should be VERY auditable. Add to this the EQ. Ehhh, it should be very brutal. This specific configuration when the horns have no room to develop the LF pressure and experience a huge acoustic feedback from the wall, and considering the very dramatic bend in the horn the bass should sound like a barrel, literally. Can you imagine what kind throat reactance the horn has with that amount of acoustic feedback to the driver. You Josh described the fine moments of the drivers design and fine super light diaphragms in a sexy magnetic environment but you were listening the horns with literally jack hammers ion the mouth and you report a fine performance. Sorry, man I do not buy it.
 
Design wise there is one moment that I feel is not exposed but I would like do not let it to slide. Josh you said:  “Now my favorite part: The active crossover device, running prior to the amps, is very flexible. The steepness is variable, the frequency too.” Hm, the steepness crossover point? I am the only one who scare to hear it? First of all why the hell people need a variable crossover point? Second: as the people turn the variable crossover point (steepness!!!) then how they realign the timing?  The whole idea of timing in this playback is questionable and continentally left aside of presentation. I have a feeling that if they are serious and since they own DAC and do fully active then they can run 5 DACS and do delay in DACs. This would be very elegant but the notion of steepness crossover point kill it. If it would be stepped then it might be calibrated at DAC level but if it is steepness then it is end of everything. Hold on, I need to say that IF they run a feedback back to the DACs and steepnessly alter the delays in a DACs in accordance to crossover point then I will be the first who throw a standing ovation but I do not think they would go for it. I also do not feel that it would be necessary as no one need a variable crossover points. 
 
The video at your tube give some idea wheat is going in the room. It is started at 3:20 but worth to hear other rooms to get idea how the phone that did recording made the recordings.

   

Rgs, Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
05-15-2018 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
martinshorn
Germany
Posts 107
Joined on 04-14-2017

Post #: 18
Post ID: 24850
Reply to: 24849
Putting it in relation
Good morning  
Xandg, i thought the same and asked, so i got forced to knock and touch, very heavy & firm. 
As I wrote, the gravel-filled cavity at the mouth seems to make a difference.  

Anthony, thats the rooms yes Smile It looks redicolous on the picture. Well. Not ideal.So its not fair comparing it to the German 5 way Goto from Klaus S. as he has its awesome environment build around the speaker.Anyhow, the "total experience" with Klaus S. was still several classes above ESD. Sorry to say. ESD remains one of my best experiences in commercial speakers, and if I could pick any for free, theyd be amongst the very few in consideration. And far ahead of the Vox Olympian. Thats the big surprise. 
 

Romy. I know the situation there was no good, reg. the room. But when i enter in a silent moment, clear my throat, talk, clap hands, look around....I kind of get a feeling how the room responses. You know what i mean? Then when they play songs im familar with, I have a feeling how that song or sound should be in this responding environment. So, though rooms might be all different, you still can put the speaker evaluated in relation to the surrounding.Still, this is not good enough for subtle differences. I wouldnt dare to compare 2 MC pickups in different environment of course.  
 

Anyhow. Some things are too obvious regardless of circumstances. If you compare the ESD to VoxOlympian, ESD is more airy, more open, more light and slim. And it definately puts a lot stronger accentuation on the rendering of the recording-room-echo on your stage. It sounds like, there is more space. Not neccessarily big or blured, loose flying around. Though slim, it clearly lets you see there is one phantom, there the other, inbetween there is room with echo and black space. Those attributes really hit your face. 

Now regarding 20 or 70 Hz... I saw their bass horn is 3 meter long. 
The Klipsch corner boosts full down to 90 cycles and got 1.6 meter length. But down till the cutoff 45Hz it still loads a little, with room support sounds full till <50Hz and xcursion is also damped alot, so .... My point is, double the K-horn length and calculate half the cycles, makes full boost to 45 and cutoff at 22. Theoretically. Or?  cheersJosh
05-15-2018 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 19
Post ID: 24851
Reply to: 24850
Sorry, no cigars…
 martinshorn wrote:
And far ahead of the Vox Olympian. Thats the big surprise. 
Josh, I just want to make an attempt to methodologically debug your thought proses. You found that ESD is far ahead of the Vox Olympian. It means there are specific aspect of sound with Olympian that less stimulate you then with ESD. So, my question is: what you heard the Olympian in past where you able to identify for yourself these less stimulating aspects of sound or you discovered then only with ESD or Klaus?


 martinshorn wrote:
Romy. I know the situation there was no good, reg. the room. But when i enter in a silent moment, clear my throat, talk, clap hands, look around....I kind of get a feeling how the room responses. You know what i mean?  
Nope, in this case I am not with you. I do presume that you “heard” the room and was able to factor the room into your judgments. Sorry, but the sound of the room in this case is irrelevant as the concern is not about room/listener interaction but rather room/speakers interaction. Topologically that room and that configuration should convert the bass horns into sonic torture devises. It is not because I said so, it is absolutely inevitable. You discussed how multilayered sound was but to have a multi-way squished to the back wall like this must made sound very flat and very boring, particular with longish horns. It is not my fantasies, this fact, I am sorry to disappoint you. I do not know what is in play in your liking the sound of ESD so much. I am very far from making any judgment about sound by video but the video above was shot from about right spot. If you look the sonic distortion the video has with other system then you get an idea. The sound of ESD is beyond horrible but the irony is that it is horrible in the very same direction how I predict it should be: the sound of the overdriven exponential horns. The Bruce ides to modulate the horns rate depends of the channel was very good. But I think in the case of ESD the greed killed them. The horn people juts do not know where to stop and they drive the horns MUCH further lower then they can handle. If the ESD folks stopped at 70Hz and 150Hz then they would have a nice setup but they went for 100Hz and 20Hz, effectively killing own systems. I am very convinced that Bruce would not go for it but here is where the famous “steepness and variable: crossover point in the hands of the people who not completely know what they doing played a role… Very unfortunate…
 


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
05-15-2018 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
martinshorn
Germany
Posts 107
Joined on 04-14-2017

Post #: 20
Post ID: 24852
Reply to: 24851
How i perceive things
Hi Romy, 
OK ill give you an idea: 
1. The Vox Olympian. When i first visited, they played gentle music and classic. I was paralyzed by its ability to accentuate details like the touch-sound of piano solos (keys, pedal, hammer, body-borne etc). Or emotional sweetness of a violin. It was a very musical presentation. And it all came so clear and relaxed, that it was calming me, so i stayed very long and enjoyed.
The other year i came back and intensified. They played more active, lifely, electronics, very loud, i even had to sit few meters back not to get deaf... There it was obvious that the folded horns have a complete disability to collaborate with any room imperfections. It was beyond boomy. I got headache! It was fat and so wet, all transients flooded away. Loud hi-hats hit hart beyond 100dB were way to sharp and agressive, it couldnt stay calm nor stable. So that was the part i disliked. 
 2. Klaus S. Its hard to describe. I told already everything. Litteraly there are evaluations before and after you have heard the Klaus S. system (or comparables). Before, you know that comparing speakers to a real performance isnt fair. Its just a reproduction. Like printouts cant compare to the original mona lisa. But once you see a reproduction being so poignant realistic, you have to recalibrate your rating system Smile It was just out of scale in any term.I could try to list a few imperfections here, but theyre so irrelevant. 
 
3. The ESD adjectives however are going back to how to evaluate normal speaker reproduction skills. Not like Klaus S. Like good speaker bad speaker. In those terms, look how i wrote before, and the lack of boominess combined with stage depth rendering was pleasure and faszinated me to stay 3 hours. All others on the exhibition made me leave after minutes. And the exhibition was full of stars from Wilson, Magico, Cessaro, etc etc etc... 



cheers
Josh
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