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In the Forum: Horn-Loaded Speakers
In the Thread: Aporia - Silbatone Acoustics speaker
Post Subject: 'A great truth is a truth whose opposite is also a truth' - Thomas MannPosted by Romy the Cat on: 1/14/2009

Joe, I think I would battle it.

I would not be so certain. Mostly the SUV sized bass horns are notoriously bad sounding despite of the assurances of the system owners overwhelmed with so common in audio endowment effect. Not to mention that the Stage Accompany tweeter is disgustingly compressed. The point is that words describing brands of abstract implementations where consciousness not involved do not define sound. One of my disagreements with the direction your former magazine went was exactly this disassociation between hype of the “engineering of audio solutions” and “consciousness engineering of Sound”.  You feel that naming of topology or a brand automatically implies the “promise of a tiny slice of heaven”? It is not my vision.   Let see how it all related to Silbatone.

 I do not know what Silbatone’s challenge was and what motivated them to do what they did. I do not know what among is writhen at the Silbatone’ site is written as the expressionism of true Silbatone ideas and what was composed juts to fulfill the primitive expectations of “lured to audio public”. In any case let start and stop from a fact that Silbatone is a single-driver speaker. I do not know: it might be a good single-driver speaker and 34335 Lowther’s devotee would experience multiple orgasms when they exposed to Silbatone sound. Can in such case the phrase: “We get Lowther’s listeners off harder” be used by the Silbatone people as a company slogan? Anyhow, Joe, I do not think that you shell spend too much efforts to convince me and others that there is a lot of bad audio out there. I do not think that this fact you would like to use as your justification of the Silbatone’s advances.

 Joe Roberts wrote:
…. it doesn't matter if it is a single driver speaker. It is just a speaker. What you are listening to then and there.

Yes, it is a rational view but are you sure that you are willing to use this literature at the site that concentrates at the “advanced audio and evolved music reproduction techniques”?  If you wiling people to judge your Silbatone not as a reportedly good single driver speaker but just as just a speaker then how would you explain that Silbatone simplifies sound? How do I know if I never heard the Silbatone? Well, any single-driver speaker does, the point-source by nature simplifies sound. You can’t go away with it - it is the topology. I can go to the endless hypothesis why it takes place but is it really necessary. Pay attention that  your Silbatone people with all their experience do talk a lot about complex archeology of speaker history, drool saliva about the playback for “Fantasia”, roll eyes from a loudspeaker system that were designed to  be transparent  to “transmit  the hypnotizing voice of Fuehrer”  but false to recognize the fact that single-driver loudspeaker unload complexity from  sound back-proportional with depth of bandwidth. BTW, this heavy dedication on semi-superfluous  goals was something that I found was a shortage out your formal publication – it was the process for sake of process, but again - I am not a huge fun of DIY movement generally.

 Joe Roberts wrote:
But in discussions about the Korean market, I hear that many people do count the drivers when judging price. How can a single driver cost as much as a 3 way? This cost per typology thinking has a lot of traps in it and it is one of the things that Silbatone is trying to battle. It has uses as a metric but it is very easy to misapply or go too far with the quantative logic of value ratios.

I think you are fighting virtual enemies and you do it just because you feel comfortable in this unnecessary battle. I do not “do count the drivers” and my “cost per typology” thinking does not mean what you describe. The irony that you know it very well and you know what I meant.

 Joe Roberts wrote:
So, imagine an alternative logic where the goal is to have a listener say "I don't like single drivers but the Aporia is different" or "I think SE 300B amps are junk but the Silbatone is better than my $75k Audio Research 75 watt whatever whatever" or " I never thought an 8W would play my Wilson WATT." They are out there trying to evangelize for the cause and showing off a little bit, winning people over to low power approaches, deconstructing mainstream audio marketing nonsense, and injecting their own extremist vision into the dialogue. This is why they are so concerned with having horn speakers that are friendly to big amps, and why we are presenting moderate or adequate sensitivity as a virtue. They are trying to spread the horn message to non-triode freaks, to encourage a listen.

So, you propose do not approach Silbatone as horn loudspeakers, despite to the fact that it uses horn loading. I might admit that it might be a ration way to go. It has no sensitively, no cone compliance, uses a limited dynamic range driver with dipole radiation. Would it be a good replacement for paper cone drivers? Why not if the Silbatone guys did good job.  But are we massaging technologies just for sake of massaging? Saying it I do not deny that Silbatone folk might in fact get a very good sound out of their Manger but here is an interesting twist: would the Silbatone speaker better if the Silbatone folks using all this best intention use an complimentary tweeter and a complains LF section for their loudspeaker. The honest answer to this question contains all foundation of my disagreement with what Silbatone does. Sure, with two more drivers the Silbatone would be another speaker but the “Silbatone as is” is not $5K easy-drop monitors but a near $100K loudspeaker that in my frugal view represent a serious “investment per objective”.  Here is where my “cost per typology” kicks in.

 Joe Roberts wrote:
On the eternal WE question, all I can say is that 98% of people who like or don't like Western Electric sound actually never heard a proper Western system and quite possibly heard no actual WE gear at all.

If you take a 555 driver and stick it on an Altec horn with a threaded adaptor, as I have done, this is NOT a Western Electric system, especially if you only have one channel with that flea market find. It is a WE part. These parts were installed carefully designed theater systems with purpose designed xovers and huge elaborate baffles. The parts can be good for Altec type experiments but then the systems engineering contribution of ERPI gear is not in play.

Western Electric delivers the coup de grace when you fire up some music and ask "Why the HELL does this sound so good?" There is no logical reason for it. It is old. It looks like Thomas Edison's lab. It is not even a compression driver but a "Loud Speaking Telephone." I still don't know the answer to why it works so good. It is mysterious stuff.

That's the point. The listening experience. "Experts" stand before a WE system and laugh at the old junk, then when the music comes on their jaw hits their shoe. I did it to hi-end nuts in the 80s with 124 amps and 755A in slant front wall cabinets. HaHa ha...Patsy Cline record...BANG! WTF!? The WE theater gear is on a different order of magnitude. The designer of a very famous British loudspeaker recently visited the Silbatone collection, laughed at first, and then almost died when he heard Mirrophonic. Now he is super interested in field coil speakers.

Again, I am cured of the mania but I must recognize that Western Electric speakers are among the best. There is nothing like a TA4181 field coil woofer. I guess you had to be there to appreciate what I am saying. I love 416s but they are toys compared to 4181s.

So what does it mean that this Japanese editor uses Western? MY reading is that he puts the listening experience first then goes where his ears told him to go. I don't think he is following a cult trend...if anything he is spearheading it. His "Editors Choice" is something you can't even buy, that comes from an ancient civilization. I am willing to grant the guy respect that he chose what he likes and I appreciate that there is a license in that to pursue your own taste. He can have anything...why would he slum out with inferior antique junk just to make some obscure cultural point?

Joe, I would leave the whole Western Electric saga without attention as it is the Silbatone thread. If you look at my site then you know that I “try” to keep it threads-centric. I just would say that I disagree with you and I would have a lot of say to argue this point. If you wish we can do it in an appropriate thread.

 Joe Roberts wrote:
… don't criticize the speaker for not being something else with more drivers or a ribbon instead of a diaphragn or whatever. What is there for your ears? This is hard for people like us to do. We say "Aha, single Manger in a backhorn....hmmm..." then flip through the index cards in our brain. Isolate frequency ranges for detailed critique. Mentally compare Manger and Lowther, even though Lowther is not there and has nothing to do with the occasion.

Yes, your point is well taken. What can I say – I never heard them. I do not feel myself guilty. If I did then I would sound much more confident. I based my comments on my experience with another single-driver speaker. I also base my comments on my experience (here is where read my lips) with any other case where I was proposed that the new solution “does not sound like single-driver speaker”. As many times I heard the “solution” it was always the case – the single-driver speaker problem was resolved… until the dynamic range jumped over 80dB. As soon it happened Mozart begin to sound like Johan Strauss’ polkas, the Allegro con brio from Beethoven Second Symphony begin to sound like Offenbach's can-can and the Shostakovich 8th quartet sounds like Piazzolla’s “Escualo”. But what do I know I am still a virgin as I never cried listening the Mirrophonic….

 Joe Roberts wrote:
For all the limitations, single-drivers can get me to this place or at least they have at certain points of my journey. This only works if you listen to them on their own merits rather than mentally comparing the Edgarhorn 4 way system or the TAD 4004 with a transmission line bass.

You forgot to mention that the Edgarhrns are 9 times less expensive….

 Joe Roberts wrote:
  I am not sure this is a fair question because the scale of a big horn is so impressive that nothing really compares on sheer impact. It cannot be ignored. it is a different game. The good single driver experience is a more subtle and intimate affair, not for the circus.

Saying it you knowledge the handicap nature of “good single driver experience”, do you. If you are able to cry while your Mirrophonic system plays a suffocate girl with a balalaika at the right and school-stolen mid-dram on the left then be my guest. I hardly feel that the “single driver experience” is good for anything else at least above 85dB. Sure if you play in a closer then it is another story… Sorry, can’t help to mock you a little.

 Joe Roberts wrote:
  Maybe the Aporia experiment will get people to give the single-driver topology a first listen or, in some cases, a second chance. The Manger driver does bring a new flavor to the art and beats the famous paper cones in some respects. The five-figure manufacturing cost of a pair Aporia horns is a serious effort to provde the best foundation for the driver to do its thing. And it is wild looking enough to get people to pay attention.  An interesting and educational product, I think.

Agree, educational, No argument there.

The Cat

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