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11-24-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat

Boston, MA
Posts 9,989
Joined on 05-27-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 12345
Reply to: 12345
How many channels does an acoustic system need?

It is not as naive question as you think. Naivety is what the Morons with a so-called full-range drivers demonstrate, feeling that a single driver acoustic system has some kind or theoretical or practical advantage.  Sure, to reproduce “a girl with a banjo” or “a blind grandpa with balalaika” one does not need a lot from playback. However, if one has an interest to get out playback more result with more complex martial then how many channels does a playback need to cover the full range?

Sure it would greatly depending from the topology of channels but my general attitude on this subject is following: the more independents channels properly used is better. The intermodulations, intermodulations and one more time intermodulations. Killing the intermediations is very much a key and to killing the opportunities for intermediations by properly slicing the acoustic channels and properly slicing amplification is in my view is recipe for more fruitful complex sound.

So, what would be an ultimate amount a channels that a truly full-range playback need? Well, probably it would be an infinitely high that would not be theoretically or practically sane or useful. Still, fishing in the mad water of imagination I would propose that 10 channels sounds to me like a very good solution.

  •  We do need a LF resonator. The sub 30Hz frequencies live in own would with own rule of engagement
  •  Midbass-Upperbass –the most important channels. It might be one channel or two channels – all depends from topology
  •  Lower MF channel. I do insist the it is VERY important channel that takes load (Doppler, intermodulation, etc)  out of MF
  •  MF channels. It might be one, two or three channels in there performing different tonal, anti- intermodulation, and other duties.
  •  HF channel or channels.  Although I would be very conservative in multiplying the HF transducers but I might understand multiple tweeters, one let say up to 16K and another from 16K and up.

So, counting the channels we can see 10 independently driven and independently radiating channels. I think those configurations have a lot advantage to handle complex intermodulated sound.  Most of the loudspeakers out there are losing very aggressively if they care complex sound.  Almond those few that can more or less maintain integrity under complex signal most of them are taken apart by complex signal playing loud.  If you filter out in those cases the problem with amplification, power deficiency, A/B crossover distortion, A2 class, suspension distortion, flux compression, intermodulation in electronics and the rest nastiness and see how different acoustic systems behave then it would be very clearly that the more channels playback has the more volume/complexity stress it can handle. 

There is only one think better then multiple channels - the properly implemented multiple channels. But the “properly implemented multiple channels” are rare and they share the same characteristic as virgins in Paris – both of them are very expensive….

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
03-10-2019 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree

Posts 425
Joined on 07-05-2012

Post #: 2
Post ID: 25301
Reply to: 12345
More loaded questions...
A “casual” look at full range usually results in 3 or 4 way playback for standard dynamic drivers or horns. There are a handful of “full range” commercial efforts from Edgar, Wilson, JBL, etc that are doing similar things with the range of each channel.

I think that it is wrong to assume that any company optimizes acoustical problems with multi driver systems. They could, but they do not. Most of the “highest end” systems that I have heard had very disconnected first and last octaves. Turning off the super tweeter and subwoofer often improves the playback dramatically.

I heard a very convincing 2-way not too long ago. A Quad ELS 63 with a VERY well integrated sealed box LF (<80 Hz). There were certainly warts in the playback, but far less than most 4 and 5 way systems that I have heard. Granted, we did not play Tschaikovsky 4 at concert level, but Dietrich Fischer Dieskau and Gerald Moore with the “Schöne Müllerin” series worked very well at “live” row 5 levels.

So, I guess from my perspective, I would say that it depends. With bandpass devices like horns, we have different constraints than with other architectures. I would very much like to figure out some type of acoustic sump for the dipole electrostats that really soaked up the back plane. Then a 2 or 3 way could be very attractive.

Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.
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