View Full Version : GPA (Great Plains Audio) 15 inch 604-8H-ll


SixCats!
04-18-2007, 07:22 PM
Hi all,

I was just wondering if any AK'ers either own and/or have heard
the BIG 15" GPA 606-8H-ll FULL RANGE DRIVERS ? I called GPA today
(curious Cat that I am) seeking to learn the cost of such drivers.
WHOA! $750.00 EACH driver! I thought to myself, "Wow...expensive!" However, as the day passed, I began thinking "ummmm, perhaps $1,500.00 for a PAIR of 15" FULL RANGE DRIVERS (less cabinets) is really NOT that bad a deal should the GPA 604-8H-ll's be truly SUPERIOR performers".
I mean, lol, even the cost of the GPA's with CUSTOM Cabinets should be a BARGIN compared to MANY other HIGH END speaker systems. LOL, I figure it has got to be less expensive that a pair of TANNOY WESTMINISTER! Anyway, I was just wondering.

Regards,
SixCats!

Zilch
04-18-2007, 07:38 PM
Ask GPA to provide you with the response curve.

$1500 is very good territory for complete DIY systems.

You can build some spectacular compression driver/horn two-way systems with that budget....:thmbsp:

SixCats!
04-18-2007, 08:23 PM
Hi Z,

Yea, ya know, the more I think about it, $1500.00 (while still a good chunk of change) is truly NOT that much money for a (start) to a GREAT speaker system. I truly enjoy my (what I believe) are HEATHKIT Cabinets with a
(borrowed from Capt. Scary) 12" full range NORELCO drivers. However, after hearing the 15" EV (and University) speakers/horns system I recently bought with those VERY large Cabinets, I can't but help wonder, how would
15" CO-AXIAL FULL RANGE drivers (i.e. ALTEC 604's, TANNOY's, etc.) sound in K-horn size (or bigger) Cabinets ? I suspect if done correctly, it must be a thing a BEAUTY!

Regards,
SixCats!

dgwojo
04-18-2007, 08:29 PM
They sure look interesting; GPA 604-8HII (http://www.greatplainsaudio.com/downloads/604_8H_II.pdf)

bowtie427ss
04-18-2007, 08:55 PM
They sure look interesting
And for the same admission price or less than their well used vintage counterparts seem to bring.

I listen to 15 inch duplexes almost daily, at a 5-6 foot listening distance in a 15 x 16 room they surpass any other 2 way design these ears have heard, and in my listening room, these ears have the final say.

EDIT: FWIW, there is much to be gained from crossover mods. For those that want to dive in real deep building their own scratch networks, you can find all of the HF/LF phase relationships for the various Altec duplexes on Jeff Markwart's website.

macaltec
04-18-2007, 10:48 PM
Not to detract from the GPA drivers but I am curious about these http://www.bmspro.info/index.php?show=item&usbid=10282&id=5060110 and the cost is much lower. Another link http://www.assistanceaudio.com/02_coaxials.html

gamalot
04-19-2007, 12:13 AM
Not to be a spoil sport here but if GPA made them, you can bet your A$$ they are very good!

We spend alot of time here mincing words about vintage stuff while GPA keeps all us Altec lovers in sweet music, weather it be repairing the old or providing the new!

Please don't bite the hand that keeps us fed!

Gary

dshoaf
04-19-2007, 12:47 AM
Hi Z,

Yea, ya know, the more I think about it, $1500.00 (while still a good chunk of change) is truly NOT that much money for a (start) to a GREAT speaker system. I truly enjoy my (what I believe) are HEATHKIT Cabinets with a
(borrowed from Capt. Scary) 12" full range NORELCO drivers. However, after hearing the 15" EV (and University) speakers/horns system I recently bought with those VERY large Cabinets, I can't but help wonder, how would
15" CO-AXIAL FULL RANGE drivers (i.e. ALTEC 604's, TANNOY's, etc.) sound in K-horn size (or bigger) Cabinets ? I suspect if done correctly, it must be a thing a BEAUTY!

Regards,
SixCats!

SixCats, I'm sure you must have seen this guy's site, then?

http://www.wardsweb.org/Billfort/

Cheers,

David

Zilch
04-19-2007, 12:59 AM
I listen to 15 inch duplexes almost daily, at a 5-6 foot listening distance in a 15 x 16 room they surpass any other 2 way design these ears have heard, and in my listening room, these ears have the final say.BMS/811 network is posted:

http://audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?p=1131453#post1131453

Not to be a spoil sport here but if GPA made them, you can bet your A$$ they are very good!Not 'til someone measures them or GPA publishes performance specs they're willing to stand behind, Gary.... :no:

Zilch
04-19-2007, 01:07 AM
However, after hearing the 15" EV (and University) speakers/horns system I recently bought with those VERY large Cabinets, I can't but help wonder, how would 15" CO-AXIAL FULL RANGE drivers (i.e. ALTEC 604's, TANNOY's, etc.) sound in K-horn size (or bigger) Cabinets ? I suspect if done correctly, it must be a thing a BEAUTY!Hi, SixCats.

What you don't yet seem to understand is that the specific driver design parameters dictate the size and tuning of the cabinet according to a desired system performance. Sticking a driver in a big box does not necessarily produce a better sounding speaker. Coax or no, there's an optimum box alignment for each driver and application.

If you're really interested in this stuff, invest in Dickason's Loudspeaker Design Cookbook and read up to learn what it's all about and how to do it.... :thmbsp:

gonzomeep
04-19-2007, 02:11 AM
SixCats, I'm sure you must have seen this guy's site, then?

http://www.wardsweb.org/Billfort/

Cheers,

David Not to mention Wardsweb is an Administrator here on Audio Karma :yes:

gonzomeep
04-19-2007, 02:15 AM
They sure look interesting; GPA 604-8HII (http://www.greatplainsaudio.com/downloads/604_8H_II.pdf) There is something so nice about the way the 604 series sound. That's probably why so many people own them. They've done an excellent job with the updated version, I wish they were a bit closer, I'd go have a listen.

Billfort
04-19-2007, 07:55 AM
Not to mention Wardsweb is an Administrator here on Audio Karma :yes:So is Billfort - the guy who built those. :)

Yes, $1500 is a lot of money for a pair of drivers and doing the cabinets and and crossovers right for these isn't cheap either but based on what I hear from my Altec 604's, it's an option worth considering if you want to shop in this price league - especially if you don't have a large listening room.

You'll always get lots of opinions and focus on specs, measurements, other approaches, ways of doing speakers 'better', cheaper, etc. but for me it all comes down to listening and this is how I developed a love for 604's. I think speakers are a critical link in building a nice sounding system (which includes everything from source through to the listening room) and buying speakers right based on listening is the way to go when laying out big dollars like this.

IMO, If you are considering speakers like this, other people's opinions are interesting and great for pointing out options but listen, listen, listen and you won't be disappointed.

mhardy6647
04-19-2007, 10:17 AM
If they preserve the sound of the 604's, they're readily worth $1500 a pair.

gamalot
04-19-2007, 11:24 AM
BMS/811 network is posted:

http://audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?p=1131453#post1131453

Not 'til someone measures them or GPA publishes performance specs they're willing to stand behind, Gary.... :no:

No argument here Zilch. I wouldn't know a 604 if I tripped over one but speak more from experience with other woofers and drivers I have had repaired and rebuilt at GPA. The man goes above and beyond paying particular attention to details few ever would.
I am not sure GPA even has the equipment to test and publish the results but I would love to see a member here with a pair send them out to you and get it done.
One thing that has surely come of all of this is your roll as the "Myth Buster" and the 802-8G simply does not stand up to scrutiny as I thought it might.
My Buddy, member Hillman, always complained there was something missing about the sound from his completely refurbed 19s.
Could it be where the 802-8G falls off?????

Gary

Zilch
04-19-2007, 01:07 PM
My Buddy, member Hillman, always complained there was something missing about the sound from his completely refurbed 19s.
Could it be where the 802-8G falls off?????I'd encourage Hillman to make the requisite $250 investment in a pair of the recommended alternative drivers and evaluate for himself. As Billfort stated above, listening is the bottom line. There are likely other issues with M19, but having decent drivers is place is most essential.

I could probably have tweaked 802-8G into submission with respect to HF extension; it was the lack of uniformity I found most unsettling. It's simply not possible to generate a coherent soundstage or stable image with the pair of refurbished drivers I tested.

As you saw, the curves for the alternatives virtually superimpose; the designer and manufacturer seem to know the variables and have them well under control. If Hillman doesn't like them, he'll likely find a willing buyer here on AK who'd want to give them a try in one or another system....

gonzomeep
04-19-2007, 01:49 PM
So is Billfort - the guy who built those. :)
Right-O Billfort. As Johnny Carson used to say: " I did not know that" :no: . Cool. As for whether or not the 802-8G has a problem or not, I cannot hear it. Thousands of people/owners would tend to agree, I believe. How many of us bought, or did not buy, speakers because someone said they didn't look good on a graph? I've never heard anyone say that the M19's top-end had problems. Hell, I was surprised with my pair. Is it the all-time #1, no. You could do a lot worse, for sure.

SixCats!
04-19-2007, 07:05 PM
Hi all,

I just want to say THANK YOU to all you guys for all the information/links you've provided. Well, truthfully, I do NOT know what direction I will go regarding speakers (I'm sure more than one). This much I can say, in my over thirty years as a hobbiest, I have listened to and/or owned a lot of different Speakers. At times, I have enjoyed them all!
I own (or have owned) DCM Time Windows,
KLIPSCH Heresy's, PIONEER HPM 100's, JBL 4311B Control Monitiors,
KEF 102's, BOSTON ACOUSTIC A-70's, to name a few. Presently,
I listen to my THIEL 03A's, ESS AMT 1's, and my HEATHKIT's
(with 12" NORELCO full range drivers). I also own a large pair of WHARFEDALE W90's (needs new caps, a work in progress) as well as
the large "homemade" Cabinets I picked up this past Easter Sunday
(one houses the EV 15" Woofer EV and EV horns) and the other
(houses the 15" UNIVERSITY Woofer and UNIVERSITY horns).
That being said, since I now own some basic (but decent)
TUBE gear, I find myself listening to (and enjoying) the more efficent type of speakers. I find that I am listening to my HEATHKIT with the 12" NORELCO's more than ANY Speaker system I own! There is just "SOMETHING" about this type of sound that works for me! I find that I can listen for hours on end and not grow tired. OK, now that I have had a chance to listen to large the "homemade" Speaker with their BIG 15" Woofers and HORNS, I must say that I am very IMPRESSED! However, I have NOT had a chance to do any "long term" listening with these large Speakers
(which are presently located in my Garage loft). I don't know if I am likely to grow tired (or not) listening to such a system, only time will tell.
I can say this much, I sure LOVE the DYNAMICS/IMPACT/RANGE etc. of this type of Speaker system. So, this all leads me to my current thinking :
how might a 15" co-axial/full range driver system
(in the proper Cabinets) sound in a (somewhat) large room ?
(approx. 20' x 20'). I only wish I had a chance to hear such a system!
However, being here in Maine....anyway. So, in a "NUTSHELL" lol, I guess what I am trying to say is, might 15" full range/co-axial drivers
(in the proper cabinets) give me the benifits I enjoy in a 12" full range driver system but, only MORE ? I sure hope my rambling makes some sense lol.

Regards,
SixCats!

Zilch
04-19-2007, 07:29 PM
So, in a "NUTSHELL" lol, I guess what I am trying to say is, might 15" full range/co-axial drivers
(in the proper cabinets) give me the benifits I enjoy in a 12" full range driver system but, only MORE ? I sure hope my rambling makes some sense lol.I don't know anything about your Norelcos, but Altec 604s are NOT full-range, and ARE notoriously inaccurate. Think the 4311Bs you're are already familiar with, which were originally modeled (4310) to mimick the Altec 604 voicing.

I also don't know how much of that GPA has "fixed" in their redesign, but I'd sure want to get the facts before I dropped $1500 plus crossovers and cabinets on a pair of their new drivers. :yes:

I've already suggested a path to "DYNAMICS/IMPACT/RANGE" for you requiring far less expenditure....

macaltec
04-19-2007, 08:16 PM
I don't know anything about your Norelcos, but Altec 604s are NOT full-range, and ARE notoriously inaccurate. Think the 4311Bs you're are already familiar with, which were originally modeled (4310) to mimick the Altec 604 voicing.

I also don't know how much of that GPA has "fixed" in their redesign, but I'd sure want to get the facts before I dropped $1500 plus crossovers and cabinets on a pair of their new drivers. :yes:

I've already suggested a path to "DYNAMICS/IMPACT/RANGE" for you requiring far less expenditure....

Damn you're brave.

Zilch
04-19-2007, 09:23 PM
Damn you're brave.From the GPA data sheet:

These different parts of the Model 604-8H-II - the low-frequency
section, the high-frequency diaphragm, the RADIAL-WAVE™ phasing
system, the small constant-directivity horn, and the powerful FerriteV
magnetic assemblies - all combine in the Model 604-8H-II to create a
loudspeaker capable of uniform, peak-free reproduction throughout the
range of human hearing, thus making it ideal as the loudspeaker of choice
where natural, unadulterated sound reproduction is required.

Well, I'm having difficulty reconciling GPA's own promotional claims with any thesis relating performance similarity to prior 604s. GPA themselves seem to be desirous of transcending the known Altec legacy with an "improved" design. :dunno:

From the Lansing Heritage "History" pages:

The second significant JBL monitor from the late 60's would become an industry legend. That was the 4310 bookshelf monitor. The 4310 had a unique design goal. That was, to mimic the sonic character of the industry standard 604 in a small package. Even though JBL was making inroads in the monitor business, they could not displace the 604's reputation as an industry standard. What is interesting, is that the 604 was anything but accurate. It had a pronounced midrange peak and a high frequency response that is noticeably rolled off. However, because it had become ubiquitous in studios throughout the 40's and 50's, it became a reference that all studio engineers knew how to work with. This was arguably more important than accuracy since it was a consistent basis of comparison.

In any case, here's the BB6P recommended alignments from the T/S parameters provided on the GPA data sheet:

1) "High Fidelity" - 3.78 cuft, Fb = 42.11 Hz, F3 = 65.4, F10 = 40.55

2) "Extended Bass" - 7.68 cuft, Fb = 33.04 Hz, F3 = 69.2, F10 = 30.41

It'd be good if someone else ran them independently to verify:

fredt300b
04-20-2007, 06:51 AM
Great Plains Audio will be an exhibitor at the Lone Star Audio Fest in Dallas on May 4-6. It would be helpful if somebody who's familiar with the Altec sound would visit their room and comment here on the sound of their drivers. Dallas isn't too far from San Antonio, and I'm hoping Wardsweb, our resident Texas Altec expert, will be there.

http://www.lonestaraudiofest.com/

cableguy
04-20-2007, 07:51 AM
Not to be a spoil sport here but if GPA made them, you can bet your A$$ they are very good!

We spend alot of time here mincing words about vintage stuff while GPA keeps all us Altec lovers in sweet music, weather it be repairing the old or providing the new!

Please don't bite the hand that keeps us fed!

Gary
Not to be an even bigger spoil sport, but how is comparing other company offerings "Biting the Hand....." Competition should in theory be a good thing. Especially when it comes to the over inflated Altec pricing nowadays. Should we all buy from one purveyor and blindly trust that they are the "do all, end all" regarding these types of drivers. Myself, I would rather have choices....
If GPA has what I want and the price is right they will get my business. If not, then I will spend my money elsewhere. Maybe I'm looking for different performance parameters and someone else "gets it done" for a better price.....:scratch2:
This not by any means a slam on GPA, but in defense of a fellow AKers opinion being questioned regarding vintage gear replacement. GPA is one option when heading down this road, not the only option.

gamalot
04-20-2007, 08:15 AM
I agree with you 100% Cableguy!
My dealings with GPA have all been outstanding so I gladly plug for the good guys when I can. GPA does a fantastic job keeping many of us singing sweet.

That is not to say every speaker they build is the end all do all. Show me one company that makes or sells numerous models and every one is perfect!

As Zilch pointed out, the 604 enjoys some fame that may or may not be apparent in the graphs when tested, old or new ones.
As Bilfort pointed out, only your ears are what really matters when you are listening.

My point was just that GPA provides a very high degree of service that is mostly unheard of in our passions and should be respected for this. Many here simply can't find parts or service for the speakers they love because the company is gone or will no longer support their old products. Altec fans have support, thats all!

Gary

cableguy
04-20-2007, 09:15 AM
I agree with you 100% Cableguy!
My dealings with GPA have all been outstanding so I gladly plug for the good guys when I can. GPA does a fantastic job keeping many of us singing sweet.

That is not to say every speaker they build is the end all do all. Show me one company that makes or sells numerous models and every one is perfect!

As Zilch pointed out, the 604 enjoys some fame that may or may not be apparent in the graphs when tested, old or new ones.
As Bilfort pointed out, only your ears are what really matters when you are listening.

My point was just that GPA provides a very high degree of service that is mostly unheard of in our passions and should be respected for this. Many here simply can't find parts or service for the speakers they love because the company is gone or will no longer support their old products. Altec fans have support, thats all!

Gary
Gary,
Well said, I do not have the Altec fever like a lot of my fellow Akers so my opinions are not as "close to the bone" as an enthusiast might be. I too have my staple sellers that I trust and support as well.

bowtie427ss
04-20-2007, 09:32 AM
In a nutshell, when somebody makes a test/sampling microphone that has either perfectly flat response, or a response that's identical to that of my ears, (and BTW, my ears vary between left and right like most folk's) then and only then will i make purchases and judgements based soley on printed documentation or one individual researcher's findings.

After over more than 100 posts telling us all how sub-standard, and ill responding the Altec drivers are, i have yet to see ANYONE question the test equipment, methods, or environment in which the testing has been done.

IMO, what the altecs DO, still by far outweighs what they DON'T DO. That is not to imply that altecs are the be all end all HF driver, infact i have several Renkus and Emilar drivers that SOUND every bit as good as altecs, in some cases maybe better.

For instance the PAS duplexes i currently use have Renkus HF drivers on them and SOUND as good or better to me than 604's in the mid band.

Are they better?

The answer has to be at least as subjective as the wire controversy.

To my ears yes they are better, in my exact application of them, and in my listening room that's the only test that matters.

Celt
04-20-2007, 09:41 AM
While I haven't heard GPA's version of the 604's, there are members whose judgement I trust, that liked what they heard. So far everyone has been respectful of one another in this thread. Let's try to keep it that way. Thanks.

gamalot
04-20-2007, 10:29 AM
I agree with you also Bowtie427SS.

My Altecs may not be the best of anything but they are the ones I like the best.

I have heard many speakers that will outperform the Altecs on the charts and graphs yet, none have won me over to where I needed to run right out and get a set.

There simply is no Yes or No answer to anything audio except what appeals to you and even this changes over time.
I can be just as happy listening to my shop system on advents as I can with my big altecs in the living room and I won't fault any ones likes or dislikes where sound is concerned.

Gary

gonzomeep
04-20-2007, 10:52 AM
I think if GPA claimed that their newest version of the 604 was the finest speaker ever built, then the basic "show us absolute scientific proof" would have more of an argument. Fact is, they say that it is a better version of the 604. I take this to mean that if you are on the GPA site, looking for Altec 604's, you have a new model to consider, and a damn fine company to trust.
People have been saying the same old crap about Altec 604's for years, as far as it's playback response is concerned. I find it interesting that GPA can sustain a pretty big manufacturing facility soley on the back of items that might or might not look good on a graph! I also find it rather interesting that the JBL 4310 was developed as a smaller alternative to the 604, and from what I've read in the JBL literature, mimics the 604's sonic qualities!
Hmmm... :scratch2: Let's see..... The 604 is one of the most highly regarded two-ways of all time, very sought after, and still commanding huge sums for certain incarnations. Even the lesser versions will set you back some substantial coin. As for the JBL 4310 owing it's basic heritage/concept to the existance of the 604. It's only the best selling series in JBL History.

GPA has a stellar ruputation. They already know what their customers want. Their track record for providing dedicated Altec enthusiasts, otherwise, unobtainium parts and service is second to none. They don't have to prove anything to anyone at this point. I believe they know with certainty, that their customers already know what they want and what they like. If someone wants to challange their claims, integrity or motives for one of their products, I think that person should be a bit more careful with their approach/words. There is a lot of history behind the Altec legacy, going all the way back to the beginning of audio itself, and it's follower's don't take kindly to borderline reckless statements about Altec products or one of the few, if not the only source of quality Altec products in the entire world.
There is always something better. There are thousands of choices, if not tens of thousands. Upgrade/update/improvement. Some are never satified. Some need a machine to confirm everything. Some need only use their ears. Simple.

dnewma04
04-20-2007, 11:28 AM
I think that claiming the finest ever without some qualifications wouldn't merit any more proof than just that they think it's the finest speaker ever. If their are qualifications like lowest distortion, most accurate, flattest response, most coherent, etc, then graphs/charts can show that. Someone can listen to a Bose 901 and say it's the best speaker ever made, and (s)he'll be right because it's a subjective comment when made as a blanket statement. There are all kinds of companies that claim they make the finest speakers and there are a lot of people who would agree with them based on their listening preferences. On paper, the 604s don't appear to be anything special, but fans of them disagree.

I think there should always be a distinction made between making the best sounding (subjective) and most accurate (objective) and the latter often results in subjectively crappy sounding speakers to some listeners.

gonzomeep
04-20-2007, 11:40 AM
I'm with you on that Dave. I think GPA knows it too. Ever seen a nice pair of 604B's up for sale with the 1khz crossovers on ebay? $$$$$ and a big bidding war. Sometimes, one must accept that it all boils down to individual taste.

Zilch
04-20-2007, 12:52 PM
If their are qualifications like lowest distortion, most accurate, flattest response, most coherent, etc, then graphs/charts can show that.Seems to me that's what GPA is claiming for their new product, and I'm merely highlighting that as a significant departure from the legacy Altec product.

Fact is, the recording industry 30 years ago abandoned the prior 604 standard in favor of more accurate monitors. I doubt GPA's new product is faithful to that old standard; their data sheet says it's not.

Again, I cannot reconcile "A pronounced midrange peak" (Altec legacy) with "Peak-free reproduction throughout the range of human hearing" (GPA product).

Let's see the graphs.... :thmbsp:

Justen
04-20-2007, 01:14 PM
All the graphs, charts & measurements don't mean sh*t to me- of course I'm dumb as a damn post. I respect them as a test basis and certainly won't argue with Zilch who knows far more about this subject than I ever will. But I haven't heard anything that sounded better to me then the 604. Accurate? Maybe not. The finest speaker ever made? Again maybe not. But there aren't many that *sound* better. And those of us who like that inaccurate Altec sound are glad GPA is around.

Zilch
04-20-2007, 02:44 PM
In a nutshell, when somebody makes a test/sampling microphone that has either perfectly flat response, or a response that's identical to that of my ears, (and BTW, my ears vary between left and right like most folk's) then and only then will i make purchases and judgements based soley on printed documentation or one individual researcher's findings.And an apparent tough nutshell it is, too! :p:

Most contemporary measurement systems provide the facility to import a calibration file for the particular microphone used. They can be standardized within +/- 0.25 dB, typically, but you've gotta pay extra for that.

Me, I consider +/- 1 dB close enough for the work I do. Here's the factory calibration for my CLIO system. Above 10 kHz, it's certified within +/- 2 dB.

This ain't no Radio Shack SPL meter I'm using here.

[I DO have one of those, too, tho, and have measured it.... :) ]

cableguy
04-20-2007, 02:52 PM
:lurk:

Zilch
04-20-2007, 03:41 PM
After over more than 100 posts telling us all how sub-standard, and ill responding the Altec drivers are, i have yet to see ANYONE question the test equipment, methods, or environment in which the testing has been done.Well, that's a bit unfair, in my view. There's also been a lot of posts (not to mention WORK) on how to fix the systems, too.... :yes:

[How's that workin' for you, BTW?]

gamalot
04-20-2007, 05:18 PM
I think there are many who are missing the point here. We are discussing drivers that were made some 30 years ago and maintain a high status because they simply sounded good then and still do.

As a good friend (Tom Smith) once said, " According to science, a Bumble bee can't fly " yet I see them all the time in flight!

There is much to be learned from all the work and efforts that have been and is being done but it all comes back to the listeners ears and what we all perceive to be good.

It is all about the music and what each individual likes and there is yet another part to this equasion in that some have it in their brains if it does not say Altec, JBL, ADS, ESS, or any of their other favorite names then it can't be good.

I prefer to mix some of the science with some of the names and some of the theories and come up with some of the stuff I like.
I also hope they never make one speaker that does it all that we all should have.

Gary

dnewma04
04-20-2007, 07:03 PM
Except that according to science, a bumble bee can fly, and it's long been known how. ;) I have heard that many times over the last 10 years, though.

Anyway, sorry for the interruption. :)

doucanoe
04-20-2007, 07:18 PM
I think there should always be a distinction made between making the best sounding (subjective) and most accurate (objective) and the latter often results in subjectively crappy sounding speakers to some listeners.


That is so true d. I was just having a similar conversation today with ejfud. I believe that Zilch's testing measurements tell the objective truth but when the rubber meets the road it subjective evaluation that should win out. Im not trying to imply here that if it tests well that it will sound like dreck, just that we are listening to the results and not driving a high performance vehicle.

Like them or not, many tube amps bench test like crap. If you were to rely on measurements alone to determine what the amp will sound like, you might never take the time to audition one.

Im sure some of you are thinking, how convenient, the guy who doesn't test measure believes only in subjective evaluation. The truth is that I do have great respect for test data, but if I am going to own the piece It's gotta sound right to me regardless of measurements.

RC

dnewma04
04-20-2007, 07:33 PM
I should add that sometimes speakers that are accurate also sound freaking out of this world amazing.

Zilch
04-20-2007, 07:34 PM
Anyway, sorry for the interruption. :)
That's kinda where this is at, actually. Folks think we can't measure this stuff.

We can, and we can also correlate at quite high confidence levels with subjective listening evaluations.

I wish more people would take the time to read the Toole paper:

http://www.harman.com/wp/pdf/AudioScience.pdf

There's good info for everyone's interests there, but on the present subject, and specifically as to some of the opinions that have been expressed here in this thread, let me point to "The Science of Sound" beginning on P.7, and also, this statement in the summary of "Predicting Subjective Opinion" on P.20:

Among the results are conclusions that measurements with1/3-octave resolution are not adequate, that sound power or in-room measurements alone are not sufficient to predict listener preferences, and that the flatness and smoothness of high-resolution on-axis curves need to be given substantial weighting. Powerful research, and the work continues.[Emphasis added.]

The paper appears in more scientific form in the June 2006 AES Journal, for those who might find that of interest....

Zilch
04-20-2007, 07:41 PM
Like them or not, many tube amps bench test like crap. If you were to rely on measurements alone to determine what the amp will sound like, you might never take the time to audition one.Just tested an EICO HF-87 I myself built as a teenager, actually. Here's Altec 806A on 811B horn alone and with the Altec Valencia crossover, measured using both T-Amp and 50-year-old original tubes, "EICO by Mullard." Tubeheads are welcome to print this and wave it as a friggin' flag, if desired: :thmbsp:

doucanoe
04-20-2007, 07:42 PM
[QUOTE=Zilch]That's kinda where this is at, actually. Folks think we can't measure this stuff.

We can, and we can correlate at quite high confidence levels with subjective listening evaluations.

I wish more people would take the time to read the Toole paper:
QUOTE]

Thanks Zilch, I have heard many refer to it but never has a opportunity to read it.

RC

cableguy
04-20-2007, 08:09 PM
Wow Zilch, thanks for the info....that is very interesting reading for sure. Info + experience is always a good thing, no matter how you slice it......:thmbsp:

dnewma04
04-20-2007, 08:40 PM
Not to mention Dr. Earl Geddes and Lydia Lee's work forming the Gedlee Metric which has been shown to be able to predict to a very high degree (95%) whether omeone will like electronics/speakers.

Zilch
04-20-2007, 08:54 PM
Not to mention Dr. Earl Geddes and Lydia Lee's work forming the Gedlee Metric which has been shown to be able to predict to a very high degree (95%) whether someone will like electronics/speakers.Does on-axis frequency response count for much in that one?

gamalot
04-20-2007, 09:17 PM
Except that according to science, a bumble bee can fly, and it's long been known how. ;) I have heard that many times over the last 10 years, though.

Anyway, sorry for the interruption. :)

Exactly my point "D". At first science said it was not possible but ofcourse it surely was. Science was a bit off evidently!

I am truely enjoying this sparing and again, some of the science and some of the ears still don't come together as one.

I want so badly to say I don't care about what the science says yet Zilch has proven to me time and again that it does infact matter.

To what degree it matters to my own personal ears is where I continue to be stumped. The charts and graphs say this is good yet my ears like that.

I have followed many of the upgrades and had great satisfaction from some and not a bit of difference from others. Seems like every time I try to do some "Blind testing" with friends who simply don't know squat, they tend to like sounds that I don't or pick a particular speaker/upgrade that does nothing for me.

If I had a speaker building business with a magic dial to tune speakers to exactly what my customers love, I am quite sure the dial would be different for all of them. I am also quite sure as soon as they get them home and in their room and on their system they would want me to come over with the magic dial.

Gary

Zilch
04-21-2007, 03:44 AM
If I had a speaker building business with a magic dial to tune speakers to exactly what my customers love, I am quite sure the dial would be different for all of them. I am also quite sure as soon as they get them home and in their room and on their system they would want me to come over with the magic dial.Your magic dials are shown on P.7 of the Toole paper, Gary.... :thmbsp:

theophile
04-21-2007, 04:01 AM
Therefore it stands that a standard for all listening satisfaction is not available.
The variables haven't been investigated to an imperical degree of certainty.
All bets are off.:smoke:

Zilch
04-21-2007, 04:06 AM
Therefore it stands that a standard for all listening satisfaction is not available.
The variables haven't been investigated to an imperical [sic.] degree of certainty.
All bets are off.:smoke:You didn't read the paper, obviously. Get up to speed here, and we'll talk.... :thmbsp:

theophile
04-21-2007, 06:42 AM
Should be interesting.
CAVEAT EMPTOR.

bowtie427ss
04-21-2007, 09:02 AM
I want so badly to say I don't care about what the science says yet Zilch has proven to me time and again that it does infact matter.
Something i should have said in my first post, Zilch has certainly introduced some fact to a couple long standing Altec myths, and i surely didn't mean to kindle anything beyond a friendly debate.

Zilch has really done us all a huge favor by posting the information he has. I can honestly say that his efforts will play into my future speaker projects, he's provided us all with valueable facts and information that will help us make a good thing (our Altecs) even better.

I appreciate that he is doing this from a totally unbiased position, usually we only get scientific/technical backup from manufacturers that know all too well how to "influence" test conditions, and even more so just plain embellish their claims/results.

Zilch, keep up the good work, and remember that just because some of us choose to be "old sticks in the mud" about our beloved Altecs, i for one DO support and applaud what you're doing.:yes:

EDIT: "old sticks in the mud" ........................... i belong to this group too, but have a very open mind about future endeavors.

gamalot
04-21-2007, 10:41 AM
That was quite an assignment Zilch! The Toole papers, very much worth the read and ones I will have to re read a few times for full digestion.

It is now quite obvious why I am having such problems understanding why me and my listening friend vary so much as to what sounds good.

Think it is probably time I make the trip to an audiologist but I am not sure there is any cure for the damage done to my hearing. Also evident is that my group has numerous problems in that we would surely make a listening group that would be considered problematic.

Three men, all over 55 and all having worked in high volume factory settings all our lives. Three woman, slightly younger but with apparent acceptable hearing.

The woman love the way my system sounds far differently adjusted then us guys do. Gee, I don't wonder why any more!
I do wish I could figure a way to hear what the girls are hearing and compare it to how we guys like it to sound.
I also wonder if the way we like it is absolutely terrible sounding to those with substantially better hearing and suspect it is because my wife has always complained in one way or another and always changes settings when listening by her self.
I also fear that I use volume to fill in where the hearing falls short which may well explain my love of big, powerful and highly efficient speakers.
Sort of a situation where since I can't hear normally I force feed the highs by cranking up the SPL and attenuating the HF L pads to full extention where the gals say it is blairing and too shrill but it sounds great to us.

Very interesting read and once again you have opened my eyes even though you can't fix my broken ears. That sucks but understanding is of great importance here.

Thank you.

Gary

geaugafletcher
04-21-2007, 11:17 AM
If I could pick one minor nit with the paper... :)

Different nations, especially before the advent of widely available recordings of music, had easily identifiable 'sounds' when it came to certain musical instruments. French vs. German oboe, for example. English french horn playing vs. everybody else. American brass playing vs. European brass playing (listen to recordings made in the 50s). These differences are diminished but still present to some degree.

You could argue that this was due to "peer pressure" with regards to performing style or perhaps the availability of materials and craftsman to make the instruments - and not to differences in perception of sound endemic to the country.

Then there's always harp - French style vs. Salzedo....or Russian pianists...

I'm not saying that this takes away from the overall conclusions of the paper, just that the regional musical instrument/style argument comparison doesn't hold water.

Zilch
04-21-2007, 11:46 AM
I'm not saying that this takes away from the overall conclusions of the paper, just that the regional musical instrument/style argument comparison doesn't hold water.The scales themselves are different, as well. I believe Toole's point goes more to the accuracy of reproduction of varying styles than to the variances themselves, however. He's not so much asserting music is the same everywhere, rather that the requirements for reproducing the instruments and intonations are, once those are identified, as I read it.... :yes:

geaugafletcher
04-21-2007, 12:14 PM
"It is alleged that different nationalities, and regions have different preferences in sound...it would mean that there would be different pianos for each of these regions, different trumpets, bassoons, kettledrums."

There ARE (or were) different versions of the same instruments for different regions - in addition to the stylistic differences in performing. That's the nit. :)

Rapidly getting in over my head, however... "I'd like to disagree with my own interpretation of somebody else's words, please!"

Zilch
04-21-2007, 02:50 PM
It is now quite obvious why I am having such problems understanding why me and my listening friend vary so much as to what sounds good.I wouldn't leap to conclusions, Gary, but get it checked for sure.... :yes:

macaltec
04-21-2007, 05:43 PM
I've made it 2/3 of the way though the paper. I'll have to read it again as well to better understand it all. I need to get my hearing checked also. My work atmosphere has always been kinda loud.

geaugafletcher
04-21-2007, 06:25 PM
I talked to an audiologist recently, complaining that the 18k or 20k sliders on an EQ didn't make nearly as much difference to me as they used to. He harumphed and said hearing loss isn't clinically significant until 8k and below is affected.

Not much help...

gonzomeep
04-21-2007, 06:26 PM
When you all figure out that you cannot hear and that you're no longer satisfied with your Altecs any longer, send me a P.M. and I'll dispose of them for you. I would want a bunch of deaf people to have big, lousy speakers cluttering up your living space :D

dnewma04
04-21-2007, 06:52 PM
I talked to an audiologist recently, complaining that the 18k or 20k sliders on an EQ didn't make nearly as much difference to me as they used to. He harumphed and said hearing loss isn't clinically significant until 8k and below is affected.

Not much help...

Even babies don't really "hear" 18-20khz. Don't worry about anything outside of normal human hearing range. :)

cableguy
04-21-2007, 09:26 PM
OK this is all well and good but what I really want is the data on the Insignias....:scratch2:

gamalot
04-21-2007, 09:48 PM
Hey Cableguy, not bad but probably meant as humor!

Well, wouldn't it be good to hear how some of the other highly rated speakers stand up to testing?

We already know some of the Altecs don't fair as well as we thought they would. Zilch has worked on many JBL offerings and most seem to need some tweeking but what about speakers like the DQ10, NS 1000, ADS and ESS that are all quite well perceived here.

Wonder how they would test since we already know lots of us like them too.

I have never heard Insignias but see enough talk here about them as well.

Do any speakers stand up to rigid testing?

Gary

cableguy
04-21-2007, 10:10 PM
Hey Cableguy, not bad but probably meant as humor!

Well, wouldn't it be good to hear how some of the other highly rated speakers stand up to testing?

We already know some of the Altecs don't fair as well as we thought they would. Zilch has worked on many JBL offerings and most seem to need some tweeking but what about speakers like the DQ10, NS 1000, ADS and ESS that are all quite well perceived here.

Wonder how they would test since we already know lots of us like them too.

I have never heard Insignias but see enough talk here about them as well.

Do any speakers stand up to rigid testing?

Gary
Yes, it was meant to be a light hearted bit of humor. I have belly full of steak and taters, a couple of beers and tequilia's, and I'm listening to tubes & a pair of Frazier Mark V's. It's safe to say that I'm feeling pretty good.
I know that I was playing "Devils Advocate" earlier in this thread, but I do agree with everyone whom has said "just listen and enjoy". On the other hand I do like the "white coat" side of this argument as well. Call this an attempt to lighten the discussion.....
Bill

gamalot
04-21-2007, 10:54 PM
Darn Bill I missed you at the party! That was me standing right by Jose Cuervo.:thmbsp:

Yea, I do think it would be nice to hear how some of the other speakers we love to collect would fair in testing.

From what I understand in discussions where Zilch and a few others who have some nice testing equipment, it is not all that expensive to get set up.
There is a thingy called a Beringer RTA I believe to be the heart of the system but I have this absolute brain cramp where computers are concerned and simply refuse to even try much more then simple emails and forum lurking.

It is probably a good Idea for a few of us who have the computer skills to think about getting set up and take some of the preasure off ZilchLabs.

I would be willing to bet some of our favorite speakers don't quite cut the mustard all that well either. I also know it does not appear to have all that much to do with the actual cost of the speakers. Inexpensive ones can be just as sound worthy as their much more expensive brothers.

The major benefit would be in the knowledge gained and what needs to be done to fix speakers that have shortcommings.
There are many who are currently working on a rather lengthy adventure over on the LH site and the results regarding upgrading the Altec Valencias I think will be nothing short of fantastic. Thanks to the unbeleivable efforts of Zilch and a few other members.

I don't believe I have ever seen a speaker so totally disected and reworked then in that thread and from what I am hearing the upgrades totally transform an otherwise nice but seriously lacking speaker into a completely different beast.
We also need to remember many of these speakers are 30-40 years old now and there really has been some technological advancments that can add new zing.

That has to be considered very worthwhile.

Gary

cableguy
04-22-2007, 12:01 PM
I totally concur....I love my vintage speakers.....
Bill