ProAc Response 2.5's
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Troublesome topic. The ProAc 2.0 and 2.5 seem to. The Totem Mani 2 also.
But, so does the $300 AE Aegis One, and there's the problem. Most small speakers that give a robust response at 40 hz, or below, are not putting out a true 40 hz signal. The spl meter will react to what comes out and show a strong response, but the sound reproduced by the speaker includes a lot of distortion and doubling and the net effect is usually something closer to 60hz. Almost all speakers have a lot of distortion in the bass. Go to Soundstage.com and look at the measurements accompanying the archived reviews of loudspeakers to see what I mean. Many highly regarded speakers have distortion and noise a mere 30-40 db below a 90 db signal.
What's the value of 40hz anyway? I'd rather have the perfectly accurate and undistorted 50hz reproduced by my Harbeths (down maybe 6db at 40).
40hz is not that tough to get +/- 3db to. 30hz is significantly harder. There are quite a few two way speakers that will go down flat to 40hz. The real trick is to have the electronics that will drive the speaker well down in the lower frequencies to be accurate in addition to flat at 40hz.
What do you have in your present system?
I agree with Paul. Most small two ways are vented. They do this in order to obtain better measurable results at the expense of sonics. The problem with this is that bass distortion goes WAY up once you get below woofer resonance. The fall-off rate below port resonance is very drastic and it is possible to damage the driver by feeding it high level signals below that point. As such, the extension that you pick up with a vent is typically at a much higher distortion level, quality suffers and safety factors are reduce. It all boils down to the old "quantity vs quality" routine.
If one goes to a larger mid-woofer to pick up extension, this is typically done at the expense of midrange speed and detail. As such, you're back to the "quantity vs quality" dilemma.
Having said all of that, the little Legend two way sounds very nice. I typically am not a fan of vented designs but this is an exception. The only problem is that it is VERY expensive for the parts that it consists of. I have a hard time paying $4K for a small box with about $250 ( retail, so even cheaper wholesale ) worth of drivers in it. Sean
Room size, shape and acoustics will have a much greater effect on if you can go flat to 40 than the brand of two way speaker that you use. A friend, in a spare bedroom has Paradigm 20s that are flat to around 38 cycles. In my large living room even the Sonus Faber Extremas won't come close. It's the acoustics, not the speakers at all.
Dont get too caught up on specs or design generalizations...
most specs are misleading...trust your ears...and again...quality will outweigh quantity in the long run...I listened to many speakers that had better "on paper" specs than my Quad 12Ls...and they put all of them to shame...and this includes sealed designs,transmission lines, and various bass reflex designs...the speed,definition, and bass impact they provide is unrivaled...and Brit monitors aare notoriously lean..go figure....downside...they wont mask bad electronics or crap recordings...but what hi-end speaker does?