Do distortion 's affect enjoyment of speaker?


Hoping for a concensus.
ptss
I hope not, since all speakers produce it in one form or another.
Seriously though, from my own experience it can if it a type to which you are sensitive. When you are aware of a certain bothersome distortion or sonic anomaly of any type, it consciously or subconsciously gets in the way of your enjoyment of the music.
Complicated topic. There's no doubt that tube amplification introduces significant distortion, yet many people prefer it to solid state. When comparing solid state designs, its never been proven that distortion relates in any meaningful way to musicality or enjoyment. However, low distortion has become perhaps the major selling point for many manufacturers of high priced solid state equipment. But the way different manufacturers define and measure distortion will probably never be standardized.
Bottom line: Subjectivity reigns supreme.
It depends.

All speakers produce distortion.

But it varies what people are sensitive to, and indeed there are some studies that show certain distortions are preferred.

Thanks
Bill
Distortion doesn't just mean noise or hum or something objectionable. It simply means the speaker's output differs from the input. As stated above, many people prefer speakers that add bass, amplifiers that round off the top end or depress the midrange. Plus, any speaker's output in a real living space is likely going to be far off from what the manufacturer intended as rooms can reinforce or cancel bass, reflect or absorb highs, etc... That's why the only way to judge a speaker is to install it in your system and see if you like it.
What Chayro said, pretty much.

SOme types of distortion may have positive effects, like those one might apply with a frequency equalizer or dynamic range processor for example.

Other impact things in a clearly negative way. Amp clipping is a very common example. It can occur to various degrees, some less audible than others, but the effect on music is always negative.

Tasteful makeup on a beautiful woman is a common example of distortion that is usually interpreted positively.

It is a distortion of reality. Is it a good or bad thing?

Same with tone controls in audio or picture quality adjustments in video. All distortions that might be regarded differently on an individual basis.
LOL....you are all very funny. IMHO distortion is not acceptable in home audio! While in live music distortion is accepted fully. I have always wondered about this,but the fact remains that DISTORTION is not good for the listening room.
Everyone should notice quite a bit of distortion at higher volumes, no? Well, guess what? That distortion is not coming from your speakers. Who's laughing now?
Speakers are just speakers, but it affects music and changes the sound of recorded media.
Ever heard Johnny Cash singing with pitch of Neil Young?
The Distortion is guilty as charged.
Yes makes them sound thin etc!!
Matt,
It is not desirable, but we have no choice but to accept it, because it exists in all of our systems in many different forms to a greater or lesser degree. As long as it isn't a sort that bothers the person who is listening to the system, all is well.
No distortion does not affect the enjoyment of loudspeakers, and no there will be no consensus on this, so stop hoping.
IMO the question is too vague to be answerable in a meaningful way, or in a way that will lead to consensus.

Regards,
-- Al
If you're using the word "distortion" broadly:

Some waveform distortions may be more objectionable to a given individual than other waveform distortions. A different individual may have the reverse preference. In some cases, minor distortions may be welcome (particularly for less than perfect recordings). Overall, it would be hard to generalize, much less get a consensus.

If you're talking narrowly about THD, then I'd argue that it's both frequency dependent and individual listener dependent, but at some point, the answer to that question is "yes" for most listeners. Since all speakers produce material amounts of THD (particularly at low frequencies), the trick is finding a speaker system that doesn't reach your own sensitivity point. The good news is that most people seem to be quite insensitive to very low frequency THD, so the arena where most speakers perform worst on THD, seems to be the least critical.
One's system aside, distortion of the mind by way of drink can add to the enjoyment. Too much drink does lead to gross distortions though so take it easy.

All the best,
Nonoise
My take was the kind of thing (distortion) that would fatigue or even hurt your ears or damage your speakers! Not acceptable in my book. The measuring kind or inaudible kind I could care less about.
the answer is an EMPHATIC 'yes'!
* distortions in the electronics ruins your listening pleasure thru the speakers..
* distortions in the speaker itself ruins your listening pleasure thru those speakers.
* distortions caused by the room ruins your listening pleasure thru the speakers.
* distortions caused by mechanical feedback of sound coupling back to your audio rack ruins your listening pleasure thru the speakers.
* distortions in the AC power in your wall outlet ruins your listening pleasure thru the speakers.

each of the above 5 items is a WHOLE lengthy chapter to improving playback sonics in the home environment that takes a long time to understand & a long time to master.

Which distortion(s) are your referring to??
I would add the following:

Imagine your amp to have a certain type of distortion. Perhaps it adds a graininess to the sound.

If you send it a signal that is also grainy-sounding, then the amp's graininess will not ADD to the graininess in the signal, but will MULTIPLY it. You are thus hearing DISTORTED DISTORTION, which is really bad.

This is why we recommend your best cables be placed at the source. There are far too many cables out there having a 'grungy' (dirty) sound that most of us would attribute to poor digital reproduction.

By using a cleaner/better cable at the beginning, everything downstream breathes more easily, since all are receiving less distortion to then re-distort.

I think that avoiding 'distortion multiplication' is part of the synergy reported for certain combinations of gear, speakers, and cables.

Best,
Roy
Thanks all. The "adjudicators" here modified my question; losing clarity. I just read that Rockport's new speakers have approx minus 60 db distortion--they claim is lowest in industry. B&W have advertised 1% distortion. I don't know how to interpret this; and how meaningful is the difference?
It's obvious that the better the distortion specs, the more
you will like listening to the speakers. That's the way
everyone does it. Saves you the trouble of listening and
making up your own mind. Same goes for amplifiers as well.
I suggest one of the old DB Systems amps with 0.0000001%
THD.
08-05-14: Chayro
It's obvious that the better the distortion specs, the more
you will like listening to the speakers. That's the way
everyone does it. Saves you the trouble of listening and
making up your own mind. Same goes for amplifiers as well.
I suggest one of the old DB Systems amps with 0.0000001%
THD.
Chayro
this must have been written with your tongue firmly in your cheek!! ;-)
I am in a good position to offer an opinion as I started out with Infinity Reference series speakers which have a basic wood cabinet, and comparing those speakers to my current Magico S5's and other extremely inert speakers like Crystal Arabesque which I have experience with, my view is yes speaker distortion does negatively impact your enjoyment of music.

Firstly, cheaper wood cabinets can 'sing', in effect adding harmonics to the sound which distorts the original signal. In terms of driver distortion, ported designs like Wilson in my experience suffer from bass overhang which creates a bloated sound as the cone is unable to follow the signal as accurately as Magico's sealed design. This smears the upper frequencies which reduces the speaker's coherency and can lead to listener fatigue.

The Magico S5's for example use extremely rigid cabinets made from 1/2" thick aluminium extrusions. The S5's, like all Magico speakers also benefit from a sealed design as I mentioned which allows the bass drivers to operate in perfect piston motion and more accurately follow the signal. But of course there is no such thing as a free lunch, and the trade off is usually lower efficiency.

With Magico speakers (perhaps more than any other dynamic speaker i've heard) your ears need time to adjust due to the absolute lack of any perceptible distortion products, the accuracy of the drivers & exceptional resolution. You hear more of the information in the recording, including subtle background information and layering in the music which adds a whole new dimension to the music in terms of realism. A wordy response, but hope that helps.
Speakers can have many types of distortions, divergence from linear frequency response on-axis, divergence from linear freqency response off-axis, time based distortions, IM distortion, dynamic distortions such as compression, distortions of rise time and settling, and many more. If you think that focusing on very low harmonic distorion is the answer, by all means take that route.
I'll second Viridian's response, and I'll add that distortion measurements will be considerably different for a given speaker depending on what volume level and input power level they are taken at. Not only on the levels at the instant the measurement is taken, but I would expect also on the history of those levels over the previous seconds or perhaps even minutes, since that history will affect voice-coil temperature at any given instant. Unless the THD numbers that are being compared for different speakers are based on levels that are indicated and that are similar, apples are being compared with oranges. And as Psag stated earlier, lack of standardization of how such measurements are taken is rampant.

Also, as Marty alluded to earlier, how objectionable a given THD value is depends on the frequency that is being distorted. It also depends greatly on how the TOTAL Harmonic Distortion is distributed among the individual harmonic frequencies.

As I've said in a number of past threads, IMO the main usefulness of specs and measurements is in identifying and **ruling out** candidates that would be poor matches with either other components in the system (especially the power amplifier, in the case of speakers), or with the listener's requirements (e.g., peak volume capability, physical characteristics, perhaps deep bass extension, etc.). But not in selecting among candidates which make that cut. And in most cases THD numbers are useless in both respects.

Regards,
-- Al
Agree with Viridian and Al. Their views are more balanced. Too many variables in play.

I've often read that reviewers measure specs that are not relevant or important, and fail to measure specs that are. To a certain extent, at best, as Al said, specs may be useful to eliminate "bad choice" candidates, but not assure that a particular component will be a winner.

@Melbguy1 -- I've had my ears (pun) on the Magico S3s or S5s, for many of the reasons you just mentioned. And in time, I may wind up there. But right now, I'm obsessing over a type of distortion that many do not speak about or understand ... time coherence.

About 2 years ago, I've auditioned a pair of Vandies and IMO they did not do it for me. The response from some Vandy fans was that the dealer didn't know how to set them up. Or, the dealer used the wrong speaker cables. Or, my listening chair was in the wrong position. Or, the dealer used the wrong head vice. And so forth and so on.

Vandy buddies ... these explanations do not resonate (pun) with me.

Some time coherent speaker naysayers add that using 1st order x-overs requires the drivers to operate out of their "happy" zone. Or, the sloped baffles place a premium on proper placement and listening position. Or, the whole approach is at best a rough justice solution to a complicated problem.

So here is where I am holding. Rather than throw the baby out with the bath water ... I am holding onto my speakers for a while longer. I am going to test the time coherence waters with a DEQX device.

Trying to set up an in-home audition next week or the week after. For those not familiar with DEQX products, take a look at the DEQX website. I do not expect that the DEQX time coherence and room EQ solution will be a panacea.

Actually, I'm not sure what to expect.

But I'll report back.

Cheers,

BIF
08-06-14: Bifwynne
@Melbguy1 -- I've had my ears (pun) on the Magico S3s or S5s, for many of the reasons you just mentioned. And in time, I may wind up there. But right now, I'm obsessing over a type of distortion that many do not speak about or understand ... time coherence.
Both the S3 and S5 are amazing loudspeakers in their own way, given the right acoustical environment. I agree with your view of the Vandy 5a Carbons & Vandy 7. Yes, they are very good speakers, but I don't think i'd trade my S5's for even the 7's. I agree with your view that time coherence is important, though of course there are different ways you can achieve that. I recall asking Magico if the S5's are perfectly time and phase coherent & received this response - "If the question is, are the drivers summed in phase and the phase is perfectly aligned in the crossover region? Then yes." Subjectively i'd have to agree, the S5's are very coherent and well balanced.
"If the question is, are the drivers summed in phase and the phase is perfectly aligned in the crossover region? Then yes." Subjectively i'd have to agree, the S5's are very coherent and well balanced.
Melbguy1
The Magico guys are pretty slick & wiggled their way out of your question knowing quite well that you are not fully knowledgeable on this subject of time-coherence. You are not the only one in this situation - 99% of the crowd is in the same situation & the speaker manuf take advantage of this.
Just to be clear: I'm not berating you & neither am I trying to be harsh. merely stating the situation.
The Magico is phase-coherent only at its cross-over frequency & nowhere else! And this is pretty typical of almost all loudspeakers in the market - being phase coherent at the x-over freq comes about pretty easily. You can see from the measurements that tweeter & woofer are in-phase otherwise there'd be a big suckout at the x-over freq. Obviously that suckout is not happening so the speaker is phase coherent at the x-over. But that's about it re. phase coherence for this speaker. It's maintaining the phase relationship among all frequencies across the entire audio spectrum is where the expertise of the speaker designer comes into play.
Not withstanding the above, good to read that you are enjoying your Magico speakers... :-)
Bombaywalla, thanks for your comments. I think however you're jumping
conclusions based on one comment Magico made in isolation. Fyi, I
had earlier received this response from Magico - "The S5 are both
time and phase coherent." Maybe not perfectly time coherent, but I
think you're clutching at straws here. If you read any of the many reviews
on the S5's, including Martin Colloms review for Hifi Critic, there is no
suggestion the S5's are anything but the most coherent sounding of
speakers. And my own experience also reflects that. I've heard Avalon
Transcendent which sounds very coherent. I would say no more so
subjectively than S5. In saying that, it is doubtful any box speaker whether
Vandersteen, Avalon or Magico is going to sound quite as overall coherent
as a panel speaker like your Scintillas. Though no loudspeaker is perfect,
and the Scintilla's have their own demons.
@Melbguy1 ... actually, I think Bombaywalla is clutching something more than straws... its gonads. I put the question directly to Magico's US sales folks. Here is their response:

"[T]his really required a response from our CTO, Yair Tamman. See below response to your questions. You will have to excuse his expressions, being that he is from Tel Aviv, some things don't translate easily to English. That said, I've left his response in the raw form.

"'Phase coherence is one of the most discussed issue in our industry.

"I don't disagree with the fact our speaker can't be phase coherent.

"Yet, it was never prove (sic) in controlled listening test as audible (many tried - all didn't achieve the wanted result).

"Yet using high order crossover has proven advantages. Like low distortion, controled (Sic) directivity , drivers linearity and many many more proven advantages

"There is also a very big difference in the drivers you can use.'"

So there you have it. Here's an interesting experiment. Magico speakers corrected with DEQX.

Hopefully, next week, I'll be able to check out the DEQX on my Paradigm S8s.
Melbguy1, there are no step response measurements for the S5 to verify what you are saying. All their other speakers are not time-coherent so it's reasonable to assume to that the S series would not be. But, like you wrote, I could be wrong. Anyway, I'm not going to argue with you on this. Enjoy the speakers...
Bombaywalla, I acknowledge your fair comments. However on the one
hand Magico are telling me the S5's are time coherent, and on the other
you are telling me they are not. One might ask who do you believe? May I
pose this question to you, Is a speaker either time coherent or not? Or can
there be different degrees in between? And are (objective) measurements
more important than (subjective) listening in assessing the overall
coherency of a speaker?
Melbguy1 ... hey man I'm on your side. I think Magicos are industrial art -- not speakers. I think Magico does a heck of a job controlling a lot of speaker design variables that make other speakers mid-fi. But as part of design trade-offs which all designer have to make, Magico elected to use high order x-overs because of the design pluses that it sought to achieve. See Yair Tamman's response above.

But having said all that, and tipping my hat for the Magicos doesn't answer the Q of whether its speakers are time coherent. Phase coherent at the x-overs, .... no doubt. Time coherent. Highly unlikely. Take a look at John Atkinsons's time delay test of the Q5's in Fig. 4 here

http://www.stereophile.com/content/magico-q5-loudspeaker-measurements

Do you see how in the time domain the tweeter leads, followed by the mid drivers, and then the slow poke woofers. What this means is that when the sound output from each driver sums, the wave form MUST be distorted over some portions of the frequency spectrum. Roy Johnson's articles do a good job of explaining why this happens and what it means.

In short ... there is time coherence distortion that results in the summed waved form not being completely true to the electrical signal generated by the amp.

Does it sound bad?? Can we detect it? Very controversial issues. My DEQX audition might provide some enlightenment. And I'll report back.

Does this mean that one shouldn't touch Magicos or Revels or Wilsons. Absolutely NOT!! What it might mean is that some really great speakers just may need a little help.

I'll be back.

Cheers.

BIF

P.S. Just a tongue-in-cheek observation. IMO, Wilsons look like 1970s era Dr. Who Dileks. I'd be compelled to take a sonic screw driver to them. OTOH, better to look like a Dilek than a GMA Praying Mantis. LOL
Bifwynne, I understand the general thrust of what you're saying regarding use of high order crossovers, but it's not that simple. I see you pulled out that favorite red herring whenever this subject comes up in Magico discussions; Atkinson's measurements of the Q5. Firstly Magico themselves never claimed the S5 was 100% time coherent (though I suspect it gets close).

Secondly, Q5 was released over 4 years ago and was the first model in the Q series. The S5's crossovers (like Q7) are an evolution of the Elliptical design in the Q5, though obviously tailored for that speaker. You described the 4th order crossover used in the S5's as a design compromise as though the crossover design was a conventional 4th order crossover. It is not. Martin Colloms provided this summary of S5's crossover technology in his review for Hifi Critic -

"Crossovers are tailored to deliver flat pass-band responses with superior and symmetrical phase summation, and faster out-of-band roll-offs using modified 'ellipticalÂ’ filters. Copper foil inductors and special Mundorf capacitors are used", and further noted in conclusion - "..itÂ’s clear that the S5 is the product of years of careful research into materials technology, room matching, decay resonance, group delay and distortion control, a concertedly global approach to total loudspeaker system design to try to make the loudspeaker disappear and thus not constitute the usual, recognisable and characterful link in the sound reproducing chain. In achieving this very high standard of natural dynamics, very low distortion, vanishingly low coloration, very low fatigue, exceptional transparency and an almost magically powerful, speedy, upbeat bass, the Magico team should be applauded."

With the above said, achieving absolute time and phase coherency does not guarantee good sound as Doug Schneider noted in this article relating to the Soundstage review of the S5's - http://www.soundstagehifi.com/index.php/reader-feedback/668-magico-s5-review-and-time-and-phase-accuracy

Agreed re: Wilson.
08-07-14: Melbguy1
Bombaywalla, I acknowledge your fair comments. However on the one
hand Magico are telling me the S5's are time coherent, and on the other
you are telling me they are not. One might ask who do you believe? May I
pose this question to you, Is a speaker either time coherent or not? Or can
there be different degrees in between? And are (objective) measurements
more important than (subjective) listening in assessing the overall
coherency of a speaker?
Melbguy1
hi Melbguy1
who do I believe? I believe myself & my research & my understanding of the matter.
The S5 are not time-coherent if they use higher order x-over i.e. 2nd order or higher. Period.
Bifwynne's answer/post is exactly correct re. the S5. The use of higher order x-over destroys the phase difference relationship amongst the various frequencies in the audio band 20Hz-20KHz. The physics of using a higher order x-over prevents the speaker from being time-coherent.
Doug Schneider's review of the S5 is a nice read but Doug is not trained in engineering math & physics to understand the subtleties between phase coherence & time coherence. So, I would not latch onto Doug's words & find comfort in them re. the speakers being time-coherent.
Like Bifwynne wrote, you can still buy & like the S5. Just don't call it time-coherent - it's at best phase coherent/phase linear at its x-over frequencies.
Is a speaker either time coherent or not? Or can
there be different degrees in between? And are (objective) measurements
more important than (subjective) listening in assessing the overall
coherency of a speaker?
Melbguy1
either a speaker is time-coherent or it's not. There's nothing in between - just varying degrees of time-INcoherence. Those like Magico (which are time-incoherent) try to minimize the distortions & other brands have them worse.
Objective measurements verify that the speaker is time-coherent or not (see Stereophile measurements over the years of various time-coherent speakers). And, subjective listening verifies the measurements. Listening & listening carefully with the right kind of music is important towards assessing the merits of any speaker & is always recommended.
Bombaywalla. You invested much time in pressing your point labeling the
S5's as time IN-coherent as you put it. Somehow I find your comments
overly-forensic and rigid (which is I suspect how you like your music to
sound). Let's ignore all the rave reviews of the S5's, let's ignore thier strong
sales. Let's ignore the fact I own a pair and have over 500 hrs logged
listening to them and could not possibly have a well considered view of
their sound. Let's even ignore the fact you own panel speakers and
could not possibly be heavily invested in a completely divergent point of
view. Indeed let's pretend you are open minded and completely objective
for a moment. If I had to choose the viewpoint of a well respected reviewer
with over 20 years experience who spends more time listening to speakers
than someone who spends every waking hour reading Freshman textbooks
on acoustical engineering or staring at waterfall plots, whose view do you
think i'm more likely to respect?
Bombywalla,
I always find your comments interesting and informative. This topic is no exception, I just came across it very recently. Are first order crossovers a prerequisite for proper time alignment?
Would a single driver crossoverless speaker be another example of true time alignment?
Are you able to consistently hear the results of time alignment?
Thanks,
Charles,
Hi Melbguy1,
Somehow the conversation diverged into talking more about the S5 than the original topic of "Do distortion 's affect enjoyment of speaker?". Sorry about that. I'll stop talking about the S5 & concentrate more on the OP's topic.
You're assuming too much about rigidity & my music sounding that way & freshman text books, etc, etc. I'm not going to bother to correct you. Please feel free to think the way you are already....
On the topic of whose opinion you respect more - I'll let you be the judge of that as well since you have to live with your decision. What your ultimate selection is, has no bearing on me.

Anyway, the whole point of this discussion is that one needs to know what situation one is in w.r.t. music & playback equipment. The situation doesn't have to be perfect for the person to enjoy the music. But, if one is unaware of the situation, one can never become a better audiophile, a better listener & a better chooser of playback equipment. One needs to understand one's equipment, it's limitations & what can be done in the future to improve. That's one main reason to discuss these topic on public forums. But if new information is not going to be incorporated in becoming better in this hobby, why be on a forum?

Sorry that you are offended - I was trying to bring forward information on the speaker that I felt was important with the idea that you may chose to do something with it in the future. I/We'll stop the chatter on the S5 & concentrate on the "Do distortion 's affect enjoyment of speaker?" topic.
08-08-14: Charles1dad
Bombywalla,
I always find your comments interesting and informative. This topic is no exception, I just came across it very recently. Are first order crossovers a prerequisite for proper time alignment?
Would a single driver crossoverless speaker be another example of true time alignment?
Are you able to consistently hear the results of time alignment?
Thanks,
Charles,
Thank you Charles.
Excluding single-driver speakers, yes, 1st order x-overs are a requirement for time-coherence.
In your post you asked "Are first order crossovers a prerequisite for proper time alignment?"
Notice you wrote "proper time alignment". Time alignment is just a small aspect of time-coherence.
Time alignment refers to aligning the acoustical centers of all the drivers such that sound from them reaches your ears at the same time. You find speakers with sloped baffles do this. At other times, the older Dynaudios, the tweeter is placed at the bottom & the woofer on top while the baffle is exactly vertical - this makes the pathway from the tweeter longer to your ear compared to the woofer. This a 2nd way to solve the time-alignment issue. In the bigger Focals you find the speaker front curved & the manuf provides a crank on the back that can change this curvature. This is a 3rd way to solve the time-alignment issue.
Speakers that don't have a sloped baffle nor the tweeter at the bottom & woofer on the top nor a curved baffle but still claim to be time-coherent are making totally fake claims. If you haven't take into account the most basic attribute of time-aligning the drivers, how can you even come close to achieving time-coherence??

Note that just because the drivers are time-aligned, the speaker is not time-coherent. Time-coherence comes from the fact that the phase relationship amongst all the frequencies as they go thru the speaker remains unchanged from speaker input to speaker output. This means that the drivers do not distort as the music signal passes thru the speaker in the 20Hz-20KHz range, that the x-over circuit does not distort as the music signal passes thru the speaker in the 20Hz-20KHz range.
This means you need to select your drivers very carefully & it also means that your x-over cannot change the phase relationship amongst all the frequencies in the 20Hz-20KHz region. Only the 1st-order x-over circuit has the property of not changing the phase relationship amongst all the frequencies in the 20Hz-20KHz region. The 2nd-order, 3rd-order, 4th-order & higher order circuits do not have this property. So, yes, 1st-order x-over is required for time-coherence.
A time-coherent speaker has it's drivers time-aligned. Plus, a time-coherent speaker is phase-coherent at all frequencies in the 20Hz-20KHz range and not only at the x-over frequencies like most speakers in the market.

Would a single driver crossoverless speaker be another example of true time alignment?
yes & no. it depends on the quality of the single-driver. For as long as the single-driver's frequency response remains linear, the speaker will be time-coherent. Notice I am writing "time coherent" & not time aligned. Time alignment is just one small aspect of time coherence.
When the single-driver becomes non-linear - maybe due to the whizzer cone or the woofer driver cone break-up or any other reason, the single-driver will start adding its own phase shift to the music signal & the speaker will become time-INcoherent.
So, a single driver speaker could be time-coherent over a limited freq range or over the entire range depends on how good the single-driver is acoustically. Electrically it does not matter as there is no x-over.

Are you able to consistently hear the results of time alignment?
absolutely yes! And, each time one listens one appreciates the time-coherence attribute. Again, I'm using time-coherence & not time-alignment. Time-coherence is the superset of time-alignment.
Time coherent speakers simply sound like real music, they are non-fatiguing & let you concentrate on the nuances of the music rather than wasting your time on audiophile attributes of soundstage height, width, depth, imaging, etc, etc. In time-coherent speakers the imaging is always very good & the images are locked i.e. they do not float in space as the volume goes up/down or when you hear soprano/baritone. Sound from such speakers sounds like it's cut from one cloth - no separate-tweeter-separate-woofer sound. Music of all genres sounds great thru time-coherent speakers even those albums recorded poorly because the speaker is not adding any distortion of its own. Of course, better recorded music sounds better thru time-coherent speakers. Time coherent speakers are largely agnostic to the electronics driving them because the speaker is a benign load to the amplifier - a properly designed time-coherent speaker has very little phase shift in the bulk of the audio band. And, as the electronics improves, the speaker sounds better because the electronics is distorting less (the speaker itself has minimal distortion of its own).

So, the reason I'm talking about time-coherence is because the OP asked if distortions affect the enjoyment of speaker. Choosing time-coherence or not is about deciding how much distortion you want to listen & how much you want your listening pleasure to be bombed by distortions. Everybody wants to spend top-dollar to buy the best electronics but they pay little attention to the speaker. So, you have lower distortion electronics feeding into highly distorting speakers & you have basically undone all your work to selecting lower distortion electronics. what good is that?

Choose time-coherent speakers & enjoy your music to its fullest. And, as Roy Johnson says on his website, "it's about time" (pun intended) that you do so!

hope this helps....
Great post by Bombaywalla, IMO. And as is nearly always the case, I agree completely with all of the technical points he makes. Including the basic point that having a first order crossover (or no crossover) is a prerequisite for time coherence.

For those who may be interested in reading further on the subject, and who haven't already seen it, the recent "Sloped Baffle" thread, and the links provided therein, are highly informative and will keep you busy for quite some time!

In seconding Bombaywalla's technical points, though, I should add that I take no position on the relative importance of time coherence among the great many tradeoffs that enter into the design of a speaker. On the one hand I consider that his breadth and depth of relevant experience and knowledge gives his opinions on that question considerably greater credibility than most. On the other hand, the fact that only a small minority of audiophile-oriented speakers have first-order crossovers, or no crossovers, and only some of those are truly time coherent, can reasonably be taken to signify that (as might be expected) there are multiple paths to success. And to failure as well.

Regards,
-- Al
Thank you Almarg. I appreciate your post.
Ptss, please note that distortion's is possessive. So what you should have said is, Do distortions affect enjoyment of speakers, as distortions is plural.
08-08-14: Tbg
Ptss, please note that distortion's is possessive. So what you should have said is, Do distortions affect enjoyment of speakers, as distortions is plural.
here comes the language & grammar police. LOL! :-D
just pulling your leg Tbg. You're right but I decided to turn a blind eye & chose to discuss the subject matter as that seemed more important to me....
Tbg,
Ptss moniker is interesting. maybe it stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome? That's why the grammar is screwed up?? ;-)
Bombaywalla, I tell you what. If you're as wise and smart as you claim to
be, then we will see you designing and manufacturing leading high end
loudspeakers in the near furture which out-perform Wilson, Rockport,
Magico, Tidal etc right? And prepared to subject your designs not only to
rigorous testing and analysis, but to brutal market forces. Then post about
why owners of those speakers are backing the wrong horse mate,
otherwise you're just another philosopher espousing thier beliefs.
Hi Bombaywalla,
Thank you for your very clear and educational reply, it is much appreciated.
Charles,
Bombaywalla ... let's be kind to Melbguy1 ... he agrees that Wilsons look like Dr. Who Dileks. Melbguy1, do you agree with me that GMA speakers look like Praying Mantis bugs, minus the antennae and eyes?

Hey guys ... I will try and tee up that DEQX audition next week. I'll report back with my subjective reactions.

Al and Ralph Karsten (Atmasphere) have said this more times than I can recall .... gear design involves trade-offs. As regards speakers, that may mean give up time coherence, but gain "X" with the view that what comes out of the speakers sounds really good ... not perfect, but really good. Heck, I am not even sure what perfect is.

Stay posted.
Bifwynne, no I don't agree that the GMA speakers look like Praying Mantis bugs, minus the antennae and eyes, I think the GMA speakers look like Praying Mantis bugs, minus the antennae and eyes which have been run over by a Mack Super-liner!
08-08-14: Charles1dad
Hi Bombaywalla,
Thank you for your very clear and educational reply, it is much appreciated.
Charles,
welcome Charles. glad I could be of help.