"Frightening" or "Relaxing" sound quality?

What do I mean by that?
Not that I wish to start a new controversy --- knowing some of the usual contributors, it may not be entirely avoidable, so let’s see what gives.

Following some of the threads on the –ultimate- ‘phase-coherent’, 'time-coherent' or yet better, both, 1st order up to steep slopes, an so on, cross-over opinions, I have these notions. So let me explain.

One quite well known ‘maverick’ (done some picking on some other well known reviewer, posting it on his site...), somewhere he states: a good speaker must have the ability 'to frighten you' --- his words, and I can see/hear what he means, at least I think so.

Some other dealer in Wilson’s marvellous products (he's around my place), tells me he can only listen for about ½ hour than he is 'exhausted' --- i.e. too intense to do any longer listening…

Nobody is talking about ‘listening fatigue’ actually, it is more an emotional fatigue, as far as I get it.

Now me, I go to a life orchestra listening and emerge pretty well ‘up-lifted’, never had any fatigue (maybe my bottom, when it got a bit too lengthy) never mind emotional fatigue! Gimme Mahler, Stravinsky, Mussorgsky, heavy (classical) metal, whow --- upliftment. Never occur to me run away, get uneasy, GET FRIGHTENED!

I clearly get ‘emotional fatigue’ listening to some types of speakers!
What were they?
I think they had one thing in common: They all where, in some way, VERY realistic, but they also had something else in common, --- they did not, as it seems, stick too well to a reasonably flat amplitude response… ah ha.

What this design regimen seems to produce during listening to keep on making you jump? Apparently always something rather unexpected in happening! Now we do also know what makes us (as humans) ‘jump’: it is some unexpected ‘something’ coming ‘out of the bush’ a snapping branch, some sort of VERY REAL sound, that does not quite go along with the general set of the acoustic environment.

Now take some ‘benign, dumb’ kind of speaker, it has so little in REALISTIC sound to offer, it just can’t frighten you. You (your instinct, subconscious) just don’t ‘buy’ into it.
Now take a VERY realistic sound-producer (the ones that can make you jump) and mess with the amplitude response, what you are getting is this on the edge of your seat reaction. The VERY opposite of what a lot of music has as its intention. (Not like AV ‘Apocalypse now’ kind of chopper going to attack you from any old angle, top, behind, etc.)

Lastly, has this something to do with why lots of folks perhaps shy away from these sort of designs?
I have listened to my share and I shy away, because as REAL everything seems to be in the reproduction, it keeps me in a state of inner tension, apprehension --- even listening to some Mozart Chamber music, as there is ALWAYS something very REAL, but somehow unsettling going on.

It might just explain why some of these designs don’t ‘cut the mustard’ and not survive in the long run. Unless, and open to opinion, that we are (most of us anyway) so messed up and transistor-radio-sound-corrupted that we seem ‘unworthy of these ‘superior’ audio-designs.
I honestly don’t think so, but you may have it otherwise, as they say YMMV.

I thought it is of value to bring this up, since it does not ever seem to be part of any of the more ‘technical’ discussions ---- the human ‘fright/flight’ element in ignoring proper FLAT amplitude response in favour of minimal insertion losses, or proper impedance compensation, notch filtering, et al, just so to obtain this form of stressful realism.

It might be also something to do with age, a much younger listener (in my experience) likes to be stirred up, and emotionally knocked all over the place ---- listening to Baroque music like bungee jumping?!
It be interesting to hear if it is just my form of ‘over-sensitiveness’ that brings forth this subject.
An excellent thinking mans post. I hope this dose evoke some good discussion. You are onto something!

You said "they did not, as it seems, stick too well to a reasonably flat amplitude response… ah ha."

That is a real AH-HA moment. Stick with it

I don't really see the difference between what you are saying, and a lot of what is said on these forums every day, and in many speaker (and amp) reviews. What it all comes down to is that speakers with peaks and dips in their amplitude response (especially peaks in the treble or upper midrange) are annoying in the long run, whether that is an annoyance to your ears, your emotions or both.
Gee, I've found some of the more "reasonably flat amplitutde response" speakers like Thiel and Dunlavy when coupled with the right(?) amplification quite capable of what I would describe as "startle" capability. I've also heard other brands that don't seem to make any claims for "flat amplitude response" demonstrate this "startle" capability. I suspect this is more a function of dynamics and amplification might have as much to do with "startle" capability as speakers.
I have a problem with the concept of 'frightening' music. You may like it or not, you may understand it or not, but frightening? I don't know..........

Perhaps the problem underlying the differentiation between a 'system' which is realistic (reminicient of the sound of a live event) and a system which is either fatiguing or 'frightening' is the way in which the signal is created before it hits the speaker as much as whether the speaker reproduces it accurately.

For me phase coherrent, flat frequemce response, speakers are a false god. Not that the goal is bad, but there is just so much more involved than that. I think a lot more of the comments about the ultimate sound of high resoolution speakers (and upstream components) has more to do with getting the rise and fall times and distortion issues resolved.

Re flat frequency response - go to a live unamplified event some time and walk around the acoustic and notice how the sound changes, tonally, from location to location. Flat frequency response doesn't exist there. It is totally a moving target. So all your speakers and set up do for you is give you a hall location based sound that your prefer.

If I were to speculate about what might render some audio equipment to sound superficially flat and accurate but ultimately frightening, I would look at too short a decay in the signal from something in the electronic's chain. Often, in the pursuit of 'transparency/resolution' it is obtained by electronics manufacturers by manipulating with the natural decay which rolls off too sharply and makes the sound very sharp. The frequency response could be flat, rolled, or bumped up, but the the sterility induced by shortening decay will not go away. Now having to listen to that would be a frightening prospect.

Now I'll go have some coffee to wake up and read the Times to go back to sleep. :-)
Hi all,
thanks for the kind reflections and feed back. Not easy to get stuff like this across, without being perceived a bit ‘cuckoo?”

I could name (but of course won't) some much banded about brands in this here circle that have this particular property of causing, let’s call it ‘emotional unease’. (Not my idea of music I have to admit)

I also did not talk about frightening MUSIC --- I said frightening SOUND!
Of course the sound MAKES the music, I hope this is not just semantics.

The quality of this type of 'alignments' seems to be having too much REAL UN-REALNESS.

I never, repeat NEVER, experience such at a live event. So it is not lack of decay as suggested, that just makes everything dead and dry, and pointy in the face --- no. What I try to get at, is this incredibly well responding alignment, which then starts to confront you with almost subliminal false, UN-REAL detail, and I have only one explanation, which is this blend of a 'jumpy' amplitude behaviour coupled with a fantastically real reproduction quality, some sort of contradiction it sound, but it is not.
It is just a different, much more subliminal kind of distortion when it occurs. Why should the sound of a violin make you jump? Even percussions, ever get jumped at like that in a live situation? No, unless in some nightmare, or when some totally unexpected something (a robber) goes for you --- the breaking twig, the ‘unrelated’ sound-bite in the setting.

So the next issue, hasn’t it come up already? Would be immediacy, yeah, that seems to have something to it. The ear does not listen like a microphone, now get that 100% micro info at great immediacy WITH a jumped-up amplitude ---- this all happens so fast you can’t really hear it, but it effects your nervous system all the same.

So this incredibly well produced, in phase, in time, sound information then also contains some subtle but nasty amplitude-over-accentuations and it is that, which is actually more perceived than consciously heard.

It this, that makes you somehow uneasy after a pretty short time (maybe not every one, and maybe just what's needed, hurray... not me obviously).
So this GREAT speaker does something, somehow unpleasant, can’t say what --- but it’s not for you. It sort of scares you, sounds stupid, but that’s what it is.

I had of these in my room and they would make me almost sick, kind of aggressive (frightened) in a very short interval. Now some folks may know what I talk about, then the Audio-Doctor comes and tells you, if you listen long enough you’ll like them….
Like: Doctor this medicine does me no good, -- nah just take it long enough and you’ll be really fine.
Not for me, really not for me. If it tastes bad it is bad. If it makes me feel… you know then.

Ok, there you are.
I we are indeed talking about the same thing, I have indeed heard it at live events and many, many times. Of course viewing the event certainly lessens the surprise element.
Newbee, I suspect that some people are more senstive to the "phase coherent, flat frequency response" attributes than others just as some others might be more sensitive to box resonance, or any other attributes often discussed here.
i have never been frightened when listening to music on a stereo system.

i think there may be a confusion between persoanilty or listening styles and sound.

although over simplifying, there are two types of listeners, namely, stimulus seekers (ss) and stimulous avoiders (sa) .
the easiest way for sa listeners to avoid discomfort is to turn down the volumeand/or make sure high frequencies are well-behaved, perhaps, somewhat attenuated.

there are too many variables present in stereo system configurations and operations to ascribe a capability of a speaker to do something. in addition, a listener would have to be so inclined to be a very reactive person.

there is a lot more to this, but it is most applicable to a listener's personality rather than to the audio equipment.

one last thing, two listeners auditioning the same stereo system will have two different experiences.

thus speakers are not intrinsically frightening, but, listeners may frighten easily.

it's about psychology, more than components. don't take the listener out of the equation. for evrey so-called "frightening" speaker, there is a stereo system with that speaker in it which does not frighten, because a listener does not have such a reaction.
I think you have a very good point.
We, all of us, do have at least slightly different 'sensitivities' including our ears, good point.
But is it only me, around here, that gets the impulse to 'flee' from a room where some -odd- sounding system plays?

Come to think of it, some commentator/reviewer had to remark after the last RMAF: If it sounds (from OUTSIDE the room) that some live event is going on in there -- then I'll go in and listen. Nothing scary here, methinks.

It this quality of powerful 'emotional unease' that bugs me and I'm trying to put a handle on it.

A phase & time aligned BOSE clock radio is not going to do it, right?

It is with absolute certainty some Hi-End gear, that seems more a weapon of mass-destruction -to the nervous system- and not some benign transistor radio. If you know what I mean. But I have to concede, that some folks like bungee-jumping and I really don't.

Still, should you design a speaker all-out for time and phase and trade off proper amplitude behaviour as some folks seem to see fit?
Because THAT doesn't matter, 'cause you can't hear it? Maybe, if it sells, I guess.

Still leaves me unsettled, 'cause it's a bit like selling an X for a Y, or?

Of course everyone can build their own 'evolution' Hi-End, though a bit of awareness was never a bad thing, I think.
PS: got to bite my tongue not to mention names :-)
Seems to me that most of the "time and phase" deciples also embrace proper amplitude behaviour, just look at the steady impedance load of most "time and phase" designs.

is it my lack of awareness then?
Since the two goals always seem 'somewhat' opposed to say the least.
The more corrections, the more you 'screw-up' the phase AND the time coherence.
Every added component causes more time / phase issues. Fix the impedance, mess-up the other parameter(s). Every padding resistors screws with it, EVERY component does, even the WIRE, right?

That being said, it's the main argument why flat 6dB roll-offs are the ONLY gate to audio-time-phase-heaven --- and to heck with the rest.

I'd be glad to learn something new about it, -- what a relieve it'd be.

Been thinking about Mrtennis' comments also, i.e. that it's all in the ear/mind of the listener (my simple paraphrasing...)
Now that's the sort of relativism that makes just about everything OK. Leaves zero for any constructive criticism, just too dang save, I think.
Go listen to some 'crappy' sound, --- sorry must be you got the wrong attitude man, hallo!

Still waiting for some 'lost soul' that also gets the 'willies' listening to SOME super-duper-hyper Hi-End gear asking himself WHY that should be.

The emperor’s cloths come to mind a bit, is it really all that relative?

Thank you for sharing,
Here's one example:
Unsound, FWIW, the point of my statement about phase correct speakers being a 'false god' was not meant to be read as a subtle (or not so subtle) critique of them. In fact what I meant to suggest was, that if anything, these types of speakers become far more critical of upstream components and set up, ergo more likely to be heard in unflattering circumstances. Been there, done that, and discovered that the purchase of X brand was the beginning of a journey not the end of one.
that example of yours hangs up my box...
Somebody don't like us talking about them, methinks.
Now, was that a good or a not so good example?
Frightening? I think you may need to get a thesaurus and work with adjectives because I just don't get what you are saying.

Jadis Eurythmie is frightening but that is just cosmetics.
Eggleston Ivy is frightening but that is cost.
Avantegarde Trios are frightening but that is size.

So, simply put, does a speaker distress me emotionally or physically? If so, I don't need it because I have enough of that in my life without getting it from my audio system.
Its not hard to try to squeeze too large a system or too much sound into a typical listening room, which is much tighter quarters than most concert halls. In this scenario, it is not hard for dynamics or other sonic attributes of any system to have an edge or whatever you might call it when something sneaks up on you too quickly with no advance warning in tight quarters. If that occurs and bothers you, then your system might benefit from some "rightsizing" of it to the room it must operate in.
Newbee, OK, I can buy into that.
Axel, "hangs up my box"?
If your suggesting that I'm being defensive of a brand that I've been, for lack of a better term; loyal to, I really don't feel the need to. Shoot away. What I'm suggesting is that your suppostiion as to why things might or might not be seems to be misplaced.
the hippocratic oath should apply to audio: "do no harm"

so where does the harm come from ? i think, mainly peaks in the upper mids/lower treble. these peaks are not relaxing, but not frightening either.

balanced frequency response or a slight attenuation in the range 1000 to say 4000 hz may be easier on one's nerves.
A new reality series about audiophiles and planars: "Scared Straight"

I have a speaker system now in use which is so frighteningly good that I have to listen with the lights on!
Hi Unsound,
so easy to get mis-taken, eish.
That link of yours just made my computer (that thing in front of me) get hang up, get stuck, is what happened. So I could not look at the page contents.

What I understand, that this product is well regarded by you and not in any way causing 'emotional unease' during longer listening --- have I got that right?

Some audio folks seem to be 'VC hardened', don't get rattled no more when out of 'natural' context sound-biting(pun intended) is produced by a speaker. Like rim-shots, trumpets, a singer sitting right in your lap, I'm sure your must have heard some of that. Take all of that with some heavy overdose of 'immediacy' and hyper-reality (the microphone ear) and you'll be emotionally exhausted in no time.

Can of course blame it on screwy mastering, shown up by an excellent system... and it can be that, no doubt. But if a speaker is behaving this way as a matter of course, then a change of software will not make any difference at all.

I still ‘feel’ that there is a connection to a hyped-up presentation and resulting physical/emotional unease. It is most often the speaker that grabs your by it’s presentation immediately, that after say ½ hour tires you out somehow ---- information overload? I think so, because in nature this just does not happen that way, nature is more kind to you and your ears (unless in a war situation). It does not pepper you with ‘low-level’ overemphasised detail, it gives you some time to integrate what's going on ---- and so does what's called MUSIC.
Only in some very reverby room you would get this kind of experience, detail-overload, the wrong AMPLITUDE. In a speaker of this nature this is of course FAR more subtle, it works kind of behind your immediate perception. That’s why it takes at least a while to work on you. Like subliminal add-pics they tried out in the movies, can’t see them but they affect you. So it seems is the micro roller-coaster of a loose cannon amplitude response. The worse the speaker's REALNESS the less this matters, the better the it’s REALNESS, THERENESS, the more it ‘startles’ and somehow affects you after a short while. If your senses are sufficiently blunted or ‘adjusted’ your brain will of course tune it out --- but it's work for the brain to do this balancing act ---- and this makes for a kind of exhaustion, sometimes even aggression.

Funny, we must have only VERY fine, or very many not so fine transducers about, that this has not been more noticed.

PS: I really don’t want to make a ‘new’ problem where none exists, so let’s all then agree to have minimum 1st order designs and all else SUCKS?
Hi Mrtennis,

>>> these peaks are not relaxing, but not frightening either. <<<

Bet your bottom dollar that they can be --- the more everything else is right i.e. immediacy, phase, time, dynamic depth or sound floor.
What I'm saying is, for a more 'average' speaker this is no issue, since it makes enough other mistakes so as not to be able to 'startle' (frighten... I know real man don't get frightened only sisies) with some well recorded material almost constantly.

If you have not had the experience it may be pretty hard to accept, that this is what's going on. Those 'nasties' you mention >> 1000 to say 4000 hz << are then much more 'hidden' with the general 'first impression' of rather impressive reproduction.

There where some of these at the RMAF and inevitably in the most HIGHEST ranks, and with the absolute best?! front-ends!
So we are talking serious HiEnd, forget HiFi, and never mind MidFi, that stuff gets just plain anoying (when it does). If things get THAT REAL, and THEN there's some 'funnies' going on in the amplitude (what else can it be?) THAT's when this effect is present, it can chase you from the room, at least that's what happens with me.

Axel, is English your first language? I'm having a hard time following you and I'm not sure when and where your being sarcastic, if your being sarcastic at all. "VC hardened"? Perhaps your unease can somtimes be blamed on amplitude problems and sometimes perhaps not. I think you are correct, in that "screwy mastering" can have a definite effect on the kind of problems I think your refering to. And yes, if the those problems(?) always exist regardless of the recording being played back, there is a system problem. On the other hand, if a system doesn't portray the problem with recordings known to have the problem, then we open the hornets nest of whether or not the system is indeed capable of true fidelity.
only retail prices and buyers remorse are frightening....if we are listening for all this 'stuff' we are 'by nature' unhappy...and thats frightening after you've made a major investment.
Hello Unsound,
"VC hardened" mean you're just don't get that jumpy anymore by little tiny scary (out of the envelope) sounds, you have build a sort of mental armour.
May not being politically correct, but what other starkly, jumpy, un-nerving experience with minutely unsettling sounds would you suggest.
After all we ARE talking about some type of 'fright response'! You can get hardened to that, i.e. no more fright... Does that make some sort of sense.

>>> I'm having a hard time following you and I'm not sure when and where your being sarcastic, if your being sarcastic at all <<<
My language might be sometimes a bit 'off colour' to you, call it unduly facetious. Sorry, but it's NEVER meant to be an affront, just a bit too playful?
US sensitivities seem sometimes in the way to even call 'a spade a shovel' so my experience, I spend some years in your country...

>>> Perhaps your unease can sometimes be blamed on amplitude problems and sometimes perhaps not <<<
I would underwrite that, my inquiry is all about that, since I do not go out and say that's all there is to it. If it was that, thank you, case closed, end of discussion.

What I have brought up is:
1) not that easy to convey
2) not that easy to acknowledge
3) not that easy to pinpoint, as to what is the source, or it's exact cause (if there is one only)

I have my listening experience(s), and amplitude inconsistencies in the presents of otherwise overwhelming clarity, phase and time coherence seems to be it.
There might be another culprit --- but actually I can't see it, else I would not have started to ask the question.

I tried Thiel's site, and again it keeps 'hanging up' my laptop (that 'box' of mine, OK). I scheme you are NOT an IT person and some appears like foreign jargon at times? Sorry I'll try and do better.
So please tell me, does Thiel claim to do 1st order?
If you'll tell me YES, I'll get a fit! Since I happen to know what his crossovers look like.
Remember the definition of 1st order: ONE (and only one) component per XO slope in the signal-path.

So if Thiel is something other (steeper or mixed slopes), I guess he does not qualify to be an issue, because he's put enough components in his XO to ensure to have NO amplitude irregularities, I say.
Correct me if I'm wrong.
Thiels tend to be a bit on the bright side in some settings but I think they are not the 'scary' kind of HiEnd item.
Hi Jabo,
hey man you got a point!
Spend 100 - 200 Grand (on a speaker alone) is more frightening than ANY listening can get. (And mostly if the wife didn't know!)
Well said, keep it coming.
Axe, yes, I most cetainly do still get "startled", but I do believe that was the intent of performance.
I'm not that thin skinned and Ifind no afront to your posts. I'm just unclear as to your intended point.
Here is another simpler link:

You will need to navigate through this web site to find the appropriate content.

Yes, the Thiels use a first order crossover. My understanding of that phrase has to do with the slope and not the count of components used to achieve it.
The components used in Thiels cross-overs compensate for driver irregularities, loading for steady impedance and yes, even amplitutde response. Along with selected drivers and cabinets that permit staggered positioning of drivers, the crossovers are used to make time, phase and amplitude correct speaker systems. Thiel is not alone in this regard, currently Green Moutain and Vandersteen amongst others use this approach and in the past Dunlavy and Meadowlark (which seemed to better fit your description of a 1st order cross-over) have also used this approach. I have yet to hear anyone accuse any of these manufacturer's of providing anything less than linear amplitude response.

I guess I'm saying that I think that your conclusion that "time and phase" designs have sacrafised amplitude response in that pursuit is unfounded.
I get frightened whenever I hear the sound of the dentist's drill as my teeth are very sensitive.
and I wish you a good dentist to take care of you!
And thanks for your deep insight, always like some weighty contribution (-:

I have tried that 'clipped' link version of Thiel, it also bombs.
I think they want to get some cookies installed and I don't let them. My system don’t like that marketing stuff, neither do I.

But in any way, it looks like that's it for me.
If Wilson, van der Steen, von Schweikert, Hansen, Krell and company is giving me the 'willies' I guess it must the blerry set-up, either in my own head, or in the listening room -- or both.

Your 1st order info is not right, because 1st order = 6dB slope and only one (I repeat ONE) coil or cap will do that. All else is some other 'magic'.
So, 1st order will give you that one and only 90 deg. phase shift with the two drivers involved, and that happens to cancel out (by vector addition) to 0 deg. phase shift -- in the maths at least, and mostly as it is hoped for in the air.
Sit 10' away and all should integrate, so much for the good theory. Amplitude is not part of the 'minimalist package'.
The superior openness is achieved my minimum insertion loss (and like hell that ain't the Thiels either, I know their PCB too) and incidentally neither are the Dunlevy's, which have more stuff on the x-over boards then you'd like to know.

The Green Mountain Audio, seem plenty closer to the pure teaching of 1st order, but that's a completely different story, also I've not heard them --- so no fright-flight there. Now look at their stuff and you'll see it looks nowhere near like those Thiels, and the others I mentioned. Their chief know a-plenty about this here subject, he's freighteningly knowledgable. At least some freight her too...

So nobody got much of a clue in the line of what these speakers x-over do and why they do it, and why some a them give me (only me?) a heart(head)burn. I guess at least we had a good go at it, including Gawdless and his dentist theory.

Music has to do with emotion and many composers of classical music put "scary passages" into their music quite purposefully. R. Strauss does, Mahler does, Sibelius, Mozart in Don Govanni, Schnittke, Shostakovits, Berlioz, just to mention a few A good rig will bring that all out, almost as well as a real life concert performance. Deep registers below 20hz or so, no matter if heard or just felt will scare the living daylights out of you. And yes, Axel, you are quite right, that has nothing to do with listeners fatigue. That form of discomfort comes from bad soft- or hardware.
An afterthought: Carl Jung never went to concerts. It shook him up too much, caused him emotional turmoil. I would say, that anyone who has never gotten goosebumps listening to music, be it from joy or being simply scared for a second, does not really know on a deeper level what music is about.
Axe, I beg to differ with you re: what constitutes a 1st order crossover. Your description certainly describes a simple 1st order cross-over, but, there are many ways to skin a cat. I have not objection to the use of extra components in the cross-over if they serve to improve the performance. I can respect that you might disagree, and feel they add more harm than good.
I completely agree with Detlof re: "scarry passages", and that is exactly what I'm refering to. Perhaps this is what the "maverick" reviewer was refering to, and you misunderstood?
Axelwahl, I think you are starting to "get" what hi-end audio is largely about. Manipulate the sound into something larger than life. So many components I listen to "do" something to the sound. Maybe that's a preference, which is okay, but I find it irritating in the long run.
Most hi-end stuff is voiced to meet a certain preference.

Jaybo, you said a mouthful. That is a major reason I got off the expensive merry-go-round. Now I'm riding the small 'wheel and feeling much more comfortable.
Thank you Cdc,
somebody with some sense -- and no dentist fears as it seems.
That “greater than live” - I keep calling it ‘hyper-reality’, seems to cause some of the fright-flight response.
And my question was, IS THAT WHERE IT'S AT?
It obviously IS, for all this AV stuff, but music to relax or foot-tap, boogie --- too jig the heck out of you?
Mozart's apocalypse now? Always bearing in mind the type of alignmnet compromise that’s going that way, as explained on top.
Detlof, thank you!
A very good contribution and showing some VERY clear and profound insight into this subject. You mentioned the goose bumps --- right, right on!
But now, PLEASE goose bumps where the music intended it, and NOT ad-hock by a lacking amplitude 'management' in favour of all the other parameters as some designs seem to have gone.
I was being fastidious again I guess, dang.
In fact I happen to agree with you COMPLETELY i.e. just do not try to get too 'pure' and too hung-up on insertion losses, all in favour of this ULIMATE transparency / immediacy goal.
We are on the same page here, and your preference of transducer supports this, so far as I recall their sound.
So what speakers let the music flow through with the realness and impact to cause such an emotional response?
I can name two: High Emotion Audio, which has one of the fastest tweeters ever made (which is also quite relaxed at the same time) and the Classic Audio Loudspeaker equipped with field coil drivers. It shares the high speed/relaxed qualities of the High Emotion Audio systems.

When someone is singing, these speakers can reproduce that effect so well that if you are at home alone, you can be quite startled by the voice's realism. I've had that happen- knowing that the doors are locked, but someone besides me is in the house, and singing along with the stereo. Spooky.

But- that is what the system is *supposed* to do. As jaundiced audiophiles, we tend to be startled when the system actually **does** it.
"High Emotion Audio"

The name would seem to imply that!

How about Shindo speakers that also use field coil technology drivers?

Wide dispersion and very good sensitivity and dynamics would seem to be two common traits in this category.
Mapman, what about Ohm speakers? Do they deliver?
"Mapman, what about Ohm speakers? Do they deliver?"

Yeah, I would say so.

They are not horns nor do they utilize field coil technology drivers, nor might I be able to afford them if they did.

Feed them sufficient power and current though and they definitely "deliver", at least IMHO.

They are mostly relaxing in that the omni design does not blast sound at you perhaps as much as more directional designs. They tend to fill the room with sound more instead. They have "startled" me on occasion when the recording demanded, but I would stop short of saying the sound has ever been "frightening".

Perhaps with a 250 w/ch or more monster or Class D amp they might start to become "frightening" on more occasions based on what I have read from others.

The latest and greatest drivers in the OHMS announced first towards the end of last year supposedly use all new driver components including more powerful magnets which is said to increase efficiency and reduce power demands.
The Dunlavy's realism has often been described as "spooky". The sense that someone has somehow broken in to ones room and is now singing directly in front of you is indeed "spooky", especially in the dark. Even in my modest system, I can be startled be the power and impact of an orchestral crescendo. I mean, how is that realism possible in my relatively small private room?
Mapman, "latest and greatest"? Have we even heard these yet? Do we need to got down this path once again?
Nope, haven;t heard the "latest and greatest".

Latest for sure.

Greatest? Technical improvements on paper seemingly but I haven't heard them so I can't offer an opinion. It's always a matter of opinion I suppose in any case.

Supposedly more efficient and improved in some ways according to the info released on the OHM site.
That's about as much as I know about the new gen drivers.

Here is what is said about the new drivers on the OHm site:

"NextGen Walsh Driver Available

The new Walsh 5000 driver is in production! This is the Next Generation of the Walsh 5-S3 driver and can be used to upgrade Ohm Fs as well as the Walsh 4,
Walsh 5 and Walsh 300 families of speakers.

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I think we are getting something here, now we are talking about "spooky", very good.

Now spooky can be 'nice' spooky, or 'frightening' spooky, right? You of course one can now argue, that it's in the mind of the listener, and who can disagree.

I was trying to figure, if that is not just ONLY a 'Jungian' kind of over-sensitivity, but a genuine something that is caused by an alignment trade-off. Linearity sacrificed in favour of just getting this 'spooky' quality.

One thing comes to mind here, and that is a 'general' tendency of 'bad' dispersion behaviour in favour of a VERY squeezed sweet-spot with great 'spooky' quality.

So some of it could be due, by not listening in this very narrowly defined sweet-spot i.e. a more casual type of listening?
In this case, every where else we have some very serious comb-filtering going on --- now what is that, other than some serious amplitude roller-coaster?

The all-time unavoidable trade-off, for superior transparency and immediacy?

Like: no roller-coaster no superior transparency, etc?

The answer might really just be: personal preference... but something tells me that's too simple, too relativistic.


I was going to post some thoughts but Atmosphere beat me to the point I was going to try to make. If I understand the theme of this topic this is something that I refer to as the "startle factor". To me this doesn't just refer to amplitude peaks but also full harmonics, speed of the dynamics, and correct timbres. These are the details of the music that I want my system/speakers to render IF they are indeed in the recording.

Axelwahl, I fear you are close to committing the same sin as many others. You are simply imparting your own preferences to what you heard from a certain pair, or pairs, of speakers. We all do it and then argue over what sounds the most "real". What you hear as frightening may make the next guy giggle with delight.

Another thing I was thinking while reading your comments on flat response is which response are you referring to? The anechoic figures published by speaker manufacturers or the in room response?

Hi Dan_ed

let's see..
>>> These are the details of the music that I want my system/speakers to render --IF-- they are indeed in the recording.<<<

You put it right there: IF! --- they are indeed in the recording.
I concede they ARE NOT, and are made-up by an amplitude response issue.
Certain parts get over- and others under-cooked ---- but not necessarily, immediately or grossly obvious.
It turns out comb-filtering is not THAT obvious as I understand, else there'd be fewer of these type of alignments about.

>>> The anechoic figures published by speaker manufacturers or the in room response? <<<

To keep it quite short: anechoic figures.

However, the worse your dispersion pattern, the smaller your sweet-spot, the WORSE your in-room response, the more tricky to get "acceptable" in-room results.
Unless you are "hardened" to this kind of deviation... e.g. do not negatively respond.

Thank you for your valuable input,
Axe, Perhaps we a language problem here, both receptively and expressively.
Spin a good recording of Mahler's 3rd Symphony as an emotional acid test for your system.

if all is well, you should at various points be frightened, relaxed and experience a gamut of various other emotional reactions as well.
anyone other than English speaking around?

I have not the slightest problem, which of course doesn't mean you don't have one, since you bring it up.

Want us to communicate in Dutch, or French?
What do you suggest?

You see, a lot of these threads get started, and then twisted or high-jacked into ‘what-not’ other subject(s).

You just might give us some credit to stick with the subject matter and not degenerate into medical conditions, or dentist's fears -- the way I see it.

If you don't follow it too comfortably i.e. pushed out of your comfort zone? Well why not ask, - perhaps?

PS: ???
Thanks Mapman,
I'll go do that and let you know tomorrow. Let's see what comes about.

Good suggestion, practical, jolly good.
PS: I do hope I have a 'good one' --- but just checked only have 1,4,5,8,9,10, ALL CD which sucks actually.
The 8th could drive me from a room though, do you know that?