Speaker Technology over the last 10 years

I bought my last pair of speakers 13 years ago, Legacy Classic. How much has speaker technology changed since then? I know in terms of amp and cd player there has been tremendous advancements but what about speakers?

Are speakers for the most part dependent upon the source? I appreciate any comments.
I'm sure that Shadorne is correct re: radiation pattern.

Mrtennis' preference likely has little to do with distortion which varies dramatically with SPL - as noted above - for both boxes and panels. Similarly, tonal balance varies as markedly for different model panels as it does between any given panel and any given box. (The original Quad 'stat has a strikingly different tonal balance from the large Sound Lab 'stats.)

It's likely that the radiation pattern delta is also distinctive because it excites room nodes differently. My forward firing designs tend to produce a few suckouts between 50hz and 150hz, each of which is deep and narrow. My Maggies produce a larger, more complex pattern which features shallower troughs. The omnis produce the flattest response, although the primary suckout is large - much like the forward firing designs. Some of this specific result is due to my particular room (and I address some of this with EQ'd subs), but there's little doubt in my mind that the speaker/room system behaves differently when the radiation pattern is altered.

I rotate boxes and panels in my system roughly on a monthly basis, though my subs stay put with both. Each design has its particular charms and Mrtennis evidently values those of panel designs (and cardioid radiation) most highly. I would recommend that Mrtennis audition an omni design like Ohm, MBL, or Duevel (if he hasn't already) to see how those strike his fancy. They present a third radiation pattern that brings a different set of cards to the table.


thanks marty and shadorne for your insights. i happen to have heard a few tannoy speakers which i like based upon their frequency response.

in addition, there was an early gradient speaker which had an open baffle midrange and tweeter (jordan modules) which i thought was a wonderful design. i could easily live with that gradient speaker.

in the past, i liked the aerial 10t, rogers ls35a and proac response 3, and chario academy one, driven with the original jadis orchestra.
i guess there are some exceptions to my panel preference after all.
The real 'advancements' from an engineering stand point have been with DSP added room and drive correction. Meridian seems to be playing around with this for a number of years now slowly advancing the concept.

Can't say I've heard a Meridian system that I've liked but the technology is a refreshing leap forward. I suspect there will be leaps and bounds made with more and more DSP actively implemented into speaker design.

The future lies within this concept.
I have a question on distortion. I've read several times that box speakers have much higher distortion than panels (ESL's)? The box itself is apparently the culprit with measured distortion of 4% or more not being uncommon. In comparison distortion on panels has been found in some instances to be almost unmeasurable.


I'd be interested to see the article you read/refer to.

I have also read that because the radiating surface of panels is so large and because their forward energy is so great that the room vs. speaker interface (or the impact of the room) is less problematic than small box speakers with cones.

Large panels cause beaming/lobing of the sound which produces variations with frequency that will make placement and listening position quite critical. They also need more space, IMHO.

Have you actually tried panels - they are not so easy to setup, at least IMHO?

Also, do you have any experience of panels at anything approach realistic instrument sound levels - say 110 db SPL (which would cover grand piano and a drum set)? It is all very well having low distortion at low SPL levels - in fact there are a great many speaker designs that can achieve this.
hi shadorne:

i would be shocked that anyone would expose a pair of ears
to spl exceeding 100 db. my normal listening level is about 75 db. anything above 75db i consider loud.

my preferred seat at a large concert hall, is last row orchestra. i doubt i would experience a spl excceding 85 db, especially with all of the bodies in front of me.