What are the current "speaker trends" in your opinions?


Be it cones, stats, horns, planers ...or whatever other technology, is there anything new/worthwhile out there?  I know that there was the AMT "air motion transformer" of the ESS days,etc.  Many technologies advance and sometimes refinements of existing technology is the mainstay.   I am not real current in my readings or notice of advertising/reviews and would appreciate anything readers can share. 


whatjd
nuclear speaker models
fusion of course
... hahaha
fission  is so 1950's
The rise of active speakers with DSP has the promise of simpler systems that can have flatter in-room frequency response. When you compare what the Kef LS50 costs to the LS50W and what each offers, it's apparent that such integration also lowers costs.
I agree that self powered, dsp, wireless speakers may be something that continues to advance and hopefully more speaker manufacturers will jump on board.

My only concern is reliability and also they’ll need to have access to control the dsp without having the speakers connected to wifi.  

If they could add in a switch that would switch from active to passive, that might be cool as well.  

I’ve had Kef LS50w and Dynaudio Xeo 6 as well.  Each one had its strengths and weakness’
New speakers keep coming out every year but in reality there is hardly any improvement and if there is it could be tiny.  Its all just mdf box + woofer + tweeter. Same recipe over and over again. Its all a sham in my opinion. 
And - the wheel is still Round :-)

Good Listening

Peter 
wireless streaming is definitely the trend. Hopefully the codecs (AptX, etc) eventually become fully lossless.
- Active speakers are hot

- beryllium tweeters

- coaxial drivers

- Tons of detail at the expense of being fatiguing.  I think because there are several very popular speakers that sell bright speakers that expose a lot of detail, everyone is tuning the tweeter in a forward way which increases detail beaut also makes the speakers quite bright.


- Aluminum for enclosure material.
- Wireless speakers
- Use of on-board DSP
- Choices of colors
- Better budget models
This is something I have been tracking and monitoring closely ever since back in 1973 when I rode my bicycle to audition all the speakers at Radio Shack. Back in those days they were all paper cones, wire, and magnets. Then JBL started using edgewound voice coils and AlNiCo magnets, and the race was on. Nowadays of course we have much more exotic materials, composites, and a lot more sophisticated design criteria.

From my perspective then, and as far as current trends go, I would have to say the one that really stands out is the trend towards higher prices. 
Imo some of the best current trends are embodied in the Dutch & Dutch 8c.

They start out with excellent acoustic design and a lot of thermal and mechanical capability in a relatively compact package.

Then they use powerful DSP to shape the response and extend the low end.

One of my customers, a recording engineer, owns the very first pair that came into the US. I have respect for Dutch & Dutch but no actual association with them.

Duke
The dutch and dutch is a horrible example of a good speaker. Good sound should be affordable to everyone. The dutch and dutch fail in that respect. In terms of sound quality, theyve cheated by using a lot of dsp to overcome problems that shouldn't be there in the first place. 
Kenjit wrote: "The dutch and dutch is a horrible example of a good speaker."

Let’s see what his basis is for this claim.

"Good sound should be affordable to everyone."

The topic is trends in loudspeaker design, not trends in social justice.

"In terms of sound quality, they’ve cheated by using a lot of dsp to overcome problems that shouldn’t be there in the first place."

Let’s see you back that up, kenjit.

You have been going on about how DSP + custom tailoring to individual taste is the right way to do a loudspeaker. So, here is a speaker with DSP that can be custom tailored to individual taste, and you say "they’ve cheated"!!

So back up your claim that Dutch & Dutch "cheated" by using DSP. Tell me what problems they use "DSP to overcome that shouldn’t be there in the first place."

And I invite you to bring competent analysis to the table, rather than opinion stated as if it were fact.

Duke


@kenjit
In terms of sound quality, theyve cheated by using a lot of dsp to overcome problems that shouldn't be there in the first place.

How does that comment relate to your post below extracted from a recent thread?
"What people don't seem to understand is that if you use DSP, you could have a dozen different crossovers that you could switch between in a split second and literally be an armchair crossover designer."
Some trends-Overpricing, Chinese construction, aluminum cabs, tweeter of the month, Euro drivers in a small box. lifestyle designs morphing with audiophile products.
@kenjit
"Good sound should be affordable to everyone. The dutch and dutch fail in that respect. "
Hmm for $12,500  Dutch & Dutch 8c appears to give a buyer an all in one box solution - the drivers,  high-end DACs, amps, subwoofers and a DSP. The system also comes with room matching and streaming capabilities out-of-the-box.
Guess Golden Ears doesn't like the Dutch and Dutch because they are manufactured out of phase :)

(Or at least the ones he never heard at a show were built that way...)

And, how could Dutch and Dutch possibly compete with Sonos...

So cool what is happening with speaker/system designs. Every piece and component optimized for the one right next to it in the chain.

Going to take me a while - for both financial and sensibility reasons - before I would be ready to make the switch. I like tubes and high efficiency speakers.

The Dutch and Dutch 8c's are such a great concept. It's difficult to keep up with the innovative things that are happening in audio design period.

So I guess, in a nutshell, its change that is the new trend - development, implementation and integration of both brand new digital technologies with existing "traditions".

Cool time to be an audiophile!!!

P


@audiokinesis 

Duke, Might as well order some take out, open a few beverages and read War and Peace while you wait for Sir Fullofit to never come to the table with anything of use let alone fact based knowledge for a rebuttal .  

 

It should be room control (DSP). But I believe that is best put in the pre amp not the speaker. This started in the late 80's with TACT and has been slow to catch on. TACT did not do itself any favors. Their manual was awful and the learning curve steep. But once you had it down you had the ultimate control of your system 1 Hz and 0.5 db at a time, phase coherent and ultimate bass management. Unfortunately most people could not figure it out. The industry then reacted by making units  that most people could operate but that were extremely limited in capability. Only Trinnov has a full capability unit that if you are inclined you can talk to it with your laptop and get most of what the TACT can do. Anthem also has a unit at a much lower cost that I am not familiar with. Having used digital system management for over twenty years there is no way I could live without it so I always keep an eye on the market should my TACT 2.2X ever bite the dust. Fortunately it is built like a tank but if it were to go at this time I would go for the Trinnov Amethyst. Many people are turned off by having to convert everything into PCM but the benefits far out weight the negatives. All the management is done at 192/24 48 bit. I have a Benchmark ADC on the output of my phono amp and the turntable still has all it's analog charm intact so much so that most people prefer the turntable to a synchronized hi res digital file. Go figure. 
There is no system that would not benefit from digital system management. If you think your imaging is good now wait till you here it with both speakers having exactly the same frequency response. If you think your sub sound great  wait till you hear it perfectly time aligned with your speakers. 
You only need one digital system management device. You do not need one in the sub and another in the speaker. The best place to put it is in the preamp which historically is the control unit of the system.
Little wireless speakers like Sonos benefit from DSP to make them sound more natural and they are great for back ground music but they are mid fi. Personally, I do not stream. I have a huge digital collection and playlists for every occasion. For new music I scan HD tracks and Amazon you can listen to files at either site. Recordings made before 1980 I prefer vinyl. 
Everything else about speakers has not changed much. I do not think there is a specific trend other than there are more manufacturers than ever making pretty much the same thing with intriguing marketing tacked on to make you think you are getting something special. 
The trend in speakers in everything that was old is now new again. Trend is in vintage speaker designs. I'm a fan!
I visited most of the rooms at AXPONA this year and I would answer that there is no trend. There were line arrays, wide baffles, open baffles, side firing woofers with narrow baffles, you name it. 
I agree that the "vintage thing" is making a comeback but I am biased as I own Devore O/93's and the Volti room sounded so good as did the Audio Note room. 
I wonder about the aluminum cabinet Magico/YG Acoustic trend; first, two brands don't make for much of a trend and it seems to me that as many people find them dark/boring as find them satisfying. I spent a lot of time in front of a pair at Magico's while talking to Steve Dobbins and A.J. Van den Hul and for the price asked I don't hear the appeal. IMO there is a large segment of well-heeled audio enthusiasts who think high-tech equals better loudspeaker sound reproduction that is the audio equivalent of "looking for love in all the wrong places". 
That said, I loved the sound of Vivid Audio Giya's so what do I know?
Another questionable trend (to me) is ribbon tweeters. They seem to be fashionable now but I lived with them for almost ten years in Acoustic Zen Adagios and they were "meh". Good but not great. They are a cheap trick imho. Give me a SEAS dome any day. 
There is no arguing that like integrated amps, we will be seeing more and more active speakers with DSP. I see this as a niche product that will likely appeal to younger audio enthusiasts (which is a good thing). I may be proven wrong, but there is a mental and philosophical disconnect between an analogue front end and a digitally corrected loudspeaker. But then again, every time I see someone asking about a Sweet Vinyl Sugarcube  or Mike Fremer sharing digital needle drops I scratch my head, so again, what do I know?
Oh Kay...OP asks for 'speaker trends' and in one page we're off and running into DSP, Bluetoothed, actives, and such....

...which none of which is 'new'...MHO.

Speakers that are 'listening to us' talk back is new.  And that's both interesting and occasionally frightening....

"HEY!  That sounds like *rap!"
("What would you like me to sound like?")
"Bose 901's, mid-80's...try that...")

12" tall speaker explodes...

Direct neural excitation is likely the next step, since we're already 'into' VR.  "Here, we'll just put this chip into your head.  Runs off your body heat, updates automatically, you just have to Think of what you want to hear..."

DON'T forget to autopay the monthly bill.  "Pause" & "Mute" might not be what you had in mind..... ;) *ugly G*
Won't work asv. Music has visceral aspects that headphones and chips can not replicate. Headphones are like sex with a rubber on.
...you mean like washing your feet with your socks on?

I think it depends on the price brackets.  Each of them will have a trend of their own.  

For medium price, probably it will be DSP.  But with DSP, currently there is no clear standard.  Right now, you have to purchase everything from one single manufacturer.  

Let look at a practical scenario. Let's say you decide to build a USB input speakers and using some type of DSP.  Well currently the PC can only have one USB output per single sound source.  So only a single L or R speaker can receive the signal.  So you have to split the USB signal somehow, but that's not easy because USB can only have one master/one slave talking at a time.  It can be done but somebody has to come up with a standard.  Of course you have to deal with latency issue whenever you split up two signal.

A manufacture can decide to go alone but that will cost a lot of RD money and the small guys probably can't afford it.  

As for the very high end, they will remain the same.  Using DSP does compromise the sound and high end market still cares more about sound than convenience.  
What are the current "speaker trends" in your opinions?

Stereophiles leading the charge, with the education of those that can understand, the relevance of what the test measurements show to what the reviewer has heard in the good and the bad a speaker or amp.
This takes a lot of the guessing out of buying a speaker or amp to mate up with each other.

But it’s always the voodoo’ist that say it not relative, measurements are BS!! but the sad fact is they just don’t understand how to read those measurements vs what’s heard with amps or speakers. The voodoo'ist just don’t get it, that those same Stereophile measurements and tests were used by the manufacturers to design the amps and speakers they are buying and listening to!!

Cheers George
Hey,

George, what the hell Vodoo has to do with this lols.