Wide baffle speakers are better than narrow


I'm just putting out some facts here so no one gets further misguided.

Wide baffle speakers sound much better, more natural and bring the acoustics of the recording venue with them.

Narrow baffle speakers are not as good without significant room treatment.

I'm glad no one here disagrees.
erik_squires
Right. I was having such a hard time hearing the natural acoustic of the recording venue. Total Contact, Omega E-mats, BDR Cones, thousands wasted on Synergistic cables, HFT, ECT, heck I even tried Cable Elevators. Nothing helped. 

Until I cut a hole in a 4x8 sheet of plywood. Now with the wide baffle, amazing!
So does that mean the In-wall speakers are the way to go?

In any event,  it certainly cuts the need for baffle step compensation. 
thousands wasted on Synergistic cables,


You be you, @millercarbon

I’m thinking of every thing from the wide-baffle Arnie Nudell Infinity and Genesis to the Sonus Faber Stradivari here.

Those wide baffles are magic.

Of course I’m not taking this conversation very seriously. :-)

So does that mean the In-wall speakers are the way to go?

Allison and Snell kind of sort of pointed us in that way, or at least using the rear wall as a part of the speaker, same with Klipsch.
Of course I’m not taking this conversation very seriously. :-)
That's what I thought
Post removed 

This time Erik is 100% correct.  Having auditioned a LOT of speakers, the ones that sound most like live music turned out to be Harbeth 40.2's and Spendor Classic 100's.

When talking about the Wharfedale Lintons (econo Harbeths/Spendors), Peter Comeau addressed precisely this issue.

Yet another advantage of wide-baffle is that you can stick a 12" woofer on the front (see current thread on 6.5" woofers).
It's all about the wave-launch and how the size of the baffle affects this.
Narrow baffles were largely the invention of interior designers.
When John Bau designed the Spica Angelus he made the baffle narrow for the woofer/midrange, but wide for the tweeter. 


I own a wide baffle Spendor 9/1 and a narrow baffle Gradient Revolution and each sounds quite good.  Not drawing any hard conclusions, but I'm thinking that baffle size is just another element in an overall loudspeaker design.
Don't shoot the messenger

My first exposure to narrow face loudspeakers was Genesis Vs, which were slight of face  + a separate powered sub with remote VC, and Polarity  http://www.genesisloudspeakers.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/vandvi_brochure.pdf

I was also involved in the early days of Nearfield Acoustics  Pipedream loudspeakers, and later the early days of Scaena Loudspeakers

Neither of these obscured the sound stage in any way, unless the system driving them was not up to it
Wide-baffle speakers are capable of excellent imaging if competently designed, better than narrow towers in many cases.
Listening to my Audio Note AN-J's I would have to agree. Also I feel like I read an article on wide baffle speakers recently and can't recall wear.

Also massive self unaware irony alert! kenjit just called you a troll.
I’m still hungry to hear Spatial Turbos and hear what OB bass is all about.
In 1985 I had these wide baffle boxes into the Technics "rack" setup. 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/RSL-Rogersound-Lab-Speed-Screen-SpeedScreen-Speakers-Pair-Good-Condition/30...
Replace the passive radiators, good as new.

 Got rid of mine last year,which were mothballed for some 30 years.
Attached  them with zip cord, fabulous faux fi!

I hooked them up before letting them go, they surprisingly  performed pretty good with my current tubed rig. 

Made in Canoga Park, Ca. Weighed 60-70lbs. Made the so-so rack system ROCK.  Especially with those still new CD's. Rarely used the plasticky linear table. 

Pre Sonus Faber Elipsa/Stradavari- poor man style.



"I’m thinking of every thing from the wide-baffle Arnie Nudell Infinity and Genesis to the Sonus Faber Stradivari here."

Even Arnie learned as he gained experience. Look at the baffle for the mid/high panels of the IRS Betas. Also look at the work of Siegfried Linkwitz.
Super linear constructive and destructive interference amplitude averaging machine.
super terrible time and phase deconstruction machine.
also the flat baffle is a flat horn aka the room up close, writ large. The big negative curved Infinity baffle is a special case and a special speaker and a bearcat to integrate with the room, the bass towers - could be maddening, ask me how I know.... we sold everything but IRS

In my jbl bibles it shows how to construct and brace 4x8 sheets of plywood beside the speakers for behind screen. I would imagine it has to do some with efficiency . And no in wall speakers  arent a go to. Unless you like the sound of plastic and drywall with zero placement adjustability.  
If baffle means the front width of the speaker, I recently came to a decision on the speaker I will get. It was between thin speakers,

Paradigm Persona 3F
Vivid Kaya 45
TAD ME1

and a big fatty.

Yamaha NS 5000.

My search took me to the Magico A3 first and then the Paradigm Persona 3F. I liked the Persona better because the top end seemed better integrated, the Magico A3 was still very good. Both Persona’s top end drivers use the same material (Similar to Yamaha NS 1000 from the 1970’s).

When I heard the fatty Yamaha NS 5000 I liked the sound a bit better than the Persona. The Yamaha uses the same driver material for all 3 drivers, including the large bass driver. I figured I liked the NS 5000 speakers because of the same drivers but maybe it was because it was a fatty and the others were skinny.
Along with Onhwy66, I’d say it depends on speaker design.

Narrow/wide baffle is not always better one way or the other. From my limited experience, wider the baffle, the more easily distinguishable point source for frequencies above the wavelength of baffle length. Another way to say this is, the lower the frequency, the bigger the baffle can be without the brain being able to distinguish where the sound came from.

Wider baffle doesn’t equal better live sound - examples; MBL, Ohm-Walsh, Kii, LXmini, Gallo, etc. Musical instruments themselves radiate in more directions than toward the audience. Furthermore, venues add their own unique sound, none of which has to do with sound radiating directly from instruments.

Live music is typically captured by numerous mics spread throughout a venue, and in many cases directly from instruments. So that conglomeration of tracks gets mixed and mastered. If the sound was captured by a wall of microphones, then I might have reason to agree.

The theory that live music sounds better with wide baffle speakers seems questionable. I would agree that the larger the baffle, the more likely it is for the brain to distinguish where the sound came from - unless it happens to be the resonant frequency of the eardrum or room (or to a lesser degree an ordered harmonic Fs...n of that resonant room frequency).
@erik_squires  - In your definition, how wide (In inches) is wide? 
I imagine using a bigger baffle puts forward the true image more as opposed to hearing the room youre in. I’ve never been in love with the narrow speakers . That being said i love the sound of L7 so much i have two sets . And L5 . But my current rig 4430 w a 2441 and a 2405 on top is girthy  and feel like my retirement speakers, they are very reference like. Nothing i see these days interests me. 

In your definition, how wide (In inches) is wide?


Lets say with a baffle at least  about 4x the width of the tweeter, including faceplate.
@erik_squires  - OK, so that means one pair of my speakers have a wide baffle and the other pair has a narrow baffle. Surprisingly, I don't really care either way......
Well I said "at least" but what I'm really thinking of are models mentioned above, which are probably wider.
Richard Vandersteen sure would disagree. 
David Wilson sure would disagree. 
Damn,Erik!  Mine don't have baffles at all...*confused panic*

Now I is truly baffled...;)

(I know, hideous pun....*L*....but I had to 'go there'.  Now, I will 'go away'...)
A Walsh with a baffle is like the fish with the bicycle...

Interesting, but conceptually very strange....;)
And then there were Maggies!!
Two words: wave launch.
With a few neurons engaged, it should come as no surprise that vocals are best reproduced by a speaker with an average width of an average human head.
Richard Vandersteen sure would disagree.

I’ve shared this anecdote elsewhere but it’s certainly appropriate here.

Not long ago I ordered a pair of new Vandy 2CE Sig IIs based on a positive experience with the 1Cis. Prior to their arrival, I was listening to a pair of New Large Advents that I found on CL. The Advents had been re-foamed but were otherwise all-original.

The 2CEs arrived and I spent half a day making sure they were optimally setup per the manual, which is what I had done to great effect with the 1Cis (my room is plenty large and near golden ratio dimensions). I ran them in a few hours before sitting down for a real listen. First impressions were underwhelming. Bass was good but every other performance metric left me baffled (pun intended). I had gotten much more life-like sound with the 1Cis. The natural decay of the 1Cis was completely MIA. The imaging was just average. The vocals were small and recessed - not at all life-size. Transparency and resolution also left me wanting. Many nuances and microdynamics I know exist in familiar recordings were missing. Over the following week I tried many setup adjustments to no avail. I even made sure they were bi-wired with solid-core cable that some swear by.

I finally decided to throw the towel and setup a return. Nothing I was willing to do short of a complete system/room overhaul was going to make these speakers worthwhile. Some members here graciously offered to help with setup but by then it was too late and I felt I had already tried every practical option anyhow.

But before I sealed the boxes on the 2CEs, back in the Advents went. They are not my usual reference pair of speakers but they were the easiest to access at the time. I placed them without much care, sitting directly on the floor, no real attention to toe-in or any of the usual parameters I’ve been known to obsess over. What a night/day difference over the 2CEs! I found myself laughing aloud many times that night. These were doing everything the 2CEs would not. Vocals again had presence. The detail and nuance was back. They simply compelled me to listen late into the night, which I hadn’t once experienced with the 2CEs. Imaging, despite the wide baffles, was so much better I just kept shaking my head. Soundstage was about twice the width I had been getting with the Vandys, but not the homogenized, unrealistically-wide imaging one can experience with a 15" woofer or panel speaker. Every instrument occupied its own space within the soundstage.

Now, in all fairness to Vandys, I do recall really enjoying my time with a pair of 1Cis. But I find it interesting that the main difference between those and the 2CEs, respectively, is the 2-way vs 3-way configuration, and that the midrange is covered by an 8" woofer in the 1Cis. I suspect the larger midrange cone of the 1Cis accounted for the more life-like vocal size and presence. And of course, if a speaker has an 8" midwoofer cone, then it’s somewhat akin to having a larger baffle vs a 4" cone in a minimal enclosure.

My experience has been that speakers with the most natural imaging and vocals tend to have either somewhat wide baffles, or midrange cones of 7" or greater.

For those who doubt the imaging capability of a wide-baffle speaker, I suggest a back-to-back comparison of a Spendor 1/2e or Stirling Broadcast LS3/6 against your favorite minimal- baffle model. Have a friend stand and speak near each speaker and compare the vocal size and projection.


And a moving head made of soft flesh, diffusing hair, reflective glasses, Wild abandon... dang my Tympani sounds too small now....
And it would be more correct to specify baffle dimensions relative to wavelength, not some arbitrary number....
But the physics of a large baffle are pretty clear:

constructive and destructive interference average out peaks and dips in frequency response

they are louder aka more efficient, stick em in a corner for MAX effect....

they destroy time and phase information and are therefore lossy
all else being equal the more narrow the front baffle (and the shorter for that matter) the better the speaker will image, have less cabinet resonance, less diffraction and phase issues, better dispersion and be less demanding to position.  
the goal is to minimize the surface area of the front baffle and by doing so minimize the amount of frequencies that is reflected back to the listener.  mixing direct and reflected sound causes phase distortion, frequency imbalances and requires more complicated crossovers to manage.  
...yeah, I used to headhunt @ headshops, in those heady daze..at the head of the list wuz Hedley's, a place to hang one's head and head out back, where the head honcho, Edmond Heddmen used to ....
...and I'm still baffled by the basics of baffles....wide bafs, narrow bafs, bafs on my belfry, bafs 'bout the back barn backyard...
nothing new, this is very famous issue 
https://sound-au.com/bafflestep.htm
http://www.salksound.com/wp/?p=42
https://diyaudioprojects.com/Technical/Baffle-Step-Correction-Circuit-Calculator/
 The choosing right crossover point 500-700  hz the speakers designers 
easily bypass this problem and can make good result with  9-10 " wide

If it were only a matter of baffle shape and size it would be so simple.
Loudspeaker building and design are a black art that takes years to
master and even the best do lifelong modifications and calculations.
This hobby of ours is a lot of fun and costs an awful lot of time and money, but even with all of the aggravations and failures and phantom solutions it is still a lot fun and fairly safe.  Some of us hunt, some of us golf, some of us have outrageously expensive boats and cars but in the end it’s we boys and our toys so enjoy. There are quite a few ladies that are audiophiles and just plain music lovers and in my experience they seem not to get so obsessed as we do and I think  it’s just a gender difference.
@erik_squires    

So you're saying that the crossover doesn't matter?  That the crossover can't be tweaked to make a speaker sound good regardless of the baffle width?  

Is that what you're REALLY saying?  
So you’re saying that the crossover doesn’t matter?


Never said anything like that, and I’m more than a little surprised you could see such a statement in my original post.


That the crossover can’t be tweaked to make a speaker sound good regardless of the baffle width?

Your second sentence is very different from your first sentence, and still nothing like what I posted. I never said narrow baffle speakers were bad.

I’m saying that wide baffle speakers sound better and tend to behave more independently of the room they are put in
when it comes to clarity at the listening location, and perception of detail and recording acoustics. The crossover has limitations, and baffle step compensation, as well as compensating for the in room response in the crossover (i.e. equalization) can only take you so far.
HELOMECH has hearing issues and should just buy a Kenwood stack from the 1990's. VANDERSTEENS take weeks maybe months to break in. Setting them up and doing critical listening after a couple hrs break in is nonsense.  You didnt even get a chance to hear what the loudspeaker could do. Instead all you loving this wide baffle crap sure must love the sound of phase and time distortion as well as the reflective smearing that goes on with wide baffles. Go minimal baffle or no baffle(electrostatic, ribbon) or go home!!!
I’m saying that wide baffle speakers sound better and tend to behave more independently of the room they are put in
when it comes to clarity at the listening location, and perception of detail and recording acoustics.
Is there any evidence that wide baffles are better? Or are you just stating your opinion as fact?
Some of my favorite speakers have had wide baffles. Spendor SP100 comes to mind.
My fave punk album

Never mind the Baffles...
 Yes large drivers do act as moving baffles with the added attraction of even more distotion... hence the curve linear and other exotic cone shapes... none of which are pistonic....

quiz time : what is the name for distortion caused by the moving baffle ? This is why each and every 3 way and up Vandersteen uses a 5” ish midrange and another reason why frequency to baffle relationships matter

oh where oh where are the legendary KEF and B&W designers that built the low diffraction heads on the flagships ????!
And the LS3/5a or Kef 101, Linn Kan , those are the BBC ( or near ) standard imaging kings....and natural vocals...