wide baffles and baffle step


Lengthy quotation from Peter Comeau, designer at Wharfedale.  Makes a lot of sense to me...

"Th[e] larger ported box, with its subsequent increased baffle size, helps solve a major problem in modern speakers, namely, the baffle step.

I grew up with large speakers with wide baffles, but, as speakers reduced in size over the years I noticed that something was missing from the sound and, when I stuck my head firmly into speaker design, I began to understand the acoustic problems caused by the baffle step.

Put simply, as the baffle size decreases, the point at which the acoustic radiation changes from hemispherical to spherical goes up in frequency. It also becomes sharper and narrower in bandwidth as the sides of the cabinet, and the walls and floor of the room, are further removed from the equation. So, this 6dB step in the power response becomes acoustically more obvious.

I believe that a thin speaker always sounds thinner throughout the midrange when directly compared to a speaker with more generous baffle width. Of course, as designers of modern, slim speakers, we compromise by adjusting for the baffle step in the crossover, but in doing so, we also compromise sensitivity. What starts out as a 90dB at 1W drive-unit often ends up as an 85dB system once we have adjusted for the power loss due to the baffle step."



twoleftears
Danny Richie discusses baffle step loss a lot on the AudioCircle GR Research Forum.
I can personally attest to the fact that the Wharfedale Jade 7’s with the aperiodic loaded design baffles around the bottom of the speaker may be one of the best sounding sub $5k pair of speakers that I have ever owned. I kick myself in the @$$ every time I think about why I ever let them go.
you have to ask why baffles exist in the first place. A baffle is only for convenience not for best sound. 
Richard Vandersteen sure doesn't like them ;-) .
Because a wide baffle aids in a speaker's power response out into the room. This was recognized by Peter Snell in the design of the Type A. Still one of the best sounding dynamic speakers! An even power response off-angle is just as important as even frequency response on-axis! 
I own a pair of Snell AIII's.
I’m a big fan of wide baffles. One of the best the Sonus Faber Stradivari, yes to the Snell A series, and of course, Genesis/Infinity line arrays.

However!!!!

I think the explanation here is BS, as speaker designers are all aware of the baffle step issue and take it into account in the crossover design.

What the final speaker does suffer from as a result of baffle step is reduced efficiency. Speaker designers trade off efficiency for bass response.

In that respect, yes, a wider baffle will yield a more efficient speaker (assuming equal frequency tuning). The real magic of wide-baffle speakers in my opinion is not in the efficiency but in their ability to convey the recorded room acoustics into the listening space.

Paraphrasing Troels Graveson , wide baffle speakers bring the room with them.
you have to ask why baffles exist in the first place. A baffle is only for convenience not for best sound.


Brilliant! 
So do you just hang the drivers out there like on strings or something?
Forgot to point out, that the wider the baffle, the more energy is put into the room before edge diffraction occurs.

It is one of several techniques which attempt to deal with this issue. The Snell A series attempted to use a very wide AND curved baffle.

Using a chamfer or rounded edge, foam, felt, etc. also work to reducing this effect.

But for my money, wide baffles do it best.
It saddens me to say this but kenjit has been remarkably resistant to learning anything while on this forum. Whatever ideas and opinions he had last year are what he will display this year and no amount of information, help, discussion will add to his understanding of speaker design.



Yes, I've looked at the Troels GravesEn "Poor Man's Stradivari" more than once.  Anyone on here build or own one of his designs?
Peter Snell US Patent 3964571 can also be used as a supplement for room boundary design. His use of angles other than 90's will reduce shear wave interference and its recreation into the compressive world.  Peter did a speaker demo at a home of mine back in the early 80's. He was a quiet man and a speaker hero. Tom
So do you just hang the drivers out there like on strings or something?

no you put them in a big wall. Behind the wall, the energy is allowed to escape rather than reflect back out. But audiophiles want to have their cake and eat it so they accept the inferior solution of a box with baffle. 
John Dunlavy told me his best speaker was an in wall..which I never heard..Tom
Or listen to James in wall speakers which are housed in an welded aluminum cabinet attached to the stud wall and flush mounted..pretty nice..best in walls I ever sold or heard. Tom