Size of elements and sound quality?

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by RaS, Feb 17, 2006.

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  1. RaS

    RaS Guest

    This might be a stupid question, but, well, I'm just starting to learn... I'm planning on buying a pair of studio monitors. I have a choice of two from the same manufacturer: Both have 19mm/0.75'' tweeters and their differences include:

    - different size and weight
    - different bass drivers
    105mm/4'' bass driver, 66- Hz free field, 20W short term
    130mm/5'' bass driver, 58- Hz free field, 40W short term

    I will compare these two soon by listening, but I was told that the larger ones deliver a "bigger" sound. Bigger? What is that? I'm sure I'll hear it - or maybe not - I'm not experienced in comparing loudspeakers. Now I need some guidance... Does bass driver SIZE affect the sound quality at moderate (neighbour friedly) volumes if we assume that the drivers are similar by construction and just of different sizes? (assuming that the source would not include the lowest frequencies?)

    A larger driver would put more air into movement and hence transfer more sound energy to air. That must have some effect. Does it? Does it affect the SPL as a function of distance (SPL falloff)? Reflections affect this too, so simple logic would fail... What is your EXPERIENCE? Does it affect the stereo image (larger area emitting sound and hence maybe some "depth" in the stereo image?)? Is that what some call "bigger sound"?

    Ultimately I need to choose between
    a) the smaller monitors
    b) the bigger monitors
    c) the smaller monitors + subwoofer (25 Hz)
    Cost and space constraints play a role here. The lowest frequencies are quite rare in music so the quality of the midrange would be important too.

    So, before I start comparing, I would like to get some general advice and directions, and would like to understand what some people (in a pro audio shop) mean by "bigger" sound...
  2. xnatex

    xnatex Guest

    im not very technical, but i have used smaller and larger monitors. alot depends on the size of your room, smaller room, easier to project sound. what i think they mean by full:compare surround sound to stereo, surround fills the room, bigger monitors won't give you surround sound but they will fill the room more than smaller monitors, the project more sound. when you listen to them, you'll be able to tell the difference, just make sure you bring some music you are fermiliar with so you have something to campare it with. if you record on a portable unit, it wouldn't be a bad idea to bring that so you can compare the two to your mixes.
    as far as bass volume at lower levels, monitors are built to send a completly flat signal, volume adjustment should not altar the sound of your mix.
    this is all just my humble opinion,there are other people on this forum that can give you the technical layout, i also may be wrong. i just know what i hear.
  3. UncleBob58

    UncleBob58 Active Member

    Apr 9, 2003
    Fairfield County, CT
    Home Page:
    The size of things is of less importance than the QUALITY of the components. Some "small" speakers sound bigger than "big" speakers.

    Tuning your room will also improve what you hear. In fact, a well tuned room lets you hear with more clarity at lower volumes, which reduces ear fatigue.
  4. xnatex

    xnatex Guest

    word unclebob, that makes more sence
  5. RaS

    RaS Guest

    Now I know...

    I tested a pair of Genelec 8020A's and 8030A's. I tested both speaker pairs with the same subwoofer (7050B) and the same high-pass filter built into the subwoofer. They sounded different.

    I first tried the 8030A's. They are lovely. I relaxed and enjoyed the music. Then I tried the smaller ones and felt strange frustration. I was moving my head trying to "find the sound". I could not comprehend what was wrong, bacause beeing neutral they "have very similar frequency responses" (the subwoofer took care of the low freqs) and both were beeing used at recommended distance and horizontal angle...

    Then I had to pick something from the floor...

    It became clear that at close range (I can touch these *desktop* monitors), the sound from the smaller speakers came at an angle (maybe 35 deg) to my ears. The bigger 8030A's had the tweeter a bit higher up so the angle was considerably smaller. This must have affected both sound quality and stereo imaging. In desktop use at touching range, the 8020A's REALLY NEED table stands, while the 8030A's are acceptable even without. I wouldn't use either without stands after this, though... The placement instructions do mention table stands for a reason...

    I also realized that a certain amplitude is generated by a certain movement of the bass element. A bigger element has a smaller ANGULAR velocity (it's a cone...) which just might affect the sound somehow. I'm not sure, though. I know pretty much nothing about sound reproduction... Anyway, the more I look at the directivity characteristics graphs the more different they start to look... And directivity characteristics probably play a role in the ear... I can understand this now. Frequency response doesn't tell it all. There's directivity, transient response, dynamic range/resolution...

    The Genelecs also sounded MUCH better than anything of similar size, due to better bass reproduction.

    Now I'm just wondering whether I should get a pair of Genelec 8020A's on table stands, or a pair of "big" 8030A's...

    I'm not sure how stable those bigger 8030A speakers would be on a stand... And the 8030A's certainly distract the eye - beeing massive dark shadows in the field of view. Maybe one gets used to them? I could get white ones, too, but then they could cast reflections on the screen(?).

    The 8020A's, on the other hand, were cute but light on bass (and I have a serious subwoofer placement issue) and the 8030A's might have better sound, too. I'm not certain, though, as I didn't have the opportunity to test table stands.
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