What makes a speaker suitable for nearfield listening?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by 9suns, Sep 16, 2018 at 5:22 AM.

  1. 9suns

    9suns [insert unearned title here]

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    Imagine your typical sealed box, 2 way, 6 inch woofer + 1 inch tweeter standmount/bookshelf speaker, either MTM or TM configuration. There're plenty of those either in the Hifi and Pro markets. To simplify this, let's assume that the speakers use the same drivers, for example a Satori midwoofer and Satori soft dome tweeter and both use an outboard crossover, like, for example, First Watt B4 and the necessary bi-amping.

    What makes one suitable for 1 meter listening distance (3.2 ft aprox.) and close wall placement, and the other optimal for 2 or 3 meters listening distance and placement away from the walls?

    My guess is that the xover has something to do, but I've read (but couldn't find more specific info) that speaker drivers need X distance to "blend" correctly, coaxial drivers don't have this problem AFAIK, but the quantity of conventional 2 ways vs coaxials available in studio monitors heavily favors the traditional approach, which is a bit confusing.

    I would be glad if someone could clarify this to me, as I've been looking on the subject but couldn't get a clear answer searching in the web.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018 at 6:02 AM
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  2. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    There is no rule that states a speaker is optimal at 2-3 meters and placement away from wall aside from dipole type or electrostatics. A simple box speaker sold by an audiophool company might suggest you place it that way, but many have found that a nearfield or placement near a wall can have equally good or better results.Nothing is set in stone.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 18, 2018 at 10:58 AM
  3. Hrodulf

    Hrodulf Friend

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    It largely depends on distance between mid and tweeter drivers and their crossover points. Roughly just about any 2-way with tweeter and mid close by will do the trick.

    As for wall distance, think of it as a bass EQ. Close boundaries will elevate all frequencies which are radiated omnidirectionally by essentially reflecting them. Room geometry will generally dictate the dips and peaks of the lower frequencies.
     
  4. Poleepkwa

    Poleepkwa Friend

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    What Hrodulf said. Most speakers that are made for close to wall placement will sound light in the bass away from walls, or include some form of dips or switches to compensate for this. I have understood the blending of 2 drivers depends on how they are time aligned and their dispersion characteristics. Coaxials, while acting as a point source have other compromises. Usually some dips and peaks in their freq response as the bass driver is not a very good horn.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018 at 11:58 AM
  5. Ardacer

    Ardacer needs to read more, post less

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    Any well designed speaker is suitable for nearfield. It's just not convenient most of the time. But as has been said, it's really not that simple. If you are looking to get something for nearfield, my recommendation is any reputable studio monitor pair. They are made for that.
     
  6. dmckean44

    dmckean44 In a Sherwood S6040CP relationship

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    This just isn't true. You're never going to get the drivers in 3-way or 4-way speakers to integrate properly nearfield.
     
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  7. mitochondrium

    mitochondrium Almost "Made"

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    Agree with Hrodulf. There are companies who not only advertise their speakers as being good for listening but really design them for that purpose. A waveguide for the tweeter if well executed might help to adapt the dispersion patterns of the two drivers. A lot of active speakers have dip switches with settings for near wall or corner placement. Some allow you to set filters in order to adapt them to your room. I would not buy a speaker if the company making it is not able to tell me for which listening distance it has been designed. If they do not know they probably did not take this important feature into consideration during the design phase.
    One example of a speaker clearly and thoughtfully designed for near field listening:

    https://en-de.neumann.com/kh-120-a-g


    There are also other (cheaper) options which are designed for near field listening
     
  8. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    From what I understand, you don't want to be able tell that the sound is coming from separate drivers as you get closer. Which is basically what Hrodulf said.

    I asked a designer once if a particular speaker would be good nearfield and he said that the entire midrange is handled by the midwoofer so it would be fine.
     
  9. mitochondrium

    mitochondrium Almost "Made"

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  10. Hrodulf

    Hrodulf Friend

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    I’d recommend consulting this document from Genelec. It gives a nice insight into what to expect from common loudspeaker designs. Proper summing distance from a 3-way largely depends on bottom driver crossover - the higher it is, the further you’ll need to be. Interestingly enough, in my experience bass driver crossover is also what dictates what’s usually the “big speaker” sound.
     
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  11. Ardacer

    Ardacer needs to read more, post less

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    True, my bad. I was speaking about smaller bookshelf speakers. Should have been more precise.

    You still have more stuff to consider other than just the driver placement, which should be fine on any smaller box 2-way or so.
     
  12. 9suns

    9suns [insert unearned title here]

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    Thanks guys!
    I've opened the thread for academic interest, but the plan is to get a pair of nearfield speakers for my home studio next year, something decent in speaker format is more enjoyable than headphones to me. HD650 for late night listening is perfect and decent closed backs for porn (that's their true purpose in life :cool:) and that's it, then save up for bigger speakers for the living room once I move to a bigger space |\/|
     
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  13. Ardacer

    Ardacer needs to read more, post less

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    May I humbly suggest you ckeck out a pair of lxmini+thor? Might be the best price/perfomance thing on the planet.
     
  14. 9suns

    9suns [insert unearned title here]

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    Good suggestion!
    But the room where the nearfields will be, while it's nice and rectangular, it's only 10 square meters and I will listen 1 or 1.2 meters away from the speakers.
    I already know that I like the ATC SCM20ASL PRO MK2, but I want to get something custom and more unique (and maybe a bit cheaper ;)), something like 2x second hand Linn amps (LK85 or LK100), one of the upcoming First Watt DIY active crossovers and a 2 way sealed speaker with either all Satori drivers or Audiotechnology woofer and a Morel tweeter, I don't know exactly yet but I'm in research stage :D
     
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  15. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    1. I see more ported boxes, than sealed boxes in both HiFi and Pro markets.
    2. Driver size, driver placement, frequency coverage, and crossover cut-offs/response affect nearfield performance more.
    3. Crossover location (outside or inside) and bi-amping affect nearfield performance less.
    4. Wall placement affects nearfield. There are a lot of parameters: Driver and port location, port tuning, and all driver/port frequency ranges.
    5. Coaxial drivers seem to have their own share of design difficulties vs. traditional designs (it is not a no-brainer): Intermodulation distortion and frequency diffraction. There are trade-offs and innovative solutions on many designs.
    For nearfield I suggest selecting speakers with small drivers, 2-way designs, closely located drivers, and front firing ports if too close to a wall or somewhat surrounded.

    The smaller the drivers, the more omnidirectional the sound will be and the easier they will blend nearfield. The price to pay is sensitivity, but we are talking nearfield so that should be a relatively minor concern.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018 at 11:23 AM
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  16. Ardacer

    Ardacer needs to read more, post less

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    I suggested lxmini's cause you can make them yourself from plumbing supplies for next to no cash and power them from anything you'd like, and you can utilize them in any room (small rooms are fine), in any placement, next to the wall, nearfield, whatever, all works, and no worries with all sorts of resonances and problems you get from boxes. They go from omni at lows to cardiod at mids to dipole highs. :)

    They also take up next to no space.

    Shit. May I request "Linkwitz shill" status, I so totally am :D
     
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  17. 9suns

    9suns [insert unearned title here]

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    @ultrabike Gracias amigo!
    I know there're more ported than sealed designs in the market, but I prefer the "cleaner" bass of a sealed design, at least of what I've heard at the moment.
    Btw I've pointed the coaxials only because of the nearfield advantage, because I was confused as hell reading diyaudio the last weeks, feels like reading Head-fi as a first headphone forum, some great posts buried here and there but too much noise and different opinions/subjectivists vs objectivists wars everywhere :D
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018 at 1:15 PM
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  18. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    LXMini's are reputable, but they are floorstanding speakers and need some space. I wouldn't use them nearfield.
     
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  19. 9suns

    9suns [insert unearned title here]

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    I'm thinking of something like the SB Acoustics Ara kit, but sealed and with an external active xover.
    Pic side by side with a LS50 for reference, it's a 6.5 inch midwoofer and a 29 mm ring dome tweeter (google pic, not taken by me) [and satin black, not white :cool:]
    [​IMG]
     
  20. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    I really like diyaudio. But there are indeed quite a few very vocal folks there that think they know what they are doing, but really don't. There is a good amount of talent there though.

    It happens everywhere. I'm not into the subjectivist vs objectivist debate. In fact, I believe a lot of people with horses in the race play that card. I've yet to hear a poorly measuring system that sounds great, and a great measuring system that sounds like ass.

    I do believe in trade-offs, and I do believe in preferences from those trade-offs. I don't believe we have achieved ultimate perfection across the board. Having too much goodness of one thing, many times means you are giving up goodness in some other thing.

    I also believe in people having the right to their own opinions and ideas.

    BTW, from your options and for close auditioning, my first choice there would be the KEF.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018 at 1:22 PM
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