Do more sensitive speakers sound more dynamic?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Kreshna, Oct 2, 2017.

  1. Kreshna

    Kreshna ...but I have to know.

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    I remember the pair of JBL 4311 owned by my dad. He drove it with Sansui AU-7900, and often played it loudly, with songs like this and this. No, it wasn't hi-fidelity, not to mention my dad loved to boost the bass using the integrated amp's tone control. But every music he played always sounded very lively

    Decades later, I tried the same AU-7900 on my JBL 120Ti's. The system sounds more detailed, more accurate, and cymbals are outright beautiful. I would arguably say, driven by the same amplifier, JBL 120Ti's sound better than JBL 4311's. Yet the 120Ti's do not sound as lively as the 4311's.

    Now I mostly listen to my secondary system in the garage; a pair of JBL L20T's driven by Sansui A40, in nearfield listening position. They sound more detailed than the 120Ti's, perhaps due to the nearfield position. But they do not sound as lively as the JBL 120Ti's.

    Given the facts that JBL 4311's are 90 dB/w/m, JBL 120Ti's are 89 dB/w/m, and JBL L20T's are 87 dB/w/m, do speaker dynamics increase with sensitivity, or it's just coincidence?
     
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  2. Porkloin

    Porkloin Oscar Heil Groupie Subscriber

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    Holy crap! I haven't seen a Nana Mouskouri reference in forever and a day!
    That's a good observation and a good question. I'm looking forward to the feedback (opions, not distortion).
     
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  3. Chris Brown

    Chris Brown AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I would not necessarily describe my JBL L100T (91dB) speakers as being more "dynamic" or "lively" than my JBL L150 (88dB) speakers.

    Maybe you could describe exactly what you mean by Dynamic and Lively so that we can make sure we are both talking about the same things?

    For me it is impactful midbass that tends to describe those qualities. With the speakers you described, the 4311 is the least flat in terms of frequency response, while the 120Ti is much more flat. Could the 4311 having a midbass hump be the cause of what you described? I'm not really sure how flat the L20T is but having a small woofer will be a factor also.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2017
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  4. WaynerN

    WaynerN Super Member

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    Going from inefficient to efficient speakers is like adding amplifier power, so the answer is.....kind of.
     
  5. Kreshna

    Kreshna ...but I have to know.

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    Well she's probably my dad's most favorite singer.


    What I mean by "dynamic" and "lively" could be described by these:
    1. More pronounced difference between soft and loud. For example, when playing Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, the JBL 120Ti's have more pronounced difference between soft passages and loud passages when driven by the measly 30 WPC Sansui A-40 than the 100 WPC Yamaha RX-V663 (stereo direct mode), for some reason unknown.
    2. The ability to play loud without distortion. For some unknown reason, the 4311's sounds cleaner in loud volumes than the more refined 120Ti's. But of course, the 4311's are mostly midrange and bass, with rolled off treble. I guess it's easier to deliver clean midrange than clean treble, isn't it?
    3. The sense of bringing the music into your living room, but not necessarily the sense of being there.
    4. And yes, the impact.

    I see.

    You can achieve the same SPL with either: a) low efficiency speakers driven by highly powerful amplifier; or b) high efficiency speakers driven by low-powered amplifier. Is b) more dynamic than a), or it's actually irrelevant?
     
  6. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

    Also, usually the more Efficient a speaker is the less accurate the reproduction is. It is the iron triangle , ya know.
     
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  7. whoaru99

    whoaru99 Epic Member

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    At higher levels of output I believe the high sensitivity, lower power amp combo has some theoretical advantage because it should not suffer as much power compression. However, like most things, it depends on the details.
     
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  8. WaynerN

    WaynerN Super Member

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    There are those folks who only listen to horns with SET amps that might take to this. There certainly are some trade offs, but I think most modern day dynamic drivers are around the 89 to 91db/m/w range. I personally might buy into your statement is general, but there certainly are speakers that violate the theory from both directions.

    My favorite speakers here are in the 90bd/m/w range.
     
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  9. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

    Iron Triangle - Efficiency, bass, accuracy - pick 2
     
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  10. toddalin

    toddalin Super Member

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    If coupled with higher power handling, and the power to push them, yes.

    If a speaker can go to 115 dB it can go from 0 to 115 dB for a dynamic range of 115 dB. But if it can only go to 110 dB, it can only go from 0 to 110 dB.
     
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  11. WaynerN

    WaynerN Super Member

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    U forgot one thing.....how it sounds!
     
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  12. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

    No, that is irrelevant to my post.
     
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  13. Kreshna

    Kreshna ...but I have to know.

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    I see.

    However, I also observe high sensitive loudspeakers, like Fostex full range single drivers, have lower power handling capacity than, say, my JBL 120Ti's. And indeed, I can pump the 120Ti's pretty loud without apparent sign of compression. But they"re still less lively than 4311's.

    I have never tried full range single drivers like Fostex and Tang Band though. It is said they are very sensitive. Do they sound dynamic? Do they sound lively?
     
  14. stamir

    stamir New Member

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    I moved from Wharfedale Jade5 (86 dB) to Heco Direkt (95 dB). I also have a pair of Spendor A5 (85 dB). all of them great speakers. none of them is slow by any standard.

    I understand exactly what you mean about the lively sound. I am sure it has also something to do with the technical design as well but I am no engineer to explain that.

    On my Heco Direkt the transients seem faster and the mid-range is projected a bit more forward which gives the impression of a lively sound. They do sound faster and livelier than the other 2, everybody at home said that. They don't bring the artist in the room (guess no speaker can manage that no matter what the reviewers say) but they do a good job of transporting you at the venue/studio (almost).

    It is also important the technical implementation on each design. A bad design will sound bad no matter a high or low efficiency. The modern speakers tend to be less efficient as the designers lower it in order to achieve bigger bass extension from smaller drivers and enclosures due to the new taste of the market for slim, living room friendly speakers, due to the economical conditions and land prices which led to smaller and smaller houses and rooms etc. It is a similar situation with the speaker size. You will often find that a bookshelf speaker is harder to drive, needing a more muscular amplifier than a large floorstander for the same reason. They need to create big bass from small enclosures so they come with low sensitivity.
    Another aspect was the power. Back in the day there were not many powerful amplifiers. Most of them were 10 watts or something like that. Now you can have 100 Watts or high current amps for 300 dollars (see entry levels of Yamaha, NAD etc.)
    Some other reason for a livelier sound may be the way the designers favor certain parts of the frequencies to be projected which will help making a speaker sounding sloppy or punchy, boring or lively etc.

    I love to listen to my Spendors, they have a special sound but I also love the Direkt which is a totally different beast. It's good to have 2 completely different sounding speakers. It's almost like legal polygamy.
     
  15. whoaru99

    whoaru99 Epic Member

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    I don't know how they sound. I've thought about getting some Fostex kits from Madisound to use with a p-p EL84 tube amp. They probably sound very nice, but it's hard for me to imagine they'd keep up with a large multi-driver speaker - I don't think they're really intended to. There is only so much you can do with a 5-8" single driver I think without some beastly enclosure like Pass shows Kleinhorns with Lowthers.

    Probably a more apt comparison would be a large Klipsch vs. some other large, albeit 20dB less sensitive speaker. What you can do with a 104dB/W/m speaker with 5 watts would take 500W with an 84dB/W/m speaker. This is probably an extreme, but real case where you'd likely run into the power compression scenario making a material difference. As all that power starts heating up the voice coils the effective sensitivity drops.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2017
  16. Tom Brennan

    Tom Brennan AK Member

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    High sensitivity in itself won't give better dynamics, what primarily gives better dynamics is the ability to get loud effortlessly with low distortion and many low sensitivity speakers with large air displacement can do that given adequate power. For instance a small displacement high sensitivity speaker, a full range 5" Fostex say, simply lacks the ability to move enough air to have great dynamics, regardless of it's sensitivity. Of course large displacement high sensitivity speakers such as VOTs and KHorns have superb dynamics, more I think because they can move huge amounts of air than because of their high sensitivity.
     
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  17. Tom Brennan

    Tom Brennan AK Member

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    How is high efficiency bass less accurate? Bass horns, the most efficient of reproducers, are noted for their excellent damping and low distortion.

    Are you confusing Hoffman's Iron Law here, which says efficiency, depth of bass, smaller size-- pick any 2?
     
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  18. sqlsavior

    sqlsavior AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    In my scarcely humble opinion, getting a speaker to shut up when it's supposed to is half the battle for dynamic sound.

    And I think that simply playing louder is "cheating". ;)

    I like the Miriam Makeba tune!
     
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  19. Coytee

    Coytee AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    So, this means I can call my wife dynamic?

    :eek: :blah:
     
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  20. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

    Basically yes - but Bass horns may be efficient but they are not accurate bass at all. This is a Klipsch La Scala measurement - great example.

    [​IMG]
     

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