fine-tuning of speaker systems


Have the sound quality requirements become stricter and are you thinking about replacing your speakers with better ones? Take your time.
We offer services for adjusting the sound of speakers.

• Causes of unsatisfactory sound

The reason for unsatisfactory sound is always the tonal imbalance and its graphic display in the form of amplitude-frequency response. I note that we are talking about fully functional speakers.
The frequency response may look different in different speakers, and accordingly, different tonal balance will be perceived subjectively when listening. But I focus on one of the most common cases of frequency response and why many manufacturers prefer it.
“Saddle-shaped frequency response”. It got its name because of the similarity of its graph with the profile of the saddle: two humps on the edges with a depression between them, ie low and high frequencies have a higher level of sound pressure than medium frequencies. To justify it, it has quite logical explanations that are related to psychoacoustics and marketing:
First impressions and “effectiveness” of the sound. The illusion of larger and more detailed sound is created due to accented bass and accented treble. Subjectively, the sound scene seems to be increased in depth and width, but without a clear localization of sound images. First impressions are deceptive and they pass away. Over time, the sound is boring because the music sounds indistinct, monotonous. Dominant bass and sibilants can even cause discomfort. But to feel dissatisfied with listening, a certain period of time must pass which depends on the listening time as well as on the listener’s experience. Usually this period is quite long, gradual and longer than the period when you can still return the speakers back to the store.
Speaker sound problems are often mistakenly attributed by users to the problems of the room where they are installed or to the audio equipment to which they are connected. Experienced music lovers can immediately detect poor tuning of the frequency response of speakers, so they will not buy such speakers.
Cost of speaker systems. Yes, this is not a mistake, the frequency response affects the cost of the speakers.
As you know, our hearing is most sensitive in the midrange range and any inaccuracies in the transmission of this range by speakers are very noticeable to the ear. Therefore, their reduced level significantly simplifies the process of creating speakers: the difference of parameters of separate drivers is leveled, allows you to use simplified filter schemes and saves time on their development and configuration, as well as allows you to use inexpensive components. These factors significantly reduce the cost and complexity, which is important for mass production. Unlike loudspeakers with uniform frequency response, which are more complicated in production: drivers with small tolerances of parameter deviations are required, it is often necessary to develop more complex filter schemes and more time to develop them, requires higher quality crossover components with very low tolerances. And as a result – a significant increase in the cost of production of loudspeakers.
So, at first glance, a simple form of frequency response with a hollow in the middle gives two important advantages: “spectacular” sound and cheaper speakers. But the biggest and decisive shortcoming is the monotonous and indistinct sound later when the first impressions pass. It’s not interesting to listen to music with such speakers, and they lose meaning for what we bought them for.
And vice versa: speakers with carefully calibrated balanced sound (read with linear frequency response) transmit music as accurately as possible and you will enjoy listening to music for a long period of time, instead of thinking about upgrading them. But such speakers are always more expensive.

• Why there is an opportunity to improve the sound

As practice shows, most speaker systems have drivers with enough potential for good sound. But not all manufacturers of speaker systems realize the full potential of sound in their products. It is believed, for example, that budget speaker systems do not have to sound balanced compared to more expensive ones, although they often have the same type of drivers. There are also examples where simple and relatively inexpensive loudspeakers have a more balanced sound than more expensive loudspeaker systems.So the real sound quality does not always directly depend on the cost. According to my observations, the sound quality depends more on the manufacturer (developer) than on the price niche in which the speaker systems are positioned. Examples of good sound are speaker systems from the following manufacturers: Dynaudio, Audio Note, Sonus Faber, Rega, Triangle. This approximate list, which I made purely from my subjective impressions, so it is far from complete and may differ from your preferences.

• What is fine-tuning the sound and what to expect

Fine-tuning and making new crossovers in most cases solves the problem of unsatisfactory sound, much less often it is necessary to redesign the cabinet or replace drivers.
As a result of fine-tuning the crossovers, the speaker systems get a more balanced sound, they better convey the atmosphere of the recordings, the emotions of the musicians and in general the sound becomes more expressive and interesting.

• In which cases it is not advisable to redesign the speaker systems

There are quite rare cases, but they also occur:

  • The speaker system has a suboptimal acoustic design. Fine-tuning the sound may require significant redesign of existing cabinets or the production of new cabinets, which is not always appropriate.
  • The characteristics of the drivers have such poor parameters that it does not allow you to adjust the good sound and requires replacement of drivers with others, which may not always be appropriate.

Preliminary diagnostics of speaker systems in our workshop necessarily reveals all the above factors.

• Cost of making new fine-tuned crossovers

The cost is approximate and depends on the complexity of the speaker systems:

  • 2-way and full-range speaker systems – from UAH 8.500. 
  • 2.5 and 3-way speaker systems – from UAH 12.500.
  • 3.5 and 4-way speaker systems – from UAH 17.000.
  • This cost includes:
    – Diagnosis and measurement of speaker system characteristics;
    – Development and fine-tuning of new crossovers;
    – Manufacture of crossover boards, installation and full testing of speaker systems;
    – Basic complete set of crossovers with components Vajd Audio, Monacor. For an additional fee, crossovers are equipped with components of the highest quality: Mundorf, Jantzen and others.
  • Original crossovers are dismantled and remain unchanged, so it is always possible to “rollback” to previous versions of crossovers.
  • The cost of designing and fine-tuning speaker systems based on customer drivers as well as fine-tuning your DIY speaker projects is calculated individually.
  • Speaker repair, which requires driver replacement, also requires fine-tuning of crossovers. Replacement drivers are selected from the range of drivers from Seas, Scan Speak and others. The cost of repairs is calculated individually.
  • To get an idea of the sound you get after fine-tuning your speaker systems, we offer pre-listening to our speaker systems. If you like the sound of our speaker systems, we are ready to make every effort to make the sound of your speaker systems as expressive and exciting as possible.

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