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ONE SPEAKER beating a 7.1 setup!!!!

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by keemarcello, Sep 19, 2002.

  1. keemarcello

    keemarcello
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    :eek: :eek: :eek:

    Hello to all, I'm an italian HT fan, and I've visited today the TOP AUDIO VIDEO 2002 in Milan.
    First, excuse me for my poor "tech" english......
    Well, today I've listened to a loudspeaker, which was a panel about 1.30x0.80 meters (depth 0.30) made by many (and I mean 40-60!!!) little drivers.
    Each driver had its own "little" amplifier (2w RMS).
    The panel was the only speaker in the demo (all people in the room checked the cables!!), and was built to recreate the sound of a 7.1 setup.

    This panel could reproduce the number of speakers you like in the position you want!
    The 7.1 limitation was because 7.1 is the "current" sound format, but for how the system works (I'll try to explain now......) you could create even 9.1 (one speaker on the floor and another on the ceiling :) ) with a "simple" software upgrade!

    How it works: Each driver is focused with some of the other to create a wave that is perfectly defined and hits the wall in a perfect "selected" point. Our ears simply don't capture this wave but only the reflection coming from the wall, and this "jokes" our brain that believes that the sound source IS the wall (but you can setup the speaker to sound "behind" the wall, or before the wall.......JUST AMAZING!).

    I've seen some chapter of "We were soldiers" (area 1), and some DD trailers plus the tech demo explaining the speaker concept....and was totally blowned away by this technology!!!!!!
    This is not the sort of fake and insulse 3D sound that spatializer, trusurround, virtual, and other technologies pretend to recreate........I mean that it was really like if there were 10 or more speaker.......I could hear the sound source perfectly located in space REAR (really REAR!!!), front, center with a precision almost better than any 7.1 setup in the show!!!!!
    Being the firmware (on a pcb board like the one in our pc) that controls the directivity, phase, volume and other parameters of the little drivers.......it was explained that the panel firmware could create all the speaker we wanted in the position we liked!

    Have you heard something like that before??!??

    :eek: :eek: :eek:

    I was so stupid not to ask anything about maker and model (wasn't written anywhere, I doubt Boston......but on the site I found nothing!). Only downside seem the low frequency limit of the panel (seem like 50hz, but I can be wrong).......but you could connect an external sub if the panel isn't enough!!!

    Tomorrow I'll go just to hear this beauty again, and let you know!
    :eek: :eek: :eek:

    Please if you know something similar let me know ASAP!!!!!!!

    Roberto
     
  2. Orbital

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    Firstly welcome to the Forum keemarcellom :)

    Now correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't this one speaker (or many little speakers should I say) only work if everything in the room stayed in exactly the same place? What about if you moved your chair or put a picture on the wall with a large frame around it, added an extra sofa, different light fitting? Surely this would disturb the target the sound waves have to hit to achieve the desired placement?

    I may be talking rubbish (it would be the first time as my wife likes to remind me :D ) but it's just a thought.

    Cheers

    Dave
     
  3. Charlie Whitehouse

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    Roberto,

    The device you are describing sounds like this. A few of the members of these forums encountered this thing at the CEDIA UK show in Brighton this year.

    As you say, it is a remarkable experience. The concept has a lot of promise but it needs further development. For me, it didn't really play loud enough to be truly convincing and it needs to be mated to a good subwoofer to give its best. The other down side is the cost - currently £25,000! :eek:
     
  4. ramiro

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  5. keemarcello

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    Thank you Orbital.

    I believe that changes in the room that doesn't affect the "hit point" on the wall used for the reflections to bounce wouldn't affect the sound dramatically.
    If the listening point changes I think you'll have to recalibrate your panel........just as you would to reposition your speakers (a bit more complicated..... :) )but consider that reflections works better than speakers........I mean........today we were as "few" as 20 people at time listening :) , and only 3/4 were in the sweet listening point "usually intended"........

    Almost all were amazed by the panel.....so I think position is important, but less than in a stereo setup because you lose part of directivity and gain image and depth.........

    @charlie. Really thank you for the link....it's that panel......but maybe they've have further developed :) the prototype, cause the frame seems a bit different......maybe I just don't remember what I saw...I was amazed by the listening.....

    £25000??? Tomorrow I'll ask to see if the price has fallen to £10000 :D if so..........in 2 years maybe it will cost £1000 :)
     
  6. Charlie Whitehouse

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    Bear in mind that for that £25,000, you get processor, power amps and speakers all in the one unit. All you need to complete your system is a DVD player, TV or projector and a subwoofer, so the price is not so extreme. :rolleyes: :p

    You're probably right that further development has occurred since I saw it. Adding additional channels is presumably just a software change. The thing has plenty of onboard DSP power - it needs it to do all that clever sound beam steering.

    If they perfect it and get the price down to a more realistic level, they could sell loads of them. But it's a British company and we all know how good we Brits are at product development... :(
     
  7. keemarcello

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    Charlie......you're right, I was thinking of it only as a speaker.......but in fact it's a power amp, a decoder, and 7 speakers.......but even keeping that into consideration could be well worth some £5000.......I doubt more :)

    If it was priced to £1000 every HT enthusiast would get it in few months and change his setup.......my 2C :)

    For the power........today the panel had plenty of volume, more or less twice the volume I consider an enjoyable experience!
    I attended a Genelec demo soon after the 1limited DSP.......have listened to the HT206 (80LF+50HF "Genelec" watt, if you know how they strictly rate the power of their speakers you'll understand.......), and the loudness of the different system was about the same, of course without audible distortion in both case.
    The room were same size ( "L" form about 7x4m), of course I don't know how much we were far from the limit of the amplifier, but to me 1limited DSP seemed MORE than adequate for a Home theater Experience.......you have a very large listening room??

    Hello to all!
    Roberto
     
  8. buns

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    I read about this years ago when it was but a twinkle of an idea, then noticed it again some months back. The technology is good, or it seems that way but the room arrangement is an obvious difficulty. That said, it shouldnt be long before they twig onto making the thing self calibrating, at which point it could become a killer.

    Having not heard it, i will question the power of it. I would need to hear it before i could be convinced.....are they looking for beta testers!? ;)

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  9. keemarcello

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    @Charlie:

    just saw your gallery..................NOW I understand!!!!

    Sure.........why should I change Prodigy and Logos for a double HT (read Home Theater High Tech ) toy like the DSP!

    I'll do it only if the WF (wife factor :) ) goes down to unacceptable levels or for space-saving purpose, but this doesn't seem your case!!
     
  10. Charlie Whitehouse

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    Roberto,

    According to the information we were given at the demo I attended, there are 240 individual drivers in the panel, each driven by a 2W amplifier so that's 480W total power. Divide that by 7 channels (in the version you heard) and that's not a huge amount of power per channel with all channels driven. I appreciate it depends to a certain extent on the relative efficiency of the drivers used as to what SPL that wattage is capable of creating. Somewhat counter-intuitively, all the drivers are involved in producing the sound for every channel, rather than specific areas of the panel being dedicated to particular channels. Therefore theoretically all 480W could be directed towards a single channel. But thinking about it, the way this thing seems to work is to create sound beams by causing sound waves to interfere and cause controlled comb-filtering for want of a better analogy. The creation of null areas must surely mean that energy is being 'wasted' and therefore the overall volume level available may be further limited. My concern was really around what happens when all channels are under heavy load.

    In the demo I attended where they were showing the opening battle scene from Gladiator, although we asked them to crank it up, there seemed to be a marked reluctance on their part to do this, hence I concluded that we were somewhere close to its power limits. Within the constraints of the demo which was in a room possibly slightly smaller than the one you describe, there was no apparent distortion and the steering of sounds off to the right & left side and rear walls was truly uncanny. You tended to end up looking over your shoulder to try and see where the sound was coming from.

    I too went and listened to a Lexicon MC12/Genelec HT206 combo the same day and that was far more dynamic, but I didn't really care for the sound very much. :(
     
  11. Lowrider

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    Marcello,

    Have you seen the new Sonus Faber Cremona Center ? Please look for it, and let me know how it is, and how much it costs...

    Thanks,
     
  12. Ian J

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    You can get all that lot in a Sony DAV for £300 :D
     
  13. Charlie Whitehouse

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    How true! Stupid me! ;)
     
  14. keemarcello

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    @charlie I think they've risolved the "raw" power problem, because today I just asked the demo engineer if he could cranck it up a bit........well.....he raised the volume touching 3/4 times the remote........and at the first explosion.....that was really LOUD!!!
    FAR TOO loud for me............if you don't want to damage permanently your hear!!
    In fact he had to lower it immediately 'cause people outside the room came in to see what was going on.......
    Now a question I forgot to ask. The engineer said the panel could recreate many (well he said "how many you like" :) ) speakers......but I doubt if really can emulate 10-12 speakers......cause to "make" different beams of sound, the panel should use much drivers........so if 240 drivers can recreate 7 high power and high precision channels..........I doubt 240 drivers can recreate 10-12 speakers with the same accuracy, precision......and POWER!

    @Lowrider I saw the Cremona center, but it wasn't working (a stereo setup was going on)......so I can't comment on the sound.

    Tomorrow maybe I'll come back to have a third demo of the panel in other position (today I was just in the center of the room, yesterday was center, but second row of chair, tomorrow I'll try to stay against the panel opposite wall, to see what happens, if the panel is still so good!!).
    I'll offer as betatester :) for free :)

    Lowrider Sorry I forgot to ask the price of the cremona......was just shocked by another demo of the panel!!!
     
  15. Lowrider

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    Gracie Marcello,

    I am waiting desperately for that center, how big is it, what about drivers and configuration ???
     
  16. buns

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    Certainly this sounds interesting. And to add to the brew, the technology is still in its infancy. I will be keen to see its advance.

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  17. Lowrider

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    Marcello,

    Please tell me at least the colour... I hope the center is not yellow, like the Cremona, the wife will kill me... :rolleyes:
     
  18. keemarcello

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    First of all, SORRY for the post lenght!!! @Lowrider read bottom part for Cremona Center (CC) details.....

    I just came from the last day of top audio & video.
    Needless to say, I saw another demo of the 1limited panel....and this time asked directly the british engineer if they had power problem or something similar. He said he had a conversation just yesterday with the guy who cares about drivers. He told me that the power amp (class D) driving the panel drivers is limited at 2 watt, but the drivers are rated at 10W RMS......and is possible to have (he said probably "custom" installation) a 5 watt power amp, for a total of 1270 (254 drivers x 5 watt each) WATT!

    Today the panel was teamed with a Boston PV400 sub.....I didn't know the sub, but it wasn't nothing to talk about (IMHO)...just too boomy, and not "defined" at all.
    They added the sub for erasing phase problems on bass frequency (let me know if my english is correct).
    After today's demo I can re-assure you that power really isn't a problem.
    Listening to Lord of the Rings (R1) was a pleasure...chapter of the Rock Monster (25 if I well remember) was well reproduced, even if my position was the worst possible (against the opposite panel wall).

    The downside..........

    I listened for the first time the panel with a music track (Eagles "Hotel California" DTS), and the sound was just.....terrible!
    For an audiophile I think the panel it's a no go.....sound was arsh and ear fatiguing, midrange was cutted....seemed to listen the sony dav you were talking about!!!
    I hear the same DTS track with a 1300€ Magnat setup in a similar room (Top audio show is in an hotel, so the rooms are, like hotel rooms, 90% similar...), and sound was far more detailed and ear relaxing; further, seemed to me like the panel had really phase shifting trouble, and I was so stupid not to have noticed that time before, or was just the position that was really too bad for listening??? Mmmmh.....
    After few minutes of Eagles the demo engineer (seeing people less than enthusiast faces....) said that this was a solution for people who have money, and don't want to see speakers going around.
    Perfect definition, but for 45000 euro (25000 english pound here in italy became 45000 euro.....), I expected something more than a decent wireless HT!

    Now for LOWRIDER!! Seems like you have never seen a picture of the Cremona center (CC from now...), so first I'll try to describe it phisically. The CC is a 3way solution, it has 2 woofer (8?) left and right, 1 midrange (4?) center, and on top of the midrange the tweeter. Finiture is exactly the same wood as Cremona series.
    They didn't have a brochure yet (they're printing it,will give to dealers ASAP).
    Dimensions are about 2/3 of the cremona, let me guess 100cm wide, height was 23cm, depth 40. CC (of course!) has exactly the same finish and semi-hellittic shape of the cremona (sorry for my english!). Imagine the cremona put horizontally (remember a boeing747 wing :) ).
    Sound setup included was all $$$$ McIntosh, and 4 cremona was teamed with the CC. Center was put on his stand, at an height of 70/80cm.
    Sonus Faber stood apart from the crowd demoing in an acoustically treated room, of about 8x5 meters. It was not the classic L-shape hotel room but rectangular; bass trap, curtains and wood structure was placed strategically.
    Sound came from CC smooth and dynamic, really detailed, detailed, detailed! You could hear every nuance of instruments and voice, but sound was also "soft". Higher freq. was rolled off smoothly, and female voices came out probably "better" than they should, expressive, rich, but never sibilant.
    I remained more than half an hour listening, and was really impressed by the Cremona setup.
    If you're a fan of the Sonus Faber Cremona distinctive sound.........go blind-eyes with CC, you won't be disappointed, if you're not a fan of Sonus Faber Cremona series....budget wise.......you should!
    Official prices here in italy are 3200euro for the CC, 6700euro for the Cremona (each), and 2600euro for the cremona sub. Stand for CC is listed at 380euro.

    Cheers,

    Roberto
     
  19. keemarcello

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    Sorry lowrider, I've read your post only now......Cremona here in italy it's available in dark brown, and there was only the CC in that colour.......none sort of yellow........you'll continue to live??

    :) :) :)
     
  20. Lowrider

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    Thanks Marcello,

    Good news about colour and sound quality, bad news about size and price... :rolleyes:

    It is wider than my TV... and that is the only place where I could place it... I guess I will have to look elsewhere, or just keep the Solo Home... :(
     
  21. Lowrider

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    I finally saw them, here they are available in light grafitti... quite nice...

    After doing some research, I ended up ordering the Cremona center, I will get some sort of table to raise the TV, and stack the center underneath...

    I am sure will be the only crazy guy having a center speaker 2 and a half times bigger then each front speaker... :clown:
     
  22. MuFu

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    http://www.1limited.com/about/news/20020927/

    Pioneer's massive corporate clout behind the technology can only be a good thing. Hopefully these things will be £49.99 and available from Dixons soon. ;)

    MuFu.
     
  23. EvilMudge

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    I wouldn't expect the price on one of these sound projectors to drop too much in the near future. At a conservative guess the DSP which controls the phased array of drivers probably accounts for most of the £25,000 suggested price. It might cost £15,000 by the end of next year, but it's not going to be cheap for a good while yet. Pity really as the rest of the panel is fairly inexpensive compared to the box of tricks controlling it.
     
  24. NicolasB

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    This panel thing is definitely going to be very strongly dependent on what the walls of the room are doing. If you have any sort of alcoves or irregularities (like pictures) at the point the sound reflects off the side walls to get to your ears then you're going to ruin it.

    This isn't a new idea, btw. I can remember 6 or 7 years ago seeing a speaker system by Bose which claimed to provide surround sound from two speakers by doing much the same thing - the speakers had variable-angle sideways radiators that were intended to reach the listener after one (or two?) wall reflections. Sounds like this system does a better job of it....
     
  25. EvilMudge

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    I think I remember that Bose system - may even know someone who had one when it first came out. Trust me when I say that this sound projector is nothing like that. The Bose used an early variation on the tru-surround process I think, which is simply a bit of phase shifting in the upper frequencies so that reflected sounds appear to reach you before the direct sounds do. That's an oversimplification, but since it's a patented product they aren't particularly forthcoming with the details.
    The SP actually points the individual channels at various parts of the wall to produce the effect of the rear channels. And you're quite right - if you have bookshelves or wall hangings the system simply wont work right - and I'm not even sure it can cope with things like bay windows.
     

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