In Pursuit of Perfection...
If you’ve followed along on the Heavenly Soundworks journey, or merely read through a few of the pages on our website there are a few things that should stand out. One of those things has been the primary driving force behind our work, the pursuit of the ultimate listening experience.
Reproducing the music in such a way that even the most discerning listeners have a hard time distinguishing between what’s played from the loudspeakers and the real thing.
But what does it take to produce a loudspeaker that performs at this level?
Quality components? Solid engineering? Attention to detail? Craftsmanship?
One of the keys to success is the ability to accurately measure your system’s output, interpret the results, and implement the necessary changes in the pursuit of better performance. This is a process that takes time, dedication, specialized equipment, and know-how.
Accurately measuring the performance of a loudspeaker is no small task.
As a small, startup business our access to the necessary equipment is somewhat limited.
Below is a quasi-anechoic frequency response measurement of our FIVE17 Loudspeaker done in-house at Heavenly Soundworks.
Thanks to the kind folks at “SoundStage!”, here is the frequency response chart of that same FIVE17 Loudspeaker captured from the anechoic chamber in Canada’s National Research Council.
The difference between these charts is quite substantial.
Armed with this new information we’ve gone back to the lab and fine-tuned our measurement system.
Using the NRC’s Anechoic measurements as a baseline, we are now able to perfect our in-house equipment/setup to duplicate those results as close as we can. While we don’t have a chamber, we do have other means of measuring and achieving similar results.
Here is the NRC’s measurement when scaled to properly overlay with our in-house measurements.
As you can see in the below chart we can achieve a very close correlation with our In-House measurements to the NRC’s.
The Beauty of Active Crossover Design
With much better calibration of our measurement system, we can now go back into our Active Crossover and fine-tune it even further. In the old days, this kind of revision to a loudspeaker’s crossover would mean a lot more time physically building passive crossover designs until we got it right (not that we would be able to refine it to this level with a passive design anyway). With an Active Crossover, the process is much simpler. We measure our response, identify a frequency range that needs adjustment, make that adjustment in the DSP program, and re-measure the response. This process goes on until every part of the audio band is as close to flat as possible.
The Catch 22
Winston Churchill once said, “Perfection is the enemy of progress”. If we decided to never ship a product until it was perfect, we would never ship any products. This pursuit of audio perfection would be a never-ending (not to mention expensive) hobby that would never make its way into a commercial product. We know that “Perfect” isn’t possible. So, we strive for “as close to perfect as possible”.
With this new data from the great folks at SoundStage! and the NRC that bar has been raised!
Take a look at the updated frequency response curve below (using the newly calibrated in-house measurement system).
+/- 1 dB along the majority of the frequency band! (the frequency response in the lowest registers is very difficult to measure, even at the NRC they are limited by the size of their anechoic chamber and cannot accurately measure the bass response. We know it’s there, just not in the charts… we’re still working on that.)
From Good to Great Great to Greater
It is important to note the level of refinement that we are talking about here.
The loudspeaker that was measured at the NRC was not mediocre. It was great! You don’t have to take our word for it.
"I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a solo acoustic piano reproduced more convincingly in my living room." - Gordon Brockhouse (SoundStage!)
“In the FIVE17, they’ve created an active speaker that deserves—no, demands—to be taken seriously." - Gordon Brockhouse (SoundStage!)
"The FIVE17 has the most natural presentation I have ever had in my home." - Bob Fairbairn (Audiophile Style)
“FIVE17 is one of the best active speakers, scratch that… one of the best speakers I’ve reviewed to date.” - Jay Lee (Next Best Thing Studio)
All three of these reviewers listened to the same FIVE17 loudspeaker model that was measured in the chamber.
Great Things Ahead!
Here comes the exciting part! We know how good the FIVE17 was. Now we’ve made it even better!
Thanks for joining us on this journey as we continue after the Ultimate Listening Experience!
Also, a big thank you to Doug Schneider and the SoundStage team for making the Anechoic measurements at the NRC possible!