Baffle Movement - Would Less Movement Improve Sound

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Tangram

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I recall bringing this up awhile back but I couldn’t find the thread. It is quite easy to generate baffle movement with my M3 Sapphires. I did a little experiment in which I taped a mirror just above the tweeter, then used my laser measuring device positioned about 8’ away and off to the side to bounce a beam onto a wall about 12’ away. In doing so, any movement of the mirror shows up in an amplified way where the laser hits the wall. The beam hit the mirror at about 45 degrees. I then played a bass heavy track (Protection by Massive Attack) at high volume and took a video of the dot on the wall. The two photos are screen grabs of the video, with the first dot from a quiet passage and the second with maximum bass. The dot danced around on the wall



 like you wouldn’t believe. It was very obvious that the speaker was moving but no, this simple experiment doesn’t quantify the amount of movement.

Some Magnepan owners use Mye stands to improve speaker rigidity but I’ve seen no mention of this when Spatials are discussed. The speakers sound great even with the baffle “flopping around” but I wonder if there’s room for improvement if a Mye-like bracing system was employed to reduce baffle movement. Is this something anyone has opinions on? If so, I’d love to hear them.

James Edward

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Re: Baffle Movement - Would Less Movement Improve Sound
« Reply #1 on: 9 Nov 2023, 12:51 am »
Interesting post, because I’ve wondered about the same thing regarding my M3 Turbo S speakers. I figured that because it was open baffle, there’d be less movement vs a box speaker. Some new Spatial models, and Clayton’s new venture, use Gaia Isofooters, so maybe I’m off base.
I’m curious as to other’s experience- I’m considering the Gaia footers for my M3 Turbo S.

Tangram

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Re: Baffle Movement - Would Less Movement Improve Sound
« Reply #2 on: 9 Nov 2023, 12:54 am »
Interesting post, because I’ve wondered about the same thing regarding my M3 Turbo S speakers. I figured that because it was open baffle, there’d be less movement vs a box speaker. Some new Spatial models, and Clayton’s new venture, use Gaia Isofooters, so maybe I’m off base.
I’m curious as to other’s experience- I’m considering the Gaia footers for my M3 Turbo S.

I use the Gaias - they’re great - but they don’t change the baffle movement. If anything they increase it, but I noticed the same movement when I was using the supplied spikes. FWIW, the speakers sit on vinyl plank glued to concrete.

Spatial Audio

Re: Baffle Movement - Would Less Movement Improve Sound
« Reply #3 on: 9 Nov 2023, 01:00 am »
That’s a very interesting observation and experiment. I am going to ask Sam if we can duplicate that with our typical recommended MDF back/Ultralam front X4 and our new recommendation of the full Ultralam front/back combination with and without the IsoAcoustic feet. We know what sounds better but data points like this may be helpful as we investigate new materials and designs.

Early B.

Re: Baffle Movement - Would Less Movement Improve Sound
« Reply #4 on: 9 Nov 2023, 01:11 am »
I don't own Spatials, but OB speakers should be heavily braced just like box speakers, especially in the bass region. With a flat baffle, I imagine there's plenty of flex from those woofers at high volume, but this may be one of those design trade-offs. The flat baffle design looks good, is cheaper to produce and ship, has less weight, and has a minimal footprint, so there's that. To prevent those baffles from moving may require adding a lot of mass and/or consuming a lot more real estate, so it may not be worthwhile.   

Tangram

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Re: Baffle Movement - Would Less Movement Improve Sound
« Reply #5 on: 9 Nov 2023, 01:27 am »
I don't own Spatials, but OB speakers should be heavily braced just like box speakers, especially in the bass region. With a flat baffle, I imagine there's plenty of flex from those woofers at high volume, but this may be one of those design trade-offs. The flat baffle design looks good, is cheaper to produce and ship, has less weight, and has a minimal footprint, so there's that. To prevent those baffles from moving may require adding a lot of mass and/or consuming a lot more real estate, so it may not be worthwhile.   

To my eyes, Spatials resemble a beautiful piece of mid-century modern furniture, especially in the wood veneers. Any bracing would definitely compromise the lines. But looks and performance are separate issues. Perhaps a strut-like bracing system elevates the Spatials to another level sound-wise. Who knows. It makes sense though to minimize baffle movement, which simply isn’t possible without additional anchor points.

sjsfiveo

Re: Baffle Movement - Would Less Movement Improve Sound
« Reply #6 on: 9 Nov 2023, 01:29 am »
I have X3's and started with them on spikes on carpeted cement floor. When playing a song and just placing your fingers lightly on the sides of the baffle you can feel a surprising amount of energy/vibration thru your finger tips. I ended  up with Townshend Seismic Isolation Podiums which made a HUGE difference. When you place your fingers on the baffle now there's barely any vibration detected. Bass tightened up imaging became better,  edges of notes became more defined. Also had Gaias (didn't really care for those) and Townshend isolation bars which I liked but made adjusting the speaker difficult so I ultimately moved up to the big podiums and wouldn't have anything else.

Tangram

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Re: Baffle Movement - Would Less Movement Improve Sound
« Reply #7 on: 9 Nov 2023, 01:38 am »
I have X3's and started with them on spikes on carpeted cement floor. When playing a song and just placing your fingers lightly on the sides of the baffle you can feel a surprising amount of energy/vibration thru your finger tips. I ended  up with Townshend Seismic Isolation Podiums which made a HUGE difference. When you place your fingers on the baffle now there's barely any vibration detected. Bass tightened up imaging became better,  edges of notes became more defined. Also had Gaias (didn't really care for those) and Townshend isolation bars which I liked but made adjusting the speaker difficult so I ultimately moved up to the big podiums and wouldn't have anything else.

I think of the Gaias and Townshend podiums as isolation devices that decouple the speaker from the floor. What I’m focused on is the movement of the baffle caused by woofer excursion. In your instance it seems like you are getting the added benefit of lateral damping in addition to vertical damping. This is probably a function of the springs Townshend uses. If the Gaias have a lateral damping effect (they are directional) they aren’t helping much.

RonN5

Re: Baffle Movement - Would Less Movement Improve Sound
« Reply #8 on: 9 Nov 2023, 02:11 pm »
Since all instruments vibrate...meaning they are not themselves acoustically damped, is it possible that some measure of baffle vibration is also contributing to the tone of the speaker...even if it may be "muddying" the bass in some cases? 

I had my Sapphires on $2 furniture sliders on a tile on concrete floor and I never particularly felt that the vibration had much of a negative influence....and I sure wouldn't want them to be made out of Granite like the Acora.

Tangram

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Re: Baffle Movement - Would Less Movement Improve Sound
« Reply #9 on: 9 Nov 2023, 02:37 pm »
Since all instruments vibrate...meaning they are not themselves acoustically damped, is it possible that some measure of baffle vibration is also contributing to the tone of the speaker...even if it may be "muddying" the bass in some cases? 

I had my Sapphires on $2 furniture sliders on a tile on concrete floor and I never particularly felt that the vibration had much of a negative influence....and I sure wouldn't want them to be made out of Granite like the Acora.

The only way to find out is to compare bone stock Sapphires with a braced pair. When I borrowed Gaias from a friend I knew within 30 seconds that I would own a set, and they only deal with vibrations from the floor. Given that I can move the top edge of my Sapphires a couple of centimetres with one pinky finger, I’m tempted to try some bracing if I can figure out how to do so in a way that’s completely reversible. Just making the baffle out of stiffer material isn’t going to do anything.

Mr. Big

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Re: Baffle Movement - Would Less Movement Improve Sound
« Reply #10 on: 9 Nov 2023, 03:10 pm »
I have never owned a speaker in 40 years where you cannot feel vibes when playing loud no matter the design. It is no different than a kick drum Piano, or violin when you play them it is part of sound and wooded bodies and pressure, etc. You can build a speaker with mass that will be dead on the outside, but you still would have pressure inside around the drivers. There are so many other colorations in your room and gear, cables, etc. that impact how any speaker sounds in one's room. I have added weight on top of my speakers at times to good effect, spikes or type of spikes or any footer or platform you are changing one type of coloration some bring out the mids more, the highs, tighten up the bass, etc.  I've found fixing the room makes huge improvements. I've found using the taller spikes that come with the Sapphires on the back of the speaker below the crossover, and the 2 shorter ones on the front in my deep carpeted audio loft area were much, much better than the short one that did nothing due to the spike being long enough to piece the carpet to the subfloor. Touching the speakers had much lower vibes than before, with the longer spike on the back of the speaker, more detail, body, and dynamics across the board. I think the idea was most would be using these on wood floors with the small spike would have no problem contacting the floor. But carpets cannot.

geerock

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Re: Baffle Movement - Would Less Movement Improve Sound
« Reply #11 on: 9 Nov 2023, 03:20 pm »
My X5's came with the ultralam baffle.  It goes a long way in eliminating smear from vibration or flex as you find with MDF.  The only other thing I did was use some Dynamat on the rim where the drivers met the baffle and put a set of Herbies feet under the stands.  I feel and hear nothing that I'm not supposed to.
I also have a pair of Klipsch Cornwall IV's that I did some mods on, including dampening and bracing the enclosure, especially that plastic horn assembly.  It turned a very fine speaker into a great one.  The change was immediate and very obvious.  Isolate your equipment guys and gals
It works.

Early B.

Re: Baffle Movement - Would Less Movement Improve Sound
« Reply #12 on: 9 Nov 2023, 03:35 pm »
Isolate your equipment guys and gals. It works.
Definitely (if you can). :thumb:


Early B.

Re: Baffle Movement - Would Less Movement Improve Sound
« Reply #13 on: 9 Nov 2023, 04:36 pm »
I like the concept of the bottom "stand" of this guy's OB speaker design (start at the 7:00 minute mark and go for 18 seconds):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuQhntQwjpM

It would be nice if you could mass-load the enclosed portion.

DaveWin88

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Re: Baffle Movement - Would Less Movement Improve Sound
« Reply #14 on: 10 Nov 2023, 03:26 pm »
This guy is a blatant ripoff. Too many coat tails! I'm sorry to be an ass here and I've been down this isolation road to death, and it's ultimately a negative. Component isolation I believe in whole wholeheartedly, but speaker, ONLY if you want to reduce bass output, and maybe cleanup? muddy (might be from the source or room) bass. We might as well hang the drivers from fishing line from the ceiling, and make isolation withing the fishing line. What you'll end up with is what I'll call a transistor radio sitting on a counter. The straw that broke the camels back on this was when I bought the stands for the Magnepans. It sounded like I had a SUPER high quality radio :) a $25,000 radio. (btw the Maggies will give you the most instant feedback on Gods green earth) Here's one way I think of this. If Eddie Van-Halen came over to your house or small stage at church or school, he would have put that Marshall right smack dap on the floor. It would have coupled with the floor like no tomorrow, and it would have sounded amazing. Spatial even and Zu made speakers with the subs built right in (not the best idea for other reasons) Our ears want to hear less than perfection guys. I guarantee it all day. I have a friggen handful of these Herbies isolation items. They probably love me :) Paul from PS audio has covered this, Mr-Big has been on this and our Spatials would not even sound this damn good if it was a problem. Side note, ANYBODY that says we should do a double blind test should be in prison for sometime :) You know what they say about opinions :) Really though, we wouldn't love OP/Planar if this was a real issue. I'm an outcast because I listen to classical as it is :) not here but out in the would.     

Mr. Big

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Re: Baffle Movement - Would Less Movement Improve Sound
« Reply #15 on: 10 Nov 2023, 03:52 pm »
This guy is a blatant ripoff. Too many coat tails! I'm sorry to be an ass here and I've been down this isolation road to death, and it's ultimately a negative. Component isolation I believe in whole wholeheartedly, but speaker, ONLY if you want to reduce bass output, and maybe cleanup? muddy (might be from the source or room) bass. We might as well hang the drivers from fishing line from the ceiling, and make isolation withing the fishing line. What you'll end up with is what I'll call a transistor radio sitting on a counter. The straw that broke the camels back on this was when I bought the stands for the Magnepans. It sounded like I had a SUPER high quality radio :) a $25,000 radio. (btw the Maggies will give you the most instant feedback on Gods green earth) Here's one way I think of this. If Eddie Van-Halen came over to your house or small stage at church or school, he would have put that Marshall right smack dap on the floor. It would have coupled with the floor like no tomorrow, and it would have sounded amazing. Spatial even and Zu made speakers with the subs built right in (not the best idea for other reasons) Our ears want to hear less than perfection guys. I guarantee it all day. I have a friggen handful of these Herbies isolation items. They probably love me :) Paul from PS audio has covered this, Mr-Big has been on this and our Spatials would not even sound this damn good if it was a problem. Side note, ANYBODY that says we should do a double blind test should be in prison for sometime :) You know what they say about opinions :) Really though, we wouldn't love OP/Planar if this was a real issue. I'm an outcast because I listen to classical as it is :) not here but out in the would.   

Your points are dead on right. My Quad speakers went from sounding real, present musical, and dynamic, to sounding like cheap speakers with a sound you nailed so correctly sounding like a cheap hi-fi radio, either when I spiked them or raised them 8" off the ground stands made for this speaker, sure I heard more detail and highs, but where did the balance go? the bass go, and most importantly the area that supports the midrange goes that gives the voice a body and not just the sound of a voice with no chest or throat attached but it was airy and transparent, which was no way close to correct, listen to a voice when someone is speaking to you. Does it sound that way even a female voice has a body to it and a firm presence.

30 years ago, I learned from a speaker designer that the bottom end supports the mids on up, it was the foundation for a speaker to reproduce good sound you dry that up and take it away you lose the magic of what a good speaker is capable of doing. I have tried some of the "hot" market footers and supports etc., and every one of them did make my speakers sound different, if I had not have an ear trained over the years and just followed the trends in the magazine and now online without using my experience and yes, the old waste of money and trial and error. , I would have said my god what detail and what clean highs I nailed it without hearing what I gave up, that is the body and soul of the music for forward and bright detail. Your room makes or breaks a speaker, and the broken record again, invests in your room as much as you are willing to drop money on other items it will give you more than any tweak. Go to a local music venue or bar and listen to a live band and listen to a kick drum when hit, it does not sound clean, no it sounds heavy and full, and it should sound that way on your speakers also but if you're into detail you say that sound was too full and bloated but you be wrong. And sad to say many speakers today market for that type of sound due to what is being pushed over and over, and we now expect. Speakers at one time were designed to reproduce a recording as close as possible to that they heard from tapes they made of real instruments they recorded in a room. Play the back of the tape and they listened and made adjustments, and it sounded real in the room at home. I take an old Dalquist DQ 10 today over many $$$$ speakers sold today because it could trick you at times and make you say wow that sounded real like they were in the room. That was scary when you heard it.
« Last Edit: 11 Nov 2023, 02:19 pm by Mr. Big »

DaveWin88

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Re: Baffle Movement - Would Less Movement Improve Sound
« Reply #16 on: 10 Nov 2023, 05:11 pm »
Your points are dead on right. My Quad speakers went from sounding real, present musical, and dynamic, to sounding like cheap speakers with a sound you nailed so correctly sounding like a cheap hi-fi radio, either when I spiked them or raised them 8" off the ground stands made for this speaker, sure I heard more detail and highs, but where did the balance go? Bass go, and most importantly the area that supports the midrange goes that gives the voice a body and not just the sound of a voice with no chest or throat attached but that it was airy and transparent, which was no way correct, listen to a voice when someone is speaking to you. 30 years ago, I learned from a speaker designer that the bottom end supports the mids on up, it was the foundation for a speaker to reproduce good sound you dry that up and take it away you lose the magic of what a good speaker is capable of doing. I have tried some of the "hot" market footers and supports etc., and everyone did make my speakers sound different, if I did not have an ear trained over the years and followed the trends in the magazine and now online, I would have said my god what detail and what clean highs I nailed it with hearing what I gave up, the body and soul of the music for detail. Your room makes or breaks a speaker, again the broken record invests in your room as much as you are willing to drop money on other items it will give you more than any tweak. Go to a local music venue or bar and listen to a live band listen to a kick drum when hit, it does not sound clean, no its sound heavy and full, it should sound that way on your speakers also.
Great point about messing with the foundation of the sound and vocals. We mess that up and it's over. Some very good points here. btw the JC5 is mind blowing good :) I just had to throw that in there. I also wanted to add that if you end up with a transistor radio that has bass :) that's just wrong to our brains.

ric

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Re: Baffle Movement - Would Less Movement Improve Sound
« Reply #17 on: 11 Nov 2023, 02:44 pm »
Yes, and No. Distortion is inherent in rock music, and as such too much cleanliness (clean sound) can be a bad thing, sonically, nor do you want distorted bass--too much of a good thing in rock (or any) music.
     The original question, if I understand, is whether or not open baffle bass speakers suffer because they are not in a rigid cabinet, when they are pushed, causing UNWANTED distortion.
   The argument seems to be what is wanted distortion and what is unwanted distortion and where is the line drawn?
   I think we can all agree that a ruler flat frequency response is the ideal (Danny?) but then why do some speakers sound more lifeless and this is what we're talking about, the life in the music. No?
   Anyway, interesting question regarding the rigidity of the open baffle and how it may affect sound quality.
Given are good examples of supposed fixes making the sound worse, but until someone investigates (Spatial) how are we too know for sure?

RonN5

Re: Baffle Movement - Would Less Movement Improve Sound
« Reply #18 on: 11 Nov 2023, 02:54 pm »
On the other hand, have you ever put your hand on the cabinet of a Mesa Boogie half stack....or a 10" fender combo amp?  There is vibration...and sometimes a lot of vibration...and depending on the music you listen to, especially live, you are hearing this vibration.

I don't know the right answer...maybe other than the Acora granite speakers and a few others that are very expensive, vibration is there.  What I do know is that the Acoras sound great...and so do speakers that vibrate a little including the Spatials.

If I were spending money to stop vibration to get better sound with the Spatials...or any other speaker, especially if we are talking thousands of dollars, I'm thinking that the money might be better spent on better electronics....at least for me...but I'm sure that others won't agree and that is ok.

Charles Xavier

Re: Baffle Movement - Would Less Movement Improve Sound
« Reply #19 on: 11 Nov 2023, 03:18 pm »
Well since we r on the subject an air cleaner will take the dust out of the air and will let the sound reach your ears better. How far down the rabbit hole are we going.