Does RAAL tweeter = narrow sweet spot?

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TKonrad.NOLA

Does RAAL tweeter = narrow sweet spot?
« on: 22 Dec 2019, 10:49 pm »
Thinking about making another speaker purchase.  As a person who has always preferred bookshelf speakers to towers, I am unsure why I chose the Supercharged Songtower over the Silk.  Don't get me wrong, I love the music my speakers make and the finish is freaking amazing.  Even non-audio fans comment on how cool they are. 

With that being said, I want this next speaker to have a wider sweet spot.  I know the Silk's use the same tweeter, so am I compromising a larger sweet spot by going with a RAAL tweeter over a dome tweeter?


RonN5

Re: Does RAAL tweeter = narrow sweet spot?
« Reply #1 on: 23 Dec 2019, 02:18 am »
I own the Veracity ST which has the RAAL 70/20.  Mine are 9’ apart and the listening position is 11’ back.  The sweet spot for good imaging and left right balance is about 30” wide.

Just as an FYI, the RAAL also has pretty wide dispersion and even though my room is about 1200 sq., the sound is really good everywhere.... but I don’t have as big of a problem with side wall reflections since my speakers are 6’ on one side and 25’ on the other side away from the side walls.

I am a huge fan of the RAAL because of its tonality, detail and smoothness... maybe Jim can add a few thoughts about the 70/10 vs the 70/20 .... and his Be models as they are said to be  equally good.

TKonrad.NOLA

Re: Does RAAL tweeter = narrow sweet spot?
« Reply #2 on: 23 Dec 2019, 03:32 am »
I own the Veracity ST which has the RAAL 70/20.  Mine are 9’ apart and the listening position is 11’ back.  The sweet spot for good imaging and left right balance is about 30” wide.

Just as an FYI, the RAAL also has pretty wide dispersion and even though my room is about 1200 sq., the sound is really good everywhere.... but I don’t have as big of a problem with side wall reflections since my speakers are 6’ on one side and 25’ on the other side away from the side walls.

I am a huge fan of the RAAL because of its tonality, detail and smoothness... maybe Jim can add a few thoughts about the 70/10 vs the 70/20 .... and his Be models as they are said to be  equally good.

I am a huge fan of the sound the RAAL makes.  I am not sure I could go back to a dome tweeter.

JLM

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Re: Does RAAL tweeter = narrow sweet spot?
« Reply #3 on: 23 Dec 2019, 11:59 am »
Narrow sweet spot means that the speaker is minimizing room interaction, normally considered a good thing.  Controlled Dispersion design is basically what you're describing, but importantly applies to both the midrange and treble frequencies.  Typically these products use a waveguide (shallow horn) for the tweeter that has a diameter that matches the mid/woofer(s) in a 2-way design.  Amphion was one of the early adapters although they promote their speakers as being room/placement friendly and not Controlled Dispersion per se.  More sophisticated/expensive designs include Dutch & Dutch 8 and Kii 3 which are active (one built-in amp per driver with low voltage crossovers ahead of the amps).

Simpler Controlled Dispersion designs go well with swarms (3 or 4 subs carefully positioned around the room to reduce inherent in-room bass peaks/dips).  So monitors make sense in this scenario.  Suggest reading Floyd Toole's seminal work "Sound Reproduction" 3rd edition to gain an understanding of how speakers behave in residentially scaled rooms.

By design the RAAL ribbon tweeter has a narrow vertical but wider horizontal dispersion.  But not aware of any midrange drivers that have a matching dispersion pattern to avoid a disconnect between midrange and treble sound staging.

Recently had a brief listen to Silk Towers, quite nice.  But I worry about their low efficiency (prefer something around 93 dB/w/m at 8 ohms) versus the Silk Towers 88 dB/w/m at 4 ohms, in order to have a good balance between dynamics, ultimate output, and exhibiting low system self-noise.  The Silk Monitors are of course even lower efficiency and aren't even rated to reach live music peaks beyond near-field (less than 6 feet away) in a walk-in closet.  Better suited for apartment living.  Perhaps if crossed over high enough with sub(s) you could reach those peaks in-room.  (Not that I'm a headbanger by any means, just consider the ability to reach live performance sound pressure levels as a prequisite for full fidelity playback.) 

RonN5

Re: Does RAAL tweeter = narrow sweet spot?
« Reply #4 on: 23 Dec 2019, 12:29 pm »
A few adds to my prior comments....

The vertical dispersion is much better than you might think.  You can stand up from a sitting position and not lose tone or imaging.

Jim and Dennis Murphy do a beautiful job of blending the drivers... no disconnect

As for power and loudness... jim has been using an 80 watt tube amp to demo his speakers.. unless you listen at concert levels... 88 dB is no problem.  My room is over 10,000 cubic feet... no problem listening at 85 dB measured at the listening position.

And... as for controlled directivity... some people like the super precise imaging this can give while others prefer the sense of ambience that wider dispersion can give.

I also agree... once you’ve heard a great ribbon and it’s musicality and smoothness.....

Finally, ask Jim about the BMR... it may be a good choice and you can read all about it over on AVS.

Good luck


Rusty Jefferson

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Re: Does RAAL tweeter = narrow sweet spot?
« Reply #5 on: 23 Dec 2019, 02:08 pm »
I don't own Salks, but did recently hear the Song BeAT tower with the Satori beryllium tweeters.  I am familiar with that tweeter from a friend who built a custom 3 way with it. These are exceptional speakers for the money, imo. The only dome tweeter I'd consider using.  Enormous liquidy soundstage with a big sweet spot.  Great driver integration. I'd like to own a pair.

I appreciate the OPs preference for bookshelf, but a demo of these might change your mind. They don't take up any more floor space.

http://www.salksound.com/model.php?model=Song3%20BeAT

R Swerdlow

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Re: Does RAAL tweeter = narrow sweet spot?
« Reply #6 on: 23 Dec 2019, 05:31 pm »
I know the Silk's use the same tweeter, so am I compromising a larger sweet spot by going with a RAAL tweeter over a dome tweeter?
No.  The RAAL tweeter's width is about the same as a 1" dome tweeter.  They should have similar horizontal dispersion.

The reason why some speakers have narrow dispersion patterns, resulting in narrow sweet spots, is not the tweeter per se, but the crossover frequency from the mid-woofer or mid-range to the tweeter.  As the frequency gets higher, the mid's dispersion gets narrower.  If the crossover frequency is too high for the mid to maintain wide dispersion, the result is poor off-axis performance, and a narrow sweet spot.

Jim and Dennis understand this well, and their speakers have a crossover frequency low enough to maintain wide dispersion.  Depending on the mid-woofer of a 2-way speaker, it may require a more expensive tweeter that can handle lower frequencies without significant distortion.  This is true whether the tweeter is ribbon or dome.

Big Red Machine

Re: Does RAAL tweeter = narrow sweet spot?
« Reply #7 on: 23 Dec 2019, 06:34 pm »
I am a huge fan of the sound the RAAL makes.  I am not sure I could go back to a dome tweeter.

And I'm the opposite. I much prefer domes. :green:

I have never experienced a narrower listening spot due to a ribbon tweeter that I could notice/remember. I am highly confident you will be fine with the Raal. Enjoy!

Rusty Jefferson

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Re: Does RAAL tweeter = narrow sweet spot?
« Reply #8 on: 23 Dec 2019, 07:00 pm »
...The reason why some speakers have narrow dispersion patterns, resulting in narrow sweet spots, is not the tweeter per se, but the crossover frequency from the mid-woofer or mid-range to the tweeter.  As the frequency gets higher, the mid's dispersion gets narrower.  If the crossover frequency is too high for the mid to maintain wide dispersion, the result is poor off-axis performance, and a narrow sweet spot....
You're spot on. And ribbons usually need to cross higher than domes, narrowing the dispersion at crossover with 2 ways.  Hence my suggestion of the 3 way with a dedicated (smaller) midrange driver. 

Jon L

Re: Does RAAL tweeter = narrow sweet spot?
« Reply #9 on: 23 Dec 2019, 07:53 pm »
What a great time to be designing speakers around such wonderful components like Satori BE tweeter. 
I see it's rated at 95dB/4Ohm, so I wish someone would make a great high-sensitivity speaker around that BE tweeter and say two of the 92dB sensitive Revelator 18M/4631T00 midrange drivers, which will match them up to about 95dB sensitivity as well  :thumb:




jsalk

Re: Does RAAL tweeter = narrow sweet spot?
« Reply #10 on: 24 Dec 2019, 03:04 pm »
Thinking about making another speaker purchase.  As a person who has always preferred bookshelf speakers to towers, I am unsure why I chose the Supercharged Songtower over the Silk.  Don't get me wrong, I love the music my speakers make and the finish is freaking amazing.  Even non-audio fans comment on how cool they are. 

With that being said, I want this next speaker to have a wider sweet spot.  I know the Silk's use the same tweeter, so am I compromising a larger sweet spot by going with a RAAL tweeter over a dome tweeter?


If you do indeed want a speaker with a tweeter with superior dispersion, it is hard to beat the Satori Be tweeter. It is the only metal dome tweeter we would likely ever use.  The sound is very similar to the RAAL, but with dispersion typical of a dome tweeter.

Be cone resonance is in the area of 34kHz, well beyond audibility.  And it is a self-damping material that does not "ring out" like other metal domes.

The SS 6M Monitors might be what you are looking for.

- Jim

jonbee

Re: Does RAAL tweeter = narrow sweet spot?
« Reply #11 on: 24 Dec 2019, 03:44 pm »
I have owned several speakers w/RAALs, including Vapor Cirrus 2 ways currently, and while I enjoyed them all, if I was to spec new speakers I would probably opt for the Satori BE.
All the RAALs I've used have great strengths in detail retrieval, but they don't blend perfectly in 2 ways, I've found, and sound a bit dry in 3 ways, not quite disappearing into the soundstage as much as some others.
My other 2 systems use Accuton ceramic and Dynaudio T330D cloth domes, and they both blend better and simply sound a bit more musical, at least in my Avalon Opus 3 way and Egglestonworks Fontaine 2 ways.
Each of these great tweeters has strengths and weaknesses, but I've not gotten the ultimate musical naturalness on top from any of my RAAL speakers, I'm sorry to say. YMMV.
Still great sounding, but at this price point I think there are other options to consider, and I respect JS's opinions.

TKonrad.NOLA

Re: Does RAAL tweeter = narrow sweet spot?
« Reply #12 on: 25 Dec 2019, 01:28 am »
If you do indeed want a speaker with a tweeter with superior dispersion, it is hard to beat the Satori Be tweeter. It is the only metal dome tweeter we would likely ever use.  The sound is very similar to the RAAL, but with dispersion typical of a dome tweeter.

Be cone resonance is in the area of 34kHz, well beyond audibility.  And it is a self-damping material that does not "ring out" like other metal domes.

The SS 6M Monitors might be what you are looking for.

- Jim

Thank you for the response.  It's been a while since I have auditioned a speaker with a metal dome.  What would I gain/lose going to the 6M over the Silk ? From the specs, it looks like the 6M digs deeper.


TKonrad.NOLA

Re: Does RAAL tweeter = narrow sweet spot?
« Reply #13 on: 25 Dec 2019, 01:34 am »
I have owned several speakers w/RAALs, including Vapor Cirrus 2 ways currently, and while I enjoyed them all, if I was to spec new speakers I would probably opt for the Satori BE.
All the RAALs I've used have great strengths in detail retrieval, but they don't blend perfectly in 2 ways, I've found, and sound a bit dry in 3 ways, not quite disappearing into the soundstage as much as some others.
My other 2 systems use Accuton ceramic and Dynaudio T330D cloth domes, and they both blend better and simply sound a bit more musical, at least in my Avalon Opus 3 way and Egglestonworks Fontaine 2 ways.
Each of these great tweeters has strengths and weaknesses, but I've not gotten the ultimate musical naturalness on top from any of my RAAL speakers, I'm sorry to say. YMMV.
Still great sounding, but at this price point I think there are other options to consider, and I respect JS's opinions.

You are the second person I have heard mention the blending.  One reviewer said something like you could tell the sound was coming from two different drivers.  That is something that I haven't notice.

R Swerdlow

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Re: Does RAAL tweeter = narrow sweet spot?
« Reply #14 on: 25 Dec 2019, 04:27 pm »
You (jonbee) are the second person I have heard mention the blending.  One reviewer said something like you could tell the sound was coming from two different drivers.  That is something that I haven't notice.
I can't comment on the speakers jonbee mentioned, as I haven't heard them.  But I own Veracity STs, 2-way MTM speakers  with the RAAL ribbon and two SEAS W16 mid-woofers.  I have not noticed any lack of blending between the mid-woofs and tweeter.  The ribbon driver used in these is the custom 70-20X available only to manufacturers.  It does allow lower crossover frequencies than most or all other ribbon tweeters.  According to RAAL, this is as low as 1800 Hz, http://www.raalribbon.com/products_flatfoil_70-20xr.htm.  If I understand correctly, Jim uses this same, more robust, ribbon tweeter in all his 2-way ribbon tweet designs.

What RonN5 mentioned above, "Jim and Dennis Murphy do a beautiful job of blending the drivers… no disconnect" is worth repeating.  Creating, or failing to create, a blended sound comes down to more than using the right drivers together.  The crossover also plays a critical role.  In my opinion, no one does this better than Dennis & Jim.

Rocket

Re: Does RAAL tweeter = narrow sweet spot?
« Reply #15 on: 26 Dec 2019, 11:01 am »
Hi DigitalDude,
 
Its great that you've reached out to Audiocircle and posted requesting information regarding this question.  The best way to ascertain whether you like them is to try and demo them in person if at all possible.  I've had many speakers and 4 speakers have used ribbons.  Raven 1 ribbon tweeter (custom made for me in perth) and they definitely had a very small sweetspot.  Salk Sound HT2's and HT3's which used LCY ribbon and Aurum Cantus ribbons.  The sweet spot was very good in both speakers.  Recently, I bought a pair of Salk Sound Song3's and this is the first time I've had the opportunity to listen to a RAAL tweeter.  To my ears it sounds more like a dome tweeter than ribbon and seems to have the best of both worlds.

But really, you need to demo some speakers if you can.

Best of luck

Rod

jsalk

Re: Does RAAL tweeter = narrow sweet spot?
« Reply #16 on: 26 Dec 2019, 03:39 pm »
What would I gain/lose going to the 6M over the Silk ? From the specs, it looks like the 6M digs deeper.

The SS 6M Monitors are larger stand-mounted speakers.  In addition to playing deeper bass, they are also more efficient.  So they will require far less power to drive than the Silk Monitors.  And, of course, they feature the Satori Be tweeter.

- Jim

jsalk

Re: Does RAAL tweeter = narrow sweet spot?
« Reply #17 on: 26 Dec 2019, 04:20 pm »
Just a note about the seamless integration of drivers.  Naturally, you have to start with drivers that will work well together.  But that will not guarantee they will integrate well.  The crossover plays a very important role in this regard.  The crossover design must be phase accurate in the crossover region or the drivers will not integrate successfully.  Dennis Murphy is a master in this regard.  We have never received feedback from owners with RAAL tweeters that the drivers do not integrate well.

- Jim

DMurphy

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Re: Does RAAL tweeter = narrow sweet spot?
« Reply #18 on: 28 Dec 2019, 11:08 pm »
I missed most of this thread because I've been traveling and eating over Xmas.  I just wanted to try and summarize the dispersion characteristics of the Satori Be dome and the two RAAL tweeters that Jim uses.  Reading through the various posts, I think there might be some confusion on this issue.  In terms of vertical dispersion, the Be bests both the 70-20 ribbon and the 64-10.  That's strictly a function of the greater length of the ribbon elements.  (70 mm and 64 mm vs 29 mm for the dome).  Narrower vertical dispersion is either a good thing or a bad thing depending on who you ask, and the ribbons do pretty well, so I don't think this should be much of a factor.  In terms of horizontal dispersion, The 64-10 beats the Be by a fairly wide margin due to its much narrower width (10 mm vs 29 mm) and the lack of any horn loading.  The 70-20's horizontal dispersion is also greater than the Be's, but not by enough to be of any consequence.  I personally prefer the wider dispersion of the 64-10, but that's still an unsettled issue, and there are other considerations, like the lower harmonic distortion of the Be in the lower octave, and the ability to cross the 70-20 and Be considerably lower than the 64-10 (1900 Hz vs 3200 Hz).  I've never had a chance to make a head-to-head comparison between a stereo pair of the SS9.5's  and any of Jim's or my speakers using the 64-10, so I don't know for sure how this all comes out in the wash.  But I don't think there's a better dome than the Satori Be, or better ribbons than the RAAL offerings.