Interesting Article from Pat McGinty

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Doublej

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Interesting Article from Pat McGinty
« on: 6 Mar 2020, 09:42 pm »
http://www.meadowlarksings.com/dsp%20and%20dynamic%20range.htm

Is Devialet doing something similar with their SAM Speaker Active Matching to achieve dynamic linearity?

sunnydaze

Re: Interesting Article from Pat McGinty
« Reply #1 on: 6 Mar 2020, 10:39 pm »
Good to see Pat back in the game.   Years ago I owned a pair of Meadowlark Heron "i".  Excellent speakers!   :thumb:

JakeJ

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Re: Interesting Article from Pat McGinty
« Reply #2 on: 6 Mar 2020, 11:11 pm »
Agreed and a very interesting read.  Thanks, Doublej.

Makes sense that most people applying DSP to their existing systems are asking the woofers to do things they are not capable of.  Pat has found DSP works but over a limited bass range that the driver needs to be designed for.  And split the bass into narrow slices for the woofers to deal with as designed.  Would love to hear this in action.

Dieterle Tool

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Re: Interesting Article from Pat McGinty
« Reply #3 on: 6 Mar 2020, 11:53 pm »
Been following this for awhile. Actually learned a lot from his old posts and tech talk. His original Meadowlark designs were excellent speakers, much like Audio Alchemy and others that made a great product and were affordable for the middle class. They just didn't charge enough to be lucrative. Looks like his new approach covers that, lol. Don't think I can afford his new offering's but they look SOTA, and I can only imagine they sound fantastic. I will follow along vicariously.

-Dieter

JLM

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Re: Interesting Article from Pat McGinty
« Reply #4 on: 7 Mar 2020, 12:40 pm »
Much of what he says makes sense, can't fool the laws of physics and it's hard to replace displacement when making deep/loud bass, even with DSP.

There's a lot hiding in his site regarding the new speakers: frequency ranges, crossover frequencies/slopes, DAC specifications, directivity responses, availability, and prices.  Note that he's walked away from transmission line design and phase alignment (perhaps his DSP addresses those issues).  But as Earl Geddes recommends, fix physical problems by physical means. 

RonN5

Re: Interesting Article from Pat McGinty
« Reply #5 on: 7 Mar 2020, 01:24 pm »
While I found the information interesting, I was frustrated by two things. First, most people probably listen below 90db... 100db at the speaker so thermal compression and physical limitations are less of an issue... so how much audible improvement is possible.  And, I couldn’t easily find any product pricing on the site so I’m unlikely to explore any further.

Letitroll98

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Re: Interesting Article from Pat McGinty
« Reply #6 on: 7 Mar 2020, 01:33 pm »
I currently own Meadowlark Audio Shearwater Hot Rods, just wonderful speakers.  I read the articles on his site some years ago.  He said he'd have never got back into audio if it wasn't for DSP and what he could do with it.  He got killed in the old business because of price constraints, he had, in my case, $800 in drivers alone using the finest crossover components in a complex transmission line enclosure selling for $3,200.  You can't make a living at those margins, I estimated it should have gone for $5,800.  The new model appears to be build on demand without holding stock and he's charging prices commensurate with the BOM and manufacturing costs.  So because they're all custom builds you need to call for prices.  As for the designs he's not fixing problems with DSP, he's using it to match drivers to operate in their most linear range, mainly in the bass.  The added dynamic range isn't for you to listen that loud, it's so the drivers are more linear at the volume you do listen to.  That allows him to dump both first order crossovers and transmission line enclosures, the hallmarks of his earlier designs.  What remains is Paul being an iconoclast in the industry, charting his own course regardless of how you're "supposed" to do it.

JLM

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Re: Interesting Article from Pat McGinty
« Reply #7 on: 7 Mar 2020, 01:50 pm »
Yes his transmission lines were unnecessarily complex (have been a fan and built a pair 40 years ago), but still not THAT expensive.  1st order crossovers do require wide-band (expensive) drivers.  Agree that DSP, if done right, can make good speaker design way less expensive.  But it seems that he's focusing on bass spls while ignoring controlled directivity and distributed bass, two of the current trends in modern speaker design. 

meby

Re: Interesting Article from Pat McGinty
« Reply #8 on: 7 Mar 2020, 02:49 pm »
Sorry to hijack the thread but I was a former Meadowlark owner and loved the speakers. Was there not some controversy when Mr. McGinty left the audio world a while back? It was so long ago I do not remember the details but it seems to me that he burnt bridges on the way out?

nickd

Re: Interesting Article from Pat McGinty
« Reply #9 on: 7 Mar 2020, 05:26 pm »
Thanks for the post DoubleJ,
Pat used to be a local SoCal guy. Never met him, but always liked his speakers.

Good to see he is open minded. There are many ways to get high end sound. DSP and class D amps are one of those.  I have been experimenting with both for a few years. They can do amazing things. They also have limitations and like all things in audio are a work in progress. The tech does seem to be steadily improving.

My current system uses DSP, mechanical alignment, passive cross over filters and servo controlled bass. Lots of ways to get us to a rig we love. Good to see Pat working towards perfection. Wish him well and bet his stuff sounds great for the money as always.

Craig B

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Re: Interesting Article from Pat McGinty
« Reply #10 on: 7 Mar 2020, 05:30 pm »
I’ve owned a pair of his Kestrel 2 for over 15 years. They were the first speakers I was satisfied with after having to sell my first Maggies due to space constraints. I only just replaced them about 6 months ago with more Maggies. I suppose I should sell the Kestrels, but haven’t been able to bring myself to do it yet.

Letitroll98

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Re: Interesting Article from Pat McGinty
« Reply #11 on: 7 Mar 2020, 05:51 pm »
Yes his transmission lines were unnecessarily complex (have been a fan and built a pair 40 years ago), but still not THAT expensive.  1st order crossovers do require wide-band (expensive) drivers.  Agree that DSP, if done right, can make good speaker design way less expensive.  But it seems that he's focusing on bass spls while ignoring controlled directivity and distributed bass, two of the current trends in modern speaker design.

I've also loved the sounds coming out of transmission line speakers, these are the first I've owned, like CraigB above, they replaced Maggie's, they have a similar tonality.    The drivers are ScanSpeak, just about my favorite drivers, so yeah, expensive and very wideband.  The SPL measurements are just a fast way to get to where he wants to be, having the drivers operate in their linear, uncompressed range.  He states he makes several other measurements as well.  He said something about directivity, but I can't remember what it was, I'd have to look back through all the text on his page.  I don't remember him saying much about subwoofers in any configuration, and again don't remember if some of the dsp settings are user accessed or not.  I bet somebody will find those answers and link them before I have time to look.

JakeJ

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Re: Interesting Article from Pat McGinty
« Reply #12 on: 7 Mar 2020, 07:31 pm »
No, we're waiting on you.

timind

Re: Interesting Article from Pat McGinty
« Reply #13 on: 7 Mar 2020, 09:46 pm »
It's good to see Meadowlark up and running again.
I owned a pair of Kestrel Hot Rods for a lot of years; one of my all-time favorite speakers. Also owned the Kestrel 2s as well as the Shearwaters. Although the Kestrel 2s were stunning looking speakers, I preferred the original Kestrel. Here's an old pic of my setup with the Kestrel 2s.



JLM

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Re: Interesting Article from Pat McGinty
« Reply #14 on: 8 Mar 2020, 11:26 am »
Thanks for the post DoubleJ,
Pat used to be a local SoCal guy. Never met him, but always liked his speakers.

Good to see he is open minded. There are many ways to get high end sound. DSP and class D amps are one of those.  I have been experimenting with both for a few years. They can do amazing things. They also have limitations and like all things in audio are a work in progress. The tech does seem to be steadily improving.

My current system uses DSP, mechanical alignment, passive cross over filters and servo controlled bass. Lots of ways to get us to a rig we love. Good to see Pat working towards perfection. Wish him well and bet his stuff sounds great for the money as always.

Many high quality speakers get by with one woofer, even those who recognize voice coil extension/thermal compression issues (like Duke LeJeune from Audio Kinesis here at Audio Circle) so have a hard time imaging why Pat is now so gun-oh on multiple woofers with dedicated amps.  This phenomenon is nothing new, P.A. speakers have been designed to address it for decades. 

I owned JBL 708Ps for a year, probably the best all around speaker I've ever heard.  They are a 2-way active monitor with on-board DSP for room correction, crossover, DAC, etc.  They use a compression tweeter in a carefully designed waveguide for controlled directivity (JBL/Harmon did a lot of R&D on controlled directivity) and an 8 inch woofer.  The drivers are designed specifically for these speakers (you can do that when you're a big company and been in the business for decades).  Has XLR analog or AES/EBU digital inputs.  Very dynamic and room filling with a balanced detailed sound and wonderful imaging.  Even ordered custom matching stands for them.  Clicked many boxes for me.

BTW built-in room correction is useless without a calibrated microphone and the ability to see the results so adjustments can be made like done with REW (Room Eq Wizard) or Dirac Live does via software (which naturally doesn't work with analog sources).  I saw no mention of a microphone or means to see results or make adjustments. 

Sold the JBL's when I realized the on-board DAC required an extra analog to digital conversion for analog input and that both were pedestrian quality (no specifications available) and that as the last DAC in the signal path it rendered any external DAC all but pointless in terms of sound quality (and I had a nice one).  BTW this is true of most active speakers for sale now-a-days that are what I'd call digital speakers, including of course wireless speakers.  The whole on-board, unknown, lackluster DAC just drove me crazy and I had a nice pair of 16 year old commissioned speakers that fit my chosen musical genres well and would have been harder to sell on. 

Note that I'm also a disciple of Floyd Toole, so use 3 carefully placed subs around the room to control inevitable in-room bass peaks/dips which requires pre DAC'd analog signals.  So my next speaker will be active (have been a fan of active design for going on 20 years), but analog.  ELAC Navis ARB-51 and ARF-51 have that as well as wireless/digital options.  But am also a fan of controlled directivity, so that narrows the search for good speakers down substantially.

Letitroll98

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Re: Interesting Article from Pat McGinty
« Reply #15 on: 8 Mar 2020, 12:45 pm »
Bass/subwoofers.  He has three different large to massive subwoofer systems.  The first is an add on to the bookshelf speaker, two eight inch drivers replacing the stand for the bookshelf.  The floorstander has two 9.5" drivers for the bass, and you can add two, four 8" driver seperate towers.  For the ultimate " Crusher" bass system there's a two tower four 10" driver each subwoofer system.  There's no frequency response figures, but do you really need them?

No controlled directivity past a tiny waveguide built into the tweeter frame.  All the drivers are from Satori.

Pricing.  Paul says at this stage in his life he's done building speakers that are good for the money.  He's only interested in SOTA.  You have to call for pricing as everything is custom, built to order, but know that the starting price is $7,000.  One assumes that's for the two way bookshelf.