Measurements and review of the X-LS Encore kit by www.audiosciencereview.com

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AlexH

I read this review yesterday. He liked them and recommend them. Sure  did spark a lot of conversation.

timind

Really nice, for the money.

Thanks for posting this.

genjamon

Yeah, funny that he didn't round the baffle edges, went with a cheap plastic cup rear connector, and didn't use any cabinet dampening (just some polyfill type material internally).  Given that he was clearly building the cheapest version of the speakers possible, I can understand the indignation of others at the relative price/performance compared with some other cheap construction already-built options out there.  I thought the whole point of Danny's DIY designs is that you don't have to settle for the cheap components and no internal bracing construction that comes with retail speakers, but can use better components right from the start without needing to open up and upgrade parts or re-engineer aspects of the speaker later on.

In other words, if you just want the cheapest decent-measuring speaker available, it doesn't seem like GR Research speakers should be your first stop.  It's for people who want to invest in better parts and construction than is common, by doing it themselves. 

But I wouldn't have expected anything different at the ASR forum. 

Hobbsmeerkat

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This concluding comment made me laugh: "I am happy to recommend the GR Research DIY Kit (sans all the voodoo tweaks he offers)."  :lol:

Reading the comments was a trip. I've never actually heard of Danny being called "divisive" or "polarizing"of course i don't have any experience with trying out different caps/connectors. But i have heard the XLS with & without Norez & it definitely makes a difference in the mid bass.

hawkeyejw

I would also like to see how a pair that's built to spec and uses No-Rez at the minimum would compare. As it is, they measured quite well. I do find it funny that they spend a ton of time talking about resonance but then completely dismiss the cabinet construction and roll their eyes at the idea No-Rez would make any difference. Oh well.

I can really only read Amir's posts on that site as I do like to be able to see the objective measurements between different products as a data point in my purchase decisions. Some (most?) of those guys commenting though... I wonder if they ever actually listen to anything or if they just sit around yelling at each other about theory.

RonP

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This concluding comment made me laugh: "I am happy to recommend the GR Research DIY Kit (sans all the voodoo tweaks he offers)."  :lol:

Reading the comments was a trip. I've never actually heard of Danny being called "divisive" or "polarizing"of course i don't have any experience with trying out different caps/connectors. But i have heard the XLS with & without Norez & it definitely makes a difference in the mid bass.

Yeah that "voodoo" comment raised my eyebrow. I was expecting some real jibberish to follow.

genjamon

... I wonder if they ever actually listen to anything or if they just sit around yelling at each other about theory.

It's the natural consequence of a philosophy (not just theory, mind you) that subjective impressions are so hopelessly colored by all kinds of psychological biases that they are utterly meaningless.  Of course, what follows then is that no one can comment on how something sounds - at all.  And if someone were to offer their listening impressions, the impressions should be disregarded as without any pertinent value to the conversation. 

The philosophy baffles me.  I'm so curious what the listening experience is like for people who do not put any faith at all in their own subjective listening impressions.  What they think about when they listen.  When they hear something they like, do they just think about all the biases that came together to produce that impression?  What about when they don't like the sound of something?  Do they just think they must be in a bad mood that day and that they should listen to it later when they're in a better mood?

Hobbsmeerkat

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Yeah that "voodoo" comment raised my eyebrow. I was expecting some real jibberish to follow.

There was definitely some jibberish about tube connectors in there, but the basic principle makes sense to me and they're only a $50 add-on so for a high end build ill spring for it, no iron/ferrous material, and as low mass as possible.

And sure there's plenty of snake oil out there, but a lot of it is easy to blindly A-B compare, and if there's no discernable difference, then its probably not worth it.

I did try making my own tri-braded cables recently for my XLS, but since i only had enough for one speaker, it made it pretty obvious that the cheap "zip cord" i was already using was better, esp in the highs, there was just better clarity and presence.
But I imagine that with more A-B comparisons i may come to different conclusions.

Even so, I honestly enjoy the exploration & experimentation, and just letting my ears lead the way.

And I'm also a bit disappointed that he didn't give the speakers a better chance, buy rounding over the edges/corners and at least using Noez or a butyle layer under some fiberglass or rockwool.

Cuz I imagine it would respond a bit better in the mids by reducing cabinet resonance and reflections.

I do agree with his assessment of muddied mids, (cuz i have noticed similar issue, but imo only when the bass is boosted to compensate not yet having a subwoofer that can keep up (Rythmik L12 is on its way soon))
In near-field, I almost don't need a sub unless I'm really pushing the music.
That said, i do have to disagree with his assessment of "harsh" when pushing these. They're honestly really easy to listen to, even at loud volumes, esp in larger rooms.

genjamon


That said, i do have to disagree with his assessment of "harsh" when pushing these. They're honestly really easy to listen to, even at loud volumes, esp in larger rooms.

Keep in mind the kinds of equipment that those guys use - only the cheapest equipment that measures well according to Amir, and absolutely nothing that would whiff of hifi "snake oil."  I wouldn't be surprised if the harshness was the speakers revealing something upstream in the electronics chain. 

Hobbsmeerkat

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Keep in mind the kinds of equipment that those guys use - only the cheapest equipment that measures well according to Amir, and absolutely nothing that would whiff of hifi "snake oil."  I wouldn't be surprised if the harshness was the speakers revealing something upstream in the electronics chain. 
Good to know, but no surprise there tbh, esp after hearing that a former prominent speaker reviewer for magazines would review speakers while radio stations would constantly be interfering with the output of the speakers. :lol:

Im just someone that enjoys tinkering & exploring ideas, or interesting topics and seeing what comes of it. (as im sure some of my threads & can attest.. :p )

hawkeyejw

It's the natural consequence of a philosophy (not just theory, mind you) that subjective impressions are so hopelessly colored by all kinds of psychological biases that they are utterly meaningless.  Of course, what follows then is that no one can comment on how something sounds - at all.  And if someone were to offer their listening impressions, the impressions should be disregarded as without any pertinent value to the conversation. 

The philosophy baffles me.  I'm so curious what the listening experience is like for people who do not put any faith at all in their own subjective listening impressions.  What they think about when they listen.  When they hear something they like, do they just think about all the biases that came together to produce that impression?  What about when they don't like the sound of something?  Do they just think they must be in a bad mood that day and that they should listen to it later when they're in a better mood?

Very well said. Doesn't seem like much fun to me but if they enjoy it, good for them. Thankfully there's room in the market for companies that tailor to all types of people.

Tyson

Measurements are important.  But they aren't the only important thing.

Hobbsmeerkat

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Measurements are important.  But they aren't the only important thing.
A speaker could measure near perfectly, but still sound dull, muddy, bright, glaring, or harsh, and if a speaker sounds like crap to your ears, it's probably always gunna sound like crap to you. :P

I love my Sennheiser HD 6XX headphones, but people who like Beats by Dre will think they sound "flat" or "hollow" if not harsh & clinical. And I'd probably think their Beats sound bloated & muddy.

IMO, Subjective taste should always have a place in explaining how they sound. You cant really have one without the other.

AKLegal

I'm glad the speaker got a good review but I don't trust Amir.  He has been caught fudging measurements for personal reasons.  Not to cast any aspersions on the speaker - its one of Danny's so I know its great.

Texbychoice

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Amir seemed to do a pretty reasonable review and there were more positive comments than I expected.  Still a few with the expected amount of snark.  Would like to know the background of the self appointed experts.  Comment implying that replacing a standard capacitor with an audio grade capacitor of the same value is snake oil very revealing.  Same person made fun of tube connectors and proclaimed speakON as superior.  I guess he thinks we all need a "professional  grade" connector designed to operate in the high current, inductive load environment of loudspeakers.  Me thinks someone is blowing smoke up my Kilt.

Measurements are nice as a starting point.  Listening is critical.  Capacitor quality makes a difference. Air core inductors make a difference.  High quality resistors make a difference.  They can all measure the same value, but performance is different.  Bet you could make some heads explode over at audio science if they started comparing capacitors, inductors, and resistors in crossovers.

Jmitchell3

I'm glad the speaker got a good review but I don't trust Amir.  He has been caught fudging measurements for personal reasons.  Not to cast any aspersions on the speaker - its one of Danny's so I know its great.

The builder of this review set failed to roundover the edges per Danny’s design Specs, and we never get to see the interior to see if adequate and proper bracing was used, nor which type and how much damping was used. So who knows.

I really like the concept and the equipment Amir has gotten to do measurements, however he has been inconsistent in posting the same charts with the same metrics from speaker to speaker. For a recent revel review he omitted the waterfall graph altogether, and for another review changed the waterfall floor on the graph. This is classic practice of journalists of all stripes when they wish to color an article. I can’t emphasize enough how much consistency matters to integrity in this vein.

I have very little patience for folks who beat the measurement drum and then conveniently alter or omit measurements at a whim. That’s what makes Danny’s videos so wonderful....same measurements...same metrics and windows, same same same all the time like clockwork.


sts9fan

Only a “good” review?!?! Who has the torches?

Hobbsmeerkat

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The builder of this review set failed to roundover the edges per Danny’s design Specs, and we never get to see the interior to see if adequate and proper bracing was used, nor which type and how much damping was used. So who knows.

He actually did apparently post a build thread that was linked in the thread, but not in the article?
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/build-of-gr-research-x-ls-encore.14312/

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I really like the concept and the equipment Amir has gotten to do measurements, however he has been inconsistent in posting the same charts with the same metrics from speaker to speaker. For a recent revel review he omitted the waterfall graph altogether, and for another review changed the waterfall floor on the graph. This is classic practice of journalists of all stripes when they wish to color an article. I can’t emphasize enough how much consistency matters to integrity in this vein.

This. I love it when reviewers are open, honest, & consistent about their testing methodology. Its why one of my favorite PC hardware reviewers is Gamers Nexus, they're very forward and consistent with their testing, and don't mind calling out a manufacturer om their BS, even when it may land them in hot water.

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I have very little patience for folks who beat the measurement drum and then conveniently alter or omit measurements at a whim. That’s what makes Danny’s videos so wonderful....same measurements...same metrics and windows, same same same all the time like clockwork.
Likewise!

roscoe65

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I’m sure Amir has his audience and they like what he has to say.  It does not appear that Amir nor his followers actually like music or care about how the measurements affect their listening experience.

Random comments include:

1.  Complaining that the crossover has only 4 or 5 components.  I suppose that more poorly-behaved drivers should have been used to require more equalization.

2.  Bashing upgraded crossover components as being snake oil for audiofools.  Again without listening and arguing that all capacitors sound the same.

3.  Bashing Danny and Tube Connectors as snake oil ripping off the rubes.  Apparently wire is wire and simple conductivity is the only important factor.

4.  Complaining about resonances and edge diffraction in the enclosure that was not built to plan.  The review was for a cheap, quick, knock-together cabinet with no round over.  They then discuss what the potential effect of rounding the the corners, some asserting that it is not possible to adequately address the edge diffraction without a massive round over, etc.

5.  Repeated assertion that the flat-mounted tweeter (in general) is inferior and that a waveguide is absolutely necessary to maintain even dispersion through the frequency range.  While this assertion may be technically correct, it flies in the face of speaker known to be among the best sounding extant, including Devore and Harbeth.

Generally, the site seems to be comprised of a lot of young, arrogant, dismissive people who don’t need discipline or experience to judge subjective qualities.  I have no idea how any of the speakers under test actually sound or how they would be best matched with upstream equipment nor how they should be incorporated into a room.  Moreover,  Amir and his lemmings place great stock in the Klippen measurement protocol, despite that results seem to rely largely on derived measurements, not actual in-room response.  Any of us can easily and relatively inexpensively use room treatments and Gobos to create an environment wherein the speaker can be measured more directly.

We’ve been pursuing amplified music reproduction for just about a century.  RCA, Western Electric, BBC, and the Canadian National Research Council poured tens of millions of dollars into acoustics research.  Hell, Western Electric had a blank check to reproduce the human voice as accurately and reliably as possible.  They had in fact an unlimited budget paid by the US taxpayer.  We still have not incorporated all the research, some of which has been lost to history.

Some of the greatest minds in audio work constantly to improve the reproduction of music.  Their research and development is continuous.  But somehow this group has it all figured out yet none of them can actually design a speaker themselves, especially when they spend more time talking about what doesn’t matter to good sound than what doers matter.