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

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Peter J

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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.

Yet another lucid, well stated assessment of what comes across as the Amir Army and the deity Klippel. I guess it takes the fringes to define the middle.

Audio isn't the only place it exists, as we've become a society that frequently adopts other's "experience" to define our own, and then selectively bitch about it when some portion of that experience offends us. We seek absolutes for our emotional comfort, forgetting that the distance between black and white is indeed miles of grey.

Life marches on. For me and I assume others, enjoyment of any given thing is derived from within and gives a nod to outside influence, not the inverse.


ServerAdmin

^ Are the sneering insults really necessary? I'm getting a bit sick of this shit, it makes me so sad what AudioCircle has become.

Norman Tracy

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

In a recent review of another AudioCircle related company's speaker Amirm when asked about listening was quite adamant that he had only unpacked one speaker of the stereo pair sent to him to measure. Excuses for not unpacking the second speaker included (paraphrasing from memory) "too busy" and "the finish was to such a high standard do not want to risk damaging it". Interesting that someone so highly touting science can not be bothered to avail himself of the opportunity to measure a second sample of the device under test.

Amirm has made the investment in a Klippel speaker measurement system (not cheap) and that along with the name Audio Science Review seems to drive the slant of the site. Not too surprising those who self select to frequent ASR site are hard over to the objective side.

In my not so humble opinion all-subjective no-objective OR no-subjective all-objective are just inverses of the same mistake of limiting the investigation to just half the tools available.

Hobbsmeerkat

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^ Are the sneering insults really necessary? I'm getting a bit sick of this shit, it makes me so sad what AudioCircle has become.
Maybe its just me, and my own perspective having spent the last 10 years a part of "popular internet culture" on most major sites/ platforms, but I'd hardly call much of what's been said here "sneering insults."
Much of what's been stated in this thread has been quite tame... And largely based on personal experiences and preferences. So while it may show some bias, such things are not uncommon.

Its one thing to have strong disagreements, but unlike many other places I've spent time on across the internet, its much easier to have discussions and point out issues you may have, and state your reasons for or against them.

Most anywhere else, even the most minor dissent of opinion often leads to being shouted down, and called every name imaginable.

And finding a place like AudioCircle to have discussions, where we can at least listen, or explore the differences of ideas, and appreciate where we do agree is honestly really nice.

Folsom

Interesting they bring up that Danny bought AV123 inventory (a long time ago), but totally neglect to mention that he designed all of it.

Criticizing a pretty atypical woofer to tweeter crossover point where one beams a little is kinda silly. What are you suppose to do about? I mean, without radically changing the fact that it's a 2 way bookshelf without a waveguide/horn? Why bother?

However the comments on bass have been repeated here and there a few times. A little bit lower tuning on the port might even that out a little? 

ServerAdmin

Much of what's been stated in this thread has been quite tame...

I was referring specifially to the post right before mine, hence the ^

Quote
And finding a place like AudioCircle to have discussions, where we can at least listen, or explore the differences of ideas, and appreciate where we do agree is honestly really nice.

Insulting people on other sites isn't exploring differences of ideas. It's just stupid and pathetic.

SoCalWJS

Saw the first picture of the completed speaker that they tested and pretty well decided that they didn’t put much effort into it. The phrase about testing only in Mono finished it off for me.

Sounds like they liked the speaker to some extent, but their methodology seems questionable at best. Interesting measurements, but I’m not familiar with much of it, nor the equipment used.

Peter J

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^ Are the sneering insults really necessary? I'm getting a bit sick of this shit, it makes me so sad what AudioCircle has become.

Since you're calling my post into question, please allow me to clarify. In spite of my army reference, there were no barbs intended. My impression is that some believe the Klippel machine is the last word in speaker qualifying, and that has produced a "following" of sorts. I simply don't share the belief, but rather consider it a piece to bigger puzzle.

The rest is general commentary on how we, as humans, assign value to things. Be it a speaker, an automobile, fast food or what-have-you.

Texbychoice

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^ Are the sneering insults really necessary? I'm getting a bit sick of this shit, it makes me so sad what AudioCircle has become.

Serious question here so I better understand the decorum expected.  Please point to the exact words defined as sneering insults. 

Seems like opinions offered were accurately presented without being being sneering insults.  By comparison Audio Circle is a polite forum welcoming disagreement and discussion, unlike some - not all over on Audio Science.  Maybe I missed something???

Jmitchell3

Since you're calling my post into question, please allow me to clarify. In spite of my army reference, there were no barbs intended. My impression is that some believe the Klippel machine is the last word in speaker qualifying, and that has produced a "following" of sorts. I simply don't share the belief, but rather consider it a piece to bigger puzzle.

The rest is general commentary on how we, as humans, assign value to things. Be it a speaker, an automobile, fast food or what-have-you.

Maybe he was referring to roscoe65 post you were quoting? Hard to know since he didnt quote any of the post to which hes referring...

hawkeyejw

Not sure how I missed that Amir listens to only one speaker in mono. That's a really weird way to do it and totally removes a significant amount of the elements of speaker performance that people evaluate. Imaging, soundstage, layering... all nonexistent.

Hobbsmeerkat

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In a lot of sites you can say something as innocuous as "I like waffles" and someone will take offense & respond "WHY DO YOU HATE PANCAKES!???"
Obvious hyperbole, but nothing said here has remotely come close to that. Much of the disagreements here have been with Amir's methodology, namely his past and present inconsistency, and use of a mostly unfinished/untreated cabinet, calling much of the extra Danny offers and believes in "voodoo"

genjamon

Not sure how I missed that Amir listens to only one speaker in mono. That's a really weird way to do it and totally removes a significant amount of the elements of speaker performance that people evaluate. Imaging, soundstage, layering... all nonexistent.

He didn’t really listen much. His review (and the site overall) places primacy on data over all else. The measurement system he uses only needs one speaker to gather its data, so that’s all he wanted or needed. The listening he performed was purely incidental to the testing, and seems to me not intended to form part of the “review.”

Tyson

I have no problem with using measurements to get better sound.  I do it all the time, in fact. 

But IMO there is a problem with what Amir did.  He did not build the speaker to spec and then measured a non-standard build and posted the results of that non-standard build.  That's careless and unprofessional. 

S Clark

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I have no problem with using measurements to get better sound.  I do it all the time, in fact. 

But IMO there is a problem with what Amir did.  He did not build the speaker to spec and then measured a non-standard build and posted the results of that non-standard build.  That's careless and unprofessional.
Yep, if you don' build to spec, just say  "speaker built loosely on XYZ model *".  I used to go round and round with ex member Guy13 over this very thing. 

JohnR

He did not build the speaker to spec

He didn't build it at all. It says right there in the first paragraph of the review. Plus, if the "spec" is not the build plans, then what is? In what way does the speaker not meet that "spec"? http://gr-research.com/pdf/X-LS%20Encore%20box.pdf

roscoe65

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There are a number of problems with the review at ASR and the ensuing commment thread.  I assume that Serveradmin referred to some part of my post as harsh or insulting.  The only comment in my post I would retract is referring the Amir’s followers as “lemmings”, following their leader over cliff.  I suppose part of that was an emotional reaction to the nastiness hurled (in third person) toward Danny.  Danny’s speakers may or may not be the ne plus ultra of high end audio, but at $300 as pair they don’t pretend to be.  I’ve found Danny to be open, honest, helpful and generous with both his time and his expertise.

There is also an irony to a AC member/admin referring to my comments as “stupid and pathetic”.  If I am the person to whom you generically referred I ask that you show the character to say the words directly to me.  I’ve long moved passed the stage of hurling insults at people on the Internet.  I purposely avoid 90% on audio forums precisely for this reason.

Hobbsmeerkat

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Amir is offering that if someone wants to send him the upgrades or any upgrades, he'd be willing to test them again.

My worry is that he will focus too much on the raw measurements, and not the experience as a whole. which of course wont necessarily show any major changes, but I imagine will definitely produce an audible difference. which i imagine is likely much harder to measure differences outside of the impedance sweep, waterfall, and some of the interference caused from the hard baffle edge, assuming the use of an included round over

I do appreciate that Maty seconded my experience with Norez, having done his own upgrades to other speakers.

Reading some other comments they're just as quick to name call as anyone here, so i guess it doesn't really matter what we say, does it? :P

roscoe65

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Amir is offering that if someone wants to send him the upgrades or any upgrades, he'd be willing to test them again.

If Amir is genuine in his offer and intellectually honest, this is an excellent opportunity to test assumptions about the speakers and speaker design in general, understanding that we are not necessarily measuring everything that is important.  The XLS Encore is an excellent platform to test:

1.  The effects of cabinet round over, bracing, absorption (No Rez)
2.  The effects of break in (e.g., BNIB speaker with a second speaker with 100 hours of break in)
3.  The effects of crossover components, base vs. stage 1,2, or 3 upgrades.
4.  Changes in wire, tube connectors, etc.

If the site really is Audio Science Review, Amir and his fan should welcome the chance to objectively confirm or dismiss common assertions regarding components, break in, etc.  I think that there are enough people with different XLS Encore builds that we may all learn something meaningful.

jn316

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He didn't build it at all. It says right there in the first paragraph of the review. Plus, if the "spec" is not the build plans, then what is? In what way does the speaker not meet that "spec"? http://gr-research.com/pdf/X-LS%20Encore%20box.pdf

Read the entire thread and it appears that the main takeaway is that Danny didn't supply enough detail on how to build the speaker. Fair enough. The question has to be asked though, how much detail do you need to give? He took the Liquid Nails reference literally, as if that is the only thing that could be used to attach the braces. How did he decide what glue to use on the cabinet? How did he know to use glue and not nails? staples? duct tape?  So yes, he DID make basic assumptions on how to build the cabinet as if he had PRIOR knowledge on how to do it, so why not use the assumption to use some kind of dampening material...which to their credit they eventually did. I'm thinking almost anyone who is new to speaker building would make the phone call and seek help, which Danny is more than willing to give. "Duke" on that thread had the most sound advice IMO in that regard.

And Amir saying that Danny's video on how to build the speakers was "useless" tells me all I need to know about never going to that site again.

My $0.02

Gary