Poll

Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?

Bright
18 (39.1%)
Neutral
25 (54.3%)
Warm
3 (6.5%)

Total Members Voted: 46

Voting closed: 12 Apr 2006, 11:54 pm

Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?

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toobluvr

Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #20 on: 14 Apr 2006, 05:09 pm »
Quote from: pugs
It's almost like they are different speakers when playing that type of music.  The music is thin, flat, and kind of harsh.  There is no fullness to the sound.  Every other music I have tried, sounds great.  They are also great for Home Theatre which I use my system for often.

I guess I'll have to decide if it's a compromise I'm willing to make.  I don't know if I'll be able to live with them, because I'll have to cut out a large portion of the music I enjoy.


If your system is awesome at times, and crappy at other times, it is revealing and showing what is on your recordings.

If you voice and tune your system to sound sweet and full on everything, the footprint on the music is large, and you will get a homoginized sound in which bad recodings sound OK or good, and really excellent recordings sound syrupy and thick, and will never sound as brilliant as they should.

Your system only has to satisfy one person....you!   So either approach is legitamate, and only you can decide which direction to take.

When it comes to balancing our systems, we are all faced with these decisions and compromises.

zybar

Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #21 on: 14 Apr 2006, 05:23 pm »
Quote from: pugs
Quote from: DMurphy
Well, the customer is always right.  But if you weren't a customer, I might suggest it's the program material that's thin, flat, and harsh unless warmed up by a speaker that has excess energy in the midbass.


I would think at least Tool or Metallica have decent recordings.  One of my Tool albums is HDCD.  Maybe I just like excess energy in the midbass.


HDCD has nothing to do with the quality of the recording IMHO.

George

DMurphy

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Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #22 on: 14 Apr 2006, 05:51 pm »
Dennis & Jim, when you went about voicing the HT3, what were the details of your environment and setup?


This is a pretty complicated subject.  For starters, the measurements used in the initial crossover  design are anechoic over most of the range–they would look the same irrespective of the room in which they were taken.  So the basic crossover design, by which I mean optimizing phase and spl relationships in the critical crossover region, is really room-independent. I like to think the HT3 sounds as open and transparent as it does because of all the attention that went into the crossover frequencies.  Room effects start to enter only in the final voicing, which is really a matter of L-pad settings.  I optimize my crossovers for a listening distance of 4-to-4.5 meters.  The room in which I listened to the HT3's was designed for live concerts, primarily piano.  The floor was quite large and irregularly shaped .  The floor was carpeted, but the expansive rear wall (about 30 feet wide) was paneled in 3/4" thick fir.  The result was a clear but slightly warm acoustic, with lots of room for the speakers to breathe.  A flat tweeter setting sounds best in that room, and the HT3 is basically voiced flat.  But I do realize other rooms could call for a cooler setting, and that’s why I designed the contour switch for Jim.  I’ve heard the HT3 and most of my other designs in a wide variety of rooms with wildly different acoustics at various DIY meetings.  Those designs have never really sounded bright–at least not when compared with the other entries.  Most of the variation has been in perceived lower midbass balance, which is highly room-dependant.  As for toe-in, I didn’t use any.  I always make sure the on-axis response and response at 15-20 degrees off-axis horizontally is smooth.  Under those conditions, you really shouldn’t need any, although the closer you sit, the more you might want to toe them in a little to optimize the phase integration in the crossover region(s).  I hope to have an HT3 in my new room shortly.  I’ll check all the measurements to make sure everything is optimized for the current run of drivers, and I’ll listen carefully to make sure the voicing also works in the new house.

pugs

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Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #23 on: 14 Apr 2006, 06:17 pm »
Quote from: zybar
Quote from: pugs
Quote from: DMurphy
Well, the customer is always right.  But if you weren't a customer, I might suggest it's the program material that's thin, flat, and harsh unless warmed up by a speaker that has excess energy in the midbass.


I would think at least Tool or Metallica have decent recordings.  One of my Tool albums is HDCD.  Maybe I just like excess energy in the midbass.


HDCD has nothing to do with the quality of the recording IMHO.

George


I guess my point was that those are real world, very popular, high budget recordings.  Tool is a high quality recording IMO.

I just want to make it clear that the HT3's sound great with everything except metal, rap, and punk.  If somebody doesn't listen to that type of music, they are great all around.  I just happen to like that type of music, so they are not perfect for me.  I think it's important to put that out there, so somebody considering them gets all of the facts.  I'm not trying to discourage people from buying them.  I am just reporting my experience.

JoshK

Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #24 on: 14 Apr 2006, 06:29 pm »
Quote from: pugs
Quote from: DMurphy
Well, the customer is always right.  But if you weren't a customer, I might suggest it's the program material that's thin, flat, and harsh unless warmed up by a speaker that has excess energy in the midbass.


I would think at least Tool or Metallica have decent recordings.  One of my Tool albums is HDCD.  Maybe I just like excess energy in the midbass.


Tool I don't think is thin or harsh, but all the metallica albums I own (I own many) are all thin and harsh, at least a bit.   Its a double edge sword with really good revealing gear.  That is why Frank's tone controls are a good thing for the not so great recordings where the music is great.

Dr. Krull

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Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #25 on: 14 Apr 2006, 06:31 pm »
Quote from: DMurphy
I’ll check all the measurements to make sure everything is optimized for the current run of drivers, and I’ll listen carefully to make sure the voicing also works in the new house.

Also might be wise to assure your mic is properly calibrated.   :wink:

-Krull

pugs

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Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #26 on: 14 Apr 2006, 06:57 pm »
Quote from: JoshK
Tool I don't think is thin or harsh, but all the metallica albums I own (I own many) are all thin and harsh, at least a bit.   Its a double edge sword with really good revealing gear.  That is why Frank's tone controls are a good thing for the not so great recordings where the music is great.


Frank's preamps are an option.  I would need to sell some other stuff first.  I would want a tube pre with tone controls, and home theatre bypass.  Does one of Frank's preamps have all of those features?

woodsyi

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Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #27 on: 14 Apr 2006, 07:04 pm »
Quote from: pugs
I guess my point was that those are real world, very popular, high budget recordings.  Tool is a high quality recording IMO.

I just want to make it clear that the HT3's sound great with everything except metal, rap, and punk.  If somebody doesn't listen to that type of music, they are great all around.  I just happen to like that type of music, so they are not perfect for me.  I think it's important to put that out there, so somebody considering them gets all of the facts.  I'm not trying to discourage people from buying them.  I am just reporting my experience.


Believe it or not, my wife is the hard rocker in our marriage.  :lol: In fact, she is excited about Def Leppard/Journey concert coming up.  I don't know why since she sees them at least twice a year.  I volunteered to baby sit while she goes with a buddy. I have to build wife points somewhere.  :mrgreen:  Anyway, I sometimes humor her and crank some Def Leppard and Metallica at times, but most of them are harsh up top.  If you are playing them off CD's make sure your copies are not the 80s presssings (bad) and try Behringer DEQ 9624 for EQ. It's a poor man's TACT for digital source.  If you have a DAC, you can stay in the digital realm by placing it between your SB and DAC. You won't have to deal with SB analog out either, if that is bothering you.

DMurphy

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Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #28 on: 14 Apr 2006, 07:38 pm »
Quote from: Dr.  Krull
Quote from: DMurphy
I’ll check all the measurements to make sure everything is optimized for the current run of drivers, and I’ll listen carefully to make sure the voicing also works in the new house.

Also might be wise to assure your mic is properly calibrated.   :wink:

Wink wink.  Actually, I just ordered another calibrated mic for that very purpose, and I hooked it up last night.  Looks pretty much like the other one.

Dr. Krull

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Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #29 on: 14 Apr 2006, 08:20 pm »
Quote from: DMurphy
Quote from: Dr.  krull

Also might be wise to assure your mic is properly calibrated.   :wink:

Wink wink.  Actually, I just ordered another calibrated mic for that very purpose, and I hooked it up last night.  Looks pretty much like the other one.

That's good to hear.  We both know what can happen if one simply assumes their measurement equipment is accurate.  :oops:

-Krull

DSK

Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #30 on: 15 Apr 2006, 12:15 am »
Pugs,

Are you playing the music that sounds good on the Salks as loudly as the Metallica etc?

The reason I ask is this ... until you get 200 or 300 hours up on those BlackGates they will not "open up" and provide ultimate separation or smoothness. This will be less evident on less 'busy' music (such as acoustic, jazz, blues etc) but will add harshness and congestion on heavy and raw stuff like heavy metal etc. Also, because we tend to relax to blues, smooth jazz etc, but rock out to heavy metal etc, we tend to listen to the heavier music at louder volumes. This will make the edginess of the BlackGates more evident.

I know you already know this, but I strongly suggest doing the old speaker break-in routine (ie. face to face, one out of phase, blanket over top) 24/7 for a week. This will help break in the speakers and BlackGates and give your anxiety a bit of a rest.

I haven't heard the Salks. I've heard many people say they are very 'neutral' and 'dry', but you are about the first or second (I have seen) to describe them as 'bright'. So, chances are that they are not 'bright' and that this is being caused by something else ....most likely the BlackGates in the SB, possibly your room. I'd knock out the BlackGates first by doing the break-in thing. The problem may just disappear.

If there is no improvement, then carefully analyse your room and experiment and test. If still no good, then (assuming there is nothing wrong with your particular pair of Salks) either the recordings aren't great or your hearing is different to that of other Salk owners. Nothing wrong with that, we are all different, it would just mean that the Salks are not for you or that you need to tailor the top end response.

Good luck with it, Pugs.

Carl V

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Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #31 on: 15 Apr 2006, 02:36 am »
I voted bright....but I'd like to have voted bright with some reservation.
I've heard Salk Speakers at RMAF....in Iowa.
And at an individulas home in Texas.

I've heard DM designs 1801, Plop in-a -box  
...and directly comapred AV-1 to MBO1.
I'd say DM designs are not as warm sounding as others.
maybe a tad less BSC.  Wheterh this is bright or more
neutral I don't know.

So much depends on the tweeter used.  There was some
difference between the HT-1 & 1801.

DMurphy

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Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #32 on: 15 Apr 2006, 03:09 pm »
[quote
I've heard DM designs 1801, Plop in-a -box  
...and directly comapred AV-1 to MBO1.
I'd say DM designs are not as warm sounding as others.
maybe a tad less BSC.  

Actually, the MB0W1 has more BSC than the AV-1. I've also had a chance to compare them side-by-side and measure.   The difference is that, from my perspective, the MB0W1 midrange is less elevelated, and in comparison that can bring out the treble.

Sparks

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Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #33 on: 15 Apr 2006, 04:38 pm »
Although I don't have HT3s, I have HT2s, I agree with the premise that it's the recording and not the speaker that is "bright".
I've had the same experience with varying degrees with previous speakers in my system.
Previous to the HT2s, I had 1801s and it wasn't just Tool that sounded harsh and thin, especially when cranked.

I had the same experience with Waveforms although the electronics were different then(not as good) but I was using the BAT
cd player which is not a bright source by any stretch nor are the Waveforms.

I also had to adjust my reference point when I got the HT2s.
I've since had a few marathon listening sessions so from my view the Salks are not fatiquing.

BTW, Excellent question regarding setup and listening position.
Good to know.

avahifi

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Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #34 on: 16 Apr 2006, 12:45 pm »
50% bright rating out there?  Gee, more bright electronics out there than I would have expected.

Frank Van Alstine

jermmd

Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #35 on: 16 Apr 2006, 01:30 pm »
I listened to music all night last night and not only did it sound fantastic, I can say with absolute certainty that my speakers on my system do not sound bright or harsh in the least. In fact, I don't think I've heard better. Certainly not in my home. So how to explain the 50% bright vote? I tend to agree with Toobluvr and others that certain music is poorly recorded (with a bright sound). I don't find the speakers fatiguing at all though and in fact have to drag myself away at times when it's getting too late and I have to work the next day. It just goes to show how subjective and ultimately unreliable other peoples reviews of speakers are. You just have to hear for yourself I guess.

jsalk

Random thoughts on speaker brightness and warmth...
« Reply #36 on: 16 Apr 2006, 02:07 pm »
Over the years, I have read many posts on the topics of both speaker brightness and warmth.  So I thought I might post a few observations.

Nothing in life is free - speaker design is all about trade-offs.  My perspective is based on working in many recording studios over the last 30 years.  So it may vary slightly from yours.

In this environment, it is critical to be able to hear every subtle nuance of the mix you are currently working on.  This means the speaker system must be highly detailed and accurate.  When we began work on the Veracity series speakers, it was with this perspective in mind.

Will a highly detailed speaker expose weaknesses in poor recordings?  Yes.  Will it expose short-comings in up-line source equipment?  Absolutely.  But it will also bring out detail in great recordings that the majority of other speaker systems are simply not capable of reproducing.  In short, a highly detailed and accurate speaker will faithfully reproduce whatever is fed them in a very natural and realistic fashion.

Both the Seas Excel W18 and the G2 and LCY pure ribbon tweeters used in the Veracity designs are highly accurate and extremely detailed.  They were chosen for this reason.  

We certainly could have chosen a midwoofer that was "warmer" than the W18.  But the trade-off would have resulted in a speaker that was not as capable of rendering minute detail in recordings. This would not have been consistent with our design criteria for these speakers.

With respect to brightness and warmth, there are a number of things to consider.

First, can a given tweeter be voiced flat without causing listener fatigue?  Many traditional dome tweeters can be very fatiguing if voiced flat.  So in many speaker designs the tweeter voicing is rolled off slightly to compensate.  This results in a speaker that is non-fatiguing, but also lacks detail in the high treble.  If you are used to a speaker voiced in this fashion, any speaker voiced flat will tend to sound bright (at least until you become accustomed to flat response).

With the G2 ribbon tweeter (and the LCY tweeter in the new HT2's), listener fatigue is not an issue.   Distortion in these tweeters is so low in the audible frequencies that it is simply not an issue.  These tweeters can be voiced flat without any concern with regard to this issue. That is one major reason we chose to use them.

The second issue concerns the "warmth" of the mid-woofer.  The W18 uses a very stiff, very low-mass magnesium cone.  This allows it to reproduce detail in the midrange that other drivers simply can't.  But while it is very detailed, it is rarely described as being "warm."

What is it that contributes to the "warmth" of a driver?  In a word, distortion.  Paper coned drivers, generally described as being warm, are generally quite a bit higher in distortion.  

It is important to note that this "warmth" is not contained in the recordings themselves, but the result of distortion added to the sound being reproduced.  This higher level of distortion is masking detail contained in the recording. With highly-detailed speakers such as the Veracity series, you will hear detail in recordings that "warmer" speakers are simply not capable of reproducing.  

This is especially critical when it comes to overtone structures.  Instruments playing the same fundamental tones can be differentiated by their overtone structures.  A trumpet sounds different than a clarinet because their overtone structures are different and, it is important to note, are at much lower levels than the fundamental tones being played.

The ability of a speaker to reproduce minute detail in the overtone structures of instruments will contribute to a level of realism that lesser speakers are simply not able to deliver.

The third factor to consider is the nature of the recording itself.  Many rock recordings (especially earlier ones) were mixed and mastered using relatively poor playback systems.  This was done by choice.  Yamaha NS10 speakers were, and still are, quite commonly used in these mixing sessions.  They are used because they more closely approximate the playback systems (often AM radios) of typical listeners than the highly-detailed monitor systems normally used in studios.

Because these speakers are not typically not very accurate, extensive EQ is used to boost both the top and bottom end.  This is done to compensate for the speaker's inadequacies.  The music is also highly compressed so that it sounds louder on average.  Both of these factors rob the recording of detail and destroy its original tonal balance.

While the result can sound quite acceptable on AM/FM radio or with an inferior sound system, a highly detailed and accurate speaker system will readily expose the overly-bright nature of the mix.

As I mentioned above, speaker design is all about trade-offs.  While warmer, higher-distortion drivers can help tame poor recordings, they will also render great recordings in a mediocre fashion.  This is because the higher distortion levels that tame poor recordings also mask detail in great recordings. It is all about trade-offs.

The Veracity series speakers were designed to be as detailed and accurate as current driver technology will allow.  They were not designed to add artificial warmth to overly bright recordings or source equipment. Nor were they designed to be bright.  They were designed to faithfully reproduce whatever is fed to them in a highly detailed, accurate and natural fashion, and with a high degree of realism.  Anything less (or more) would not have met their design criteria.

As indicated above, your mileage may vary.

- Jim

zybar

Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #37 on: 16 Apr 2006, 03:15 pm »
Quote from: avahifi
50% bright rating out there?  Gee, more bright electronics out there than I would have expected.

Frank Van Alstine


I wonder how many people answering actually own or have extensively listened to the HT3's?

I know Jim is busy these days, but I don't think he has sold around 40 pairs.

George

zybar

Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #38 on: 16 Apr 2006, 03:18 pm »
Quote from: jermmd
It just goes to show how subjective and ultimately unreliable other peoples reviews of speakers are. You just have to hear for yourself I guess.


Great quote Joe!

Unless you know the person's taste and their actual system, their review has limited value.

I tend to look for trends in multiple reviews if I can't meet the above criteria. But as this poll's results have shown, that can also throw you a curveball.

George

Randy

Salk HT3's: Bright, Neutral, or Warm?
« Reply #39 on: 16 Apr 2006, 04:52 pm »
Jim - words of great interest and wisdom.  Thanks.