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Can What We Hear Defy Theory? (Read 3268 times)
Blueone302
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Can What We Hear Defy Theory?
06/30/16 at 20:11:36
 
Good afternoon.  After this dissertation I'm about to ask a question that I'm guessing many here will do what I and many others have done to this point and say what I'm proposing/asking is crazy.  So I'll try to cut through all of that up front.  I am new to the forum and four months into a newish system.  I'm running a Torii MK IV via an Oppo BDP 105D out into a pair of Klipsch Cornwall III's.  My room is 23 X 17 X 8.  The speakers are 15 ft apart centered on the long wall toed in to the center most listening position 5 inches on each side.  Over the last several months and I'm guessing conservatively several hundred hours of use, the sound has bloomed nicely.  

Now for the weird part.  I have a good friend who has been at this for five plus decades.  As it turns out, his system is similar; Scott Vintage Amp 17-20 wpc, Oppo BDP 95 and a pair of cornwalls.....  wait for it..... and a pair of Klipsch Heresy's stacked inverted on top and wired in series.  Our rooms are very similar in size except his is flipped 180 with the speakers on the short wall in each corner also 15 ft. apart.  

Now for the technical.  Well sort of.  My dad was a 60's 70's semi audiophile.  He loved music, records and tube gear.  Way back when, I picked up a book he had been reading on speaker construction and wiring; and I specifically remember it saying that stacking or wiring speakers in such a manner as my friend has and wiring same in series was illogical and a waste of time and energy.  (Not to mention money)   Likewise, after reading for the last six months, I've found only one person in a forum who says he and a roommate did the exact same thing when in college and how great the sound was.  Everything I've read and everyone I've asked locally has pretty much concurred that this is a not so bright idea.

Here's the thing.  My friends system has something special.  The bass is a bit deeper and tighter.  Clarity on vocals is crystal.  Rim shots on a snare make you jump.  Is there a depth there my system doesn't have or share?  I think I hear it.  Is it better than mine?  Maybe so.  But I know one thing for sure.  It doesn't sound bad. Not by a long shot.  And at really louder volumes, his system seems more listenable.

One expert who sells components whom I can't name says he is hearing the "singing in the shower effect".  Meaning, it sounds good to you while you're in there.   But, my friend has also showed me the handwritten paperwork from a well known tube enthusiast and modern day retailer friend of that suggested that good sound from this kind of set up is not only possible, but likely with the right speakers. Supposedly there is a synergy with some speakers that allows this to work for the human ear.  (Or at least for some.)

This same friend of mine collects vintage Klipsch speakers.  He has offered to loan me a pair of extra heresy's so I can see what happens in my room. Just for grins, I think I'll give it a whirl.

So finally, here's the question.  Barring the theory on 4, 8 and 16 ohm loads and wiring speakers in series along with the proposed theoretical results, has anyone tried this or know anyone who has?   Either way, what are your thoughts?
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« Last Edit: 06/30/16 at 20:11:58 by Blueone302 »  

Decware: Torii MK IV, Don Sachs: Line Stage Model 2, Decware: HR-1, Oppo BDP 105D, Ice Age Audio: Cryo Copper Series Power Cords, Better Cables: Silver Serpent Interconnect Cables, Home Brewe Speaker Cables.
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Blueone302
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Re: Can What We Hear Defy Theory?
Reply #1 - 07/01/16 at 04:33:47
 
And I did give it a go tonight.

To start with I only played short excerpts from stuff I know really well.  So I know I'm not hearing just what i want to hear.  And it did sound better.  In fact, quite a bit better.  Even my wife who doesn't usually get enthusiastic sat up and took notice saying she was hearing things she rarely notices like the staccato beat of a drum, the shimmering decay of a cymbal, deeper notes from pianos, etc.  The low register was better on everything I listened to.  The spacial quality or sound stage was better too.  It seemed.... much larger?  We literally listened from 6pm until 10pm.  Any idea how this can be?  I'm both deeply curious and a bit awe struck.
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Steve Deckert
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Re: Can What We Hear Defy Theory?
Reply #2 - 07/03/16 at 04:46:13
 

I have done this many times myself over the years.  Running two speakers in series typically sounds better than in parallel all else being equal.  

Two observations; A) the two different speakers each have strengths and weaknesses the other doesn't have, so together they compliment and support each other.  B) probably more important is the phase shift that comes from wiring two speakers in series.  The second speaker in the loop will be delayed by around 15 degrees, staging it back in time.  Usually the closest speaker to your ears is the second one in the loop for best imaging.

Enjoy!
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Blueone302
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Re: Can What We Hear Defy Theory?
Reply #3 - 07/04/16 at 02:56:46
 
Thanks a lot Steve.  I appreciate your observations.  I realize this isn't necessarily ideal, But as in most things audio, fun never the less.
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4krow
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Re: Can What We Hear Defy Theory?
Reply #4 - 07/04/16 at 21:48:03
 
This sort of thing is right up my alley. "You can't do that." is what I have heard many times in life. Turns out you CAn do that, whether it is 'recommended' or not! Varying result occur, and that, is what keeps me going with the great audio experiment. I used a set of JBL 4343 (think big) speakers and a set of Cornwalls, before they mounted the drivers to the Front of the baffle! The outcome sucked pretty bad. So much so that I faced the Cornwalls TO the corners. This helped somewhat, but really, the experiment was not a success. Surprisingly when I used Maggie Mga speakers, and carefully controlled the volume on the maggies, it was pretty dreamy. Whodathunk? Just like me trying out different drivers in my ZOB cabinets. It isn't because of dissatisfaction, it IS because of curiosity. Wink
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Blueone302
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Re: Can What We Hear Defy Theory?
Reply #5 - 07/05/16 at 06:30:08
 
Exactly.  And sometimes, we just need to hear it for ourselves. I actually bought the Cornwall's because the guy gave me a make a few bucks later deal.  I'll pass them on eventually; probably later this fall.  In the meantime, I've dispelled some nasty rumors about their sound; and like yourself, learned some valuable lessons about my current room and speaker placement.
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« Last Edit: 07/05/16 at 06:31:43 by Blueone302 »  

Decware: Torii MK IV, Don Sachs: Line Stage Model 2, Decware: HR-1, Oppo BDP 105D, Ice Age Audio: Cryo Copper Series Power Cords, Better Cables: Silver Serpent Interconnect Cables, Home Brewe Speaker Cables.
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Bottlehead
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Re: Can What We Hear Defy Theory?
Reply #6 - 07/18/16 at 07:12:30
 
Interesting topic. What I'm wondering, if you hook up two speakers per channel, is what load does the amp see? In other words, if you hook up two 4 ohm speakers per channel, instead of one 4 ohm speaker, how will an amp react? My guess is that you would need a more powerful amp. Can any of you audio wizards throw some light on the subject? Steve? Anybody?
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Lin
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Re: Can What We Hear Defy Theory?
Reply #7 - 07/18/16 at 20:17:26
 
TubeNube,

It's complicated, but wiring in series* adds the impedances and affects the frequency response if using different speakers.

*wiring in parallel lowers the impedance

As far as power is concerned it depends on the amp and how it was designed.

Some of the information in the link below does not apply because of being intended for solid state amps used in car stereo, but it is useful for calculating impedances.
http://www.bcae1.com/spkrmlti.htm
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« Last Edit: 07/18/16 at 20:25:15 by Lin »  
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Denizen
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Re: Can What We Hear Defy Theory?
Reply #8 - 07/19/16 at 02:38:17
 
I have done this before and it's really about the phasing and impedance matching. Set up your speakers, put on some music with some tight bass notes, lightly place your fingers on your woofers and feel if its in phase. Try it in parallel, try it in series and try reversing polarities. There's really no right or wrong way to connect, whatever the amp likes it will tell you.
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Blueone302
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Re: Can What We Hear Defy Theory?
Reply #9 - 07/19/16 at 05:06:44
 
Okay.  I played with this for about a week.  I tried the fingers on the drivers trick with the Heresy inverted on the Cornwall.  Great idea by the way.  The synergy together was good.  No discernible differences in terms of what I heard/felt.  I was unable to hear any audible distortion or anything that sounded out of time or off sync.  The sound was remarkably good.  Of course, there was more of everything; or it seemed that way.  I'm chalking a lot of this up to the specs for each. The Klipsch Heresy and Cornwall are apparently very closely matched. Or, close enough that many of the supposed negative possibilities Ive read about and others have mentioned never materialized.  The only problem was that with continued critical listening, "more" was about it.  I had mentioned earlier that it seemed like the sound stage was larger and there was more depth, more bottom end.  In retrospect, I now believe the more was a volume thing.  Not just louder in terms of decibel level, but that somehow the wiring together in series added something that filled the room in a different way.  Someone who knows the scientific phenomenon I'm trying to describe is welcome to chime in.    
Anyway, bottom line, this was a fun experiment.  It was never intended to be an end all solution to what I was looking for in my speakers.

However, a major negative point (according to my wife) that surfaced is that from an aesthetic standpoint, it just looked odd.  And it did.  She's awfully tolerant of my sound and vision hobby.  So, the Heresy's are going back to my friend very soon.  

The above being said, she might have said the Heresy's needed to go,  but she never said the merry go round had to stop.  Which means.... the Cornwall III's will have to prove their mettle against a pair of Spatial M3 Turbo S's very soon.    ;)
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« Last Edit: 07/19/16 at 05:16:26 by Blueone302 »  

Decware: Torii MK IV, Don Sachs: Line Stage Model 2, Decware: HR-1, Oppo BDP 105D, Ice Age Audio: Cryo Copper Series Power Cords, Better Cables: Silver Serpent Interconnect Cables, Home Brewe Speaker Cables.
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Lin
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Re: Can What We Hear Defy Theory?
Reply #10 - 07/19/16 at 15:03:06
 
There's really no right or wrong way to connect, whatever the amp likes it will tell you.

I would hate to do this and have the amp tell me it didn't like by letting smoke out. Cry

It is better to know a little about what you are doing. Smiley
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Lin
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Re: Can What We Hear Defy Theory?
Reply #11 - 07/19/16 at 22:14:02
 
Is there room to lay the Heresys on their backs, firing up, behind the Cornwalls?
Run the speakers in parallel.
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« Last Edit: 07/19/16 at 22:14:52 by Lin »  
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Blueone302
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Re: Can What We Hear Defy Theory?
Reply #12 - 07/20/16 at 04:24:47
 
There is.  We did.  Or I did.  Tried them behind.  Facing in and facing out.  Even tried them on top and laying on their back facing straight up.  Every move produced different sound. I attributed this to wall and ceiling reflections.  Again, what I noted was different, but not better.

To be fair, for all the extra placements, I just moved them around a bit while listening to the same song a few times.  No overt comparisons.

Almost all of the time listening during the week or so I experimented was with the Heresy inverted tweeter to tweeter on top of the Cornwall.
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Decware: Torii MK IV, Don Sachs: Line Stage Model 2, Decware: HR-1, Oppo BDP 105D, Ice Age Audio: Cryo Copper Series Power Cords, Better Cables: Silver Serpent Interconnect Cables, Home Brewe Speaker Cables.
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Lin
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Re: Can What We Hear Defy Theory?
Reply #13 - 07/20/16 at 12:22:07
 
Were they in series or parallel?
Parallel works best.

Facing up behind the main speakers has many benefits.
google   Late ceiling splash   for info
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Blueone302
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Re: Can What We Hear Defy Theory?
Reply #14 - 07/21/16 at 03:16:21
 
I tried it both ways.  To my tastes, series sounded better.  My friend who originally suggested this does in fact have a set of Cornwalls with a pair of Heresy's inverted on top running in series.  I don't have permission to say who, but the original suggestion came from a respected audiophile who is in the business.  That said, my friends room is much different.  Different amp and source too.  It sounds better there.  But his speakers are in corners whereas mine are about 8 ft in on each side.  Again, a fun and interesting experiment; but not what I am ultimately looking for.
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Decware: Torii MK IV, Don Sachs: Line Stage Model 2, Decware: HR-1, Oppo BDP 105D, Ice Age Audio: Cryo Copper Series Power Cords, Better Cables: Silver Serpent Interconnect Cables, Home Brewe Speaker Cables.
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Bottlehead
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Re: Can What We Hear Defy Theory?
Reply #15 - 07/25/16 at 04:18:19
 
OK, thanks Lin, I'll check it out.
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