Meadowlark is Revolutionizing Audio for the 21st Century. Incredible!

Discussion in 'Meadowlark Audio Forum' started by Prime Minister, Jan 27, 2018.

  1. Prime Minister

    Prime Minister Site Owner Staff Member

    Well, boys and girls, I now totally get what audio in the 21st Century will look like. Take an incredibly talented speaker designer, build in amps that are perfectly matched to the speakers, and add a DSP module. In one shot, you have eliminated most of the impediments to great audio, the things that actually ruin the sound of your system, namely the amp speaker interface, the Crossover (which usually just ruins sound) and the speaker/Room interface!

    Usually, this type of gear is the provenance of the more nerdy, computer audiophile types. Not an area I choose to play in, for want of appropriate computer skills and time. Or, they have been produced for studio types, whose gear is usually set up to hear what is technically wrong in a recording, rather then for the enjoyment of music.

    However, when an audio good guy like Pat McGinty, renowned for making some of the all time best two way speakers (Meadowlark Kestrel and Shearwater), as well as some true audio greats, like the fantastic Meadowlark Heron, takes on a project like this, it's time to take note.

    So what does this all look like? From the Pat McGinty:

    Bass EQ has always been a problem. Room treatments, bass traps, tortured experiments with placement, the three little knobs on your subwoofer. Bah!Finally there is an easy and effective solution.Here’s how we do it:Place a “perfect” bass system in a real-world room and you get a mess of peaks and suck-outs. Here’s what we get from the right channel BONECRUSHER in our lab.


    [​IMG]

    This system has flat output from 10 - 200Hz. But in the room we get big fat peaks in the mid and upper bass that sound bad. So we use the PEQ function in our DSP platform to simply mirror them out. It’s fun, done in real time with both the analyzer and PEQ windows open on our laptop, we make incremental corrections that add up to a full set of equalizations. Try to do this with the three little knobs and some fuzzy stuff.

    [​IMG]

    That took 5 minutes.And here’s the result.The right channel’s done. Now do the left. Play your bass reference tracks for a subjective confirmation of your work and you’ll find that you’ve nailed it. That simple.

    [​IMG]

    Now you can put just about any Meadowlark bass system into just about any room with the confidence of knowing you have the tools to succeed. These tools combined with Dual Band Bass and our training bring a whole new level of realism to the bass.
     
    MikeyFresh likes this.
  2. mhardy6647

    mhardy6647 Señor Member

    So - the one thing that I wonder about (and, no surprise, I tend towards the reductio ad absurdum point of view ;) ) is whether, as loudspeaker systems using components like this (tailored, on board amplification electronics and DSP) become more and more commonplace, they'll all sound more or less exactly alike -- in any room.

    I really don't mean this to be negative -- it really is a musing.
     
  3. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    @mhardy6647 - I think that the goal of this approach is to correct for the room - kind of the ultimate in room treatment.

    Done correctly, the "character" of the drivers and amps used should still come through.

    Will running everything through the DSP minimize differences? I won't know until I find the time to play with one in my room and with my speakers.

    In the interim, it would be fascinating to hear a pair of these properly set up and adjusted.
     
  4. Prime Minister

    Prime Minister Site Owner Staff Member

    Well, ideally, they should begin to disappear. Ie, just sound like the music and nothing else.
    The other option with DSP might be to make them sound like anything you want. Hit a button, and instant Altec 604. Would this song sound great with Quads? Hit the Quad button. As the sound of most speakers is a combination of its distortions, once we get to a good enough place in speaker design and DSP power, we should be able to add back any distortions that you find pleasurable.
     
    opa1 likes this.
  5. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    I'm not convinced that you can make one speaker sound like a completely different speaker through the use of DSP. That would indicate that the DSP is blurring the "character" of one or both pairs of speakers.

    Take the room out of the equation? Yes.

    Soften things a bit from there? Yes.

    Make a cone speaker sound like a Quad ESL-57? Or an Altec 604? Sorry, gotta hear this to be convinced. ;)
     
    MikeT. likes this.
  6. Prime Minister

    Prime Minister Site Owner Staff Member

    In theory, why not? Once we create a speaker that is totally neutral in room, any difference with other speakers will just be distortions. So why not just add the distortions back in? We can already measure them now, so it should be pretty evident what they are, especially as measurement tools get better. Add in some AI to tailor it to what we want, and bobs your uncle.

    Not suggesting this will happen any time soon. But it sure could.
     
  7. Thermionics

    Thermionics Post Whore In Training

    But does it phono? ;)
     
  8. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    In my opinion, electrostats sound different than horns, which sound different than cones, which sound different than ribbons, which sound different than planar magnetics, etc., etc., etc.

    The DSP is there to correct any issues with how that particular speaker interacts with the room. It shouldn't make an apple taste like an orange. ;)
     
  9. Prime Minister

    Prime Minister Site Owner Staff Member

    You have a very 20th Century view of DSP. :)
     
  10. Ernie

    Ernie Activated

    Compare this to MI amplifiers. Guitar amps now model other amps, to mimic the sound.

    Randy Bachman used a Garnet Herzog for his signature lead guitar sound. (Think "American Woman") Others tried to duplicate the sound, failed, but came close enough that they boldly put "AW" as the switch label. That was when it was all analog. Now, a single amp can model, or emulate, widely-varied distinctive guitar amps, all from the same box. Buy a Fender, throw a switch, and your rig now sounds like a Vox AC30 British Beat amp, or some grungy metal rig, or any of several others. If the modelling software was sophisticated enough, then, theoretically, one could tap into the sound of several different pairs of speakers.
     
    timrhudy likes this.
  11. Prime Minister

    Prime Minister Site Owner Staff Member

    Exactly. :)
     
  12. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    I try to keep an open mind about new technologies and new ways of enjoying our hobby.

    Tell me that this DSP corrects room anomalies and allows the new Meadowlark amp/speaker system to sound its best and I think it's something I'd like to hear.

    But it makes no sense when you tell me that it's a good thing to so alter the basic character of a pair of speakers to supposedly make them sound like another speaker based on a completely different technology.

    I will have to be convinced that the "conversion" doesn't smear a degree of information or other aural cues that differentiate the truly incredible listening experience from "vanilla".

    Just my opinion and I'll wait until I actually hear a pair in person before commenting further.
     
  13. Prime Minister

    Prime Minister Site Owner Staff Member

    But all speaker designs are ways of working around the limitations of drivers to come closest to the sound of the recording. Every one is a tradeoff, and every one is working against the limits of it's own design and its own components.

    If we were to get a speaker to the point where it could exactly reproduce what is on the recording, then why couldn't we tweak it to sound like something different. Every driver introduces distortions or differences from the source. If we have eliminated all those distortions, why not add them in again to create a different sound? We already do this electrically or mechanically to some degree when a speaker is "voiced". It becomes much easier when we move that into a digital domain.
     
  14. Ernie

    Ernie Activated

    FWIW, I am not a great fan of modeling amplifiers. I've been told that I cannot possibly hear the difference between a Fender Champion 20 and a Vox AC 15. The Vox is an EL84 tube amp, and had a signature sound that I loved. The Fender is good, but I lived with an AC 15 long enough to know it inside and out. The Champion I heard was good, but, for me, the Vox always was something special.
    (Heeeeeyyyyyy. Wait a minute... That was 45 years ago. Did it really take me over 30 years to find the stereo amp that hit all my buttons, and still not know why. Maybe I do know why, at last. It just might be about having had my sonic preferences indelibly shaped all those years ago. Who'd a thunk it?)
     
    Prime Minister likes this.
  15. Ernie

    Ernie Activated

    HTG, I never thought about that until just now, when typing that post. <smh>
     
    Prime Minister likes this.
  16. Prime Minister

    Prime Minister Site Owner Staff Member

    Bob Carver was doing this 30 years ago. He managed to make an SS amp of his sound so much like a tube amp that the gents at Stereophile were unable to tell the difference. He was unable to keep that audible similarity in production, but it seems damn certain that it happened. Yes, he made his SS amp sound like the VERY tubey Conrad Johnson Premier 5.

    Doing this with DSP should be even easier.
     
  17. Ernie

    Ernie Activated

    Easier = Desirable?

    I'm not sure I'm even 20th Century on this. But that should surprise nobody.
     
    Prime Minister likes this.
  18. Ernie

    Ernie Activated

    In any case, it is most likely that someone will do this, at some point, merely because it will be possible.
     
    Prime Minister likes this.
  19. Prime Minister

    Prime Minister Site Owner Staff Member

    From other then a purist perspective, I don't see a negative in this. Why should I care how I get the sound I want as long as I get the sound I want. :) To me, it's about the musical connection to the music. I'd be ok with tin cans and strings if they recreated the feeling of having Ella singing in my room better then anything else.

    Perhaps I'm more equipment agnostic then youze guys?
     
  20. Prime Minister

    Prime Minister Site Owner Staff Member

    Umm. What might HTG mean?
     
    MikeT. likes this.

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