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The new MiniDSP 2x4HD has made all my skills obsolete. How about yours?

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  • #46
    Originally posted by fjhuerta View Post
    ...You could argue your simpler passive design "sounds better" - but that would be subjectively speaking..
    You asked what I was reluctant to ask ( didn't want to seem contentious ).
    I also would expect differences as noted:
    ... parasitic losses,...
    including passive devices non-linearity as power and temperature increase. While not often a problem at lower levels, at high levels inductors can have audible hysteresis and saturation distortion.
    "Not a Speaker Designer - Not even on the Internet"
    “Pride is your greatest enemy, humility is your greatest friend.”
    "If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter."

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    • #47
      Originally posted by fjhuerta View Post
      You can build a flatter response curve, and with zero phase issues, with the MiniDSP - plus, without parasitic losses, or BSC losses. Simply put, you can't do that with passives. I have no doubts in my mind the MiniDSP would not sound like a passive design. It would sound quite a lot better. You could argue your simpler passive design "sounds better" - but that would be subjectively speaking Objectively speaking, you can't build a crossover as perfect as with the MiniDSP, no matter what you did. That's the whole point I was trying to make. If making accurate, excellent sounding speakers was my original goal, the way to do it is with a MiniDSP, or better. Anything else now seems too compromised (and far more expensive, a passive crossover can be a heck of a lot more costly than a 2x4HD).
      Mini dsp does not fix all types of phase issues. BS is still a problem with DSP, and you still have to compensate for it. Mini DSP is not a fix all.
      craigk

      " Voicing is often the term used for band aids to cover for initial design/planning errors " - Pallas

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      • #48
        Some questions. First, if someone wanted to go the next level up or three from the MiniDSP what is out there? Second, I'm confused by the MiniDSP product line. What are the other products for? There seems to be a fair amount of overlap, and I don't understand the differences. Lastly, in digesting the design notes of Scott M's Esoteric monitors, I noticed that the curves for the woofer and tweeter matched the desired response EXACTLY - with no minor bumps or divots in the pass-band. It looked like the normal response of the driver was inverted and added back in to create a completely smooth curve. How is this done?

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        • #49
          Originally posted by Paul Ebert View Post
          Some questions. First, if someone wanted to go the next level up or three from the MiniDSP what is out there? Second, I'm confused by the MiniDSP product line. What are the other products for? There seems to be a fair amount of overlap, and I don't understand the differences. Lastly, in digesting the design notes of Scott M's Esoteric monitors, I noticed that the curves for the woofer and tweeter matched the desired response EXACTLY - with no minor bumps or divots in the pass-band. It looked like the normal response of the driver was inverted and added back in to create a completely smooth curve. How is this done?
          I think the more expensive products have more powerful DSP chips allowing you to do more things at once. I haven't used any of the MiniDSP products but I've used a Behringer DCX2496 and every time you set up a filter or EQ setting you used a resource and there was a limit to how many functions it had power to do. I use Ultimate Equalizer which can output filter files to the higher end MiniDSP products but not the lower priced models. Again this seems to be tied to the horse power available across their product lines.

          With Ultimate Equalizer you measure the individual drivers and UE creates a filter that EQ's the driver response to match targets you set for crossover points and roll offs. As you can see from the measurements on Bodzio's web site the resulting response curves are pretty near perfect. I can vouch for those measurements because I see the same kind of result with my system. See the Cherry Pi link in my sig.

          You can do things with active DSP systems that you can't do with passive systems. You still need to be able to follow the rules of good system design, know how to measure a system and it will cost you more than a passive system. The cheapest MiniDSP cost more than almost every passive crossover I've ever built and you still haven't accounted for the extra amplifiers. In my own case being a SoundEasy users got me UE for $25 when it was first released. I spent a fair amount of money on some really good drivers*. I upgraded one of my old PCs for about $300 for a motherboard, CPU and memory. I use a used Harmon Kardon HK3480 ($90 for [email protected] Ohms) to run the woofers and a pair of SMSL SA36A Pro 20w/ch chip amps for the mids and tweeters.

          Ron

          * The drivers were $500 less than I've spent on music in the last 10 years.
          C-Note Iron Driver Build
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          The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it. - Neil deGrasse Tyson
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjuGCJJUGsg

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          • #50
            Originally posted by fjhuerta View Post
            You can build a flatter response curve, and with zero phase issues, with the MiniDSP - plus, without parasitic losses, or BSC losses.

            Simply put, you can't do that with passives. I have no doubts in my mind the MiniDSP would not sound like a passive design. It would sound quite a lot better. You could argue your simpler passive design "sounds better" - but that would be subjectively speaking Objectively speaking, you can't build a crossover as perfect as with the MiniDSP, no matter what you did.

            That's the whole point I was trying to make. If making accurate, excellent sounding speakers was my original goal, the way to do it is with a MiniDSP, or better. Anything else now seems too compromised (and far more expensive, a passive crossover can be a heck of a lot more costly than a 2x4HD).
            No BSC with DSP? How is that?

            Cheaper than passive? Are you forgetting about the additional amps?

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            • #51
              Originally posted by Paul Ebert View Post
              Some questions. First, if someone wanted to go the next level up or three from the MiniDSP what is out there? Second, I'm confused by the MiniDSP product line. What are the other products for? There seems to be a fair amount of overlap, and I don't understand the differences. Lastly, in digesting the design notes of Scott M's Esoteric monitors, I noticed that the curves for the woofer and tweeter matched the desired response EXACTLY - with no minor bumps or divots in the pass-band. It looked like the normal response of the driver was inverted and added back in to create a completely smooth curve. How is this done?
              There are plenty of options beyond MiniDSP. BSS, BiAmp, Rane, QSC, Symetrix, Lake...even Shure gave it a go. The older models had limited "resources", as far as processing power and memory were concerned. With newer devices , those limitations are no more. MinIDSP gets around it with fixed architecture and their GUI, meaning you can only do so much with them, and not exceed its processor. Originally, their biggest drawback for me was the inability to matrix inputs/outputs, so I was extremely pleased when that capability was added. It's one step closer to open architecture, but still a long way away.

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              • #52
                or BSC losses.
                Not my statement, but I interpret this to mean that the acoustic level compensation in an Active analog or DSP realm is a matter of signal level adjustment (EQ).
                In a passive implementation it is usually attenuation, involving inductors and resistors and their intrinsic properties.
                "Not a Speaker Designer - Not even on the Internet"
                “Pride is your greatest enemy, humility is your greatest friend.”
                "If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter."

                Comment


                • #53
                  There are options beyond specialized hardware such as minidsp and the like. More generalized hardware like a small PC or even raspberry pi can used for active XO.

                  I did this using tools and software developed by Charlie Laub, co-creator of PCD and other tools many here use.

                  More info here: http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...d-ladspa-acd-l

                  And here: http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...metal-shavings

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                  • #54
                    You can build a flatter response curve, and with zero phase issues, with the MiniDSP - plus, without parasitic losses, or BSC losses.

                    Simply put, you can't do that with passives. I have no doubts in my mind the MiniDSP would not sound like a passive design. It would sound quite a lot better. You could argue your simpler passive design "sounds better" - but that would be subjectively speaking Objectively speaking, you can't build a crossover as perfect as with the MiniDSP, no matter what you did.

                    That's the whole point I was trying to make. If making accurate, excellent sounding speakers was my original goal, the way to do it is with a MiniDSP, or better. Anything else now seems too compromised (and far more expensive, a passive crossover can be a heck of a lot more costly than a 2x4HD).
                    Javier,

                    I agree. I feel like using DSP is almost like cheating. To fine tune your amplitude response, to any desired target, and then reverse the phase shift?!
                    Is it magic? Perhaps not quite, but close, right?? And In terms of development time, what previously took weeks (develop, procure parts, build, listen, fine-tune, build, listen, fine tune, iterative process until satisfied) can now take just days (no passive component procurement, no building, real time listen and tuning)

                    But I think it's one of those threshold concepts. Once you crossed it, the previous way looks positively archaic. I think those who are hanging onto passive crossovers / no DSP focus too much on the theoretical negatives (need for more amplification channels, "it's only a tool"), without having a real deep dive into it and trying it for themselves and seeing the real life benefits.

                    And who says you must invest in more hardware or amplifiers? Try before you buy- All you need is a recent Windows PC, and three tools- REW (measurements and crossover development, biquad generation, saving/exporting/importing filters) rePhase (reversing phase shift), Equaliser APO (Windows system wide equaliser with ability to import filters IIR/FIR ability). All free, all uncrippled software. If you find it useful, donate to the developers.

                    One can start by equalising an existing passive speaker using mixed phase (IIR and FIR) filtering.
                    Later, you can remove the passive crossovers and try to implement the same transfer functions.
                    But soon you'll realised you can do make a frequency response that is both flatter and smoother, and you shape your top end, boost your bottom end, or even extend your low end by an octave without bottoming out your woofers by using SPL limiters. Whilst you're there, feel free to compare and contrast different voicing or tunings at the flip of a switch, matched to +/-0.1 dB.

                    You don't even need to go fully active and multichannel...

                    The hardest part is learning the software. But what's new in that regard?
                    Last edited by tktran; 08-25-2017, 06:00 PM.

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                    • #55
                      Are these software programs free? Will Windows 7 or XP work? Can I download to a thumb drive, and then load to the W7 or XP computer? Can I save a crossover, and send it by e-mail to someone?

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                      • #56
                        rpd- Yes to all.

                        The hardest part is the software is full LOADED, and takes times to learn to use.

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                        • #57
                          This is an interesting post. You guys have me intrigued.

                          I've built a few DIY speaker kits over the years and was thinking about attempting to design my own 2-way (*simple) bookshelf speaker. I've spent the last 3 - 5 weeks reading VD's Loudspeaker Design Cookbook and couple other loudspeaker design books. Only 33% of the content was absorbed :-), - I clearly have a long way to go. Nonetheless, I did learn a few basic things and plan on utilizing the free programs developed by the DIY community to start experimenting with speaker design.

                          I may now also consider purchasing a miniDSP-HD. I'm not committed to passive or active. I'd love to learn both.

                          The only thing that concerns me about active is that I'm one those foolish guys that get reeled into these "Hi-Fi" / "Audiophile" amplifiers. Even though there is a really high probability that I may not be able to tell the difference between my 20+year old Yamaha receiver and my Plinius - Class A amplifier in a blind test, my mind just forces me to conclude that more expense = better sound.

                          Even though a simple Class D amplifier would suffice, I know I will fall prey to assuming "I should upgrade my active crossover, I should use a low-watt tube amp for the tweeter, and use XYZ amp on mids, and use Class A Solid State on bass", etc. etc." - what maybe very inexpensive at the beginning - I just know I'll make it super expensive in the end (yes - my own fault).

                          If I went with a passive design, I can just choose one amp and be done with it. If I get curious about upgrade anything, I can upgrade to another amp and still keep things simple.

                          From what I'm reading above, there is no doubt an active system can surpass a passive system (even Vance D's book said the same thing); however, once developed, there is something to be said about the convenience of a passive system.

                          In this hoppy, I have gone through soooo much gear. I'm always looking for a change. Some times I pass my speakers along to family members because I know many here would not be interested in purchasing because they rather build their own. I"m sure my family/friends appreciate that they can connect just about anything they already own and make use of the speakers. For reasons already discussed, it will be harder to pass along an active system.










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                          • #58
                            if you are starting out in Active and do have ahve a stack of amps lying around, suggest you start with a cheap AVR or a multi-channel amp board. the electronics in the minidsp (especially the 2x4) are good but not state of the art, so doesn't make sense going with uber amps.

                            If you are adamant on minidsp and want the highest possible quality, stick with digital source into mini-sharc into uber DACs into uber amps, but then you can do better than minidsp for the dsp. digital in to the 2x4 HD will be a step up from analog into 2x4. but then the 2x4 HD is twice the price of the 2x4.

                            Again, try to see if it works for you before going up the chain.

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                            • #59
                              dkalsi,

                              The MiniDSP into a Sure 4X and Meanwell power supply is an inexpensive way to explore the possibilities if you have some 2 way speakers you can connect.

                              If you want to use the MiniDSP HD, it adds another ~$100, but still the total buys a reasonably inexpensive way to explore. You might be surprised to hear what can be done with a few $100 in hardware and software. Just my opinion.

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                              • #60
                                Thanks Allen. I most definitely will try it. I think I actually may have a miniDSP laying around, the non HD version. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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