1. Gary Eickmeier says:

    OK this is getting really stupid. You do NOT want to “beam” the sound at the listener. That is not good theory and it sounds terrible. Anyone should be able to observe this in a couple of minutes of listening. Yes, I have auditioned the BL90 in South Florida. The narrow beam mode made a cramped soundstage that ended at the speakers. The wider we went, the better it sounded, the Omni mode best of all – an open, precise sound field that was much more lifelike and enjoyable than the narrow mode. Why do you persist in this nonsense about wanting beamy speakers? Your narrator talks about frequency response only, and is completely unaware of the spatial nature of sound. The speakers in the video are much too close to the corners of the room. Bring them out from all walls – ideally 1/4 of the room width in from the side walls and out from the front wall – and PLAY THEM IN THE OMNI MODE! Please answer me – why are you promoting this silliness?

  2. Gary,

    Up to now, I have tried to be polite – or at least civil. However, now your dogmatism has become belligerent and I will not accept this on my personal website.

    As you have already repeatedly established here, and in other places, you prefer loudspeakers with a wider directivity. This is your preference. It is neither “stupid” nor “silly” to prefer something different.

    If you wish to promote your philosophy, please do it somewhere else. I will leave all of your previous comments on my site, but your future comments here will be blocked.

    – geoff

  3. Howard Ferstler says:

    I disagree with your contention that, assuming the listener cared to have a simulated, concert-hall sound stage in the first place, that listener would want to hear what the engineer heard in the studio. The engineer wants to hear extreme detail, so he can possibly adjust the mix for best balance, or have a segment re-recorded due to a glitch that cannot be fixed. Hence, the need for head-phone style detail with minimum input from the listening area.

    However, the listener at home wants to hear things the way they would sound in a concert hall, and to get that in the most simple way, at least with two channels only, is to have a substantial amount of sound reflected from the side walls and perhaps the front wall, mimicking as best the way a hall also reflects sounds. Of course, you cannot simulate the lengthy time delay we get in a hall, but if the room is decently sized we can at least get the angular reflections right. Also of course, not every room will allow this, because it may have windows, wall openings, drapes, furniture near the speakers, and in some cases bookcases lining the walls.

    The bookcase issue is the situation with my own installation, which uses modified – by me – triangular-shaped Allison IC-20 left and right systems, a steered center channel, and four surround speakers adjusted to deliver delayed and extracted ambiance from the recording. The result is a pretty good simulation.

    The IC-20s as I have modified them, allow the user to run the inner-angled panels only, run both panels full tilt, or run the inners at full tilt, but with the outer-angled panels at a 50% reduced level. I should point out that because the Allison drivers have extremely wide dispersion, even the inner-angled-only output has a high degree of spaciousness. It is just less spacious than if both panels are running. The modified systems, unlike the factory original design, also allow me to attenuate the midrange and treble drivers to better simulate realistic concert-hall spectral balance with recordings that are a tad bright.

    Whatever, your speakers seem like exemplary performers (admittedly, I have not heard them), and I would expect that in most rooms, most listeners who enjoy classical-, romantic-, or baroque-era music would prefer the Omni mode.

    Howard Ferstler

  4. Hi Howard,

    Thanks for your comments. I absolutely agree that different listeners will have different preferences regarding the directivity – and that preference may change with the recording style (or at least differences in the microphone & mixing technique) and use case. This is exactly why the BeoLab 90 provides the option of making that change “on the fly”. Some listeners do want to have the illusion that they’re in a concert hall (“you are there”) others want to have the illusion that Suzanne Vega or Jennifer Warnes or Angus Young is standing right there in the room (“they are here”).

    One way to consider the directivity is to say (as I’ve said in the video) that narrow mode is for “one chair, no friends” (or, as I read on another website today “on the sofa, no snuggle-bunnies”), and wide or omni mode is for more than one person (perhaps that’s “with snuggle-bunnies”). This is a “rule of thumb” – but this is only one way to consider BeoLab 90’s directivity options. Another, possibly more real-world view is to say “you should use the directivity that you prefer at the moment…” (If I were teaching someone how to drive a standard, I would say that you should start in 1st gear, and then work your way up, one by one, until you get to the appropriate gear. However, in real life, when I’m driving to work each day, I rarely do this – I often skip a gear or two, depending on how I’m accelerating. The simple explanation is not the only one…)

    Regarding the issue of trying to emulate the sound in the studio – we should be more specific (which is not really an option in a short video like this one). The soffit-mounted loudspeakers in a recording/tracking studio are the “magnifying glass” that you describe. The smaller loudspeakers (either mounted on the meter bridge, or slightly beyond it) are typically used for spatial decisions like panning. What we’re really trying to emulate with the narrow mode of the BeoLab 90 is the experience of loudspeakers in a mastering studio – where the final decisions are made on both a micro- and macroscopic scale. However, this distinction is also somewhat too detailed for a quick, introductory video.


  5. Gary Eickmeier says:

    I think I need to apologize for my -er – off the cuff comments earlier. Maybe I am getting too old and cranky. I didn’t mean to offend anyone or imply that the new speaker is anything less than excellent – actually one of the best I have heard. My comments had only to do with the “modes” that you can employ in listening. The speaker has this amazing flexibility and can please anyone and everyone. I just disagree that the goal is to eliminate the room from the listening equation “just like the recording engineers.” I urge all to try it all ways – put them well away from the walls, try all 3 modes and you decide. To me, Omni is the most spacious and involving. I hate to see the narrow mode advocated as the preferred, but I don’t want to become hated by the world over a mode! Or my big mouth…

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