I am going to tell you a little story, because it has relevance to the 2-ch article, and simply because I want to share this with you. And I think some of you will find it entertaining.
I was invited to visit a dealer, and today I took upon the opportunity to get a good audiophile talk and demoed several speakers and I imagine just as many cd-players, dacs, and amplifiers as the speakers were connected to different set-ups.
The dealer and the manufacturers of the speakers must forgive me for what will be a very honest kind of expression of my brief listening experiences.
I can not reveal what speakers this was, I develop and intend to manufacture speakers myself, and as so it would be totally inappropriate to give impressions of other designer's creations.
But I can tell a story.
I had prepared a usb-drive with all music content from the DemoScenes app, remembering the last time I visited this dealer, when it was impossible to find music I knew.
We started listening to the egg-speakers - a lifestyle-oriented, expensive, high-profiled product, they are very small, I have seen 16Hz extension claimed, and there was supposedly 4KW amplification. They actually cost 10 times less than I imagined - a pair for approx USD 6K is not that bad, considering all amp + playback is included, and since it is "16Hz" no need for a bass system.
After 12 seconds into "September In Montreal" I was stunned. Because this had to be a bad joke. Another 20 seconds and I am certain the only good thing about this so far is that Anne Bisson has some kind of holographic appearance, and there is good clarity on the vocal. Everything else is a mess. But even the vocal lacks in presence and detail compared to a good setup.
Flashbulb - Island on an endless plane. Reveals holography, depth of image, detail and texture in hf, impact and transient response in the bass, as well as some low extension. All of this is lost.
That there is bass content can be seen on the speakers as the woofers are on the sides of the round-shaped cabinet, and they move - a lot. The bass can also be heard, as a rumbling, one-note mess. Overall the bass level is experienced as quite hot. It can not be felt like it should be, with the instant impact on the transients, and the deep punch. No tactile feel whatsover. Subjectively the bass goes lower on the F2 60Hz-tuned horn.
So, where is the "16Hz". And where did the 4KW go. Guess it is fair to say that the old slogan "size matters" still holds. But my small S6-14 horns are not much larger that this creation, and they can make pants flap playing Valley Of Kings, and they have impact and punch on the Flashbulb - Island on an endless plane.
I think two things are important here - one is that marketing claims and reality often separates at some point, the other is the fact that since the S6-14 is a dedicated subwoofer unit I have them placed where the bass response is best. Placement is what makes the big difference for low frequency capability here, because even a horn-loaded 6" can only do so much. Be sure - there is still no free lunch.
So, moving on to something different, a small swiss-made designer-piece, I really liked their design and physical appearance. Price USD7500 - and that is for a pair, good value for something so nicely made.
First I claimed they play out-of-phase, cables must have been accidentally reversed on one. Wrong! Easy to verify, that's how they sound, and once that is figured out, I am fine with that. Very little bass, but what is there is also free of the rumble, sound is detailed and very bright, very spaceous, absolutely no body or presence or 3D image of any instruments, everything is a spaceous sound-cloud. Why not. If you sit close - 1.5m - and on the floor - they give a spaceous and large sound, suitable for some late-night low volume listening. They can never play loud, there is no capacity. Not my first choice - obviously, but for someone with different needs and seeking a different sound, those speakers are certainly worth checking out. They have character - both in appearance and sound.
Heard some other speakers in between here, but nothing interesting, more ordinary sounding, not overly-expensive. More like the standard hi-fi sound, where nothing really excels and overall impression is boring.
Then over to some small satellite speakers, set up with no bass system. From a small, dedicated manufacturer in Germany. Apprx USD17500/pair.
This was the best sound of the evening by a good margin. Now you have true holographic presentation, drums and percussion suddenly materializes, even the bass is present without being a nuisance. There is detail, presence, clarity, and instruments with body. They can not play loud, but that is not a requirement for everyone. AMT direct-radiator hf-driver, too small direct-radiator mid, too small bass driver or may be only a passive radiator on the back. A great sounding, small speaker.
Last was a larger speaker from the same German manufacturer, this one has a Raal 70-20 direct-radiator hf-driver. There is just something about ribbons..
The relevance to the 2-ch article is that all those listening experiences matches what I write about speakers - size, capacity, bass systems, sound character. A small speaker will have limitations due to laws of physics, and if you try to break those rules, the result is lesser performance overall. There is no point in reproducing 16hz if the only place it can be perceived is by looking at the data sheet.
When I got home, trying to recover from this rather traumatic experience, I spent the rest of the evening listening in Room2. And the speakers and the room has never sounded so good ever. Lately I have become more and more aware of some of the shortcomings of the setup, but now I could just play and enjoy the music, and if I focus on any technical aspects of the sound it is on those parts that excels, the positive, rather than the negative.