Design, DSPs and the debunking of traditional hi-fi

John Watkinson writes:

Today’s loudspeakers are nowhere near as good as they could be, due in no small measure to the presence of "traditional" audiophile products. In the future, loudspeakers will increasingly communicate via digital wireless links and will contain digital processing. Indeed, the link between IT and loudspeakers is destined to grow.But no progress can be made when science is replaced by bizarre belief structures and marketing fluff, leading to a decades-long stagnation of the audiophile domain.

It’s a scenario ripe for "disruption", as they say, and there's an opportunity for a profitable IT company to move into loudspeakers and deliver products having undreamed-of quality. Digital guru John Watkinson writes for us today with some, er, sound thinking on how IT should rule the waves .........

One thought on “Design, DSPs and the debunking of traditional hi-fi

  1. I’m glad someone else has pointed out that the time domain response of ported speakers cannot be fixed, even with DSP. Ported speakers go very low using small boxes, but the output is a muddle that must surely render the bass less precise and more fatiguing for the ears, even if it is not immediately obvious. Additionally the response rolls off more rapidly than is ‘natural’ below resonance, and for smaller speakers this is in the audible range, so I could imagine this being quite offensive to the ears over time.

    I have the notion that hi fi systems were listenable-to for longer in the 1970s than they are now, and I’m not convinced it’s because modern systems are more revealing, or that digital audio somehow fatigues the ears. I think that a prime suspect is the modern use of ported speakers, rather than sealed speakers that don’t go as low for the same size box, but which have very precise ‘dry’ bass which rolls off in response gently.

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