Friday, February 21, 2014

Sony SS-B1000 Bookshelf speaker frequency response and disassembly

Disassembly Images 

I bought this bookshelf about a month ago with the intent to tests and compare it along with some other budget speakers (Dayton B652, Monoprice 8250, Infinity Primus P153). I wasn't really interested in posting anything in depth on it because after even a quick ABX against the Dayton, it was clear the Sony B1000 was not a very capable speaker.

However it has recently been featured on WOOT

and on a few audio/HT posts on Reddit so I wanted to give my Average Joe input. To be short, this speaker sucks for $68.00 at Walmart it cost. It sucks at any sale price you can find it.

The hump between 80hz and 180hz has been common in all the speakers I've tested. I'm thinking its some sort of room resonance, or possibly characteristic of the cheap speakers. I will have a better understanding when I'm able to test the Primus 153 and Def Tech 350's I have. And in this respect it is not all that dissimilar from the popular Dayton B652. In my original listening comparison I noticed that all the highs just seemed to vanish. When I began the frequency response test it became very obvious as to why. There is a 5-10db drop starting at ~1.25khz and continuing until 6khz.. Thats huge! Now thankfully there isn't any huge peaks in higher registers that would make this speakers especially tiring to the ears.

You could probably EQ away some of this and find a better middle ground but for me it wasn't worth the experimenting.

On the plus side, they are constructed very well. Better materials than the Dayton's or Monoprice's as far as the enclosure is made. So they at least look OK.

The graph is an average of 4 measurements taken of the speaker. 1) Mic ~5 inches from speaker, pointed straight on and along the center plane of the speaker.  2) Mic ~3 feet from the speaker, pointed straight on and along the center plane of the speaker. 3) & 4) ~ 3 feet from the speaker and 25 degrees to the left or right pointed straight on and along the center plane of the speaker

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Dayton B652, Monoprice 8250, Sony B1000 tested with REW software and Dayton UMM-6 mic

I've been trying to read some tutorials about how to best use REW software, so I'm still not sure I'm doing these tests completely correctly.
Test Equipment and set up
  • Laptop with Behringer UCA202 DAC for output.
  • Dayton UMM-6 USB Mic
  • Sony STR DH130 2.0 receiver @ 40 setting of volume
  • Medium Bedroom 2.0 set up with Mic at seating position at about ear level, pointed at line of site toward the center of speaker placement.
  • Graphs are showing 1/6 octave smoothing
From my understanding of this combination I don't need to calibrate the sound card because I'm not using a sound card and the mic connected via USB and not XLR.
With this combination I also have not been able to figure out if I can/have to match levels. I may have to run these tests again, if I'm not doing something correct.
I believe you can see that there are some inherent room harmonics at play in the larger peaks and valleys in the frequency response here.
All 3 speakers have peaks at @ ~125 hz and again at about 1-1.25 khz and 8 khz
After seeing these graphs, it makes my listening impressions make more sense in a technical perspective. The Monoprices sounded very loud in the vocal range, and could be very over powering at times, that seems to make sense with the huge bump in the 100-200 hz range and again at 300.
The HUGE drop is high end frequency response by the Sony's seems to verify my opinion the the Sony's are very muddled and lacking A LOT of anything in the upper registers.
Another interesting happening was after I replaced the Daytons on their stands in what I thought was pretty much their original placement and the response after ~2k hz began to change pretty significantly as far as the graph shows. I'm not sure how much difference it would make for me in daily listening though.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Dayton B652 VS Monoprice 8250 Sound off

Dayton B652 VS Monoprice 8250 (3 inches away from the wall)
Laptop with Behringer UCA202 USB DAC
Speakers are powered by a Sony STR-DH130 (which at $75 refurbished on Newegg has worked out great)
No Sub is being used during any testing.

The Heavy – Short Change hero
Monoprice are much louder in the lower mid-range, not muddy but hallow sounding. Almost like its been ported to give a false idea of not needing a sub. All the bass notes seem to sound the same. Not a good start to the listening tests. Gunrzerking the Monoprices almost seems like a good idea.

Blue Man Group - PVC IV
The Monoprice actually sounded very good during the first 2 minutes of the song when its just the PVC pipes being played. Very similar to the Dayton in most respects. Again there is an increase in volume, probably from being slightly more efficient and ported. Makes me think that the driver itself isn't total garbage, but that box size and random porting isn't helping anything As the song gets musically more complicated as does the speakers character start to lessen. The mid-range one the Monoprice really seemed to drown out much of the higher registers of the electric guitar and remained hallow sounding.

Collective Soul – Precious Declaration
Again the Monoprice doesn't sound bad during the intro of the song, louder and noticeably different. I felt like there was better stereo separation on the daytons. After some repeated listening it sounded like the Monoprice didn't handle the heavy distortion on the guitar all the way.

Metallica - S&M Ecstasy of Gold
First thing I noticed is the horns in the intro sounded very similar. When trying to focus in on the horn, to my ears they were almost identical. Still the preserved increased volume from mid-range were still very clearly there. This maybe a song where the random port isn't too terrible, and gives the intro a rather pleasant sound. Particularly form the 2:00 to the end of the track. Strangely I may have preferred to Monoprice on this track. I think this is due the nature of the track itself and due to the Monoprice seeming to little fuller louder low end possibly because its ported.

Metallica S&M – Fuel
Immediately the Monoprices hollow and loud mid-range becomes apparent. James Hetfields lyrics are WAY in front of the rest of the music and in general sounds confused. Almost every other instrument seems to sit way behind the overall shallow sounding peak in the mid-range. Some noticeable issues with stereo separation.

Anberlin – Feel Good Drag Remix
Again notice some remarkable similarities to the high hat. Possibly the tweeters in each speaker are rather similar. Monoprice is again perceptively louder, probably to the porting. Another song that the Monoprices handled pretty well for the most part.

Anberlin – Feel Good Drag original
Vocals again stomp on on the rest of the music on the Monoprices. The generic Drop D electric is also way to pronounced through the Monoprice. I'm beginning to notice that I'm having a hard time getting sense for any specific tweeter distortion. I'm not sure, if its because of the driver or because the mid-range is so much louder that it is just over powering it. Though I am also playing at pretty moderate volumes.

Huey Lewis and the News – Power of love
Monoprice are holding their own again. Vocals are a little forward but not terribly so. Still a little on the hollow sounding side of things and not as crisp or controlled sounding as the Daytons, but still enjoyable despite the clear differences.. Attributing this to another not overly complicated song where a much of the music benefiting from the random porting.

Andrea Bocelli – The Power of love
Monoprice sound different but not necessarily better or worse than the Dayton.. Primarily a vocal track with some light synth pop backing. Probably not so much as playing to the strengths of the Monoprice but avoiding its weaknesses. The Monoprices are significantly louder and More full sounding as a result form the porting and midrange peak. I couldn’t detect any significant changes in the tonal quality of Bocelli's voice.

Daft Punk – Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
Daytons sound pretty good. A little lacking in the low end but nothing a sub wont cure. Monoprices immediately sound hallow, almost like listening though a tunnel. The first time the Monoprices very clearly sounded bad.

Justin Bieber – Boyfriend
I know I know I know, shut up. The lower bass sounded clean a tight on the Daytons, not distracting or insufficient. The Monoprice however just dogged it on the bass. Even ported, it didn't seem as low as the Daytons could go. Louder maybe, hollow and sloppy for sure. As far as the a what the Canadian douche bag actually sounds like, vocals were louder and are again well in front of the higher resisters, with the sloppy bass right behind that. Tonally it wasn't too terribly different than Daytons, it sounded like Bieber for better or worse.

Muse – Knights of Cydonia
At this point in time my ears and brain are starting to get fatigued with trying to listen critically and not for fun and enjoyment. Monoprices seem to be really inflating some of the echo in the track. During the vocal break down @ 3:20 the Monoprices seem to handle it just fine and equally enjoyable to the Daytons. I feel like I'm hearing a trend, that pure male vocals seem to sound ok. But once the music become full or complicated the vocals sit way to in font and on top of them.


Overall the Daytons are still very much the winner. They don't seem to possess the artificially strong mid-range, they seem to image slightly better, stereo separation is better. The Monoprices do seem to be louder, probably do to the porting and some level of increased efficiency. I didn't do any high volume listening, but I believe the Daytons will get louder and sound better, the bump in the mid-range the Monoprices have I think will only get more noticeable as the volume goes up. Some song the Monoprice's handled very well, I can only attribute that to accident. I would like to listen to some EDM and Trance to get a comparison, I think that maybe some of the short comings might be less noticeable in different genres of music.

 If you really needed a cheap garage speaker the Monoprices wouldn't be bad, they will probably be louder and with vocals seeming to be a up font, sometimes boarderlining on overwhelming maybe they will cut through your band-saw and angle grinder better than others. But if you are making a budget 2.1 system the Daytons win hands down.

I'd also be curious to see what would happen if you switched the Monoprice tweeter into the Dayton. Form the little I could hear out of it, when not drowned out by the mid-range it seemed to be as good as the Daytons. Sealing up that port or making cheap skate frankinspeaker might be fun.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Dayton B625 disassembled

Dayton B625 Disassembled - Imgur
Obviously, its a basic speaker box and drivers. Disassembly was straight forward and easy. Midrange driver looks to be of solid build quality.
Looks like it might be this same driver
These new B625's had the tweeter changed from an 8ohm (old) to a 4ohm (new) with a 6.8mf cap.
From my google fu, it looks like the original cap with the 8ohm tweeter was 3.3mf. I was reading on a Part-express forum post, that a few people had taken their speaker apart and it still had a 3.3mf cap with the new 4ohm tweeter. Could this have possibly been part of the reason for the bad batch that went out earlier in the year?
I'm very interested in someday trying some of these 12 improvements just for funnsies and see how they turn out.
A review and side by side comparison with the Sony B1000 is to come. Preview, I like the Dayton much more.