Friday, October 24, 2014

Teac LS-H265: The latest new hotness cheap speaker on the internet. First impressions and measurements

So I jumped on the internet bandwagon and picked up a pair of these Teac LS-H265B's for $90. I must have gotten in early because they are currently just above $160 on amazon.

I did some very preliminary listening and took some measurements of the speaker. Overall, it seems like a good buy at about $100. The close mic measurements and even the in room measurements are very good.

Album of speaker boxing, disassembly, driver and box details.
http://imgur.com/a/Og77h

Here are the quick measurements. These are right out of the box and look pretty good.


Looks like the port is tuned to 60hz and at the mid and tweeter are crossed over at 2.5khz. 


Overall really flat (+/- 3db) from 700hz to ~15k where there is a steep and sudden drop off. Everthing below that is probably due to some room issue. With my common hump ~150hz, but it is actually pretty marginal and only really there because of the slight dip from 200hz to 600hz. Those these are lacking in the bass department, with a fast drop off at 100 hz. These will need a sub or at least some rear wall. (UPDATE: In retrospect after seeing the outdoor measurements, I'm not sure that the TEAC's are as deficient in bass response as I initially though, I do think the driver has broken in a little with additional use, and the in room bump from 100-200hz may have made seem to produce less bass than they actually do. However I would still recommend a subwoofer to be used with this or have placement a bit closer to a rear wall than my testing location allows.)



Above are some comparisons between the indoor and outdoor responses. Very similar results above 800hz in both situations. Outdoors and away from reflection, these speakers measure pretty darn good. with a slight rise in output as you get above 4khz. Even indoors, it wouldn't be hard to EQ down my 100hz-200hz hump.

A 15 minutes listening session AB testing the Teac LS-H265 vs the Pioneer BS22, I found that the Pioneers sounded much warmer, and had a little bit better bass extension. I haven't yet done a detailed test of the Pioneers to get comparison graphs going on, but I would  guess that their tweeter is a little less bright also. (measurements have shown the grills are a huge killer on the Pioneers)

The Teac's to lack in the bass department and should be pair with a sub, particularity if they are not going to be near a back wall. The more I listen to the Teac's the more the bass has developed and I think for many people and types of music they will be just fine as far as bookshelf speakers go. But they are very clear and articulate speakers and I enjoy them very much. At $100 they are exactly what budget audiophile should be looking for. However with their recent popularity, prices have gone up into the $160 range. The biggest disappointment was their construction quality, for something with a retail price of $250 they are not built nearly as well as many of the other go to budget speaker out there.

TL;DR

If these are in your budget and you like the high gloss black finish, you can't go wrong with the Teac LS-H265.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

My experience with the Definitive Technology Studiomonitor 45/65's. Measurements and short Review

My experience with the Definitive Technology Studiomonitor 45/65's. Measurements and short Review

A while ago I did a comparison between the Pinnacle DB 500 and the previous generation Definitive Technology Studiomonitor 350's. I found both to be very enjoyable but the SM 350s suited my tastes more and thus kept a place on my shelf.

When I got the opportunity to buy these new generation Studiomonitors at an insanely cheap price thanks to a lazy Best Buy employee, I couldn't pass them up ($150 for the pair). They immediately went to use in a 2.1 home theater system. I quickly added 3 Studiomonitor 65's as my front 3 and moved the 45's to the rear. In this application they worked well enough, but I always had this sense that they were a little dull; they didn't seem to live up to the reviews, and I kept wanting to go back to the previous generation Def Techs.

So after a while, and after switching to a Pinnacle (BD 650 II/700 II) front 3, I started to focus on the Def Techs as music only speakers, I had such a good experience with the 350's I thought that the 45s and 65's would be amazing. Unfortunately things immediately sounded off, just muddy,dull, lifeless. All those adjectives that someone would use when they are not impressed by a speaker. Many ABX tests with other speakers and a few dozen attempts at in room measurements, I just couldn't figure out why there is such a disparity between my experience with them and all the other positive reviews on the web. I still don't know what in my room that has contributed so greatly to my issues with these speakers and not others.

While the Definitive Technology SM 45 and 65's don't sound or graph all that well in my room, my close mic measurements were nearly identical to what Stereophile produced. So I do not have the ability to say these are bad speakers, only that they didn't work in my situation and it's been a great lesson in trying to listen before you buy.

Album of pictures of speaker and drivers
Album of Graphs

Each graph has two measurements on it. RED is the outdoor close mic measurements, BLUE is the indoor close mic measurements WITH any other driver unplugged. So during the tweeter measurement, the midrange is unplugged and vice versa.

All Driver Measurements @ 1 inch. No smoothing

PORT

Port look to be tuned to 45hz. Something loud and ugly is happening between 700hz and 900hz. Not sure of the cause to that, but it is seen again during the midrange response.

MIDRANGE
Drivers have a steep fall off @ 80hz and crashes to 50hz where there is another bump @ 35hz. Looks like a rather shallow xover at ~2.2khz

TWEETER

Similar shallow xover. Pretty smooth slightly rising response.

ALL DRIVERS OVERLAY


Matches very well to the measurements posted by stereophile.com. So I'm confident that my close mic measurements are accurate.



Measurements @ 1 meter

NO SMOOTHING


1/6th SMOOTHING


The outdoor responses (IN RED) between the 45's and the 65's shared the same characteristics. Keeping the huge hump that exists from 90hz to 200hz. This I imagine was the primary cause of the muddiness. Then the steady decline to 1khz, then a similar climb after 1khz and into the rest of the spectrum.

These speakers just behave terribly in my room (IN BLUE). Even with anticipating room reflections and modes that are going to wreak havoc on any graph, I’m still at a bit of a loss as to why they are sounding as they are.

In my situation, the SM 45s and 65’s sounded and graphed more similar to the Sony B-1000 (http://i.imgur.com/ALFhSfh.jpg



 than my budget favorite Infinity Primus p143 in red. (http://i.imgur.com/w4zmYlo.png)

I will update to a single picture ASAP
TL;DR

The Def Techs are good looking and really well build. Massive heavy drivers that scream high quality. Their outdoor measurements indicate that they should be very good speakers, but they just do not seem to produce those same results in my room. I'm going to have to assume this is a one off experience and that I'm in the minority here. 

However this has been a great learning experience demonstrating how just one room can drastically affect sound and how if you are willing to spend this amount of money on some speakers you should do your best to try to listen to them before hand and even better see if your retailer of choice has a decent return policy if they don't work for your application.  

For now, I'll be keeping my previous generation Definitive Technology StudioMonitors. Below is a comparison between the 45 and 350's. The 350's are noticeably brighter and louder. This combo seems to not be as effected to my room conditions.