'Cheap' tricks. A recent Triple Bypass feature chronicled how my new Gradient Box 2 enables one-click bypass of our 2×15" cardioid sound|kaos sub. Here's how it works. A Sonnet Pasithea DAC with true variable gain outputs a full-range signal into the smart subwoofer filter. Set to 80Hz on a 4th-order Linkwitz-Riley slope, that sends a +80Hz signal to the Kinki EX-B7 speaker amps, a -80Hz signal to the Goldmund/Job 225 sub amp. When engaged, no low bass presents at all at the voice coils of the main speakers. The benefits are obvious. Excursions on smaller mid/woofers reduce. That means lower distortion. Their coils don't heat up the same. That keeps their resistance lower so dynamic range doesn't compress the same. Because a 2-way's mid/woofer hands over high to a ~2kHz tweeter, these benefits accrue across a big bandwidth. Meanwhile an asymmetrically radiating very directional 'folded open-baffle' sub covers the bottom two octaves. That adds free room treatment because it eliminates sidewall reflections entirely, reduces floor/ceiling and front-wall gain. It's my preferred stereo 2.1 setup. Now compact monitors good to ~60Hz are sufficient when the active filter already has them -6dB at 80Hz. There's no real appeal to pursue costly full-range towers to pay for then toss their low and mid bass whilst looking at something necessarily big. Active so adjustable then rare directional bass is simply superior to passive fixed bass that plays snookers all over the place.
Square-box X1t in pride of place. Use mouse-over for loupe enlarger; or right-click to open in new full-size window.
Now you appreciate my MB1B itch. Hearing it would answer how low I could drive speaker cost without real sacrifices when the most challenging two octaves were already handled. Potential buyers not on the subwoofer train—95% when the high-end press does such a lousy job of promoting proper sub integration for music—want to know how much Scansonic's tyke leaves under the bass table. Enter the Gradient Box bypass switch. Without any rewiring or pausing the music, it mutes the sub and removes the high-pass filter from the mains via old-fashioned IR remote. The full-range signal coming in routes directly to the speaker outputs all from the seat. It instantly shows how much/little bass speakers miss; and how by going omni, their what-there-is bass texture changes versus the sub's cardioid far less reflective bass.
TD1.2 in pride of place. Use mouse-over for loupe enlarger; or right-click to open in new full-size window.
'Cheap' tricks. Confessed to. That Scansonic themselves are no strangers to LF vice is clear from various subs in their arsenal. The 15.4kg rear slot-ported MB-10B in black or white is a compact cube slightly taller than its 36 x 36cm footprint whose integral plinth sets the radiation resistance for a 10" woofer firing into it. A 100-watt class A/B amp handles drive, a 50-150Hz filter the low-pass hinge, RCA or speaker terminals the incoming signal. Review intro. Done.
For a German factory tour focusing more on the Raidho side of the operation, click here. Below are some photos of Scansonic production. As with Raidho, whenever more cone surface is required to increase overall SPL and LF reach, the larger models parallel ever more small woofers rather than resort to an equivalent single big unit. As a result, all Scansonic are narrow speakers, even the model which adds woofers to a sidewall. In the MB1B photo below, we see the pair in front without dress baffles, the pair behind it with them. Unlike Børresen where similar sub baffles affix with grommets like standard speaker grills, Scansonic apply six visible fasteners to do this job which still hides the mounting screws of the drivers themselves and creates the trademark waveguide flare around the tweeter.
For being 'entry-level' Raidhos, these Scansonic cabinets certainly look unusually stylish and complex; in fact more so than certain actual Raidhos.
When GLS tracking arrived for a 16kg speaker and 9kg stand box, Morten apologized. "Unfortunately the MB1B are black, sorry." Stealth not virgin snow mode it was. As to cosmetic shapeliness, the standard explanation invokes reduction of internal standing waves. Rather more important is that, a/ curved panels are stronger than flat panels (the egg effect); b/ this type build narrows so strengthens the rear baffle which faces the highest internal pressure from the driver backs. Lower cabinet flex equals less box talk. As narrow cabinets get taller of course, they want outriggers to stand firm. It's why in the lower left image above, we see two channels in the plinth into which the recipient bolts those stabilizers with cone footers. It's popular to believe that narrow speakers image better. Viewed head on, they certainly pose less of a visual obstruction. Even mentally less stands in the way of images at the outer stage edges. Broad-shouldered speakers can actually soundstage just as well. They simply trigger more of a mind cramp. Our ears hear performers where our eyes see wide baffles. Clearly two things can't occupy the same space at once. When we say that speakers 'disappear' from our awareness, it's a lot easier when they're petite. It's why, all other things being equal, two-way monitors on stands remain the most popular speaker category with civilians not extremists. They look less intrusive. It's easier for the onlooker to forget that the sound comes from them. When they're small, light and securely fixed to a stand to boot, they're even easily parked against the front wall, pulled out for serious listening. That bridges décor and audiophile concerns. Lastly, a small passive speaker's limited bass is far less likely to overload a standard room. It's easier to place and live with. Also, it's always low bass which most leaks into adjoining rooms to mint unhappy neighbors. If you're a sonic civilian with somewhat more extreme ambitions, your main question could in fact be whether the MB1B can really make enough bass. We'll get to that shortly.
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