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landofunland

Downsizing FRFRs... thoughts?

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Hey group. I play my Helix LT exclusively for my dog in my living room through a pair of Yamaha DXR10’s. There is much ear twitching going on, even though I barely tap the volume they are capable of. I never play out, only at home and that’ll never change. When I purchased these speakers a year ago they seemed like a good idea at the time. They sound spectacular, but their size (even vertically oriented) are seriously crowding my small living room, which has just been re-done. When you are pushing 60 years of age, the dorm look is not a good look. 

 

I’ve decided to downsize and sell the DXR10’s to fund something smaller yet still auditorily acceptable to my ear (not the most discerning ear). I’m starting to focus in on picking up a pair of Yamaha HS8’s. They get very good reviews and have a footprint I can deal with. 

 

How much of a loss of lows will I hear going from a pair of 10” to 8” speakers? My feeling is it will be noticeable at first, but my ear will eventually adjust and I will be happy with the concession. Yes? No? I’m curious as to the sonic cost of losing 2” of speaker size. Prior to Helix, I played through an L6 Spider 4 with a single 12” celestian. Apples to oranges, but to my ear there was no loss of lows going from that 12” to (2) 10” FRFRs.

 

Not trying to start another FRFR vs FRFR discussion, just looking for confirmation that the HS8 specifically would be a good replacement in my situation.  Your thoughts and comments are greatly appreciated. Lastly, if there is another 8” model that I absolutely should be looking at because it is significantly better than the HS8, that’s really why I am here. Looking to pull the trigger with in the next week, if not before. Thanks! 

 

PS:  I really get a lot of value (helix knowledge, tips & ideas) and enjoyment (entertaining topics / posters) reading this forum. Here, YouTube and experimentation is where I learn. It’s been a steep but rewarding learning curve (still very much a novice), as I have only owned four single-speaker, all non-tube amps prior to helix in my 40+ years of playing. Upon first powering it on two years ago, the names of all the amplifiers, effects and everything packed into it could have been assigned randomly for all I knew. I’d only heard of some of them, and that that only their real mfg names. It’s been a struggle, but it’s also been continually rewarding along the way. My 2 cents. 

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Though there is frequent obsessing over speaker size and its impact on low end, I don't think you'll notice a night and day difference. I have a pair of 5" JBL monitors that give me plenty of low end. Much depends on the quality of the speakers in question, the volume you're pushing, the listening environment, and the style of music you're playing. If you're in a carpeted living room with lots of puffy furniture, that's a place where treble goes to die, so you might actually perceive muddy low end from anything you play through. On the other hand a hardwood floor and Spartan furniture will probably have things sounding a little thin.... either way, that's what EQ's are for.

 

Will you have to tweak your current settings to find a new "happy place" with whatever speakers you choose? Yes... that's a given. How much is anybody's guess... we all hear things differently, and speakers are at least half your tone. 

 

The biggest thing you might notice is the size of the sound stage... you essentially have a pair of PA speakers, designed to throw sound around a big room. Smaller, near-field monitors are exactly that... designed primarily for mixing when you're sitting right in front of them at a desk. Doesn't mean you won't like the way they sound, but don't expect the same kind of spread that PA speakers provide. 

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If you're at living room volumes and you're barely pushing the DXRs, its not going to be much of a difference. The available low-end you're going to lose isn't really useful or wanted in most guitar sounds anyways. 

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I sometimes have my Helix through my stereo system - 8" JBL in-wall speakers and a sub in the corner - very little floor space taken up. Or my 8" 2-way studio monitors. Sounds plenty full, though I do tune to E. Might not be as good on a 7 string or something.

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If you're tight on space, I would question why you need a pair of anything. But I don't mess with stereo effects, so I have no need for two speakers. I believe you can order Xitone's with a wide variety of covering material. Maybe you can find something that will blend into the decor. Just a thought. 

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The rules people tend to apply to modern bi-amped, DSP driven FRFR speakers about low end response aren't terribly relevant since they come from the days of non-powered, simple crossover designs.  Most of these manufactures such as Yamaha or QSC provide frequency response graphs that apply across the board to their 12, 10 and 8 inch speakers.

As far as going to studio monitors, in addition to my DXR12 I also have some Yamaha HS7 studio monitors.  Both have amazing responses but there are some differences to think about simply based on what the speakers are designed to do.  The DXR isn't terribly position dependent and can be adjusted via DSP contouring options.  That's because you never really know how those speakers are going to be deployed and used ahead of time.  Studio monitors are made for a different purpose which is for detailed listening such as in a studio, and are expected to be placed in a certain way relative to the listener to get the best response.  Many of these studio monitors (including the HS series) depend on a rear bass reflex port so there are some specific guidelines for how they should be positioned to get the appropriate response.  You probably should examine those requirements and see how that would work in your home setup.

Another thing you might consider is simply downsizing to a different FRFR powered speaker that's smaller but with similar response to your DXR.  I personally use a QSC CP8 for such things in situations where my DXR12 would be overwhelming and I've been quite astonished at how well it performs compared to the DXR in those cases.

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 Thanks for all your responses. I’ve been considering all of them. 

 

Cruisinon2 and DunedinDragon -  you both hit on something very relevant which I wasn’t putting together (novice here) re different designs FRFRs can have. If I’m hearing right, the HS8 projects more directionally, meaning I would need locate myself in their sweet spot and stay there for optimal sound. Whereas the QSC CP8, for example, is designed as a PA speaker (like the DXR10s) and would spread the sound out more in the space. Although this is basic knowledge to most, it was exactly what I needed to hear and why I posted here. Thanks for pointing this out. I’ll start doing my homework on PA-based smaller FRFRs instead of studio monitors, starting with the CP8. I’ve heard only good things about QSC, but in fairness I don’t know much about the other manufacturers.

 

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OP here... following up after purchasing a pair of smaller speakers to replace the Yamaha DXR10s that were eating my small (12’ x 12’) living room. I’ve never come within a sniff of what they are capable of. 

 

I ended up picking up a pair of Adam Audio T7V studio monitors. Played through them a couple hours and still getting used to the change. My thoughts so far... what I’ve lost in bass I’ve more than made up for in tone and clarity of tone.

 

I didn’t realize how muddy the DXR10’s were bc a) because my ear is not very discerning, b) they were the only live speakers I’d ever heard helix through, and c) in fairness they were a poor match for my small room and I probably couldn’t get far enough away for them to sound as good as they would in a larger space. I know... duh. Live and learn. 

 

With the t7v’s I’ll need to tweak some (all) of my presets to my liking, but I am thrilled with the clarity I am hearing. I never knew what I was missing. The tones are clear as a bell and more like those I’ve heard guys getting on YouTube vids, but not able to reproduce myself. 

 

Evidently, I will need to get a better understanding of how volume works. I know there is an ongoing post on volume in this forum the last few days which I will read. 

 

Regarding volume, I almost packed them up to return as soon as I heard them. I bought the Freman mega pack two months ago and have been using them almost exclusively ever since. I was EXTREMELY concerned when I first plugged in the t7v’s and started playing (using Fremen’s tones). With guitar, helix and speakers all on 10, their maximum volume I would estimate was about 80% of the max loudness I would ever want to play at home, and I do not consider myself a very loud player. In fact, when first setting them up and starting with a flat 0 db (Helix and guitar both on 10) the acoustic sound of the strumming the electric’s strings was competing with the top volume coming through the speakers. When set to max vol, the T7V’s were much louder, but you could still easily have a conversation in the room by raising your voice.

 

Assuming I was going to return them, yesterday I was playing around with a different bank of presets... ones I used prior to buying Fremen’s, all from CustomTones. Most of them immediately seemed louder... completely acceptable volumes... One or two of them barked so loudly I almost jumped. These speakers are PLENTY loud. The problem is clearly PEBGAH (Problem Exists Between Guitarist And Helix) lol. I’ll need to learn more about setting presets volume levels. I haven’t yet looked at why Fremen’s are set at low volume out of the box, but I am sure it is for good reason. Hopefully I’ll be able to boost them without losing or changing tone. 

 

I want to note that at one point in this process I was concerned about the sweet spot and directionality of studio monitors, but that was for naught. Yes, there is a sweet spot, but the sound fills the room satisfactorily anywhere I move to.

 

End game: Once I understand more about setting volume levels within presets (and not affect tone), I’m sure I’ll be extremely happy with the t7v’s. They already sound great without much tweaking (albiet at a lower volume at the moment). Also, I’m ecstatic to gain back some of my living space and will now rebuild my left and right media towers (I make things) to house my home theater equipment, including L and R speakers, as well as the two T7V’s. I designed the right tower for the LT to sit on top about rib high. This way I can both see it and work comfortably with it when not on the floor. I could never find a comfortable position to sit, cradle a guitar, tweak knobs, switch back to guitar to test, make further changes, rinse, repeat. Once I decided to stand when working with Helix, the ergonomics got dramatically better. 

 

Thanks everyone for your suggestions and comments.

 

Alright, time to put those DXR10’s on CL...

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30 minutes ago, landofunland said:

Once I understand more about setting volume levels within presets (and not affect tone), I'm sure I'll be extremely happy...

 

You'll also be the first human in history to have figured out how to do an end-run around the Fletcher-Munson curve...;)

 

Volume will always affect tone...there's no cure for that. Raise or lower the volume significantly, touching no EQ at all, and your tone will change. The bigger the volume difference, the more significant the tonal change you'll perceive. The trick is learning what frequencies to boost or cut (and by how much) at any given volume, to yield the results you're after. That's something that you only figure out through experimentation... unfortunately it's a lot easier to find sounds that suck, lol. The "good stuff" likes to hide. Happy hunting! ;)

 

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All of this depends on many factors but apply as a starting point to help situations where LOUD DSP tones sound and behave nothing like they do in headphones and/or living rooms.  

 

Lower room volumes - tone usually benefits from flat mids with slight boost to Bass/Treble.  

 

Medium room volumes - tones generally need small mid cut and less Bass/Treble boost.  

 

High volumes normally benefit from large mid cut and essentially flat Bass/Treble - perhaps even cutting Bass if it’s too boomy.  

 

My favorite full range “amp” is a Fishman Loudbox Artist or Mini.  Very versatile swiss army knife for amplifying DSP guitar tones and of course acoustic instruments across many different settings/situations.  I quickly learned to dial-in live HELIX tones through 1/4” instrument input, XLR or even the 1/8” mini phono.  Nice pocket/envelope of sound across wide range live situations.  

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43 minutes ago, jerseyboy said:

All of this depends on many factors but apply as a starting point to help situations where LOUD DSP tones sound and behave nothing like they do in headphones and/or living rooms.  

 

Lower room volumes - tone usually benefits from flat mids with slight boost to Bass/Treble.  

 

Medium room volumes - tones generally need small mid cut and less Bass/Treble boost.  

 

High volumes normally benefit from large mid cut and essentially flat Bass/Treble - perhaps even cutting Bass if it’s too boomy.  

 

My favorite full range “amp” is a Fishman Loudbox Artist or Mini.  Very versatile swiss army knife for amplifying DSP guitar tones and of course acoustic instruments across many different settings/situations.  I quickly learned to dial-in live HELIX tones through 1/4” instrument input, XLR or even the 1/8” mini phono.  Nice pocket/envelope of sound across wide range live situations.  

 

I've been curious on the use of acoustic amps as amplifiers for electric guitars that are run through modelers. What I've never known is if the acoustic amp just tries to accurately recreate the tone of a acoustic guitar, or if it tries to mess with the EQ to bring out certain acoustic guitar frequencies better that might mess up anything you do with a modeler before hand. 

 

Are you saying you've tried that route?  Did it seem to just leave the EQ curve as is? 

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56 minutes ago, Kilrahi said:

 

I've been curious on the use of acoustic amps as amplifiers for electric guitars that are run through modelers. What I've never known is if the acoustic amp just tries to accurately recreate the tone of a acoustic guitar, or if it tries to mess with the EQ to bring out certain acoustic guitar frequencies better that might mess up anything you do with a modeler before hand. 

 

Are you saying you've tried that route?  Did it seem to just leave the EQ curve as is? 

 

Yes, I’ve been gigging this setup live and very satisfied.  LB instrument input introduces some coloration but easily adjustable low, mid, high.  Hell, most stages/venues I’m playing introduce colorations too….

 

If I want/demand more unadulterated full range the LB mic input is very flat. In fact that is my favorite input for Variax acoustic models when I bother lugging XPS A/B power supply.

 

I’ve also used the LB mini-phono line-in for rehearsal situations with very positive results.  Mainly because we needed extra inputs for other instruments to rehearse.  

 

But live configuration using the LB instrument input for electric guitar rendering of amp models is very satisfying and easily adjusted for whatever live job at hand.  I am a mono guy so stereo heads might not approve of this approach.  

 

In the case of LB Mini about 20lbs for loud and clean.  Hard to beat that...

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