Surround Sound Speaker Systems
- Written by Rick Schmidt
- Published on 09 October 2008
When John Johnson heard that earlier version of these speakers at RMAF last year he described the sound as â€˜immediateâ€™. Yes, itâ€™s just right there. Crossovers add complexity. I think weâ€™ve all become accustomed to it. Time aligned speakers attempt to do away with some of the complexity but there is still the basic issue of trying to seamlessly blend the sound from multiple drivers.Â The Creation 650â€™s do away with all of that and the effect is kind of like listening to headphones. Thereâ€™s just a simplicity and rightness to it that is undeniable and not like what youâ€™ll hear from other speakers.
Letâ€™s talk about some bandsâ€¦
Ladytron is a band that takes their name from a song on the first Roxy Music record. For this reason alone they deserve our respect. These guys are a modern day synth band and much depends on getting the subtleties of the synth sounds correct. Early synth bands were hampered by the soulless sounds available from most synthesizers. Thankfully those days are gone but the best synth bands still manage to tweak their instruments to get the most out of them.
But, I've found that not all speakers can convey these subtleties enough for the listener to really get what the band is about. The Creation 650â€™s can. Ladytron was coming through as a coherent whole, the dual female vocals and synthesizers in equal parts and the texture on the synth sounds was clearly evident.
Another notable band is Sun Kil Moon.Â Â Iâ€™m glad to see John Johnsonâ€™s ongoing series on Vinyl vs CDâ€™s. I can cut to the conclusion for you â€“ VINYL RULES!
But, here is a downside. When a new release comes out its typically on CD first. The release date is announced well in advance. The accompanying vinyl might be there on the same day, or maybe months or even years later, or maybe never. And no one can tell you which it will be. No one at the record store, no one at vinyl specialty online sites, no one at the record company (if they bother to respond to you at all). The one time I got any response at all was from the artists themselves (relayed by a fellow audio reviewer who happened to have the artistâ€™s email). Normally this ongoing annoyance simply leads to about 5 points of blood pressure for yours truly but sometimes it works out ok.
Sun Kil Moon is one of the multitude of indie bands prominently displayed at my favorite local record store, that I knew nothing about. Their latest CD kept catching my eye based on the cover but I was ambivalent after listening at the CD preview station. I thought it would be good on vinyl so I waited. Finally six months later a previous record by Sun Kil Moon showed up. I grabbed it anyway. What a gem.
Tiny Cities is a tribute album to another indie band, Modest Mouse. I didnâ€™t even know they needed a tribute as they are in the middle of their career but this record says they do. The songs are thoughtful and poetic. The Creation 650â€™s worked their same magic on this more sparse material with acoustic guitars and a single male vocal. I thought I would just listen to a side and then get on with some other business but I had to hear the whole thing. In my room the speakers seemed slightly better with male vocals as compared to female. This isnâ€™t to say that they werenâ€™t great with female vocals. When I first heard them at Stereo Daveâ€™s I played my standard â€˜Teardropâ€™ by Massive Attack. Elizabeth Frasier sounded as real as Iâ€™ve ever heard and the prominent rim shot on that track sounded more life like than Iâ€™ve ever heard on any speaker.
The Velvet Underground and Remember the Fiery Furnaces are twoÂ interesting recordings. The first was recorded in 1968, the second one is a modern live album. In both cases the Creation 650â€™s made them sound like what they are. That is, the vintage recording sounded like it, but good. Oh so good and just like it â€˜shouldâ€™ sound I think. â€˜Remember the Fiery Furnacesâ€™ is a sprawling 3 LP set of live recordings of this talented band. Through the 650â€™s it sounded like a live recording and great. I didnâ€™t necessarily get the â€˜you are thereâ€™ feeling but I firmly believe that what I heard is what the recording sounds like. I know that this may not make much sense. If I had to guess Iâ€™d say that the Creation 650â€™s are not recreating sound stage information as much as some speakers might but are getting the timbre and timing spot-on, instead. Also, there is that recording industry story that recording engineers do their final mix down on car stereo speakers. Hmmmmmm.
Stereo Daveâ€™s does not have efficiency or other measurements available for these speakers yet. I would guess that they are slightly less efficient than average. Maybe in the 86-87 db range. I think they are more efficient than Aperions (for example) which come in at a low 82 db.
I put my hands on the sides while playing rock at volume. Vibrations are evident, though they have a â€˜dampedâ€™ quality to them â€“ the speakers just donâ€™t feel like a sounding board. Some speakers do. The vibrations were also in a higher frequency range than what I typically feel with this test. Itâ€™s a smallish sealed box so that makes some sense. Rapping on the box with knuckles reveals that it is well damped. You can tell that itâ€™s a box but itâ€™s not resonant.
I was especially curious about the frequency response since Stereo Daveâ€™s didnâ€™t have this information available yet and there is no tweeter after all. I borrowed a Radio Shack SPL meter from my excellent local stereo retailer (stereotypesaudio.com). This turned out to be a boondoggle as this meter is not designed for measuring frequencies above 10k. Nonetheless, my floundering around prompted Stereo Daveâ€™s to obtain some unofficial measurements. These speakers start rolling off slowly at 15k but do extend to past 20kHz. I can tell you that the treble parts, such as cymbals, were always there and same as the midrange, they had a â€˜rightâ€™ quality â€“ like this is how it was meant to sound.