Using PA Speakers In A Home "Audiophile" Application!


Hi guys,

I am a bit inspired to explore/trial usage of a pair of PA speakers at home after i attended a live event recently. 

I looked at some Yamaha PA models and zoomed in on one that isn't too huge/heavy, relatively easy to move around perhaps. 

Are there any audiophiles here who had relative satisfaction trying such speakers at home? I am also thinking that this may not be a great idea, but, just curious at the moment.

 

deep_333

@deep_333 

The culprit is largely PA electronics, imo. For example, I’ve tried Crown amps on my hifi rig and the soundstage flattening is immediate. I have also observed it when trying out Mcintosh hifi amps (not meaning to offend any Mcintosh users)...the flat wall of sound with no depth, layering and nuance. Denafrips dac --> Luxman, Schiit, Yamaha hifi amps, etc should remedy that situation...is my theory for now/will know an answer in the next month.

Not in the various circumstances I've heard them in. 

Everything from: modern tube amps (low powered 300B, to high powered push-pull), Nelson Pass class A, high powered A-B, vintage amps, etc. 

Not all of them have been in well treated rooms, but most were on the better side of home living rooms, 

Some certainly sounded better than others, but none of the gear made any appreciable difference in soundstage and imaging.

@toddalin 

If you are ever in Southern California, you need to come to my house and hear what PA components set in the right cabinets can do for imaging and soundstage, clarity, and precision of instrument and vocal placement.

Some of the "PA" components are/were of extremely high quality and placed in the right cabinets, driven by the right electronics, can do just as well as the high priced spread of today.

For example, take the 18" and 9.5" JBLs I used in the Mermans. You really think some Parts Express woofer is the same quality? You really need to step up your game to come close, and I’ve had people say that my speakers can "out-image" systems costing 6 figures. I do use a modified Great Heil AMT over 2.5kHz.

Remember that back in the ’60s, 70s, and 80s, JBL would use many of the same components in their PA systems as they did in their studio monitors used in mix-down of so much of the music that we still love.

I live in the San Fernando Valley, just outside of LA.

Who said I was comparing any drivers to "some Parts Express drivers"? But there are plenty of other companies that carry higher end drivers, anyway.

I am a big fan of HEIL drivers. I've used them in the past in a couple of projects. 

 

As an individual interested in audio equipment and the sound produced, I ended up with ESL Speakers., for myself these speakers types have ticked many boxes.

ESL Speakers are as a result of my 20+ Years of using them not able to create the recollection and impression that a live music venue is being mimicked.

Cabinet Speakers are the tool for the Job, I have had Cabinet Speakers periodically in use with the system for many many years. I have moved on from very coloured presentation designs and have ones with less Cabinet Influences in use now.

I have no issues having multi speakers to be used to create the sound that delivers what is most attractive for a particular Genre of music, in my world, both Blues and Live Blues recordings are worthy of it

@pindac ....Here are some preliminary results from my PA experiment, i.e. "higher end" (as far as PA is concerned with solid cabinets, etc) PA horns tied to "high end" hifi electronics. In addition to uninhibited dynamics, there is a very high level of detail being perceived in a non-abrasive manner (surprisingly) on gentler genres of music. I couldn’t say the latter about some old JBL synthesis/Greg Timbers’ stuff i used to have, i.e., my other point of reference for this type of speaker. They got a bit abrasive, if you pushed it. The Yamahas are "smoother" with better tonal balance. Anyways, I attribute this type of detail to the fact that these are drivers designed for extreme SPLs (120db+) for sustained periods in large venues and still sound decent. When I’m running them at home @ 85ish db, these speakers are barely getting pushed at fractions of a watt, i.e., distortion levels are remarkably low and compression is nil.

Speakers are the gross bottleneck in pursuit of detail and resolution (besides the room). But, guys end up chasing their tail with subtler electronics and wire at some point instead. It appears to me that the hifi speakers that are believed to be highly resolving (in hifi circles) are not really all that resolving. If they get close enough, they just end up too abrasive or analytical, pull you back from the music again.

"Live" is maybe a combination of uninhibited dynamics, sound power, resolution, detail.....and clarity (nobody talks about clarity), as far as "measurable" metrics go...all of this is in a non-analytical package perhaps....ESLs are a bit of an anomaly and a curiosity for me. Perhaps, they fulfill some of the measurable metrics, but extremely hard to get a low end driver integrated.

Downside, of course, is...most PA speakers are hard on the eyes including the ones i am experimenting with (WAF = poor, wouldn’t be permitted in my living room even on a blue moon day). But, if I closed my eyes, it is hifi full and square!

 

 

I have been demo's Two DIY Built Speaker designs both using a same Company Speaker an the same model range.

Each Driver was a full range PA dual concentric, one was a 15" model and the other a 18" model.

Cabinets were substantial in materials and bracings.

I heard the on occasion over three years prior to Covid, and each time seemingly something more attractive was present.

Both Builders were very willing to make it known, the Drivers only started to really impress after the 300 Hour of usage period and recommended methods to keep them working to fast track to these hours.      

I'm using PA drivers and horns and cabs (Peavey FH1 bass horn) in my main system, but the difference between a hi-fi setup and a pro PA set-up most often lies in the crossover. If you're after max SPL you probably go with different frequency crossovers and slopes - to protect the drivers from over excursion or over heating - than when your goal is maximum fidelity and smooth transition between drivers and phase coherency. That makes a HUGE difference.

Still, I'm sure that there are pro speakers that could be used in a home environment but those are far from the majority.