Does Your Room Like Your Sound System?
Sub/Sats vs. Towers - You Choose
Sandy's Place - Bach at Carnegie Hall



Here we are in the waning days of summer already. In between trips to the beach and getting the kids ready for school we've created another informative GoldenEar newsletter for your reading pleasure.

This issue mostly deals with room acoustics an often ignored yet vital subject that has a huge impact on your listening pleasure. Lots to absorb (pun intended) here but slogging through it can result in a significant improvement in your system's in-room response. Our second article concerns the differences between full range floorstanding speakers and compact monitor satellite/subwoofer systems. Both have advantages. There is no right or wrong choice, only a decision of which seems to best fill your needs. Finally, in Sandy's Place you'll read about some great music at a great venue, Bach at Carnegie Hall. 

As always, we hope you'll find this stuff interesting and informative. And don't forget, we truly value your thoughts and feedback concerning these newsletters. Shoot us an e-mail at and let us know what you're thinking.

Happy listening!

The GoldenEar Team
Does Your Room Like Your Sound System?

You may or may not have given much thought to it, but your walls, floors and ceilings have a pretty significant impact on the sound you hear from your audio system. A fair number of acoustic experts generalize that when you're seated 6 to 10 feet or more from the speakers, over 50% of what you hear is actually reflected sound, not primary sound, directly from the speaker itself. The more you know about the effect these boundary surfaces have on your listening, the better your chances of maximizing the sound you hear.

Your Room

Before we delve into the basics of room acoustics we'd like to review some fundamental information that will make the following easier to grasp. We are repeating some of this from past issues, so if you already know this stuff, you might just scan through it as a refresher.


Wavelengths - Every frequency has a specific wavelength. The lower the frequency, the longer the wavelength and vice versa. So a 20Hz wave is 56.5 feet, 60Hz is 18.33 feet, 200Hz is 5.65 feet, 10,000Hz is 1.356 inches and a 20,000Hz wave is 0.678 inches long. If you're interested, a wavelength calculator can be found here: Calculator Link:



Compact Bookshelf Speaker and a Subwoofer -or-Floorstanding Full-range Tower?


In the mid 70s the audio market was introduced to a relatively new concept in loudspeaker design; small, limited frequency range satellite speakers augmented by high quality subwoofers to fill in the lower registers and create full range speaker systems. Up till that time audiophiles were limited to larger integrated speaker systems that produced all frequencies from drivers in a single enclosure. 

Triton One Full Range Tower

Even though the "acoustic suspension" revolution resulted in smaller wide range speakers than the behemoths that had come before, it had been somewhat offset by the advent of stereo and the need for two speakers instead of one. When home theater came along the idea of having five (or more) full range tower speakers in a typical home living space pushed the sub/sat concept to the mainstream.


Interestingly, the introduction of sub/sat systems wasn't an overnight sensation. In fact, most speaker companies simply ignored the idea. As time passed, more companies realized there were advantages to this concept for home audio and introduced sub/sat systems of their own. In this article we'll look at the different advantages and potential pitfalls that full range and sub/sat systems offer, and how GoldenEar's speakers give you the option of either type for your system. Note that we're assuming high quality component parts, engineering and execution in the following discussion. If you don't have that, it makes little difference which type of speakers you choose. 


Single enclosure full range speaker advantages - All the drivers are in one enclosure and well integrated to deliver optimum performance while being matched to their enclosure mates. There's much more than simple frequency response to this integration as time alignment, dispersion characteristics, resonance control and more come into play. The crossover network plays a vital role in this process and must be designed with these specific drivers in mind. A full range enclosure system makes for a simplified purchase decision and you don't have to worry about getting the separate speaker elements to work together once you get them home. You also have the advantage of only having to figure out where to place two speakers as opposed to two satellites and a subwoofer (or more, in a surround system). This issue of placement can be a double edged sword, as we'll discuss further on.

Sandy's Place - Bach's "Saint Matthew's Passion"
at Carnegie Hall

Sandy with New Triton Three at CES 2012

Although I usually go to and write about popular music concerts (jazz, rock, folk etc.), I very much enjoy classical music and attend these concerts frequently. Actually, when I was in school, I played in the band and orchestra, which helped to develop and form my musical taste as well as to train my ear. In terms of venues in NYC, there are many great ones, but none better than Carnegie Hall. 


Those of you who are familiar with some of my favorite demo material know that I am particularly fond of the Reference Recordings version of John Rutter's Requiem. I was fortunate, once, after leaving the Trattoria del'Arte after dinner with my daughter, to notice that John Rutter was across the street at Carnegie Hall conducting his Requeim with a huge chorus. Wow!!! what a pleasant surprise and what a treat that concert was. I particularly enjoyed hearing the huge chorus filling that venerable hall with unimaginable sonorous joy. 


Recently, I had the pleasure of experiencing another choral treat at Carnegie Hall: this time it was "Bach's Saint Matthew's Passion" performed by the Oratorio Society Orchestra and Chorus, along with two dozen children from the Choristers of the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine and 40 members of the Society's orchestra. The Oratorio Society of NY is a private, non-profit group of avocational singers who share a common passion for choral music. It is their mission to contribute to the great tapestry of New York's cultural fabric by performing wonderful choral works at the highest musical level. Their performance of "Handel's Messiah" is one of the great highlights of the holiday season every year in NY.


Basically, choral masterpieces performed by huge massed choruses, which are an incredible sonic treat, would be financially impossible without non-profit, non-payed enthusiast groups like the Oratorio Society. In this case, we were treated to a combined chorus of over 200 singers, performing in what many consider the best sounding hall in North America. And a treat it was. Although for popular music I like to sit up front as close as possible to the stage, my good friend David Chesky pointed out that for classical music, something like row P is preferable, and he is correct. Taking my row P center seat, I sat back and was treated to an incredible evening of music and sonic delight. I find massed choruses to be one of the most enjoyable but difficult types of music for a hifi system to reproduce properly, and it is always great to experience the real thing as a reference. 

Bach at Carnegie Hall

The conductor that evening was Kent Tritle, the musical director of the society. The standout among the vocalists was the tenor, Nicholas Phan, He had a youthful, penetrating voice with impressive control of his vibrato with a focussed sound and choirboy purity. Bass-baritone Kevan Deas, soprano Leslie Fagan, mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzner, tenor Matthew Plenk and baritone Thomas Meglioranza were also wonderful and noteworthy. And Bach's score? Well I think heavenly is the salient phrase, especially with these performers in this venue. And close to heaven was where the performance brought us.

All trademarks and images that appear in this newsletter are property of their respective owners. All contents copyright � GoldenEar Technology and may not be reproduced without written permission.

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

View our videos on YouTube