Jump to content

Mondie's speaker endgame: Lenard Symphony 4-way active, high efficiency horn system development


Recommended Posts

My first set of speakers were purchased at the ripe old age of 12 after saving months of paper round money. You could say I was bitten by a love of music and audio quite early, influenced as I was by my father's audio system purchased with the windfall from a horse bet! Since that time I have been fortunate to own a varied and eclectic range of speakers in the pursuit of my audio nirvana over the last three decades. Everything from stacked active Quad ESL57's, Tannoy D700's, a TAD based 2-way system, Magneplanar IIb, Equinox Jupiters, VAF I-93 and most recently, ADAM Alpha 5-way actives. I have been fortunate to live with speakers of a wide range of characteristics and capabilities and heard many other systems in between, and so have developed a rather discerning ear as a result.

 

In 2006 I was fortunate to meet and spend an evening with a legend of the Australian Audio Industry, John Burnett of Lenard Audio. I sat quietly in Johns garden shed in awe at the sound of his 4-way active Sarabandes. The power, the immediacy, and realism was something that totally belied their humble looks and relative cost. I knew I was in the company of a true expert of audio design. Time spent reading Johns website and its education pages and learning about his various designs reaffirmed the impact the Sarabandes made on me that evening. This Experience inspired me in 2008, to build up a passive 2-way MTM system using TAD 1601a/4001, this gave me a real taste of what an endgame speaker was potentially capable of. The immediacy and realism that those 15" cones and a 4" compression driver could generate was exciting & intoxicating, but my meagre DIY skills were unable to address the many crossover related SQ issues that plagued the sound and so I eventually sold them on for something more conventional.

 

As I learnt more about Johns designs and his origins in valve amplifiers and high-efficiency systems and his schooling in classical audio science from the 60's, back before marketing took precedence over SQ, I knew that I had to re-visit my unfinished business with high efficiency and TAD. Recently John and I discussed my requirements - superlative realism, uncompromising dynamic range and world class bass capability being three attributes I could not live with out. However, I wanted something that was relatively compact ie under 1.5m and 100kg as I wanted to live with these for decades to come. John told me about a design concept that he had been waiting to realise which had been bubbling away in the back of his mind for at least the last ten years that embodied the accumulation of his lifetime's knowledge. A system that had the attributes I was seeking and the makings of being my endgame system which brings me to the point where I can finally step off the audio merry go round.

 

So, speakerless and determined to own a system approaching the very best, I have commissioned John to build me a 4-way active system based on this concept utilising TAD drivers and dubbed the Symphony. It will utilise 4 x 12" compound cavity loaded bass per side, TAD 1601a for mid bass, a TAD TD-4001 compression driver and the TAD ET-703 horn loaded tweeter. Amplification will be four channels of Johns hand built AB design with active crossovers. I was fortunate to hear an early prototype this last weekend whilst back in Australia and to state the SQ was astounding would barely be doing what I heard justice. I lack the vocabulary to describe the prototypes sound without slipping into the usual audio jargon but it goes without saying, I am super excited at the prospect of owning a system that is truly my endgame. The bass energy was huge and incredibly resolving, John explained that the Symphony bass system was equivalent to 2 x 15" drivers in a sealed 16 cuft box per side.

 

I will keep this thread updated as development work progresses but for now, here's a few pics of the concept to date and some of Johns less WAF friendly work.

 

Cheers,

Simon

Edited by mondie
  • Like 20
  • Love 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 150
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Finally, after nearly four years, I collected the Symphonys last week from a freight agent in Essex. We hired a van for what turned out to be a long day, ten hours driving plus several hours of grunt

My first set of speakers were purchased at the ripe old age of 12 after saving months of paper round money. You could say I was bitten by a love of music and audio quite early, influenced as I was by

Thanks Frank, trust was never an issue knowing John and Pau;l as I do. Once I saw the early Cad design for the Symphony years back I knew I had found what I was looking for - an innovative, compact fu


These Lenard speakers looks incredible, no doubt.

But I can't help but think you could still potentially add a sub-woofer or two to the overall system.

Not really for anymore output but for best in room frequency response, to fill in the gaps caused by bass room reflections.

An in-room frequency response measurement will tell you whether there is potential for bass frequency improvement.

Edited by Satanica
Link to post
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, andythiing said:

The journey continues 

It does Andy but this is the end of the road. I owned the ADAM's for close on 8yrs so contentment is being approached :)

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, metal beat said:

Cool.   Are those bass drivers isobarik loaded?   Don't forget the super tweeter as well :thumb:

I am not sure Shane if Isobark loading is the same as compound cavity loaded, I shall have to ask John. The ET-703 is the tweeter, it goes right out well past the limits of hearing .

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Grumpy said:

So your TADs are gone Simon ?  oh! and g'day, it's been awhile.

 

Yeah Grumps a long time ago, remember you heard the ADAM's at my place in the hills. The TAD's were gone well before that, I am not sure if you ever heard them when they were at TonyM's.

Edited by mondie
Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, out of remission already, Simon?  That didn't last long!;)

 

And getting new speakers of a unique, ground-breaking design made in Oz?  Nice to see nothing's changed and you're still pushing the boundaries.:thumb:

 

Lenard Audio certainly seem to fly under the radar to a large extent, but I think I remember you mentioning them some time back.  And I'm sure someone on SNA reported buying a pair of Sarabandes a while back.  IIRC they had some quirkily-named control adjustments like "presence" and "sparkle". A bit like darTZeel and their "pleasure control"   

 

Great to hear from you, especially when it involves a new audio adventure.  But you're not fooling any of us (well, maybe yourself?) with that bit about "end-game".  I'll look forward to progress reports.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, mondie said:

Yeah Grumps a long time ago, remember you heard the ADAM's at my place in the hills. The TAD's were gone well before that, I am not sure if you ever heard them when they were at TonyM's.

yea l meant the ADAMs Simon, but the site wouldn't let me edit my post for some reason : the site is a little strange today for me.

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Tony M said:

Wow, out of remission already, Simon?  That didn't last long!;)

 

And getting new speakers of a unique, ground-breaking design made in Oz?  Nice to see nothing's changed and you're still pushing the boundaries.:thumb:

 

Lenard Audio certainly seem to fly under the radar to a large extent, but I think I remember you mentioning them some time back.  And I'm sure someone on SNA reported buying a pair of Sarabandes a while back.  IIRC they had some quirkily-named control adjustments like "presence" and "sparkle". A bit like darTZeel and their "pleasure control"   

 

Great to hear from you, especially when it involves a new audio adventure.  But you're not fooling any of us (well, maybe yourself?) with that bit about "end-game".  I'll look forward to progress reports.

Cheers Tony. I have been speakerless for months now and by the time my Symphonys make it to the UK I expect it to be Feb/March next year so this is quite some period of celibacy! I truly believe these are endgame, we are using some of the best drivers available in an innovative design born from the mind of a master at his craft. I dont know where you go after that except smaller perhaps, and for that there is the Sarabandes. Maybe for the retirement home :)

 

You are right on the Sarabandes and Johns naming of the controls, I believe these are terms originating from 60's mastering desks. Better book that ticket over to Wales mate, the horses can look after themselves.

 

Cheers,

Simon

 

Edited by mondie
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Nigel, we ditched Scotland earlier this year when a great job opportunity came up in Wales. Its great to be more central in the UK now, even if we are a little over to the left. We feel lucky to live in what is one of the UK's beauty spots.

On 11/09/2017 at 2:35 AM, Satanica said:

These Lenard speakers looks incredible, no doubt.

But I can't help but think you could still potentially add a sub-woofer or two to the overall system.

Not really for anymore output but for best in room frequency response, to fill in the gaps caused by bass room reflections.

An in-room frequency response measurement will tell you whether there is potential for bass frequency improvement.

Hi Satancia, John engineers all his systems to be free field referenced,  which means capable to deliver their full performance in a free field environment and therefore, not room dependent. The vast majority of sound systems are designed to be room dependent. All Lenard systems are free field referenced with 4 band pass gain controls made accessible to adjust to a room if required. Usually, a reduction of the bass will be made depending on the room. Room treatment is a necessity when playing with speakers at this level otherwise, why bother.

Cheers Simon
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/09/2017 at 3:00 AM, metal beat said:

Cool.   Are those bass drivers isobarik loaded?   Don't forget the super tweeter as well :thumb:

I had to ask John on this Shane, he advises:

"The bass system design is of an isobaric hybrid nature enabling the whole system to be size rational and achieve full spectral bass energy at full power, not just at one watt as most systems are specified. The system is highly tuneable, it is currently tuned for full power down to 35hz free field. "

The bass is life changing but so utterly real and seamless that it doesn't draw attention to itself like it would in many supposedly full range systems.:thumb:
 
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, mondie said:

Hi Satancia, John engineers all his systems to be free field referenced,  which means capable to deliver their full performance in a free field environment and therefore, not room dependent. The vast majority of sound systems are designed to be room dependent. All Lenard systems are free field referenced with 4 band pass gain controls made accessible to adjust to a room if required. Usually, a reduction of the bass will be made depending on the room. Room treatment is a necessity when playing with speakers at this level otherwise, why bother.

Hi, room treatment can be good, but very hard below 80Hz. Also the best position for bass drivers in a room is almost never the same position as what's best for the mids and tweeters. Thus separate subwoofers(s) can be placed in strategic position(s) that are better for bass and the mids and tweeters can also be placed in positions that are better for them, independent from one another. I might be telling you how to suck eggs, anyhow.

 

Cheers.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Andy,

 

Great to hear from you and see you are still lurking. The Symphony's are on a different level to the ADAM's in most areas. There is little that can touch a 15" sealed mid bass and a horn loaded 4" compression driver. I still have your lemon gum cheese board so you shall have to venture across to NW Wales to collect it and have a listen :cool:

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Geek,

John's intention is to bring this product to the most discerning group of people on the planet. He is driven by a desire to completely sidestep the modern audio industry and all its biases and limitations perpetuated by marketing. This is a tough channel to market and will only gain impetus through the products SQ speaking for itself. You would need to drive down to Gippsland for a listen but I can assure you, the experience will forever change your benchmark of what is possible from reproduced sound.

Cheers Simon

Edited by mondie
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Hey Andy,
 
Great to hear from you and see you are still lurking. The Symphony's are on a different level to the ADAM's in most areas. There is little that can touch a 15" sealed mid bass and a horn loaded 4" compression driver. I still have your lemon gum cheese board so you shall have to venture across to NW Wales to collect it and have a listen :cool:
I think it is a huon pine cheeseboard , I will pop over with some cheese and a bottle of McLaren Vale shiraz next time I am in Wales......[emoji41]

Sent from my SM-A520F using Tapatalk

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/09/2017 at 8:55 PM, Satanica said:

Hi, room treatment can be good, but very hard below 80Hz. Also the best position for bass drivers in a room is almost never the same position as what's best for the mids and tweeters. Thus separate subwoofers(s) can be placed in strategic position(s) that are better for bass and the mids and tweeters can also be placed in positions that are better for them, independent from one another. I might be telling you how to suck eggs, anyhow.

 

Cheers.

 

Four way active gives you the best chance of EQing around that.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thats true LP, there are a lot of factors in the whole room interaction situation. If you imagine a sound system consisting of 4” woofers, these would be extremely room dependant as to where they are placed in the room and how many are required. Where as, in an imaginary sound system with a woofer the size of a room wall, it would make no difference where that woofer is placed in the room, or how many you used. Cone area and driver integration around crossover points are critical.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I used to love setting up the double four way PA in my lounge room and playing music through it.

(Cassette or R2R back then)

Varying the crossover points could make a huge difference before dabbling with EQ on the desk.

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, LogicprObe said:

 

Four way active gives you the best chance of EQing around that.

Why four way is best for EQ? What about five way? :ahappy: And the OP hasn't referred to using EQ, I could be wrong but I don't think it's going to happen so not relevant. And remember you can't EQ out nulls. 

Edited by Satanica
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, mondie said:

Where as, in an imaginary sound system with a woofer the size of a room wall, it would make no difference where that woofer is placed in the room, or how many you used. Cone area and driver integration around crossover points are critical.

Perhaps I don't understand how this new setup will work in that you say it's room independent. This is new to me. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nobody is saying that this system or indeed 4-way active is room independent :wacko: Eq is part of the system as you would expect with any active system.

 

4-way active is the sweet spot for driver integration, each driver is only required to cover 3 octaves ensuring each is optimised in their operating window and beaming, IMD etc are avoided.

Edited by mondie
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, mondie said:

Nobody is saying that this system or indeed 4-way active is room independent :wacko:

To quote you: John engineers all his systems to be free field referenced,  which means capable to deliver their full performance in a free field environment and therefore, not room dependent. The vast majority of sound systems are designed to be room dependent.

2 hours ago, mondie said:

Eq is part of the system as you would expect with any active system.

I don't expect that at all. I've seen passive systems with much EQ applied and active systems with no EQ applied. This is in relation to room correction not anechoic speaker correction.

2 hours ago, mondie said:

4-way active is the sweet spot for driver integration, each driver is only required to cover 3 octaves ensuring each is optimised in their operating window and beaming, IMD etc are avoided.

I see no relationship with octave ranges and crossovers. Other than frequencies between 80Hz and 20Hz are omni-directional which as you know means the direction of their source cannot be determined. This crossover point is the THX standard and represents the last two octaves of human hearing, not three. And I think you mean to say IMD is reduced, not avoided. And really to reduce it the steepness of the crossover points not the number of crossover points will far more influence that.

Edited by Satanica
Link to post
Share on other sites

You seem to be mis-comprehending what has been said, or I am not being clear:

 

" John engineers all his systems to be free field referenced,  which means capable to deliver their full performance in a free field environment and therefore, not room dependent. The vast majority of sound systems are designed to be room dependent. "

 

Simply put, Johns designs his systems to be free field referenced, not room referenced (or room dependant as stated). That is different to saying they are not room dependent which is obviously impossible. Nothing to do with 4 way active.

 

"Eq is part of the system as you would expect with any active system. "

 

I would expect any active system to include Eq since it is easy to implement as part of the technology. Doesn't mean it is being used, just that the facility is available. This has nothing to do with whether it is being applied with a passive or active system.

 

"I see no relationship with octave ranges and crossovers. "

 

Me neither, the 3-octave relationship is to do with the driver's optimum performance, not the crossover. My comment is stating that to limit each driver to a 3 octave range you need a 4-way system.

 

Cheers

Edited by mondie
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, mondie said:

You seem to be mis-comprehending what has been said, or I am not being clear:

Simply put, Johns designs his systems to be free field referenced, not room referenced (or room dependant as stated). That is different to saying they are not room dependent which is obviously impossible. Nothing to do with 4 way active.

I am honestly unsure of what these words mean, perhaps I don't have the background knowledge to understand. It seems like you might be highlighting a design aspect of these speakers. Perhaps someone else here can explain what it means. No offense, but you didn't really explain it in your post but rather repeated the sentence.

 

Were you trying to say these speakers are going to be less influenced by the room than most other general speaker designs? Something like the Kii Audio THREE perhaps? At least we seem to agree that this system will at least be somewhat influenced by the room. That is why I suggested a sub-woofer or two strategically placed may help the overall frequency response of the system, in room, does that make sense? Your previous response to this suggestion was:

 

" John engineers all his systems to be free field referenced,  which means capable to deliver their full performance in a free field environment and therefore, not room dependent. The vast majority of sound systems are designed to be room dependent. "

 

So this made me think that there was some design aspect of these forthcoming speakers that totally negated even the idea of having to consider room interaction and as such this course of action. This is what caused me confusion.

 

In the end you can do whatever you want but I've been doing this HIFI thing for a while (like yourself) and I am an absolute unbeliever that a pair of stereo speakers without a well integrated sub-woofer or two or three or four can ever be an end game reference system. Maybe a pair of Kii Audio THREE's which incoporates fancy-smancy wave technology, but even then I have my doubts, especially over it's output levels. Don't think for a second I don't think that what you have coming won't be really-bloody-fantastically-good.

 

Anyway, good luck with it, I'm sure everyone who's read this thread is looking forward to seeing the end result.

Edited by Satanica
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/09/2017 at 6:20 AM, mondie said:

So, speakerless and determined to own a system approaching the very best, I have commissioned John

Knows it all.

 

End game indeed.   Jelly.   :)     [edit:  cos while I have my own  3-way horn system plus subwoofer - from what I know of John yours will be better/best]

Edited by davewantsmoore
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Progress :) The skeleton of my pair is underway and shown here against the prototype I heard and I am happy to see the slightly reduced height and the funky foot incorporating the port for the compound bass. I am struggling to choose a finish though. I like the idea of a funky colour for the horn on a black baffle but that is about the limits of my imagination. I am counting down the days until I have these in my room.

 

IMG-20170927-WA00011.jpg.e81dbdde0bd741e7cc4ad5f02cf368ce.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, davewantsmoore said:

Knows it all.

 

End game indeed.   Jelly.   :)     [edit:  cos while I have my own  3-way horn system plus subwoofer - from what I know of John yours will be better/best]

Thanks Dave. I am curious, have you heard some of Johns speakers in the past?

 

Cheers

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Simon

looks to be an interesting project. Regarding the term free-field, isn't this the same as referencing an anechoic measurement?  Or measurements that are taken in a space that has no near boundaries e.g outside, perhaps on a pole to get away from floor bounce.  

The comment that most systems are designed to be room dependant (I'm paraphrasing) - is this referring to the reinforcement of low frequencies that are commonly seen in specs , I.e freq response 35hz - 15KHz , but "in-room" response extends the LF?

This would appear to 'fit' with the comment that a reduction in the bass output is common depending on room (again paraphrasing). 

John's education pages give a clue to his approach - in 'Principles'  section,

When recording, musicians select the right reverberation for the music.   Once recorded extra room reverberation detracts from the music.   The perfect listening room for recorded music is 100% absorbent at all frequencies (free field).

Hence your comment that room treatment / design is expected. Most ppl won't get to the goal of free field but you can improve on what you have by good room treatment and the ability to tailor the speaker system response (being active, multi-driver/crossover, multi-amplifier,)to emulate the performance closest to the free field reference. 

Im summarising (so leaving out lots of detailed) but do I have the 'gist' (a good English term)of it ?

Reading John's site makes me think I'd like to visit. 

Cheers. Frank. 

 

 

Edited by frankn
Spelling
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Monkey4054
      Hi everyone, 
       
      I'm looking for a new pair of active bookshelf or studio monitor speakers. They will be used most likely on a desk and in a small-medium sized bedroom.
       
      What I'm looking for sound-wise is powerful and tight bass response (as powerful as possible in a bookshelf design), forgiving as possible to poor quality recordings and non-fatiguing treble. I mostly listen to metal and rock music.
       
      My budget is <5k so something along the lines of ELAC Navis, Kef LS50 Wireless, SVS Prime Wireless, Dynaudio LYD 7 etc.
       
      Any suggestions or recommendations will be greatly appreciated.
       
      Thanks!
       
       
    • By PauliD
      Item Condition: Used Shipping Options: Pickup available and you can audition.,Shipping is available at agreed cost. Suburb or Town: Marrickville State: NSW Payment Method: PayID or Cash Reason for selling: No longer required Further information:
       
      I was using these in my WFH setup but I have just upgraded to KEF LSX. The are great bang for buck and paired with the sub (Yamaha YST-SW315 add $50 if you want that to) it is a really fun 2.1 system for an office near field or a bedroom or garage. It would bring a smile to my face every now and then, but upgradeitis gets us all
       
      FYI rest of the system was a Elekit preamp (I am keeping) and a Pioneer N-50A (also for sale).
       
      It's the cheapest 2.1 around at the moment. I have the box for the monitors, power cables and manual so can post them at agreed additional cost. Original price was $500 brought from StoreDj.
       
      https://www.musicradar.com/reviews/tech/fluid-audio-f5-597149
       
      Any questions please let me know.
       
      Photos:

       
      PLEASE READ
      If you are advertising multiple items, you must post one bulk price only, or post seperate ads for each item If you include any reference to pricing whatsoever in this section (excluding RRP), your ad will not be approved If you don't include photographs of the actual item being sold, your ad will not be approved
    • By mobydick
      Item: Accousta 115 style folded horn speaker cabinet
      Price Range: free
      Item Condition:  Used
      Extra Info: Suit Lowther drivers or other full range speaker. Original chipboard boxes in lipstick pink. Good condition but could use a fresh lick of paint. Originally had Lowther PM6A drivers but sold those last year. Pick up in Southbank, Victoria
       
      Please don't forget to report your post as FOUND when possible. (You can now delete this text).




    • By JT1
      Item: KEF LSX
      Price Range: 1,100
      Item Condition: New or Used
      Extra Info: Based in Perth. Preferably looking for white or black.
    • By gypr1961
      Item: Avantgarde Zero 1 XD Active Speakers DSP
      Location: Brisbane
      Price: $17,500 ONO
      Item Condition: Mint
      Reason for selling: Time for a change
      Payment Method: Pickup - Cash, Paypal, COD Only
      Extra Info:

      These are the top of the line model, above the pro model and come with DSP, digital and an analogue (A/D card) for turntables etc.
       
      They are incredibly dynamic! They sound just as good when theyre shaking the house or playing whisper quiet. 
       
      I have all original packing so transport is not an issue
       
      As im going to need a complete new system Im happy to look at trades
       
       
      Specs can be found here https://www.avantgarde-acoustic.de/en/products/zero-serie/zero-1-xd.html
       





×
×
  • Create New...