What exactly is scale and timing on a speaker?

ajuvignesh

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I have come across 'timing' and 'scale' in quite a few reviews. Q Acoustics 3050i is an example
Q Acoustics 3050i review | What Hi-Fi? (whathifi.com)
"The Q Acoustics 3050i’s performance isn’t short of energy. Echoing their predecessors’ musicality as well as warmth, smoothness and scale, they are also clearer, cleaner, and punchier than the company’s previous midrange floorstanders."

and also

"We start with the wild groove of Jack White’s Corporation. Its experimental approach feels like it was ad-libbed during a protest march, and the manifold patterns, flitting tempos, and stereo interplay make for great tests of timing and rhythmic aptitude"

the second example is a tannoy xt 6f speaker.
Tannoy Revolution XT6F review | What Hi-Fi? (whathifi.com)
"These are versatile speakers, and while they’re happy to bop along with Pharrell Williams they are just as content chilling to Portishead. Timing and dynamics are the key here, and these Tannoys are well endowed in both departments."

So, what exactly is timing and scale in the above context?
 

square_wave

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I will explain in a slightly different context. Hope it helps. Many things need to be seen from a full system context also. Room acoustics, power quality, placement are all key to getting all this right.

Scale is probably a system’s ability to rise to the occasion instantaneously when the music goes from silent passages to loud crescendos. The power handling of the speaker, ability to reproduce micro and macro level details with equal ease and power reserves of the amplifier so that it can send the power to the speaker instantaneously as the speaker cruises through the various frequencies is very important. Many speakers dip quite low in their resistance when the frequencies dip. This puts tremendous load on the amplifier. Speakers / Systems who can do scale well are also called speakers with great dynamics. Micro as well as Macro.


There is something called PRAT. Pace, Rhythm And Timing in a system.

Usually components with great PRAT have fantastic power supply design. Naim is a good example. In many ways what I discussed above applies a lot to the PRAT in a system. But you can have a system that can do scale but sounds from each driver may reach your ear at a different time making the sound less coherent. This has to do with crossover design and cabinet design and driver choices. If designed well, the speaker will be coherent across the freq response. Such speakers are called phase and time coherent speakers. Green mountain audio, Theil were brands who used to give a lot of importance to this.


Get all of the above + Tone and you have a great system ! Tone is where all the fighting is ! Tube vs SS and all that !
 
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Yelamanchili manohar

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I have come across 'timing' and 'scale' in quite a few reviews. Q Acoustics 3050i is an example
Q Acoustics 3050i review | What Hi-Fi? (whathifi.com)
"The Q Acoustics 3050i’s performance isn’t short of energy. Echoing their predecessors’ musicality as well as warmth, smoothness and scale, they are also clearer, cleaner, and punchier than the company’s previous midrange floorstanders."

and also

"We start with the wild groove of Jack White’s Corporation. Its experimental approach feels like it was ad-libbed during a protest march, and the manifold patterns, flitting tempos, and stereo interplay make for great tests of timing and rhythmic aptitude"

the second example is a tannoy xt 6f speaker.
Tannoy Revolution XT6F review | What Hi-Fi? (whathifi.com)
"These are versatile speakers, and while they’re happy to bop along with Pharrell Williams they are just as content chilling to Portishead. Timing and dynamics are the key here, and these Tannoys are well endowed in both departments."

So, what exactly is timing and scale in the above context?
Timing has already been convered I guess. Some speakers sound like they are slow, as compared to precious memories of the track on a different system. This leads to a loss of rythm and is very noticeable on fast paced tracks where the energy is the track is not fully conveyed.

Coming to scale, it is a measure of 2 things. One being the throw distance of the speakers, speakers with huge scale sound equally loud as you move away from them. For speakers with a smaller scale, there is a sense of loss of volume as the listening distance increases. And this diminished scale will lead to a collapse of the imaging.

The second way to describe scale is the imaginative phsical size of the acoustic instrument. On small speakers the pluck of a guitar sounds like the guitar is probably only 2 feet long. As the speakers get bigger with larger scale, the same guitar can look like it extends much bigger. For ex, in my system when I play vocal tracks, the singer's head seems to be 3 times their normal size, because of the bigger scale. Hope this explains :)

And coming to dynamics, the ability to go from whisper quiet to super loud with real speed and no time latency is called dynamics.
 
D

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In terms of the effect on the listeners, ‘scale’ will give you the feeling of grandeur (like listening to the music in a big hall/auditorium) while ‘timing’ will make your head nod and foot tap. Both together, you’d feel like you’re jumping and swaying to your favourite rock band playing in a stadium. Having said that, not all genres need that, and not every listener craves for it. Also because, at a given budget, each sound characteristic comes at the cost of another. I’d think ‘scale’ vs ‘precision’ and ‘timing’ vs ‘warmth’ might be variables speaker designers have to optimise (or select) between.

Technically sounder FMs can please correct my layman interpretation.
 
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ajuvignesh

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Timing has already been convered I guess. Some speakers sound like they are slow, as compared to precious memories of the track on a different system. This leads to a loss of rythm and is very noticeable on fast paced tracks where the energy is the track is not fully conveyed.

Coming to scale, it is a measure of 2 things. One being the throw distance of the speakers, speakers with huge scale sound equally loud as you move away from them. For speakers with a smaller scale, there is a sense of loss of volume as the listening distance increases. And this diminished scale will lead to a collapse of the imaging.

The second way to describe scale is the imaginative phsical size of the acoustic instrument. On small speakers the pluck of a guitar sounds like the guitar is probably only 2 feet long. As the speakers get bigger with larger scale, the same guitar can look like it extends much bigger. For ex, in my system when I play vocal tracks, the singer's head seems to be 3 times their normal size, because of the bigger scale. Hope this explains :)

And coming to dynamics, the ability to go from whisper quiet to super loud with real speed and no time latency is called dynamics.
Thank you. I understood the guitar analogy. So, bigger speakers tend to have a bigger scale? And, how loudness stays the same when distance increases? Is it a psychoacoustic thing that appears that the loudness stays the same as we move away from the speakers?
In terms of the effect on the listeners, ‘scale’ will give you the feeling of grandeur (like listening to the music in a big hall/auditorium) while ‘timing’ will make your head nod and foot tap. Both together, you’d feel like you’re jumping and swaying to your favourite rock band playing in a stadium. Having said that, not all genres need that, and not every listener craves for it. Also because, at a given budget, each sound characteristic comes at the cost of another. I’d think ‘scale’ vs ‘precision’ and ‘timing’ vs ‘warmth’ might be variables speaker designers have to optimise (or select) between.

Technically sounder FMs can please correct my layman interpretation.
Thank you. "feeling of grandeur", Is it the tone of the speaker or the soundstage that gives a big hall-like experience?
 
D

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Thank you. "feeling of grandeur", Is it the tone of the speaker or the soundstage that gives a big hall-like experience?

I am not 100% sure, but I imagine an important factor could be the volume of air displaced by the driver’s cone and its throw. I wasn’t referring to soundstage (though it adds to the grandeur in some ways) when describing scale. So like I’d imaging it’s possible, with the right sound system, to experience large scale with Clapton singing just with his guitar in a large ground, while there might be no soundstage to speak of.

I don’t think there’s any correlation between tone and scale.
 
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jls001

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Consider a large concert hall where a 60-member strong orchestra is playing a musical piece, accompanied by an 80-member choir.

How realistically a music reproduction chain conveys the loudness (or quietness) of the performance, and how well it conveys a sense of the physical size of the performance in terms of width, depth and height, is the "scale" of the reproduction chain.

In the above imaginary scenario let us further assume that the music has loud passages and quiet passages. During loud passages the
listener feels as if a large ensemble is performing. During quieter passages the sound image may seem to shrink but ideally the reproduction must still convey some sense of the size of the performance space.

An example of wrong scale would be a closed-mic vocal recording where the mouth feels like it is 2 feet wide. Such a chain would presumably give an oversized sound stage width, too.
 

Yelamanchili manohar

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Thank you. I understood the guitar analogy. So, bigger speakers tend to have a bigger scale? And, how loudness stays the same when distance increases? Is it a psychoacoustic thing that appears that the loudness stays the same as we move away from the speakers?

Thank you. "feeling of grandeur", Is it the tone of the speaker or the soundstage that gives a big hall-like experience?
I would say..scale is like a gun...the bigger the speaker the bigger the gun having a larger throw.. modern speakers have lifestyle restrictions...thin and small cabinets with small drivers shoved in...so the scale doesn't even figure in the equation. Once we move to large cabinets with large drivers , the sense of scale will start sinking in I guess. When I listen to that track from titanic, the heads of leaorndo di caprio and Elizabeth look gigantic, as that is the scale of the sound I have..yes it is unrealistic....but I would any day take caprio the gaint, against caprio the dwarf:D
 

prem

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In any system, images have to be of correct size. Scaling is what jls001 explained. Scaling doesn’t mean violin or a voice will sound 3 times enlarged. Scaling while keeping image size correct is not easy to achieve. I have heard very few systems in my life do it.
 
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ajuvignesh

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Consider a large concert hall where a 60-member strong orchestra is playing a musical piece, accompanied by an 80-member choir.

How realistically a music reproduction chain conveys the loudness (or quietness) of the performance, and how well it conveys a sense of the physical size of the performance in terms of width, depth and height, is the "scale" of the reproduction chain.

In the above imaginary scenario let us further assume that the music has loud passages and quiet passages. During loud passages the
listener feels as if a large ensemble is performing. During quieter passages the sound image may seem to shrink but ideally the reproduction must still convey some sense of the size of the performance space.

An example of wrong scale would be a closed-mic vocal recording where the mouth feels like it is 2 feet wide. Such a chain would presumably give an oversized sound stage width, too.
Nicely put. Thank you very much.

Thanks all for your reply.
cheers :)
 
D

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In any system, images have to be of correct size. Scaling is what jls001 explained. Scaling doesn’t mean violin or a voice will sound 3 times enlarged. Scaling while keeping image size correct is not easy to achieve. I have heard very few systems in my life do it.
Can you elaborate on this interesting point, @prem? So, this scale, which isn’t in terms of the (imaginary) size of the source (instrument or singer), how is it felt? In terms of closeness/ while actually being at a distance? That is in how good the throw is, or something else? And what might be helping achieve that?

Also the handling of the louder and quieter passages in the track that some posts above mention - is that scale? Or is it dynamic range?
 

prem

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Sachin, image size always has to be real, irrespective of system cost. If it sounds small or big, then you need to see if your room is creating the problem or the system itself. Typically enlarged size will happen if the bass cannot breathe.

Dynamics and a good slew rate is responsible for scaling. This will anyway happen only if everything else is right. Not easy to achieve at all.

Closed mic recoding IME has always given me a more intimate feel.
 

Yelamanchili manohar

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In any system, images have to be of correct size. Scaling is what jls001 explained. Scaling doesn’t mean violin or a voice will sound 3 times enlarged. Scaling while keeping image size correct is not easy to achieve. I have heard very few systems in my life do it.
Well i don't know prem :)

But I have such massive scale and sound stage, that every singer appears to be 5 times their size, and Iam being modest about that :D

And Iam absolutely in love with the huge wall to wall, floor to ceiling sound that I have :)

Of course I don't have much going on in terms of imaging , as the room is too reflective...but there is still a lot of promise :)

And I love the sound I have :)

Any other speaker I hear, even highly rated floor standers sound like small speakers to me now :D
 

Hari Iyer

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scale - every thing should sound accurate. Depends on the recording too as too much compression of the music will alter the scale. Familar vocals are a good source to determine this. e.g. wether kishore or rafi is sounding accurate.
Timing - All sound should appear at the ear at the same time (low, mids, highs) and should not be delayed. Speakers are not the only contributor to timing. Also depends on speaker cables, interconnects, room placement etc.
 
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