The graphs below complement the reviews in our April-May 2017 issue of Sound+Image, testing 13 pairs of wireless active speakers. Graphs and their comments by Stephen Dawson should be read in the context of the full review.
Ruark AudioMR1 Mk 2
ABOVE: Ruark Audio MR1 Mk 2, $699: The deeper bass output was at midrange level, down to 110Hz, although there was a five or so decibel boost around 200Hz. Still, compared to the midrange the bass was at -6dB at 80Hz and continued to fall away evenly below that point. No real kick drums from these speakers.
AktiMate Mini+ B
Above: AktiMate Mini+ B (woofer response top, port below), $795: Measured up close, the output from the woofer was almost entirely even from 110Hz to 800Hz. It fell away below that point, but the output from the port kicked in, peaking at around 70Hz. Using the port output as a guide, I’d put the -6dB point at 50Hz and the -10dB point at 44Hz.
Klipsch RW-1 paired
ABOVE: Klipsch RW-1 paired, $449 each, $898 pair: The close-miked output peaked at 110Hz, around 8dB higher than the 300Hz region, and then rolled off gently below that point to around 60Hz (as you’d expect given the sealed enclosure), with the slope increasing a little beyond that point. The -6dB point from the peak was at 57Hz, and from the 300Hz region around 45Hz. Given the size of these speakers, you have to count that as impressive.
Sonos PLAY:3 paired
ABOVE: Sonos PLAY:3 paired (woofer response top, radiator below), $449 each, $898 pair: The output at the front of the Sonos PLAY:3 measured up close (top graph), was flat down to 70Hz with -6dB at 56Hz and -10dB at 51Hz. But it was clear that there was a rear-mounted passive radiator. Measured close (bottom graph) this produced a very pointy peak at 62Hz with output steeply falling away both sides. Its minus -6dB and -10dB points were almost identical at 55 and 52Hz.
System Audio Saxo 1 Active
ABOVE: System Audio Saxo 1 Active (woofer response top, port below), $999: The output from the front of the woofer was maintained down to 100Hz, below which it began to drop away fairly steeply (down 6dB at 92Hz). But this was of course supplemented by the output from the bass reflex port. The port output peaked at around 60Hz, falling away to -6dB at 48Hz and -10dB at 41Hz, which seems impressive. But the port output was actually quite low in level so the effective deep bass was rather lower in level than those numbers suggest. Eyeballing the two curves, I’d suggest the -6dB point was around 60Hz and -10dB at 50Hz.
ABOVE: Yamaha NX-N500 (woofer response top, port below), $999: The woofer output to the front was very smooth from 110Hz up to a kilohertz (probably beyond, but that was our bass measurement limit). Below 110Hz it rolled off to be -6dB at around 68Hz. The peak port output was from 45 to 75Hz, with the -6dB point for that at 41Hz and the -10dB mark at 35Hz. Those figures would suggest a strong kick drum from Rage Against the Machine. But I do the measurements at a moderate level — around 80dBSPL output. I’m guessing that the electronics tailor the sound according to level to protect the speakers.
Triangle Elara LN01A
ABOVE: Triangle Elara LN01A (woofer response top, port below), $1199: The close-miked woofer in the LN01A delivered a flat response from 95 to above 500Hz, with its output down by six decibels at 82Hz. The output from the bass reflex port peaked around 65Hz. I’d judge the output to be down by six decibels at 43Hz, and by ten at 40Hz. Which explains a lot about the bass performance.
HEOS by Denon HEOS 5 HS2 paired
ABOVE: HEOS by Denon HEOS 5 HS2 paired (woofer response top, radiator below), $649 each, $1298 paired: Given the firm grille supports underneath the cloth, it wasn’t entirely clear where the drivers were located, so I measured from centre front and, guessing the passive radiator would be at the back, centre rear. At the front the output was within ±3dB from 60Hz to over 1000Hz with the mid bass slightly elevated. At the back the peak output was from 48 to 73Hz. The -6dB point overall was at 44Hz, and -10dB at -43.5Hz. I suspect a digital high-pass filter to account for the rapid drop-off.
DALI Zensor 1 AX
ABOVE: DALI Zensor 1 AX (woofer response top, port below), $1395: Close-miked, the output from the woofer was flat in the mid and upper bass, and turned downwards starting around 110Hz to be down six decibels at around 90Hz. But of course the bass reflex port pitched in, with output flat from 45 to 70Hz and a symmetrical roll-off on both sides of the peak, down by 6dB at 37Hz and 10dB at 28Hz. What do I say? It didn’t sound as extended as that.
Bluesound Pulse Flex paired
ABOVE: Bluesound Pulse Flex paired, $699 each, $1398 paired: It turned out (see main text) that the bass level wasn’t low at all. When I measured, close-miked, the bass output of these speakers, I was surprised to see that ±3dB envelope encompassed the range from 58Hz to 1200Hz! The bass actually starts falling away at 68Hz. The -6dB point (referenced to the higher band) is at 57Hz, and around 51Hz it gets down to -10dB. So solid, balanced bass covering the upper bass region, but very little in the depths.
Definitive Technology W7 paired
ABOVE: Definitive Technology W7 paired (woofer response top, radiator below), $800 each. $1600 paired: I measured the bass output twice, close miking the bass driver and then one of the passive radiatiors. The latter appeared to be tuned to around 85Hz and produced solid output from 53 to 125Hz. The driver peaked at around 95Hz, up by around six decibels compared to the higher frequencies. It was back to their level at 75Hz and fell away rapidly below that.
KEF LS50 Wireless
ABOVE: KEF LS50 Wireless (woofer response top, port below), $3799: I was surprised when I looked at the graph for the close-miked frequency response test. I’m so used to seeing the treble disappear because I have the microphone in front of the woofer, not the tweeter. But of course, in this case it was centred on both, so the treble was more or less in balance too. The bass output directly from the woofer (top graph) was dead flat to 95Hz and then fell only slowly to be 6dB down at 66Hz. The port output (lower graph) was reasonably flat from 43 to 70Hz, with the -6dB point at 42Hz, and the -10dB point at 37.5Hz.
Dynaudio Focus 20 XD
ABOVE: Dynaudio Focus 20 XD (woofer response top, port below), $7999 to $8499: The close-miked output from the bass driver showed a smooth bass end, diminishing very gradually as the frequency descended from 100Hz to be down by a mere three decibels at 62Hz. But of course the bass reflex port has its contribution to make. So what did it do? Again measured close, its contribution was virtually flat from 30Hz to 70Hz. I’ll say that again: 30Hz! Minus six decibels was at 28Hz and minus ten at 26Hz. Compact speakers, eh?