We will continue to add to this list and keep it updated as a source of unedited, unsolicited comments for your review.
Note: Reality Technologies is the parent company of Involve Audio and therefore you may treat the two as one in the same company. The different reviews, testimonials and forum discussions may reference either one.
This Speaker Deserves Fame and Fortune! Nakamichi Dragon Electrostatic
Firstly, there is a bit of a sad story with the Nakamichi Dragons (also known as the Whise HA1500). They were produced by Charlie and an Australian design team in collaboration with Nakamichi Japan and Rob Mackinlay of ER Audio, around 2008. About 200 pairs of the Naks were produced in a Chinese factory employing up to 70 people. And, this is the bad part …2008 was the year of financial turmoil in the World, the year of the GFC and bank failures – as a result, Nakamichi pulled support from the project, the factory was closed down and it all went belly up. Its a VERY sad tale as the speaker itself is an absolutely world class product and deserves fame and fortune. The Naks were meant to compete in the price range of $12,000 – $18,000 loudspeakers.
As to the design features, firstly, it is an ACTIVE loudspeaker with 400w/ch of Class AB amplifiers on board. This means that all you need is a source with volume control to use it, namely direct from a CD player, iPod or computer audio (so long as you can attenuate volume at source). The electrostatic panel is a Rob Mackinlay design with ultra thin super-fast membranes capable of doing 20kHz of feathery detailed treble (very few stats can do 20kHz). The panel is driven by a 100w/ch on board amplifier with a crossover point at 250Hz , meaning that the panel is relieved of bass duties, this is critical in allowing the panel to play at high volume levels up to 110dB. The bass section is also driven by a 100w/ch amp and is a sealed isobaric box using 2 x 8″ woofers in a bandpass design that is limited at 350Hz, meaning that no voices come out of the woofer, bass is specified to perform down to 26 Hz @ +/- 6dB …a pretty impressive figure for such a small box.
Now as to the sound of the speaker …in a nutshell it sounds fabulous. It is definitely in the $10-15K (or more) class of commercial loudspeakers that I have heard or owned over the 30+years in this hobby. The Naks sound refined and balanced with all the detail at the transient edges as you would expect from an electrostatic, they have a huge soundstage and are capable of playing VERY loud without stress or compression. One word of warning they need to be fed with the best music material, source and recordings …good recordings are excellent, less good just comes across that way …well, less good. Try and have them out about 5′ in the room for good imaging. From what I am hearing thru’ the Nak Dragons, vinyl source sounds the best …its not that they are only good with vinyl – as badly recorded vinyl will still sound bad. You just need to throw the best recordings at the Nak spkr anything less will sound less good, this is their achilles heel, but they are not to be blamed as they are just telling it like it is. On some stuff they sound just OK, on good recordings quite exceptional, you need to be patient with them as they just tell it like it is and – not very forgiving of average recordings. I imagine in a dealer’s showroom they could be a bit of a hit-n-miss affair and misconstrued as somewhat bright sounding, but get them into the right acoustic space with superb source and recordings and they will sound like World beaters.
Any caveats with the speaker? While the speaker is beautifully constructed, there is not an external nut-n-bolt to be seen – it is locked up tighter than an Egyptian tomb! I am concerned as to how you would service the speaker should an amplifier or a woofer goes wrong, you can’t seem to get into them too easily? I suppose you could always hire Indiana Jones (or Charlie) to break in ;-))
One final word on the bass integration between the boxed isobaric woofer and the electrostatic panel, IMHO, the integration is nigh on perfect and the quantity of bass puncheswaay above its weight and size! Well done Charlie and Whise on the bass, in fact, well done on the whole project of putting this excellent Australian loudspeaker out there on the World stage!
In the end the Nakamichi Dragon/Whise HA1500 loudspeaker is a very competent, loud playing, excellent sounding, compact and sexy speaker package …you can’t really ask for much more can you?
PS: No affiliation with Whise/Reality Tech, other than I am a happy customer …
Reality Technologies – New surround technology
NEW SURROUND TECHNOLOGY FROM AUSTRALIA
Hello to all members of the forum, having just joined this is my second post so if I infringe the rules in anyway please inform me!
Reality Design Pty Ltd is a audio electronic research company based in Melbourne Australia. Our team has contributed to designs such as:
2007 CES design honoree:
Nakamichi Dragon (was Phoenix) Electrostatic loudspeaker (discontinued)
2012 CES award for Innovation in home theatre:
Liquid Base 8mm glass panel electrostatic loudspeaker
Whilst electrostatic loudspeakers seem a world away from the subject of home theatre they have definitely been a major inspiration for our work in surround sound.
SURROUND SOUND – OUR VIEW (hope we do not offend!)
I think we can all agree that the ultimate aim for surround sound is to place the listener (all the listeners) in the original sonic environment that the recording was intended to be. How we achieve this generates debate and can provide fertile ground for confusion and misdirection.
In the mid 1970’s the first mass market attempts were made with a myriad of not very compatible systems such as SQ, QS, RM, CD4 etc. Aside from the poor cross compatibility between the systems that created market confusion all systems only worked for one position within the listening room. For all other positions the center and rear image would wander left or right dependent on where the listener sat. In addition all systems had sonic problems of either poor separation, surging, pumping or other sounds. In addition to all this partners (wives and girlfriends) would not like the center channel as it was often not compatible with the décor of the room.
As a result market continued to be dominated by stereo which at least provided a good quality sound (in the sweet spot).
Surround really to proliferate in the market around the mid 1980’s when Dolby did two great things. They provided a center channel that assisted in maintaining a center image for those in the room that were not in the sweet spot. Most importantly they provided a strong safe and secure market name on which major consumer electronic companies standardized.
Since then there has been little innovation and only slight improvement. However consumers, commentator’s audiophiles and sound companies have all noted, and many have commented on the many shortcomings of current surround technology. These include poor decoding of stereo sources, lack of a smooth continuous frontal image, center image under or above the screen and a poor or lack of rear image.
Today the market is primed for additional technical advances in that it is looking for a true 3D (including height) system. Current 2D systems do not provided this in spite of the marketing peoples attempts to hoodwink consumers!.
The main solution to-date for improving surround sound offered by the industry seems to be the addition of more and more channels such as 7.1, 9.1, 11.1, 22.2 and up! Apart from not solving the problem of consistent imaging in all seats very few homes would cope with more than 5.1 speakers. The result has not been the great commercial success such systems had hoped for. More recently we have seen the promotion of wave field synthesis techniques that can solve the consistent imaging problem and produce 3D sound but at the expense of between 60 and 900 individually controlled and driven speakers! In this writers opinion this will never fly commercially. Even in commercial Cinemas there will be an insufficient return on investment to install and maintain these expensive and necessarily complex systems.
It is our view that the world today requires a system which will meet the following specifications
1. Produce a full circular surround sound without preference for location, whether it be front, back or sides.
2. Produce this sound without surging, or pumping or adding any artifacts.
3. Be capable of producing this from current recordings i.e stereo recordings.
4. Enable all listeners in a room to hear surround sound and thus eliminate the “sweet spot”.
5. Remain compatible with the stereo or surround sound equipment in place today.
6. Produce a full 3D sound including height.
7. Achieve all the above with a minimum of speakers and no more than 5.1
Reality has achieved this.
We have developed:
INVOLVE is the most advanced surround decoder developed to this date. Unlike virtually all of the existing analogue decode systems that are based on the old SQ matrix equations, we have based ours on the Sansui (Takahashi) QS matrix equations. Like QS our system is fully symmetrical in all directions.. We can encode full surround into stereo so that no one can hear the difference to a raw stereo track. The system is capable of up to 40 db separation in all directions without any sonic artifacts such as pumping, pop sounds and surges.
All SQ based encode/ decode systems struggle to produce a convincing rear surround as the matrix is heavily left/ right biased. Sansui’s QS has always offered the potential of the most symmetrical matrix platform but due to the real complexities of the variomatrix and the difficulty to realize stable electronics for this complexity it had previously never reached its full potential.
INVOLVE has taken the original QS equations and has produced
1 The super intelligent INVOLVE encoder (patent pending) produces an encoded “stereo/ INVOLVE” two channel mix that is indistinguishable from the original stereo recording. This was a key issue with the old QS recordings – the sound stage width was significantly reduced. Our intelligent encode has solved this problem and like QS is fully mono compatible.
2 The INVOLVE decoder (patent pending) like the better QS decoders uses a 3 band system complete with a variomatrix style DSP controller. However unlike existing matrix decoders we have incorporated a series of psychoacoustic factors into the variomatrix control equations. In addition all processing is fully digital and as such INVOLVE does not suffer from tolerance issues
3 INVOLVE 3D is achieved by using 4 signal channels (two for the lower and 2 for the upper). Due to the extreme linearity of INVOLVE a full 3D sound field is achieved with the advantage of full stereo compatibility with a bandwidth only twice that of stereo.
Involve is capable of an unprecedented accuracy of stereo decode and in our instant A/B tests against discrete systems the listener cannot tell the difference (actually when pushed most “preferred” INVOLVE – but it is close). It has a net advantage of full stereo compatibility with full surround and minimum bandwidth.
We can provide full test results on request.
We are awaiting our new plastic molded enclosure but we should have initial stock in 2 -3 months. Meanwhile we do have a limited quantity of approximately 20 units in a metal enclosure (see pictures). Two versions are available – the basic unit with 2 channel virtual and 4 channel decode $325, and the more advanced unit 2 channel virtual and 4 or 5 channel (including center) for $395. We are discussing licensing the system with some major CE’s but given administrative delays it could be a while before you see it incorporated anywhere.
TOTAL PERSPECTIVE (patent pending) is a system that produces consistent stereo imaging regardless of where the listener sits within a room. This is achieved with the use of 2 (stereo) or 4 speakers (surround) and eliminates the need for a center channel. A person can walk around the room and the center vocalist or instrument will remain in the same position and not wander from left to right. In addition to this the system is ideally suited to automotive surround / stereo as all 4 occupants are sitting away from the central sweet spot.
Trials of audience reaction to TOTAL PERSPECTIVE have been conducted with a general result of no listener preference for or against TOTAL PERSPECTIVE in the sweet spot and a virtually universal preference for TOTAL PERSPECTIVE when the listener is off center. That is, TOTAL PERSPECTIVE produces consistent and correct imaging in all positions, without degrading the image in the central sweet spot.
Extending this concept to surround it is possible to use only 4 speakers to achieve full consistent surround in all positions of the room (including rear field positioning).
Physically the system requires a 4 channel amplifier to be used for stereo, 8 channel for surround. The amplifier requires special processing and Total Perspective designed speakers are also required. Thus current systems are not capable of Total Perspective and additional or upgraded equipment is required.
Total Perspective 3D has been tested with a 3D recording. It is capable of providing a full 3D surround in a medium sized movie theatre with just 8 audio channels . Most importantly it provides 3D sound to all seats of the house without the need for a center channel. This is important to theatres as perforated screens to allow speakers to be located behind the screen are not the best option for 3D as non-perforated screens project a better 3D image.
We have produced an 8 channel 100w per channel amplifier incorporating Total Perspective and Involve. See picture. We are currently working to reduce the production cost. and also the designing of a TOTAL PERSPECTIVE/ INVOLVE preamplifier.
In approximately 3 months we will have ready for sale miniature Total Perspective speakers. These units operate from 80Hz – 20kHz and thus require an external subwoofer.
We are offering the system for licensing to amplifier and speaker manufacturers
The below color charts show the effect of TOTAL PERSPECTIVE against that of plain stereo. YELLOW zones represent good imaging GREEN acceptable.
TSS is a 2 channel surround virtualizer that produces a convincing surround to 70% of listeners and an enhanced width for the other 30%. We believe our TSS virtualizer is the equal (or better) than other known commercial virtualizers. We developed it to complete our IP portfolio, so we can offer properly decoded and reproduced surround from just two speakers.
What we can offer in addition to this is the use of TSS with TOTAL PERSPECTIVE. This produces an enhanced surround experience to ALL listeners in the room – not just the one in the sweet spot.
This is a step towards the ideal of (one or two) speaker surround in all positions in the room from just a stereo source (if you want).
Please note our INVOLVE decoder box comes complete with TSS ability.
For more information please visit our website www.reality-design.com.au
Charles Van Dongen
CTO Reality Design Pty Ltd
Reality Technologies Surround Master – General Technical Questions
Last edited by oxforddickie; 01-18-2013 at 11:26 PM.
I’ve decided to start this thread in response to the original thread being split into two, but leaving a hole.
This thread is for technical questions regarding the units QS and SQ decoding abilities only.
Reality Teck Involve Decoder – proper QS decoding? – test results
Last edited by oxforddickie; 01-28-2013 at 04:48 PM. Reason: added new link
Seeing as my original post has been removed, here’s the file for people to try out.
The difference is quite obvious
Only those with serious remarks on the results of the test need comment……
To view full thread use the direct link.
INVOLVE ENCODER SAMPLER
Last edited by Bob Romano; 10-13-2013 at 03:17 AM.
I was lucky enough to receive an Involve Encoder to test out and I now have a sampler available for download. There are 10 tracks:
01 AIX Channel Check
02 Steely Dan – Bodhisattva (Q8 4.1)
03 Deep Purple – Highway Star (SACD 4.1)
04 Spinners – I’ll Be Around (QR 4.1)
05 Santana – Black Magic Woman (QR 4.1)
06 Beatles – Golden Slumbers Medley (DVDA 5.1)
07 Britney Spears – Toxic (5.1 DVDA)
08 Frank Zappa – Zeets (DVDA 5.1)
09 Billy Joel – Movin’ Out (SACD 5.1)
10 Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Lucky Man (Steven Wilson version) (DVDA 5.1)
There are 2 separate sampler with the same tracks – one in Involve and one in QS – also encoded using the Involve Encoder. All sources were from discrete sources (even Golden Slumbers) and encoded to stereo. As with any matrix type of recording, it will never be 100% discrete however the results (IMO) are quite impressive. The really remarkable thing is that the mixdown of 4.1 or 5.1 sound like proper stereo with no artifacts. Burn and play in Involve 5.1 or QS 4.1.
I do not want to list the links here but if you PM me I will hit you back with the links. The zip files contain a wav and cue file that can easily be burned to a cd using ImgBurn.
INVOLVE – COMING NEW TECHNOLOGY
We are pedaling in the background working on a bundle of new things. Sales of the Surround Master into the consumer market has been poor and we have found that the major stores are not really interested in a new “add on” accessory from a bunch of colonial unknowns located in the arse end of the world. In short the product requires some consumer education that the shops are unwilling to do. Bugger!
Undaunted we then asked what the “great unwashed” consumer market does understand and it turns out they like a complete “one stop shop ” approach where they buy a box that goes between their source/s and speakers and out pops surround sound where the user never has to worry about what surround setting is best – just connect to stereo and let Involve take care of things. Use your existing speakers.
Well here is the early pre proto look at what our new add on woofer (dual 8 inch)/ 6 channel class D/ pre amp/ Involve decoder looks like. Please note the rear control board has not arrived from the metal worker yet and is a paper stick on. On the woofer is no chump – its the same as we used in the Nakamichi Dragon electrostatic hybrid – really flat to 24 Hz.
We are also working on a non sub woofer version- will preview shortly.
INVOLVE SQ – IS COMING
Just thought I would start a new thread on the coming SQ unit.
The latest news is that Dave –IS WORKING ON IT. Every time I walk past his office I see the algorithm up on screen and stuff being jiggled around.
Please feel free to ask questions or suggest ideas!
To view full thread use the direct link.
Best. Customers. Ever.
Just wanted to show you something that arrived from one of our customers today.
This isn’t a hint by the way, it’s just….never had this sort of thing before. It’s pretty special
To view full thread use the direct link.