Fundamentally, the effect of a poor quality system comprising of inferior electronics, transducers and acoustic design is a lack of definition and detail, but equally important in a live audio situation is the distance in which a system can project clear defined audio. To maintain high-quality sound, especially at a long distance, it is vitally important that each part of the audio chain is of the utmost integrity.
The system must be capable of transferring an unchanged sound, including the ambience of a performance over distance at the required level to provide the greatest possible experience for the listener. As the area of coverage increases, the demand grows for system resolution. Sound pressure levels can reach values up to 140 dB, so the emphasis is on the dynamic range of the system. The system must not color or influence the sound quality; it must have minimum distortion and a maximum dynamic range. SLA technology has come about through KV2’s advancements in achieving these goals.
Standard electro-acoustic devices have a limited dynamic range and invariably produce distortion not related to the original signal (Non Harmonic Distortion). This distortion becomes apparent in the high frequency range significantly masking the weaker parts of the signal. This masking has the effect of erasing a large proportion of the detailed information thus causing a significant reduction in clarity. The artificially changed signal makes it impossible to transmit the ambience or real atmosphere of the original sound to the listener, particularly over distance.
Non-linearity of the acoustic system presents Harmonic Distortion, which is related to the original signal.
Multiples of the fundamental Harmonic signal within the spectrum is presented, consisting of even and odd Harmonic distortion components.
- Odd harmonic distortion is caused by disturbances in both half-wavelengths of periodic signal, (Typically established at the amplifier limitation).
- Even harmonic distortion is caused by disturbances in one half-wavelength, (Typically established at high acoustic pressures, as 2nd harmonic distortion is a function of the acoustic pressure).
Listening tests show that odd harmonic distortion is audible form 0.1%, whilst even harmonic distortion is audible form 1%.
Non - Harmonic Distortion
Non-harmonic distortion is not related to the original signal, it is caused by the slow reaction of the system due to inadequate damping of the acoustic components and filters, and this also creates extraneous noise to be added to the original signal, exhibiting unpredictable behavior of the system. A typical representation and expression of non-harmonic distortion is caused by a long settling time, a low sampling rate and poor DSP processing power.
Non-harmonic distortion is extremely audible depending on the character, but is often confused and mistaken as high frequency content within the original signal, in effect masking the true response and thus is unable to be transferred correctly over distance.
The Audio signal consists of many components, harmonics, noises and disturbances across the spectrum and is complex. It is therefore more true to say that its properties are closer to random signals. It follows that the distortion of a complex audio signal creates a complex noise level, which masks and disturbs the low levels of the original signal. Just 1% distortion of a complex signal creates a broadband noise floor at a level of -40dB. Practical tests have proved that we can hear a 1Khz sine wave tone with 0dB level with white noise at levels of -70 to -80dB. What this demonstrates is that a high distortion system will completely mask low level signals, i.e. (The color of sound) All-specific designed KV2 Audio transducers and components exhibit extremely low distortion, (below 0.1%, example –you can hear the singer breathing) and this presents new experiences not previously heard of sound reproduction with clear and very high dynamic definition.
Text and photos by courtesy of KV2 Audio. All trademarks, registered trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners.