Searching for a closed box or why a whole class of speakers is disappearing

The global audio industry is growing rapidly. The vector of this development is well known, the ability to produce digestible electronics at minimal cost. It would seem that one of the most logical types of acoustic design that does not require anything except accurate calculation, the most technologically advanced and cheap is a closed box (ZY). With this design, it is possible to minimize the resonances of the case, to obtain a relatively flat frequency response, and with adequate damping, prevent the appearance of noticeable standing waves. It turns out cheap and cheerful, which means, it would seem, should be in demand. Meanwhile, if you try to find such acoustics among the current offers of online stores and electronics salons, you will be disappointed.

The range is extremely small when compared with bass reflex acoustics, while the cost of a closed box is significantly higher. Many will certainly be satisfied with the good old YAMAHA NS-6490 or professional monitors from Beringer. There is also a narrow segment of built-in and landscape acoustics, which are quite niche and rare expensive samples for half a million, such as the Graham Audio LS5 / 9f. But in comparison with other types of registration, the percentage of PZ is negligible. This means that today, new loudspeakers with closed acoustic design are extremely reluctant to produce. Under the cut, I analyze the situation and argue about why closed boxes are no longer in demand.

Closed box niche

From a marketing point of view, the target audience of the closed box is the demanding middle class with an above-average intelligence level. On the one hand, these are people who understand well the problems of the bass reflex type that has become ubiquitous. On the other hand, these are those who are not able to pay for expensive labyrinth systems and therefore choose a more technological and inexpensive solution.

These are often engineers and other people familiar with the basics of acoustics. In some cases, the same solution may appeal to poor audiophiles who are obsessed with the idea of ​​the highest possible fidelity of reproduction, but do not have enough money for ultimately uncompromising and equally irrational expensive solutions from the High End marketing class.

We can say that this category of buyers suffers most from the lack of products today. As a rule, they use equipment from a simpler segment, while, on the one hand, they are unhappy with its quality, and on the other hand, when moving to the premium segment, they begin to complain about the cost.

And, it would seem, everything is not so difficult, it is enough to start producing well-designed closed boxes from MDF or plywood, and everyone will be happy. But as usual, the devil is in the little things.

Size problem

I researched the opinion of 60 people who can be classified in the category that I have described. It turned out that the majority (57 people) of them are very interested in the benefits of a closed box. Three of them said it was impressive, but they wouldn’t be ready to change the acoustics quickly. they are quite satisfied with the one that is at the moment. However, when the positive-minded majority found out that in order to obtain the sound pressure, which is usually possible to provide a bass reflex, it would be necessary to increase the volume by 3 times, 38 people refused such a decision without discussing the advantages and weighing the facts. The rest, loyal to such a constructive solution, have lost their unequivocal confidence that this is better.

It turns out that even a solution that completely satisfies the fidelity / cost combination, having much larger dimensions with equal or lower efficiency, ceases to be interesting for the vast majority of potential visitors.

There are 3 reasons for this dislike of size. The first is aesthetic, a speaker of this size can hardly be combined with a modern interior, where columns have become the norm for the last 15 years. The second is pragmatic, AS ZYa eats up the volume of a room that you often want to keep. The third problem is mass, large dimensions are guaranteed to increase the mass of the device, which creates difficulties in the future, for example, when moving or rearranging.

“Weak bottom” as the majority argument

Those who have heard the closed boxes in the form factor of a full-fledged speaker unanimously declare about, allegedly, “weak” low frequencies, which are greatly lacking. I can’t argue with those who love the bottom, at least due to the fact that perception is very individual and there is no standard in terms of timbre accents. At the same time, a fairly flat frequency response of a closed box does not emphasize low frequencies, and lovers of “juicy bass” really lack it there.

It is these statements that form the problem in performance. In fact, by modern standards, the size of such a speaker is disproportionate to the expected sound power of the device. It is too quiet, which makes it difficult to visually assess the maximum loudness. The eternal works: “if they are so big, why are they so quiet, because the neighbor has 2 columns, and it just blows away from them”. And it is for the sake of competition with the neighbor Vasya that seemingly intelligent people who are able to appreciate the advantages of a design completely lose the desire to acquire “quiet speakers”.

Subwoofer as an exception

Subwoofers are the only modern devices among which you can find ZYa. The fact is that those who are well acquainted with physics are well aware of the psychoacoustic effect, when the human hearing is practically unable to localize low frequency sources (below 80 Hz). At the same time, the ZP has a lot of advantages specifically in terms of low-frequency reproduction, such as a decrease in the probability of resonances, the absence of specific PHI overtones, turbulent flows and, due to this, a very flat frequency response. In this regard, ZA have become in demand precisely for the creation of subwoofers. By the way, in comparison with nuclear sources and using passive emitters, they are also not loud enough.

Dry residue

Let’s be honest, despite the big words in the campaign missions, they are all created as a source of income, and accordingly, they care about the notorious “fidelity” just as much as consumers in their market segment demand. And if we look at the marketing appeal of great-sounding, but large, closed boxes, we can see the obvious loss of their renaissance in the form factor of a full-fledged speaker. Audiophiles and pretentious rich people are spoiled for more sophisticated solutions, and the middle class is not ready to sacrifice the volume of small apartments.

Subwoofers are the best solution with ZZ-design today. In the presence of an adjustable crossover, you can adjust the cutoff frequency so that the resonant frequency of the PHI of the stereo pair is reproduced by the sub, and thus get the desired flat frequency response. Also, judging by the products on the market, the center channel acoustics with closed acoustic design are popular.

We are selling Acustic systems… In our catalog there are many of them, if you wish, you can find an AU and subwoofers closed type, speakers with bass reflex are presented in abundance.

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