|Betsy Baffle Questions|
I receive many questions concerning the specifications of the Betsy Baffles
It has been my experience that "the numbers" don't always tell the entire story .....
However, the following should provide some basic information
which will be helpful to those who want to know if Caintuck Audio Betsy baffles
will work well in their audio system. If you have additional questions, please
feel free to email me : Caintuck.OB@outlook.com
Randy in Caintuck
The Wild Burro Audio Labs Betsy 8" drivers are 92.4 DB efficient
The Betsy drivers are a nominal 5.9 ohm impedance
Because of the dipole configuration, the efficiency of the drivers
is enhanced ..... which makes the effective efficiency higher.
Therefore, the Betsy baffles have approximately the same
sensitivity as a pair of "box" speakers rated at 95 DB efficiency
Please don't make the mistake of thinking that the Betsy baffles perform like
a "budget loudspeaker". They are reasonably priced for the "sincere but broke
music lover" but sound like a much more expensive loudspeaker. With a high
quality front end and amplifier they will provide truly excellent sound.
In addition, the Betsy baffles do not sound "small" .....
With a good recording, the stereo image / soundstage is
"life sized" and extends out into the listening room, behind the
front wall and past the side walls with excellent ambience and "air".
Stereo Times review
Six Moons review
Since there are no crossover components, they work VERY well with low powered
amplifiers, even two or three watts per channel. The Decware Zen (vacuum tube),
the Spud (vacuum tube) and Flea Watt (chip) amps all provide more than enough
power for reasonable listening levels. The main listening room at the
storefront I operated in 2016 was 35' x 17' with an 11.5' ceiling
and I never heard any of these amps clip or sound compressed
with the Betsy Baffles in this room ..... while listening to a wide variety
of music at a satisfying volume level with life sized instruments and vocalists.
Amplifiers with more power can certainly be used, but are not needed.
One of the most frequently asked questions relates to the size
of the listening room needed for the Betsy baffles.
Most owners of Betsy baffles have listening rooms that
range from 12' x 12' to 12' x 16' and report good results.
As previously mentioned, the Betsy baffles work well in
a much larger room, even with a low wattage amplifier.
A few of my customers have listening rooms smaller than
12' x 12' and are content with a "nearfield" listening position.
However, of the many pairs of Betsy baffles sold, only one
pair was returned to me. After the purchase, the buyer revealed
that his "listening room" measured 8' x 8'. He stated that the
speakers sounded very good in his larger family room, but his
wife was not agreeable to moving the audio system into that room.
Therefore, in most cases, I recommend a minimum listening room
size of 12' x 12' to hear what these speakers are capable of.
If your listening room is larger than that ..... all the better.
As previously mentioned .....
despite the modest height of the baffles, the sound stage "floats" several feet
above the tops of the speakers, behind the front wall and beyond
the side walls on recordings with appropriate imaging content.
It's a pretty amazing "sonic illusion".
One caveat ..... my taste in music leans heavily toward acoustic instruments
and vocals with some electric instruments thrown in to the mix.
If you are a "head banger", the Betsy Baffles will play your music ... but my
honest opinion is that you would be better served with a different type
of loudspeaker. The Betsy Baffles are intended to allow the listener to
enjoy the beauty and subtleties of well recorded music and are not designed
to be "party speakers" ..... there are better choices for that type of listening.
There are many ways to listen to music. For some, it is simply "background noise"
but most of my listening is done in a setting best described as a "private concert".
Here are a few musical suggestions in various genres that will allow
owners of Betsy baffles to appreciate the capabilities of these speakers :
Almost anything by Dire Straits / Mark Knopfler
"After Hours" by John Pizzarelli
"I Thought About You" and "Take This Journey" by Christy Baron
"Nice 'n' Easy" by Houston Person
"Tribute to Duke Ellington" by Burton and Leonhart
This CD is a real gem .....
Any well recorded jazz ensemble
"Over and Even" by Joan Shelley
"Devotion + Doubt" by Richard Buckner
"Just a Little Lovin'" by Shelby Lynne
"Live at the Mauch Chunk Opera House" by the Wailin' Jennys
"Baja Sessions" by Chris Isaak
"Jacintha Is Her Name" by Jacintha
Almost anything on the German Stockfisch label
A couple of very good choices are
"Just Like Love" by Steve Strauss and "More Pearls" by David Roth
The special qualities of a single driver dipole open baffle loudspeaker
allow the listener to enjoy the subtleties in these recordings
in a way that is very involving and natural sounding.
As with anything else in audio, poor recordings cannot be made to
sound good on revealing equipment and the Betsy baffles
are no different in this regard. Garbage in ..... garbage out.
The modest price of the Betsy baffles allows a person to spend their audio
dollars on a higher quality front end and amplifier and (best of all)
to increase their music collection.
Any of the amplifiers mentioned above (and many others) will give excellent results
with the Betsy baffles. Highly musical front end equipment is now available for a
very reasonable price. I can recommend the U-Turn Orbit analog turntable, the
Onkyo C-7030 CD player and the AudioQuest DragonFly USB DAC
(for lossless computer generated audio). Each of these sources punches way
above its price point and will provide a level of performance equal to some
very well regarded high dollar gear from just a few years ago.
I recommend taking some time to experiment with speaker placement.
Distance from the room boundaries (front and side walls) can make a huge difference
in the quality of the image and the tonal balance. Speaker "toe in" is also important.
For serious listening, place the baffles at least 3 feet from the front wall if possible.
The light weight and rear mounted handles make moving the speakers easy to do.
As to frequency response, a graph has been provided (below) to show
the capabilities of the raw Betsy driver. In the speakers I build, the low
frequency response drops off pretty quickly below 80 HZ.
A third baffle can be added with a plate amplifier powered Caintuck Audio
Alpha 12" or 15" driver to create a "full range" open baffle system.
The 15" model goes lower in frequency ..... the 12" model is faster and "tighter"
Open baffle bass has a natural sound and integrates well with the Betsy baffles.
Conventional subwoofers can also be used and are easily integrated.
Having said that, many music lovers will be satisfied with a pair of Betsy
Baffles with no supplemental bass. Moving the baffles nearer to the
corners of the room increases the perceived bass response.
Your mileage may vary .....
As to high frequencies, you will notice that the Betsy driver (red line) drops
off around 12 or 13K by a few DB, but still has decent output to 20K.
I rarely find myself wanting more high frequency output .
I previously offered a Betsy baffle with a "helper tweeter" that went out to
30K and a toggle switch to enable / disable it, but most of my customers
are quite happy with the "civilized" top end from the Betsy drivers.
The speakers have a nice sense of "air" and openness and the upper
harmonics of most instruments are rendered very well, in my opinion.
I intentionally designed the Betsy baffles to be simple and light weight
which minimizes production and shipping costs, however some owners
might want to "tweak" the speakers to maximize the performance.
Some possible modifications that have proved useful for speakers in general :
* Place spikes or cones under the bases of the baffles *
* Place weights on the bases of the baffles *
* Damp the baskets of the drivers *
* Add additional bracing between the baffles and the bases *
* Attach a layer of cork to the backs of the baffles *
Any of these modifications has the potential to change the sound of the speakers.
I neither recommend nor discourage any of them and suggest enjoying the
speakers in their stock form before trying any of the above modifications.
Please remember that "different is not necessarily better".
Musicality is the ultimate goal.
Happy listening .....
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