Mega D'Appolito Speakers - The Holy Grail?

The engineer, scientist and author Dr. Joseph D'Appolito has a speaker arrangement named after him, a vertical array of mid-Woofer, Tweeter and mid-woofer. There is more to it than this, as the good Dr. has written quite a bit about crossover design needed to achieve good results.

I'm not necessarily talking about a true D'Appolito speaker though. I'm rather thinking of large speakers which have a central tweeter in between increasingly larger drivers. MBL, Dunlavy, Von Schweikert, Legacy, Gryphon all have built some version of this idea.

What do you listeners think? Is the dynamic range, detail, transparency, distortion and imaging consistently better than other type of designs?



I have very different opinions of some of the above mentioned speakers. Which suggests to me that perhaps some other things might be more important.
I have Living Voice Avatar 2's that are also based on his design and I love them.
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So many designs shine with proper implementation. As you know, Eric, for a D'Appolito, optimizing the MTM vertical off-axis response and achieving the best mid-mid comb filtering response are givens.  Here's why I like MTM - in theory: I prefer cone midrange drivers over cone midbass drivers, but I also want as much midrange cone surface area as I can reasonably get for "scale" (for lack of a better descriptor). Nice 6-8 inch dedicated midrange drivers exist, but beaming at crossover frequency and breakup at top end come into play much more than with most 4-5 inch mids. My "one of" MTMWW loudspeakers use a pair of 4 inch mids, with a 200 cm2 total surface area. I use an older "non cell" 1.2 inch Accuton tweeter between them, in part for the very short 82mm per side square face plate (sound nice, too). The larger diameter tweeter lets me cross at 2kHz, well below both midrange driver beaming and significant combing frequencies. The 1.2 inch may have a bit less sparkle at the very top compared to its 3/4 inch brother, but my aging ears probably couldn't tell. This particular MTM has the qualities you listed, and the midrange "presence" with the smaller cones makes a difference I believe. I haven't heard a WMTMW, but smaller woofers should generally sound better in upper bass/low midrange and still move as much air as a somewhat larger single driver. My previous speakers had a 15 inch woofer, and I prefer the 9 inch bottom WW woofers I now have. 

Unsound: Your comments absolutely apply. Driver synergy, crossover design, enclosure materials/construction are as/more important.
Now we are getting into the weeds of a slightly different topic. When I started this thread I was thinking more of the W M T M W type of design, or W W w m t m w WW like the mega speakers use. I borrowed the good Dr.’s name to kind of illustrate a design for which I have no better name for than "mega D’Appolito." Maybe I should have said "Multi way, vertically symmetrical around the tweeter."

But this is not a bad path either.

The original Focal-JmLab Utopia series had a couple of M T M W designs which kind of qualify too. I also very much liked the idea of having the mids tilted inwards a little to improve the phase alignment. Wilson also seems to like the idea and uses it in the Alex among other designs.

So you like lots of midrange surface area to improve dynamic range?

I like the Scanspeak 6.5" mid-woofers a LOT. They measure much better than on paper. Not sure if they ahve been improved since original, but they are much easier to deal with and cross over well around 2 kHz. Also love the rich warm sound.
Is the dynamic range, detail, transparency, distortion and imaging consistently better than other type of designs? 

The  OP's example speakers are all fairly unique not only to each other but to most speakers in general, and some cases carry (ied) some rather lofty prices compared to most typically bought speakers. I'm not at all surprised that commonality is somewhat limited. That said; I'm not sure that the outlined driver alignment alone would necessarily have provided overwhelming commonality in more typical speakers either.
Is the dynamic range, detail, transparency, distortion and imaging consistently better than other type of designs?

I would say not really so much,only tiny differences in presentation.

Like Ricred I also own the Pl-500 from Monitor Audio. For this money you will never find this level in sound quality.

It outperforms in stage depth, width and especially in diversity in height the Magico speakers.

But the D’appolito system creates a level in physical appearance you seldom wil hear. It makes voices and instruments so much more physical tangible.

Beside this the level in grip and authority is of a different level compared to other speakers who have no d’appolito system. The ease and accuracy in grip is really impressive.

There are no absolutes in audio, only preferences. There are many, many outstanding speakers to choose from.
At SpeakerCraft/Marcof we were building MTM arrays before Joe came out with his well deserved praise for his development. Joe was trying to eliminate lobing error independent of inter-driver phase relationships.  Most of the time Joe used all 18db slopes and drivers that had a smooth transition in the mid band. I could speak extensively here,  but If I read the ops starting message, I think the main question by the op is... Are larger speakers that incorporate an MTM design, inherently better in some way than other methods. 
Done well,  I would normally rather listen to a very good MTM over the same drivers in a 2 way design.  However, when you step into large 3 way or 4 way well done speakers.  I cannot say this is the case.  Many large speakers sound quite good in dynamics, a large midrange transducer to have that extra air moving in the mid band,  shoot,  I've heard some pretty terrific 15 inch 2 ways. So for a direct answer, I would say no. The attributes that you mentioned are not necessarily better in an mtm over a non mtm in Large speakers.  Legacy Aeris comes to mind as a great example. 
Hi @timlub
Thanks for your contributions, here and elsewhere.

I _really_ did a poor job of explaining myself. I'm really not thinking of D'Appolito 2-ways.

I'm thinking more of large expensive towers with drivers arranged vertically around a tweeter which are at least 3-way designs.

So it sounds generally that you agree, midrange surface area/dynamic range is a big deal, more so than the lobing and arrangement of the drivers?



Sound contains different parts and all these parts influences our emotion. These parts have nothing to do with personal taste. This is a 100% nonsense story what most people believe. I also believed it for a long time.

When an audio system can reveal more parts on which sound is being build it will become more intens and emotional. No audio system what reveals less parts on which sound is based will be chosen by anyone.

Most systems are imcomplete based on the fact that these people build their system on trial and error. And they have no idea which properties each single part in their system owns.

You want an audio system that sounds as real as possible and be able to reveal as much details and information what is on the recording.

You only will buy incomplete audio systems based on the lack of knowledge and wrong advice. Each single person on this planet will always choose for that sound what can reveal as much information of the recording at the most natural sounding way.

Trial and error is an ineffective way of choosing any audio system and this is based on facts. They let people believe that this is the best way of creating a personal system by taste.

This is 100% nonsense, because you can never control or build any audio system when you have no idea what the properties are of each single part in your audiosystem.

Trial and error is like gambling. When you cannot answer what the properties are of the loudspeaker you own, you have no idea what it is able to reveal. Because most loudspeakers are incomplete based on facts.

They miss essential parts on which sound and music is based. What is missing can never be created by anything. This part is missing, so you never can reveal all the parts of the recording. And it doesn't matter what you connect to it, it will always be incomplete.

You only can understand audio when you understand music and sound. And how it is being formed and which properties each part in your audiosystem posseses.

Then you can build and control your own sound. When you change a part in your audio system and you cannot answer the question; which properties you took out by changing this tool for this tool. You have no idea  what you are doing.

This is audiogambling based on facts.