The drop off in the HF spectrum on the Focal's that you're measuring with the ARC, I would guess to be the result of off-axis roll-off. Typically, when speakers are measured for frequency range, they are done in an anechoic chamber or alterntively using a quasi-anechoic method that involves placing the measuring mic at around 1 metre away from the speakers on-axis. On-axis means that the microphone is aligned directly with the sonic focal (no pun intended) point of the driver. Each driver is measured individually and the total then combined. This measurement technique will capture the full output frequency and eliminate the chance of room absorbtion and/or room reflection from corrupting the results. All speakers have different radiating and dispersion patters so measuring in an anechoic and/or close-miked method helps to make comparision easier or more informative.
The difference in the measurement you have obtained between the Studio's and the Be is probably the result of differences in their off-axis response and dispersion. It could be that the Studio's have got a broader dispersion pattern and therefore more evenly distribute the high-frequencies throughout the room - this can also be a problem as room reflections can have a greater impact. The Focal's may in-fact have a more focused dispersion - so they will sound best within the sweet-spot of the speaker, no more than 15 degrees off axis of the tweeter. I haven't done the reading on these particular speakers, so this is all theoretical to help you nail down the measurement issues you're having. Perhaps try putting the ARC microphone within 1 meter of the Focal and on-axis with the tweeter and run your tests to see if the roll-off is less steep.
In the end, your ears are probably telling you the truth - after all - they are the world's most accurate measurement tool (not yours in particular .... ).
Thanks for the reply.
I did an additional measurement after I posted my last post. This time I had the mic positioned directly 4 feet away from the speaker at the tweeter's height with
1) mic in upward position as recommended by Anthem for ARC (red curve below)
2) mic pointing towards the tweeter in a horizontal position (blue curve)
Curves look the same except from 2kHz and above. Given that tweeter crossover is 2.2kHz, it seems what I have been sweating all along is due to the new speaker Be tweeters having different dispersion characteristics than my old Paradigm Studio tweeter, as explained very well by you above. I can only conclude Digm tweeter is less sensitive to mic positioning and Focal Be tweeter needs careful positioning to sound its best. I do found out I avoided having to have to fix a new set of speakers I just acquired. Not that I think the tweeter is "somewhat broken" from the start because it just sounds so normal, but being relatively new to all this, I can't say I didn't have my doubts.
Secondly, I'm on the verge of taking a great deal for Bryston 4B SST2 amp, do you guys think it'll be good match with Anthem MRX as pre/pro and Electra 1008 Be??
Yes, the Bryston 4BSST2 should provide an increase in performance but how much is unknown. It is a very powerful, linear, low distortion and powerful amp. I own one myself, paired with a Bryston BP6 preamp and am very happy with it. However, my experience has been that unless the speakers are taxing you amplifier and more power and control is reqired, then there is much more in sonic improvements to be gained by changing the preamp.
For example, I had a Bryston amp paired with an Onkyo 805 receiver, which has very good 2-ch performance, and the overall sound was nice but when I changed over to a dedicated stereo preamp, it was a whole different story.
The Focals are very transparent and will therefore tell you the effect of any changes upstream, so will likely show improvements with the Bryston but I'm not sure given their power demands that you'll hear a night and day difference. If you had the larger floorstanders, it would benefit more.
Thanks for these valuable info.
I do have some expectation in check adding an amp. Not necessarily looking for a night and day difference but a little bit more dynamics, separation, the benefits of the headroom and hopefully musicality (lol still a lot). Also, when I crank up music really loud, Anthem receiver seems to give away some sonic performance and experience some listener fatigue. I have a big room (25x18) with opening to the kitchen.
I do want to try some tube or hybrid pre-amp down the road. Something like Peachtree Audio's novaPre. So, I think I do need a reliable amp that is not a compromise for the future additions.
Unfortunately, it's hard for a dedicated 2ch (or 2.1) system at the moment and Anthem still has to carry out its HT duty. Besides, I'm very satisfied with Anthem's subwoofer integration/ bass management that do not feel the urge to improve in that regard.
Lastly, I'd like to ask how Bryston 4B SST2 would compare to Classe CA-2200. Suave mentioned that he had CA-2100 but I think he's pretty busy right now.
Again, thanks much for your time and suggestions.
I actually find the Classe and latest editions of the Bryston amps i.e. SST2, to sound very similiar (which means that both are rather neutral and impart very little sound signature of their own). They both provide loads of detail and transparency. The latest edition SST2 Bryston's have a slight more warmth and have been characterized as tube-like but both are neutral. The Classe has a very clean and precise top-end, whereas there is a little more liquidity that I perceive with the Bryston. It depends if you like a dryer (Classe) or more liquid (Bryston) top end - both being neutral. Don't hold me to this but I would also guess that the Bryston will be exude a little more power. I've never done side by side comparisons so don't hold me to this - it's just my casual perceptions.
Perhaps you would also be interested in Anthem's amplifiers - they are high quality as well; however, you would need to go up to their P-series to match the Classe and Bryston.
I don't thik you can go wrong with the Bryston 4B-SST2, as mentioned, I use one and until very recently Phil Gold, a CHF contributor also had one, only recently surplanted by a much more expensive Modwright bohemoth.
Sorry for my delayed response here kzhtoo, I have been very busy lately. However it sounds like SoundGame did a fantastic job at answering your questions (SoundGame - you're the best buddy!).
I don't have any experience with Parasound, so I would definitely go with the Bryston or Classe Audio amp. Bryston makes their amps here in Canada... so I would lean toward their product.
In addition to SoundGame's statements above, I'd like to add that Anthem's ARC is not designed to measuring speaker frequence response as you have attempted. It would be incorrect to compare this to the manufacturer's speaker specs because manufacturers measure their speakers in an anechoic chamber (which produces significantly varied results). Some manufacturers offer in-room specs... but even those can't be compared to your particular room, as each room can be very different. Anthem ARC's goal is to improve the frequency response in your specific space - not to provide you with a proper measurement for speaker frequency response.
I should also say that I agree with SoundGame's comments about the preamp - a dedicated preamp can have a huge impact on the overall sound of an audio system. Most AV receivers' preamp sections lack in this department. So in the long term you should definitely look into getting a seperate preamp - it will drastically improve your system's imaging and soundstage capabilities.