First-time listeners to the IRS V in Music Room One are typically impressed with its effortless presentation of dynamics. I have no music in my thousand plus library that challenges it. Whatever is played—from drum whacks to cannon blasts—the system easily sails through it without compression or distortion.
The same cannot be said for most systems and for obvious reasons: their single driver’s linear excursion is often exceeded (even in a 3-way).
The IRS V is a line source of multiple drivers: 12 midranges, 36 tweeters, all sharing the duties normally handled by just one per frequency range. That’s important. Put another way, the cumulative output of 12 drivers is the same as a single driver with 12 times the linear excursion—and that driver does not exist.
Does this mean that you have to own an IRS to enjoy linear, unhindered dynamics? No. But, what it does mean is that you want to focus your next speaker purchase on a system where the designer has taken the challenge of linear excursion into consideration. Most don’t, though a few do in the all-important midrange area where critical dynamics occur.
There are other means of accomplishing this feat of distortion-free dynamic range without resorting to load sharing, but most I am familiar with employ compression drivers or ultra sensitive horns and—well—they have their own limitations when it comes to tonal neutrality.
You don’t need a beast like the IRS to get good dynamics, but it’s also true you’ll never get there with most conventional loudspeaker designs.
It can be done. I hope someone takes the time and effort to do it.