Am I the only one who doesn't like Ascend Acoustic's Sierra-1's??? - Page 3 - AVS Forum
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post #61 of 450 Old 02-27-2008, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Randybes View Post

I certainly think it can be for some people. Have you looked at the measuremnts for example of the Wilson speakers at Soundstage. Many of them don't look that neutral to me, but they are claimed to present music as real as it gets. Is it neutral or are we measuring the wrong things-I sure don't know.

Actually...I think it is some kind of secret formula(because I don't know what it is) rather than one measurement.

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post #62 of 450 Old 02-27-2008, 12:47 PM
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Actually...I think it is some kind of secret formula(because I don't know what it is) rather than one measurement.

Like CocaCola
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post #63 of 450 Old 02-27-2008, 12:50 PM
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Actually...I think it is some kind of secret formula(because I don't know what it is) rather than one measurement.

It's TrueSpace® digital processing circuitry.

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post #64 of 450 Old 02-27-2008, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Warpdrv View Post

Just to be a little more clear, that was posted within the first few days I got them. Its funny, as I first got them I thought they sounded pretty good to me, but as time went on, I just couldn't figure out what was missing on them....................

Yes, as I said, it is ALWAYS best to let the 'newness' wear off before posting critical comments regarding speakers, PARTICULARLY if your out-of-the-box reaction is "WOW!". This can take several days, even weeks.

Conversely, if one is disappointed with a new speaker purchase, as the original poster seems to be, it is best to put away the speakers which are potentially being replaced, and listen diligently to the new speakers for about a month (if possible). During this listening period, try not to find fault with or notice what may be seemingly missing from the new speakers relative to your older ones, but instead, try to as objectively as possible listen for new and positive differences in the sound of the new speakers. You will find that as you listen to more of your CDs, you will begin to notice more subtle differences (some postive, some negative) that you may not have heard upon your first impression and evaluation. Then, once you feel like you have gotten used to the sound of the new speakers, without yet listening to your old speakers, re-evaluate how you feel about the new speakers. THEN you can pull out your old speakers for a critical listen. If you still prefer your old speakers, then it is obvious what to do.

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post #65 of 450 Old 02-27-2008, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Randybes View Post

Like CocaCola

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Originally Posted by Sneezy View Post

It's TrueSpace® digital processing circuitry.


LOL!

I just glanced at the review of the Wilsons. I am not familiar with the reviewer. The stands alone are twice the cost of Sierras!

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post #66 of 450 Old 02-27-2008, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by cschang View Post

dc....you have heard the MTS's as well?

Too neutral? Is that even possible?

By too neutral I guess I mean too laid back.
I prefer a speaker that's a little more forward in it's presentation....
like the Sierra's
I like a speaker that has separation of instruments and vocals.
Detail is good but not at the expense of bass response and the Sierra's give me both without being too edgy sounding.
Sort of a mellow detail, if you know what I mean.

dc

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post #67 of 450 Old 02-27-2008, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by DreamCatcher View Post

Sort of a mellow detail, if you know what

I think Randybes mentioned it before, but the Sierras seem to pick up the lowest level of detail. IMO, the smallest nuances are present without any harshness.

Your comments of the Be-718 echo some of my thoughts, but I always try to factor in my possible bias and tastes that have grown on me because of the Ascends/Sierras.

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post #68 of 450 Old 02-27-2008, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by cschang View Post

I think Randybes mentioned it before, but the Sierras seem to pick up the lowest level of detail. IMO, the smallest nuances are present without any harshness.

Your comments of the Be-718 echo some of my thoughts, but I always try to factor in my possible bias and tastes that have grown on me because of the Ascends/Sierras.

Yep, the Sierras excel, IMO at (low level) detail. I have to feel that is partially because of the cabinet, but I am not an expert. I didn't even stay at that hotel that makes you one.
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post #69 of 450 Old 02-27-2008, 01:56 PM
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Yeah.... the Sierra's really impressed me in the short period of time I had listened to them... Very Detailed and powerful. A totally different sound then the B&W's... the cabinet was extremely solid... like a brick...

Almost like a canadian speaker, forward....


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post #70 of 450 Old 02-27-2008, 01:59 PM
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I've measured an awful lot of speakers. And I really can't think of one that didn't sound pretty much the way it measured. And that includes speakers at the very high end of the price scale. I always listen first, and then sketch what I think the frequency response will be. I don't claim to bat 1000, but I am well over 500. If there's a big bulge at 800 Hz, you will hear it. A depression at 2800 Hz? ditto. I can't really do super clean waterfall plots, so I can't verify the audible effects of superior cabinet construction. In that regard, however, I thought the Sierra's cabinet really did produce a cleaner midbass. As for frequency response, there was a very good series of posts showing the Sierra's response profile, and once again the Sierra I had in hand sounded like that measurement. That's not a negative or positive comment--just my opinion that by and large we are measuring the right things.
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post #71 of 450 Old 02-27-2008, 02:22 PM
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I was the lone person to admit liking the SVS floor standers at the SE WI shootout. At least the only person that posted. Basically my reasoning was that they were neutral sounding. Something that I am used to in my bright listening environment. The earlier neutral comment in this post and give them time about the sound of the Serria's compared to the B&W's made me think of the process of tweaking a speaker by boosting treble or base for whatever reason (boredom?), usually because the recording or movie seems to need a tweak. After a while your initial settings will now look like the inevitable smiley face equalizer curve, and after setting everything back to flat you say that sounds great.
I liked all of the speakers, but I theorized in the long run the SVS speakers would not require tweaking. Same thing for the Serria's. I like the idea of putting the B&W's away and listening to the Serria's for a time, and then re-introduce the B&W's. It was a love fest for the Sierra's especially given their price. Hope it works out for you.
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post #72 of 450 Old 02-27-2008, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Murphy View Post

I've measured an awful lot of speakers. And I really can't think of one that didn't sound pretty much the way it measured. And that includes speakers at the very high end of the price scale. I always listen first, and then sketch what I think the frequency response will be. I don't claim to bat 1000, but I am well over 500. If there's a big bulge at 800 Hz, you will hear it. A depression at 2800 Hz? ditto. I can't really do super clean waterfall plots, so I can't verify the audible effects of superior cabinet construction. In that regard, however, I thought the Sierra's cabinet really did produce a cleaner midbass. As for frequency response, there was a very good series of posts showing the Sierra's response profile, and once again the Sierra I had in hand sounded like that measurement. That's not a negative or positive comment--just my opinion that by and large we are measuring the right things.

I would defer to Dennis on all things having to do with measurements. I also think he is very sensitive to the way instruments (especially acoustic instruments) should sound. I wish I had those kinds of ears-but alas I don't.

I just don't advise him to go to the ultra high end forum and have to deal with that physics guy-I won't go back up there.
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post #73 of 450 Old 02-27-2008, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Randybes View Post

I certainly think it can be for some people. Have you looked at the measuremnts for example of the Wilson speakers at Soundstage. Many of them don't look that neutral to me, but they are claimed to present music as real as it gets. Is it neutral or are we measuring the wrong things-I sure don't know.

Many audiophile type speakers are deliberately designed with certain frequencey response abberations to "grab" the audiophile reviewer. Usually this involves a bump in the mid-bass and the high frequencies. Described by speaker manufacturers (off the record) to reviewers as the old "boom and sizzle".
Not saying that Wilson does this, but I've read it in Stereophile before.

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post #74 of 450 Old 02-27-2008, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Just for the sake of commenting...

I have the Sierra's lit up with AFI's "DECEMBERUNDERGROUND". It's loud in here!

Still listening with British ears though...

Little speakers.......BIG SOUND!!
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post #75 of 450 Old 02-27-2008, 04:15 PM
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While I don't think they are that little, I agree that they play pretty big.

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post #76 of 450 Old 02-27-2008, 04:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ascend View Post

I received a phone call inquiry from someone who stated that he was thrilled to read that you are initially disappointed with the Sierra-1. His reasoning was that everything he read was so positive that it seemed too good to be true and he was beginning to wonder whether we were actually paying people to leave comments.

Tawaun needs to stop with that shenanigans
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post #77 of 450 Old 02-27-2008, 05:04 PM
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lol

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Norah Jones's "Come Away With Me" album: The track "Don't Know Why" sounded wrong. The piano doesn't sound like a percussion instrument. It sounded more electronically produced. It had no metallic quality that I was used to hearing. My kids play piano and I'm very familiar with the sound. The B&W's produce it well, the Sierra's do not. But the worst thing of all is that Norah's voice was piercing and made me squint my eyes a little. Her voice was not sweet or warm and sultry. Instead her voice was smooth and very strongly midrange pronounced. Again, I'm sorry if this sounds moronic. I'm trying here.

Just a note about Norah Jones Come away with me. I listened to it a bit yesterday and today, which was somewhat tedious, but I just don't happen to agree that it's a great sounding cd. Right the first track, it seems that you can hear her voice clip (mic during recording?) during the loud voice passages... Or maybe it's distortion, I'm not exactly sure what it is, but there seems to be a sort of fatiguing harshness to her voice. IMHO, and I say this knowing many will disagree since I couldn't the number of times I've heard people use it to demo speakers, I think it's really not a great recording, and although some speakers will somewhat fix it with faithful reproduction then you can hear it, and I don't think it's a playback flaw... I think it's really the way her voice sounds on the recording. Sure some speakers can color it, somehow 'fix' it, but imho, speakers shouldn't 'fix' recordings, it should simply play them accurately. You can find a ton of other recordings where voices sound simply gorgeous, I just don't think NJ CAWM is one of them, well not track 1 or 3 at least... To me it sounds somewhat off, not just on Sierras, different headphones too...

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Originally Posted by Randybes View Post

I would defer to Dennis on all things having to do with measurements. I also think he is very sensitive to the way instruments (especially acoustic instruments) should sound. I wish I had those kinds of ears-but alas I don't.

I just don't advise him to go to the ultra high end forum and have to deal with that physics guy-I won't go back up there.

Just an observation concerning the "sound pretty much the way it measures".

The trouble is, where do you listen to them, in an anechoic room? Unless you're listening in a really controlled environment that you're intimately familiar with, it's next to impossible to discern 'speaker sound' vs room... I measured the Sierras in my room and depending on the speaker placement and mic position, it will measure and sound very differently.

In my room, the only EQ adjustment I ended up making was a +1dB at 2khz and +0.5dB at 2.5, and when that's done, it's pretty much flat (considering inroom) from 600hz and up at the listening position.

Looking at the Ascend measurements, the dip seems to be at like 2dB from about 3khz to 3.3khz. Soundstage's seems it a little bigger, from 3khz to like 4khz, again around 2dB at worst.

So in the end... Can you really tell a 1-2 dB depression which spans around 1khz in a room? Room interactions will have a lot more effect than a small 1dB dip like that... My room is moderately treated, mainly first reflections & absorption panels at key locations, so not a studio but really not bad as far as home listening rooms go imho, and to be totally honest, the RTA & Mic said there was a 1dB dip there, but I couldn't tell you if it was the case or not. I've A/B'd more than a couple of times EQ'd vs bypassed, and 1dB dip (well as it turns out in my room) as it ends up is pretty inaudible to me.

My experience is basically that you're hearing the room just as much as the speakers. And even when you're familiar with the room, the way the speakers interact with the room due to placement (distance from rear wall, side walls, toe in, distance between speaker) and the listening position (distance from speakers, listening position in room, not directly in center, etc..), it's just insanely difficult to really get the perfect picture of the speakers, it's basically impossible IMHO. I could place the speakers/mic a certain way and get a measurement, move them slightly and get very different measurements... By just throwing speakers in a room you'll probably get nothing which looks like anechoic measurements... So how can you tell when the speakers are sounding like in an anechoic room and that you're not hearing room interaction?

So sure, you can somewhat compare speakers in the same room, but then again, just by moving them around or changing the listening position, you can drastically change the sound you hear. So how do you know which is the real speaker sound? IMHO, not many would be able to detect a 1-2 dB dip in a speaker like Sierra (around 3khz) in room... So just an observation concerning the "sound pretty much the way it measure". In my experience, speakers very rarely sound the same way they measure. What you basically always end up hearing is reflections, room modes, gains, nulls... A whole lot of stuff other than how the speaker measures in an anechoic room at 1m and 1 watt...

Here's an example of measurements in room I remember seeing. http://stereophile.com/floorloudspea...21/index4.html Now that I'm rereading it, the comments he makes seems to be pretty much parallel to what I'm trying to say
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post #78 of 450 Old 02-27-2008, 05:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok. Finally found some music that loves the Sierra's...or would that be the other way around?

The Talking Heads (one of my favorite bands ) sounds freaking good. I'd even say awesome. Punchy, crystal clear, and loud! All good. Every track thus far.

Other stuff tonight:
AFI=OK
Green Day=Eh...

Just so you know, this is NOT music I normally listen to on my home stereo. I don't know why, I just don't.

I have to say it again. These little guys just love Talking Heads. Tracks I don't normally like even sound cool enough for me to stop and listen! At least there something I'm liking... Oh yeah, Patricia Barber's "Modern Cool" is fairly good as well, but the B&W's would still win the victory with Patty. B&W's would lose big time with the Heads though.

BTW: If speakers do break-in, these Sierra's are on their way.

I also have a friend coming Monday after work. He likes a "warm" sound (or so he thinks) but owns B&W's (585's I think... floor standers). We like a lot of the same music and he loved my B&W's powered by my Sony DA4ES (which he now owns). We'll see how that goes...
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post #79 of 450 Old 02-27-2008, 05:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, now I'm feeling a little weird. I know I still have my British ears, but listening to Mr. Jones, Sax and Violins, and Nothing But Flowers (all Talking Heads for you non-fans), I would absolutely SWEAR I was listing to my B&W's. The sound is open and airy. I'm even going to say "colored"! I've never noticed these particular tracks sounding awful on the B&W's. Compared to the sound of these Sierra's, these tracks on the B&W's should have made my ears bleed.

I like the sound of these tracks a lot!
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post #80 of 450 Old 02-27-2008, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by TJHUB View Post

BTW: If speakers do break-in, these Sierra's are on their way.

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Ok, now I'm feeling a little weird. ......................I would absolutely SWEAR I was listing to my B&W's. The sound is open and airy. I'm even going to say "colored"! I've never noticed these particular tracks sounding awful on the B&W's. Compared to the sound of these Sierra's, these tracks on the B&W's should have made my ears bleed.

I like the sound of these tracks a lot!

Quit posting. Keep listening.

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post #81 of 450 Old 02-27-2008, 05:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Quit posting. Keep listening.

All happening at the same time. Stereo on, me in sweet spot, and wife's laptop all at the same time.

It doesn't matter anymore tonight. I just got shut down again because of my kids. I'm trying to find something to ground them for so they can't watch any TV.
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post #82 of 450 Old 02-27-2008, 06:27 PM - Thread Starter
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lol



Just a note about Norah Jones Come away with me. I listened to it a bit yesterday and today, which was somewhat tedious, but I just don't happen to agree that it's a great sounding cd. Right the first track, it seems that you can hear her voice clip (mic during recording?) during the loud voice passages... Or maybe it's distortion, I'm not exactly sure what it is, but there seems to be a sort of fatiguing harshness to her voice. IMHO, and I say this knowing many will disagree since I couldn't the number of times I've heard people use it to demo speakers, I think it's really not a great recording, and although some speakers will somewhat fix it with faithful reproduction then you can hear it, and I don't think it's a playback flaw... I think it's really the way her voice sounds on the recording. Sure some speakers can color it, somehow 'fix' it, but imho, speakers shouldn't 'fix' recordings, it should simply play them accurately. You can find a ton of other recordings where voices sound simply gorgeous, I just don't think NJ CAWM is one of them, well not track 1 or 3 at least... To me it sounds somewhat off, not just on Sierras, different headphones too...

There is no way I'd argue against this. I'm not one to use Norah Jones for critical listening at all. I like some of her stuff, but I only used her music to judge how a familiar sounding female voice would sound. It seems every speakers changes the subtle tones of female voices and sometimes not for the good. This was the case with the Sierra's for me.
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post #83 of 450 Old 02-27-2008, 06:28 PM
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This is exciting! I love this hobby, except it's more like an all consuming obsession. Keep listening!! =) Well, after you ground your kids.
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post #84 of 450 Old 02-27-2008, 06:50 PM
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Have you tried any of the Jack Johnson material? We listened to that quite a bit at the WI meet.
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post #85 of 450 Old 02-27-2008, 06:57 PM
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I've lost the links to the relevant measurements, so I can't verify whether it's just 2 dB or greater (which I recall it being). But yes--that will be audible in a room. For any given room, speakers that measure differently using quasi-anechoic software will sound different in that room. While there will be modes specific to the particular listening environment, you will still hear differences between speakers. They may all create a peak at 80 Hz if that's what the room introduces, but if they have different profiles in the 2-4 kHz region, they will sound different in the 2-4kHz region. Same room + different responses=different perceived sound. I'm not quite sure what the stereophile measurements are showing. They invoke 1/3 octave smoothing, so that blurs things considerably. But I don't see how they show that dips and peaks in the very sensitive 2-4 kHz region will be inaudible
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post #86 of 450 Old 02-27-2008, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jspielmann View Post

Have you tried any of the Jack Johnson material? We listened to that quite a bit at the WI meet.

Sorry, no Jack Johnson for me. Never really thought much about his stuff. I'll look into it. I'm always on the hunt for something new (for me). That's how I found Patricia Barber just recently. Cool stuff.
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post #87 of 450 Old 02-27-2008, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by TJHUB View Post

Sorry, no Jack Johnson for me. Never really thought much about his stuff. I'll look into it. I'm always on the hunt for something new (for me). That's how I found Patricia Barber just recently. Cool stuff.

I like Jack Johnson and need to pick up his latest. I also have Patricia Barber "Nightclub" and "Live - A Fortnight in France".....great stuff!

Can't listen to my system rignt now either. My daughter is practicing the cello.

-curtis

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post #88 of 450 Old 02-27-2008, 07:30 PM
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I should clarify a couple of things--this is a very complicated area. My main point is that speakers that have uneven measured response will sound colored. But I'm not saying that any speaker that measures flat will sound great. There are many ways to achieve flat response, and some are just wrong. Anyone who can download the relevant software, take measurements, and operate a mouse can achieve a pretty flat response just by using the system optimization feature, which beats the individual driver response curves into submission to produce as flat a response as possible. But the crossover frequency may be totally wrong for those drivers, and the phase relationships may be equally off. And then there's the whole issue of on-axis vs. off-axis response. Flat on-axis response won't mean much if there are severe peaks and holes in the off-axis response. (Unfortunately, we don't really know how the human ear processes off vs on-axis response, so it's difficult to tell just by measurements when you have a serious problem.) Also--although the 2 dB dip I discussed in my previous post will be audible in direct comparison to a speaker that is flat in that region, that doesn't mean the dip will be a serious problem. There ain't many speakers that are free of a 2 dB variation somewhere along the road. Oh--and did I mention that I design crossovers for another on-line company (albeit in a higher price category than the Sierra)? There--I think I'm covered.
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post #89 of 450 Old 02-27-2008, 08:09 PM
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A peak at 80hz is unfortunately not the only effect most rooms will introduce. Put the speakers in a room, run some measurements, then move the mic a bit, move the speakers, and the measurements will be different, not only @ 80 Hz. A 1-2 dB variation in a speaker frequency response is, imho, a rather moot point compared to the effect that the room will have on the resulting speaker's sound. The FR can easily vary by 5 or more dB vs anechoic measurements. It varies depending on placement, listening position, room, etc...

To be able to get in room the same frequency response that you would get in an anechoic room, placement and listening position would really be critical, and even then, they definitely wouldn't be the same. My inroom measurements doesn't look like Soundstage's and I'm sure it sounds very different than the speakers in an anechoic room.

But anyhow, maybe you meant that you measured the speakers at the listening position when you said: "I've measured an awful lot of speakers. And I really can't think of one that didn't sound pretty much the way it measured." then I would have to agree. But as I said, in my experience, most of the time you end up half listening to the room and half the speakers. So what you hear, while at the root being the speakers themselves (and in some way what you can see in FR graphs from anechoic measurement), is not only the sound of the speakers, but also sounds bouncing off surfaces, with some frequencies reinforced, others reduced, room echo, etc.

Also different speakers benefit from different placement, replacing one speaker by another on the same spot might not be ideal for one even if it was for the other. And again, changing the speaker position or listening position would again change what you hear. So all I wanted to point out is that, people actually don't hear speakers as they measure. If they did, things would be much more simple. What they actually hear is very different than the 1 watt at one meter measurement in an anechoic chamber.

So in the end, 1-2 dB in FR would be pretty minor to the effect a room has on the sound of speakers. Is it really inaudible? As I said, I can't say that I could positively differentiate my 1dB EQ correction on/off when I A/B'd it.. I doubt most people could hear it either as it's really not all that obvious. I'm not saying you can't/couldn't hear either as I don't pretend to have perfect hearing, but when most people go audition speakers, it's usually in an unknown environment, where speakers are often not in the optimal placement. What they hear is definitely not how the speakers measure in anechoic room... Unfortunately... Since the room can easily affect the FR by 5dB, hearing a 1-2dB difference in the FR would be really hard IMHO, and given that what you're hearing is always affected by the room, it's somewhat hard to assert that it comes from the speaker... It's not like you can remove the room from what you're hearing only to leave the speakers...

Anyhow, most speakers I've heard didn't sound like they measure in anechoic. Most weren't optimally placed nor were in perfect rooms either... So even if I had perfect hearing and could trace the exact FR I hear, it would look very differently than anechoic measurements... So I guess you could say I'm somewhat skeptic of identifying a 1-2 dB dip in FR in room I'd always be thrown off by the room!

But... But I don't see how they show that dips and peaks in the very sensitive 2-4 kHz region will be inaudible. They wouldn't be inaudible. Just very hard to identify and differentiate from room interaction... Ex: When FR varies +/- 3dB, room adds another +/- 5dB, identifying a 1-2 dB dip at 2.5-3khz really isn't that easy. Will it actually be audible in room? As I said, in my room, with my measurements, it shows more as 1dB... It can be measured, so it's there, and 1dB is audible... But I can't seem to hear it, and I'd be impressed seeing someone consistently identify such subtle (well to me!) differences. Though like I said, I'm hardly the reference, someone working with crossovers all the time would surely have an easier time than me!
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post #90 of 450 Old 02-28-2008, 06:45 AM
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I don't want to get too hung up on the 2 dB figure. In many cases, a 2 db dip will be in close proximity to a 2 dB peak, or 3 db, or whatever. My point is that room effects are a constant--they don't change that much when you switch from speaker to speaker. So you can still hear underlying differences in speakers. I have a volume-compensated, remote control preamp switching mechanism I use to instantly compare speakers from my
listening position. Even fairly subtle differences in tonal balance displayed in my measurements have always been readily apparent when I play music in the room and compare. If you're ever in Washington D.C., drop by and I think I can prove my point.
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