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post #1 of 496 Old 07-11-2009, 02:43 AM - Thread Starter
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There is no perfect speaker . . . because no two recordings are alike. This became crystal clear when I installed a Mac Mini in my rack that I use as a music server. Having instant access to hundreds of different recordings makes it quite apparent just how different each album was mastered. I don't how many times I've heard someone say that they want to hear what the artist / recording engineer intended, and then they set out to buy the most accurate speakers (and front end gear) that they can afford (myself included).

While this is an admirable goal, I really think we are fooling ourselves. There are just too many variables, that come into play. It's a moving target. There is the tonal balance of the monitors (and the microphones I've recently discovered) used at the recording studio vs. the speakers you own, the type of speakers the engineer / artist expects the music to be played back through, and the level that they mastered the music vs. the level you like to listen to. There are probably other factors as well, but these are enough to make the point.

Recording studio monitors vs. your speakers - If the recording monitors are tipped up in the treble (for example) and you have speakers that are flat through the treble, there is a good chance that recordings made with these monitors will sound dull through your speakers. Are you hearing what the artist intended in this situation? Not unless the frequency response of your speakers matches the studio monitors. And how will you ever know unless you were there? So even if your speakers have perfectly flat response in all directions from 20Hz - 20KHz, it is highly unlikely that you will ever know if you are hearing what the artist intended.

Microphone quality / character - I recently picked up the 1st Stereophile Test CD. Track 5 is a reading of an article the was recorded using 18 different microphones. It was surprising to hear that many of them imparted a distinct character on the sound. Some obviously sibilant, others sound closed in, and some sound very transparent and natural. If this is the case, and you have some reference tracks that sound overly sibilant, thin, etc., it might not be your speakers at all, it could be the mic used for the particular recording you are listening to.

Engineer's / artist's assumptions of the consumer's playback system - This one won't be news to many here. I think many have heard the tales of sound engineers having intentionally crappy speakers on hand to emulate what they think there music will be played through. If you listen to only audiophile recordings, you're pretty safe, but if you like Rock / Pop, there is a good chance that the master was intentionally mucked with to sound good on an iPod or Boom Box. So those highly accurate speakers you own are about as far from being able to provide the "intended" sound as you can get.

Reference volume - Dance club music is expected to be played at party level, while jazz at moderate to low levels. Since the human ear is less sensitive to bass and treble at lower volumes, the recording engineer may boost the extremes to get the balance right on the Jazz album. If you like to listen to your Jazz at high-ish volumes, they will likely sound bright and boomy, or you may unknowingly buy speakers that that are rolled off a bit in the extremes to compensate for high level playback of recordings that were EQd for a lower reference level.

Hearing ability of the recording engineer / artist - If the engineer / artist has any hearing loss, they may compensate for the loss in their EQ of the mix and what you hear through your system will not be what the engineer heard. Hopefully the engineer is responsible enough to have their hearing tested and apply the compensation needed to the playback system rather than the recording, but there is no guarantee of this.

Considering all of the above, and with some help from conversations with fellow AVSer "mpmct", I've come to accept that EQ is my friend. It's pretty broadly accepted these days that EQ can be helpful in compensating for the effect of the room on the sound, and this can give you a good foundation to work with (I use room EQ), but I'm talking about good old manual EQ.

I've typically owned somewhat bright speakers because I have a thing for detail and like an "open" sound, but I've found that there were many Pop / Rock / R&B recordings that sounded edgy and aggressive through these speakers. Now that I've changed to speakers with more balanced treble response (with some help from room EQ) very few recordings are offensive, but the recordings that sounded balanced on the bright speakers now sound a little shut-in and lacking detail. This is where something like iTunes EQ comes in quite nicely. Since I listen to all of my music through a Mac Mini (all lossless files), with iTunes as the interface, I simply assign an EQ curve in iTunes to those albums that need a little help, and leave it flat for those that don't. The cool thing is that you can have iTunes automatically engage a different EQ curve for each song or album.

We all have those recordings that are obviously bad, but it's those tracks / albums that sound pretty good overall, yet they leave you wanting in some way-- those are the dangerous ones. It was these subtle deficiencies that often lead me down the path of thinking I needed to change speakers, when all that was needed was a little "personal remastering" of some of my music. Artist's intent be damned! For instance I have the original CD pressing of the Scorpion's "Blackout" album, and the recording quality is crap. I don't think anyone would expect a better set of speakers to change this. I had to really goose the upper/mid bass and slightly raise the overall treble level to get it to state that was even remotely enjoyable. On the other hand, I've come across a couple dozen albums that sound slightly dark or shut-in (out of the hundreds of albums I own). When I hear a few of these tracks in a row, they get me thinking that there is something lacking in my speakers. Thankfully, all it took was a 2-3 dB boost of the treble region to make them satisfying. It wasn't same for all of them, as some responded better to a lower treble lift, some mid treble, some high. So it takes some fiddling, but it goes pretty quick once you get familiar with how the different filters affect the spectrum of the music.

If I would have come to this realization sooner, I probably never would have gone through roughly 13 different sets of speakers over the course of 8 years in the search of the perfect speaker. What can I say, I'm a slow learner.

Now I'm not saying that EQ will fix every problem, as I've had some speakers in the recent past that had "character" that I couldn't EQ out of them. And there are attributes to speakers that have nothing to do with their frequency response curve, such as the size of the soundstage they project, their dynamic capability, their resolution, etc., but if you are considering a new speaker purchase because some of your music is dissatisfying, EQ is worth a try, and it may save you some money and heartache.

Below is a link to download that microphone demonstration track from the test CD I mentioned. There is no notice as to when a different mic is being used, other than a slight pause in the reading, but it should quite evident when it happens. It's an ear opener for sure.

http://www.mediafire.com/?zmua3zmikmh

PS - the title of my thread is in no way intended to be disrespectful to the the perfect speaker thread started by Nuance. That thread is full of a lot of useful info and insightful speaker reviews, and I very much enjoyed being a part of it.
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post #2 of 496 Old 07-11-2009, 03:25 AM
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good insight

similarly we all dont hear the same.

cpu8088 - OLD and SLOW !!!
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post #3 of 496 Old 07-11-2009, 04:06 AM
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Agree in full. There are speakers that have more dynamics than others and some with less coloration than others, but they all do the same thing. Each with its own "flavor".

I made the same point here:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...=#post16734178
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post #4 of 496 Old 07-11-2009, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MLKstudios View Post

Agree in full. There are speakers that have more dynamics than others and some with less coloration than others, but they all do the same thing. Each with its own "flavor".

I made the same point here:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...=#post16734178

Hey MLK -

Yeah, we are pretty much saying the same thing, though you made your point much more succinctly than I was able to.

I hope you don't mind that I copied what you said in the pro monitor thread a posted it here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MLKstudios View Post

I tend to go back to my artist/engineer dichotomy. Some may call it the right brain/left brain division. Again, it seems to fit this discussion.

Let's imagine a flat wire with gain 10 Hz to 100 kHz amp, with zero distortion and a speaker with perfectly flat anechoic 10 Hz to 40 kHz response, in a well treated room with an advanced EQ that brought it back to a perfectly flat response, with enough power to reach 140 dB or more.

I think from an engineering viewpoint, we'd all agree that would be an ideal. A goal most of us strive for in our equipment purchases.

Now, when I play one song on our ideal audio system, the artist in me wants to boost the midrange; or on another song, I may want to boost the bass and high end. As Dr. Toole has stated, the recording engineer has no standards in his choice of monitors, room treatments or settings. He is simply trying to make it sound good on the equipment (likely good equipment) he is using at the time.

Am I wrong to want to tweak the sound to my ears, or should I accept that the engineer did a perfect job using the best tools available, and agree with whatever sound is thrown at me?

I guess my point here, is that without an audio standard, the best we can do is what the recording engineer has done. We just don't have as many knobs and levels to play with as he does.

My reason for making the original post was to hopefully help someone avoid the new speaker merry-go-round. For the first few years in this hobby, I naively thought that if I had perfectly accurate speakers, that all of my recordings would sound good, or at least that I would be hearing what the artist intended. Well there are enough recordings out there that don't sound pleasing through an accurate playback system, that I was going to remain frustrated, confused and disappointed if I didn't take matters into my own hands with EQ. At the end of the day, we need to do whatever it takes to make us happy, and sometimes that means throwing our ideals out the window.
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post #5 of 496 Old 07-11-2009, 11:57 AM
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Tim,

You did a great job explaining the reasons why a "perfect speaker" doesn't exist -- there are simply too many variables.

What I find amusing is when some "audiophile" has finally achieved his ideal system, and then notices all the errors in the recordings. Reminds me of Sisyphus.
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post #6 of 496 Old 07-11-2009, 12:05 PM
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I think you really hit on the specific topic that will always preclude a "perfect speaker" - imperfect human hearing. Even if the finest electronic instruments show a speaker is reproducing sound perfectly......no adult human would hear it that way - life damages our hearing, the environment damages our hearing, and just plain growing old really damages our hearing. Every human will hear a sound differently from another human - and his brain will compensate and fill in the blanks. That is why I get a real kick out of supersileous "hi fi reviewers" who believe what they individually hear is the absolute benchmark of human hearing perfection - and say so.
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post #7 of 496 Old 07-11-2009, 12:09 PM
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But if you connect them with Monster cable, any speaker is really close to perfect.....lol.......

Sorry, guess I spent too much time in the "Best speaker wire" thread today......
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post #8 of 496 Old 07-11-2009, 01:58 PM
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The OP's post is very ambitious and pretty much spot on. I have a few observations, though.

If the speakers are accurate and capable of good output without compression, and the room is not broken (98% of them are), a good recording will sound amazing. If you minimize some variables, such as speaker accuracy and room acoustics, you have a fighting chance. Not all recordings will be good, but a true reference system will give them the best shot. I hope the OP's comments don't mean "why bother?" because there are recordings where you can really tell the difference.

Having been a studio drummer, I know about what can happen to destroy the sound even before mastering. The wrong mikes can be used, they can be placed in the wrong position, mixing can be done too loud, too much EQ can be used, mixing can be done on the wrong playback monitors, etc. There's a lot that can be done in the studio to mess up a recording, but that doesn't diminish the need for a reference playback system. That's still your best shot at getting the best sound.

Again, excellent first post.

And WhiteSoxFan...I am a far bigger White Sox fan than you could ever hope to be. Go Sox!!!

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post #9 of 496 Old 07-11-2009, 02:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Scarpelli View Post

The OP's post is very ambitious and pretty much spot on. I have a few observations, though.

If the speakers are accurate and capable of good output without compression, and the room is not broken (98% of them are), a good recording will sound amazing. If you minimize some variables, such as speaker accuracy and room acoustics, you have a fighting chance. Not all recordings will be good, but a true reference system will give them the best shot. I hope the OP's comments don't mean "why bother?" because there are recordings where you can really tell the difference.

Having been a studio drummer, I know about what can happen to destroy the sound even before mastering. The wrong mikes can be used, they can be placed in the wrong position, mixing can be done too loud, too much EQ can be used, mixing can be done on the wrong playback monitors, etc. There's a lot that can be done in the studio to mess up a recording, but that doesn't diminish the need for a reference playback system. That's still your best shot at getting the best sound.

Again, excellent first post.

Hello Paul -

Thanks for sharing your perspective. I didn't write everything that I wanted to in my OP, as it was already a pretty long read, and I felt it would be better to take any questionable points into conversation.

So anyway, no, I'm not saying don't bother with seeking out an accurate / high fidelity system. I agree with you that you should strive to minimize the effect of the variables, and you can't expect to EQ a pair of $199 / pr speakers and have them sound like a set of Revels (or Triads ), but at some point there is only so much you can expect from from the inherent system / room performance and you have to start looking at the source-- the recording.

I've come to realize that my expectations and thinking were unreasonable. I went from having a system that sounded balanced on some recordings and harsh and bright on others, to having a system that now sounded balanced on those bright recordings and somewhat dark on others. In years past, these now dark sounding recordings would have me looking for a new set of speakers and I'd be chasing rainbows again.

In the end, I'm just trying to turn some people on to the idea of using manual EQ as an option to explore before they ditch their current speakers for an "upgrade" that may not be necessary or even logical.
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post #10 of 496 Old 07-11-2009, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m_vanmeter View Post

I think you really hit on the specific topic that will always preclude a "perfect speaker" - imperfect human hearing. Even if the finest electronic instruments show a speaker is reproducing sound perfectly......no adult human would hear it that way - life damages our hearing, the environment damages our hearing, and just plain growing old really damages our hearing. Every human will hear a sound differently from another human - and his brain will compensate and fill in the blanks. That is why I get a real kick out of supersileous "hi fi reviewers" who believe what they individually hear is the absolute benchmark of human hearing perfection - and say so.

Quoted for truth.

I think it would be fair to say the AVS demographic skews towards 35+ males. As a group, we are even more prone to the affects of envriomental hearing damage from industrial workplaces, loud motorsports, military service, firearms, loud concert music, etc... Also, hearing protection wasn't as widely available, as widely used or even generally considered prior to about the 1980's.
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post #11 of 496 Old 07-11-2009, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
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I agree with all of the comments about no *one* speaker being perfect for *everyone*, as everyone has different hearing ability, be that due to hearing loss, or the shape of your ear, or whatever. However, an individual's hearing is a constant that can be compensated for.

Let's say you you have high frequency hearing loss, and you pack up a few of your favorite CDs, go to the hi-fi shop and audition some speakers. Because you have hearing loss, you seek out speakers that are tipped up in the treble to balance out the deficiency in your hearing. Mission accomplished. You have found speakers that are perfect for you.

You're happy for a while because all of you reference discs sound great on your new speakers. But what happens when your music collection starts to grow, and you notice that several of your new CDs just don't sparkle like your reference discs, or maybe they sound a bit thin? This is the quandary I've experienced many times over the years. Is it the speakers, or the recording? Because there is no standard for music recording, there is a good chance that it is the recording, and the speakers are fine. So don't trade in your sports car for an SUV just because you hit a few patches of bumpy road. Fix the road or accept that your sports car isn't meant to perform well on rough terrain.
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post #12 of 496 Old 07-11-2009, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gandu View Post

Quoted for truth.

I think it would be fair to say the AVS demographic skews towards 35+ males. As a group, we are even more prone to the affects of envriomental hearing damage from industrial workplaces, loud motorsports, military service, firearms, loud concert music, etc... Also, hearing protection wasn't as widely available, as widely used or even generally considered prior to about the 1980's.

Unfortunately, so true. I've been singing in a band for the last 20+ years, and while it would have been prudent to have worn sufficient ear protection for that length of time....oh well. I just wish I could get someone to answer that ringing phone I keep hearing.

I have found that in my latter years I have drifted toward speakers which some would consider to "bright" in order to somewhat compensate for the dulling of sensitivity above 13 Khz. It may not be an ideal solution, but it sure works for me.
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post #13 of 496 Old 07-11-2009, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
There is no perfect speaker . . .

Agree. Because nothing is perfect.

Quote:
because no two recordings are alike.

Disagree, because perfection simply can not be achieved in anything. However I also agree we have to live with flawed reproduction and flawed recording systems.

Quote:
similarly we all dont hear the same.

Quote:
imperfect human hearing. Even if the finest electronic instruments show a speaker is reproducing sound perfectly......no adult human would hear it that way

Quote:
I agree with all of the comments about no *one* speaker being perfect for *everyone*, as everyone has different hearing ability, be that due to hearing loss, or the shape of your ear, or whatever.

I disagree with the above assumptions. A person with imperfect hearing will still have real life sounds form the basis on their internal understand of sound, however imperfect this understanding is. Molding a speaker to negate this imperfection won't make anything sound more real to the user with imperfect hearing. It will just make them more likely to hear what you hear, but since their "reference" system (real life) is different, then it won't sound correct.

Although perfection will never be achieved, the closer we get, and the sooner, an imperfect (but close to perfect) standard is set for all audio recording mediums, the closer we'll get to true to life sound reproduction.

In the mean time either tweak away, or realize some recordings are crap, and you don't have to like them.

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post #14 of 496 Old 07-11-2009, 07:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Scarpelli View Post

The OP's post is very ambitious and pretty much spot on. I have a few observations, though.

If the speakers are accurate and capable of good output without compression, and the room is not broken (98% of them are), a good recording will sound amazing. If you minimize some variables, such as speaker accuracy and room acoustics, you have a fighting chance. Not all recordings will be good, but a true reference system will give them the best shot. I hope the OP's comments don't mean "why bother?" because there are recordings where you can really tell the difference.

Having been a studio drummer, I know about what can happen to destroy the sound even before mastering. The wrong mikes can be used, they can be placed in the wrong position, mixing can be done too loud, too much EQ can be used, mixing can be done on the wrong playback monitors, etc. There's a lot that can be done in the studio to mess up a recording, but that doesn't diminish the need for a reference playback system. That's still your best shot at getting the best sound.

Again, excellent first post.

And WhiteSoxFan...I am a far bigger White Sox fan than you could ever hope to be. Go Sox!!!


He is ambitious, and as a result he may get an A$$ whooping from super-duper Hardcore audiophiles who beleive in snake oil, and that there is such a thing as a perfect speaker.

Stop listening to the stereo and learn to love the music.

The late Stanley Kubrick would be proud of me.

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post #15 of 496 Old 07-11-2009, 07:25 PM - Thread Starter
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I know that the term audiophile has gotten a bad rap over the years, but I still consider myself a "super duper hardcore audiophile". However, I have found that the best approach to achieving good results is by mixing pro audio sensibilities with my love high-end gear. I like to take gear that many hardcore audiophiles feel should be fed an unadulterated signal, and process the signal as I see fit to get the sound I'm after.
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post #16 of 496 Old 07-11-2009, 08:44 PM
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When I bought my speakers I had a 30 day return window. In their listening room I brought a good amount of my music with me to listen to there. Once I found something I liked I brought them home. Obviously every recording is different. Once I got home I put my speakers through the paces.

Why I kept them was they performed well above my expectations with everything I threw at them. Are they perfect? Hell no! What I bought them for was WOW factor. they are very detailed and open up a lot of recordings in a way I never heard. I have spent many years listening to systems I could never afford and was never blown away.

I went well above my budget and spent $3000 on a pair of Vienna Acoustics Mozart Grands. To my ears it gets no better in a budget close to that {I live just outside Philadelphia and have a hundred brands (give or take) through many, many dealers}.

For my money, I couldn't have done better. To you $3000 may have been better spent with Klipsch, Def Tech, B&W, Sonus Faber, Thiel, Monitor Audio, Swans, Rockets, Paradigm, whatever. I listened to all and I bought what I did because it sounded best to me.

The important thing when choosing speakers is your major material. Who gives a $hit if your speakers are great at Classical if you don't listen to it. No speaker is perfect. It is the chase that drives us to constantly strive for perfection. Without that, this hobby would be very boring. you wouldn't be here if you didn't care about it! All I can say is that I have no desire to upgrade for twice the $. I am very happy with my choice and still haven't heard something I can afford that would change my mind about my choice.

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post #17 of 496 Old 07-11-2009, 09:41 PM
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I feel the same way about my Dali Euphonias. I absolutely love the way they sound and am always stunned at the detail and presence that they deliver. No need to replace those anytime soon.

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post #18 of 496 Old 07-12-2009, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hifisponge View Post

There is no perfect speaker . . .


Agreed.

But some are easier to use.

Quote:


because no two recordings are alike.


Well, if you're going to play with that, then you've got a field day ahead of you.



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post #19 of 496 Old 07-12-2009, 09:50 PM
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I enjoy my HT setup. It works for me for music - probably 90% of its use - and movies and tv - the other 10%.

Chasing audio perfection is like a dog chasing his tail.

When all else fails - RTFM!

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post #20 of 496 Old 07-12-2009, 09:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knucklehead90 View Post

I enjoy my HT setup. It works for me for music - probably 90% of its use - and movies and tv - the other 10%.

Chasing audio perfection is like a dog chasing his tail.

I've almost got it!



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post #21 of 496 Old 07-13-2009, 12:42 PM
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How to spot an Audiophile
If outdoors (rare) will be wearing three sets of noise - canceling headphones, because one just doesn't cut it.
Will have no money for little things like gas, food or clothes.
Will have a 160GB iPod with only three songs on it, due to their compulsion to have everything completely uncompressed.
Will probably be a Mac user.
Will spend $120 on a Telefunken-branded triode when Sovtek sells the same damn tube for eight dollars, and will claim to be able to tell the difference.
Will have the vast majority of their house (mortgaged) full of their sound system, which will sound **** because audiophiles all think that broken "classic" parts pwn modern things like 7:1 surround sound

:P

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post #22 of 496 Old 07-13-2009, 02:25 PM
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No, there are no perfect speakers but some are bad, some are better and some are really good. I have seen same people going from speakers that are bright to speakers that are more dark, just because they have change a little what they mostly listen too for the moment! That because they use the wrong method to finding the best speakers for them.
Many look for a speaker that make most of their testmusic sound good but I would say that is a faulty method and it WILL, in many cases, give "looking for the next one" in a endless "upgrade" spiral. The reason I use "" around upgrade is because it is mostly to changing one coloration to another.

I think the best way to be happy is to find speakers with as little problems as possible and that work good in a normal room. Very low distortion, high SPL capability, sound flat in the listning position, and that have a big sweetspot.
Because NO speaker can fix the compression on the recordings, but many can add their own compression and distortion, making it even worse! To fix strange EQ choices on the recordings are always best to do outside the speakers, on a good EQ.
So rather than trying to find a speaker that make "record A" sound good, it would say, look for the speakers that show the most difference between the different albums. A speaker that clearly show whats on the record, with as low own distortion as possible. I would say that such a speaker is "the perfect speaker".

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post #23 of 496 Old 07-13-2009, 03:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NIN74 View Post

No, there are no perfect speakers but some are bad, some are better and some are really good. I have seen same people going from speakers that are bright to speakers that are more dark, just because they have change a little what they mostly listen too for the moment! That because they use the wrong method to finding the best speakers for them.
Many look for a speaker that make most of their testmusic sound good but I would say that is a faulty method and it WILL, in many cases, give "looking for the next one" in a endless "upgrade" spiral. The reason I use "" around upgrade is because it is mostly to changing one coloration to another.

I think the best way to be happy is to find speakers with as little problems as possible and that work good in a normal room. Very low distortion, high SPL capability, sound flat in the listning position, and that have a big sweetspot.
Because NO speaker can fix the compression on the recordings, but many can add their own compression and distortion, making it even worse! To fix strange EQ choices on the recordings are always best to do outside the speakers, on a good EQ.
So rather than trying to find a speaker that make "record A" sound good, it would say, look for the speakers that show the most difference between the different albums. A speaker that clearly show whats on the record, with as low own distortion as possible. I would say that such a speaker is "the perfect speaker".

I agree with a lot of what you say, but without some sort of test equipement and the knowledge of how to use it, the average consumer will never know if the sound quality they hear is due to the speakers, the recording or the room.

For instance, you recommend that the user seek out speakers, "that sound flat in the listening position." What is the user's reference for flat response supposed to be when we have no idea how the recordings we are listening to were mastered? Were the studio monitors used to master the recording accurate? What was the engineer's intention? Were they going for a balanced sound, or something vivid and bright, or something else? This also applies to your comment that a speaker should "clearly show what is on the record." How does the average consumer know what that is?

A consumer could seek out speakers with excellent measured performance by mags like Stereophile and Soundstage, but there is still a fair amount of speculation as to how small deviations from theoretical perfection affect the sound, and there are no metrics for things like distortion. For instance, I've owned both the Revel Studio2's and the Aerial Acoustics 7B's and the FR plots on both of these speakers is about as flat as I've ever seen. Their performance on paper is so close that you would think that they would be interchangeable, yet the two sounded different enough that I would expect most people to clearly prefer one over the other. To me, the Revels sounded somewhat bright and the Aerials somewhat dark despite the two speakers having treble response within 1 dB of each other.

Aerial 7B

http://www.stereophile.com/floorloud...52/index4.html

Revel Studio2

http://www.stereophile.com/floorloud...el/index4.html
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post #24 of 496 Old 07-13-2009, 04:50 PM
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The story of Faust retold from the POV of speakers!

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post #25 of 496 Old 07-13-2009, 05:06 PM
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I completely agree. No perfect speaker.

I have been Installing speakers in 2 channel , house and theaters for 10 years and I came up with the idea has to be what you wanna do with your speakers. If theater is important to you then high db and easy to drive speakers work well. Clear and coverage.

If 2 channel is your game, you will go nuts searching for this "perfect speakers" and you will never find it. Your wallet will run out before you get to the speakers you think have this "perfect" state. But there are a lot of very good all around speakers out there that can play all types of music well. Most higher end speakers have a goal and everything else is laid to the waste side. But again you can find those speakers out there that will fit your favorite music. Just don't expect them to do all kinds of music as well.

Then there are the house speakers. These speakers live in walls ceilings and book shelves. They are designed to play music in the back ground while your cleaning your house, having a party or just want the game sound everywhere in your home. Some sound better then others , some can be argued as Audiophile grade. But it's your call.

Good luck with this thing in speakers I change mine out every couple years always thinking I found the right pair for me. When I first heard Dynaudio , I thought "if I owned them , I would be happy for the rest of my life" then I heard a few more dynamic theater systems and now the Dynes gotta go. Preference has changed and so did my deisre to own very musical speakers, now I want more of a theater sounding system.

It never ever ends.

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post #26 of 496 Old 07-13-2009, 05:37 PM
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I am starting to become a firm believer in EQ as well in order to compensate for the room which we all know can never be perfect. If you take a speaker that measures pretty good in a chamber like the NHT Classic 3 and add two subs for the low end and use an external crossover with EQ I bet you can have a system that most people will enjoy. If you ever want a different sound you can always EQ the system to fit your new tastes without the need for spending insane amounts of money. For that reason I think the NHT xD system at $3000 might represent one of the best values in 2ch available today.
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post #27 of 496 Old 07-13-2009, 06:35 PM
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Interesting thread. Most seem to agree there is no perfect speaker, as that would imply that it would please everyone, in every room on every recording. Which we (humans) being the way we are isn't going to happen even if there was such a speaker. As so many others have said just too many variables. The best we can do is reach a sound that is maybe 90% perfect (can something <100% be called perfect?) for us on most of our sources. Whether it be room treatments, manual EQ, special recordings or snake oil, we build systems as a whole and treat different weaknesses differently. Speakers being the final stop before our ears play a big part in it for sure. There are lots of capable speakers out there, and they are all perfect for someone, but if the synergy of the whole isn't there, perfect for no one. Just my rambling $.02
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post #28 of 496 Old 07-13-2009, 07:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Scarpelli View Post

The OP's post is very ambitious and pretty much spot on. I have a few observations, though.

If the speakers are accurate and capable of good output without compression, and the room is not broken (98% of them are), a good recording will sound amazing. If you minimize some variables, such as speaker accuracy and room acoustics, you have a fighting chance. Not all recordings will be good, but a true reference system will give them the best shot. I hope the OP's comments don't mean "why bother?" because there are recordings where you can really tell the difference.

I think Paul hit it on the nailhead here. It's really all about eliminating as many variables as possible. I will agree with the OP that if a person thinks they are getting exactly what the artist or engineer intended with a certain set of speakers than they are fooling themselves.


Quote:


Having been a studio drummer, I know about what can happen to destroy the sound even before mastering. The wrong mikes can be used, they can be placed in the wrong position, mixing can be done too loud, too much EQ can be used, mixing can be done on the wrong playback monitors, etc. There's a lot that can be done in the studio to mess up a recording, but that doesn't diminish the need for a reference playback system. That's still your best shot at getting the best sound.


So, i decided to wikipedia Paul's name, and it looks like you were part of a chicago band called Shadows of Knight? in the late 60's/early 70's?

Anyways, great thread.

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post #29 of 496 Old 07-13-2009, 08:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mantis10 View Post

I completely agree. No perfect speaker.

... you can find those speakers out there that will fit your favorite music. Just don't expect them to do all kinds of music as well. ...

Dan

Yes, exactly. Even if you have speakers that measure within .1% of theoretical perfection, if you listen mainly to 80's Rock, you'll probably be disappointed. Unless ... you use EQ. Then, you could say that you have perfect speakers, and you are just correcting the less than perfect recording.

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Originally Posted by apphd View Post

The best we can do is reach a sound that is maybe 90% perfect (can something <100% be called perfect?) for us on most of our sources.

If you have broad tastes in music, I think you'd be very very lucky to get 90% perfection through speaker selection and system matching alone. I'm at about 75% and that is slowly shrinking as I listen to my back-catalog and expand my music library. On the other hand, I can offset this declining trend with EQ. As I mentioned earlier, EQ won't fix everything, but there are many things that are affected by the frequency response of a system beyond the tonality (sound stage depth, clarity, definition, to name a few).

Here's an interesting primer on EQ and it's affect on sound quality:

Magic Frequencies
http://www.digitalprosound.com/2002/...g_excerpt1.htm
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post #30 of 496 Old 07-13-2009, 09:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hifisponge View Post

if you have speakers that measure within .1% of theoretical perfection, if you listen mainly to 80's Rock, you'll probably be disappointed. Unless ... you use EQ. Then, you could say that you have perfect speakers, and you are just correcting the less than perfect recording.

So you are eq-ing each recording?
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