What's the audiophile word for this...? - Page 6 - AVS Forum
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post #151 of 159 Old 05-30-2012, 11:54 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jima4a View Post

I will admit I am jumping in to this cold so I appologize if this has been addressed already. Just having the frequency response of a speaker still does not tell you how fast and controlled it is, does it?

Hi Jim, much like Mike would have to define "dancing notes" outside of his mind, you too would have to define "fast" and "controlled". What does that mean?
Those are terms often used with LF, so if that's what you meant, then yes, FR would be somewhat indicative, perhaps even group delay/phase slope at LF, but these are things complicated by room effects, which cannot be separated and are greatest at LF.

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Originally Posted by jima4a View Post

My thought is if you had a pro quality DAT and played a recording through a system, recorded the playback then played the recorded recording and recorded that. Maybe repeat a couple times. The system who's recording of a recording of a recording ...that has the best match at the end to the original would be the most accurate. There will be some coloring in the playback so I would guess it would be emphasized in the multiple repasses. I would also guess that this has been tried before, does anyone know?

Yep. It's been done.

cheers,

AJ
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post #152 of 159 Old 05-30-2012, 12:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Lane View Post

The best we can do is entirely decided arbitrarily, or if you prefer, democratically.

While I don't see preference or popularity (group preference) as a way to define accuracy, I will admit that this is an oft used approach. Companies like Harman, who do lots of research correlating objective measurements to subjective preferences, tend to label products with the highest preference consensus as being the most accurate.

The state of this situation in audio is a far cry from what we find in video, where there are industry wide standards that can be used a reference when calibrating for accuracy (which doesn't then preclude anyone from adjusting the display to their preference, but at least they have a calibrated reference as a baseline starting point).
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Originally Posted by Jon Lane View Post

It's not objective, actually, because it cannot exist.

It can exist as a goal, a reference to calibrate towards; which is why we dial in speaker distances and levels during initial set-up. Those settings are based on objective measurements (tape measure, SPL meter), not what each person believes are "realistic" distances and "authentic" levels. We're not talking perfection here, just a more objective and consistent reference than individual preference. A flat line is a flat line for everybody; preference is different for each individual.
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Originally Posted by Jon Lane View Post

I have identified it as preference and at your request, I've gone further to identify it, in my view, as as-close-to-accuracy-as-I've-heard, that again taking us back to the subjectivity of these words as we're using them.

As noted, I believe I prefer the sound of a facsimile that sounds as close to nature, if you will, as possible.

That's less a definition of accuracy than it is a circular argument: you prefer accuracy, which you know is accurate because you prefer it.

Again, I see no problem with setting up a system based on what you like. The odd part (at least to me) is the desire to then label that personal preference as ALSO being "accurate", asthough that label can magically turn subjective into objective. Like saying your favourite song is in fact the best song ever written. If everyone feels that way about their favourite song, then the term "best song" becomes so arbitrary that it is rendered meaningless. Guess I never felt the need for that sort of validation.
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Originally Posted by Jon Lane View Post

Unamplified live music has been one such metric.

Unless you're directly comparing playback to source, as in the Dunlavy story posted above, your comparison ends up relying on aural memory, which is notoriously unreliable.
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"Accuracy" is also a whim.

Not when there is a reference, like with video. If the audio definition for accuracy is whatever each individual likes, then that is completely arbitrary, since it can mean anything that anyone wants it to mean (as long as they like what they're hearing).

Sanjay
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post #153 of 159 Old 05-30-2012, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJinFLA View Post

Two surprises from a guy as sharp as Dunlavy.
1) He thought it possible that an in, on or around ear headphone could be 100% acoustically transparent, where it wouldn't modify the live sound field if it were non-functional. That was odd.
2) He stated (with caveats) frequency and impulse responses like 2 different measures entirely. They are the same thing. Just a different view.

cheers,

AJ

Not 100% but pretty fookin close. Next time I'm channelling the afterlife, I'll ask him about your other concerns.

"I've found that when you want to know the truth about someone that someone is probably the last person you should ask." - Gregory House
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post #154 of 159 Old 05-30-2012, 01:03 PM
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I said: "As noted, I believe I prefer the sound of a facsimile that sounds as close to nature, if you will, as possible."

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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

That's less a definition of accuracy than it is a circular argument: you prefer accuracy, which you know is accurate because you prefer it.

I think we're talking past each other. I just prefer what I said: the sound of a system that most resembles what I have cause to believe is natural.

If we must use "accuracy" in audio, we should be aware of its broad envelope instead of its absolute standard, which the word implies. I have consistently used the word not as an absolute but as a subjective description.

I'm not concerned with the usual use of "accuracy" in our context (which it seems you'll use in a moment to apply to a subjective standard). That and the need to listen are my point.

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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

A flat line is a flat line for everybody; preference is different for each individual.

A flat line is not achievable, not in any one domain and not in the sum of a speaker's output. In other words, a "flat line" is different for each device, challenging the notion of speaker accuracy as a go/no-go absolute. Nothing is truly accurate.

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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

The odd part (at least to me) is the desire to then label that personal preference as ALSO being "accurate", asthough that label can magically turn subjective into objective.

As a frequently misused term to begin with, I wouldn't do other than what I've been saying, which is to use it subjectively and broadly. It's best application concerns perception, as JD's example brilliantly shows.

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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

Guess I never felt the need for that sort of validation.

Exactly. Technically there is none, or at best, there is little validation of "accuracy" outside of an undefined envelope, hence a subjective one. It's a wish and a stated goal but we cannot well define it and we cannot really employ it in any other way.

Jon Lane
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post #155 of 159 Old 05-30-2012, 09:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Lane View Post

Nothing is truly accurate.

We may not be talking past each other after all.

Sanjay
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post #156 of 159 Old 05-30-2012, 11:05 PM
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I don't believe in accuracy other than as an artificial construct when it comes to commercially available music.

I know many devoted music lovers spend a lot of time trying to find the one system that most closely aligns with their subjective experience of accurate sound. They end up on an interminable quest, because the longed-for accuracy is never fully attained.

How many cases of "I've finally found it!" have I heard in person or read in the fora of the sites that I peruse? Twenty? Thirty? Fifty? Hundreds? It's impossible to say, other than "Lots." In a month or a quarter or a year I inevitably read that they've become disillusioned with their "final" system" and have heard or hoped to find the speaker/amp/cable/pre/source/media that will finally take them to accuracy Nirvana.

I have a fair number of systems at home and in a couple of offices. They all sound different. Some have pin point imaging, but little depth. Some have great depth but seem to have a narrow soundstage. Some are like a big wall of sound, while others are like vast, discrete expanses of audio space.

I love them all. I consider all of them "accurate" if they sound the way I like them to sound: they accurately recreate what I want to hear.

I have a fragile idea of what producers, artists, engineers, and mixers want. But as an end product I have little faith that their vision is what I'm getting. It's a facsimile--sometimes a really good facsimile I suppose--but I can only respond by liking it, being indifferent to it, or disliking it. "It" is the product that is as close to or far from what was intended when the artist conceived the music. Sometimes that conception is literally impossible to get in a finished product.

When I hear a cymbal that sounds right, it's a recollection of hearing a cymbal in high school band, of the garage band I played in, the thrashing of Ian Paice at the multiple Deep Purple Concerts I attended, and hearing the Cleveland Symphony at Severance Hall when I was in grad school... or maybe my last hearing of the Long Beach Pops a week ago. Nevertheless, if the recorded cymbal triggers a sense of genuineness, then it sounds accurate based on my experience.

Naturally, I would not care if any of the rest of you thought it was accurate. You're simply ignorant of my experience with cymbals, as I am of yours.

As for "dancing notes," there are times I find this with every system I have, but certainly some more than others. I think it has as much to do with speaker placement and room acoustics as anything else, but definitely some speakers make it easier than others, and, yes, I've heard lots of speakers that just couldn't do it no matter what. It's a combo of soundstage depth and width, perceived accuracy (the subjective kind) and presence. What's presence? It seems like the artist is right there.

I agree that price is not the determining factor. If you get a pretty good speaker that is placed right and has the room treated even in a pedestrian way, there will be more "dancing notes" IME than a great speaker in the wrong place with no attempt at taming the room.

Bottom line: by not pursuing the ephemera called accuracy, I've found many systems from cheap to expensive that give me all the subjective accuracy I need when I need it. Yes, I'm a lucky bastige; I realize that. But it really comes down to what makes you happy, and I think happiness is getting the sound that you like that reinforces your sense of accuracy based on your subjective experience. That's a heck of a lot more attainable than trying to figure out what someone else intended.

At least that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

What I can afford, when I can afford it...
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post #157 of 159 Old 05-31-2012, 06:14 AM
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Wow....you took me back to school. Your post reminds me of the English teacher asking us to write 500 words on the topic of Speaker Accuracy.
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post #158 of 159 Old 05-31-2012, 07:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filecat13 View Post

As for "dancing notes," there are times I find this with every system I have, but certainly some more than others. I think it has as much to do with speaker placement and room acoustics as anything else, but definitely some speakers make it easier than others, and, yes, I've heard lots of speakers that just couldn't do it no matter what. It's a combo of soundstage depth and width, perceived accuracy (the subjective kind) and presence. What's presence? It seems like the artist is right there.

That's it. That's exactly what I was trying to articulate. Presence.

In my case, although I have some good hifi speakers, my strongest and most consistent experience has been in my car. The truly frightening thing is my car system is somewhat of a Frankenstein invention that should not image well or provide "dancing notes."

I have Hertz tweeters, Infinity mids, Image Dynamics midbass and JL subs. None of the speakers except the tweeters point at me, the system is active and I use a JBL processor to create a "flat as possible" response and handle room correction / delay. It is with this Frankenstein system that I feel most connected to music and get the most dancing notes.
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post #159 of 159 Old 06-02-2012, 10:53 PM
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Many high-end audiophile speakers will do this with the right recording/setup/room and electronics. Massive amps teamed with speakers costing 50k-100k a pair will usually deliver this feature. Planar/Electrostatic speakers (like Magnepan and Martin Logan) will often get you there at a lower price point but keep in mind they tend to require more expensive amps. As an example, the Martin Logans that they sell in Best Buy's Magnolia section will deliver this feature to you. I still prefer the high-end Bower and Wilkins they sell there, even though they dont image quite as well.
If you use the ability to do holographic soundstages as the sole criteria in choosing your speakers you will end up spending a lot of money though, and most source material will not deliver this effect consistently. High end stores will often play music that happens to sound very holographic .
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