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post #1 of 21 Old 12-01-2012, 11:14 AM - Thread Starter
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This past week I had a nice time chatting with well-known technology writer Robert Scoble who visited our Harman research and testing labs in Northridge, CA along with his geek-in-command Sam Levine.


I talk about his visit in my recent blog posting Behind Harman's Testing Labs, which includes a video link to an interview he conducted with me after he completed a double-blind speaker test.

Cheers,
Sean Olive
My Audio Blog
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post #2 of 21 Old 12-01-2012, 12:05 PM
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Cool video, thanks for posting.

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post #3 of 21 Old 12-01-2012, 06:34 PM
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Neat, videos. Both of them, even though I understood yours and most of the other one went over my head.

Or, perhaps more accurately, I heard "8mm xmax 3.5-inch driver with flat Bl(x)" and all of the computer-techie stuff sounded a lot less interesting! smile.gif

I want those drive-units for my car!

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post #4 of 21 Old 12-02-2012, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonmeister2008 View Post

This past week I had a nice time chatting with well-known technology writer Robert Scoble who visited our Harman research and testing labs in Northridge, CA along with his geek-in-command Sam Levine.
I talk about his visit in my recent blog posting Behind Harman's Testing Labs, which includes a video link to an interview he conducted with me after he completed a double-blind speaker test.

This should have ruffled a lot of feathers, but hasn't even gotten a peep. What would have happened if Harmon had lined up their floor standing speakers, irrespective of price, and ran the listener preference experiment? Hint: I would be more than willing to subject myself to such an experiment. biggrin.gif
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post #5 of 21 Old 12-02-2012, 02:06 PM
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I agree with and support Dr.Olive's testing methodology. I believe this is the only way to do a definitive evaluation speakers, or any audio gear, for sound.

There's some very similar testing methodology in Dr.Toole's study of speaker acoustics and psycho-acoustics.

This is AV Science at its best.
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post #6 of 21 Old 12-02-2012, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fookoo_2010 View Post

This should have ruffled a lot of feathers, but hasn't even gotten a peep. What would have happened if Harmon had lined up their floor standing speakers, irrespective of price, and ran the listener preference experiment? Hint: I would be more than willing to subject myself to such an experiment. biggrin.gif

I think I might go for those cheap Infinity speakers after all.

Wishing I could post in the Ultra Hi-End HT Gear ($20,000+)

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post #7 of 21 Old 12-03-2012, 12:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fookoo_2010 View Post

This should have ruffled a lot of feathers, but hasn't even gotten a peep. What would have happened if Harmon had lined up their floor standing speakers, irrespective of price, and ran the listener preference experiment? Hint: I would be more than willing to subject myself to such an experiment. biggrin.gif

The ratings should increase as the price went up if we've done our job correctly. Generally, as the price goes up the speakers should have more extended bandwidth, play louder with lower distortion and have generally more refined sound. Of course, the fit and finish should also improve, although this is not tested as part our listening test

Cheers,
Sean Olive
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post #8 of 21 Old 12-03-2012, 12:16 PM
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I can confirm that my P362s don't sound as nice as my Salon2s. biggrin.gif

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post #9 of 21 Old 12-03-2012, 12:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by JerryLove View Post

I agree with and support Dr.Olive's testing methodology. I believe this is the only way to do a definitive evaluation speakers, or any audio gear, for sound.
There's some very similar testing methodology in Dr.Toole's study of speaker acoustics and psycho-acoustics.
This is AV Science at its best.

I've worked with Dr. Toole since 1985 (National Research Council of Canada) and at Harman from 1993 - present so that would explain why we use the same methods. Floyd retired from Harman in 2007 but is still working with me as a part-time consultant.

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post #10 of 21 Old 12-03-2012, 12:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fookoo_2010 View Post

This should have ruffled a lot of feathers, but hasn't even gotten a peep. What would have happened if Harmon had lined up their floor standing speakers, irrespective of price, and ran the listener preference experiment? Hint: I would be more than willing to subject myself to such an experiment. biggrin.gif

The ratings should increase as the price went up if we've done our job correctly. Generally, as the price goes up the speakers should have more extended bandwidth, play louder with lower distortion and have generally more refined sound. Of course, the fit and finish should also improve, although this is not tested as part our listening test

Cheers,
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post #11 of 21 Old 12-03-2012, 03:30 PM
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I have a lot of respect for the Primus line. I use P362's as surrounds in my bedroom (mains are Paradigm Sig S2's).
I also use a heavily modified pair of P362's in my listening room (the tweeters have been replaced, JL 8W7's have been added for LF, and the crossovers have been removed (the speakers are run with Behringer DCX's as actives).

So they feature in half of my listening spaces.

A question: Is there more than a name difference between the MMD and CMMD drivers. The descriptions I remember finding were the same.
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post #12 of 21 Old 12-03-2012, 03:32 PM
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Just got a chance to watch the vid. Pretty cool stuff. I'm an audio newbie so I enjoyed learning about 'sound'.

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post #13 of 21 Old 12-03-2012, 04:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonmeister2008 View Post

The ratings should increase as the price went up if we've done our job correctly. Generally, as the price goes up the speakers should have more extended bandwidth, play louder with lower distortion and have generally more refined sound. Of course, the fit and finish should also improve, although this is not tested as part our listening test

That would be highly significant relative to 2 speakers. How much is this going to matter in a 5.1, 7.1, 9.1, or 11.1 home theater system where all of the speakers have the same drivers, with preferably all speakers being identical, and not at the super high end price ranges and running multiple subs (at least 2 identical ones, appropriately placed)?
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post #14 of 21 Old 12-03-2012, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fookoo_2010 View Post

That would be highly significant relative to 2 speakers. How much is this going to matter in a 5.1, 7.1, 9.1, or 11.1 home theater system where all of the speakers have the same drivers, with preferably all speakers being identical, and not at the super high end price ranges and running multiple subs (at least 2 identical ones, appropriately placed)?

You've heard two Harman surround systems at my place with the LA HTG get togethers. There's no doubt they're different and in different environments. On any given day, I'd be hard pressed to say which one I prefer, but the more expensive set definitely plays louder with lower distortion. As for refined sound, that's a tougher nut to crack.

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post #15 of 21 Old 12-03-2012, 06:51 PM
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You've heard two Harman surround systems at my place with the LA HTG get togethers. There's no doubt they're different and in different environments. On any given day, I'd be had pressed to say which one I prefer, but the more expensive set definitely plays louder with lower distortion. As for refined sound, that's a tougher nut to crack.

That was a long time ago. Looking forward to your next LA Home Theater get together. I would always extend an invitation to you to visit my humble home theater system. I am in the San Fernando Valley.
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post #16 of 21 Old 12-03-2012, 08:00 PM
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Thanks for the video! Huge fan here. I'm hoping to check out and maybe make my next set of speakers the Performa 3. I have Infinity Perfect Kapa 6.1 in my car are they are amazing! Can you make home speakers out of those drivers?! biggrin.gif Even the Perfect subs are amazing! cool.gif Sorry just very proud of them lol Thanks for all the passion you put into your work to ensure we can enjoy good sound smile.gif
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post #17 of 21 Old 12-04-2012, 02:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by fookoo_2010 View Post

That would be highly significant relative to 2 speakers. How much is this going to matter in a 5.1, 7.1, 9.1, or 11.1 home theater system where all of the speakers have the same drivers, with preferably all speakers being identical, and not at the super high end price ranges and running multiple subs (at least 2 identical ones, appropriately placed)?

Good question. Maybe you've read our paper "Comparison of Loudspeaker-Room Equalization Preferences for Multichannel, Stereo, and Mono Reproductions: Are Listeners More Discriminating in Mono?" ??

The abstract reads:

Digital loudspeaker-room correction products are more popular than ever, despite the general lack of perceptual studies on their performance over a wide range of different playback conditions. This paper describes the first of several experiments that explore the influence of important acoustical and perceptual factors on their performance. In this experiment, a panel of trained listeners gave comparative preference ratings for three different loudspeaker equalizations based on anechoic and in situ measurements evaluated in a semi-reflective room, using three multichannel music recordings reproduced in surround, stereo, and mono. These equalizations were compared to the unequalized loudspeaker. The results are summarized as follows: all three equalizations were equally preferred over the unequalized system. The differences in preference ratings increased as the number of playback channels was reduced from 5 channels (surround) to 1 (mono).

So there is some evidence that people can discriminate better amongst different loudspeakers when only hearing one source. As soon as you have multiple sources the importance of the off-axis response may matter less since it is swamped by primarily on-axis direct sound from the multiple speakers. The only problem here is that single speaker situations occur even with multichannel material. Think of a movie for example where most of the time you are hearing voices from the center channel or a soloist in music recordings coming from 1 speaker.

In the end, unless you live in an anechoic chamber and have no friends to share your sweet spot with, your loudspeakers should have good on-axis and good off-axis response to sound good in the widest variety of rooms and listening positions.

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post #18 of 21 Old 12-04-2012, 02:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by truwarrior22 View Post

Thanks for the video! Huge fan here. I'm hoping to check out and maybe make my next set of speakers the Performa 3. I have Infinity Perfect Kapa 6.1 in my car are they are amazing! Can you make home speakers out of those drivers?! biggrin.gif Even the Perfect subs are amazing! cool.gif Sorry just very proud of them lol Thanks for all the passion you put into your work to ensure we can enjoy good sound smile.gif

Thanks! The Revel Performa 3's are great sounding loudspeakers. They follow all the rules we've learned from our research.

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post #19 of 21 Old 12-04-2012, 02:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by JerryLove View Post

I have a lot of respect for the Primus line. I use P362's as surrounds in my bedroom (mains are Paradigm Sig S2's).
I also use a heavily modified pair of P362's in my listening room (the tweeters have been replaced, JL 8W7's have been added for LF, and the crossovers have been removed (the speakers are run with Behringer DCX's as actives).
So they feature in half of my listening spaces.
A question: Is there more than a name difference between the MMD and CMMD drivers. The descriptions I remember finding were the same.

CMMD (ceramic metal matrix diaphragm) uses a combination of ceramic and aluminum materials to make the diaphragm lighter and stiffer raising the breakup frequency and offering more damping than conventional metal cones. MMD (metal matrix diaphragm) is based on what was learned from CMMD but at a lower cost ideal for the low cost Primus series. There may be a slight difference in performance but I think it's marginal.

Cheers,
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post #20 of 21 Old 12-04-2012, 05:21 PM
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Thanks, good info.
Meet some good HR engineers and learn a lot from them..... always wanted to visit the test lab.

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post #21 of 21 Old 01-27-2013, 01:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Tonmeister2008 View Post

The ratings should increase as the price went up if we've done our job correctly. Generally, as the price goes up the speakers should have more extended bandwidth, play louder with lower distortion and have generally more refined sound. Of course, the fit and finish should also improve, although this is not tested as part our listening test

I enjoy reading your blog and articles. I've just started getting back into hi-fi after a significant absence and have been doing a lot of reading since I want to upgrade my 25 year old JBLs. I was amazed to see how much better newer speakers sounded compared to my old ones, even the cheap ones. After seeing that video, I'm considering buying those Infinity towers! But I've always wondered what the difference was between the similarly priced Infinity and JBL speakers or higher end JBLs vs. lower end Revels. It seems like there is a lot of niche overlap between all the Harman speaker brands. Wouldn't it make more financial/marketing sense to streamline the offerings? The JBL Studio L880 is the same price as the Studio 570, does that mean they perform the same despite the different types of drivers employed? Pretty confusing. It also seems like the Japanese market has a better variety of JBL offerings compared to the USA (especially the higher end stuff), which I think is pretty sad. Thanks again for your informative posts!
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