Speaker Shootout - two of the most accurate and well reviewed speakers ever made - Page 2 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #31 of 1489 Old 07-30-2017, 02:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dennis Murphy View Post
I'm not following what this has to do with blinded vs. unblinded tests. And if you start using digital EQ to fit every speaker to a flat room response from the listening position, you've covered up inherent characteristics of the individual speakers (and probably introduced other problems given my experience with these programs). You can't force people to hear what you think they should hear. That kind of defeats the purpose of letting real people judge speakers. Ideally, it would be nice to have measurements as well so that we have better idea of whether, say, preferences for the bass response of one speaker vs. another reflects cleaner and flatter bass, or just exaggerated bass.
Exactly. Right now the plan is to test each speaker without any benefit from room EQ. However, the M2 will have the benefit of anechoic EQ, which will be loaded into the amp used for testing (the JBL Synthesis SDA4600). This is simply because this anechoic EQ is necessary for the M2 to perform properly - it's part of the design.

Of course, not using room EQ means that both speakers will be affected by any acoustic issues in our listening room, especially below transition frequency. However, they will both be EQUALLY affected, which is what is important here. Again, I go to Harman's research that shows that a speaker with flat on and off axis response will sound better in a much larger variety of rooms than a speaker with poor on and / or off axis response.
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post #32 of 1489 Old 07-30-2017, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by John Schuermann View Post
Nope! Be interesting to test, however. Has anyone ever seen measurements on the Alcons?
I haven't seen measurements. I thought you were also an Alcon dealer, which made me curious.

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post #33 of 1489 Old 07-30-2017, 02:09 PM - Thread Starter
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I haven't seen measurements. I thought you were also an Alcon dealer, which made me curious.
We are set up with Alcons, but to be honest, have not brought in a set for listening yet. I haven't seen any measurements either.
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post #34 of 1489 Old 07-30-2017, 02:26 PM
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We are set up with Alcons, but to be honest, have not brought in a set for listening yet. I haven't seen any measurements either.
LOL, are you scared to compete against Peter?

Just playing with you. I thought the Alcon demo last year wasn't in the top five of audio demos. I had multiple people tell me the upper midrange sounded bad. I give them somewhat of a pass as someone mentioned the room was difficult. On the flip side, Paradigm was next door and were my surprise of Cedia. I thought the Personas were one of the top speakers that I heard last year.

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post #35 of 1489 Old 07-30-2017, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by John Schuermann View Post
From my understanding, in the end it came down to aesthetics, and he chose the Revel. He's much less concerned with how you get to the result than he is with the result itself. In this case, you have two speakers that measure extraordinarily well, and have almost identical target goals.
Imagine being in a position to choose between the two best speakers out there on the basis of esthetics.
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post #36 of 1489 Old 07-30-2017, 02:37 PM - Thread Starter
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MUST WATCH!!!

This is a GREAT interview with Dr. Sean Olive that directly addresses so much of what has been discussed here in this thread, and illuminates the difficulties inherent in trying to compare speakers. So much good info crammed into eleven minutes, including the results of decades of research into sound preferences, test protocols, what makes for a good sounding speaker, and much much more. You can also see the double blind listening chamber at Harman and how it is set up. BONUS - he even touches on the esoteric speaker cable topic.

Enjoy!:

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post #37 of 1489 Old 07-30-2017, 02:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ericglo View Post
LOL, are you scared to compete against Peter?

Just playing with you. I thought the Alcon demo last year wasn't in the top five of audio demos. I had multiple people tell me the upper midrange sounded bad. I give them somewhat of a pass as someone mentioned the room was difficult. On the flip side, Paradigm was next door and were my surprise of Cedia. I thought the Personas were one of the top speakers that I heard last year.
Ha! I'm not scared of ANYONE!

Isn't it amazing that the speaker manufacturers most dedicated to hard science and engineering make the best sounding speakers?

My only memory of the Alcons demo was that it was LOUD. Dynamics were impressive though.

For all I know they are the best sounding speakers in the world. At the same time, what I like about Harman is that they actually do the research into what sounds good and what doesn't, and build their products accordingly. Every company claims they make the best sounding speakers, but how do you prove that? It seems to me that Harman has hit on a way to actually demonstrate superiority, in the listening lab and in their measurements. That's what to me makes this comparison so interesting - right now these two speakers are at the forefront of what the research reveals to be important in sound reproduction.
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post #38 of 1489 Old 07-30-2017, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by John Schuermann View Post
The Revel Salon2: Long a favorite of the audio press as well as those in the professional film and music industries, the Revel Salon2 is unique in that it continues to win the same kind of scientifically controlled, double blind listening tests we are attempting to emulate. Over the years a huge variety of speakers from many different manufacturers have been compared to the Salon2 during these tests, and the Salon2 continues to beat competitors at many times its price point.
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Does this mean Salon2 has already beat the M2 in these tests?
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Originally Posted by John Schuermann View Post
Thanks for your comments!

For reference:

Revel Salon2: List $22K per pair
JBL M2: List $12K per pair PLUS the necessary electronics, which can vary wildly in price / capabilities
It is a mystery until the variables of price and capabilities are nailed down.

What is this shootout comparing?
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post #39 of 1489 Old 07-30-2017, 02:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by CherylJosie View Post
It is a mystery until the variables of price and capabilities are nailed down.

What is this shootout comparing?
As I posted just above:

That's what...makes this comparison so interesting - right now these two speakers are at the forefront of what the research reveals to be important in sound reproduction.

The thought here is to have some fun, and see what kind of preferences / observations emerge from comparing two speakers that are arguably best in class and the result of decades of research into what makes a great loudspeaker. I've already taken some time to compare them, but my listening sessions have all been sighted, so very possibly invalid. So, ultimately, it's about listening to some great loudspeakers and comparing the different approaches to hitting the same goal.

RE: the M2 pricing / electronics. The M2 requires specific DSP files that "fine tune" the speakers based on anechoic measurements. These DSP files can be loaded into certain JBL / Crown amps, the JBL SDP75 surround processor, or BLU processors from BSS. Too many variations to price out, but I can quote what we will be using:

JBL M2: List $6000 each
JBL Synthesis SDA4600 amp, feeding 600 watts to the tweeter and 600 watts to the woofer in each speaker (it's a 600 watt x 4 channel amp, so will power a pair of M2s): List $4500

Other popular amps to pair with the M2s:

Crown iTech5000HD (used in Pro applications, 1200 watts per tweeter/ woofer): List $5930.77 each, one needed for each speaker
Crown DCi4|1250n (similar to the SDA4600 listed above with twice the power output): List $5598, one will power a pair of M2s

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post #40 of 1489 Old 07-30-2017, 03:35 PM
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Thanks for the new video, John

If you have more that 20 dB of hearing loss, you get kicked out of the club. Makes a lot of sense, the folks that blew out their hearing tend to scream the loudest on forums that measurements don't matter. As a 20 something back in the day, I noted that rock musicians with 30 years of screaming monitors proclaiming golden ear status.

My hearing is not as good as it was in my 20's, the difference is I admit it so generally will recommend a range of speakers to sniff at but will use actual measurements to determine what would float my boat. Granted, I have no issues using the evil EQ to adjust for my age/life related hearing loss so tend towards accurate speakers from the start. Get a great steak then season to taste is my mantra.

Really interested in seeing two divisions of the same company go at it with DBT--the M2 has a much higher SPL capability but that is negated with level calibration. Shame I'll miss the testing, it would be educational and the side bets might be profitable...or not.

Thanks again for the video, I tend to send videos to friends that inquire about speakers/amps/wire and magic rocks. After all, an expert is a person that knows one thing more than you about a subject. Keep us posted on the battle of the best... any Vegas odds starting to show?
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post #41 of 1489 Old 07-30-2017, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by John Schuermann View Post
Ha! I'm not scared of ANYONE!

Isn't it amazing that the speaker manufacturers most dedicated to hard science and engineering make the best sounding speakers?

My only memory of the Alcons demo was that it was LOUD. Dynamics were impressive though.

For all I know they are the best sounding speakers in the world. At the same time, what I like about Harman is that they actually do the research into what sounds good and what doesn't, and build their products accordingly. Every company claims they make the best sounding speakers, but how do you prove that? It seems to me that Harman has hit on a way to actually demonstrate superiority, in the listening lab and in their measurements. That's what to me makes this comparison so interesting - right now these two speakers are at the forefront of what the research reveals to be important in sound reproduction.
Yes, they were loud. It will be interesting to see hear them again. Supposedly Seaton spent a lot of time trying to get them to sound right.

I agree about Harman. Research what people like and try to build to that. They have won me over at least on upper end. I haven't heard their less expensive speakers. But I don't go to Best Buy or any place that might have them on display.


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Thanks for the new video, John

If you have more that 20 dB of hearing loss, you get kicked out of the club. Makes a lot of sense, the folks that blew out their hearing tend to scream the loudest on forums that measurements don't matter. As a 20 something back in the day, I noted that rock musicians with 30 years of screaming monitors proclaiming golden ear status.

My hearing is not as good as it was in my 20's, the difference is I admit it so generally will recommend a range of speakers to sniff at but will use actual measurements to determine what would float my boat. Granted, I have no issues using the evil EQ to adjust for my age/life related hearing loss so tend towards accurate speakers from the start. Get a great steak then season to taste is my mantra.
You mean like all of those guys that go to RMAF and proclaim this speaker (Zu) or that gadget (cable elevators) the greatest thing ever.

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post #42 of 1489 Old 07-30-2017, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by John Schuermann View Post
Since I have been going on and on so much about measurements, I thought it only fair to post the "Spinorama Measurements" from both the Salon2 and the M2:

Revel Salon2:
Having trouble retrieving this image. It was there, then it was no longer.
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post #43 of 1489 Old 07-30-2017, 04:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Having trouble retrieving this image. It was there, then it was no longer.
Weird. It shows up in Chrome, but not Edge on my computer. Tried re-uploading it to a new folder - let me know if you can see it now

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post #44 of 1489 Old 07-30-2017, 04:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, they were loud. It will be interesting to see hear them again. Supposedly Seaton spent a lot of time trying to get them to sound right.
The other thing Harman's research has shown is that the more speakers you have in a room, the less you can determine fidelity. I've only heard the Alcons in an immersive audio setup.

From the research, the best and most reliable results in listening tests have come when the speakers are compared in mono.

Mono y mono, if you will
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post #45 of 1489 Old 07-30-2017, 04:25 PM
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Weird. It shows up in Chrome, but not Edge on my computer. Tried re-uploading it to a new folder - let me know if you can see it now
I am using Chrome and it did not show for me in the other post but I can see it in this one.

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post #46 of 1489 Old 07-30-2017, 04:28 PM - Thread Starter
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I am using Chrome and it did not show for me in the other post but I can see it in this one.
Replaced the original as well. I see it on Edge now too.
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post #47 of 1489 Old 07-30-2017, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by John Schuermann View Post
For all I know they are the best sounding speakers in the world. At the same time, what I like about Harman is that they actually do the research into what sounds good and what doesn't, and build their products accordingly. Every company claims they make the best sounding speakers, but how do you prove that? It seems to me that Harman has hit on a way to actually demonstrate superiority, in the listening lab and in their measurements. That's what to me makes this comparison so interesting - right now these two speakers are at the forefront of what the research reveals to be important in sound reproduction.
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Yes, they were loud. It will be interesting to see hear them again. Supposedly Seaton spent a lot of time trying to get them to sound right.
I agree about Harman. Research what people like and try to build to that. They have won me over at least on upper end. I haven't heard their less expensive speakers. But I don't go to Best Buy or any place that might have them on display.
Amazing work from Harman. I know John has mentioned several times that JBL/Revel has made speakers that outperform those that cost several times more. However, I wish there's a shootout on the more budget range of speakers. Will Harman ever target the mass general consumer? Did JBL Studio 290 pit against XXXX speakers? I need Studio 290 spinorama.
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post #48 of 1489 Old 07-30-2017, 04:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by astrallite View Post
As a former Studio 2 owner (and have heard the Salon 2), I'm going to guess the M2 will win. The titanium mids are a little long in the tooth (the new generation of mids in flagship speakers in the industry are now using carbon composites, diamond, or beryllium) and I remember quite a bit audible noise in the mids at higher volumes, which is backed up by the waterfall measurements of both the Studio 2 and Salon 2, with (compared to new flagship speakers that have come out in recent years) a surprising amount of midrange hash.

The mid driver is just a bit outdated for today's flagships which are moving to higher performing materials. The Paradigm Persona B for example, which I currently use, is leagues ahead of the monitors that I replaced (Revel Gem2s), in terms of midrange speed and detail, and the sensation of speed reminds me of high end electrostatic headphones like the Stax 009s.
Some thoughts on your post from Dr. Toole:

The material in the diaphragm indeed affects performance, but in all of the important respects titanium is just fine - its only problem is that it is relatively dense, meaning that the sensitivity/efficiency of the system is lower than with lower mass materials. But in all other measurable and audible effects it makes the grade. "Audible noise in the midrange"? It is hard to imagine what you were hearing (amplifier problems in driving low impedance, low efficiency drivers?). Linearity has to do with suspensions and they are common to all diaphragm materials. None of the drivers exhibit breakup within their operating frequency ranges.

Transducers are minimum-phase devices, so anything seen in waterfall diagrams is predictable from the amplitude response. If the frequency response is smooth, there is no ringing. In addition, from the perceptual perspective, humans do not hear the time-domain ringing, they respond to the frequency response bumps. Many waterfalls that I see in forums are not correctly measured, which complicates things.

In future products would titanium be used? Probably not, but not because the newer materials "sound" better, but to improve efficiency, making them easier to drive. Beryllium, a wonderful cone material is not at all new, but it is expensive and toxic, so its use is limited. The ceramic/aluminum sandwich cones are also wonderful - again not new. That was a Harman invention. Other materials and composites are options. None of this is rocket science - transducer performance can now be modeled with good precision and the choice of materials is sometimes part of marketing, not engineering. "New" is always perceived as better than "old" even if "old" was good enough.

Again, because transducers are minimum-phase devices, "speed" is totally predictable from the amplitude response (the impulse response can be calculated from the frequency response). I don't know what you were hearing, but it was not "speed."

If you like the Paradigms, I take that as a compliment. Paradigm is a Canadian company that had its start using my research and my NRCC anechoic chamber in Ottawa (along with PSB and a few other companies). They have good engineers and good facilities, and using good science they make good loudspeakers. Revel is a company that Harman started during my tenure, and it uses the same science. All of the knowledge is in publications. Companies that don't use it are not thinking clearly. That does not make all of the products from these companies "winners" - inevitably some models will be better than others, but in reality none of them will be "bad". I use Gem2s as surrounds, and in that role they are probably better than I need.

These days the best loudspeakers are so good that the principal variables in listening tests are the room at low frequencies, and the program material - recordings are notoriously variable.

Good luck and enjoy whatever you end up with .
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post #49 of 1489 Old 07-30-2017, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Amazing work from Harman. I know John has mentioned several times that JBL/Revel has made speakers that outperform those that cost several times more. However, I wish there's a shootout on the more budget range of speakers. Will Harman ever target the mass general consumer? Did JBL Studio 290 pit against XXXX speakers? I need Studio 290 spinorama.
FYI we are considering adding the Revel F208 to the shootout, if we can figure out a way to switch between three speakers quickly. The 208s list out at $2500 each.

Not in the Studio 290 price range, but closer.

Inspired by the fact that I spent about 3 hours listening to both the M2s and the F208s yesterday with a visitor. Not afraid to put them side by side.

F208 spin:

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Wow a big circle jerk put on by Harman. Not impressed. Accurate where? In my listening room or yours? With what equipment? JBL's really???

Sorry never been impressed with much of what Harman now sells.

Sorry measurement of speakers are worthless. It all comes down to how it sounds in your listening room.How your house is wired and your power company
makes a big difference unless you have dropped serious money on power line conditioning etc. How clean your power is also varies by time of day.

How do both these speakers compare to Maggie 20.7 or Vienna Acoustics Liszt's???

Who cares how a speaker measures??? What is important is how it sounds and measurements be damned!
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post #51 of 1489 Old 07-30-2017, 04:49 PM - Thread Starter
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I am not sure the Salon2 could always directly substitute for the M2 in 2-channel listening or vice-versa on the M2 substituting for the Salon2 in multichannel listening, so comparing the two with blind testing seems odd to me.

Looking forward to your thoughts on this.
Thought you might prefer Dr. Toole's thoughts over mine Here they are:

That is precisely why such a comparison is interesting to do. As you say, one is simple in concept, but bulky (and possibly not terribly friendly in a domestic environment). The other is more complex, but more visibly attractive. Both are viable design options, with the M2 being designed for professional use and the Revel for domestic use. In reality, both are superb sounding loudspeakers - we'll see if the audience has a preference, but it is safe to say that they both are fine examples of the state of loudspeaker art.

The Circle of Confusion is a problem that can only be solved if recording engineers hear what consumers hear, and vice versa. This is a real world test of that notion.


For more on the Circle of Confusion, which is an important and fascinating topic:

http://seanolive.blogspot.com/2009/1...confusion.html
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Some thoughts on your post from Dr. Toole:
.....[/I]
Damn, it's such a wonderful thing to be able to access his knowledge and experience! The Synthesis thread is my favorite AV thread, by a country mile.

Hope he sticks around 🤞

Thanks again John for making this happen!
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“Audio as a hobby is dying, largely by its own hand. As far as the real world is concerned, high-end audio lost its credibility during the 1980s, when it flatly refused to submit to the kind of basic honesty controls (double-blind testing, for example) that had legitimized every other serious scientific endeavor since Pascal. [This refusal] is a source of endless derisive amusement among rational people and of perpetual embarrassment for me” - Gordon Holt

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post #53 of 1489 Old 07-30-2017, 04:58 PM
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Who cares how a speaker measures??? What is important is how it sounds and measurements be damned!
yeah, and thats how you/they snakeoiled cables, amps, speakers etc to make them cost ridiculous amounts ... just because some dbags put fancy words together and fool foolish people into believing 'gold covered' crap is better.
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post #54 of 1489 Old 07-30-2017, 05:08 PM
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How your house is wired and your power company
makes a big difference unless you have dropped serious money on power line conditioning etc. How clean your power is also varies by time of day.
LOL, you forgot that you have to wear a negative ion bracelet on your left wrist and stand on one leg before listening.

I know...don't feed the trolls, but it's like you have no idea how an amplifier or power supply actually works

“Audio as a hobby is dying, largely by its own hand. As far as the real world is concerned, high-end audio lost its credibility during the 1980s, when it flatly refused to submit to the kind of basic honesty controls (double-blind testing, for example) that had legitimized every other serious scientific endeavor since Pascal. [This refusal] is a source of endless derisive amusement among rational people and of perpetual embarrassment for me” - Gordon Holt
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post #55 of 1489 Old 07-30-2017, 05:14 PM
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Weird. It shows up in Chrome, but not Edge on my computer. Tried re-uploading it to a new folder - let me know if you can see it now
Well both are showing up now, but I logged into Gmail after trying to manually load the link for the first image and receiving a login prompt. However I still could not see the first image until after you posted the second.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Schuermann View Post
JBL M2:

From these images, as I stated, it appears that the M2 achieves slightly improved frequency response and directivity using 1/3 the drivers at 1/2 the cost with the aid of some DSP. The tradeoff for these gains is the restriction on choice of electronics, and the plain boxy footprint/cosmetics that were the overriding factor in Toole's choice between the Salon2 and the M2 despite him having praised the M2 as the 'ideal' speaker or some such in one of his lectures.

Have you figured out a way to shuttle the speakers in and out of position? How about a turntable with a locking pin? What about the electronics? I am curious how you are going to DIY a blind speaker test. This seems difficult.

With such similar measurements it would be interesting to see if all of the participants can even reliably identify which speaker is playing. For someone with my hearing that could be extra challenging. Is there going to be any A/B/X testing, or just A/B testing for preference?
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post #56 of 1489 Old 07-30-2017, 05:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow a big circle jerk put on by Harman. Not impressed. Accurate where? In my listening room or yours? With what equipment? JBL's really???

Sorry never been impressed with much of what Harman now sells.

Sorry measurement of speakers are worthless. It all comes down to how it sounds in your listening room.How your house is wired and your power company
makes a big difference unless you have dropped serious money on power line conditioning etc. How clean your power is also varies by time of day.

How do both these speakers compare to Maggie 20.7 or Vienna Acoustics Liszt's???

Who cares how a speaker measures??? What is important is how it sounds and measurements be damned!
Sorry you are not impressed. May I suggest actually checking out the science being discussed here? It's all been published and peer reviewed, as all good science should be. And the peer reviewed and published science shows an 86% correlation between measurements and listener preference. Feel free to check it out for yourself - the info is out there, often on the AES (Audio Engineering Society) website.

Shall I also list Dr. Toole's awards and credentials? This is mainly his work we are talking about. Many of these awards were bestowed by those who work for Harman's competitors:

Dr. Toole’s research has focused on the acoustics and psychoacoustics of sound reproduction, directed to improving engineering measurements, objectives for loudspeaker design and evaluation, and techniques for reducing variability at the loudspeaker/room/listener interface. A measurement technique based on his research in the 1980s and further developed in the Harman research group is now a core component in ANSI/CTA-2034-A (2015). “Standard Method of Measurement for In-Home Loudspeakers”, Consumer Technology Association, Technology and Standards Dept., www.CTA.tech.

For papers on these subjects and for organizing conferences and conventions he has received:

• two Audio Engineering Society (AES) Publications awards (1988, 1990).
• the AES Board of Governors Award for service to the society (2003).

For his scientific contributions to the audio industry he has been recognized with:

• the AES Silver Medal award (1996).
• the AES Gold Medal award (2013).

He is a Fellow and Past President of the AES, a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America and a Fellow of CEDIA (Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association). He has also received :

• CEDIA Lifetime Achievement award (2008).
• Beryllium Driver Lifetime Achievement award from ALMA (Association of Loudspeaker Manufacturing & Acoustics International) (2011).
• In 2015 he was inducted into the Consumer TechnologyAssociation Hall of Fame.
• In November 2017 he is due to receive the Peter Barnett award from the Institute of Acoustics (UK).

In case you are genuinely interested in discussing the science and want to have an open, friendly discussion:

Accurate where? In my listening room or yours? With what equipment? JBL's really?


The goal is to create a speaker that is flat and accurate in an anechoic chamber, like those at Harman and at Canada's NRC. Once you know the speaker is outputting flat and accurate sound in an ideal situation, you know that it will also output accurate sound in a NON ideal location. At that point, the room is adding its own colorations. But the same would be true of live musicians performing in your room. You want to know that the ROOM is adding the colorations, NOT the speaker. Without starting with an accurate loudspeaker as the source, you are simply lost in determining what is what.

In addition, the research has shown that the room is mostly responsible for colorations in the bass region, below what is known as the transition, or Schroeder, frequency (in most rooms, below about 250 - 300 hz). Above that the sound of the speaker itself dominates. Another reason why high accuracy is important.

The science also shows that competently executed electronics are neutral, so the equipment is a much less important part of the story. You do want to make sure that the amplifier is up to the task of driving the speaker to the levels you want, however, especially if the speaker presents a difficult load to the amp.

BTW, if you want independent measurements of speakers, you can check out the measurements at www.soundstage.com, where testing is done in the Canadian government's facility.

Sorry measurement of speakers are worthless. It all comes down to how it sounds in your listening room. How your house is wired and your power company makes a big difference unless you have dropped serious money on power line conditioning etc. How clean your power is also varies by time of day.

With respect, this is just wrong. Measurements can tell you a great deal about how a speaker will sound, and whether or not people will like it (again, check out the peer reviewed science).

As far as power / line conditioning, that is of course what the manufacturers of expensive line conditioners and the like would have you believe. Let's see peer reviewed scientific papers that back up their claims. As someone who used to work retail, I can personally attest to the pressures salespeople are under to sell these incredibly profitable items.

Don't have measurements of the Liszt, but here are measurements of the Mozart (from www.soundstage.com):



From this measurement, you can safely make a good prediction of how it will sound in your room (especially above the transition frequency). It's like having a built in graphic equalizer overlaying everything you play on it, with the curve you see above. And it's adding that curve to everything you play through it, whether you like it or not.

FWIW, it doesn't look like any Maggies were submitted for testing.

Who cares how a speaker measures??? What is important is how it sounds and measurements be damned!

Would you say the same thing about the microphone, mixing console, or monitor speaker used to capture a musical performance? Wouldn't you want the mics and monitors to accurately reproduce the sound heard in the recording studio? The only way you are going to know that is if you know how the mics etc measure. And you would of course want mics, consoles and monitors that do not add their own colorations to the sound - you just want them to pass on the sound without changing it (unless it is a deliberate change imposed on the sound by the artist). Why would you want anything different in your home?

Let's move this to video for a moment. Would you say the same thing about a projector or flat panel? Who cares how accurate the colors are, what's important is how it looks? Wouldn't you want to know that the green of the grass and blue of the sky is accurate to what was captured by the camera? Most people would want to know that their TV's color is accurate to the source. The only way you can truly know that is to measure and calibrate the display.

Yet it seems all that goes out the window when it comes to speakers...
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post #57 of 1489 Old 07-30-2017, 05:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by CherylJosie View Post
From these images, as I stated, it appears that the M2 achieves slightly improved frequency response and directivity using 1/3 the drivers at 1/2 the cost with the aid of some DSP. The tradeoff for these gains is the restriction on choice of electronics, and the plain boxy footprint/cosmetics that were the overriding factor in Toole's choice between the Salon2 and the M2 despite him having praised the M2 as the 'ideal' speaker or some such in one of his lectures.

Have you figured out a way to shuttle the speakers in and out of position? How about a turntable with a locking pin? What about the electronics? I am curious how you are going to DIY a blind speaker test. This seems difficult.

With such similar measurements it would be interesting to see if all of the participants can even reliably identify which speaker is playing. For someone with my hearing that could be extra challenging. Is there going to be any A/B/X testing, or just A/B testing for preference?
Toole likes both speakers, just about equally. You can find his personal comments in the JBL Synthesis thread:

Official JBL Synthesis / Pro / Revel Home Theater Thread

He started posting directly about 3 weeks ago, to save you some time. If the science here interests you, I suggest perusing that thread as Toole himself posts from time to time.

A/B testing for preference.

We are working on methods to shuffle the speakers. Some input Dr. Toole sent me a few weeks back:

If the tests are not at least single blind, the results will always be questionable. Get some black polyester double knit and stretch it across the room. Arrange the lighting so that it is dark behind the screen and enough in front to prevent recognition. Remember that even silhouettes will tell the tale in this case.

First of all do the tests mono and adjust for equal loudness. Because the speakers are so similar even an A-weighted measurement should work. In this case, comparing two loudspeakers that are as close to neutral as exists right now the differences will be rather small and listening in stereo simply makes the differences harder to hear. You might want to throw in a third candidate just to confuse the issue - in my early NRCC tests we always did this. Think of it as a test of the center channel, the most important speaker in a HT.

If your room is reasonably symmetrical you could place the speakers away from the side walls, and randomly shuffle them occasionally during the listening session. Another option is to put the speakers on square moving dollies (Home depot has them for $20 (Model 33700, SKU 639092), then you can do positional substitution behind the screen - but if your floor is carpeted that will work less well. We did this with two turntables in the imaging experiments I referred you to - you could do it with one.

Good luck. This might be a first in the audiophile world. Do it well, take notes and teach others how to do it. Remember the circle of confusion, so choose the program carefully. There is music for shopping for loudspeakers and music for showing off - they may be different. "Audiophile" music is often in the latter category.
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post #58 of 1489 Old 07-30-2017, 06:22 PM
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Please excuse my ignorance, but it seems to me that these two speakers are dramatically different in design and that might mean they are also more appropriately targeted toward different applications.

The M2 is a 2-way, 2-driver system with a wide precision waveguide horn controlling the dispersion of half the spectrum and the measured dispersion pattern demonstrates how well it works. The cabinet is wide to accommodate the large drivers. Using fewer drivers with that classy waveguide horn may improve the overall sound for 2 channel listening where dispersion is of primary importance to the sound power component of the frequency response and ambiance. However, that wide cabinet is going to eat up wall space in a cramped multichannel installation and the wide/smooth dispersion pattern could be a drawback for theater, or for acoustically challenged environments where narrower dispersion is possibly better.

The Salon2 is a four-way system with smaller drivers that tend to behave as point sources for much or possibly all of their spectrum in the case of the bass woofers. Several of these cabs in a multichannel installation will eat up fewer radians in a circle surrounding the listener, but the overall smoothness and imaging of the sound may be somewhat compromised by splitting the spectrum into twice as many bands, and by the reduced waveguide control over the dispersion that probably results in a narrower/lumpier beam at mid/higher frequencies (sorry, those are assumptions since I am not familiar with either of these speakers).

I am not sure the Salon2 could always directly substitute for the M2 in 2-channel listening or vice-versa on the M2 substituting for the Salon2 in multichannel listening, so comparing the two with blind testing seems odd to me.

Please forgive me for questioning the premise of the shoot-out. I am still sort of noob at this. For me the discussion is academic. I will never own either of these speakers. By now my ears would not possibly justify the investment even if I had the cash.

I can readily understand the desire to compare them and nominate one or the other king, but that is not really what this art is about IMO. To me, it is more about optimization and that optimization encompasses the choice of appropriate tech more than it encompasses the choice of 'the best' tech.

Looking forward to your thoughts on this.
Absolutely agree. They are both very nice speakers, but it's a bit like comparing a Camaro to a Suburban.

I think the M2's would probably be more appropriately compared with some of the JTR or Triad options, or other studio monitors like Genelec, Barefoot, Adam etc. Salon 2's are WAY further over in the Hi-Fi spectrum.

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post #59 of 1489 Old 07-30-2017, 06:55 PM
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FYI we are considering adding the Revel F208 to the shootout, if we can figure out a way to switch between three speakers quickly. The 208s list out at $2500 each.

Not in the Studio 290 price range, but closer.

Inspired by the fact that I spent about 3 hours listening to both the M2s and the F208s yesterday with a visitor. Not afraid to put them side by side.
Adding the F208 would be cool, it does come in at a much more 'attainable' price point. JBL Studio 590s (those are on the JBL Synthesis site so I'm guessing are considered a Synthesis-level speaker) or JBL LSR708s could also be fun additions - both are in their own ways sort of like baby M2s.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Schuermann View Post
Toole likes both speakers, just about equally. You can find his personal comments in the JBL Synthesis thread:

Official JBL Synthesis / Pro / Revel Home Theater Thread

He started posting directly about 3 weeks ago, to save you some time. If the science here interests you, I suggest perusing that thread as Toole himself posts from time to time.

A/B testing for preference.

We are working on methods to shuffle the speakers. Some input Dr. Toole sent me a few weeks back:

If the tests are not at least single blind, the results will always be questionable. Get some black polyester double knit and stretch it across the room. Arrange the lighting so that it is dark behind the screen and enough in front to prevent recognition. Remember that even silhouettes will tell the tale in this case.

First of all do the tests mono and adjust for equal loudness. Because the speakers are so similar even an A-weighted measurement should work. In this case, comparing two loudspeakers that are as close to neutral as exists right now the differences will be rather small and listening in stereo simply makes the differences harder to hear. You might want to throw in a third candidate just to confuse the issue - in my early NRCC tests we always did this. Think of it as a test of the center channel, the most important speaker in a HT.

If your room is reasonably symmetrical you could place the speakers away from the side walls, and randomly shuffle them occasionally during the listening session. Another option is to put the speakers on square moving dollies (Home depot has them for $20 (Model 33700, SKU 639092), then you can do positional substitution behind the screen - but if your floor is carpeted that will work less well. We did this with two turntables in the imaging experiments I referred you to - you could do it with one.

Good luck. This might be a first in the audiophile world. Do it well, take notes and teach others how to do it. Remember the circle of confusion, so choose the program carefully. There is music for shopping for loudspeakers and music for showing off - they may be different. "Audiophile" music is often in the latter category.
I can see the logic in measuring a speaker in mono to determine its performance characteristics, but no one sits at home and listens to just one speaker (well, aside from those with Sonos and the like) and the interaction between the two speakers in terms of dispersion would come into play with a stereo setup.

Maybe doing the tests in mono for a stripped down 'just the speaker and nothing but the speaker' result and then repeating them in stereo to get more real-world impressions for how people actually listen would be worthwhile. Of course, then you have to deal with seating and finding the 'sweet spot' but you could have people play musical chairs within each test - that would also allow for impressions about how wide an acceptable listening window each speaker is capable of.

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post #60 of 1489 Old 07-30-2017, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by dave2002ti View Post
Wow a big circle jerk put on by Harman. Not impressed. Accurate where? In my listening room or yours? With what equipment? JBL's really???

Sorry never been impressed with much of what Harman now sells.

Sorry measurement of speakers are worthless. It all comes down to how it sounds in your listening room.How your house is wired and your power company
makes a big difference unless you have dropped serious money on power line conditioning etc. How clean your power is also varies by time of day.

How do both these speakers compare to Maggie 20.7 or Vienna Acoustics Liszt's???

Who cares how a speaker measures??? What is important is how it sounds and measurements be damned!
I had Maggies, for decades, and have had most everything else roll through my system at one time or another, though no Liszt models (never heard them). The Revel's I have compare quite well to my old Magnepans, though of course the dispersion patterns are quite different. My room is heavily damped and in fact they are quite close in sound, with the Revel's offering greater dynamic range. IME/IMO the measurements reflect how they sound, and direct sound is unaffected by the room over the transition frequency. And thinking the sound is dominated by the power mains reflects a lack of understanding of how power supplies in components work. And I am not sure the relevancy to the speakers themselves. Not that it matters if I understand or not given your premises and position.

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