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post #1261 of 1494 Old 08-29-2017, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Scotth3886 View Post
I appreciate you speaking common English for the few of us peons left here. And sorry to read that you left the panel plantation. I'm still here, unlikely to ever leave, but I have always had other systems, many with conventional cone and dome type speakers.

I understand about 10 - 20 % of what many have written here in the last few pages of texts. However, what this did do is get me to go down to the listening room to give another shot at fixing my bass, which I've never been happy with since I've moved in this house 2 1/2 years ago. It was fine in the last house so I know it wasn't the equipment. So finally last night at about 1:00am I moved the one sub and leave the other one where it is and success instead of suckcess. I moved the sub on the left to almost the front left corner of the room and then experimented with the right sub and found so far that it sounded better where it is. I'm not symmetrical. I'll fix this or screw it up as I get time. REALLY strange thing is that soundstage is more expansive especially when it comes to depth. I didn't think that would be possible. WTH would a sub or two have to do with that? I understand response being smoother down there, but effect on the total soundstage?

Anyway, still trying to figure out what to do with the sub on the right that's by my equipment rack. And thanks (to everyone) for the encouragement to keep after it.
You're very welcome; the question seemed to imply a more subjective response was warranted, "know thy audience" and all that jazz. Besides my acoustics knowledge is insignificant compared to that of many posters in this thread, but I can follow it (when I have the time to read; I tend to be a "fly-by" poster skimming whilst a test is running or doing other things -- like practicing). Been a long time since those grad classes, and that was pretty high-level math, something I'd have to really study now to get back up to speed.

I've had both conventional and planar systems for ages, though until recently Maggies were my mainstays. There are some things big panels just seem to make sound very right, and some things conventional drivers do much better. Pros and cons, and my short list included some pretty good examples of both. This time, I decided to give conventional a try again, bolstered by an opportunity to get one of the very best (or so it seemed to me) within my budget. And my current room is a little small for panels, at least relative to the larger rooms I've enjoyed them in previously, so the Salon2's are an excellent fit.

Playing with sub positions, like dialing in the position of your dipoles, is one of those eternally vexing things that has to be done until it sounds right. Since the room and MLP are major variables all you get is general guidance from most texts and programs, and room correction programs are not a complete panacea (though I consider them a huge step forward, they still can't solve everything, and sometimes -- rarely IME -- make things worse).

I have often found getting the bass right makes everything sound better. I liken it to getting the foundation right so all the rest of the sound builds on it. In a lot of music, particularly with blended instruments and voices, there are subharmonics that really fill out the sound and make everything sound "bigger", "richer", "fuller". If the bass is not right you miss that. It is hard to explain (though fairly easy mathematically) but easy to hear. It is more than just getting the balance right, it is also providing those deep subharmonics and fundamentals from things like drums and piano hammer strikes that you don't realize you've missed until you get them back.
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"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
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post #1262 of 1494 Old 08-29-2017, 12:24 PM
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I presume its the same as this one below. The one you linked above has a pay wall.

"Have you read the Welti and Devantier article about SFM?"

I read the above last night and now can't remember a thing about it. That's not good!
The one behind the paywall is a different article, called "Subjective Comparison of Single Channel versus Two Channel Subwoofer Reproduction". I usually have PMs turned off, but I have them turned on temporarily, so I can get you more information about the article if you wish.
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post #1263 of 1494 Old 08-29-2017, 12:56 PM
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The one behind the paywall is a different article, called "Subjective Comparison of Single Channel versus Two Channel Subwoofer Reproduction". I usually have PMs turned off, but I have them turned on temporarily, so I can get you more information about the article if you wish.

Problem is doing something about it before I forget. Either I'm still working way too hard for a 74 year old or it's something else. And given that both of my parents passed from Alzheimer's it makes me worry, that is .... IF ... I can remember to worry.

Plus, much of the last two or three pages were so beyond me that it's pathetic.
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post #1264 of 1494 Old 08-29-2017, 01:10 PM
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I guess I missed the window of opportunity; could you also please PM the article info?

I have two subs at opposite midwalls, but can consider adding more elsewhere.

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Originally Posted by andyc56 View Post
The one behind the paywall is a different article, called "Subjective Comparison of Single Channel versus Two Channel Subwoofer Reproduction". I usually have PMs turned off, but I have them turned on temporarily, so I can get you more information about the article if you wish.
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post #1265 of 1494 Old 08-29-2017, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post
You're very welcome; the question seemed to imply a more subjective response was warranted, "know thy audience" and all that jazz. Besides my acoustics knowledge is insignificant compared to that of many posters in this thread, but I can follow it (when I have the time to read; I tend to be a "fly-by" poster skimming whilst a test is running or doing other things -- like practicing). Been a long time since those grad classes, and that was pretty high-level math, something I'd have to really study now to get back up to speed.

I've had both conventional and planar systems for ages, though until recently Maggies were my mainstays. There are some things big panels just seem to make sound very right, and some things conventional drivers do much better. Pros and cons, and my short list included some pretty good examples of both. This time, I decided to give conventional a try again, bolstered by an opportunity to get one of the very best (or so it seemed to me) within my budget. And my current room is a little small for panels, at least relative to the larger rooms I've enjoyed them in previously, so the Salon2's are an excellent fit.

Playing with sub positions, like dialing in the position of your dipoles, is one of those eternally vexing things that has to be done until it sounds right. Since the room and MLP are major variables all you get is general guidance from most texts and programs, and room correction programs are not a complete panacea (though I consider them a huge step forward, they still can't solve everything, and sometimes -- rarely IME -- make things worse).

I have often found getting the bass right makes everything sound better. I liken it to getting the foundation right so all the rest of the sound builds on it. In a lot of music, particularly with blended instruments and voices, there are subharmonics that really fill out the sound and make everything sound "bigger", "richer", "fuller". If the bass is not right you miss that. It is hard to explain (though fairly easy mathematically) but easy to hear. It is more than just getting the balance right, it is also providing those deep subharmonics and fundamentals from things like drums and piano hammer strikes that you don't realize you've missed until you get them back.
Perfect. There's not much help out there for us dipole groupies. Plus, as you might have noticed from my floor plan that I kinked a few posts ago, my positioning is really really radical even for dipoles. So I'm on my own, and it's pretty much trial and (mostly) error. What drove me nuts is that I had great bass with this exact same equipment at the last house. Then moved to this house and then damn, it's been 2 1/2 years messing around with around with until last night. I got one them right finally last night (the left one) but the right side likes it right where it is. That can't be left that asymmetrical. I did notice on some material that it's pulling the image a little bit to the left so I have to find another location that works. But even getting one of them more correct. What a difference in the overall enjoyment to have a strong foundation under the music. And how much bigger in scale the soundstage is without screwing up image size.

It's reading the posts, that frankly I don't understand 90%, but I still sort of get it because I've been doing it so long. I'm the guy who can rebuild carburetors blind, but get me to modern fuel injection and I can't fix it myself.

I also agree with you about cones / domes versus dipoles. I've always had both in my three to four systems. The big system has generally been dipoles and the next in line cones and domes. Keep me sane to have something else to listen to to 'center' myself
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post #1266 of 1494 Old 08-29-2017, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by andyc56 View Post
The one behind the paywall is a different article, called "Subjective Comparison of Single Channel versus Two Channel Subwoofer Reproduction". I usually have PMs turned off, but I have them turned on temporarily, so I can get you more information about the article if you wish.

Still though, if you have it available and can share it, I sure would like to try to read it.
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post #1267 of 1494 Old 08-29-2017, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by awediophile View Post
Suppose one sketches a control room design and performs geometric calculations to determine the various reflection points for a listener confined to a narrow region of space in the room. A naive designer might conclude that a 6"x6" panel (make it 12"x12" if you like, to give the listener some freedom to move his or her head) of sufficient depth at each reflection "point" is sufficient to eliminate that reflection. This is reasonable for high frequencies but for low frequencies, a larger area must be treated to eliminate the reflection. An acoustician might say "you should make the panel bigger to account for diffraction".
another wall of text that is a simple strawman built up to be knocked down. why would you even comment on what a "naive designer" would do - or any other method of applying treatment that is fundamentally wrong. no one is interested in discussing the myriad ways of improperly applying treatment within a room. no one mentioned a 6"x6" panel except you in attempt to further distract from the original statements. the fact that objects (treatments - be it of diffusive or absorptive variety) must be large with respect to wavelength and this statement was noted as early as #1160: "the gratings must be large enough in size to be seen by the relevant wavelengths,". this is a well understood baseline that does not need to be repeated as some sort of "gotcha".

you have still failed to imply how the specular model breaks down in small rooms and how "diffraction" takes over. all you've provided here is a completely erroneous attempt at applying a small panel that is not large with respect to the lower frequency of a given bandwidth. garbage in garbage out. all you have provided is an example of what not to do.

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Originally Posted by awediophile View Post
I purposely avoided examples involving diffusion because they are more complicated to reason about. For example, the minimum width requirement relates to how the diffuser itself works, which while based on the principles of diffraction and superposition (how/why phase grating diffusers are able to scatter sound in space as well as time) are not quite the same. In fact, if the reflection is eliminated first with sufficient absorption, then diffusion can be synthesized actively using an omni microphone, point source loudspeaker, and signal processing. Such a diffuser will have ideal spatial diffusion properties and potentially ideal temporal diffusion properties while functioning to as low a frequency as is desired while taking up near zero space (except for the absorption).
negative. a single omni-directional speaker emitting a signal does not constitute the same spatial field that a reflection phase grating develops. the IACC from that of a diffuser vs an omni-directional loudspeaker (even with temporal decay embedded in the direct signal) is not the same. that's tantamount to saying one can "generate" a reverberant sound-field from an omni-directional speaker reproducing an actual recorded reverberant sound-field - and implying that the physical sound fields are similar. fundamentally incorrect.

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Originally Posted by awediophile View Post
Hey wait, that sounds kind of like multi-channel ambiance reinforcement.
an "effect" / FX generator - not the same as physically modifying an indirect soundfield (eg, polar lobe/null development).

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Originally Posted by awediophile View Post
Specular behavior is very much a scale-related phenomenon, which you do seem to grasp, albeit incompletely. The size of the boundary relative to wavelength is not the only consideration. The distances of source and receiver are also important, which is where the terms "near-field" and "far-field" come about. In the classic single slit experiment, the far-field approximation is used to simplify the math by assuming sufficient distance exists between the slit and screen for particular mathematical terms to be disregarded.
honestly i'm lost and can't tell if you are just throwing terms together as this is not coherent at all in terms of the context of discussion. perhaps you could utilize a 2d wavetank generator to illustrate your point?

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Originally Posted by awediophile View Post
Please re-read my response. What I stated was the opposite of what you wrote in bold. A shallower diffuser degrades the sound-field less than a thin porous absorber because it does not remove nearly as much high frequency energy relative to low frequency energy from the room. Its tendency to absorb is only marginal.
i still don't follow your logic at all. with a typical loudspeaker, there is little HF energy dispersed off-axis as it's mostly LF/mid - inversely that to which a shallow diffuser (or thin porous absorber) if effective to.

a shallow diffuser is going to disperse some (albeit at a lower gain) HF content to the listening position - while the LF/mid band/spectral content is unmolested.
a thin porous absorber is going to fully atteunate the HF content - while allowing the LF/mid band/spectral content to impede.

however if there is little HF energy incident upon the shallow diffuser, there is little modified effect to begin with. the soundfields will be relatively consistent vs that of the thin porous absorber.

but this is practically irrelevant because BOTH are examples of what NOT to do. unless somehow the design requirements call for a colored or "EQ'd" reflection where-by only the HF band is attenuated and one actually wishes for tonal characteristics to be modified via the LPF'd indirect reflections.

too much commentary and distractions being made about entirely erroneous examples and ways of applying treatment to a space.

and what do you mean by "degrades the sound-field less"? is that a subjective statement or how do you quantify/qualify "degregation"?

regardless, as my original statement implied, both shallow diffusers and thin porous absorbers are non-broadband treatments. they merely color/EQ the reflection as the HF band is atteunated while the lower-mid band (of the specular region/specular reflection) persist. if one is going to apply treatments at sidewalls or other "reflection points" incident of high-gain sparse indirect signals, they should be broadband in nature to match that of the spectral content of the reflection. otherwise, the signal is colored and tonal characteristics will change as perceived as the listening position.

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Originally Posted by awediophile View Post
And just to remind you: in one of my previous posts, I did in fact agree with you that in the context of treating early reflection "points", a diffuser that is active over only part of the bandwidth will alter the spectral content of that reflection.
yes, hence the requirements for broadband treatments in such a scenario/context.



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Originally Posted by awediophile View Post
I am well aware of that. That's why I used the word "marginal". The effective absorption is still nowhere near as high as a fiber glass panel in most instances. If anything I believe Cox and D'antonio's research was done to try to debunk those who were claiming that diffusers absorb too much.
you made the claim that they do not "permanently remove energy from the room", and this is false. phase gratings have a lossy component via that of edge diffraction, viscous losses (even further compounded with too thin of wells), and 1/4wave resonances. the statement of comparison of a diffuser's absorption level to that of a pure porous/resistive absorber is merely another strawman. it's irrelevant and has no bearing on real-world behavior of RPGs.

cox/d'antonio's work is not solely about debunking absorption claims - and in fact they go so far as to provide examples how one can optimally increase the absorption rates of diffusers if the design requirements call for it.

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Also it is noted in that reference that absorption is much greater in true Schroeder diffusers, in which the wells are isolated all the way to front end of the diffuser, than in pseudo-diffusers in which the wells are not isolated. The diffusers used in the Blackbird studio example you discussed below were of the pseudo-diffuser variety, which also means they weren't true primitive root diffusers (PRDs) in a theoretical sense.
the well dividers exist to insure plane-wave propagation into the wells from off-axis (non-normal-incidence) angles. RPGs without the well dividers are still true diffusers in the theoretical sense from normal-incidence - but the prediction will not hold up off-axis. however this does not imply that scattering (or even equal energy "diffusion") does not still take place - and many have designed RPGs with optimal dispersion characteristics without well dividers via the use of BEM modeling a la AMFG Reflex.

the well dividers imply viscous losses/well resonances, but you will get more losses due to edge diffraction from 2D RPGs without the dividers.

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Originally Posted by awediophile View Post
No, I am not hand waving this away at all. You are misinterpreting data from the Energy-Time Curve (ETC) plot, which I am presenting here for discussion and which, by the way, you should have called out for context when you posted your "-30 dB" claim:

First of all, the gap itself is largely meaningless without additional information. Do you know what happens if the mic is moved to half the distance from the speaker and the measurement repeated? The gap increases by approximately 6 dB. That's not surprising because the direct-to-reflected sound ratio is also increasing. One reason "near-field" monitoring is so popular is that it helps to increase that ratio. But we aren't talking about that here. We're talking about diffuser lossiness.

Second of all, the Y-axis of the ETC isn't really energy, it's more like energy density. To obtain an energy quantity, one must compute the area under the curve over a finite span of time. That can't be done using the data as it is depicted here because of how it is displayed. The resolution is lower than the sampling rate of the measurement, and where multiple samples share the same column in the picture, the plotter is probably showing only the maximum of those samples. It's far easier to compute these kinds of quantities from the raw data using a computer.

Ignoring the technical complications of the visualization and the changes in direct-to-reflected sound ratio with measurement ratio, the fact that the Y-axis of the ETC shows a -30 dB gap needs to be interpreted in terms of area. One effect of the diffusers is to spread reflected energy out in time. In units of "energy density", -30 dB is 0.1%. So that means that 1000 samples at -30 dB have the same energy as a single sample at 0 dB. Note that at a sample rate of 48000 Hz, 1000 samples is about 21 ms. But given the caveats I mention above, you can't really read much into my numbers here. I just discuss this to illustrate that a lot of energy can still be present in the measurement even if the max ETC "level" remains under -30 dB.
quite clearly the most effort applied to a distraction ive seen that diffusers do not "permanently remove energy from the room". but you're probably right in that the designers (massenburg and d'antonio) somehow don't have a grasp on these fundamentals and measurement tools, and should instead rely on your arm chair analysis.

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Originally Posted by awediophile View Post
And because of the differences in direct-to-reflected ratio depending on mic distance, there's absolutely no way to tell how much loss is occurring upon the initial interaction of the sound with the diffusers. Perhaps the one and only bit of quantitative information that *can* be gleaned from this ETC is the decay rate of the diffuse sound-field, which reveals a log-linear loss of about -20 dB in 0.1 seconds or an RT60 of 0.3 seconds. Those are actual losses within the room as opposed to effects of temporal smearing and differences in direct-to-reflected sound ratio. While the diffusers may be making some contribution to the losses, I'd bet that the majority of those losses are occurring because of the large absorption panels shown in this room picture:

Oddly enough, I recall reading that the panels were specifically sized as part of the design to achieve the target RT60. Perhaps someone who knows the designer could ask if the absorbers were specified a priori using, e.g. the Sabine equation, and if so, how close the room performed to the spec. That's be one way to answer the question of just how lossy those diffusers are. But honestly, I don't care that much. I'm just trying to debunk your argument here.
they weren't, as RT60/sabine's equations are absolutely not valid in such a space. and the designer's have provided enough commentary regarding the space but you seem more/less relying on speculation from your desk.

it's not "my argument" - it's fact based on real world empirical data that diffusers of this variety absolutely induce losses. the fact that you seem to completely ignore the potential from edge diffraction alone from all of the exposed surfaces is telling. your statement that diffusers do not "permanently remove energy from the room" is flat out wrong.

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Originally Posted by awediophile View Post
You said yourself that Cox and D'antonio have already done the work on the subject of lossy diffusion. They do, in fact, offer guidelines for how to keep absorption to a minimum. Subjectively speaking, I find diffusers to increase the apparent liveness of the room despite very slight reductions in mid and high frequency decay time. I also don't have a problem with lingering reflections being low-passed because that's encountered naturally. Many if not acoustic sources have increasing directivity with frequency just like speakers. So used in moderation, I feel diffusers are a big win, even if they only work over a limited bandwidth.
i've yet to experience a room i've modified where-by diffusers "make a room livelier". more spacious and of the subjective preference of being in a larger space (via IACC differences), yes - but not "livelier". diffusers do not "add life" to a room unless they are replacing a more lossy treatment (eg, porous absorber).

and again, the subjective preferences for diffusers and their use in bounded acoustical spaces (or what you subjectively prefer) is outside of the context of the conversation - which is whether diffusers have a fundamental lossy component and remove energy from the room. more distractions.

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Originally Posted by awediophile View Post
On the subject of the ETC, here's something else you probably aren't aware of. Like the impulse response, the primitive signal used to generate the ETC is the Dirac Delta or Impulse, and the spectral density of the Impulse is flat, like white noise, as opposed to pink noise which has a 1/f spectral density. In other words if the bandwidth of the impulse is 20 kHz, then half of the energy is contained in the last octave. A whopping 95% of the energy of the ETC is contained in the frequencies above 1 kHz. This means that using ETC for most acoustic analysis is actually a very bad idea. It's unfortunate that a lot of people are probably treating their rooms to make the ETC meet a target and leaving serious low frequency problems unaddressed because of have such little weight in the ETC. I dare say much of the recommendations around ETC are a kind of Cargo Cult Science.
almost comical when the conversation degrades down into someone literally attempting to imply a "perspective" of acoustical analysis is somehow a cult science. the ETC is merely another tool in the toolbox to provide time-domain analysis of indirect signals and how they impede the listening position over time - of which like any tool the operator must understand the fundamentals and the limitations. you seem entirely hung up on identifying ways of using a tool wrong (or erroneously applying treatment wrong - as in your example of a 6"x6" panel above) - and you're also ignoring the use of band-limited ETCs...

now only if you would put forth the effort into a "frequency-response Cargo Cult Science" and all the ways the 2d frequency response can be used erroneously ...
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post #1268 of 1494 Old 08-29-2017, 04:45 PM
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This thread has gotten very technical and is starting to lose me, but I love the debate because I am learning lots about things I have barely gotten familiar with.

Is there an online reference that explains the ins and outs of diffusion on the same gory technical level that this thread is bending toward?

Thanks, really appreciate it.

I created a YouTube playlist of the 'shootout songs' using tracks already uploaded by others. I had to make a couple of substitutions.

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post #1269 of 1494 Old 08-29-2017, 04:55 PM
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I have often found getting the bass right makes everything sound better.
Lumpy bass seems to distract from both the subtleties in the sound, and the more subtle errors in the sound. Once the distraction of lumpy bass is gone, the rest of the sound becomes more apparent to me.
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post #1270 of 1494 Old 08-29-2017, 07:15 PM
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I listened again to another pair of Revel speakers a few days ago.

For context, I was auditioning two other speaker brands I've considered at a high end audio store. If it's not easy to move the speakers, I do my best to experiment with seating position, moving far, close and in between, to get a sense of the sound (often ending up closer for more direct sound to "take out the room" a bit more, unless a more distant seating makes for more even sound).

One of the things I do when I'm in front of a new pair of speakers is close my eyes, just listen to the sound and ask myself "Just from the sound, what type of speakers do I picture I'm listening to?" Often enough, when there are significant enough dips in the mids/lower mids/upper bass I get what I see in my mind as the "clock radio paired with a sub-woofer" effect. Like one of those cheap sat/sub combos you can buy for $70, with upper mids/highs riding over a suckout, below that bloomy bass. Both the speakers I listened to, though alluring in some ways, brought this impression when I closed my eyes and listened to the sound. Oh well...

Then I spotted the Revel Concerta F36 speakers in their own room. The set up actually looked much better than the one in which I'd demoed the more expensive Revels I mentioned earlier in the thread, in this case they were pulled nicely out into the room, with good space to the sides as well. I played some of my demo tracks and...

Terrific! I was just immediately was struck with the impression "these are well engineered speakers!" First, the sound was both rich and beautifully, evenly balanced top to bottom. The high end was open, smooth and spacious, the mid-range full and rich, the bass beautifully controlled, no boom, allowing the full frequency spectrum to sound detached from the speakers, with a great soundstage. In fact the most immediate impression was "boy these sound like my Thiels" on all the tracks I'm so familiar with. In fact, I've never encountered a speaker that sounded that close to the Thiels. A huge compliment since, at least in my room, I've yet to hear a 2 channel speaker system sound as smooth, even and "un-speaker-like."

When I closed my eyes they did not suffer from the "clock radio with a sub" impression. Instruments and voices sounded generally fully rendered.

So am I tempted to grab a pair of Revels? No. And this is, as I mentioned before, the very puzzling aspect of sound to me. The engineering of the Revel speakers appeals to me. They look great (the more high end versions). I can hear WHY people speak highly of them and that they sound as the HK research would predict a "blind test winner" speaker would sound. And yet when I sit in front listening I'm just not moved and convinced by the sound as I am with a number of other speakers (e.g the Thiels I've owned, and some others). I don't have the impression it's an issue of frequency response coloration, as they sound very even in terms of noticeable bumps or dips.
Rather, I don't hear to my mind believable "timbral picture" of acoustic instruments as I do from my home system, or some others. An acoustic guitar track at home can sound uncanny in terms of the type of "just the right color sparkle" of strings and woody warmth of body, such that it's almost effortless to imagine someone in front of me playing. But I just could not get that same impression (on the same tracks) on either pair of Revels I recently heard (or previous pairs).

Relevant to the correlation of subjectivity and objective measurement theme in this thread: I'm wondering why.

If one goes on the information that the Revels measure in a certain way, to produce the type of sound most people will prefer, then buying Revels would seem to have good odds that I'd like them. But, so far, I don't really care to sit in front of them for very long. And it's that timbral issue that I perceive as the main thing. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact I'm one of those "obsessed with live vs reproduced" audionuts, so I'm always doing this (when I listen to live sources, and even to the point of using recordings of instruments I own and my family's voices to directly compare sound reproduced through prospective speakers to the real thing). The type of research done by HK seems zeroed in on the trend for "listener preference" in terms of speakers, instead of "accuracy to live sound" or "lives vs reproduced" to zero in on which speakers sound the most realistic. (If I'm not mistaken). So maybe that type of research doesn't quite capture some of the differences that I really care about?

On the other hand, HK's research indicates that most people prefer neutral "accurate" speakers. Which I do. And such speakers, it seems, would be ones that would be able to most accurately reproduce realistic source material (e.g. a well recorded acoustic guitar). And yet...that isn't (yet) what I personally perceive.

Not having an elaborate blind testing facility, I'm stuck with my own subjective impressions, and I haven't yet been able to correlate my experience with the info in this thread to help explain my lack of enthusiasm for the Revel speakers.

Any thoughts, wisdom, insight would be appreciated. (Though I understand the anecdotal, un-controlled nature of my experience may bring only shrugs...)
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post #1271 of 1494 Old 08-29-2017, 07:34 PM
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very insightful and appreciated...I have heard similar statements about finding the natural soundingness...

maybe, and I know you all love me, that harmon has to stick to their strengths/marketing about whatever/science while the other brands work on emotions and whatnot??? idk...I picked mine due to cost vs performance of what i wanted to buy....no idea of measurements. dont think any buyer walks into a music store with performance graphs....but maybe im wrong.

something out there is missing for harmon/revel. maybe its too many engineers/scientists...maybe its a reputation...maybe its competition...

think everyone including magazines say they best...so shouldnt be a problem...I know I want to audition new be 10k speakers...but i am also thinking just something more to it than measurements.
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post #1272 of 1494 Old 08-29-2017, 07:40 PM
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My impression was the opposite, I was very pleased with how well the Revels rendered the timbre of brass, drums, and piano as well as vocals, and very surprised how they provided such a spacious sound field in my room. I wonder if they would do better in your room but who knows; sometimes particular speakers just do not "click" with the listener. NOT saying this is the issue here, but I have found that sometimes speakers with higher distortion often sound "richer" or "fuller" due to the extra harmonic content. My example has always been a tube amplifier; I love their sound, but it is not real, due to the higher second harmonic and additional microphonics they add. Sounds great, though, and I still have a couple of tube amps around for nostalgia (though none running at the moment and I sold my best one). Preference trumps reference.

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post #1273 of 1494 Old 08-29-2017, 08:17 PM
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Can someone who has done it before suggest a simple blind speaker test set up. Would level matching with iPhone based sound meter and pink noise be sufficient? We would off course keep both speakers next to each other and play mono content.

What else to keep in mind?

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post #1274 of 1494 Old 08-29-2017, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by R Harkness View Post
I listened again to another pair of Revel speakers a few days ago.

For context, I was auditioning two other speaker brands I've considered at a high end audio store. If it's not easy to move the speakers, I do my best to experiment with seating position, moving far, close and in between, to get a sense of the sound (often ending up closer for more direct sound to "take out the room" a bit more, unless a more distant seating makes for more even sound).

One of the things I do when I'm in front of a new pair of speakers is close my eyes, just listen to the sound and ask myself "Just from the sound, what type of speakers do I picture I'm listening to?" Often enough, when there are significant enough dips in the mids/lower mids/upper bass I get what I see in my mind as the "clock radio paired with a sub-woofer" effect. Like one of those cheap sat/sub combos you can buy for $70, with upper mids/highs riding over a suckout, below that bloomy bass. Both the speakers I listened to, though alluring in some ways, brought this impression when I closed my eyes and listened to the sound. Oh well...

Then I spotted the Revel Concerta F36 speakers in their own room. The set up actually looked much better than the one in which I'd demoed the more expensive Revels I mentioned earlier in the thread, in this case they were pulled nicely out into the room, with good space to the sides as well. I played some of my demo tracks and...

Terrific! I was just immediately was struck with the impression "these are well engineered speakers!" First, the sound was both rich and beautifully, evenly balanced top to bottom. The high end was open, smooth and spacious, the mid-range full and rich, the bass beautifully controlled, no boom, allowing the full frequency spectrum to sound detached from the speakers, with a great soundstage. In fact the most immediate impression was "boy these sound like my Thiels" on all the tracks I'm so familiar with. In fact, I've never encountered a speaker that sounded that close to the Thiels. A huge compliment since, at least in my room, I've yet to hear a 2 channel speaker system sound as smooth, even and "un-speaker-like."

When I closed my eyes they did not suffer from the "clock radio with a sub" impression. Instruments and voices sounded generally fully rendered.

So am I tempted to grab a pair of Revels? No. And this is, as I mentioned before, the very puzzling aspect of sound to me. The engineering of the Revel speakers appeals to me. They look great (the more high end versions). I can hear WHY people speak highly of them and that they sound as the HK research would predict a "blind test winner" speaker would sound. And yet when I sit in front listening I'm just not moved and convinced by the sound as I am with a number of other speakers (e.g the Thiels I've owned, and some others). I don't have the impression it's an issue of frequency response coloration, as they sound very even in terms of noticeable bumps or dips.
Rather, I don't hear to my mind believable "timbral picture" of acoustic instruments as I do from my home system, or some others. An acoustic guitar track at home can sound uncanny in terms of the type of "just the right color sparkle" of strings and woody warmth of body, such that it's almost effortless to imagine someone in front of me playing. But I just could not get that same impression (on the same tracks) on either pair of Revels I recently heard (or previous pairs).

Relevant to the correlation of subjectivity and objective measurement theme in this thread: I'm wondering why.

If one goes on the information that the Revels measure in a certain way, to produce the type of sound most people will prefer, then buying Revels would seem to have good odds that I'd like them. But, so far, I don't really care to sit in front of them for very long. And it's that timbral issue that I perceive as the main thing. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact I'm one of those "obsessed with live vs reproduced" audionuts, so I'm always doing this (when I listen to live sources, and even to the point of using recordings of instruments I own and my family's voices to directly compare sound reproduced through prospective speakers to the real thing). The type of research done by HK seems zeroed in on the trend for "listener preference" in terms of speakers, instead of "accuracy to live sound" or "lives vs reproduced" to zero in on which speakers sound the most realistic. (If I'm not mistaken). So maybe that type of research doesn't quite capture some of the differences that I really care about?

On the other hand, HK's research indicates that most people prefer neutral "accurate" speakers. Which I do. And such speakers, it seems, would be ones that would be able to most accurately reproduce realistic source material (e.g. a well recorded acoustic guitar). And yet...that isn't (yet) what I personally perceive.

Not having an elaborate blind testing facility, I'm stuck with my own subjective impressions, and I haven't yet been able to correlate my experience with the info in this thread to help explain my lack of enthusiasm for the Revel speakers.

Any thoughts, wisdom, insight would be appreciated. (Though I understand the anecdotal, un-controlled nature of my experience may bring only shrugs...)
My vote is that you go with your instinct for now, the tried and true experience of your home system still well-soaked into your mind.

Then, that said, sleep on it in this case and see if you can repeat the experience in a week or two. (Dealer might get annoyed.)

Be extra-aware of where you are coming from and what your long-loved baseline is.
If after round 2 you still have that gnawing hmm, I like my Thiels better, and it's not just some defensive or oppositional reaction (which many of us in audio have), then stick with them for sure.
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post #1275 of 1494 Old 08-29-2017, 08:26 PM
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Can someone who has done it before suggest a simple blind speaker test set up. Would level matching with iPhone based sound meter and pink noise be sufficient? We would off course keep both speakers next to each other and play mono content.

What else to keep in mind?

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That is a good start, but see if, when matching levels, you can get rid of highest highs and lowest lows. In other words try and do the setup comparison for level 200-6k or thereabouts.
Use an equalizer or tone controls to cut bass and treble.
You want the broad midrange playing pink noise to match within (hopefully!) a tenth of a decibel. Get as close as you can, an honest effort.
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post #1276 of 1494 Old 08-29-2017, 09:31 PM
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My impression was the opposite, I was very pleased with how well the Revels rendered the timbre of brass, drums, and piano as well as vocals, and very surprised how they provided such a spacious sound field in my room. I wonder if they would do better in your room but who knows; sometimes particular speakers just do not "click" with the listener. NOT saying this is the issue here, but I have found that sometimes speakers with higher distortion often sound "richer" or "fuller" due to the extra harmonic content. My example has always been a tube amplifier; I love their sound, but it is not real, due to the higher second harmonic and additional microphonics they add. Sounds great, though, and I still have a couple of tube amps around for nostalgia (though none running at the moment and I sold my best one). Preference trumps reference.

FWIWFM (no wisdom, fresh out!) - Don
I completely get that. I thought vocals sounded especially believable on the Revels.

The weird thing is that you can find speaker designs of all different kinds that seem to strike different owners as "sounding right." And similarly, your experience with tube amplification is the opposite of mine: I find (certain) tube amplification can make a system sound more believable to my ears. All this, at least on the surface, seems to speak to a sort of blind men and the elephant scenario with sound. For those seeking what they take to be accuracy to live sound or realism, the problem is I'm not sure any speaker actually lives up to that demand. So we tend to latch on to what we find most important and compelling, which can be different depending on what aspect of sound you concentrate on.

Some latch on to dynamics. I go for timbral accuracy and a certain sense of ease. When I experience real acoustic sound, like live acoustic instruments and voices, and I examine "what strikes me first about how this differs from sound systems" it alway strikes me: the sound is always bigger, richer, more timbrally colorful, clear, yet with an organic "ease" to the sound, vs the electronic etch/hash/spikiness and electronic coolness that I hear in sound reproduction. Certain types of tube amplification seem to add a subtle distortion that, while it may compromise the accuracy to the source to some degree, increases the "accuracy to the sensation of real organic sound" to my ears - bringing in that richness, body, a clarity without aggression, voices gain organic softness without consonants sounding electronic, etc. Whereas someone else may latch on to that added distortion compared to what they are used to, and they may have lost some of the things they value (e.g. maybe transient clarity and precision, bass control, etc).

It's tempting then to say that sound perception is just "all subjective" and hence everyone must be on their own path, never to meet. But the thing is, careful empirical research, like that done by HK and Dr. Toole tells us otherwise. Subjective sound assessment can be studied and correlated to objective measurements, which then does have predictive power as to what people will like. That shouldn't really be that much of a surprise, given science has studied human perception and preference in a wide range of areas for a long time.

And yet...once out of the lab into the mess of the world, people seem to be led subjectively in all sorts of different directions.
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post #1277 of 1494 Old 08-29-2017, 09:42 PM
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>> a certain sense of ease

wonderful phrase, and yes, one of the right phrases, imo
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post #1278 of 1494 Old 08-29-2017, 10:02 PM
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well i had.....but i only narrowed it down to 5k and under....sry for copy paste but it is what it was.... why did i go where i did? thats alot of competition and i listened to 5+ pair that cost more than i bought. granted many i didnt listen to cause of form factor aesthetics...but still no smart guy has an....

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post #1279 of 1494 Old 08-29-2017, 10:04 PM
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point of above wasnt dealer, was that many products out there to listen to and in all honesty jbl/revel isnt really top of food chain

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post #1280 of 1494 Old 08-29-2017, 10:10 PM
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if i [ost my next closest dealer in santa fe where all the celebrities at....might be uglier...hello real high margins and no jbl/revel....recommend you send a rep.

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post #1281 of 1494 Old 08-29-2017, 11:51 PM
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This thread has gotten very technical and is starting to lose me, but I love the debate because I am learning lots about things I have barely gotten familiar with.

Is there an online reference that explains the ins and outs of diffusion on the same gory technical level that this thread is bending toward?
I've written some basic stuff about diffusion in the links below. Perhaps it will help you some but it's more practical and not very detailed. localhost127 has shared a lot of good information in this thread and what he's pointed out is very valid and something I fully support.
http://www.lydogakustikk.no/?p=2137
http://www.lydogakustikk.no/?p=2281
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post #1282 of 1494 Old 08-30-2017, 05:24 AM
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well i had.....but i only narrowed it down to 5k and under....sry for copy paste but it is what it was.... why did i go where i did? thats alot of competition and i listened to 5+ pair that cost more than i bought. granted many i didnt listen to cause of form factor aesthetics...but still no smart guy has an....
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What the heck are the numbers in parenthesis supposed to represent?

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point of above wasnt dealer, was that many products out there to listen to and in all honesty jbl/revel isnt really top of food chain
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if i [ost my next closest dealer in santa fe where all the celebrities at....might be uglier...hello real high margins and no jbl/revel....recommend you send a rep.
You seem to be rambling on and on about a lot of things that seem off topic for this thread. If you don't like JBL / Revel speakers, I doubt (m)any of us are going to hold it against you. But have you even heard either the Revel Salon 2 or JBL M2 which are the actual focus of the conversation John S intended here? I haven't heard the M2's, but own 3 pairs of the Salon 2's and use them in my mixed use home theater system (it's not a dedicated home theater room and doesn't have any fancy room treatments and so on) for front, side, and rear left/right along with a Voice 2 for the center.

To add some context, I previously had a pair of B&W 802 Matrix Series 3's as the front left/right in my home theater system. They were replaced with Focal 1038Be's (which still reside in my home office system), and then by Revel Salon 2's which I don't anticipate replacing any time soon. Prior to the B&W's I had other speakers over the years, including Mirage M3's, several Radio Shack products (I worked there late in my high school / early college years back when we still hand-wrote the receipts and briefly into the modern age when they finally added the point of sale system and got great deals once in a while), and (yes, I'll admit it) a pair of Bose 10.2's (before I knew better...).

Prior to buying the Revel speakers, I heard the original Revel Ultima series speakers (Salon, Voice, and Gem) at @RichB 's place and was absolutely floored by how good they were. Once I stumbled across a deal that was way too good to pass up, I purchased the Revel Ultima 2 speakers without an audition and sold off all my Focal speakers except for the one pair of 1038Be's to use in my home office as they were an upgrade over the 1027S's that I had been using in there. I honestly don't think I could be happier with my decision.

The Focal 1038Be's were a pretty substantial upgrade over the B&W's and I've been pretty happy with them overall, but they have major trouble handling certain music tracks at moderately loud levels. The Paper Airplane track on the Alison Krauss Paper Airplane album is a good example - around 1 minute in, there's a passage where the Focal tweeters completely give out at moderately high listening levels (IIRC, around with my pre-pro volume set to about -10) and the sound breaks up. With the exact same amplification (a pair of Parasound JC-1's at the time; I've since replaced my Parasound amps with a pair of ATI Signature 6007's), the Salon 2's sailed through that track at even higher listening levels without breaking a sweat, have better bass, and are pretty much an all around improvement over the Focal 1038Be' IMHO.

But the bottom line is that if you're happy with what you own, that's ultimately all that really matters.
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post #1283 of 1494 Old 08-30-2017, 11:37 AM
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was just trying to make a point to help by showing what I thought could be seen as a negative or something that could be improved upon...guess my mind and words dont communicate that well anymore. I use forums to try to stay sharp...mental activity...not trying to hate, just communicate a way to improve by sharing what I think is a weakness...but I suppose not what anyone is asking so way off base and not relevant. peace, I do ramble alot...

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post #1284 of 1494 Old 08-30-2017, 12:57 PM
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But the bottom line is that if you're happy with what you own, that's ultimately all that really matters.
Agree. Ultimately speaking.

Though, the theme of this thread, and what make it fascinating (and educational) is the correlation between speaker design, measurements and subjective impressions.

In my posts, I'm trying to ask questions about how to bridge the divide between the research findings of HK and Dr. Toole, and consumers like me (especially "audiophile" insofar as someone who is very picky about sound reproduction).

The divide is that I as a regular consumer don't have the research facilities to carry out the rigorous, controlled tests like those blind speaker tests at HK.
So in that regard, I'm stuck making choices within a stew of bias and confounding factors. "Hearing things" I may not actually hear in a double blind test...or maybe would.

So then, it seems I would want to make use of the results offered by a facility like HK that has done rigorous testing on human perception and preferences regarding speakers. They've established what type of sound most people will prefer. Well, if I want to directly avail myself of these findings, it seems the safest bet is to go with speakers designed by that very company, using the scientific understanding of what people like. So...may as well just buy HK or Revel speakers, right?

Except, what happens when I hear them...and (though admire them) don't prefer them to some other brands? What exactly does that say about the usefulness of that research to me as a consumer. Maybe if a local audio store was able to set up blind testing the results of what I would prefer would be flipped on it's head. But...that's not going to happen. So do I grab the speakers that "measure the way most people will prefer" despite my not preferring them, or do I go with my own preferences, which no doubt are formed within some influence of bias...but yet still results in me enjoying a different brand?
And if the latter is the way to go...again...it leaves me wondering to what extent the HK research has been predictive or helpful in my situation. It may well predict what I prefer in blind tests, but may not predict what I prefer in the actual situations I must evaluate speakers and use them at home - unscientific, non-blind situations.

(So I'm clear: the very last thing I'm saying is that blind-testing isn't useful. I think it's obviously the best way to remove variables to determine the actual audible differences - or not - between components and correlate/predict their subjective effects. I loath lots of the crazy "everything makes a difference" claims in the audiophile world, which are based on just about the worst possible protocol for actually establishing such claims. I'm just trying to get at how much we should expect of the research thus far, in terms of usefulness and predictive ability for the average consumer, GIVEN our choices are not made in the same situation as blind testing).
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post #1285 of 1494 Old 08-30-2017, 01:12 PM
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BTW,

Just to add one more thing from my recent speaker auditioning....

Though I adore the sound of my current Thiel speakers, I'd been seriously looking for a possible replacement for the last 6 months or so, simply because the speakers have to be placed in a way that somewhat impedes entrance into my living room. The smaller, or at least less deep, the speaker is, the better (as the Thiels are tall, and their depth is the biggest problem). Inches make a difference. It happens that thus far, I can't find something I like enough.

That's just to state why I've been going to many audio shows, and audio dealers to audition speakers. My recent encounter with the Revel speakers was at a (very nice) high end shop and I was able to listen to speakers between around $3,000 up to $30,000. As is often the case, the speakers were hooked up to extremely expensive accessories. All speaker for instance hooked up via mind-numbingly expensive Nordost speaker cabling and other expensive interconnects, crazy priced AC cables, and in the the case of some, car-priced amplification as well.

Yet, as has usually been the case, I could hear nothing "better" than I do at home. No more detail revealed, nothing more believable, nothing actually as fully satisfying.
This to me is just another repudiation of the claims about the importance of super high end cables and assorted audio jewelry. At home, my speakers are connected to a long run of basic beldon speaker cable, with basic, competently constructed interconnects. Yet it does all the detail and realism - more to my ears - than I hear from high end speakers using ultra-expensive cables. It really drives home the central role of the choice of speakers (and room interaction) vs getting caught up in spending nutty money on audiophile cables. (Fortunately, I actually cured myself of spending money on most audiophile cables/AC cables many years ago, using my own blind testing of cables).
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post #1286 of 1494 Old 08-30-2017, 01:18 PM
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That's exactly why Dr. Olive has started referring to the recordings themselves as "nuisance variables."
Uber refers to its drivers -- er, contractors -- .the same way.
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Originally Posted by davidrmoran View Post
That is a good start, but see if, when matching levels, you can get rid of highest highs and lowest lows. In other words try and do the setup comparison for level 200-6k or thereabouts.
Use an equalizer or tone controls to cut bass and treble.
You want the broad midrange playing pink noise to match within (hopefully!) a tenth of a decibel. Get as close as you can, an honest effort.
Thanks David. Here is one proposal.

1. Create Audio files with mono recordings of your favorite songs. They will be used to blind test the speakers.

2. Create a mono recording of pink noise as you suggested. This will be used to level set speakers.

3. Now connect two speakers to be tested to left and right channels of the same amplifier.

4. Use an audio player on an iPhone that allows individual volume control of the two channels and also be able to mute one channel at a time. Are you still with me?

5. Use an iPhone based RTA meter to measure sound levels.

6. Place both speakers next to each other and preferably behind a curtain (blind part of the blind test).

7. Use pink noise to set volume on each channel so that both speakers are at the same sound output level.

8. Now play your favorite mono recordings and switch between the two speakers as often as you want to make up your mind which speaker sounds better to you.

Anything I missed? Most dealers already have everything needed for this. All we need to do is to bring the recordings and an iPhone.

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Last edited by SouthernCA; 08-31-2017 at 06:29 PM. Reason: To fix typos and not create new ones
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post #1288 of 1494 Old 08-30-2017, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by SouthernCA View Post
Thanks David. Here is one proposal.

1. Create a Audio file with mono recordings of your favorite songs. They will be used to blind test the speakers.

2. Create a mono recording of pink noise as you suggested. This will be used to level set speakers.

3. Now connect two speakers to be tested to left and right channels of the same amplifier.

4. Use a audio player on iPhone that allows individual volume control of the two channels and also allows you to mute one channel at a time. Are you still with me?

5. Use an iPhone based RTA meter to measure sound level.

6. Place both speakers next to each other and preferable behind a curtain (blind part of the blind test)

7. Set volumes on each channel so that both speakers are at the same sound output level.

8. Now switch between the two speakers as often as you want to make up your mind which speaker you prefer.

Anything I missed out? Most dealers have all this set up ready. All we need to do is to bring the recordings and iPhone.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk
Wow, clever, and I am not seeing gaps. The only thing with speakers even in slightly different positions is that the lower-midrange boundary augmentation can vary, but if they are out from the walls a few feet for the most part and you are not too far off, that load will be the close enough to the same for each cabinet, and of course good designs are less ripply in that range than the others.
Anyway, you are welcome, nothing I suggested was new, standard protocol hygiene, but it helps to have done some of this sort of thing. g/l and pls post your experience.
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post #1289 of 1494 Old 08-31-2017, 01:46 PM
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Unbelievable! I caught up! I couldn't read fast enough to get through the posting fast enough I've never had that much trouble before on avs....not even close. I for one am enjoying the conversation, albeit a little OT, but the results of the g2g have already been pretty well hashed out so I guess this is just where the supplementary cool info can start to propagate.

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post #1290 of 1494 Old 08-31-2017, 10:03 PM
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Unbelievable! I caught up! I couldn't read fast enough to get through the posting fast enough I've never had that much trouble before on avs....not even close. I for one am enjoying the conversation, albeit a little OT, but the results of the g2g have already been pretty well hashed out so I guess this is just where the supplementary cool info can start to propagate.
Lol, man, you had a lot of reading to do to catch up! I saw your post you were HERE

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