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post #451 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 09:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwtoxman View Post

I think what you said is important, and I note that my philosophy is different. Personally I want the speaker that sounds best to me, and that is all. It doesn't matter if it measures well, or has a flat response, etc. Not that your preference it wrong (not at all) but it definitely important for others to note this.

I want it to sound like I'm there, live. Whether my system adds a little colour or a lot is irrelevant to me as long as the sound is beautiful and like I'm there. I have noticed that I do prefer flat FR speakers, so I do like that.



kw.........

You bring up interesting points. Your overall philosophy is pretty much the same, but the details might change a little bit depending on your specific environment.

In order for you to make certain that you buy a speaker that sounds best to you, is it important for that speaker to maintain that quality when you move to a new house, new room, change furniture, etc.? The only way you can be certain that the speaker will always (for the life of the speaker) "sound like you are there" is if all of the other variables that impact the sound that reaches your ears to be always (for the life of the speaker) the same. If they change, then if your speakers were "colored" to go along with the room's interactions and electronics coloration (if any), they may no long be "fit" to transport you to the live performance.

The so-called "accurate, neutral" speaker would (theoretically) always output the same as what was encoded onto the source. This acts like a controlled variable and if the other variables were controlled maximally (room treatments, minimally colored electronics) you will get the "you are there" type sound.


The example I am thinking about is as follows:

Person A buys colored speaker because it sounds best in their untreated room compared to neutral speaker which sounds too bright etc.

Person A later buys room treatments (after passing SAF, getting more money, learning about room acoustics, etc) and discovers their speakers don't sound right anymore.

What I am getting at is this:
The "right" decision depends on the state of those other variables (room interactions, electronics, etc) and what you think will happen to those variables in the long run. The "long run" is defined by how often you want to upgrade/sidegrade etc. If you cannot do anything about room acoustics (many people are in this boat), and you felt your electronics were not a variable, and are not planning to change rooms anytime soon, then perhaps it would be in your best interest to get "colored" speakers that sound pretty darn good in your room (and perhaps measure decently flat at your listening position).
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post #452 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 09:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your incites, kw.

You are correct, I am a rarity. I am definitely a fan of neutrality, but I disagree that it doesn't sound like the live event. My whole purpose is to re-create the live event (depending on the genre of music). It is the job of the artists and recording engineers to pick up on all of the reverb, reflections and subtle nuances that you would hear at a live performance. I believe that I shouldn't have to color my system one way or the other to achieve this, but rather the recording studios, engineers and artists themselves will achieve this if they want to express that style for their album. If they decide that they don't want the live feel on their album, no biggie; it's just more fun live then because I can experience two different styles with the same piece of music.

Recreating the live event is really cool, but it's only enjoyable depending on the style of music. For orchestral and jazz, I want to recreate the live sound. For everything else (pop, rock, metal, elctronica, etc) I only want to hear what the artists want me to hear, else it all just gets jumbled, mixed up and ruined. This is just my opinion, of course, but I am very passionate about it. Ask any decent guitarist and he'll tell you that his studio album sounds better than the live event because it's easier to get the sound engineered correctly; no out of whack reverb or issues with matching and mismatching the equipment that amplifies the sound; just sonic perfection (in their eyes) evenly distributed all throughout. So it really depends on what genre of music you are listening to. And whether it's classical, symphony, rock or jazz, it's the artist's job to capture you by making the music engaging and passionate. It is their job to capture all the little sounds and nuances that they want you to experience. And if it doesn't sound like the live event, who cares? That's what concerts are for!

To conclude, in my opinion the audio components should simply pass the signal along so the artist's masterpiece can be experience they way they intended. If you or I don't like it, they don't care because someone else will; it's their masterpiece after all.

YMMV and I enjoy discussing our different philosophies. Thank you.

P.S. I do agree that is ultimately comes down to what you prefer, whether that's neutral, colored warm, colored bright, etc; it doesn't matter. As long as you are happy nothing else matters.

My journey to find the "perfect" speaker
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post #453 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonomega View Post

You bring up interesting points. Your overall philosophy is pretty much the same, but the details might change a little bit depending on your specific environment.

In order for you to make certain that you buy a speaker that sounds best to you, is it important for that speaker to maintain that quality when you move to a new house, new room, change furniture, etc.? The only way you can be certain that the speaker will always (for the life of the speaker) "sound like you are there" is if all of the other variables that impact the sound that reaches your ears to be always (for the life of the speaker) the same. If they change, then if your speakers were "colored" to go along with the room's interactions and electronics coloration (if any), they may no long be "fit" to transport you to the live performance.

The so-called "accurate, neutral" speaker would (theoretically) always output the same as what was encoded onto the source. This acts like a controlled variable and if the other variables were controlled maximally (room treatments, minimally colored electronics) you will get the "you are there" type sound.

You are right, everything works together and is a compromise. We are basically on the same page. The room is important on what you select, that is why think it is important to select components that work best with speakers by tweaking the sound to get what you want because the room always imparts a sonic signature.

But remember it works both ways, a coloured system can sound better or worse depending on room changes, and a neutral system will do the same. A coloured system will always have the same output and be as controlled a variable as a neutral system. It doesn't pay to buy neutral any more than coloured because it is as susceptible to room changes as any other system.

Again it is personal preference as well. A totally neutral system in a well treated room often will still not suit some people. It just isn't their taste.

A neutral system can sound great in a well treated room, but if you have to change things or someone else puts a similar system into a more normal room with reflective surfaces it will change the sound for the worse for many.

Good point on details changing. In my system the 2.4i's needed to be tamed a bit, but in another room, that can change. That is why everything is relative, damn relativity.

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Originally Posted by Jonomega View Post

What I am getting at is this:
The "right" decision depends on the state of those other variables (room interactions, electronics, etc) and what you think will happen to those variables in the long run. The "long run" is defined by how often you want to upgrade/sidegrade etc. If you cannot do anything about room acoustics (many people are in this boat), and you felt your electronics were not a variable, and are not planning to change rooms anytime soon, then perhaps it would be in your best interest to get "colored" speakers that sound pretty darn good in your room (and perhaps measure decently flat at your listening position).

For sure. Yes, as I said at the start room interactions are so important in deciding what system one wants. Auditioning systems requires careful attention to these details and understanding how the contribute to what one hears.

For sure a consideration for buying equipment is planning for the long term. You can buy a system a little warm because it will eventually move to a relective room, or bright because it will move to a treated room down the line. I'd recommend just getting what works for now (unless you are changing right away) because a change to an amp or preamp or CDP can tweak a system without having to cost much money (sell one, buy another).

kw........
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post #454 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Nuance View Post

Ask and you shall receive:

Thanks, Nuance!
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post #455 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 10:30 AM
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Person A buys a pair of speakers that sounds great in his room

Person A moves.

Person A needs new speakers

I can't tell you how many times I've been through this with dipole/bipole and other speakers that are very room dependent.

John
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post #456 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Nuance View Post

Thanks for your incites, kw.

What has he incited you to do?

Tony

In search of the Holy Grail.

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post #457 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuance View Post

To conclude, in my opinion the audio components should simply pass the signal along so the artist's masterpiece can be experience they way they intended. If you or I don't like it, they don't care because someone else will; it's their masterpiece after all.

Nuance, the only thing I'd add is that a totally neutral system won't sound the same as what the artist and recording engineer wants it to sound, so you can't get what they intended with a neutral system really any better than a coloured system (unless it is really coloured). Whether your system is neutral or coloured it will be different from the systems, rooms, seating that the music was recorded with. The only way to get the same sound is to use the same speakers, components room specs and seating position as where it was mastered. And obviously that changes from recording to recording as well.

So right from the start it means even a neutral system is no more accurate than a coloured system for how it 'should' sound.

I have a friend who is an audio recording engineer, and an audiophile. He has interesting and useful perspectives. He has noted that sometimes recordings come out well, other times not. It is an art. And his system is not dead neutral, he wants live sound and has built a home system with a bit of colouration to help get him that 'real sound'.

I'd recommend that people get a system that sounds the way they want it to sound, not a totally neutral system since 'it is more accurate', because short of using the exact everything from the recording session, it is no more accurate in the sound than a coloured system. IMO, you are in essence getting a system that sounds the way you want it to and that's great. Again, personal preference. I just wouldn't say a neutral system is more like live sound the way artists and recording engineers wanted it.

I look forward to your reports in your journey and what you select.

kw........
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post #458 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 10:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alimentall View Post

Person A buys a pair of speakers that sounds great in his room

Person A moves.

Person A needs new speakers

I can't tell you how many times I've been through this with dipole/bipole and other speakers that are very room dependent.

That's why I love LINN speakers. They sound great in any room (of given size).
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post #459 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 11:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonomega View Post

You bring up interesting points. Your overall philosophy is pretty much the same, but the details might change a little bit depending on your specific environment.

In order for you to make certain that you buy a speaker that sounds best to you, is it important for that speaker to maintain that quality when you move to a new house, new room, change furniture, etc.? The only way you can be certain that the speaker will always (for the life of the speaker) "sound like you are there" is if all of the other variables that impact the sound that reaches your ears to be always (for the life of the speaker) the same. If they change, then if your speakers were "colored" to go along with the room's interactions and electronics coloration (if any), they may no long be "fit" to transport you to the live performance.

The so-called "accurate, neutral" speaker would (theoretically) always output the same as what was encoded onto the source. This acts like a controlled variable and if the other variables were controlled maximally (room treatments, minimally colored electronics) you will get the "you are there" type sound.


The example I am thinking about is as follows:

Person A buys colored speaker because it sounds best in their untreated room compared to neutral speaker which sounds too bright etc.

Person A later buys room treatments (after passing SAF, getting more money, learning about room acoustics, etc) and discovers their speakers don't sound right anymore.

What I am getting at is this:
The "right" decision depends on the state of those other variables (room interactions, electronics, etc) and what you think will happen to those variables in the long run. The "long run" is defined by how often you want to upgrade/sidegrade etc. If you cannot do anything about room acoustics (many people are in this boat), and you felt your electronics were not a variable, and are not planning to change rooms anytime soon, then perhaps it would be in your best interest to get "colored" speakers that sound pretty darn good in your room (and perhaps measure decently flat at your listening position).

Very well put man. That's also the line of thinking that I follow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alimentall View Post

Person A buys a pair of speakers that sounds great in his room

Person A moves.

Person A needs new speakers

I can't tell you how many times I've been through this with dipole/bipole and other speakers that are very room dependent.

Agreed. That is why person A should by a neutral speaker and just treat the different rooms it will be used in over the course of its life.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonygeno View Post

What has he incited you to do?

The room acoustics topic. I agree with him and he felt the same way. I also appreciate his philosophy even if I don't fully agree with it. This (AVS Forum) is a great place to debate semantics and philosophies, something I love to do.

My journey to find the "perfect" speaker
Dr. Olive's Blog

 

 

No matter what measurements tell us, a loudspeaker isn’t good until it
sounds good. - Dr. Floyd Toole
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post #460 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 12:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwtoxman View Post

Nuance, the only thing I'd add is that a totally neutral system won't sound the same as what the artist and recording engineer wants it to sound, so you can't get what they intended with a neutral system really any better than a coloured system (unless it is really coloured). Whether your system is neutral or coloured it will be different from the systems, rooms, seating that the music was recorded with. The only way to get the same sound is to use the same speakers, components room specs and seating position as where it was mastered. And obviously that changes from recording to recording as well.

I disagree...well, mostly. You are correct in saying that if one desires to have the exact same experience the artist intended that you would need the same environment and equipment that was used during the recording. However, I never said "exact." However, using a neutral system will get you as close as you can get without have to do the latter (in the event you can treat the room correctly and find color free electronics, or at least mostly color free). By doing this you can get as close as possible to hearing what the artist intended. I stand firm in my belief that neutral is the way to go, however it's not for everyone. Some prefer colored, but after thorough testing I concluded I prefer natural. The only thing that I want colored is the beautiful wood grain of the speakers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kwtoxman View Post

So right from the start it means even a neutral system is no more accurate than a coloured system for how it 'should' sound.

You don't have me even close to convinced that this is true, nor will you ever. It's closer than a colored system, so...

Quote:
Originally Posted by kwtoxman View Post

I'd recommend that people get a system that sounds the way they want it to sound, not a totally neutral system since 'it is more accurate', because short of using the exact everything from the recording session, it is no more accurate in the sound than a coloured system. IMO, you are in essence getting a system that sounds the way you want it to and that's great. Again, personal preference. I just wouldn't say a neutral system is more like live sound the way artists and recording engineers wanted it.

I look forward to your reports in your journey and what you select.

kw........

We can agree to disagree, although I do hear what you are saying about it never being "exactly" what the artist intended. My point is that it will hit closer to home than a colored system. If the source is colored ( whether on purpose or not) then mixing that with colored speakers and electronics will surely not reproduce what the artist intended. Either way, its all good. Go with what you like, not with what someone tells you to like. Personally, I have tested myself to death (including blind tests), and in the end I prefer an accurate speaker (one with an FR as close to flat as possible and with). However, that's not the only thing that makes a speaker "great" or "accurate;" it's just a portion of it.

My journey to find the "perfect" speaker
Dr. Olive's Blog

 

 

No matter what measurements tell us, a loudspeaker isn’t good until it
sounds good. - Dr. Floyd Toole
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post #461 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Nuance View Post

Ask and you shall receive:

money!

any chance you have the other two "lying around"? i requested them from olive, but he hasn't responded yet.

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post #462 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwtoxman View Post


...even a neutral system is no more accurate than a coloured system for how it 'should' sound.

what?

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post #463 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Alimentall View Post


I don't think that test was sufficiently scientific...

what is the basis for this claim?

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post #464 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by LTD02 View Post

what?

To clarify, but leave it at that, I'm pointing out a slightly coloured system. Not a third ear here. Slightly colouring a system to account for room and equipment interactions can end up having the sound more to what the intended quality was as opposed to dead neutral.

kw.....
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post #465 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 01:27 PM
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Help this noob out.

Ok, all speakers have a sonic signature, right? Don't all speakers have a particular coloration?

(One knowledgable fellow from another forum thinks that BW's best 800 series are the most neutral there are, particularly due to the engineering of their cabinets). Im sure John is coughing now.

If we had two different brands of speakers that both claimed to be perfectly neutral, there would be no need to "match" the front 3, or surrounds, right? Instead we could mix these two ideal brands(?). Even if soundstage was wider or deeper, etc, we wouldn't know the "mis-matched difference" so easily, right?

Regarding "neutral"... can a so-called perfectly neutral speaker at the same time have a fault of not being able to produce various colors? Essentially, that everything looks linear on the graph, spectral decay looks perfect, etc, is it possible that such a speaker still could not produce as great of a palette of colors as another, less neutral speaker? Someone will say "No", because colors are just the correct harmonics, at the right levels, being produced, and that any neutral speaker can do that? Thanks. I ask because I feel that I have a heard a speaker or two that sounded "neutral" but could not provide my subjective ears the necessary coloration to give me that "desired illusion of reality" of which we are all chasing here.... Thanks for dealing with the blabber.

 

 

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post #466 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 01:30 PM
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stereophile is a total rag.

it was suggested that "M" in the olive paper was a martin logan. the choppy frequency response had me wondering who would even try to sell such a speaker. turns out that the martin logan does have a choppy freq resp above the freqs carried by the woofer(s). i was curious if this was common to planar and so checked magnepan. it was apparently so awful that stereophile wouldn't even show it, rather they created a new one called "subjective frequency response", which was plotted as though it was a scientific measurement. what horsesnot!

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post #467 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jostenmeat View Post

Regarding "neutral"... can a so-called perfectly neutral speaker at the same time have a fault of not being able to produce various colors? Essentially, that everything looks linear on the graph, spectral decay looks perfect, etc, is it possible that such a speaker still could not produce as great of a palette of colors as another, less neutral speaker? Someone will say "No", because colors are just the correct harmonics, at the right levels, being produced, and that any neutral speaker can do that? Thanks. I ask because I feel that I have a heard a speaker or two that sounded "neutral" but could not provide my subjective ears the necessary coloration to give me that "desired illusion of reality" of which we are all chasing here.... Thanks for dealing with the blabber.

Of course that depends on the definition of neutral. If a fixed level, on-axis pink noise response is perfectly accurate (theoretically), it says little about the dynamic and/or off-axis responses, to say nothing of changes in distortion related to those variables.

So, a theoretically perfect speaker is, by definition, perfectly neutral. In practice, well....................

Kal Rubinson

"Music in the Round"
Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile
http://www.stereophile.com/category/music-round

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post #468 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jostenmeat View Post

Help this noob out.

If we had two different brands of speakers that both claimed to be perfectly neutral, there would be no need to "match" the front 3, or surrounds, right? Instead we could mix these two ideal brands(?). Even if soundstage was wider or deeper, etc, we wouldn't know the "mis-matched difference" so easily, right?

The answer is, it depends on what "perfectly neutral" means. Does that say anything about off-axis listening? Does that say anything about bass extension, treble extension? Does it say anything about how the drivers operate under high SPL demands (excursion -> distortion?)?

Also, how are you setting up the center channel? Is it horizontal or vertical orientation? If horizontal, it will have different off-axis dispersion than the vertical type usually.

Lastly, there aren't any brands that claim their speaker is perfectly neutral to my knowledge. The marketing team usually focuses on the fluff of their "technological advances". Buy creating a perfectly accurate/neutral speaker, they shoot themselves in the foot by not having future upgrades -- kind of like how much of the pharmaceutical industry develops treatments rather than cures.
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post #469 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 01:51 PM
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Kal and Jonomega,

Thank you very much for your input and/or insight. Cheers.

 

 

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post #470 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by RealTelstar View Post

That's why I love LINN speakers. They sound great in any room (of given size).

That's why I love Bose speakers. They sounds just as crappy no matter what room you use them in!
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post #471 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 02:00 PM
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We don't have neutral hearing (most of us at any rate). Therefore, a neutral speaker will not sound neutral to most people. If you are truly after a neutral sound (note I did not say speaker) you have to start with your own hearing FR chart... It won't be flat.
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post #472 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LTD02 View Post

stereophile is a total rag.

it was suggested that "M" in the olive paper was a martin logan. the choppy frequency response had me wondering who would even try to sell such a speaker. turns out that the martin logan does have a choppy freq resp above the freqs carried by the woofer(s). i was curious if this was common to planar and so checked magnepan. it was apparently so awful that stereophile wouldn't even show it, rather they created a new one called "subjective frequency response", which was plotted as though it was a scientific measurement. what horsesnot!

LTD02,

I appreciate your inputs to this thread. I have some Martin Logans that I chose because I felt they gave me the closest thing to "realism" that I have heard (at least in my decent budget).

I am glad I wasn't choosing by way of graphs. Or, at least, I am glad that they did not share your same embarrassment over any particular graph to the point of not trying to sell their product. I would be less happy for it. The mid-range transients, low level detail, lack of tremendous sibilance/hiss, imaging, all conspired to make me feel this way.

I will admit there are plenty of compromises. I wish they were as timbrally consistent as BW's, but I find them still to be good enough with this particular quality to my ears, even if they are hybrids indeed. Any rare aberration (to me) would be easy for me to forgive, if only for all the other wonderful things they do. You should hear the Tallis Scholars sing Josquin on them. I've never heard the tenor line, amidst 6 voices, sound so.... (too many descriptions...) ... "real"? Not even on $90,000 Dynaudio Evidences or Focal Utopias. At least not to my ears. Cheers.

 

 

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post #473 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by jostenmeat View Post

Ok, all speakers have a sonic signature, right? Don't all speakers have a particular coloration?

Yes, just some have more, some have less. Some have pleasant coloration, some have unpleasant coloration.
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(One knowledgable fellow from another forum thinks that BW's best 800 series are the most neutral there are, particularly due to the engineering of their cabinets). Im sure John is coughing now.

Yes, yes I am. Uncolored cabinets, very colored drivers, but cleverly and carefully colored to elicit the right response from a) people that like that kind of coloration or b) those that aren't truly astute listeners. Of course, since all speakers have *some* coloration, I only pick on B&W so much because of price and because they know better and *do it anyway*. They launched a hugely expensive program to develop the least colored speakers possible, then said basically "screw it, people like our sound, let's give them more" and they finished the project and discarded everything they learned and accomplished. That was the original Nautilus (which shares nothing with the Nautilus series). You can see the evolution of that design in the new Vivid Audio stuff which is also very expensive!
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If we had two different brands of speakers that both claimed to be perfectly neutral, there would be no need to "match" the front 3, or surrounds, right? Instead we could mix these two ideal brands(?). Even if soundstage was wider or deeper, etc, we wouldn't know the "mis-matched difference" so easily, right?

Claiming and being are too different things! The speaker needs not just match frequency, you need to match distortion, dispersion and most importantly, phase. If the phase isn't right, imaging won't be right.
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Regarding "neutral"... can a so-called perfectly neutral speaker at the same time have a fault of not being able to produce various colors?

no, it's like a mirror or sheet of glass. Capable of producing every color properly. Or like a great projector. Fortunately, projector coloration is more easily quantified and avoided.
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Essentially, that everything looks linear on the graph, spectral decay looks perfect, etc, is it possible that such a speaker still could not produce as great of a palette of colors as another, less neutral speaker? Someone will say "No", because colors are just the correct harmonics, at the right levels, being produced, and that any neutral speaker can do that? Thanks. I ask because I feel that I have a heard a speaker or two that sounded "neutral" but could not provide my subjective ears the necessary coloration to give me that "desired illusion of reality" of which we are all chasing here.... Thanks for dealing with the blabber.

Now, there is one thing you could argue. If all recordings or recordings of a particular type have a measurable distortion of some type and a speaker corrects for that, then it would sound better with those recordings. Some dipole speakers, IMO, recreate the illusion of live classical music better than a precise studio monitor, but this has mainly to do with dispersion and the failings of 2-channel.

In fact, one of the biggest problems we have is that you can make a speaker perfect, but 2-channel sound can never sound perfect and, sometimes, the closer you get to perfection, the more obviously flawed stereo sounds. Then put that same perfect speaker into a 5-channel system and it sounds obviously superior.

John
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post #474 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 02:14 PM
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Thanks for your input, John.

Nuance, thanks for allowing this mini-hijack. I am satisfied now.

*Sitting back down in chair, allows class to continue*


 

 

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post #475 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 02:29 PM
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We don't have neutral hearing (most of us at any rate). Therefore, a neutral speaker will not sound neutral to most people. If you are truly after a neutral sound (note I did not say speaker) you have to start with your own hearing FR chart... It won't be flat.

That canard has been plucked and roasted before. Whatever your hearing is, you hear real events, including music, through it. Thus, your personal references are filtered by it and so, too, will your audio system. It is a constant, either way.

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post #476 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 02:43 PM - Thread Starter
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money!

any chance you have the other two "lying around"? i requested them from olive, but he hasn't responded yet.

Which ones? I had every Harman white paper saved on my old HD, but it crapped out. I might be able to find them again, but I dunno. I think there were like 5 or 6 of them. They mainly dealt with loudspeakers, room acoustics, proper setup and electronics. It was all very good stuff. I'll snoop around and see if I can find them, LTD.
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Originally Posted by jostenmeat View Post

Help this noob out.

Ok, all speakers have a sonic signature, right? Don't all speakers have a particular coloration?

(One knowledgable fellow from another forum thinks that BW's best 800 series are the most neutral there are, particularly due to the engineering of their cabinets). Im sure John is coughing now.

If we had two different brands of speakers that both claimed to be perfectly neutral, there would be no need to "match" the front 3, or surrounds, right? Instead we could mix these two ideal brands(?). Even if soundstage was wider or deeper, etc, we wouldn't know the "mis-matched difference" so easily, right?

Regarding "neutral"... can a so-called perfectly neutral speaker at the same time have a fault of not being able to produce various colors? Essentially, that everything looks linear on the graph, spectral decay looks perfect, etc, is it possible that such a speaker still could not produce as great of a palette of colors as another, less neutral speaker? Someone will say "No", because colors are just the correct harmonics, at the right levels, being produced, and that any neutral speaker can do that? Thanks. I ask because I feel that I have a heard a speaker or two that sounded "neutral" but could not provide my subjective ears the necessary coloration to give me that "desired illusion of reality" of which we are all chasing here.... Thanks for dealing with the blabber.

Yes, all speakers have a particular coloration, which is unfortunate but apparently unavoidable at this time in the world of technology.

Let's actually define "neutral, " which I will do because I am the "neutral" freak and this is a thread that I started, so...

Neutral (Brandon's definition): Having a flat frequency response (as close as flat as possible) including bass response so that no part of the frequency response overpowers another. This includes proper phase and time with no audible distortion (or at least as minimal as technologically possible).

Neutrality of the FR is only the beginning for me. Ideally a speaker should have a ruler flat FR, high quality drivers, no audible distortion, no cabinet resonance or reflections, have a seamless crossover, be easy to drive, be highly efficient, be time and phase accurate and have ruler flat FR off axis in a 360 degree measurement taken at a 100 different measurement locations. Did I miss anything? Of course, we aren't quite there yet.

A speaker designed like the one mentioned above should be able to pick up on all of the coloration that the music intended to be heard.

Now, someone else's definition of neutral may be entirely different and that's okay. It really boils down to what sound makes you happy. The reason I say neutral is because the speakers that I happen to like measure fairly flat (or neutral as it is many times called...I think this is where I got the definition of that word from). A speaker that measures flat has many times been described similar to this:
While listening to the ABCD it was neither bright nor dull; it was simply right, and consistently listenable. < --- Taken from Stereophile's review of the Vandersteen 2CE Sig II's.

That is what I am looking for; a speaker that just lets the music flow and just sounds right to me.

I hope that somewhat answers your question, josten.

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Originally Posted by LTD02 View Post

stereophile is a total rag.

it was suggested that "M" in the olive paper was a martin logan. the choppy frequency response had me wondering who would even try to sell such a speaker. turns out that the martin logan does have a choppy freq resp above the freqs carried by the woofer(s). i was curious if this was common to planar and so checked magnepan. it was apparently so awful that stereophile wouldn't even show it, rather they created a new one called "subjective frequency response", which was plotted as though it was a scientific measurement. what horsesnot!

Yeah...that's pretty lame. It's all about the marketing and advertising dollars...
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Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

Of course that depends on the definition of neutral. If a fixed level, on-axis pink noise response is perfectly accurate (theoretically), it says little about the dynamic and/or off-axis responses, to say nothing of changes in distortion related to those variables.

So, a theoretically perfect speaker is, by definition, perfectly neutral. In practice, well....................

In practice...yeah, we aren't there yet. Maybe some day...
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Originally Posted by Jonomega View Post

The answer is, it depends on what "perfectly neutral" means. Does that say anything about off-axis listening? Does that say anything about bass extension, treble extension? Does it say anything about how the drivers operate under high SPL demands (excursion -> distortion?)?

Not for me it doesn't. Those other things factor into the "perfection" part of a speaker. IOW, my definition of a "perfect" speaker rather than the definition of "neutral." Of course, nothing like that exists at this time, but perhaps it will before I die (or before I lose my hearing).

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Originally Posted by Jonomega View Post

Lastly, there aren't any brands that claim their speaker is perfectly neutral to my knowledge. The marketing team usually focuses on the fluff of their "technological advances". Buy creating a perfectly accurate/neutral speaker, they shoot themselves in the foot by not having future upgrades -- kind of like how much of the pharmaceutical industry develops treatments rather than cures.

Good point. Perhaps that is the point (of creating colored and different sounding speakers)?
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Originally Posted by Shadow Hunter View Post

That's why I love Bose speakers. They sounds just as crappy no matter what room you use them in!

LOL! Zing!
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Originally Posted by jostenmeat View Post


I am glad I wasn't choosing by way of graphs. Or, at least, I am glad that they did not share your same embarrassment over any particular graph to the point of not trying to sell their product. I would be less happy for it. The mid-range transients, low level detail, lack of tremendous sibilance/hiss, imaging, all conspired to make me feel this way.

I will admit there are plenty of compromises. I wish they were as timbrally consistent as BW's, but I find them still to be good enough with this particular quality to my ears, even if they are hybrids indeed. Any rare aberration (to me) would be easy for me to forgive, if only for all the other wonderful things they do. You should hear the Tallis Scholars sing Josquin on them. I've never heard the tenor line, amidst 6 voices, sound so.... (too many descriptions...) ... "real"? Not even on $90,000 Dynaudio Evidences or Focal Utopias. At least not to my ears. Cheers.

See, now that's what I am looking for! I want to be as satisfied as you, even though I know my speaker will have it's flaws. I am happy for you josten; sounds like the ML's are perfect for your needs.

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post #477 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

That canard has been plucked and roasted before. Whatever your hearing is, you hear real events, including music, through it. Thus, your personal references are filtered by it and so, too, will your audio system. It is a constant, either way.

I have read, re-read, and then read a few more times your post and damned if I can understand what you wrote.

Constant, perhaps (though doubtful due to the changes in our auditory system as we age) and even if constant, still not neutral.

My statement should have been posed as a question, sorry. I had some hearing tests a few years back and remember the results included a drop within a particular frquency band (the one I jokingly tell my wife represents her vocal range ) and so it got me to thinking about how that maps to the way I hear various speakers.
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post #478 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 02:57 PM - Thread Starter
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...(the one I jokingly tell my wife represents he vocal range )...

LOL!

All right, I am spending the rest of the night with my wife and daughter, and when the little one goes to bed so do I because I am getting on the road tomorrow morning by 4 a.m. to make the 9-10 hour drive to Craig's home. This is gonna be an awesome weekend (minus the 20 hours of driving)!

I'll be back Sunday night or Monday morning with an update.

Good evening every one!

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post #479 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 02:59 PM
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I have read, re-read, and then read a few more times your post and damned if I can understand what you wrote.

Constant, perhaps (though doubtful due to the changes in our auditory system as we age) and even if constant, still not neutral.

My statement should have been posed as a question, sorry. I had some hearing tests a few years back and remember the results included a drop within a particular frquency band (the one I jokingly tell my wife represents he vocal range ) and so it got me to thinking about how that maps to the way I hear various speakers.

Hmmm.. maybe compare it to viewing? Maybe the same "blue" color to you is perceptually darker to you than it would be to me, like a certain freq dip is lower/higher at 1khz for you than for me. The point is, say on a TV, you want that particular blue to look exactly as it does to you in real life. Then it will look realistic anyhow. It will also look realistic to me, but just as a "ligher shade of blue", because that is what I know as "true". Does that fly? Well, I tried!

thanks a lot Brandon! (psst, like my new sig? my first sig ever anywhere!)

ohhh, you take off tomorrow! Fantastic. That sounds like a blast.... Enjoy!

 

 

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post #480 of 6914 Old 11-09-2007, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Alimentall View Post

...very colored drivers, but cleverly and carefully colored to elicit the right response from a) people that like that kind of coloration or b) those that aren't truly astute listeners. Of course, since all speakers have *some* coloration, I only pick on B&W so much because of price and because they know better and *do it anyway*. They launched a hugely expensive program to develop the least colored speakers possible, then said basically "screw it, people like our sound, let's give them more" and they finished the project and discarded everything they learned and accomplished.


So I guess pros like those at EMI, Abbey Road, Decca, Deutsche Grammophone, and Lucasfilm must either "like that kind of coloration" or "aren't truly astute listeners"? I guess the pros at those places aren't as astute listeners as you, since they use B&W?

What well-known studios use NHT's pro gear like the M60Xd or M80Xd?
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