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post #1 of 119 Old 05-24-2009, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
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I've posted a new article on my blog about the new Harman International Reference Listening rooms used for training listeners and conducting psychoacoustic research and product (e..g in-wall loudspeakers) sound quality benchmarking.

Cheers
Sean

Cheers,
Sean Olive

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post #2 of 119 Old 05-24-2009, 11:42 AM
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It's very interesting. On slide 10 you say "First lateral sidewall reflections from front channels left untreated to encourage spaciousness, image widening." Does that refer to the absence of absorbers and diffusors on the lower side walls in the areas in front of the two front subwoofers? I never heard of this --- is it really a good idea?

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post #3 of 119 Old 05-24-2009, 11:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by GregLee View Post

It's very interesting. On slide 10 you say "First lateral sidewall reflections from front channels left untreated to encourage spaciousness, image widening." Does that refer to the absence of absorbers and diffusors on the lower side walls in the areas in front of the two front subwoofers? I never heard of this --- is it really a good idea?

Yes, the lower half of the side walls at the front half of the room is left untreated at the first lateral reflection point (relative to listener and front speakers) to benefit spaciousness and image widening of the front stereo or mono channels. The reasons and benefits are well summarized in Floyd Toole's new book "Sound Reproduction: Loudspeakers and Rooms." These reflections will have less benefit for multichannel reproduction where the reflections in the recording from the side/rear speakers will tend to dominate any spatial effects. In the end, it comes down to a matter of taste and the particular purpose and setup.

Also, we have the flexibility of moving the acoustical treatment around very easily so we can choose to absorb or leave alone the first lateral reflection. If we are conducting listening tests on loudspeakers using the in-wall mover - I prefer to leave the side wall reflection points untreated so listeners can better hear the off-axis effects of the loudspeakers under test. It makes for a tougher test on the loudspeakers which is always good practice.

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Sean Olive

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post #4 of 119 Old 05-25-2009, 06:54 AM
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Hi Sean,

I just finished reading your blog, and while we are on polar opposites on the belief and usefulness of statistical analysis, I can easily see why you and Dr. Toole need to have some kind of "real" data that applies to speaker sound and design. The goal is obviously a way to state, to the public, why and how our speakers are better than their speakers; especially when written in Consumer Reports or any other media -- most importantly, the three W's, where many people are currently gathering their information.

Before seeing this post, I replied to one above that asked, "What factors do you consider when making an audio purchase?" I know my answer will not add new data to your analysis, but I think you might want to consider what myself and others consider when choosing audio equipment...

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showp...6&postcount=47

... if you note the last line, I give little credence to any single article or review (eg. Consumer Reports or pompous audio experts with their $10,000 cables and $100,000 sound systems) and pay close attention to what isn't mentioned in the numbers. What matters most to me, and I'm sure to many others, is reputation, which Harman has, a consensus of written opinion, and "will it fit into my room and budget".

There certainly is no way for Harman, or any company, to know in advance what everyone's room looks like, or sounds like, and why I am a doubter of any type of statistical analysis having much real value. And again, while I applaud your work in psycho acoustical research I wanted to offer a layman's non-statistical view on what might be beneficial to you in some way...

Beyond the ideal goal of designing and building the "perfect speaker", the more practical goal is obviously to sell more product. By way of informing the public of what they are buying, so they can more carefully choose what best suits their needs and budget. The result being, a satisfied customer, who may not have actually heard the piece they have purchased through Amazon or other online distributer.

What I often read here, and you mentioned it in your blog, is that many are willing to shovel out a lot of dough for a big screen TV, and then have little left for the audio side of their new home theater. If new to the market, they also are much more willing to buy a $1000 AVR than they are to spend $500 on speakers. At least until someone with more experience clues them in. What makes good sound and how important it is to the home theater experience has gotten lost. We hear it at movie theaters and will pay to be shaken out of our seats, but maybe because THX is so common in cineplexes around the country (and the world), many people think that to get sound anywhere close to their local cinema would cost a small fortune.

Your new consumer is not the aging stereophile who knows a hundred brands and which of those he likes best (and also understands the specs behind them). It's the new large screen buyer looking for something better than a HTIB. Who MAY be willing to spend a lot more, if he thought he could get close to the sound of a cineplex. If he's only walked past cheap brands blaring at him at Best Buy, he probably doesn't know he can.

It's time to educate people (the average Joe with a plasma who watches football every Sunday) on what is affordable and what works in the space he lives in. You can publish that 10,000 people think one speaker is the best sounding speaker in the world, but is it in every room? From my own experience, I know it needs to match the room it is placed in. I see only a few online dealers (Hsu for example) that actually mention the room size. I think this is of major importance and is not found in many speaker specs (unless you already understand dB's, efficiency, SPL and the inverse square law of fall off).

The first spec I would include with every speaker (or speaker system) is what size room it is best suited for. Many Joe's will buy a projector and look for a HTIB to fill a 20x30 foot room. No matter how good that speaker is, the new owner will be displeased with the sound. As you and Dr. Toole know much better than I, it can't fill the space with enough dB's to sound any better than a car radio. And though your new testing spaces have changeable acoustic treatments, can they recreate a cramped apartment or a living room with vaulted ceilings and a large open area next to it? I noticed you had people sitting directly in front of the test speaker. That's less often the case in real room situations. People cram speakers wherever they fit, or look best. Unfortunately, that's what most everyone has to deal with. The room layout comes first and speaker placement is secondary (acoustics is often not even considered).

Stamp some new "specs" big on the box -- these speakers are for this size room. Or these speakers work well in a small apartment. Or "Perfect for your large screen TV in a family room with high ceilings" and etc. You could even match speakers to Sports or Movies. Specs that Joe understands.

One more thing is the recommended watts confuse people. Make it clearer what they need to buy to go with the speaker to match its output. You could connect that with room size as well. Ex. for large rooms we recommend an amp with 100 wpc or more. These things will make the new owner more aware of what he (or she) needs and in the end, a happy listener.

My current system is HK and JBL Synthesis. Obviously, I am a fan of Harman Int. and hope that I have helped you to establish criteria that will be useful to making HK a better choice for the home consumer. Statistical data may help the choir find Jesus, but most people need things spelled out in language they can easily understand.

Regards,

Matthew L Kees (MLKstudios)
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Originally Posted by MLKstudios View Post

Hi Sean,

[edited for brevity ]

It's time to educate people (the average Joe with a plasma who watches football every Sunday) on what is affordable and what works in the space he lives in. You can publish that 10,000 people think one speaker is the best sounding speaker in the world, but is it in every room?

The first spec I would include with every speaker (or speaker system) is what size room it is best suited for. Many Joe's will buy a projector and look for a HTIB to fill a 20x30 foot room.

People cram speakers wherever they fit, or look best. Unfortunately, that's what most everyone has to deal with. The room layout comes first and speaker placement is secondary (acoustics is often not even considered).

Stamp some new "specs" big on the box -- these speakers are for this size room. Or these speakers work well in a small apartment. Or "Perfect for your large screen TV in a family room with high ceilings" and etc. You could even match speakers to Sports or Movies. Specs that Joe understands.

One more thing is the recommended watts confuse people. Make it clearer what they need to buy to go with the speaker to match its output. You could connect that with room size as well. Ex. for large rooms we recommend an amp with 100 wpc or more. These things will make the new owner more aware of what he (or she) needs and in the end, a happy listener.

My current system is HK and JBL Synthesis. Obviously, I am a fan of Harman Int. and hope that I have helped you to establish criteria that will be useful to making HK a better choice for the home consumer. Statistical data may help the choir find Jesus, but most people need things spelled out in language they can easily understand.

Regards,

Matthew L Kees (MLKstudios)

Hi Matthew,

These are all excellent ideas. JBL Synthesis actually recommends and sells home theatre systems based on the size or volume of the customer's room, but this practice is generally the exception rather than the rule for consumer audio. There are some issues with how this specification should be calculated or measured. For example, you have to make some assumptions about the room's absorption characteristics, the speaker placement, and the average/peak playback level that needs to be attained in the room.

I also agree that specifying speakers based on how many watts they need or can handle is one of the most useless, confusing and abused specifications in the industry. What matters is how loud the loudspeaker can play, its maximum uncompressed, undistorted SPL output. With all things being equal, if loudspeaker A can achieve 120 SPL in a room using fewer watts than loudspeaker B - then A should be the preferred consumer's choice since A is more environmentally friendly.

I question the wisdom of labeling speakers based on whether the consumer uses them primarily for movies, sports, music, news etc. I certainly understand that the peak SPL/bandwidth demands for Hollywood blockbuster movies are higher than say the nightly Fox news - but this might only add further confusion for the consumer.

Besides a room-size specification attached to the loudspeaker, I also think consumers would benefit from a specification that clearly denotes the overall sound quality of the loudspeaker expressed in simple terms that they understand. The current loudspeaker specifications in our industry are mostly irrelevant in terms of indicating how the loudspeaker actually sounds as I argue here. One option is to come up with a single sound quality number on a scale from 0-10 based on a set of perceptually meaningful objective measurements. I think consumers would understand this - and it would allow them to quickly separate the junk from the jewels.

The question remains whether audio manufacturers would ever support such a bold, forward-thinking move?

Cheers,
Sean Olive

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post #6 of 119 Old 05-25-2009, 08:33 AM
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Nice room. I'd like one like that.
How well do you find your results translate to other rooms?

Everything I say here is my opinion. It is not my employers opinion, it is not my wife's opinion, it is not my neighbors opinion, it is My Opinion.
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post #7 of 119 Old 05-25-2009, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Tonmeister2008 View Post

The current loudspeaker specifications in our industry are mostly irrelevant in terms of indicating how the loudspeaker actually sounds as I argue here. One option is to come up with a single sound quality number on a scale from 0-10 based on a set of perceptually meaningful objective measurements. I think consumers would understand this - and it would allow them to quickly separate the junk from the jewels.

The question remains whether audio manufacturers would ever support such a bold, forward-thinking move?

A single sound quality number would be a real challenge - I'm not sure how you would come up with such a number.
Edit: Do you have thoughts on what you would include, and how you would weight each factor?

Getting all manufacturers on board would be more or less impossible. But perhaps Harmon could do it with the speakers in their family. It would be interesting to see how the various products compare and compete.

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quoted from of one of your blogs

"In conclusion, all evidence suggests that consumers highly value sound quality when purchasing a loudspeaker, yet current loudspeaker specifications provide little guidance in this matter. It is time the loudspeaker industry grows up and realizes this. Adopting a more perceptually meaningful loudspeaker specification would permit consumers to make smarter loudspeaker choices based on how it sounds. This would better serve the interests of consumers and loudspeaker manufacturers who view the sound quality of a loudspeaker to be its most important selling feature."

How true!

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post #9 of 119 Old 05-25-2009, 09:25 AM
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One option is to come up with a single sound quality number on a scale from 0-10 based on a set of perceptually meaningful objective measurements. ...
The question remains whether audio manufacturers would ever support such a bold, forward-thinking move?

I don't understand why they ever would. How does a new rating system provide a path to greater profits? To have any credibility, the system would have to give some loudspeakers low ratings, which would hurt their sales.

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post #10 of 119 Old 05-25-2009, 09:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dknightd View Post

Nice room. I'd like one like that.
How well do you find your results translate to other rooms?

That is a question I haven't directly tested, yet. For my PhD research I used this room (with all of its absorption removed) as one of 4 different rooms where listeners evaluated 4 different 5-channel loudspeaker systems using a binaural room scanning capture/playback system. The differences among the four different loudspeaker systems were perceptually most apparent in this room due to its high reflectivity, which increased the audibility of the off-axis responses of the different loudspeakers relative to the other rooms.

However, we don't normally use the room with all the absorption removed as it wouldn't sound very good, as found in the above experiments.

In its normal "reference room" configuration (see slide 13) ,the room has the same reflection decay time (Rt60 = 0,4 s) as found in surveys of domestic rooms in N. America and much of Europe. Based on that, there is no reason to think the listening test results in this room wouldn't translate well to other domestic rooms.

Cheers,
Sean Olive

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post #11 of 119 Old 05-25-2009, 09:30 AM
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quoted from of one of your blogs

"In conclusion, all evidence suggests that consumers highly value sound quality when purchasing a loudspeaker, yet current loudspeaker specifications provide little guidance in this matter. It is time the loudspeaker industry grows up and realizes this. Adopting a more perceptually meaningful loudspeaker specification would permit consumers to make smarter loudspeaker choices based on how it sounds. This would better serve the interests of consumers and loudspeaker manufacturers who view the sound quality of a loudspeaker to be its most important selling feature."

How true!


I do not think its entirely true....."all evidence suggests that consumers highly value sound quality when purchasing a loudspeaker" is not true but maybe Im missing his POV.

We know from several research papers that people tend to like coloring in their sound, they tend to not know what distortion sounds like so they do not general pick the best SQ, instead they pick what sound great to them so even though they "value sound quality" their buying happens show they "do not know what sound quality means".....er....maybe that is what he is saying but in a better way

Btw, Sean I loved your "Dishonesty of Sighted Listenings" !! Great blog!

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post #12 of 119 Old 05-25-2009, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Tonmeister2008 View Post

Hi Matthew,

These are all excellent ideas. JBL Synthesis actually recommends and sells home theatre systems based on the size or volume of the customer's room, but this practice is generally the exception rather than the rule for consumer audio. There are some issues with how this specification should be calculated or measured. For example, you have to make some assumptions about the room's absorption characteristics, the speaker placement, and the average/peak playback level that needs to be attained in the room.

There would need to be some leeway, but I would start with small, medium and large (with some overlap for floor space, not cubic feet) and maybe include XL. Just like people buy shirts, some like baggy and others a tighter fit. You could say something like, "Large, for big sound in rooms up to 24x30 feet", or "Medium, for movie sound in small rooms and moderate levels in larger rooms". Again, specs are good for the choir (those who study sound), but not often understood, even by those who understand them (as seen by the many arguments, err discussions, found here at AVS).

Quote:


I also agree that specifying speakers based on how many watts they need or can handle is one of the most useless, confusing and abused specifications in the industry. What matters is how loud the loudspeaker can play, its maximum uncompressed, undistorted SPL output. With all things being equal, if loudspeaker A can achieve 120 SPL in a room using fewer watts than loudspeaker B - then A should be the preferred consumer's choice since A is more environmentally friendly.

I think a max SPL rating, like you use on the pro line, would be beneficial even to those who don't understand the technical stuff. It gives them something to compare one model to another with. Like GHz in the computer world. People intuitively understand that 4 GHz is better than 3 GHz, even if they don't know what a GHz is.

Quote:


I question the wisdom of labeling speakers based on whether the consumer uses them primarily for movies, sports, music, news etc. I certainly understand that the peak SPL/bandwidth demands for Hollywood blockbuster movies are higher than say the nightly Fox news - but this might only add further confusion for the consumer.

This needn't be a scientific rating. But, based more on whether the sound is silky or chocolaty. Just something to give them another, less technical term, for choosing the right match. And yes, I watched 06_the_final_test.

Quote:


Besides a room-size specification attached to the loudspeaker, I also think consumers would benefit from a specification that clearly denotes the overall sound quality of the loudspeaker expressed in simple terms that they understand. The current loudspeaker specifications in our industry are mostly irrelevant in terms of indicating how the loudspeaker actually sounds as I argue here. One option is to come up with a single sound quality number on a scale from 0-10 based on a set of perceptually meaningful objective measurements. I think consumers would understand this - and it would allow them to quickly separate the junk from the jewels.

The question remains whether audio manufacturers would ever support such a bold, forward-thinking move?

You might be able to get the large speaker manufacturers to accept this, but what about the hundreds, or thousands, of DIY speaker designers & builders. They would have no facilities to do any real testing. Also, applying it to Harman's own brands might turn off consumers when a low number is attached. Who would want to buy a speaker with a 3 out of 10 rating?

Thank you Sean for replying directly to my post. I feel honored to be in communication with someone of your stature at HKI. I'll soon be adding filmmaking to my photography curriculum at my school, where sound will play a role. Would be great to have you as a guest lecturer.
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post #13 of 119 Old 05-25-2009, 09:43 AM - Thread Starter
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I don't understand why they ever would. How does a new rating system provide a path to greater profits? To have any credibility, the system would have to give some loudspeakers low ratings, which would hurt their sales.

This is true. A meaningful loudspeaker specification would naturally weed out the good products from the bad ones - and the manufacturers who couldn't meet the new quality specification would fall to the wayside.

Some manufacturers would argue that the specification is wrong, unfair, or that consumers don't really care that much about sound quality and that compliance to the specification would add unnecessary costs to the price of the product.

Cheers,
Sean Olive

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I do not think its entirely true....."all evidence suggests that consumers highly value sound quality when purchasing a loudspeaker" is not true but maybe Im missing his POV.

We know from several research papers that people tend to like coloring in their sound, they tend to not know what distortion sounds like so they do not general pick the best SQ, instead they pick what sound great to them so even though they "value sound quality" their buying happens show they "do not know what sound quality means".....er....maybe that is what he is saying but in a better way

Btw, Sean I loved your "Dishonesty of Sighted Listenings" !! Great blog!

Thanks Pengray. Blind testing is certainly a polarizing topic within the audio community. The people in the Stereophile and Audio Asylum forums don't seem to share your love for my blog, and talk about me as if I was a serial killer -

When I say that people value sound quality it's based on consumer marketing surveys done by CEA -- not whether they can actually recognize sound quality or not (although my experience is that under controlled listening conditions, most consumers prefer the more accurate loudspeakers).

In the CEA research, sound quality ranks very high on the consumers' decision matrix when considering what audio products they purchase. So if you can show them compelling evidence that a product sounds good, that can influence their purchase decision. These days, most consumers don't have an opportunity to audition different products, which means that they are using other information (e.g. internet ) to decide whether the product sounds good or not. Hence, the need for better specifications.

Cheers,
Sean Olive

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Originally Posted by MLKstudios View Post

There would need to be some leeway, but I would start with small, medium and large (with some overlap for floor space, not cubic feet) and maybe include XL.

Not a bad idea!
Quote:


I think a max SPL rating, like you use on the pro line, would be beneficial even to those who don't understand the technical stuff. It gives them something to compare one model to another with. Like GHz in the computer world. People intuitively understand that 4 GHz is better than 3 GHz, even if they don't know what a GHz is.

Agreed, but GHz is now becoming like Speaker Watts and not a necessarily good indicator of how the computer performs in real-world conditions using typical software applications. The computer industry is now focussing on number of cores.

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. But, based more on whether the sound is silky or chocolaty. Just something to give them another, less technical term, for choosing the right match. And yes, I watched 06_the_final_test.

I am currently working on a perceptual model that captures important audiophile loudspeaker attributes such silky, chocolaty (both low fat and high fat versions), and the woofer's pace, rhythm, and musicality (using the Carl Seashore Test)

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. Who would want to buy a speaker with a 3 out of 10 rating?

Probably, just high-end audiophiles, but only if it costs over $10,000 and gets the "Speaker of the Year" designation by a prominent audiophile magazine (see speaker M).

Quote:


Thank you Sean for replying directly to my post. I feel honored to be in communication with someone of your stature at HKI. I'll soon be adding filmmaking to my photography curriculum at my school, where sound will play a role. Would be great to have you as a guest lecturer.

Call me when you are ready. I'm just a few blocks away, and would love to do a guest lecture. Thank you for your great post.

Cheers,
Sean Olive

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post #16 of 119 Old 05-25-2009, 10:47 AM
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Can you give us a clue as to what P, I, B & M actually stand for? My guess is M starts with Magne...

I is for Infinity, B is Bose? No clue on P.

I'm looking for a larger space in Hollywood. Will definitely contact you after the move.
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post #17 of 119 Old 05-25-2009, 11:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Can you give us a clue as to what P, I, B & M actually stand for?

I'm looking for a larger space in Hollywood. Will definitely contact you after the move.

I don't generally reveal the brands or models of speakers that I test because it would detract from the scientific impartiality I am trying to maintain. Even when Floyd and I worked for the National Research Council in Ottawa where we had no direct association with a commercial entity, we didn't reveal the identity of the products in the published papers - for the same reasons.

I've been amused by what people think those letters mean, and I now regret not using numbers or the letters A,B,C,D.

Cheers,
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post #18 of 119 Old 05-26-2009, 07:55 AM
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Probably, just high-end audiophiles, but only if it costs over $10,000 and gets the "Speaker of the Year" designation by a prominent audiophile magazine (see speaker M).

lmao!

Quote:


Thanks Pengray. Blind testing is certainly a polarizing topic within the audio community. The people in the Stereophile and Audio Asylum forums don't seem to share your love for my blog, and talk about me as if I was a serial killer

hehe, Well its obvious that they wont like you when you categorize their speakers as 3 out of 10

btw, I have spent the last 4 months reading all of Geddes research on waveguides/acoustics, etc. I really think he is one to something with his speaker designs.....toe-in 45 degrees (nasty dip on-axis but when off axis is beautiful who cares), HUGE imaging because of constant directivity, less distortion and because of the toe in they will have less side reflections to worry about.

Have you done any research or testing with his speakers?

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post #19 of 119 Old 05-26-2009, 07:56 AM
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In the CEA research, sound quality ranks very high on the consumers' decision matrix when considering what audio products they purchase. So if you can show them compelling evidence that a product sounds good, that can influence their purchase decision. These days, most consumers don't have an opportunity to audition different products, which means that they are using other information (e.g. internet ) to decide whether the product sounds good or not. Hence, the need for better specifications.


I have been very aggressive on this forum over the past three years in wanting better measurements. Not only wanting something but I have been hoping people in general would become more aware of all the measurements that exist and how they can predict a speakers performance.

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I have been very aggressive on this forum over the past three years in wanting better measurements. Not only wanting something but I have been hoping people in general would become more aware of all the measurements that exist and how they can predict a speakers performance.

Just to underscore how desperately the industry needs such measurements, I just responded to a thread in the speakers forum where someone was ready to buy a new receiver or monoblocks even, because his speakers were rated at 250 watts and his receiver only output 100 per.

I could see a copmpany like harman creating a quality index, and at least initially, there would be some buzz in the press. CR might even get interested. But, I can't imagine the other manufacturers would jump on. How many are producing speakers that measure as well as the Revels, Infinitys, and JBLs??? Martin Logan, for example, might not even make the lowest rating
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I could see a copmpany like harman creating a quality index, and at least initially, there would be some buzz in the press. CR might even get interested. But, I can't imagine the other manufacturers would jump on. How many are producing speakers that measure as well as the Revels, Infinitys, and JBLs??? Martin Logan, for example, might not even make the lowest rating

Well, first off at the very least we need some independent confirmation of Sean's results. I don't mean to question his integrity here, but nobody's going to sit still for a ratings system developed by Harman that just happens to make Harman's speakers look better than anybody else's. (And yes, I know it didn't "just happen," but that's how it would be perceived.)

Getting other manufacturers to adopt such a system is neither realistic nor necessary. What you need is for independent testers—Consumer Reports, Sound & Vision, SoundStage, etc.—to adopt it. That will put pressure on manufacturers to build speakers that get better scores.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #22 of 119 Old 05-27-2009, 01:34 PM
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While I think consumers need to be better educated, and some sort of rating system would be useful (I'd also like to polar radiation plots a requirement), I don't think it's going to happen. THX has a system (Select, Ultra, etc). They are still taking incoming rounds that their specs are wrong, don't include something, produce horrid sound, just a way to make more money, etc., etc. Manufacturers who cannot afford certification, cannot pass, didn't pass, or just don't want to are the loudest of the bunch. Consumers whose preference tends toward expensive boutique speakers (not THX certified) tend to be the second loudest of the bunch. The professionals with concerns tend to be a tad more restrained gentlemen and quietly work to incorporate other metrics into the process.

We're currently building a room we expect to pass certification as a THX Certified Home Screening Room. It's not an easy task (nor should it be).

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post #23 of 119 Old 05-27-2009, 09:35 PM - Thread Starter
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No, I have not tested Earl's speakers.

Cheers,
Sean Olive

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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Well, first off at the very least we need some independent confirmation of Sean's results. I don't mean to question his integrity here, but nobody's going to sit still for a ratings system developed by Harman that just happens to make Harman's speakers look better than anybody else's. (And yes, I know it didn't "just happen," but that's how it would be perceived.)

Getting other manufacturers to adopt such a system is neither realistic nor necessary. What you need is for independent testersConsumer Reports, Sound & Vision, SoundStage, etc.to adopt it. That will put pressure on manufacturers to build speakers that get better scores.

Actually, there already are two "independent" testers that use similar measurements as used at Harman. If you read the addendum to my blog posting "Why Consumer Report's Loudspeaker Accuracy Scores Are Not Accurate" , Consumer Reports (CR) are already using measurements similar to Harman's to predict their sound accuracy scores. SoundStage uses NRC to measure loudspeakers - and those measurements - while not exactly the same - are similar to the measurements used at Harman.

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Sean Olive

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No, I have not tested Earl's speakers.

You should, according the Geddes they are far superior to what exists out there right now.....make sure you toe-in 45 degrees!!

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... Consumer Reports (CR) are already using measurements similar to Harman's to predict their sound accuracy scores. ...

This is quite a contribution. Congratulations.

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post #27 of 119 Old 05-28-2009, 10:06 AM
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SoundStage uses NRC to measure loudspeakers - and those measurements - while not exactly the same - are similar to the measurements used at Harman.

I am very impressed with SoundStage's measurements. The polar response is absolutely invaluable in evaluating a loudspeaker's performance -- not to mention the utility in acoustical modeling and prediction, for which I must often resort to a "generic" loudspeaker pattern (whatever that is).

BTW, I'm pretty sure I know what the four letters are in your commercial speaker test, Sean. But my lips are completely sealed!

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post #28 of 119 Old 05-28-2009, 11:26 AM
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This is true. A meaningful loudspeaker specification would naturally weed out the good products from the bad ones - and the manufacturers who couldn't meet the new quality specification would fall to the wayside.

Some manufacturers would argue that the specification is wrong, unfair, or that consumers don't really care that much about sound quality and that compliance to the specification would add unnecessary costs to the price of the product.

Maybe the average American doesn't care about good speakers/SQ, and thus paying more for it. Just look at what is being sold these days in this country. And maybe a better indication is what's NOT sold here.

JBL's marketing would support that statement, as the K2 and Everest II were designed for the Asian/European markets, not the NA market.

Just on this forum, I couldn't even think about counting posters who put the video first and audio second. And then to make matters worse stick the speakers in the corners.
That's the one thing I really like about that Harman room, the speakers well away from the side walls.

What do you think about the idea of Harman offering as an option, Charge-Coupled (JBL TM) crossovers for their speakers that don't currently use it (only the higher quality models)? At of coarse a higher price tag.

I've got 'em on my custom L212s
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post #29 of 119 Old 05-28-2009, 06:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Maybe the average American doesn't care about good speakers/SQ, and thus paying more for it.

There are certainly people who would agree with you, and it is probably true among the younger market segment who are content with portable audio devices and computer-based media. We've done a poor job of educating consumers regarding the sound quality difference between a $10,000 pair of Revels versus a $400 HTIB or a $50 Ipod docking station with speakers. I'm sure many consumers don't even know there is a difference. If you aren't aware of the difference then how can you care about it?

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JBL's marketing would support that statement, as the K2 and Everest II were designed for the Asian/European markets, not the NA market.

Everest is available in the USA (see JBL Synthesis). You can purchase Revel products in the USA as well.


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Just this forum, I couldn't even think about counting posters who put the video first and audio second. And then to make matters worse stick the speakers in the corners.

Agreed. Unfortunately, this seems to be true even within some of the most expensive home theatre installations where audio seems to take a distant back seat to the video, the cable/communication installation, the furniture and interior decor.

I attended my first CEDIA Awards last fall to support Floyd Toole who was presented his life-time achievement award. What struck me in seeing ~ 2-hours of slides showing the award winning media room-home theatre installations was what little role room acoustics and sound reproduction quality seem to play in the judging process. Of course, there were some exceptions.

I wondered whether the award judges consult an audio/acoustic expert, and take into account the acoustical performance of the setups, and/or bother to listen to the nominated installations? If they did, surely some of those installations would not be worthy of an award. To me, the only consistent criterion used to judge the audio was based on the extent to which loudspeakers are invisible , and do not detract from the interior decor. If that means sticking them all in the ceiling, a cabinet, bookshelf or under a chair - no problem. I actually felt depressed about the future of audio after leaving that award show.

Cheers,
Sean Olive

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post #30 of 119 Old 05-28-2009, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Tonmeister2008E View Post

There are certainly people who would agree with you, and it is probably true among the younger market segment who are content with portable audio devices and computer-based media. We've done a poor job of educating consumers regarding the sound quality difference between a $10,000 pair of Revels versus a $400 HTIB or a $50 Ipod docking station with speakers. I'm sure many consumers don't even know there is a difference. If you aren't aware of the difference then how can you care about it?

From what I've seen over the last 10 years or so, as far as JBLs go, the worst thing was the decision to sell JBLs at Best Buy. They only ever sold the bottom series. Any of the young kids I worked with at the time only knew about JBL quality through BB, and their thoughts of it being junk. I'd tell them, come over to my house and I'll show you real JBL quality (L212, Performance Series, SUB1500)

And right now, nowhere in NW Nevada can you buy JBL or Infinity (except maybe a Synthesis dealer, if there still is one). There is a Revel dealer near Olympic Village @ Tahoe.

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Everest is available in the USA (see You can purchase Revel products in the USA as well.

Ya, I wish I could afford a pair of Everest. The way I hear it, in 2 1/2 years JBL has taken twice as many orders for the Everest as they figured selling in total.

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I attended my first CEDIA Awards last fall to support Floyd Toole who was presented his life-time achievement award. What struck me in seeing ~ 2-hours of slides showing the award winning media room-home theatre installations was what little role room acoustics and sound reproduction quality seem to play in the judging process. Of course, there were some exceptions.

Although, I've been in some Pro built HTs that I thought were too dead, they had wall treatments everwhere.
I've got to get Floyd's new book! And thanks for all your info!

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I wondered whether the award judges consult an audio/acoustic expert, and take into account the acoustical performance of the setups, and/or bother to listen to the nominated installations? If they did, surely some of those installations would not be worthy of an award. To me, the only consistent criterion used to judge the audio was based on the extent to which loudspeakers are invisible , and do not detract from the interior decor. If that means sticking them all in the ceiling, a cabinet, bookshelf or under a chair - no problem. I actually felt depressed about the future of audio after leaving that award show.

I don't have a problem with very good in-walls, like Synthesis, but I like having large freestanding speakers and on-walls the size of L212 or PT800. I think you're right about the HT awards, all about the architecture.
One problem with the PT800, the box isn't large enough to house a C-C network. C-C network just barely fit into the L212.
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