Originally Posted by craig john
Yeah, I know, they quoted their own research. While that's nice, it has about as much credibility as them testing another manufacture's product and finding their own product to be better.
I think not. AES Paper title: "Subjective Measurements of Loudspeakers: A Comparison of Stereo and Mono Listening"Author
: Toole, Floyd E.Affiliation: National Research Council, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
AES Convention:74 (October 1983
)"Earlier papers have described monophonic comparisons of loudspeakers in controlled listening tests that produce sound quality assessments with considerable consistency and order. Repeating the experiments in stereo, using a positional substitution technique, produced sound quality ratings with similarities and differences. For example, the ranking is similar, with highly-rated products retaining their high scores, however listeners were more forgiving of products with low scores from the monophonic tests. The relationship to measured performance is considered."
People forget that almost all the research we attribute to Harman in this area, came about when they hired Dr. Toole from NRC and he brought people like Sean Olive and what they knew with them. Their arrival at Harman caused fair amount of grief with just as many naysayers as there are in this thread. But test after test proved what they were advocating and the culture changed. So no, this is not Harman. The research was done as part of Candian government funded research unattached to any company let alone an American company called Harman. The research was extended while at Harman to go beyond stereo but the results simply confirm what was already known.
IMO, this test is worthless because it is a monophonic test of a product that is clearly intended to be used in a multichannel system.
There is no evidence that if you screw up one channel, you get to make up for that by screwing up the rest
. And research has been done to quantify applicability:"Comparison of Loudspeaker-Room Equalization Preference for Multichannel,Stereo, and Mono Reproductions: Are Listeners More Discriminating in Mono?"
Sean E. Olive1, John Jackson2, Allan Devantier3, David Hunt4 and Sean M. Hess5
Harman International, Northridge, CA, 91329, USA
Digital loudspeaker-room correction products are more popular than ever, despite the general lack of perceptual
studies on their performance over a wide range of different playback conditions. This paper describes the first of
several experiments that explore the influence of important acoustical and perceptual factors on their performance.
In this experiment, a panel of trained listeners gave comparative preference ratings for three different loudspeaker
equalizations based on anechoic and in situ measurements evaluated in a semi-reflective room, using three
multichannel music recordings reproduced in surround, stereo, and mono. These equalizations were compared to the
unequalized loudspeaker. The results are summarized as follows: all three equalizations were equally preferred over
the unequalized system. The differences in preference ratings increased as the number of playback channels was
reduced from 5 channels (surround) to 1 (mono)."
It was also done by "trained" listeners, "trained" by Harman.
Of course, they're going to prefer the Harman sound.
That is a misconception that I used to have too and then I took the test and voted just like them! Of course, I could have just read the research and saved myself some embarrasment:
http://seanolive.blogspot.com/2008/12/loudspeaker-preferences-of-trained.html"Do Untrained Listeners Prefer the Same Loudspeakers as Trained Listeners?"
I will save you reading the whole report by giving you the punchline:
The gray vertical bar is the Harman Trained listeners. While they are a heck of a lot more critical of flaws in reproduction systems, they vote like ordinary humans when it comes to ranking devices. The green speaker (M) got worst rating by them and every other group that tested them. Likewise the red is the best regardless of who tested it. I say this within the margin of error.
In the test we are discussing, if my memory is right, only two of the six were expert listeners. The rest were not. The experts did manage to discriminate between systems better. But per my earlier graph, the rankings for the systems was consistent across listeners:
As I noted, I have sat through such blind tests at Harman and not once but twice. My votes in one case matched them 1:1 for every test, and the other, all but one test matched. And the one that didn't was a toss up (score of 7 vs 6 out of 1 to 10). So no, there is no "Haman sound." It is the sound we hear when we remove bias. We share a lot of likes and dislikes with our fellow humans, as much as we like to think we are different.
Last but not least, note how careful they are in testing these assumptions. There is nothing they take for granted. We really have a gift in audio science here in how they do so much research and bring so much objectivity to sound reproduction. And at the end, they give it all away for everyone to learn and use.