Do Audio Measurements Correlate With Sound Quality? - Page 4 - AVS Forum
View Poll Results: Do Audio Measurements Correlate With Sound Quality?
Yes, they are strongly correlated 102 35.66%
Yes, but they are only weakly correlated 51 17.83%
No, they are not correlated at all 13 4.55%
It depends on the type of product, testing, and environment 120 41.96%
Voters: 286. You may not vote on this poll

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post #91 of 219 Old 10-01-2013, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beastaudio View Post

percentages? Um, 60% of the time, I hear THD all of the time.
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post #92 of 219 Old 10-02-2013, 01:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by popalock View Post

Please provide references when you throw out percentages. Some people can "certainty" hear THD much much lower that 1%. Case in point is the post below. However, neither of you back up your stance with anything other than what appears to be opinion. Can someone point interested readers to a white paper or other research study on the subject? I certainly have my opinion on the subject, but why even bother throwing it out there if since I haven't taken the time to cite a verifiable source to support my "opinion."



Personally I don't see anything wrong with either making their statements, after all the thread was started for opinion. Whether their statements are right or wrong may be another story, but I don't think they are out of bounds making them. IMO there are plenty of other threads where everyone demands solid evidence and if that's your thing so be it. Just sayin wink.gif
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post #93 of 219 Old 10-02-2013, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by popalock View Post

Please provide references when you throw out percentages. Some people can "certainty" hear THD much much lower that 1%.
I was merely distilling several decades of AES papers and audio reference literature (mostly out of print), along with personal experiences in the audio industry. If I can locate some of those AES articles that are accessible here, I will list them. It's pretty boilerplate stuff.

I probably should have said "THD+N," which is usually what is really meant by that specification -- that is, all residual components after the source waveform is removed. Audio Precision kind of popularized that type of measurement in that way.

To be precise, I did not say that THD (or THD+N) under one percent needs golden ears to hear it. Certain types of nonlinearities can measure well under one percent in a THD+N measurement and be quite audible. A good example of this is crossover-notch distortion ("fuzz") in an underbiased Class B amplifier.

Odd-order distortion components (3rd harmonic, etc.) are more audible than simple second-harmonic distortion. It's why even slight signal clipping (odd harmonics) can be annoying.. Still, I would consider someone a Golden Ear if they could repeatably detect strictly 3rd-harmonic distortion components under one percent. And I would definitely award Golden Ear status to a listener who can repeatably detect a signal whose spectrum consists solely of second-harmonic distortion components near one percent in magnitude (again, many vacuum tube/transformer amplifiers exhibit this).
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post #94 of 219 Old 10-02-2013, 09:26 PM
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I just found this discussion and have read many interesting points. One thing, though, that I find very amusing and ironic is that in a discussion about objective measurement vs subjective quality, there is a poll, which is purely subjective smile.gif

Reminds me of an old saying I heard in engineering school: In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.
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post #95 of 219 Old 10-02-2013, 10:34 PM
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post #96 of 219 Old 10-03-2013, 05:44 AM
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Good question in times when no any comepetency is given to someone without hard evidency of complicated professional proceduures. I 'd like to say that in my project I used FFT in few configurations depending on an actual measurement technics advance - starting in 1994 and ending in 2011. I confirm that measurements do register what is happening in reality of sound environment but the main problem with measurements is that they provide the results in optical way or even worse in writing way. And it is nothing common with hearing sense. Our eyes see clearly changes in courves and results but it"s too hard to translate them into sound impression. If our goal is perfection of courve than it will not work because the measurement techniques are not ideal and irregularities must be (and are) accepted. Those irregularities we can't divide from damages to sound for which we are hunting. I used FFT to extract the parameters affected by inventions to sound of my columns. It confirmed what I earlier predicted they will . just by using ears. I accounted no more profit. Example: I used oval tube with separated two resonance chambers to round mid range speaker. Tuned them by listening to equal mid response. Then I measured tube with and without separation by FTT . As You see the difference in graph around 3 kHz is noticeable, but with only the graph I couldn't evaluate even the existance of problem which I had heard . Since then I trust more to my experience and ears than to measurements. My vote is yes but only for diagnosis of already spoted damages. Measurements does not answer for question: for which we are waitning :Their opinion about the overall impression is not trusty at any degree..
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post #97 of 219 Old 10-03-2013, 06:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michal - Poland View Post

Good question in times when no any comepetency is given to someone without hard evidency of complicated professional proceduures. I 'd like to say that in my project I used FFT in few configurations depending on an actual measurement technics advance - starting in 1994 and ending in 2011. I confirm that measurements do register what is happening in reality of sound environment but the main problem with measurements is that they provide the results in optical way or even worse in writing way. And it is nothing common with hearing sense. Our eyes see clearly changes in courves and results but it"s too hard to translate them into sound impression. If our goal is perfection of courve than it will not work because the measurement techniques are not ideal and irregularities must be (and are) accepted. Those irregularities we can't divide from damages to sound for which we are hunting. I used FFT to extract the parameters affected by inventions to sound of my columns. It confirmed what I earlier predicted they will . just by using ears. I accounted no more profit. Example: I used oval tube with separated two resonance chambers to round mid range speaker. Tuned them by listening to equal mid response. Then I measured tube with and without separation by FTT . As You see the difference in graph around 3 kHz is noticeable, but with only the graph I couldn't evaluate even the existance of problem which I had heard . Since then I trust more to my experience and ears than to measurements. My vote is yes but only for diagnosis of already spoted damages. Measurements does not answer for question: for which we are waitning :Their opinion about the overall impression is not trusty at any degree..

Might be my new signature block.
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post #98 of 219 Old 10-03-2013, 07:37 AM
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Mike Mike Mike Mike Mike.....Good write-up and I agree the graph never tells the whole story smile.gif

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post #99 of 219 Old 10-03-2013, 07:55 AM
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I have a question for the sub experts here. And it's just out of curiosity in an effort to learn more about this.

I understand that gain matching works well with multiple, identical subs. That will be my goal with my future upgrades.

And the Geddes method works well with subs of different sizes in terms of a smooth frequency response. Although at the expense of maximum output from what I'm reading here.

Here is a third configuration that was once suggested to me:

Place two ten inch subs up front near the bookshelf mains--could be front wall or side near the front. Adjust them so the low pass filter is at 40hz. That way they are within their limits and not required to go that low. Then place a larger, say !5" sub behind the LP and set the high pass filter at 40hz so it is just reproducing the deepest frequencies. The suggestion was caveated with the fact that the subs would be "cascading" but it might be worth a try. Since then I've read that cascading subs doesn't work well. But what I'm wondering is, what exactly is "cascading" and why isn't it good?

Just looking to learn more here.

Thanks
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post #100 of 219 Old 10-03-2013, 08:22 AM
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cascading in the fact that you have the 10's handling the "upper" bass and the 15" handling the "lower" bass. This is actually a nice way to do it. The 15" sub is close by so you get the added benefit of the nearfield placement to "Feel" the effect more, while letting the 10's (basically midbass modules aka MBM's) do the work where the sound could still be directional. I have done this before with high efficiency ported 15's for the upper bass region while allowing some mega-subs be the bass-pumps from 40hz and down. For me, they were all co-located up front, but the effect was still essentially the same smile.gif

EDIT: I do need to add that doing it this way takes some finagling. Getting Delays between the subs right makes all the difference.

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post #101 of 219 Old 10-03-2013, 08:32 AM
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Thank you very much for your reply.

Your response was much appreciated.

Dan

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post #102 of 219 Old 10-03-2013, 08:35 AM
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Oops, just realized I meant to post my sub question in a thread specifically about setting up multiple subs. So if my post appeared to come out of nowhere, that's why.

Thank you again for your response.

Dan

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post #103 of 219 Old 10-10-2013, 10:35 AM
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All our ears and brains are different. Our ears and brains are the ultimate test equipment in this experiment, so if everyone has different test equipment you can expect different conclusions. Mr. Bose had his ideas about sound, but many here rightly disagreed with his design philosophy. Some people love metal dome tweeters, but I could not live with them. I like soft domes. Satisfaction depends on matching the right speakers to the right customer.
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post #104 of 219 Old 10-21-2013, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post

As anyone with an interest in audio products knows, manufacturers always provide a spec sheet with measurements of various parameters, which most savvy consumers know to take with a grain of salt.
Would a savvy customer prefer they didn't release any data on their product at all? "Here's a box, I won't tell you what's in it, what the dimensions are, or even what color it is, but you can take my word that it sounds great!" rolleyes.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson 
And presumably unbiased reviewers often take their own measurements and publish the results with their reviews.
..at great peril to those that assume the data or analysis of it means anything.
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Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson 
But how are those measurements, which use test signals, related to the sound quality of a given product playing music?
That's up to the designers who spent the money, time, and exercised the discipline to sort out the correlations.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson 
I've certainly observed that poor measurements do not necessarily mean poor subjective performance, and that good measurements do not necessarily reflect good performance. On the other hand, measurements sometimes support—and even explain—a reviewer's subjective impressions.
Measurements of what? It's the lumping of all pertinent data into one "measurement" for the sake of discussion that gets people in trouble.

For instance, people often refer to a graph without realizing that a genuine laboratory test has an associated abstract and summary (conditions of the test, equipment used, etc.). Without at least the abstract, a graph truly represents nothing. The second mistake made by the general public is assuming that an abstract and summary somehow prove validity of the results when, in fact, a well designed, implemented, and documented test can still yield no useful data at all.

Specs don't mean much when the human factor is in full effect.
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Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson 
Do you think that objective measurements of an audio product using test signals correlate with the subjective sound quality of that product playing music?
Depends on the metric in question. Do I think using a tape and measuring a speaker cabinet to be 6 feet tall would make for a subjectively "large" speaker?....absolutely.
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On what do you base your position?
15 years of measuring things in a lab and staring at gauges out in the field.

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post #105 of 219 Old 10-22-2013, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post

As anyone with an interest in audio products knows, manufacturers always provide a spec sheet with measurements of various parameters, which most savvy consumers know to take with a grain of salt.
The owner and founder of a prominent speaker company I once worked for would, only half-jokingly, refer to spec sheets (both his and everyone else's) as "Lie Sheets."
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post #106 of 219 Old 10-24-2013, 01:09 AM
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Hello!

the answer is simple

Go to a speakers design Company ... visit their lab

Are there instruments ? yes ? for million of dollars ?

So audio measurements are important

Kind regards,

gino

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post #107 of 219 Old 10-24-2013, 01:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michal - Poland View Post



Good question in times when no any comepetency is given to someone without hard evidency of complicated professional proceduures. I 'd like to say that in my project I used FFT in few configurations depending on an actual measurement technics advance - starting in 1994 and ending in 2011. I confirm that measurements do register what is happening in reality of sound environment but the main problem with measurements is that they provide the results in optical way or even worse in writing way. And it is nothing common with hearing sense. Our eyes see clearly changes in courves and results but it"s too hard to translate them into sound impression. If our goal is perfection of courve than it will not work because the measurement techniques are not ideal and irregularities must be (and are) accepted. Those irregularities we can't divide from damages to sound for which we are hunting. I used FFT to extract the parameters affected by inventions to sound of my columns. It confirmed what I earlier predicted they will . just by using ears. I accounted no more profit. Example: I used oval tube with separated two resonance chambers to round mid range speaker. Tuned them by listening to equal mid response. Then I measured tube with and without separation by FTT . As You see the difference in graph around 3 kHz is noticeable, but with only the graph I couldn't evaluate even the existance of problem which I had heard . Since then I trust more to my experience and ears than to measurements. My vote is yes but only for diagnosis of already spoted damages. Measurements does not answer for question: for which we are waitning :Their opinion about the overall impression is not trusty at any degree..

Sounds like a common sense practice to me and has worked well for me for years and has only given me pleasure from audio!
Nice write up! wink.gif
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post #108 of 219 Old 10-25-2013, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bernardo61 View Post

Hello!
the answer is simple
Go to a speakers design Company ... visit their lab
Are there instruments ? yes ? for million of dollars ?
So audio measurements are important
Kind regards,
gino
Equipment that accurately measures acoustical properties used to be expensive. Today, it is not. Freeware FFT programs and selected inexpensive electret microphones outperform multi-thousand-dollar B&K machines (and microphones!) of yesteryear.

The more expensive equipment you will find in a manufacturer's lab generally deal with materials and electromechanical properties (gaussmeters for magnetic properties, Klippel for electromechanical linearity), etc.
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post #109 of 219 Old 10-31-2013, 05:46 PM
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If you design on an electrical engineering basis you’d say that an amplifier only has to be flat from 20Hz to 20kHz and with distortion below “x.” You’re immediately starting out with a model that says I believe I understand completely how this all works, and I’m not giving any value to the subjective mapping or the interpretive mapping or the cognitive mapping of what’s going on. So you can measure something objectively, but you know as well as I do that it’s possible to design a system that measures well but is not satisfactory. That’s why we inform everything we do not only with psychoacoustics, but with critical listening. You have to listen to everything.

http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/tas-194-meridian-audios-bob-stuart-talks-with-robert-harley-1
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post #110 of 219 Old 10-31-2013, 06:18 PM
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post #111 of 219 Old 10-31-2013, 06:31 PM
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Thx for posting that.


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post #112 of 219 Old 10-31-2013, 07:28 PM
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I like subjective reviews but only when accompanied by a battery of tests.

So I find TAS occasionally entertaining but I would not buy anything based on their recommendations.

On the other hand, 6Moons is not worth reading.
When amp reviews include a completely different experience upon replacing the power cord, you a in a really special place tongue.gif

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post #113 of 219 Old 11-01-2013, 09:32 AM
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Frequently I find gear that does really well with some recordings or scenes, but not so well on others. The best I can get is a strong average with emphasis on what I like to watch and listen to -- can't peak everything all of the time.

So for me, I don't even look at the specs when shopping except to gauge the class of machine -- 25 watts or 500 watts, etc..


I agree with this statement when I am shopping for new gear I take my own media and look and or listen with that, so I take the specs with a grain of salt!!
So whatever sounds good to your ears is the way to go.

And as we who have shopped this way know the last unknown is how does it sound in your home!!
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post #114 of 219 Old 11-01-2013, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RCbridge View Post

I agree with this statement when I am shopping for new gear I take my own media and look and or listen with that, so I take the specs with a grain of salt!!
So whatever sounds good to your ears is the way to go.

And as we who have shopped this way know the last unknown is how does it sound in your home!!

I may be going out with my brother-in-law to audition some speakers.
I am toying with the idea of taking a BDP-105 and using their amp or even taking his Outlaw M2200 monoblocks.

It's not his room but we could bring his gear smile.gif

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post #115 of 219 Old 11-06-2013, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by gearheadslife View Post

... the RCA laser disc (not really a laser it was a needle)

I had to look that one up. Wow, a needle! For the curious here's a Wikipedia link: Capacitance Electronic Disc
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post #116 of 219 Old 11-14-2013, 07:33 PM
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So far, I've seen arguments of preference pertaining to the consumer market. In that venue, it's all about perception and preference - which also explains Bose. However, detailed specs are outright essential when considering pro gear, given the manufacturer; Some manufacturing specs and measurements are more believable than others, though the margin of error is forever narrowing in the industry with any company heralding longevity.

 

Someone brought up the use of tubes being a nostalgic pursuit, though it must be said what tubes exactly do to a signal in how it is perceived in the brain - that being the nature of clipping when driving tubes. Opposed to solid-state, pre and post amplification in tubes do little to flatten the waveform. I'm not saying that the appearance of or the reality of clipping does not occur in tube, but there are more even-order harmonics that are present from natural squeezing. Solid-state loses that aspect and introduces odd-order harmonics while clipping. The harmonic factor is ever present, even without clipping, and is what keeps manufacturers like BBE in business with  "sonic maximizers." Many studies show that the more symmetric a sound is, the easier the brain can process it, thus the more "pleasing" that sound would be when compared to the alternative ( Jordain, Robert. "Music, the Brain, & Ecstasy."). 

 

Also in pro audio are reference monitors. Engineers usually have more than one pair - one for reference, and one for mixing; one for general listening, and one for listening for critical nuances in the sound. The latter need is fulfilled by speakers with an 'as flat as can be' frequency response, and the former can be a little more laxed in coloration. Yamaha has a great pair of studio speakers that sound like crap to the average consumer, but is found to be necessary due to the property that "if it can sound good on that model, it *will* sound good on anything else."

 

It must also be noted that in the particular industry of pro-audio (with many "entry-level" exceptions) that manufacturers use a neer-standardized testing scheme of stating the frequencies that devices are tested at, along with polar patterns, frequency responses, thd, and the other stuff. Most engineers I've know trust companies that have a good track record for testing procedures. However, it's all about what a person is comfortable working on. Some people only need to 'train' their ears to a new system, while others fall completely off of their game when on unfamiliar systems.

 

In short, it really doesn't matter what reviews say when comparing specs on audio gear, except where it's application is critical For *You.*  Reviews are simply a glance at a pool that one fathoms to swim. That said, any engineer worth their salt will preview audio gear before buying, anyway, considering the room acoustics and frequency graphs prior to purchase... unless rolling the dice (which many great discoveries do come from!). So the bottom line in my opinion is that it doesn't matter, unless it matters to you.

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post #117 of 219 Old 11-18-2013, 06:06 AM
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Not really wanting to jump into the fray, but...what the heck. biggrin.gif
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Originally Posted by Friendly Fire View Post

I think we have to differentiate between carefully measured specs carried out by thoughtful and unbiased people and published specs from the OEMs. Too many people shop by numbers, and having been burned doing such I shun the practice. I audition gear in the store two or three times with material I know. If it survives I bring it home and listen critically after allowing for setup and tweaking.

So for me, I don't even look at the specs when shopping except to gauge the class of machine -- 25 watts or 500 watts, etc..

This is my mode of operation. Certain specs give me a baseline to narrow down what I'm looking for. I treat reviews the same way. I don't go for all of the jargon and other BS that goes with it, but if I read half a dozen independent reviews saying (for example) a component sounds "bright", then I can pretty much draw my own conclusion that it is on the bright side. But once I am past that? I'm "all ears." Literally. I buy based on how it sounds and what it does for me. I used to fuss over all the specs, charts, and everything else but realized what a pointless exercise it is. "JA" can measure specs all he wants at Stereophile (a magazine I haven't subscribed to in well over a decade) but even in his case, I've seen him come to conclusions a couple of times where his measurements did not correlate to what he and the other reviewers were hearing.

Whatever happened to buying something because you like how it sounds?

A couple of examples. I've looked at subwoofers in the past. I know what frequencies I want it to extend to on the low end, so I rule out those that don't extend that low. I am actively turntable shopping, and the most important specs for me are the stability of the speed and the accuracy (is it exactly 33-1/3 RPM, or way off like those older Rega turntables). Phono cartridges are similar also--I don't go on frequency response but instead, what cut of diamond is used (I will only get something that is a "line contact" type, such as Shibata, Micro Ridge, van den Hul, etc.), and its compliance, which helps determine if it will be compatible with my tonearm.

I recently got ahold of a DAC for digital playback. This DAC makes the sound of digital tolerable to my ears. Is it measurable? Possibly, although it has the same specs as other DACs and the outputs of some of the better CD/SACD players out there. Yet this unit does not make CD playback sound "ragged" like it does coming directly out of the player (which was not cheap!). Both of my Hafler preamps measure the same. Yet, why does my older DH-101 sound cleaner and have a "blacker" background than the newer DH-110 which, in a way, actually sounds slightly "mushy" to my ears? Why did I notice a difference when I swapped my arm and cartridge back to my Walker turntable, when all that turntables are supposed to do is spin a record? The Walker has a more solid presentation in the bass and is slightly warmer in the lower octaves; the Denon is just lifeless and generic-sounding, although it is a reliable workhorse. And...why does my stereo playback image better through tubes than transistors?

My changes are made based on what my ears tell me, never what the specs tell me I should be hearing. When I was younger, specs were the thing! Today? As long as my basic requirements are met and I set my baseline, you may as well chuck all those useless numbers and graphs right in the dustbin. I simply don't care.

-= N =-
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post #118 of 219 Old 11-18-2013, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildcat445 View Post

Whatever happened to buying something because you like how it sounds?

I recently got ahold of a DAC for digital playback. This DAC makes the sound of digital tolerable to my ears....this unit does not make CD playback sound "ragged" like it does coming directly out of the player (which was not cheap!). Both of my Hafler preamps measure the same. Yet, why does my older DH-101 sound cleaner and have a "blacker" background than the newer DH-110 which, in a way, actually sounds slightly "mushy" to my ears...the Denon is just lifeless and generic-sounding...

Well, you did buy a "ragged" sounding CD player, "mushy" sounding amplifier, and "lifeless" sounding turntable. Maybe you shouldnt trust your ears quite as much as you do. wink.gif
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post #119 of 219 Old 11-19-2013, 05:18 AM
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Not really wanting to jump into the fray, but...what the heck. biggrin.gif


My changes are made based on what my ears tell me, never what the specs tell me I should be hearing. When I was younger, specs were the thing! Today? As long as my basic requirements are met and I set my baseline, you may as well chuck all those useless numbers and graphs right in the dustbin. I simply don't care.

BRAVO!!

Bravo.
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post #120 of 219 Old 11-20-2013, 08:36 AM
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I think the poll may be closed now, but I vote yes. Not only the frequency response, but the harmonic distortion measurements, phase alignment, and polar response. I think looking at just one graph can be misleading, since certain designs may measure well on-axis but have poor off-axis response. In fact, I'd say any speaker that has "beaming" issues is not going to be as good overall. A great speaker will measure well. A speaker that you like that doesn't measure as well; that could be something else.

I think one thing that is overlooked often is that any speaker needs a treated room and calibrated EQ or processing to get the most out of it. In-room response could be horrible depending on placement, room geometry, and surface composition (ie, absorbing vs reflection surfaces). It really kills me to see a 100,000 pair of speakers in an untreated room with a marble floor. That probably won't allow you to experience the full potential.

I do believe efficiency is important to overall SQ, I don't think an 80 db 1W/1M speaker will ever sound amazing, unless it has huge power handling ability and a supremely powerful amp to power it. I believe in diminishing returns as well, a good $200 amp will give you 90% of what a $2000 amp can give you in terms of SQ.

Lastly, you can't tune a speaker by ear. Our brain and our psychology are far too complex to be repeatable. Even the mere power of suggestion can influence what people think they hear. Even a paint job or speaker cone can effect how people perceive the sound.

I can guarentee you that 2 pairs of speakers, one finished in piano black and one being raw unfinished MDF, the MDF speaker would be rated worse time after time in a sighted test despite measuring the same.
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