Originally Posted by Meparch
It is possible the Rockets have a very different frequency response curve at the lower end than those other speakers. Unfortunately AV123 cut off the response curve at 200Hz and most other manufactures don't want to show any response curve. eD does an excellent job on their graphs but then again they only do so at one volume.
It is very hard to trust your own ears because of the bias problem. Is there an issue with the rockets that you have adjusted too and now don't notice or are they simple better than the other speakers? The human ear simply can not tell. You have to use the analytical devises to tell for sure. Our brains do far too much filtering.
These speaker manufactures are happy for people to believe it is all personal preference as it lets them off the hook. A professional piano tuner wouldn't randomly tune a piano and say it is all personal preference. A very specific tone has to be recreated perfectly by the piano or speaker (doesn't matter) and must be done without variance. At the same time the volume has to be very level over the frequency response range. None of this bright or warm stuff. If you hit a key on a piano and it produced a sound louder or softer than the other keys it would be unacceptable.
This is basic physics and it can all be measured. Of course normal guys like us don't have several grand in equipment to measure such things, just our imperfect ears. So I guess my rant here is simply trying to answer your question about which set of speakers is accurate, the rockets or the all the others. You won't be able to tell without every expensive equipment but these guys making the things do know. I guess you just go with what you like even if it is wrong.
The 250s also don't have an impedance over frequency response curve either. I guess those aluminum drivers can really take in the energy without blowing. As long as they can be heard with a normal amp there isn't a problem and having an amp that will blow long before it blows the speakers is a good thing.
Very thoughtful post Meparch, thank you.
I like your piano analogy. I agree with much of what you said but I question whether it's good to have an amp that will go up in smoke before it blows the speakers. Long before it goes into meltdown, an amp will start to clip. The Mackie FR-2500 amps have a defeatable clip limiting circuit as well as red 'overload' (OL) LEDs on the front panel next to the level controls, but most consumer gear does not. I've always read that the main cause of blown speakers isn't too much power -- it's not enough power, which causes clipping when people try to get more out of the amp than it's capable of.
Who is "eD"?
Regarding speakers, I wish we could just look at lab test results and buy accordingly. Believe me, I would be very happy if it were so simple. Unfortunately, while many characteristics of speakers can be measured, it seems that we must still listen to them to determine which ones we prefer. I'm not sure why that is -- you'd think that it would be possible to devise a series of tests that would be able to convey the sonic characteristics of any speakers. Then, once a person determined which characteristics they prefer, they could simply buy according to the test results.
One problem is that even if there were one or more "perfect" speakers out there, our rooms and our hearing are often very different. So it's not enough to say a speaker is "perfect". Perfect to whose ears? In what sort of room?
Even the type of music a person listens to makes a difference. For example, older recordings that have a lot of noise and tape hiss might sound better on a speaker that has less than flat response (a roll off at the high end).
Suppose there were a speaker that had excellent specs -- that was universally considered to be the best in the world, won tons of awards, etc. A person gets it home and compares it to their existing speakers, or some others they are trying out and find that they like the sound of some other (lower rated) speakers better. Then what? Do they ignore the fact the other 'less than perfect' speakers sound better and keep the ones that are supposed to be more accurate?
Starting with a basic design (6.5" two-way) I've been reading reviews and looking at specs to narrow things down. While lab tests alone can't predict which speaker(s) will sound best they do seem to be able to determine which ones will likely sound mediocre. IOW, if they test good we may still not like them, but if they test bad we almost certainly won't. That's my theory anyway. In any case, after doing the research I then try to find the speakers locally, which (as I posted above) can be very frustrating.
At this point, I'm about out of serious options. I'm running the Polk RTi A3 vs. Rocket RS250MkII test again. They're very close but I think I'm still going to give the nod to the Rockets. My wife (who has a trained ear) said, "You can't go wrong with either of them", and I agree. I would suggest that anyone in the market for speakers audition the Polks. At $400/pair I'd say they're a relative bargain, and they're more readily available than many of the others I've been listening to. In fact, you can get them from Crutchfield for $400 with free shipping _both_ ways and a 30 day free trial. The Rockets are $500 a pair and AV123 did have a free shipping both ways deal going on as well (don't know if they still do). So a person could audition both of these speakers for absolutely no cost.
I would love to hear any suggestions for other 6.5" two-way speakers I could audition. THX certification is a plus. Keep in mind, they must be available in the Baltimore/Washington area, or be available Online with either a) free shipping both ways or, b) reasonable return shipping costs (no more than say $25).
Thanks again for your reply.