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What part of sound is not measurable? - Page 3

post #61 of 407
Quote:
Originally Posted by krabapple View Post

I would suggest that. Because if you do it 'by ear', you are really listening to the loudspeaker + room + biases. And the loudspeaker that sounds good to you in the salon, is by no means guaranteed to sound that way in your home. And if it sounds good in one room of your home, there is no guarantee it will dot the same in another. Nor is there a guarantee it will sound good to you if you could actually hear it in blind comparison. It's a real crapshoot.

Whereas if you are buying based on a comprehensive set of measurements , including anaechoic (where only the loudspeakers is being measured, not the room) you AT LEAST have a baseline of performance. IN otherwords, you can focus more on fixing the ROOM's problemss, not the loudspeaker's.

To me, timbre is vitally important, yet it has been my experience that the room has little affect on the *timbre* of a speaker from the midrange on up. The room can drastically affect the bass quality, and imagining, and clarity, but rarely timbre.


I've had a number of speakers in my room and listened to them both in the near-field and far-field, and EQ'd them for flat response, and there is still a ot of character to each of them that is independant from the room sound.

I listened to my current speakers at the dealer before he allowed my to bring them home. The dealer's showroom is highly reflective and reverberant, with exposed hardwood floors and exposed brick walls. Was the sound good in this environment? No. BUT, what I heard was excessive reverberation, not excessive brightness, or a change in the tone of the speaker. The room made for a jumbled sound, but I could still seperate the speaker from what the room was doing. And when I brought the speakers home, to my acoustically treated room, the tonal character of the speaker remained while the room treatments cut down on the clutter.

I believe that we, as humans, give priority to the direct sound and tend to filter out the room to a large degree.
post #62 of 407
Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

Are we going to have some sort of eHarmony-type speaker personality match?

That is actually an interesting concept. Choosing a speaker has some similarities to choosing a spouse. Maybe. There is no right answer for everybody. Apparently an eHarmony type of matching can be somewhat successful, and least in narrowing down potentials. I don't know.

A client could answer a bunch of questions, and some cleverly designed software could suggest options - of course you'd have to decide what questions to ask the speakers Could be a money maker.
post #63 of 407
Quote:
Originally Posted by dknightd View Post

Choosing a speaker has some similarities to choosing a spouse. Maybe. There is no right answer for everybody. Apparently an eHarmony type of matching can be somewhat successful, and least in narrowing down potentials. I don't know.

Sure, it may narrow down potentials. Roughly. But you might completely miss your soulmate, too.

Choosing a speaker is a hell of a lot easier, btw. As is changing your mind.
post #64 of 407
Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

Choosing a speaker is a hell of a lot easier, btw.

I agree. And it is much easier to upgrade as technology advances.
I expect to have one spouse, but many speakers. Perhaps if we
were as tolerant of speakers as we were with spouses we would
not want to upgrade. "Sure it is not perfect, but it is pretty good
and I'm happy enough" - nah - works for spouse, not for speakers.

In a way this site works as a freebie eHarmony for speakers. People
post asking what they should buy. Others ask what they are looking for and how much they are willing to spend. Suggestions are made based on that input. In the end the consumer is either silly/stupid/lazy and just goes with the recommendation, or they take the advice to go out and listen to the most likely options. Thank god I did not take my mothers and sisters suggestion on who I should select for a spouse. My dad and brothers on the other hand have made useful suggestions on speakers I should consider.
post #65 of 407
Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

It would? As would be using a similar method to determine what food I eat or art I buy? Or car? Or clothing? Or what color I paint my house? No, I don't want to spend weeks auditioning speakers. Or do I? I've acknowledged that there may be a way to whittle down the choices somehow, but what if the one speaker I would really like were placed on the "don't listen" list?

Bingo! Speakers are built based on science and engineering, but it is humans that they have to please. The flaw in buying based of measurements is that there are so many variables that measurements don't account for. Do you have a thing for cymbals? Well then maybe you'd prefer a speaker that emphasises treble. Do you listen to a lot of compressed / bright recordings? Well then maybe you want a speaker that takes the edge off. At best the measurement available in AV mags are a rudementary gauge for quality.

It took me a while to learn this, but I was going about it all backwards. Rather than use measurements to rule out certain speakers due to what seems to be marginal performance, I think measurements are most helpful for pointing out possible things to listen for. Oh, this speaker has a dip in the lower midrange, and a strong resoance in the cabinet in the upper midrange. Well then I'll listen for leanness to vocals and harshness in the upper mids.

The bottom line is that I traded a set of technically near-perfect Revel Studio2's for speakers with a more wavy on-axis FR and a null in the crossover region off-axis, because to these ears, the speakers I have now sound more like real music.
post #66 of 407
Quote:
Originally Posted by hifisponge View Post

I believe that we, as humans, give priority to the direct sound and tend to filter out the room to a large degree.

That ability is probably derivative from our evolved ability to identify voices regardless of the acoustic environment we happen to hear them in.
post #67 of 407
Quote:
Originally Posted by dknightd View Post

I agree. And it is much easier to upgrade as technology advances.
I expect to have one spouse, but many speakers. Perhaps if we
were as tolerant of speakers as we were with spouses we would
not want to upgrade. "Sure it is not perfect, but it is pretty good
and I'm happy enough" - nah - works for spouse, not for speakers.

Now how would upgrade-itis work for spouses?
post #68 of 407
Just for fun, lets get back to the OP's original question

"What part of sound is not measureable?"

I would argue that there is no part of sound that is not measurable. The tough part is what measurements to take, and how to interpret them.
post #69 of 407
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Party View Post

Now how would upgrade-itis work for spouses?

"I want what he's having."
post #70 of 407
Quote:
Originally Posted by dknightd View Post

"What part of sound is not measureable?"

I would argue that there is no part of sound that is not measurable. The tough part is what measurements to take, and how to interpret them.

If when you've taken a measurement, you don't know how to interpret it, in what sense have you measured something? How could you possibly know that every part of sound is measurable when you don't know what to measure nor the meaning of your measures? What is the argument that you would make?
post #71 of 407
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregLee View Post

If when you've taken a measurement, you don't know how to interpret it, in what sense have you measured something? How could you possibly know that every part of sound is measurable when you don't know what to measure nor the meaning of your measures? What is the argument that you would make?

I would argue simply that I have taken a measurement, but I don't know how to interpret it. I can easily measure for example pressure, I know that means I have measured the pressure, but I don't know yet how that measurement might effect what I hear, or if it is going to rain or snow. It is easy to measure things without understanding what those measurements mean, if they mean anything at all. Sometimes the measurement can be the challenge, but usually it is knowing what to measure and how to interpret it that is the hardest.
post #72 of 407
Quote:
Originally Posted by hifisponge View Post

Bingo! Speakers are built based on science and engineering, but it is humans that they have to please. The flaw in buying based of measurements is that there are so many variables that measurements don't account for. Do you have a thing for cymbals? Well then maybe you'd prefer a speaker that emphasises treble.

And maybe it would be easier to know which of them do *that* simply by looking at how they measure, than by listening in a salon. (Regardless of sivadselim's argument, most people don't audition multiple loudspeakers at home).

Quote:


Do you listen to a lot of compressed / bright recordings? Well then maybe you want a speaker that takes the edge off. At best the measurement available in AV mags are a rudementary gauge for quality.

Some are less rudimentary than others.


Quote:


It took me a while to learn this, but I was going about it all backwards. Rather than use measurements to rule out certain speakers due to what seems to be marginal performance, I think measurements are most helpful for pointing out possible things to listen for. Oh, this speaker has a dip in the lower midrange, and a strong resoance in the cabinet in the upper midrange. Well then I'll listen for leanness to vocals and harshness in the upper mids.

So far several of you seem to be looking for loudspeakers that have a 'timbre'. My goal in future loudspeaker purchases would be ones that add as little of their own coloration ('timbre') as possible ; I don't want loudspeakers with their own 'sound'; any more than I want CDPs or amps like that. With a 'neutral' loudspeaker I can *make* the sound deviate from flat to *my* specifications, or not, as I choose.


Quote:


The bottom line is that I traded a set of technically near-perfect Revel Studio2's for speakers with a more wavy on-axis FR and a null in the crossover region off-axis, because to these ears, the speakers I have now sound more like real music.

(shrug) And in another room, they might not. And , too, you haven't really done a fair comparison (blind).

Look, I'll suggest it one more time to a few here: acquaint yourselves with the literature on speaker preference. Or make your way through Toole's 2008 book. Learn about what is known, and not known. One thing that is known is that when people -- including you -- think they are picking loudspeakers just on the basis of their *sound*, they almost certainly are not. So much for the 'my ears uber alles' argument .

I do acknowledge that picking loudspeakers 'sound unheard' is a leap -- we don't have *all* the correlated of good sound to good measurements at hand; research is still ongoing. But I also realize that we aren't where we were ten, twenty years ago. And I think we know enough to at least *play the odds* now...IF one is seeking a 'neutral' loudspeaker.
post #73 of 407
Quote:
Originally Posted by dknightd View Post

I can easily measure for example pressure, I know that means I have measured the pressure, but I don't know yet how that measurement might effect what I hear, ...

Yes, but you said every part of sound is measurable, not every part of pressure waves is measurable. If you're measuring pressure, but you have no idea about the perceptual relevance of your measures, you're not measuring any part of sound, much less every part.
post #74 of 407
What part of sound is not measureable?

The part that determines individual preference. But, on second thought, that's not really part of the sound.
post #75 of 407
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dknightd View Post

Just for fun, lets get back to the OP's original question

"What part of sound is not measureable?"

I would argue that there is no part of sound that is not measurable. The tough part is what measurements to take, and how to interpret them.

Good point!
post #76 of 407
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hifisponge View Post

Bingo! Speakers are built based on science and engineering, but it is humans that they have to please. The flaw in buying based of measurements is that there are so many variables that measurements don't account for. Do you have a thing for cymbals? Well then maybe you'd prefer a speaker that emphasises treble. Do you listen to a lot of compressed / bright recordings? Well then maybe you want a speaker that takes the edge off. At best the measurement available in AV mags are a rudementary gauge for quality.

It took me a while to learn this, but I was going about it all backwards. Rather than use measurements to rule out certain speakers due to what seems to be marginal performance, I think measurements are most helpful for pointing out possible things to listen for. Oh, this speaker has a dip in the lower midrange, and a strong resoance in the cabinet in the upper midrange. Well then I'll listen for leanness to vocals and harshness in the upper mids.

The bottom line is that I traded a set of technically near-perfect Revel Studio2's for speakers with a more wavy on-axis FR and a null in the crossover region off-axis, because to these ears, the speakers I have now sound more like real music.


There are measurements that will lead you to speakers that will sound right for you.

I really do not think its a flaw for most people. I would say that 90% plus of all people buying speakers have no idea in the first place what they like. They end up buying something that isnt close to good but closer to what they always have been use too.

Again, Im not against people listening, listening and listening to speakers just to find the perfect speaker for them. Its just that they are a small percentage fo the population everyone else just want an accurate speaker that is built properly and plays properly for them in their room at there SPL/listening distance requirements.

I think the hobby as its extremes and that is great but I see the extreme side of the hobby pushing the others down the wrong path. Measurements are extremely important for those who have no idea what good sound actually is.

Put it this way, put 100 people in a room that have never owned a speaker in their life. Let 50 pick speakers on what sounds good to them and let 50 pick speakers based on a wide range of measurements.

Come back 6 months later and find out who kept the speakers and who didnt.

In the end, if we can measure almost everything about sound then we can predict speaker performance that will please the majority of people. There will always be someone out there that doesn't want to do this and that is fine but to call it a flaw is just wrong.
post #77 of 407
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

Oh. OK.


No, not penngray!


Thanks for helping the thread

But lets keep it to a good discussion.
post #78 of 407
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

With all due respect, measuring the electrical characteristics of cables and "measuring speakers" are two completely different things.

No cable debates, please!

Quote:



Could you summarize for me all the data one would have to collect in order to fully "understand" a speaker's performance just by looking at the collected info? If it IS all collectable, I am sure that given enough speakers to listen to and enough data to comparatively analyze, one would be able to recognize trends and even predict a speakers "sound" based simply upon said data.

But are you suggesting that we should be able to BUY a speaker based simply upon a stack of data collected on said speaker? I do not care how much data one can collect and analyze, your ears can collect and analyze much more, and much more quickly. And can also, yes, subjectively, weed out what is the unnecessary data. It is the net sum of all that data that would dictate how a speaker sounds, and your ears are much better at deciphering that, subjectively, than your brain would be at analyzing it, objectively.

And speaker preference IS subjective. Always will be. Given the opportunity, buying a speaker without listening, first, is idiotic, IMO, and I do not know anyone who would recommend that. No matter how much "science" one had at hand.


I think you didnt read about the science part and why do people insist its idiotic? What about the thousands of DIYers and speaker builders out there that build speakers based 100% on the numbers? Are they idiotic?

Our ears/brains are extremely imperfect in terms of what is actually good out there. If people want to improve their listening experience they have to actually train their ears/brain to understand what is a truely accurate sound. Mostly everyone out there refuses to do that and we all just want a SPECIFIC sound. That in itself is doable too....Bright, Warm, Neutral are all easily defined by measurements. in the end I would never tell someone to just go listen to speakers because most of them have zero idea what is truely a good sound and in the end they pick crap speakers that later on they are upgrading again



Lets leave the idea that its flawed or idiotic to use science to pick speakers out of this discussion, okay?
post #79 of 407
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dknightd View Post

. ...Suggestions are made based on that input. In the end the consumer is either silly/stupid/lazy and just goes with the recommendation, or they take the advice to go out and listen to the most likely options....


The new customer will fail at picking the right speaker if told to just go listen, Its a very common occurance.

The ones that do use suggestive opinion all the time on here to narrow the speakers down to a couple of popular speakers so the probability of failure is low because those speakers are made to be very pleasing to a broad audience. Again, measurements could dictate what speaker would be choosen for each individual if we had enough data on the individual's tastes.

Again lets leave all the insulting adjectives out of the debate...or get another thread so we can argue about improper room setup, no treatements, bad EQing (those are much bigger flaws then people buying popular speakers ).....then on too car choices, jobs, education, money decision or the many other flawed decisions people make in the world that are much, much worse then buying just a speaker
post #80 of 407
Quote:
Originally Posted by penngray View Post

The new customer will fail at picking the right speaker if told to just go listen, Its a very common occurance.

Why?

If the customer listens to more than one pair of speakers, isn't the "right" speaker the one they think sounds best?
post #81 of 407
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by whoaru99 View Post

Why?

If the customer listens to more than one pair of speakers, isn't the "right" speaker the one they think sounds best?

The right speaker is only the right speaker for a little while usually. If they listening long enough they will start to realize its imprefect and they will want to upgrade.

The key here is that they have no idea what sounds the best so telling them to just listen does not help them at all. They need to first learn what sounds good.

This is just the same as learning something like golf. A long time ago one of my good friends (ex-pro, played the US open...just once ) told me that I could go out and hit 10,000 balls and never learn a damn thing. I need to be taught the specifics first then I can actually learn golf.

The same is true for the speaker world. We should be teaching people what truely sounds better...heck, I know it took me a while to appreciate accuracy because like everyone else I never heard it forever I was use to what sounded good to me. It takes time and education but like a golf swing, it takes education and time!

The measurements give us the basis for teaching people what is more accurate sound, if they learn about it and still choose something else. That is okay too but it has to be taught first.
post #82 of 407
Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

measuring the electrical characteristics of cables and "measuring speakers" are two completely different things.

Yes, cables are trivial, and loudspeakers are very complex. But in the context of this thread, everything that affects the sound of a speaker can be measured.

Quote:


Could you summarize for me all the data one would have to collect in order to fully "understand" a speaker's performance just by looking at the collected info?

I'm not a speaker expert, so this list may be incomplete:

* On-axis frequency response.

* Off-axis response, not only side to side but also top to bottom, at every angle from 0 to 360 degrees.

* THD, and also IMD at many frequency combinations to assess all drivers and all crossover components. Distortion should also be measured at several output levels from moderately soft to as loud as the speaker can play just short of damage.

* Ringing, again at enough frequencies to assess all drivers and all crossover components.

* Maximum output level versus frequency.

Quote:


are you suggesting that we should be able to BUY a speaker based simply upon a stack of data collected on said speaker?

If all of the needed data were available, and buyers understood all the data presented, then Probably Yes.

Quote:


speaker preference IS subjective.

According to Floyd Toole, speakers that measure the best also sound the best to both experienced and inexperienced listeners. Which makes sense, with three exceptions:

1) Inexperienced listeners are often fooled by response deviations that sound pleasing, such as the phony bass boost in some Bose speakers, and the too-common reduction in the harshness range around 2 to 4 KHz that can make a speaker sound "clear and airy" and non-fatiguing.

2) The sound of any speaker is influenced heavily by the room you listen in, and a speaker that sounds good in a store will surely sound different in your home.

3) Related to 1) above, sometimes a speaker sounds good initially, but after living with it a while its flaws become more apparent. I think many people understand this, which is why we see so many "what speakers should I buy?" threads. They're afraid to trust their own ears, and want reassurance from others who have heard more speakers over a longer time.

--Ethan
post #83 of 407
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregLee View Post

In the promotional material on their website for their M2 bookshelf speaker, Axiom links to a review giving a graph of "THD+N", here, among other specs.

Excellent! If only everyone else did that. Sadly, I see no IMD or off-axis response.

--Ethan
post #84 of 407
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpjibberjabber View Post

It's easy to measure a speaker, not so much to measure preference. People sort of know it when they're exposed to it.

Agreed full. There's also educated listeners and uneducated listeners. If you know anyone who thinks their Bose table radio is an excellent hi-fi, you know what I mean.

If I were to go into speaker making, I would aim for accuracy above all else. I understand this means I won't sell as many to newbies who prefer a response skewed toward "pleasant." Such is life. There's no accounting for taste.

--Ethan
post #85 of 407
Thread Starter 
Quote:


It's easy to measure a speaker, not so much to measure preference. People sort of know it when they're exposed to it.

+1, I missed that opinion....so true!
post #86 of 407
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post

Agreed full. There's also educated listeners and uneducated listeners. If you know anyone who thinks their Bose table radio is an excellent hi-fi, you know what I mean.

If I were to go into speaker making, I would aim for accuracy above all else. I understand this means I won't sell as many to newbies who prefer a response skewed toward "pleasant." Such is life. There's no accounting for taste.

--Ethan


Those have been my points above, education is key and measurements are the tools for that.

DIYers always are building speakers with the flattest curves, lowest distortion, least amount of box coloration. I never get all this 'timbre' talk in the DIY world and that does tell me something about the different groups out there.

As for personal preference. I built speakers using active crossovers because then I have everything I will ever need...if I want accuracy, I have a setting, if I want bright/warm/boom box, etc, I have a setting, if want cymbals, I have a setting
post #87 of 407
Quote:
Originally Posted by penngray View Post

The right speaker is only the right speaker for a little while usually. If they listening long enough they will start to realize its imprefect and they will want to upgrade.

The implication then, is that this research will lead to only one "right" speaker that everyone will buy (assuming it's not cost prohibitive) and thus no need to ever upgrade?

IMO, there will never be a consolidation of preference and the "best" speaker.

The problem with best is that there is always tomorrow when today's best is no longer best. The problem with right is that what's right for you may not be right for me. There is nothing wrong with liking a speaker that is voiced some particular way, which seems to be another (unintentional) implication. That said, I am of the accurate reproduction camp, but some like a particular sound regardless of pure accuracy.

Perhaps all that is too philosophical for the gist of the tread?
post #88 of 407
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpjibberjabber View Post

It's easy to measure a speaker, not so much to measure preference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post

According to Floyd Toole, speakers that measure the best also sound the best to both experienced and inexperienced listeners.

Thus, it is possible to measure preference and, fortunately, there is a correlation between measurements of performance and measurements of preference. This means that the measured performance can be a predictor of preference if the measurements are those with a high degree of correlation. Unfortunately, manufacturers will likely publish only the measurements which make them look good, as they do now.
post #89 of 407
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

Unfortunately, manufacturers will likely publish only the measurements which make them look good, as they do now.

No sh!t.
post #90 of 407
Famous old quote, Either a poster in Einstein's office, or he said it:
"Everything you can count, does not count.
Everything that counts, you can't count."
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