Originally Posted by Aggiemundo
Wrench in the works. I went out to Fry's to listen to the P362's. There wasn't a center to listen to, but something about the sound just wasn't right. He played some music and the snare drum had a tinny quality to it at the top of the "hit" that wasn't quite right.
After looking at that the guy at Fry's had me check out the Polk RTi A1 bookshelves with a Polk CSi A4 center channel. They sounded really good to me and was definitely a better musical sound.
Fry's has the set of the RTi A1's for $329, the CSi A4 for $279, and they're running a promo to give me a PSW111 sub for free if I buy both. So for $600 I could have these and a sub (given, a small one). It seems like a pretty good deal to me, and while I couldn't fully compare them to the Klipsch (which are at Best Buy) or the Inifinity (which were in another sound room) they seem like great speakers for the price. I'm all about being talked out of the Polk's though if there's something I'm missing. Please let me know your thoughts!
Thanks for helping the noob guys!
1) Keep in mind that a speaker is creating sound waves and those sound waves are being modified by the room. So, you're hearing a lot of room when you hear the demo.
2) Was the receiver you were using to do the demo in plain old stereo mode, or was there some eq or other setting that was messing with the sound in some subtle way?
3) Were you listening to music with which you are very familiar? That's also one of the better pieces of advice when it comes to demoing with music. It helps to know what that snare sounds like if you've listened to it a gazillion times on many different systems.
4) High fidelity listening is something of a learned skill. In properly conducted double blind tests, you'd most likely prefer the better speaker if your hearing is unimpaired. However, as a noob it will take you longer to develop that preference and to hear the flaws in other speakers.
5) Sighted evaluations are inherently inaccurate. Sean Olive writes of a study in which several speakers were tested blind at the lab which he runs for Harman (the guys who make the Primus 362's):
"the sighted and blind loudspeaker listening tests in this study produced significantly different sound quality ratings. The psychological biases in the sighted tests were sufficiently strong that listeners were largely unresponsive to real changes in sound quality caused by acoustical interactions between the loudspeaker, its position in the room, and the program material. In other words, if you want to obtain an accurate and reliable measure of how the audio product truly sounds, the listening test must be done blind."
Here's the full post
at his blog.
And one more
Unfortunately we all don't have double blind testing labs, huh? The bottom line is that you should buy what you enjoy most. However, if you are interested in buying the better product, the P362 is that product. Think of it in terms of many other things we buy: sometimes what is immediately gratifying is not that which will be gratifying in the long term. Most people don't start out liking expensive wines, coffee, beer, cars or clothes. They learn what "good" is over time. Most of us liked jam boxes and chest-thumping car stereos when we started out. We 'trusted our ears' but then we heard something better and realized that our ears could learn. The same thing happened to many of us with graphic equalizers. When I started out in this hobby several decades ago, it was cool to have a graphic equalizer and boost the bass and treble and cut the midrange. That sounded "good" to this listener for a long time. Then I heard some Energy speakers playing in a local shop and heard real stereo imaging for the first time, and from then on I was on a quest for what 'good' sound was.
Hope this helps.