"Click Bait"? Isn't that the raison d'etre
of AVS Forums?
Originally Posted by sjschaff
What is the objective? If you're simply trying to differentiate A versus B then you had better be dead certain that the target room is where you're going to deposit one set of speakers versus another, and that you've optimized each set for the correct listening position in all the things that will affect the overall sound (and there are many).
Professional listening rooms usually are treated to have a fairly uniform (i.e., somewhat dead) acoustic above, say, 150 Hz. Bass reproduction is another thing, but these days that means subwoofers (or "woofers," as they used to be known before being sold as a separate component). So, most systems being evaluated use common subwoofers to eliminate bass eigentones as a variable.
On the other hand, if you want to add in a 3rd variable, musical realism, then you'd better bring in a non-speaker setup (real musicians).
Relying on musicians can be tricky. A friend of mine is an accomplished pianist in the chamber music circuit and invited me to a get-together at her group's house. We all gathered after dinner to listen to a recent recording of a Dvorak quartet one of them had just made. Everyone was listening intensely to the piece, but acoustically it sounded quite strange to me. Afterwards I checked out the speaker in question, a well-regarded small two-way system, and determined that the high frequency tweeter was blown out or disconnected. These were string players, fer crissakes! I mentioned it to the owner/violist as casually as I could and, allthough surprised, he shrugged, "It's not important -- we're concentrating on the bowing and playing."
But here you run into some real world problems. Some speakers can sound great on small combo jazz, for instance, or maybe a string quartet, but fail miserably with large orchestras or bombastic rock.
Shortcomings with "larger" music like rock usually come down to inefficient and/or underpowered speakers (or, with rock music, not enough subwoofers).
And I suppose we shouldn't always let reality get in the way of personal taste or enjoyment. Some might want a set of speakers that simply sound the way they want, rather than the way some middling majority of people think it should sound. And with every person having a different background, and perspective, on music, we may all have a valid set of taste/ear buds (same as preferences for spicy food versus the discriminating palate that avoids the hot stuff).
Of course that's true -- we all have our own tastes. And High-End Audio relies on appealing to a small niche of customers that perceive themselves to be more discriminating than the "middling majority" (who, by the way, are pretty good at noticing blown-out tweeters). But if you are a manufacturer, do you want a customer base of the two Absolute Sound guys or the other ninety-eight who walk in the door at Best Buy? And, if so, do you really want to get into the rather snarky infighting among the Absolute Sound sponsors for those two guys?