These are some pretty good questions! But I think that the biggest problem is separating "hardware" from "software". The best system in the world won't get your toe tapping if you don't like the music. Whereas it's easy to tap your toe to your favorite music on a low quality system. Soundstage is almost always a fantasy that depends on recording technique and mixing- but some systems can impose an artificial sense of soundstage that is pleasant. Resolving is also a matter of the hardware in your head- and it's known that loss of resolution can happen that's not as blatantly shown by the usual hearing tests.
There are nonetheless plenty of scholarly articles on all these subjects. Including ones that show that how music influences are emotions, and how our emotions influence what we hear. Another "circle of confusion"! Who's to say that you're feeling the right way, at the right time, to the right degree? The artist? The sound engineer? Your expectations? Should receivers have a "happy/sad" knob?
Originally Posted by bing!
I watched it and found it interesting. But it does not address most of the points above.
Toole's video that
posted does explain the difference between art production, and *reproduction*. How music makes you *feel* is between you and the artist. The goal of an audio reproduction system is to get that message to you as accurately as possible. If you prefer the sound of inaccuracy, fine, but that's comparable to drawing a mustache on the Mona Lisa because you like her better that way.
The talk was focused almost entirely about equating a flat frequency response with performance.
Toole didn't talk about just flat frequency response for 75 minutes. He talked about differentiating art from reproduction systems, the history of measurements in the speaker industry, room reflections, speaker directivity, the "circle of confusion" inherent in the industry, the importance of trained listeners, room modes at bass frequencies, the futility of simple EQ in practical listening environments, the correlation between the correct objective measurements and listener preferences. You might want to rewatch it a few times until you understand the significance of what you missed.
Or buy his book, lots of pictures and it's very readable, even for an idiot like me. Toole starts at first principles, and draws on an enormous body of research to progress towards many useful conclusions.
Well, duh? Thats been known for ages. I am less concerned about a relatively flat frequency response because in this day and age, it should be a given (at least to the discerning buyer).
In the video, Toole pointed out quite the opposite. A single flat frequency response is almost a useless metric by itself, even if the measurement was done honestly and properly. At what power? What distance? What angle? What boundaries? What smoothing? Even if you're discerning enough to understand those criteria, can the manufacturer provide them?
As was pointed out in the video, you need several other multi-dimensional measurements to predict the quality of a speaker. But if you have those measurements, and they're all honest, then Toole explains that your prediction should be accurate.
This blog by Olive describes a committee of audio industry experts, moderated by Toole, and their frustration with the paucity of information available to consumers. Note how they agree that much more than a single flat response is necessary:
Sean Olive: What Loudspeaker Specifications Are Necessary?
What I have been aiming for is the fun factor, defined by me in the list above.
Sure, why bother being discerning? Not only is it a lot of work, but most speaker manufacturers won't- or more likely *can't*- give you the necessary measurements anyhow. Toole explains this. He also explains why it's unlikely that you will be extremely unlikely to perform your own unbiased listening tests, and therefore your "fun" will probably be self-delusional.
This patently obvious as all his tests were done in mono only.
Toole explained that mono testing is *always* consistent with stereo testing results. If you think they aren't, please share your research... The end results were that the scientific predictions correlated very closely with the listener preferences(fun?) in mono, which correlated *exactly* with the listener predictions(fun?) in stereo.
I did find it interesting that Dr. Goodsound defended himself to his CEO for failing consumer reviews by stating "the consumers don't know how to review speakers". I wish I could get away with that on my annual review. "Mr. HR Guy, my boss doesnt know how to review my work".
I think you *really* missed the point there! Consumers *Union* which publishes Consumer *Reports* is a scientific testing organization. Toole's more thorough methods and more extensive testing cleary showed what listeners preferred. And I'm not sure where you've been, but as Toole pointed out in the video, CU's testing was already widely known in the audio industry as a joke. The fact that Toole educated CU and they changed their testing methods shows that even CU eventually realized that they had been doing things wrong. Toole's boss didn't disagree with him, he wanted a plan to fix a marketing problem. Pro tip: try revolutionizing an entire industry before your next annual review.
Interesting note, he completely demolishes room equalization, pretty much calling it snake oil. I am intrigued.
I'm intrigued at how you managed to come to that conclusion? Toole points out the stupidity of *overly simple* correction. You do know he promotes and uses Harman's proprietary room correction software?:
Toole on Harman's Sound Field Management software
Note2: in the last decade, Harman's bread and butter was OEM car audio. it still had a stable of prestige brands, but most of the money came from Toyota, Lexus and the like. they finally sold themselves to Samsung in March of 2017 and there goes Dr. Goodsound. He had a good gig for a really long time.
Your passive-aggressive ad hominem name calling is puerile and uncalled for, IMHO. But if I was Toole, I'd be proud of the moniker "Dr. Goodsound". Too bad that's not the name he used when he autographed my copy of his book.
Toole had been in audio research for 50+ years in 2017. Do you think he should've tried to hang in for another 50 with Harman? Give the guy a break!
Not sure what your point is about mobile audio. Considering my daily driver is a '75 Dodge truck with a factory AM radio (mono only), and a single small full-range speaker, I'm glad for all the advancements. Have you listened to a factory system lately? That incredible improvement of sound in such a difficult environment didn't happen by accident.
Frequency amplitude over the hearing spectrum was an obsession in the 50's and 60's.
Just the 50's and 60's? And was it really the obsession? Seems like there were plenty of obsessions from that era, some of them wildly popular, where flat (on-axis response) took a back seat.
Kinda old school thinking given what is available out there. Fun, excitement, more subjective factors are more elusive today and is what has been achieved by a few systems I've heard. In the old days, you walk into a room, its the clarity that grabs you. Now, the stimulation of toe tapping is what grabs me.
So you were one of those guys in the Edison test Toole displayed, believing a gramophone was the pinnacle of audio technology?
In your case, *that* I can believe!
But that's an admission that your listening preference is for inaccuracy. Once you go down that road, there's no point in asking questions about audio *reproduction*.