Speaker Shootout - two of the most accurate and well reviewed speakers ever made - Page 17 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #481 of 1751 Old 08-15-2017, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Gooddoc View Post
. But there is literally nothing about the M2's I dislike, or that bothers me in my room, so there is little incentive for me to move to something "better".




a lot of wisdom here. I think that should be the goal of any loudspeaker. forget the frequency response variations for a minute(which unlike most others I believe is responsible for 90% of the sound quality) if you have a speaker that does not call attention to itself in any area, then the speaker is doing its job and looking for something better is, imo, a fool's errand.


may I also add, that even with the best speakers in the world, horribly mixed content is still not going to sound great, and badly mixed content makes up a high percentage of the music/movies the average person hears.


For me, when I want to enjoy my speakers, I put on some solo acapella vocals or solo acapella sax, turn it up and enjoy. My brother plays sax, and sometimes with the right sax track, its ALMOST like its in the room playing.
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post #482 of 1751 Old 08-15-2017, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by ganduy View Post
As a M2/Sub18/Crown Itech5000HD owner, I must confess a little surprise concerning the results of this exercise. I love my JBLs, but would consider Revels in an upgrade to other systems where the amps need to be in the same room as the speakers. Any word out there concerning a replacement of the Salon 2, a Salon 3 perhaps?

I have found interesting the ancillary discussions concerning the perception of height and pin point positioning in the sound stage, especially when it is argued that some positions on this matter, when taken to the extreme, are basically a figment of the imagination. I can't think of any other hobby with so much BS.
what? you mean your stereo doesn't allow you to know the height of the singer? or if they are sitting or standing?


you ,Sir, are no audiophile!

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post #483 of 1751 Old 08-15-2017, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by 1201 View Post
if you have a speaker that does not call attention to itself in any area, then the speaker is doing its job and looking for something better is, imo, a fool's errand.
+1000. That point can be reached at various levels of accuracy depending on one's hearing and sensitivity to FR abnormalities.
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post #484 of 1751 Old 08-15-2017, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by 1201 View Post
what? you mean your stereo doesn't allow you to know the height of the singer? or if they are sitting or standing?


you ,Sir, are no audiophile!

Yeah, who cares, it could be all at knee level like the Everests. Lookin' down there 'seeing' the entire orchestra compressed into a space of about one foot vertically.
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post #485 of 1751 Old 08-15-2017, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by LTD02 View Post
more reflections => great perceived spaciousness.
this, through a reduction in inter-aural cross-correlation.

off axis response of salon 2.
-6db at 90 deg off axis out to almost a 1 kHz.
-6db at approx. 70 deg off axis out to almost 10khz.
much less directional behavior than the m2.
Agreed. I think instead of talking about magic, focusing on the actual differences between the two design approaches makes sense.

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Originally Posted by LTD02 View Post
results of this "shootout" are interesting. kind of reminiscent of the results when the "IMP" (comprised of four radio shack in-wall speakers arranged to optimize room reflections/interaction) were preferred in a blinded test over the linkwitz orion.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/103681479/SLReport10-05

...

btw, kudos to all involved.

Kudos seconded. Cool stuff. I thought results would be more divided.

Note that Clark et al. weren't testing for preference, just imaging. The results (no statistically significant difference, IIRC) are consistent with Dr Toole's comments here about imaging being largely a matter of the recording.

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post #486 of 1751 Old 08-15-2017, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post
Agreed. I think instead of talking about magic, focusing on the actual differences between the two design approaches makes sense.




Kudos seconded. Cool stuff. I thought results would be more divided.

Note that Clark et al. weren't testing for preference, just imaging. The results (no statistically significant difference, IIRC) are consistent with Dr Toole's comments here about imaging being largely a matter of the recording.
I haven't been able to get very far into this report without interruptions, after all , its a work day, but I do very much agree with his choice of test material.

See post #407. I bet he was using that one.

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post #487 of 1751 Old 08-15-2017, 01:27 PM
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Personally I think this is key to the results. I'm not sure the driver material makes a significant audible difference, but the frequency response most certainly does. Harmon's own research has indicated listeners prefer a gradually downward sloping frequency response as it sounds more natural.
This is certainly typical for in-room continuous sine wave measurements of an anechoic flat speaker, but may not be true as a general rule. And this may not have to do with what response sounds best in the highest octave or so.

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Originally Posted by Wookii View Post
The Salon 2's are engineered to do this out of the box (bear in mind the Salon's 2's tweeter sits above the head of a seated listener by design, presumably also to create greater high frequency roll off by virtue of being off axis) [...]
The slight downward slope overall and slight 2.5 kHz dip does make for a more "forgiving" speaker, as @TedC put it. The slight boost in the 100s also gives it more bass power, but while I enjoyed the extra bass punch, I could tell that something down low was getting in the way of the rest of the mids too much. And while the slight slope and upper mid-range dip will make a lot of tracks more agreeable to listen to, I know from experience that it will also compromise detail ever so slightly.

It's interesting that you suggest that the Salon 2 tweeter may be intentionally designed to be heard slightly off-axis. Can anyone from Revel comment on this?

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Originally Posted by Wookii View Post
[...] where the M2's are design to give a completely flat frequency response so they can be more easily shaped to a chosen house response curve during installation - I believe there are at least two M2 owners on this forum that either manually adjust high frequency roll off via EQ, or achieve it by virtue of their installation.
Well actually, one can define "flat frequency response" in different ways. The M2 is dead flat in the spatial average across its listening window. The Salon 2, on the other hand, deviates a bit from flat, and in the last octave in particular, it is flatter on-axis than across the listening window.

Can you go into more detail about what kind of high frequency roll-offs people use on the M2? And how do people "achieve it by virtue of their installation?" I guess if they are in dead rooms, then they will hear only direct sound, but my experience in my own not completely dead but diffuse space is that spatially-averaged response are more important no matter where I sit, even at the very top. My horns also maintain approximately equal directivity all the from 3-4 kHz up to the top, which probably helps.

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It would have been interesting if the response of the M2's had been shaped to closely match that of the Salon 2's in room, to see if the listener preference differences became more narrowed. Were any measurements taken during the session - it would be interesting to see them?
No measurements were taken other than 500-2000 Hz pink noise level, which was matched to within 0.1-0.2 dB or so. I have no idea where the Salon 2's controls were set. I didn't even know it had them. I'd assume they'd be set to the most neutral position. That leads me to wonder what position were used for the spinorama measurements posted at the start of this thread. John, if you're reading, can you comment?

As far as reshaping responses to match, how exactly woould you do that? I mean, supposing John had an anechoic chamber in one of his spare bedrooms, would you EQ for flat on-axis response? Or flat spatially-averaged listening window response? What about the low frequencies? Would you try to compensate for differences in response at the seats due to the different mid and woofer arrangements?

It's not as easy as it sounds.
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post #488 of 1751 Old 08-15-2017, 01:46 PM
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Great initiative guys. But I think having the very same frequency response like Wookii points out here should have been used to get a trustworthy result.
A flat frequency response is seldom optimal for listening.
This is, in a sense, impossible. At best, you could only "flatten" the response at one location or over some arbitrarily defined spatial average.

And anyway, as soon as you start tweaking the frequency response with EQ, it's no longer the speaker it once was. The M2, for example, would probably sound poor *without* the EQ settings it's designed to be operated with.

At the same time, in an ideal world in which all of us have finite free time to conduct these kinds of tests, it would be interesting to try to make some adjustments, even if just to compensate for some of the slight deviations in listening-window average anechoic response on the Salon 2.

This is the kind of thing I do with my speakers in my room, albeit without being able to look at spinorama data. I am, however, developing a clever method to get at similarly useful information relying entirely on in-room impulse response measurements. So I've actually devoted many hours to non-blind listening of hundreds or perhaps even thousands of different EQ configs.

I'm actually still a bit surprised that the M2 mids sounded less-than-flat, and that the Salon 2 mids sounded smoother, even though there was some obvious excess in the lower part of that range. For this very specific reason, I mistakenly concluded that the speaker I liked more was the M2. (I should have known better because the difference in on-axis vs. off-axis sound was obviously greater with the M2.)
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post #489 of 1751 Old 08-15-2017, 01:47 PM
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Was any room EQ used for the mono listening tests?
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post #490 of 1751 Old 08-15-2017, 02:00 PM
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Was any room EQ used for the mono listening tests?
Nope. And that's how it should have been. We don't want to have to argue about whether the room EQ was more fair to one speaker than the other.
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post #491 of 1751 Old 08-15-2017, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Gooddoc View Post
Lol, no doubt. I didn't want Salons before the shootout, and I don't want them after .

Besides, as was mentioned, the M2's have EQ built-in to deal with many of the "differences" cited by the listeners. Given the comments that preferences flipped in different room positions, and the nature of the comments, it leads me to believe that with proper room setup and judiciously applied EQ, much of the differences may have disappeared. Maybe

...

Having played with many DSP eq systems, with different speakers in the same room, and using the same target curve at the LP, my results show this is very likely the case. Too bad there were no measurements taken of both speakers at the LP, as this would likely show the differences heard... For sure directivity is a factor, as other aspects may be, but frequency response is the most likely difference people heard.

Consider the two speaker systems in the attachments, not only are they very different, i.e. 25 speaker line array compared to a 3 way old school horn loaded system, but so are the rooms and all of the gear. The only thing common is the music player, JRiver and the convolution engine, plus the same target curve...

We both measured our speakers at the LP and overlaid the results in REW. As one can see, we are listening to virtually the same frequency response... Do people think they would sound the same
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Originally Posted by mitchco View Post
Having played with many DSP eq systems, with different speakers in the same room, and using the same target curve at the LP, my results show this is very likely the case. Too bad there were no measurements taken of both speakers at the LP, as this would likely show the differences heard... For sure directivity is a factor, as other aspects may be, but frequency response is the most likely difference people heard.

Consider the two speaker systems in the attachments, not only are they very different, i.e. 25 speaker line array compared to a 3 way old school horn loaded system, but so are the rooms and all of the gear. The only thing common is the music player, JRiver and the convolution engine, plus the same target curve...

We both measured our speakers at the LP and overlaid the results in REW. As one can see, we are listening to virtually the same frequency response... Do people think they would sound the same
did they sound the same?

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post #493 of 1751 Old 08-15-2017, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by awediophile View Post
Nope. And that's how it should have been. We don't want to have to argue about whether the room EQ was more fair to one speaker than the other.
Agreed. This is a very difficult thing to pull off, even keeping known confounding factors to an absolute minimum.
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post #494 of 1751 Old 08-15-2017, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by mitchco View Post
Having played with many DSP eq systems, with different speakers in the same room, and using the same target curve at the LP, my results show this is very likely the case. Too bad there were no measurements taken of both speakers at the LP, as this would likely show the differences heard... For sure directivity is a factor, as other aspects may be, but frequency response is the most likely difference people heard.

Consider the two speaker systems in the attachments, not only are they very different, i.e. 25 speaker line array compared to a 3 way old school horn loaded system, but so are the rooms and all of the gear. The only thing common is the music player, JRiver and the convolution engine, plus the same target curve...

We both measured our speakers at the LP and overlaid the results in REW. As one can see, we are listening to virtually the same frequency response... Do people think they would sound the same
You or I will never really know without some type of quantum A/B setup where we could be in two locations simultaneously . The question that could be attempted to be answered would be if you put both those speakers in the same room with those curves and could A/B them, would they sound the same?
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post #495 of 1751 Old 08-15-2017, 02:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow, just trying to get caught up on this thread and I notated 35 different posts that I need to respond to I'll try to get caught up during the day.

Let me offer something that I have discovered for myself about the M2s vs. the Salon2s that's intensely personal, while at the same time directly applies to this conversation. I (obviously) have spent the entire last week listening to the Salon2s and the M2s in my own personal space, under blind and non-blind listening conditions. I have also heard the Salon2s and M2s (as well as its sibling the 4367) in all kinds of different environments, from Harman's facility in Northridge to the Mark Levinson facility in Shelton Connecticut, to various rooms at CEDIA and CES, and shows like Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. And, after all the years I've been in this business (and an off since 1986), I have heard literally hundreds of different speakers.

In all those years, there has always been one specific quality I have looked for, and never found. And that is supreme "silkiness" and freedom from harshness in the high strings (violins, violas) and the extreme upper ranges of the female voice (such as in various pop / jazz / opera recordings). I listen to a large variety of music - jazz, rock, pop, classical - but most involves the orchestra in one way or another. As a sometime film composer who is just astounded at the sounds a symphony orchestra can make (if the symphony orchestra is not one of the most profound accomplishments to come out of western civilization, I don't know what is), tracking down a realistic, clean and believable orchestral sound has been my personal quest for decades.

With all of that said, that quality is precisely what the Salon2s have that the M2s lack, in my view. And that comes from listening to them in a large variety of spaces. The Salon2 is essentially the speaker I have always been looking for. As stated, I have auditioned hundreds of speakers over the years, and until the Salon2s I have never heard a speaker that captures the sound I hear from a live string section.

Of course, I realize that much of this is recording dependent. But I have gone from never hearing it before to getting goosebumps on several occasions when I have been playing the Salon2s.

Here are two tracks that illustrate exactly what I'm talking about. Notice the strings coming in at about :26 into this track, and in particular the gorgeous harmonies Williams brings in at 1:26, then the extreme high register violins at 1:40:


The Salon2s are the first speakers I have ever heard that reproduce those strings cleanly and openly, without any sign of harshness and grit. The M2s get an honorable mention, but that silkiness is just not there. My guess that the Revel's secret sauce is not only the tweeter, but the waveguide and the expert blending between midrange and tweeter. Usually those ever-higher-reaching violins get turned to hash by the vast majority of speakers.

Here's another track, thanks to @goskers , who introduced us all to it on Saturday afternoon (love the pedal point in the right hand):


This track gave my absolute, scientifically verifiable goosebumps when played back on the Salon2s When Sara hits the high notes, the Salon2s hung right in there and pulled them off without a hint of harshness. I was literally getting ready to wince when she hit those high notes, but instead - goosebumps.

So, there is my own subjective take on the comparison between the two speakers, with hopefully some tangible examples of the qualities I personally found important.
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post #496 of 1751 Old 08-15-2017, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by mitchco View Post
Having played with many DSP eq systems, with different speakers in the same room, and using the same target curve at the LP, my results show this is very likely the case. Too bad there were no measurements taken of both speakers at the LP, as this would likely show the differences heard... For sure directivity is a factor, as other aspects may be, but frequency response is the most likely difference people heard.

Consider the two speaker systems in the attachments, not only are they very different, i.e. 25 speaker line array compared to a 3 way old school horn loaded system, but so are the rooms and all of the gear. The only thing common is the music player, JRiver and the convolution engine, plus the same target curve...

We both measured our speakers at the LP and overlaid the results in REW. As one can see, we are listening to virtually the same frequency response... Do people think they would sound the same

Nope
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post #497 of 1751 Old 08-15-2017, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by torii View Post
did they sound the same?

Even in the same room with the same placement I wouldn't expect them to sound the same
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post #498 of 1751 Old 08-15-2017, 02:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Gooddoc View Post
Was any room EQ used for the mono listening tests?
None. Total bypass on the SDP75. Only EQ was the necessary EQ loaded into the SDA amps for the M2s.

As awediophile said, volumes matched using bandwidth limited pink noise as per what was recommended by Toole and Olive. Level was set to 80 db on Saturday, right at 82 db on Sunday. Level matching independently verified by recording engineer Bob Lord on Saturday, by Steve (awediophile) on Sunday.

Without EQ, of course, the room's problems were not mitigated, but the room's problems applied equally to each speaker

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post #499 of 1751 Old 08-15-2017, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by John Schuermann View Post
Wow, just trying to get caught up on this thread and I notated 35 different posts that I need to respond to I'll try to get caught up during the day.

Let me offer something that I have discovered for myself about the M2s vs. the Salon2s that's intensely personal, while at the same time directly applies to this conversation. I (obviously) have spent the entire last week listening to the Salon2s and the M2s in my own personal space, under blind and non-blind listening conditions. I have also heard the Salon2s and M2s (as well as its sibling the 4367) in all kinds of different environments, from Harman's facility in Northridge to the Mark Levinson facility in Shelton Connecticut, to various rooms at CEDIA and CES, and shows like Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. And, after all the years I've been in this business (and an off since 1986), I have heard literally hundreds of different speakers.

In all those years, there has always been one specific quality I have looked for, and never found. And that is supreme "silkiness" and freedom from harshness in the high strings (violins, violas) and the extreme upper ranges of the female voice (such as in various pop / jazz / opera recordings). I listen to a large variety of music - jazz, rock, pop, classical - but most involves the orchestra in one way or another. As a sometime film composer who is just astounded at the sounds a symphony orchestra can make (if the symphony orchestra is not one of the most profound accomplishments to come out of western civilization, I don't know what is), tracking down a realistic, clean and believable orchestral sound has been my personal quest for decades.

With all of that said, that quality is precisely what the Salon2s have that the M2s lack, in my view. And that comes from listening to them in a large variety of spaces. The Salon2 is essentially the speaker I have always been looking for. As stated, I have auditioned hundreds of speakers over the years, and until the Salon2s I have never heard a speaker that captures the sound I hear from a live string section.

Of course, I realize that much of this is recording dependent. But I have gone from never hearing it before to getting goosebumps on several occasions when I have been playing the Salon2s.

Here are two tracks that illustrate exactly what I'm talking about. Notice the strings coming in at about :26 into this track, and in particular the gorgeous harmonies Williams brings in at 1:26, then the extreme high register violins at 1:40:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zw1eTIyLO-A

The Salon2s are the first speakers I have ever heard that reproduce those strings cleanly and openly, without any sign of harshness and grit. The M2s get an honorable mention, but that silkiness is just not there. My guess that the Revel's secret sauce is not only the tweeter, but the waveguide and the expert blending between midrange and tweeter. Usually those ever-higher-reaching violins get turned to hash by the vast majority of speakers.

Here's another track, thanks to @goskers , who introduced us all to it on Saturday afternoon (love the pedal point in the right hand):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ozd2ja7mAgM

This track gave my absolute, scientifically verifiable goosebumps when played back on the Salon2s When Sara hits the high notes, the Salon2s hung right in there and pulled them off without a hint of harshness. I was literally getting ready to wince when she hit those high notes, but instead - goosebumps.

So, there is my own subjective take on the comparison between the two speakers, with hopefully some tangible examples of the qualities I personally found important.

"In all those years, there has always been one specific quality I have looked for, and never found. And that is supreme "silkiness" and freedom from harshness in the high strings (violins, violas) and the extreme upper ranges of the female voice (such as in various pop / jazz / opera recordings). I listen to a large variety of music - jazz, rock, pop, classical - but most involves the orchestra in one way or another. As a sometime film composer who is just astounded at the sounds a symphony orchestra can make (if the symphony orchestra is not one of the most profound accomplishments to come out of western civilization, I don't know what is), tracking down a realistic, clean and believable orchestral sound has been my personal quest for decades.

With all of that said, that quality is precisely what the Salon2s have that the M2s lack, in my view. And that comes from listening to them in a large variety of spaces. The Salon2 is essentially the speaker I have always been looking for."



Agree mostly. Right after sound field attributes, this is next (that strings sound like strings). I've listened to the Revels a few times, but not all that much though. Yes, they do this better than any JBL I've ever heard, however, at the $20k price point, they have a big bunch of competition. As a big classical music fan over six+ decades, this just about tops my priority list.

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post #500 of 1751 Old 08-15-2017, 02:55 PM
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Having played with many DSP eq systems, with different speakers in the same room, and using the same target curve at the LP, my results show this is very likely the case. Too bad there were no measurements taken of both speakers at the LP, as this would likely show the differences heard... For sure directivity is a factor, as other aspects may be, but frequency response is the most likely difference people heard.
Which frequency response? The in-room or anechoic? Dr. Toole's work indicates it's the anechoic response that's closer to what's heard, and that data is already provided (in aggregated form) in the spinorama measurements.

If the speakers in your two scenarios sound almost exactly the same, that would be a bit of a coincidence. They might sound close enough that you can't easily tell in the time it takes to go between them. I bet that if you could "warp" listeners between the two rooms in a matter of seconds, you would definitely hear differences.
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post #501 of 1751 Old 08-15-2017, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
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"In all those years, there has always been one specific quality I have looked for, and never found. And that is supreme "silkiness" and freedom from harshness in the high strings (violins, violas) and the extreme upper ranges of the female voice (such as in various pop / jazz / opera recordings). I listen to a large variety of music - jazz, rock, pop, classical - but most involves the orchestra in one way or another. As a sometime film composer who is just astounded at the sounds a symphony orchestra can make (if the symphony orchestra is not one of the most profound accomplishments to come out of western civilization, I don't know what is), tracking down a realistic, clean and believable orchestral sound has been my personal quest for decades.

With all of that said, that quality is precisely what the Salon2s have that the M2s lack, in my view. And that comes from listening to them in a large variety of spaces. The Salon2 is essentially the speaker I have always been looking for."


Agree mostly. Right after sound field attributes, this is next (that strings sound like strings). I've listened to the Revels a few times, but not all that much though. Yes, they do this better than any JBL I've ever heard. However, at the $20k price point, they have a big bunch of competition. As a big classical music fan over six+ decades, this just about tops my priority list.
Yes, they have a bunch of competition at $20K. But I've heard many of them - KEF, B&W, Wilson, the list goes on and on. And I've never quite found what I was looking for.

But let's also see the measurements (which I know you put less stock in). Many other speakers deliberately color the sound, which is not a desirable quality (in my view). It's like having a graphic equalizer put in the signal path that you can never remove. I just want to hear what's in the recording, warts and all.

And lastly, I would point out that many of them get dragged into the MLL at Harman and shot out double blind with the Salon2s, and the Salon2s continue to beat them. While I understand you don't quite agree with the exact methodology, I know of no other way to get scientifically verifiable and repeatable results - results that truly do help move the whole industry forward.

Coming soon - a thread on the studies that correlate measurements with subjective preference in sound quality. The scientifically controlled and peer reviewed research done by Toole and Olive and their associates at Harman - where they can predict with 86% accuracy which speaker will win the double blind listening tests just by looking at the Spinorama measurements - are exactly the kind of results I am referring to.

Right now we are considering using the routines we developed over the last couple of weeks to do a "bring your own speaker to the party" kind of shootout. You would be very welcome to attend, and bring whatever you like.

You know what might hit the sweet spot - the upcoming Revel F228Be, a "new and improved" version of the F208 with a beryllium tweeter, new waveguide, redesigned crossovers and midrange driver. It will hit right at $10K per pair.

Thanks for your contributions to this thread!
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post #502 of 1751 Old 08-15-2017, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
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As a M2/Sub18/Crown Itech5000HD owner, I must confess a little surprise concerning the results of this exercise. I love my JBLs, but would consider Revels in an upgrade to other systems where the amps need to be in the same room as the speakers. Any word out there concerning a replacement of the Salon 2, a Salon 3 perhaps?

I have found interesting the ancillary discussions concerning the perception of height and pin point positioning in the sound stage, especially when it is argued that some positions on this matter, when taken to the extreme, are basically a figment of the imagination. I can't think of any other hobby with so much BS.
Absolutely!

All I know about a Salon3 is that it is quite a ways off, and will probably come in at quite a bit higher price than the Salon2 (my understanding is that Harman could not re-produce the Salon2 today at even close to the current price point, as the woodworking required to create that diffraction-less cabinet has skyrocketed in price).
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post #503 of 1751 Old 08-15-2017, 03:16 PM
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Yes, they have a bunch of competition at $20K. But I've heard many of them - KEF, B&W, Wilson, the list goes on and on. And I've never quite found what I was looking for.

But let's also see the measurements (which I know you put less stock in). Many other speakers deliberately color the sound, which is not a desirable quality (in my view). It's like having a graphic equalizer put in the signal path that you can never remove. I just want to hear what's in the recording, warts and all.

And lastly, I would point out that many of them get dragged into the MLL at Harman and shot out double blind with the Salon2s, and the Salon2s continue to beat them. While I understand you don't quite agree with the exact methodology, I know of no other way to get scientifically verifiable and repeatable results - results that truly do help move the whole industry forward.

Coming soon - a thread on the studies that correlate measurements with subjective preference in sound quality. The scientifically controlled and peer reviewed research done by Toole and Olive and their associates at Harman - where they can predict with 86% accuracy which speaker will win the double blind listening tests just by looking at the Spinorama measurements - are exactly the kind of results I am referring to.

Right now we are considering using the routines we developed over the last couple of weeks to do a "bring your own speaker to the party" kind of shootout. You would be very welcome to attend, and bring whatever you like.

You know what might hit the sweet spot - the upcoming Revel F228Be, a "new and improved" version of the F208 with a beryllium tweeter, new waveguide, redesigned crossovers and midrange driver. It will hit right at $10K per pair.

Thanks for your contributions to this thread!

"But let's also see the measurements (which I know you put less stock in)."

Quite the understatement. Other than impedance and efficiency rating, I care almost zero about measurements. I think the same about that as I do comparing a mono speaker to a mono speaker, as in one speaker at a time. Just doesn't have any relevance to what I've used in at least one system for most of 60 years.

"You would be very welcome to attend, and bring whatever you like"

Thanks, but it would be completely pointless given where I'm coming from and use, and virtually impossible to discern anything useful, one at a time.
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post #504 of 1751 Old 08-15-2017, 03:22 PM
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The Salon2s are the first speakers I have ever heard that reproduce those strings cleanly and openly, without any sign of harshness and grit. The M2s get an honorable mention, but that silkiness is just not there. My guess that the Revel's secret sauce is not only the tweeter, but the waveguide and the expert blending between midrange and tweeter. Usually those ever-higher-reaching violins get turned to hash by the vast majority of speakers.
In my local Cinemas, intellectually, I know there are voilins but they do not sound like real violins.
Violins sound real (think Pleasantville)on the Salon2's.

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post #505 of 1751 Old 08-15-2017, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by John Schuermann View Post

In all those years, there has always been one specific quality I have looked for, and never found. And that is supreme "silkiness" and freedom from harshness in the high strings (violins, violas) and the extreme upper ranges of the female voice (such as in various pop / jazz / opera recordings).
I'm so with you on this John!

I've been back in to auditioning all sorts of different speakers again recently and getting those elements of string sound right is always the Achilles heal of a sound system. I've heard countless sound systems, and own many different speaker designs (including the Paul Barton NRC-designed waveform speakers) and nothing ever truly captures the combination of presence and silkiness of a real string section. Even the most revealing speaker systems sound more like canned, thin, slightly strident samples vs the real thing. (That was true of when I auditioned the older Salon speakers as well).

And that is a specific symptom of the general difference I find with live instruments/voices vs reproduced: the way live sound has such presence and clarity yet is so relaxed and luxurious in it's detail and tonality.

Given no sound system (that I'm aware of) truly reproduces the full quality of live sound sources - especially given the variability of the source material we have to begin with - we tend to chase one or another aspect of sound we want to get most right. One of the reasons I've favored certain types of tube amplification over the years is because, while it may be a distortion introduced into the chain, it is a distortion that nudges the sound in the right direction to my ears in terms of what I'm trying to re-create - it can relax the sound, fill it out a bit, while not simply rolling it off and making the sound "dark." So to my ears vocalists sound more human, string sections a bit more silky yet present. Just one of many ways to skin a cat, but that is where you might say I may depart a bit from your approach. Like you I want accuracy, and I prefer neutral sounding speakers overall. But given the still-there compromises in sound systems, and the variability in sources, I feel a bit of coloration can be judiciously introduced to achieve another aspect of "subjective accuracy" - accuracy to how real sounds sound to me.
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post #506 of 1751 Old 08-15-2017, 03:26 PM
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Here are two tracks that illustrate exactly what I'm talking about. Notice the strings coming in at about :26 into this track, and in particular the gorgeous harmonies Williams brings in at 1:26, then the extreme high register violins at 1:40:

[---cut---]
Thanks John for posting these. John and I actually had a kind of bonding moment on speaker reproduction of violins.

I'll have to try to get ahold of lossless versions of those tracks as I'm not sure that the digital compression on YouTube was faithful to them. The highest / top-octave frequencies contain the most information from a data standpoint, and because they are less perceptually important, they tend to be the first thing that gets butchered by lossy compression algorithms.
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post #507 of 1751 Old 08-15-2017, 03:32 PM
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I'm so with you on this John!

I've been back in to auditioning all sorts of different speakers again recently and getting those elements of string sound right is always the Achilles heal of a sound system. I've heard countless sound systems, and own many different speaker designs (including the Paul Barton NRC-designed waveform speakers) and nothing ever truly captures the combination of presence and silkiness of a real string section. Even the most revealing speaker systems sound more like canned, thin, slightly strident samples vs the real thing. (That was true of when I auditioned the older Salon speakers as well).

And that is a specific symptom of the general difference I find with live instruments/voices vs reproduced: the way live sound has such presence and clarity yet is so relaxed and luxurious in it's detail and tonality.

Given no sound system (that I'm aware of) truly reproduces the full quality of live sound sources - especially given the variability of the source material we have to begin with - we tend to chase one or another aspect of sound we want to get most right. One of the reasons I've favored certain types of tube amplification over the years is because, while it may be a distortion introduced into the chain, it is a distortion that nudges the sound in the right direction to my ears in terms of what I'm trying to re-create - it can relax the sound, fill it out a bit, while not simply rolling it off and making the sound "dark." So to my ears vocalists sound more human, string sections a bit more silky yet present. Just one of many ways to skin a cat, but that is where you might say I may depart a bit from your approach. Like you I want accuracy, and I prefer neutral sounding speakers overall. But given the still-there compromises in sound systems, and the variability in sources, I feel a bit of coloration can be judiciously introduced to achieve another aspect of "subjective accuracy" - accuracy to how real sounds sound to me.

Spoken like a true audiophile. You get it! Again, congrats.
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post #508 of 1751 Old 08-15-2017, 03:33 PM
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"But let's also see the measurements (which I know you put less stock in)."

Quite the understatement. Other than impedance and efficiency rating, I care almost zero about measurements. I think the same about that as I do comparing a mono speaker to a mono speaker, as in one speaker at a time. Just doesn't have any relevance to what I've used in at least one system for most of 60 years.

"You would be very welcome to attend, and bring whatever you like"

Thanks, but it would be completely pointless given where I'm coming from and use, and virtually impossible to discern anything useful, one at a time.
No offense, but I wonder if you would pass the test to be considered for one of the listeners at the Harman lab.

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post #509 of 1751 Old 08-15-2017, 03:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by R Harkness View Post
I'm so with you on this John!

I've been back in to auditioning all sorts of different speakers again recently and getting those elements of string sound right is always the Achilles heal of a sound system. I've heard countless sound systems, and own many different speaker designs (including the Paul Barton NRC-designed waveform speakers) and nothing ever truly captures the combination of presence and silkiness of a real string section. Even the most revealing speaker systems sound more like canned, thin, slightly strident samples vs the real thing. (That was true of when I auditioned the older Salon speakers as well).

And that is a specific symptom of the general difference I find with live instruments/voices vs reproduced: the way live sound has such presence and clarity yet is so relaxed and luxurious in it's detail and tonality.

Given no sound system (that I'm aware of) truly reproduces the full quality of live sound sources - especially given the variability of the source material we have to begin with - we tend to chase one or another aspect of sound we want to get most right. One of the reasons I've favored certain types of tube amplification over the years is because, while it may be a distortion introduced into the chain, it is a distortion that nudges the sound in the right direction to my ears in terms of what I'm trying to re-create - it can relax the sound, fill it out a bit, while not simply rolling it off and making the sound "dark." So to my ears vocalists sound more human, string sections a bit more silky yet present. Just one of many ways to skin a cat, but that is where you might say I may depart a bit from your approach. Like you I want accuracy, and I prefer neutral sounding speakers overall. But given the still-there compromises in sound systems, and the variability in sources, I feel a bit of coloration can be judiciously introduced to achieve another aspect of "subjective accuracy" - accuracy to how real sounds sound to me.
Glad to know I'm not the only one. As awediophile just said, we had a bonding moment over this very subject during the Salon2 listening sessions

And we don't diverge at all on the topic of "accuracy." Accurate to the recording can mean bad things when the recording is bad. A little tweaking here and there (whatever happened to tone controls?) can make all the difference.
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post #510 of 1751 Old 08-15-2017, 03:41 PM
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No offense, but I wonder if you would pass the test to be considered for one of the listeners at the Harman lab.
This needs to be a requirement before they talk about all the magical things they hear.

I posted my test results. Lets see it for the golden ear folks that claim to hear differences in amplifiers within spec/cables/power cords/modern DACS/DA & AD conversions/equipment racks/feet/power conditioners/time of day/proximity to the moon..etc....

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