Speaker Shootout - two of the most accurate and well reviewed speakers ever made - Page 23 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #661 of 1751 Old 08-18-2017, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by syswei View Post
I don't understand why 100dB (or whatever) at the ear would be more harmful if originating 3m away vs 20m away?
I don't have research or data to support my statement and I may be wrong. But, my experience as a musician and recording/live sound engineer makes me think it is true. Hopefully, someone can show us information rather than opinion.

When I am only 6 feet in front of stage or studio monitors, the smack of a snare drum, hard cymbal crash or other high frequency percussive attack type of information hurts a lot more than when I am mixing FOH or in a large theater where I am 30 feet or more away from the speakers. If I measure the SPL as the same in either situation, I feel the closer I am to the speaker, the transient spike of the waveform is sharper at the closer distance and may cause more damage.

If one could look at the waveforms at at distances of 6, 12, 30 or more feet, given the same measured SPL in all instances, I'm pretty sure you would see softer transients (rounding of waveforms) measured at greater distances.

One time I was setting mics on a drum kit and the drummer hit the snare drum hard. I politely told him that was a rude thing to do (not exactly how it went down, lol). Since then, I always ask drummers to not hit the drums or cymbals hard while I am in the vicinity.

I can mic that same snare drum with a condenser mic (which has better transient response than a dynamic mic) and play it back through studio monitors or a large PA system at the same SPL as it was at my eardrums and it won't hurt nearly as bad as when I was only a few feet from the drum. Transient response plays a part in hearing damage, not just SPL.

Like I said, I'm speaking from a lot of personal experience and it is only my theory. I'm open to learning more about the matter.

A quick Google search found this: https://www.cinemasound.com/4-quicke...-lose-hearing/
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post #662 of 1751 Old 08-18-2017, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Rex Anderson View Post
I don't have data to support my statement and I may be wrong. But, my experience as a musician and recording/live sound engineer makes me think it is true. Hopefully, someone can show us information rather than opinion.

When I am only 6 feet in front of stage or studio monitors, the smack of a snare drum, hard cymbal crash or other high frequency percussive attack type of information hurts a lot more than when I am mixing FOH or in a large theater where I am 30 feet or more away from the speakers. If I measure the SPL as the same in either situation, I feel the closer I am to the speaker, the transient spike of the waveform is sharper at the closer distance and may cause more damage.

If one could look at the waveforms at at distances of 6, 12, 30 or more feet, given the same measured SPL in all instances, I'm pretty sure you would see softer transients (rounding of waveforms) measured at greater distances.

Like I said, I'm speaking from a lot of personal experience and it is only my theory. I'm open to learning the truth of the matter.
You're closer to the drum

sound intensity = sound power / (4 pi R^2)

R being the distance from the sound source. As you can see, R^2, as the distance increases, the sound intensity decreases exponentially.
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post #663 of 1751 Old 08-18-2017, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by John Schuermann View Post

For those who love the visceral intensity of most modern action movie soundtracks and want a speaker that is still absolutely outstanding in music reproduction, the M2 and its siblings fit the bill. Let's not forget that many of us here - me included - fell in love with the M2s for music listening for good reason. By no means should it even remotely be construed that the M2s were anything less than excellent in this regard.

That said, I think the results show that the Salon2s were preferred pretty strongly for music listening for most, but not all, listeners. I fall into the category where the music reproduction characteristics of the Salon2 cause me to make it my speaker of choice for HT and music.

Part of me is happy that the Revels "won" the shootout, as aesthetically my wife and I find them much more attractive . The M2s, honestly, looked too big in my space and definitely drew attention to themselves. With the setup described above, I can have aesthetics and raw power in the room at the same time.
My goofy meaningless audio term for what I go for is "realism"

Is it vague like "silky" "air" "snap" "punch" "tightness" and all that audio jibber jabber? No, it can be measured and numbers applied to what "realism" means. Basically, you mix accuracy (on/off axis FR) distortion and SPL together. Then throw in required peak SPL and dynamic range in--mix well and I get a strong idea of how "realistic" a system can be.

For me, the "best" speaker can do everything be it music, speech, sound effects, explosions at the SPL demanded for realistic playback. If I listen at 80dB and for a fraction of a second the peak of a realistic sound effect hits 110dB, such is realism.

One of the lies I heard in audio when I was a kid was this "Low efficiency speakers are the most accurate and high efficiency speakers are the most dynamic--you can't have both." So I give a big thumbs up to JBL to waste staggering amounts of money, time and effort chasing horn and waveguide technology. When I saw the M2 roll out, I thought about issues I had with horns and seeing a 15" woofer with a horn 2-way made me cringe. It looked like a nicer cabinet version of the weekend bar band box as they screeched their way through a set--ouch! I had abandoned horns back in 1990 but realizing that technology does move forward, that JBL actually measured, did R&D and paid big bucks to test, learn and improve technologies--I had to erase my bias against horns.

The Salon2 "winning" was not a surprise to me--think of all the things against the M2! A 15" two-way speaker with a 15" driver and a horn? On the surface, just another box made by Junk But Loud--but people tested them, they sure did not measure like a JRX! Now throw it in a blind test against a Salon2 and 50% of the time when "pick which one you like best" was thrown in--it tied! Seriously, it tied the Salon2 half the time. The other half with music selections the Salon2 won and it then won the prize.

Back in my PA days, I used 15" three-ways because the 2-ways sounded like throwing cats in a wood chipper. Now the design I shunned for just PA use is considered in the top selections for accuracy. To take two completely different designs and concepts from the same company and go winner take all and there could be ties--or even it winning with some people? That is not supposed to happen but it did, the strengths of the M2 design were not used (max SPL sound quality etc.) This is big news and dirt is being thrown in the casket of "High efficiency can't sound good, can't get a smooth ride in a dump truck" theory.

The twenty-teens seem to be the time for horns. Danley with their Synergy horns, BMS with their concentric compression drivers and JBL rolling out the M2. Heck, even Klipsch pulled their head out and produced the reasonably priced RP series for every day use. I gave in last year and have a SEOS horn pair of speakers, they sound much better than my old Klipsch or PA speakers from back in the day. They are not perfect but I required the controlled dispersion for HT and living room use. My 2.2 system in the garage uses dome tweeters, all 48 of those domes per speaker to cut vertical dispersion to limit cement floor reflections. Very content with the line arrays, they are keepers until they need a refurb in 2042.

Thanks again to the people that spent their time, money and sanity to allow us to get a glimpse at emerging technology. For me, the biggest surprise was the "loser"--the waveguide strikes back. The M3 and Salon3 should show hints of some of the things contained in Samsung's labs--now that Sean Olive has the keys to the lab, it should be really cool to see what rolls out the doors in the next few years. Maybe Floyd can spill the beans and give us a hint (nudge, nudge)
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post #664 of 1751 Old 08-18-2017, 10:31 AM - Thread Starter
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I doubt Harman will be publishing the new target curve. All I can tell you right now is that it's in the SDP75, and that we just did a calibration on a Synthesis system using an SDEC combined with 7 SCL3s, 4 C763Ls, two S2S-EX subs, and 2 S4S in-walls subs. My understanding it was the first calibration done anywhere in the country using the new curves. My characterization - smoother, "rounder," warmer, less exaggeration of the bass but deeper and tighter at the same time.

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post #665 of 1751 Old 08-18-2017, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by 18Hurts View Post

Thanks again to the people that spent their time, money and sanity to allow us to get a glimpse at emerging technology. For me, the biggest surprise was the "loser"--the waveguide strikes back. The M3 and Salon3 should show hints of some of the things contained in Samsung's labs--now that Sean Olive has the keys to the lab, it should be really cool to see what rolls out the doors in the next few years. Maybe Floyd can spill the beans and give us a hint (nudge, nudge)


the most important factor in perceived sound quality is the frequency response of the loudspeaker.
Ive asked here and pmed john for measurements and all Ive got is silence, which means there is a motive for the lack of transparency.


unfortunately,unless we get measurements, then this test like all the others is just subjective jibber jabber.

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post #666 of 1751 Old 08-18-2017, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by R Harkness View Post
Well this is interesting, because it's precisely the opposite of my experience.

As I'd mentioned earlier in the thread, I generally prefer to sit closer to speakers to get more direct vs room sound. For decades, whenever I have auditioned speakers I have done the "normal" vs "closer" sitting test, generally getting a sense of the sound with more room, and more direct sound.
In pretty much every case I can remember, and certainly with every speaker I've owned, moving closer to the speaker made the sound smoother, less harsh, definitely more "silky." String sections especially.

So, I'm at a loss on this one...
Just thinking about this over night - I wonder if we are just talking differences in scale. When I say closer to the tweeter, I mean right up against it (say, a foot away). In all my years selling speakers, I can't tell you how many times people have gone up and put their ears right up to the drivers (literally inches away), as if that would tell them what the speaker would sound like in their room. Is that how they listen at home?

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post #667 of 1751 Old 08-18-2017, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Rex Anderson View Post
I don't have research or data to support my statement and I may be wrong. But, my experience as a musician and recording/live sound engineer makes me think it is true. Hopefully, someone can show us information rather than opinion.

When I am only 6 feet in front of stage or studio monitors, the smack of a snare drum, hard cymbal crash or other high frequency percussive attack type of information hurts a lot more than when I am mixing FOH or in a large theater where I am 30 feet or more away from the speakers. If I measure the SPL as the same in either situation, I feel the closer I am to the speaker, the transient spike of the waveform is sharper at the closer distance and may cause more damage.

If one could look at the waveforms at at distances of 6, 12, 30 or more feet, given the same measured SPL in all instances, I'm pretty sure you would see softer transients (rounding of waveforms) measured at greater distances.

One time I was setting mics on a drum kit and the drummer hit the snare drum hard. I politely told him that was a rude thing to do (not exactly how it went down, lol). Since then, I always ask drummers to not hit the drums or cymbals hard while I am in the vicinity.

I can mic that same snare drum with a condenser mic (which has better transient response than a dynamic mic) and play it back through studio monitors or a large PA system at the same SPL as it was at my eardrums and it won't hurt nearly as bad as when I was only a few feet from the drum. Transient response plays a part in hearing damage, not just SPL.

Like I said, I'm speaking from a lot of personal experience and it is only my theory. I'm open to learning more about the matter.

A quick Google search found this: https://www.cinemasound.com/4-quicke...-lose-hearing/
OK. I assume that when you are matching the SPL, you are matching the SPL of the actual transient and not some kind of test signal like pink noise? In that case, the energizing of the room shouldn't be a confounding factor anymore.

You are correct that the waveform does change with increasing distance. The major change is a roll-off of the highest frequencies, primarily above 8 kHz, and increasing with higher frequency. This does round the peaks of the waveforms, as you suggest.

However, if a system is re-EQed or calibrated so that the frequency response of the direct sound is the same at one distance as at another, then the effect of distance should no longer matter.
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post #668 of 1751 Old 08-18-2017, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Jsin_N View Post
You're closer to the drum

sound intensity = sound power / (4 pi R^2)

R being the distance from the sound source. As you can see, R^2, as the distance increases, the sound intensity decreases exponentially.
This is a bit of an oversimplification of the physics as this trend only applies in the far field, but that's not that important here.

What's important is what happens to the far field sound intensity when the pressure (of which the SPL is derived from) changes: Each doubling of pressure is a quadrupling of sound intensity. If you double your distance from the source, the pressure drops to half, which is a decrease of 6 dB. If you boost the signal 6 dB to achieve the same pressure, then you've quadrupled sound intensity and returned it to the level it was before you doubled distance.

Does that make sense? Oh, and this is kind of a nitpick math point, but R^2 is not an exponential relationship it is quadratic. An exponential relationship would look more like 2^R. Try plugging in some numbers (or better yet graphing) R^2 vs. 2^R, and you will see the dramatic difference between the curve shapes. IMO, exponential is one of the most commonly abused mathematical terms. It usually does not mean what people think it means.
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post #669 of 1751 Old 08-18-2017, 11:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by 1201 View Post
the most important factor in perceived sound quality is the frequency response of the loudspeaker.
Ive asked here and pmed john for measurements and all Ive got is silence, which means there is a motive for the lack of transparency.


unfortunately,unless we get measurements, then this test like all the others is just subjective jibber jabber.
WHAT??? Sorry, but you just PM'd me this morning and I JUST responded to you. To say I've been bombarded with questions here and elsewhere would be an understatement. So I'll post my response here as well, because to be honest, I am a bit irritated when you call my motives / integrity into question.

Here's an encapsulation of my "non-silent" response, for the world to see:

Not a matter of deciding not to do measurements, simply a matter of time and resources. The three days of running the event were a blur of entertaining and feeding over 25 total guests over three days (a genuine pleasure), setting up and tearing down speakers, putting up the blind curtains, running the test, calibrating the system, etc. It's a massive undertaking, and to say I was pulled in a dozen different directions at any time would be an understatement.

I might be able to take some post-event measurements from the rough equivalent positions we used in the show. But please keep in mind I've been working on this for 3 weeks straight now without a day off. I do have a business to run, and a life to lead


I'll follow this up with a few statements, for the general reader. I've been trying to keep up with questions here on the board as quick as I am able. As mentioned the other day, I counted 35 posts that I wanted to respond to after taking half a day off. I've been making my way through them slow but sure, plus trying to answer the new questions that come my way every day.

In addition, the purpose of this test was to see which speaker was preferred in blind listening tests, and to correlate anechoic measurements with listener preference. We accomplished that.

While I agree that comparing how both speakers measured at the listening position would be really interesting to examine, it was not the point of the test. The point was to equalize factors such as room placement and speaker volume level, and then do a listening test for preference. Each speaker was affected by the room, but equally affected by the room. This is something you almost never see in even blind speaker comparisons - usually speakers are tested side by side and in stereo, and if you are lucky, they might be volume equalized (even that is rare).

I've posted the anechoic measurements of the speakers tested numerous times in this thread.

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post #670 of 1751 Old 08-18-2017, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by John Schuermann View Post
WHAT??? Sorry, but you just PM'd me this morning and I JUST responded to you. To say I've been bombarded with questions here and elsewhere would be an understatement. So I'll post my response here as well, because to be honest, I am a bit irritated when you call my motives / integrity into question.

Here's an encapsulation of my "non-silent" response, for the world to see:

Not a matter of deciding not to do measurements, simply a matter of time and resources. The three days of running the event were a blur of entertaining and feeding over 25 total guests over three days (a genuine pleasure), setting up and tearing down speakers, putting up the blind curtains, running the test, calibrating the system, etc. It's a massive undertaking, and to say I was pulled in a dozen different directions at any time would be an understatement.

I might be able to take some post-event measurements from the rough equivalent positions we used in the show. But please keep in mind I've been working on this for 3 weeks straight now without a day off. I do have a business to run, and a life to lead


I'll follow this up with a few statements, for the general reader. I've been trying to keep up with questions here on the board as quick as I am able. As mentioned the other day, I counted 35 posts that I wanted to respond to after taking half a day off. I've been making my way through them slow but sure, plus trying to answer the new questions that come my way every day.

In addition, the purpose of this test was to see which speaker was preferred in blind listening tests, and to correlate anechoic measurements with listener preference. We accomplished that.

While I agree that comparing how both speakers measured at the listening position would be really interesting to examine, it was not the point of the test. The point was to equalize factors such as room placement and speaker volume level, and then do a listening test for preference. Each speaker was affected by the room, but equally affected by the room. This is something you almost never see in even blind speaker comparisons - usually speakers are tested side by side and in stereo, and if you are lucky, they might be volume equalized (even that is rare).

I've posted the anechoic measurements of the speakers tested numerous times in this thread.
my apologies for not giving you enough time to respond. I'll let you get caught up and wait patiently for any measurements you provide


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post #671 of 1751 Old 08-18-2017, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by awediophile View Post
OK. I assume that when you are matching the SPL, you are matching the SPL of the actual transient and not some kind of test signal like pink noise? In that case, the energizing of the room shouldn't be a confounding factor anymore.

You are correct that the waveform does change with increasing distance. The major change is a roll-off of the highest frequencies, primarily above 8 kHz, and increasing with higher frequency. This does round the peaks of the waveforms, as you suggest.

However, if a system is re-EQed or calibrated so that the frequency response of the direct sound is the same at one distance as at another, then the effect of distance should no longer matter.
Distance does matter, because the level of the direct sound transient will be reduced compared to the contribution from the room, as distance from the source increases. A simple model to view this is to see the speaker as one sound source, where sound level goes down as distance increases, while the room contribution can be seen as a diffuse field of sound evenly distributed in the room, with same level.

Additionally, intensity increases relative to spl when you get very close to the source, and boundary effects will in most cases have a larger effect on the first direct sound arrival at some distance from the source.

Where the "small room sounds louder" does not make sense is when room acoustics are adjusted so that decay matches the larger room - then the small room will not sound louder.

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post #672 of 1751 Old 08-18-2017, 11:25 AM
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Wrt target curves, we have seen the ones from B&K and Sean Olive's/Dr. Toole's research on subjectively preferred steady state room curves. Adding in:
https://www.itu.int/dms_pubrec/itu-r...2-I!!PDF-E.pdf Page 17
and https://tech.ebu.ch/docs/tech/tech3276.pdf Page 6, Figure 2.

Overlaying the 4 target curves:



In JRiver Media Center's convolution engine, I can switch in near real time (under 1 sec due to the FIR filters latency) between all 4 targets, which sound similar. It will be interesting to see what any new target curves look like and how close they resemble this data that spans over 40 years of R&D.

As to my own preference, I have had several speakers through my listening room and at studios over the years. The ones that measure flat from an anechoic response, always sound (and measure) a bit too bright. to my ears. I am sure partly due to the music I listen to Dynamic Range No Quiet = No Loud.

Here is an example of measuring Dynaudio's Focus 600 XD, with my biamped JBL 4722's overlaid:



The JBL 4722's are the red and green curves and the 600 XD's the brown and blue curves. Measured at 83 db SPL at the MLP. My preference is for a flatter bass response and not so much high frequency energy. Tone controls don't fair well as most are shelving when one wants a tilt...Dynaudio has since added a firmware update to address this. But I find this similar with several other speakers I have measured over the years - simply too bright... That's why I am curious to see an in-room measurement of the Salons and M2's.

On the topic of measurement software for a moment, most modern acoustic measurement software now has an option for frequency dependant windowing. This is where the window is long at low frequencies, to let in the room response, and progressively shortens the window so that at very high frequencies, its mostly the direct sound that is being measured. Here is a graph to illustrate the point:



The horizontal scale in in 100's of milliseconds. This is based on jj johnstons research here: http://www.aes-media.org/sections/pn...2008/jj_jan08/ Personally, I find using FDW when measuring loudspeakers in-room matches what one hears pretty closely...

What I find a bit surprising is no discussion on driver time alignment...? Are the M2's or Salon's time aligned? My experiments time aligning drivers on a variety of loudspeakers made a considerable audible difference in the stereo illusion's depth of field. I was skeptical at first, but I find I am in agreement with Rod Elliot's findings: http://sound.whsites.net/ptd.htm With the power of DSP and today's computers processing power, I can increase/decrease the time alignment between drivers and hear the audible effects by switching FIR filters in real time...

Still would love to see some in-room measurements... Have a great weekend.
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post #673 of 1751 Old 08-18-2017, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by John Schuermann View Post
Just thinking about this over night - I wonder if we are just talking differences in scale. When I say closer to the tweeter, I mean right up against it (say, a foot away). In all my years selling speakers, I can't tell you how many times people have gone up and put their ears right up to the drivers (literally inches away), as if that would tell them what the speaker would sound like in their room. Is that how they listen at home?
Ah, ok, well that is different from what I'm talking about.

I tend to listen to my speakers as close as about 6 feet or so (sometimes closer if I'm using monitors on stands). I've generally found that sitting further away from speaker tends to increase the sense of "liveness" to the sound while moving closer produces a smoother more nuanced timbral presentation. But I'm not putting my ears to my tweeters.
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post #674 of 1751 Old 08-18-2017, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by 1201 View Post
the most important factor in perceived sound quality is the frequency response of the loudspeaker.
Ive asked here and pmed john for measurements and all Ive got is silence, which means there is a motive for the lack of transparency.


unfortunately,unless we get measurements, then this test like all the others is just subjective jibber jabber.
The anechoic measurements of the loudspeakers are known and no EQ was used. That's the objective part. The subjective part was the listening.
Knowing the objective measurements of the speaker , the entire purpose of the test was to elicit subjective Jibber Jabber
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post #675 of 1751 Old 08-18-2017, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Okv View Post
Distance does matter, because the level of the direct sound transient will be reduced compared to the contribution from the room, as distance from the source increases. A simple model to view this is to see the speaker as one sound source, where sound level goes down as distance increases, while the room contribution can be seen as a diffuse field of sound evenly distributed in the room, with same level.

Additionally, intensity increases relative to spl when you get very close to the source, and boundary effects will in most cases have a larger effect on the first direct sound arrival at some distance from the source.

Where the "small room sounds louder" does not make sense is when room acoustics are adjusted so that decay matches the larger room - then the small room will not sound louder.
As I understood it, the person I responded to was measuring the sound of just the transient. If the sound is short enough, the contribution of the room to the measured sound level doesn't really apply. The sound may still exhibit a decaying "tail" from the room, but the sound in that tail won't arrive before the direct sound of the transient is already gone.

It's continuous sounds like pink noise that tend to fully energize the room, and when systems in different rooms are calibrated using pink noise, the levels of transients will not be consistent between those rooms. That's why I made a point of asking whether it was the actual transients being measured when the tests were done or whether the tests were done after matching with a continuous test signal.
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post #676 of 1751 Old 08-18-2017, 12:01 PM
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The anechoic measurements of the loudspeakers are known and no EQ was used. That's the objective part. The subjective part was the listening.
Knowing the objective measurements of the speaker , the entire purpose of the test was to elicit subjective Jibber Jabber
but doesnt the m2 measure better than the salon 2 in the chamber? which by prediction 86% of the time it will sound better? I brought this up earlier and was corrected but its been bugging me, did I miss something? or confuse something(not hard to do)? obviously 2 awesome speakers but thought maybe this could of been an example of where the flattest speaker didnt sound the best.
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post #677 of 1751 Old 08-18-2017, 12:17 PM
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but doesnt the m2 measure better than the salon 2 in the chamber? which by prediction 86% of the time it will sound better? I brought this up earlier and was corrected but its been bugging me, did I miss something? or confuse something(not hard to do)? obviously 2 awesome speakers but thought maybe this could of been an example of where the flattest speaker didnt sound the best.
Exactly. The only exception may be the very top end where both speakers lose directivity rapidly. The M2 opts to keep the listening window flat at the expense of allowing the on-axis response to ramp up. The Salon 2 opts to keep the on-axis response closer to flat at the expense of the listening window. Which is more "accurate" could be debated. But otherwise, the M2 is objectively more accurate.

This is the bit I'd like to see an answer to. I proposed a few hypotheses, but I haven't seen any comment from Dr. Toole or anyone from JBL addressing this directly. And to the extent that my hypothesis that the Salon 2's wider dispersion contributed to its subjectively superior sound is true, I would expect this property to be quite a bit more dependent on the room and seat distance. In other words, in a more live and diffuse room and a greater seat distance, the gap between the M2 and Salon 2 may close, and the M2 might possibly pull ahead.
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post #678 of 1751 Old 08-18-2017, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by torii View Post
but doesnt the m2 measure better than the salon 2 in the chamber? which by prediction 86% of the time it will sound better? I brought this up earlier and was corrected but its been bugging me, did I miss something? or confuse something(not hard to do)? obviously 2 awesome speakers but thought maybe this could of been an example of where the flattest speaker didnt sound the best.
First, we don't actually know all the characteristics of the spins that contribute to preference scores as this is proprietary Harman data, that to my knowledge has never been released. So "flat" may not be all there is to it.

Second, Harman can produce an 86% prediction in their facilities. That does not translate to John's living room and his "lube-a-rama" .

Third, Dr. Toole discussed several factors in relation to these results, but again, he also can't be sure of the validity of the test, so there is a lot of general speculation.
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post #679 of 1751 Old 08-18-2017, 12:27 PM
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yea, this makes sense. I just read on the forums alot about how the flattest measuring speaker usually predicts it to be better sounding 86% of the time at harman...so maybe this was one of those cases. I agree that has to be some hidden/secret sause in some of the measurements and what they mean/do to most laymen. then again those spinorama's so close I dont think it really makes a difference to me, but I am curious to learn how to better read these graphs/measurements in finding a sound trait I like in a speaker. I like airy, spacious, smooth, sounding speakers with great dynamic range.

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post #680 of 1751 Old 08-18-2017, 01:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Both are extremely flat measuring speakers. We are splitting the hairs of excellence here.

Let's keep in mind that in our test we were comparing two speakers that measure very much alike, with the similarities being much greater than the differences. If you look closely at the test results I posted, you can see that they actually scored very close. The Salon2 won out overall, but it was hardly a slam dunk.

Now, this part is subjective and specific to me, but as I've pointed out previously, I have heard both the Salon2s and the M2s in a wide variety of rooms and under a wide variety of circumstances. I have always heard similar differences to what I heard in here. However, all you have is my word to go on, and that is suspect even to myself.

In the interest of simplicity, let me share Dr. Olive's slide from his presentation at CEDIA - it demonstrates the thinking at Harman. This slide shows the M2 side by side with the F208 (rather than the Salon2), but it makes the point. Look how closely the two speakers measure (btw, we did some stereo listening to the F208s Saturday afternoon and they compared very favorably with the Salon2s - at $5K per pair vs. $22k per pair):



Now, let's look at some measurements from other speakers. Here we can start seeing some massive differences, which the research shows would make determining preferences much easier. All of the below measurements are taken from www.soundstage.com, where speakers are tested using Dr. Toole's old facility at the Canadian NRC. Feel free to check the measurements there for the whole story, as these are only basic FR graphs. I am deleting references to which brands and models these are - feel free to research for yourselves on Soundstage:



Another:



Yet another:



Those aren't full Spinorama graphs, so don't tell the whole story, but you can see from a pure frequency response standpoint far more differences between these speakers than you can between the Salon2 and M2 (or M2 and F208, for that matter).

If we had included one of these speakers in our tests (as a "dog," like Dr. Toole put it), chances are great that the M2 and Salon2 would have pulled far ahead and it would be much easier to draw harder conclusions. But that is what makes this speaker listening test so unique, in that we were comparing two speakers that are already at the top of the class.
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In the interest of fairness, here is the basic graph on the Salon2, from www.soundstage.com:



The F206, the smaller brother of the F208 mentioned above:


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post #682 of 1751 Old 08-18-2017, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by awediophile View Post
As I understood it, the person I responded to was measuring the sound of just the transient. If the sound is short enough, the contribution of the room to the measured sound level doesn't really apply. The sound may still exhibit a decaying "tail" from the room, but the sound in that tail won't arrive before the direct sound of the transient is already gone.

It's continuous sounds like pink noise that tend to fully energize the room, and when systems in different rooms are calibrated using pink noise, the levels of transients will not be consistent between those rooms. That's why I made a point of asking whether it was the actual transients being measured when the tests were done or whether the tests were done after matching with a continuous test signal.
Exactly.

Forgive my short reply to this. I had written a long comment on this test, but managed to loose it all, so I have to rewrite it, or just leave it.

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post #683 of 1751 Old 08-18-2017, 01:23 PM
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I dont even know what the charts really mean in regards to the sound they will be reproducing...any how-to vids on you tube or anything. I guess Im one of those learners that needs to see/hear and read all it same time appreciate tho. very educational thread by lots of experts and a few dummies like me

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post #684 of 1751 Old 08-18-2017, 01:43 PM
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but doesnt the m2 measure better than the salon 2 in the chamber? which by prediction 86% of the time it will sound better? I brought this up earlier and was corrected but its been bugging me, did I miss something? or confuse something(not hard to do)? obviously 2 awesome speakers but thought maybe this could of been an example of where the flattest speaker didnt sound the best.
Since this is likely to be seized upon by the earth-is-flat audiophiles, it's important to remember that both speakers qualify for the 86% preference for accuracy vs less accurate speakers. The differences between them are statistically insignificant over the entire range.

Harman did not find that, "When comparing 2 extremely accurate speakers that were preferred over other inaccurate models, the listener will choose the slightly more accurate speaker 86% of the time."

Since people around here love comparing things to cars, it would be like saying HP is meaningless because the car with 650HP barely beat a virtually identical car with 660HP.

Once you get to the accuracy level of these speakers, then you can start finding the small differences that may cause you to prefer one over the other. But until you get to that level, the 86% still applies.

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Since this is likely to be seized upon by the earth-is-flat audiophiles, it's important to remember that both speakers qualify for the 86% preference for accuracy vs less accurate speakers. The differences between them are statistically insignificant over the entire range.

Harman did not find that, "When comparing 2 extremely accurate speakers that were preferred over other inaccurate models, the listener will choose the slightly more accurate speaker 86% of the time."

Since people around here love comparing things to cars, it would be like saying HP is meaningless because the car with 650HP beat a similar car with 660HP.

Once you get to the accuracy level of these speakers, then you can start finding the small differences that may cause you to prefer one over the other. But until you get to that level, the 86% still applies.
Precisely. Since this first test was such a success, we are trying to work up a way for people to bring the speaker of their choice to the next shootout. That should really get interesting. The powers that be at the AVS Forum actually suggested we do something off-site during an event like Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, where we could piggyback off the crowd.

Now that would take much much more preparation and a considerably larger investment of time and money. However, it most definitely would be fun. Especially if someone wants to bring over one of those high priced monstrosities that get fawned over at shows like that, but actually get slaughtered during the double blinds at Harman It's been repeated to me often that the speakers that usually do the worst in the double blind tests are also some of the most expensive.

We are trying to come up with a way to create some kind of speaker shuffler that could be transported, with the help of some local friends and the good folks at Harman. The challenges are not insignificant.

With that type of setup - where we are bringing in all kinds of speakers with all kinds of different measurements - the 86% rule would almost certainly apply.

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The anechoic measurements of the loudspeakers are known and no EQ was used. That's the objective part. The subjective part was the listening.
Knowing the objective measurements of the speaker , the entire purpose of the test was to elicit subjective Jibber Jabber
the subjective jibber jabber is in relation to the reasons WHY people think one sounded better than the other.


The in room measurement at the listening position can certainly give us the most insight into since it is mostly agreed that magnitude response is the biggest predictor of perceived quality.


another thing the measurement can show- since the matching was done between 500hz and 2khz- if there is a speaker that has a low end bump it will sound subjectively smoother and fuller. if it has a high end bump above 2k it may sound airier. no way to know this without seeing the measurements.


I for one don't believe that "dispersion" has anything to do with perceived quality, but I have much to learn yet.

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well can harman/jbl comment on one example that broke the 86% example just so I can move on with my life

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post #688 of 1751 Old 08-18-2017, 02:54 PM
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Speaking of those Soundstage NRC measurements, when I get bored and browse the graphs, I'm always amazed by the humble CBM-170s:

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post #689 of 1751 Old 08-18-2017, 03:02 PM - Thread Starter
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I know there has been a lot of high level discussion here, which is fantastic, but also probably over most people's heads. Let me see if I can sum up for the layperson.

Ideally, a speaker will not add any colorations of its own to the sound being fed into it. The flatter the line shown in the graphs above, the less the speaker puts its own "stamp" (or coloration) on the sound coming out of it. If you look at the M2, Salon2, F208, and F206 graphs above, you can see that the line is very flat. A flat line means that the speaker is not emphasizing any part of the sound spectrum. Moving from left to right on the graph, you start with bass frequencies and move up to the very highest treble. If you have a speaker that has such a flat line - or close to it - you can rest at least partially assured that what goes into the speaker is what is coming out (there's more to it to that, but it's a good starting point).

Now, let's look at speaker X, here:



You can see that there are massive peaks and valleys in this speakers frequency response. This means that certain frequencies are being emphasized or cut at the expense of others (the vertical axis of the graph shows relative volume of each of the frequencies, measured in db).

Now, think of an old school graphic equalizer:



Imagine putting a graphic equalizer like what's shown above in between your amplifier and your speaker. Ideally you would want to stay out of the way, and just pass what comes through it unaltered. This is what such a graphic EQ "curve" would look like - a simple flat line (using the free graphic EQ included in Audacity):



However, if you look at the response graph shown above, you can see that it has a frequency response that looks more like THIS graphic EQ curve (I did this down and dirty, for the purposes of illustration, but you can see that it closely reproduces what you see in the speaker measurement graph):



So, what you have now is a speaker that essentially acts like a graphic equalizer that's been permanently placed into the signal path, applying that same EQ curve on everything that comes through it. And that's whether you like it or not - it's always there.

From the speaker response graph and the EQ above, we can easily predict that the speaker in question will have a big "hole" right in the 1500 hz to 3000 hz region, which is right in the upper range of the human voice:



The result would be a speaker that probably sounds "recessed" or lacking liveness and air in the upper vocal ranges.

Now, here is a speaker with a peak right around 2500 - 3500 hz:



Chances are this speaker would pretty dramatically emphasize that region instead, and we'd have a speaker with a particularly bright sound that emphasizes sibilants (s and t sounds) and would probably be considered "strident."

So, the obvious question becomes, why not just apply an opposite EQ curve to the speaker show at top, just like this:



One could be forgiven for thinking that such an EQ curve would "solve" all of that particular speaker's problems. After all, the above curve should "cancel out" all of the deficiencies (this is what some people think they can do with something like Audyssey). However, unfortunately, it's not so simple as that. As Harman engineer Tim Gladwin put it:

The reality is that the lumps and bumps in a loudspeaker curve come from many sources. Some can and should be fixed. Some should not. Often the fix simply does more harm. Anyone with experience in sound reinforcement or recording has played with an equalizer, and most notice that when you push a filter up too far or down too far, it howls. Once you hear the howl, then you start to hear it at lower levels, until you realize that it is there all the time. A filter is just another oscillator and it has its own sound. It always brings something to the table and usually what it brings is undesirable, so the less filtering the better. Generally we hear boosts more than cuts, so it is better to reduce a peak than to fill a hole. But making a speaker ruler flat, generally not a good idea. You could be coloring the sound worse than if you did nothing.

Specifically, many of the SPL features come from resonances in the cone, surround, dustcap, spider, basket or enclosure. These may or may not have uniform polar response. If they have uniform polar response, and are linear in level response, then it may be useful to attenuate a spike. However, if the SPL feature is not uniform in all directions, such as features caused by diffraction, then “fixing” it may make it worse in other directions.


So, the answer is to create a speaker that performs and measures flat to begin with. And that's what we have with both the M2 and the Salon2. The M2 has the aid of specific, targeted EQ that takes into account all of what Tim stated above to "tweak" the response curve, while the Salon2 does not - it's just an incredibly well engineered speaker to begin with

The above is incredibly rudimentary and over-simplified, but hopefully lays some groundwork to form a basis of understanding. The "Spinorama" measurements from Harman tell us much more about how a speaker performs than what I laid out above, as they also take into account such things as off axis response, dispersion, and the directivity index. All those things together - not just the on axis frequency response I essentially discussed above - allow Harman to get to their 86% success rate in predicting which speaker will win the double blind listening tests. From the 5 Spinorama curves, they can make a good determination of what to fix and what to leave alone.

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post #690 of 1751 Old 08-18-2017, 03:13 PM
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that explains it alot better. with the M2 being an active speaker or active speakers in general, does the whole eq argument get thrown out windows? my understanding is the m2's w/out eq arent worth listening to...I know questions cant be answered in a tweet or less, but this shootout shows 2 fine speakers from 2 opposite origins in science it seems.

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