How to Choose a Loudspeaker -- What the Science Shows - Page 116 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #3451 of 5320 Old 07-09-2019, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by motrek View Post
And why not?

All speakers do is produce pressure waves of air. They don't produce pressure waves and unicorn glitter. If you measure everything about how one speaker produces pressure waves, then you can calculate how two speakers would produce pressure waves. That's a scientific fact.

So, ipso facto, you must be arguing that spinoramas are missing some necessary data about pressure waves to correctly calculate how two speakers would interact. But so far I haven't seen anybody even suggest what that missing data might be. Do you have any reason to believe that spinoramas don't have the right data, or enough data?
Yes, I am "arguing" that the Spinorama does not contain "...some necessary data about pressure waves to correctly calculate how two speakers would interact." Do you think it does? If so, what is it?

Phantom imaging, whether it be a central phantom image, or one seemingly place in different locations within a soundstage, ALL phantom images REQUIRE more than one speaker. A central phantom image has identical, level-matched content in each speaker channel. The ear/brain "hears" these two identical sound sources as is fooled into thinking that it's coming from a point directly between the two speakers. Any other type of phantom image uses a combination of level and timing adjustment to fool the ear/brain into thinking that a sound originates somewhere besides at one speaker or the other. That capability can't be measured by measuring a SINGLE speaker. What could there possibly be in a measurement of a SINGLE speaker that can describe how it will interact with another speaker to reproduce a phantom image, even if that other speaker is identical to the first?

Everyone gets their panties in a bunch whenever I say something negative about the Spinorama. I think the Spinorama offers a wealth of very useful information about sound quality. Nonetheless, it seems intuitively obvious that measurements of a single speaker can't describe anything about how two speakers interact. That is not any kind of statement about the benefit of the Spinorama to describe the timbrel response of a single speaker. It's just pointing out a limitation of what the Spinorama can measure.

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post #3452 of 5320 Old 07-09-2019, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by QueueCumber View Post
Depth/dimensionality is one of the areas I felt the Salon2 fell short (@craig john), as I mentioned previously. Curious to hear the PerformaBe line to see if the driver changes have a different effect on me.

I heard the 228BEs shortly after introduction. Kevin drove using material I choose and know very well. Same impression. Tonally, nice and balanced, but fell short in the three dimensional aspects that I'm interested in and used to.

It was nowhere near the disaster that one $80k top-of-the-line speaker for one certain manufacture was in those aspects. I'm sure the spinomatic data exists for that one.
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post #3453 of 5320 Old 07-09-2019, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by QueueCumber View Post
Depth/dimensionality is one of the areas I felt the Salon2 fell short (@craig john), as I mentioned previously. Curious to hear the PerformaBe line to see if the driver changes have a different effect on me.
I've never heard either of those speakers, so I can't comment. However, I would not be surprised to learn that this is the case. OTOH, I would be pleasantly surprised to learn that a pair of identical speakers with good Spins also imaged exceptionally. That would be an interesting anecdote. That said, anecdotes are not solid scientific evidence, at least not in most branches of science. That doesn't belittle your experience in any way, and I hope you report back with your impressions once you've heard the PerformaBE's.



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post #3454 of 5320 Old 07-09-2019, 12:34 PM
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Since no one else seems to have any evidence to the contrary,
I'm just saying as a "Science Guy," I would not make a declaration that no correlation exists between two things without first looking for it, compiling and analyzing data which would show if one exists or not. I'm not saying that would be easy, but short of that such a declaration is without evidence.
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post #3455 of 5320 Old 07-09-2019, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by craig john View Post
I've never heard either of those speakers, so I can't comment. However, I would not be surprised to learn that this is the case. OTOH, I would be pleasantly surprised to learn that a pair of identical speakers with good Spins also imaged exceptionally. That would be an interesting anecdote. That said, anecdotes are not solid scientific evidence, at least not in most branches of science. That doesn't belittle your experience in any way, and I hope you report back with your impressions once you've heard the PerformaBE's.



Craig
Well, I did think the Salon2s imaged well left to right. But it was like watching a flat screen movie vs. a 3D movie. I had five of them for a surround setup at the time, and spent a bit of time switching them out with each other hoping it would make a difference. I really hope it’s not the case that one has to trade dimensionality for a flat response. I have friends who listen to my speakers and don’t know WTH I mean by depth/dimension. It makes me think there are some people who hear it (or whose brains process sound that way) and others who just don’t.
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post #3456 of 5320 Old 07-09-2019, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by QueueCumber View Post
Well, I did think the Salon2s imaged well left to right. But it was like watching a flat screen movie vs. a 3D movie. I had five of them for a surround setup at the time, and spent a bit of time switching them out with each other hoping it would make a difference. I really hope it’s not the case that one has to trade dimensionality for a flat response. I have friends who listen to my speakers and don’t know WTH I mean by depth/dimension. It makes me think there are some people who hear it (or whose brains process sound that way) and others who just don’t.
Agree. The left right thing is pretty easy and most can get this, but that's just a start to what's possible.

Steve gets it and describes it pretty well.

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post #3457 of 5320 Old 07-09-2019, 01:00 PM
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Having said that, I DO KNOW that a single JBL M2 does not present any "imaging" qualities when listened to by itself. I heard one of @Gooddoc 's M2's in a situation where only one of them was available for audition, (long story and I posted a link to it previously in this thread, so I won't bother searching for it again.
I don't believe ANY speaker images when listened to by itself. You did actually listen to two M2's, just with a stereo signal summed into a mono signal and fed to both speakers. The rest of your inquiry is way above my pay grade.
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post #3458 of 5320 Old 07-09-2019, 01:05 PM
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I don't believe ANY speaker images when listened to by itself. You did actually listen to two M2's, just with a stereo signal summed into a mono signal and fed to both speakers. The rest of your inquiry is way above my pay grade.
That's exactly what he said
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post #3459 of 5320 Old 07-09-2019, 01:07 PM
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Well, I did think the Salon2s imaged well left to right. But it was like watching a flat screen movie vs. a 3D movie.
And yet, many other users report the opposite. Different ears, different brains, different rooms, different setups...same speakers.
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post #3460 of 5320 Old 07-09-2019, 01:07 PM
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Since no one else seems to have any evidence to the contrary, I stand by my statement that the SINGLE SPEAKER MONO Spinorama has no imaging information in it. Some information can be *inferred* from the Spinorama, but in and of itself, it contains no imaging info.
I just can't form such a certainty in this regard. While it may be very difficult to hear the "imaging" capabilities from a single speaker, I think it's very possible that the data contained within a speaker's spinorama correlates with such a quality. Not yet seeing a correlation does not preclude it's presence within the data. Perhaps certain, specific deviations in off-axis response lead to these impressions. And as such, access to spinorama data for every speaker, along with an enhanced ability to properly interpret it, could make it much easier to find a speaker that more closely matches one's own preferences. Or not. Who knows? But that's where science comes in. I'm just hoping that further research and an ever increasing data set might advance our understanding of audio reproduction and speaker design, and perhaps lead to the demystification of such elusive properties.
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post #3461 of 5320 Old 07-09-2019, 01:25 PM
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Well, just had a chance to demo a KEF speaker. They only had the R11 on hand, which is out of my budget, but at least gave me a good impression of their sound. A/B'd (not blind) with the B&W 702 S2, nothing else I could compare to (was at my local Best Buy / Magnolia). Also wasn't volume matched, B&W easier to drive so it sounded a bit louder. Oh well.

Overall, the KEF sounded better than the B&W. B&W sound is just too colored and forward in the mids, and highs were too present, at times creating an overly bright sound. KEF much more balanced in the mids, blending in with the rest of the soundscape. KEF could have used a touch more in the highs though, it was a bit south of neutral. Maybe it's because the Uni-Q driver is below ear level when at regular seating height. In the lows, I was surprised at how rolled-off the KEF sounded in the lows. B&W sounded better here, though it sounded very boomy which I suspect was mainly due to the close proximity to the back wall and proximity to other speakers. I wonder if the KEF was perhaps too far out from the back wall making the lows sound less present than they could have been.

If I could only pick between these two speakers I would easily pick the KEF. But I think there is better stuff out there, more to my taste and stuff that measures better. I still think I liked the sound of that Revel F36 (but that was on another day in a different room), and will try to demo Paradigm/Elac/Wharfedale/Dynaudio(if they have anything in my price range), and separately Dali and hopefully Monitor Audio (but it's looking like no one in my area carries them).
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post #3462 of 5320 Old 07-09-2019, 01:28 PM
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Yes, I am "arguing" that the Spinorama does not contain "...some necessary data about pressure waves to correctly calculate how two speakers would interact." Do you think it does? If so, what is it?

Phantom imaging, whether it be a central phantom image, or one seemingly place in different locations within a soundstage, ALL phantom images REQUIRE more than one speaker. A central phantom image has identical, level-matched content in each speaker channel. The ear/brain "hears" these two identical sound sources as is fooled into thinking that it's coming from a point directly between the two speakers. Any other type of phantom image uses a combination of level and timing adjustment to fool the ear/brain into thinking that a sound originates somewhere besides at one speaker or the other. That capability can't be measured by measuring a SINGLE speaker. What could there possibly be in a measurement of a SINGLE speaker that can describe how it will interact with another speaker to reproduce a phantom image, even if that other speaker is identical to the first?

Everyone gets their panties in a bunch whenever I say something negative about the Spinorama. I think the Spinorama offers a wealth of very useful information about sound quality. Nonetheless, it seems intuitively obvious that measurements of a single speaker can't describe anything about how two speakers interact. That is not any kind of statement about the benefit of the Spinorama to describe the timbrel response of a single speaker. It's just pointing out a limitation of what the Spinorama can measure.

Craig
The radiation pattern and frequency response can infer imaging.

The argument could be made that the more directional speaker has better imaging.
That is, if headphones have the best "imaging", than a speaker with wide-dispersion will not "measure" up
If this is the goal, a directional speaker may product less diffused sound and therefore, better subjective "imaging".

You cannot blame a scientific method and statistical model for failing to measure up to your subjective "imaging" and "soundstage" evaluation.

I had a trio play in my home, piano, bass guitar, and trumpet. Sounded great, imaging was terrible when I closed my eyes

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post #3463 of 5320 Old 07-09-2019, 01:31 PM
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And yet, many other users report the opposite. Different ears, different brains, different rooms, different setups...same speakers.
Right. That’s what makes the one solution fits all so problematic. Providing psychological assessments you find that people can process information in wildly different ways. Sure, you have the bell curve that encapsulates the vast majority of people, and you can make some broad assumptions about people in general from that data, but you still have people outside that majority that process stimuli wildly differently. The institutionalization of learning depends on these assumptions, but when someone doesn’t fit that mold the results can be tragic.

I will always feel like the data on listening preferences are incomplete and lacking until they can explain why my experience deviates from the norm. According to the data, the Salon2 should have been my end-all be-all speaker. *shrug*
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post #3464 of 5320 Old 07-09-2019, 01:31 PM
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@sdurani @Floyd Toole @SoundnWine ??? What else ya got? I would be happy to find out I'm wrong on this subject.
How did a hobbyist like me end up next to those two legends? Can't tell you if you're right or wrong on this subject, can only point to the evidence so far. IF Harman had found differences in preference rankings between mono and stereo testing of speakers, then they would be doing tests using 2 speakers. Maybe there is research out there somewhere demonstrating that results from testing in mono vary significantly compared to results from testing in stereo. I haven't seen it. Have you? So far it appears that if you compare single speakers and end up preferring one of them, it will still be your preferred speaker when doing comparisons using 2 of each speaker and continue being your preference when doing comparisons using 5 of each speaker.
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I think imaging is a VERY important aspect of sound reproduction, and I would be happy to find out that there is a way to actually *measure* it.
Agreed. Phantom imaging occurs in the brain, since there isn't anything at the phantom imaged location that is producing sound. Since ear/brain mechanisms vary from person to person, I don't know how you would objectively measure how well someone is hearing a phantom image. One of the members in my local home theatre group can clearly hear sounds coming from speakers but rarely hears sound between speakers. The main thing a manufacturer can measure is consistency of their products (HOW identical their speakers are). Us end users can measure consistency of placement (measure frequency response, ETC, phase). The more identical the sounds reaching you, the better the phantom imaging should be. After that, it's up how your brain interprets what you hear.
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post #3465 of 5320 Old 07-09-2019, 01:45 PM
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The radiation pattern and frequency response can infer imaging.

The argument could be made that the more directional speaker has better imaging.
That is, if headphones have the best "imaging", than a speaker with wide-dispersion will not "measure" up
If this is the goal, a directional speaker may product less diffused sound and therefore, better subjective "imaging".

You cannot blame a scientific method and statistical model for failing to measure up to your subjective "imaging" and "soundstage" evaluation.

I had a trio play in my home, Piano, bass guitar, and trumpet. Sounded great, imaging was terrible when I closed my eyes

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How do you define the term?
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post #3466 of 5320 Old 07-09-2019, 01:48 PM
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The Spinorama can tell us many things, especially about timbrel response... the smoothness and flatness of the "listening window" response. It may well be that speakers with smooth, flat LW response also image well. However, I don't see any specific "scientific evidence" of that in the Spinorama of a single, mono speaker. It's simply not there. Olive even admits as much in his paper:

http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=12847

So, anyone who places a very high priority on the imaging capabilities of speakers, to the point that they would sacrifice some smoothness and flatness for improved imaging, will find less value in the Spinorama. I daresay, they may even have differing preference results in the listening tests simply because they are listening for things that the "trained" listeners are not listening for. And, if that person does not hear any imaging during a single speaker, mono listening test, they may find little value in it.

I think this ^^^ defines Scott's position, and he has been told many times in this thread that he is wrong, as have I. Having said that, there is a big difference in our approaches to audio. Scott is a pure "subjectivist" and science has little to offer him to help him decide which speakers, amps, cables and sources sound best to him. I consider myself a "science guy" and I place very high priority on science and measurements. I just don't believe that these Spinorama measurements can tell us *everything* we need to make the generalization that they apply to 99+% of the population.

I am definitely in the camp that we should be able to measure and then correlate to preference. Possibly we haven't defined the correct terms to correlate to what you are talking about.
Has anyone performed reasonable scientific experiments to pursue this line of thought?
If not, we could formulate a proposed measurement and listener preference experiment (assuming access to the Spinorama and double blind type equipment / setup, but with two (or more) speakers)?

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post #3467 of 5320 Old 07-09-2019, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by craig john View Post
... Phantom imaging, whether it be a central phantom image, or one seemingly place in different locations within a soundstage, ALL phantom images REQUIRE more than one speaker. A central phantom image has identical, level-matched content in each speaker channel. The ear/brain "hears" these two identical sound sources as is fooled into thinking that it's coming from a point directly between the two speakers. Any other type of phantom image uses a combination of level and timing adjustment to fool the ear/brain into thinking that a sound originates somewhere besides at one speaker or the other. That capability can't be measured by measuring a SINGLE speaker. What could there possibly be in a measurement of a SINGLE speaker that can describe how it will interact with another speaker to reproduce a phantom image, even if that other speaker is identical to the first? ...
This is completely wrong.

It's like if you take a 5-pound brick and weigh it. It weighs 5 pounds. Then you say we can't POSSIBLY know how much two 5-pound bricks weigh because we only measured one 5-pound brick. The only way to know how much two 5-pound bricks weigh is if you measure two bricks together at the same time!

Wrong.

Of course if you measure everything about how a speaker radiates air pressure waves, you will be able to calculate how two of the same speaker radiate air pressure waves. It's harder than adding up the weights of bricks but it can very obviously be done.

Now, whether or not spinoramas give you all the information you need to do this calculation, that might be up for debate. But saying "they only measured ONE speaker!" is not a valid way to debate this point.
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post #3468 of 5320 Old 07-09-2019, 01:53 PM
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How do you define the term?
I use dictionary.com:
https://www.dictionary.com/browse/imaging


It is surprisingly apt:
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Psychology. a technique in which one uses mental images to control bodily processes and thus ease pain or to succeed in some endeavor that one has visualized in advance.
Nearby words: imagination, imaginative, imagine

- Rich
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post #3469 of 5320 Old 07-09-2019, 02:00 PM
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I am definitely in the camp that we should be able to measure and then correlate to preference. Possibly we haven't defined the correct terms to correlate to what you are talking about.
Has anyone performed reasonable scientific experiments to pursue this line of thought?
If not, we could formulate a proposed measurement and listener preference experiment (assuming access to the Spinorama and double blind type equipment / setup, but with two (or more) speakers)?
Harman has done double-blind testing with stereo speakers vs. mono, that's why they are able to justify testing with mono.

I believe Dr. Toole summed up the results as saying that mono testing results in the same order of preference as stereo testing, but it's more consistent.

It's interesting to think that maybe there's a difference between how well speakers image and that's what was causing the inconsistency, but it's not an important enough factor to cause one speaker to be preferred over another.

I suppose imaging depends on when a sound from one speaker gets to your ear (ears?) vs. when the sound from the other speaker gets to your other ear. I'm sure this would be tricky to measure because of reflections. But I see no reason why it couldn't be done. I guess it would surprise me a little if nobody has tried it already.

EDIT: Or I guess imaging can be (or is) done by playing the same thing from both speakers at different relative volumes. No reason that couldn't be tested at the same time. Thinking about it, it should be fairly easy to come up with some test content...
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post #3470 of 5320 Old 07-09-2019, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by craig john View Post
Yes, I am "arguing" that the Spinorama does not contain "...some necessary data about pressure waves to correctly calculate how two speakers would interact." Do you think it does? If so, what is it?

Phantom imaging, whether it be a central phantom image, or one seemingly place in different locations within a soundstage, ALL phantom images REQUIRE more than one speaker. A central phantom image has identical, level-matched content in each speaker channel. The ear/brain "hears" these two identical sound sources as is fooled into thinking that it's coming from a point directly between the two speakers. Any other type of phantom image uses a combination of level and timing adjustment to fool the ear/brain into thinking that a sound originates somewhere besides at one speaker or the other. That capability can't be measured by measuring a SINGLE speaker. What could there possibly be in a measurement of a SINGLE speaker that can describe how it will interact with another speaker to reproduce a phantom image, even if that other speaker is identical to the first?

Everyone gets their panties in a bunch whenever I say something negative about the Spinorama. I think the Spinorama offers a wealth of very useful information about sound quality. Nonetheless, it seems intuitively obvious that measurements of a single speaker can't describe anything about how two speakers interact. That is not any kind of statement about the benefit of the Spinorama to describe the timbrel response of a single speaker. It's just pointing out a limitation of what the Spinorama can measure.

Craig
Assuming there is something to this line of thought, the necessary data I would think would be in the raw Spinorama data (as @motrek said), but perhaps the modeling term to be represented and correlated to listener preference, and the methodology of doing the single speaker plot, does not capture it. I would think just pure directivity at a particular set of frequencies would capture it, but you say that isn't the whole story. I would agree that seems possible.
Another listener preference that could be run is just 5 more directional speakers with a real multichannel soundtrack vs. two speakers that have wide dispersion, and/or two speakers that you feel meet your expectations. The problem here would be the soundtrack is different.

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post #3471 of 5320 Old 07-09-2019, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by motrek View Post
Harman has done double-blind testing with stereo speakers vs. mono, that's why they are able to justify testing with mono.

I believe Dr. Toole summed up the results as saying that mono testing results in the same order of preference as stereo testing, but it's more consistent.

It's interesting to think that maybe there's a difference between how well speakers image and that's what was causing the inconsistency, but it's not an important enough factor to cause one speaker to be preferred over another.

I suppose imaging depends on when a sound from one speaker gets to your ear (ears?) vs. when the sound from the other speaker gets to your other ear. I'm sure this would be tricky to measure because of reflections. But I see no reason why it couldn't be done. I guess it would surprise me a little if nobody has tried it already.

EDIT: Or I guess imaging can be (or is) done by playing the same thing from both speakers at different relative volumes. No reason that couldn't be tested at the same time. Thinking about it, it should be fairly easy to come up with some test content...
For overall preference, yes, I agree that it was tested.
For a specific feature, like "imaging", that might be mixed up with other preference factors. So I am not sure that "imaging" was particularly analyzed or not. I have read Toole's book but not the Toole or Olive papers (yet), let alone any other researcher's papers, so I could be wrong on this point.

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post #3472 of 5320 Old 07-09-2019, 02:11 PM
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...
Another listener preference that could be run is just 5 more directional speakers with a real multichannel soundtrack vs. two speakers that have wide dispersion, and/or two speakers that you feel meet your expectations. The problem here would be the soundtrack is different.
I assume the argument is that, when playing stereo content on stereo speakers, some speakers image better than others, i.e., present more (or more accurate) auditory spacial cues.

I don't think anybody is arguing that some stereo speakers can sound more "enveloping" than surround content played on surround speakers. Or if they are, I think they're obviously wrong.
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post #3473 of 5320 Old 07-09-2019, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by motrek View Post
I assume the argument is that, when playing stereo content on stereo speakers, some speakers image better than others, i.e., present more (or more accurate) auditory spacial cues.

I don't think anybody is arguing that some stereo speakers can sound more "enveloping" than surround content played on surround speakers. Or if they are, I think they're obviously wrong.
Well, some here may not be arguing that, but they place more value on the 2 speaker experience. Therefore, this is more important to them than the 5 speaker multi-channel result. (Maybe legitimately, because of lack of multi-channel content.) Maybe an interesting survey is what semi-quantitative imaging rating number one would put on a "poor imaging" 2 channel that "measured well in Spinorama", "good imaging" 2 channel, and well recorded 5 channel experience.

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post #3474 of 5320 Old 07-09-2019, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by highmr View Post
For overall preference, yes, I agree that it was tested.
For a specific feature, like "imaging", that might be mixed up with other preference factors. So I am not sure that "imaging" was particularly analyzed or not. I have read Toole's book but not the Toole or Olive papers (yet), let alone any other researcher's papers, so I could be wrong on this point.
Well, for this to be tested scientifically, you'd have to ask listeners how well they thought each speaker pair imaged. I would be surprised if this was done.

Moreover, you'd also have to have some way of objectively assessing the imaging ability of a pair of speakers, otherwise you have nothing to correlate. I've never heard of imaging being measured objectively.

Hmm... hang on, thinking about it, there IS a way this could be done... and it might not be that hard...

What you do is, make a bunch of stereo recordings of people playing instruments at different locations on a stage. So you know for a fact which recording has what imaging data.

Then you play these sounds back for listeners and ask them to point to where they imagine that the sound is originating, and record which directions they point in.

Then you can see how close people get for different sets of speakers, and see if you can correlate this accuracy to any objectively-measured characteristics of the speakers...
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post #3475 of 5320 Old 07-09-2019, 02:19 PM
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Can anyone help me interpret the following two graphs? They have different y-axis so not as straight forward to do a direct comparison. Looks like the Monitor Audio (MA), in the listening window, has a flatter overal response. But the low-end appears more linear overall in the Revel and doesn't roll off as fast? The MA has a significant dip around 4khz and 7-9khz.

This is Revel Concerta2 F36 freq response graph:


This is the Monitor Audio Silver 300 graph (from Stereophile, only shows the listening window):

The other Stereophile figure that you should look at is the family of horizontal off-axis curves:



I think the dips around 4 KHz and 8-9 KHz in the MA Silver 300 measurements are probably not audible with music. They're only a half-octave wide and up in the treble. On the other hand, the on-axis measurements show a V-shaped response through most of the midrange, 150-800 Hz, which is about 2.5 octaves wide. That should be audible. I can't say anything about the bass because the measurements were made under different conditions with different methods.

If forced to choose between them solely by their on and off-axis frequency response, I would take the Revels. The Revel F36 curves are nearly ruler straight through 1 KHz, while the MA Silver 300 behaves less than ideal through the crossover from woofers to midrange. Being a three-way with a dedicated midrange, the MA speakers measure better through the crossover from midrange to tweeter. The Revels have a discontinuity in the DI centered around 1500 Hz, but it's only an octave wide and only evident outside of the listening window, so it should be less audible.

But... Both speakers are generally "good" in terms of measured frequency response, so I personally wouldn't pick a winner without hearing them. The strategy that works best for me is to use measurements to winnow the field and short list speakers to audition. I can usually tell whether or not I'm going to like a speaker based on its measurements. But when comparing speakers that are objectively good, it's hard to tell which I will like best until I listen. For example, some of the best sounding speaker lines I've heard are the Revel Ultima, Kef Reference, Dynaudio Confidence, and Magico S series. But I couldn't point to something in the measurements to explain why I like the Magico S1 Mk II and Dynaudio C2 best out of the whole lot.
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post #3476 of 5320 Old 07-09-2019, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by motrek View Post
Well, for this to be tested scientifically, you'd have to ask listeners how well they thought each speaker pair imaged. I would be surprised if this was done.

Moreover, you'd also have to have some way of objectively assessing the imaging ability of a pair of speakers, otherwise you have nothing to correlate. I've never heard of imaging being measured objectively.

Hmm... hang on, thinking about it, there IS a way this could be done... and it might not be that hard...

What you do is, make a bunch of stereo recordings of people playing instruments at different locations on a stage. So you know for a fact which recording has what imaging data.

Then you play these sounds back for listeners and ask them to point to where they imagine that the sound is originating, and record which directions they point in.

Then you can see how close people get for different sets of speakers, and see if you can correlate this accuracy to any objectively-measured characteristics of the speakers...

That's been done, and done well, with one stereo mic.



with many mics


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post #3477 of 5320 Old 07-09-2019, 02:53 PM
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That's been done, and done well, with one stereo mic. ...
No, I'm talking about science, not YouTube clips.

Like, "we have a WAV of somebody banging a drum 30 degrees to the left of the microphone(s) and 10 feet away".

Make a bunch of WAVs like that.

Have a computer play random clips for a test subject.

Have a camera mounted above the subject that can record the angle that the subject points at.

Correlate the angles that the subject points at with the known-good angles that the instruments were played at.

Probably just start with one instrument per clip, but it would be interesting to know if imaging is affected by having two different instruments playing in two different locations.
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post #3478 of 5320 Old 07-09-2019, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Red MC View Post
The other Stereophile figure that you should look at is the family of horizontal off-axis curves:



I think the dips around 4 KHz and 8-9 KHz in the MA Silver 300 measurements are probably not audible with music. They're only a half-octave wide and up in the treble. On the other hand, the on-axis measurements show a V-shaped response through most of the midrange, 150-800 Hz, which is about 2.5 octaves wide. That should be audible. I can't say anything about the bass because the measurements were made under different conditions with different methods.

If forced to choose between them solely by their on and off-axis frequency response, I would take the Revels. The Revel F36 curves are nearly ruler straight through 1 KHz, while the MA Silver 300 behaves less than ideal through the crossover from woofers to midrange. Being a three-way with a dedicated midrange, the MA speakers measure better through the crossover from midrange to tweeter. The Revels have a discontinuity in the DI centered around 1500 Hz, but it's only an octave wide and only evident outside of the listening window, so it should be less audible.

But... Both speakers are generally "good" in terms of measured frequency response, so I personally wouldn't pick a winner without hearing them. The strategy that works best for me is to use measurements to winnow the field and short list speakers to audition. I can usually tell whether or not I'm going to like a speaker based on its measurements. But when comparing speakers that are objectively good, it's hard to tell which I will like best until I listen. For example, some of the best sounding speaker lines I've heard are the Revel Ultima, Kef Reference, Dynaudio Confidence, and Magico S series. But I couldn't point to something in the measurements to explain why I like the Magico S1 Mk II and Dynaudio C2 best out of the whole lot.
Thanks for the elaborate reply! Yeah, the mids will probably sound a touch more forward on the MAs. Just found another store that actually has the MA Silver 300 in their showroom, so I'll swing by this weekend (an hour away from where I live) to give them a listen and will be comparing them to the Paradigm Premier 700F. I've only found measurements on the Paradigm 800F from Audioholics, and looks like it has slightly boosted upper mids and highs, so might sound a touch bright. But we'll see.

Paradigm 800F measurements (from Audioholics):

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post #3479 of 5320 Old 07-09-2019, 03:06 PM
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This is completely wrong.

It's like if you take a 5-pound brick and weigh it. It weighs 5 pounds. Then you say we can't POSSIBLY know how much two 5-pound bricks weigh because we only measured one 5-pound brick. The only way to know how much two 5-pound bricks weigh is if you measure two bricks together at the same time!

Wrong.

Of course if you measure everything about how a speaker radiates air pressure waves, you will be able to calculate how two of the same speaker radiate air pressure waves. It's harder than adding up the weights of bricks but it can very obviously be done.

Now, whether or not spinoramas give you all the information you need to do this calculation, that might be up for debate. But saying "they only measured ONE speaker!" is not a valid way to debate this point.
Whether or not spinoramas give you all the information you need IS the whole point of this debate. If you can figure out how to correlate spinorama data with perceived traits of stereo imaging such as soundstage width, depth, and height, the size and sharpness of images, separation, density, etc. and also correlate those traits with preference, that would be wonderful. But that hasn't been done, and it's not easy to do. I've heard the hand-wavy rule of thumb that speakers with broad dispersion and smooth off-axis response tend to image well. While that is often true, I've heard plenty of exceptions.
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post #3480 of 5320 Old 07-09-2019, 04:14 PM
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This is completely wrong.

It's like if you take a 5-pound brick and weigh it. It weighs 5 pounds. Then you say we can't POSSIBLY know how much two 5-pound bricks weigh because we only measured one 5-pound brick. The only way to know how much two 5-pound bricks weigh is if you measure two bricks together at the same time!

Wrong.
This is a useless analogy. The weight of bricks is easily definable and measurable. Imaging is not. Imaging is completely a mental construct that involves two speakers, two ears and a brain, (to paraphrase Dr. Toole.) If you can't understand the difference, we have nothing left to discuss.

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Of course if you measure everything about how a speaker radiates air pressure waves, you will be able to calculate how two of the same speaker radiate air pressure waves. It's harder than adding up the weights of bricks but it can very obviously be done.
Take a look at a Spinorama, any Spinorama of any speaker that has one. It contains multiple frequency response plots taken on- and off-axis of the speakers. Phantom images are constructed in the brain based on the initial arrival of the sounds from each speaker. This is based on the phenomenon known as the "Haas/Precedence Effect." This effect says that two sounds that arrive at the same time and at the same level will be interpreted by the hearing mechanism as originating from a point between the two speakers. Placement of non-central images is manipulated byy changing arrival times and levels. The HRTF will impact the perceived sound as well. For example, if you turn your head while listening, the directionality of the image will change. As RichB has so eloquently pointed out, speakers that are more directional should be able to provide better imaging. This is because the initial wavefront is the wavefront the ear/brain system uses to determine directionality. The opposite is also true... speakers with wide off-axis dispersion will spray more sound to the side walls where it is reflected to the listener. These later, high-level reflections can actually interfere with the ear/brain's ability to sort out the imaging cues. Dr. Toole has, at times alluded to this by saying that, if you are looking for "spaciousness" you want to retain the early reflections and try to make them as consistent with the direct sound as possible. If, OTOH, you value highly specific pinpoint imaging, absorbing those early, interfering reflections will be beneficial.

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Now, whether or not spinoramas give you all the information you need to do this calculation, that might be up for debate. But saying "they only measured ONE speaker!" is not a valid way to debate this point.
Not only does a spin of a single speaker not contain any information related to multi-dimensional imaging, it could even be argued that a speaker with excellent spins could have less than optimal imaging simply because it is less directional and it sends more sound to the reflective, (read "interfering") side walls, ceiling and floor. It's also possible that multi-directional speakers like dipoles, bipoles and multipoles could have the very worst imaging because they send so much sound to reflective surfaces. Scott seems to love this aspect of multi-directional speakers. I think that's because of the ability of such speakers to present a sense of size, scale and spaciousness. However, whenever I've heard such speakers, I've walked away shaking my head at the lack of pinpoint imaging within that large, spacious soundstage.

Bottom line, I would love to know if there is some way to measure a speaker's ability to portray a phantom image. But the Spinorama ain't it.

Craig

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