How to Choose a Loudspeaker -- What the Science Shows - Page 148 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #4411 of 5319 Old 08-21-2019, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by krabapple View Post
One thing I'm interested in is what constitutes a 'good' recording . That is, 'good' in some objective, measurable sense, not just a list of 'music I like' , which is what most such lists I see online seem to be. I would expect such a list to include music I *don't* like! It could even include sound effects or test signals records, for all I care. The point is to have a good point of reference. If there was some standardized list of truly 'best practices' recordings, by referring to them we could actually remove one variable when comparing our experiences of our systems.

Is this a realistic goal?
There was a thread going when I first joined AVS that was something along the lines of your 'ten best recordings to evaluate systems with' or something like that. Those are the ten at the minimum that I take with me to shows, demoes, etc. I like most of it, but not all.
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post #4412 of 5319 Old 08-21-2019, 12:20 PM
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This thread

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/301-a...l#post41452329

Looking back over my choices from back then, there two or three that I'd replace with others that I found since I've been on Tidal that I think would be better.
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post #4413 of 5319 Old 08-21-2019, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by krabapple View Post
One thing I'm interested in is what constitutes a 'good' recording . That is, 'good' in some objective, measurable sense, not just a list of 'music I like' , which is what most such lists I see online seem to be. I would expect such a list to include music I *don't* like! It could even include sound effects or test signals records, for all I care. The point is to have a good point of reference. If there was some standardized list of truly 'best practices" recordings, by referring to them we could actually remove one variable when comparing our experiences of our systems. Is this a realistic goal?
I worked as a professional recording engineer for 32 years. I was always looking for great sounding recordings to use as reference material so I had guidelines for mixing and mastering. Bob Katz used to have a list of CD's on his Honor Roll but it's no longer there. https://www.digido.com/honor-roll/

His blog on InnerFidelity usually has songs he uses and discusses. https://www.innerfidelity.com/category/katzs-corner

I also use the Grammy website and CD's that won or were nominated for "best engineered" category (pop and classical).

Guys on The Gear Page (mostly guitar players) have a thread: https://www.thegearpage.net/board/in...-here.1819238/

FWIW, I still use Donald Fagen's "Morph the Cat" CD for lots of things. Very well recorded/mixed/mastered. Great sounding bass guitar and kick drum with ample extended low end, good for dialing in subs.
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post #4414 of 5319 Old 08-21-2019, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Rex Anderson View Post
I worked as a professional recording engineer for 32 years.
We know...

Lombardi said it:
"Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence."

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post #4415 of 5319 Old 08-21-2019, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Scotth3886 View Post
The Larsen's were quite different and IIRC, the only time I have ever enjoyed speakers up against the front wall. When I walked into that room up on the 15th floor and saw how they had their speakers positioned, I almost walked out of the room without listening, but then curiosity takes over. Very very interesting

A pic so folks know what we're talking about who aren't familiar with the brand.
Speakers designed to be used adjacent to room boundaries - discussed in Section 9.4 in my book - can be excellent. The problem children of loudspeakers are those not specifically designed to be used with an adjacent boundary - i.e. virtually everything in the marketplace - leading to hours/days of positioning trial and error if one is not conversant with how speakers interface with rooms, the potential problems, and how to deal with them. Stereo aggravates the problem.
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post #4416 of 5319 Old 08-21-2019, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by craig john View Post
We know...

Sorry for being redundant. I thought it was relevant to the reply and information I gave krabapple.
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post #4417 of 5319 Old 08-21-2019, 02:15 PM
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We know...
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post #4418 of 5319 Old 08-21-2019, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Floyd Toole View Post
Speakers designed to be used adjacent to room boundaries - discussed in Section 9.4 in my book - can be excellent. The problem children of loudspeakers are those not specifically designed to be used with an adjacent boundary - i.e. virtually everything in the marketplace - leading to hours/days of positioning trial and error (or years in my case) if one is not conversant with how speakers interface with rooms, the potential problems, and how to deal with them. Stereo aggravates the problem.
As Andrew Jones discusses starting at min 7:20 for a min or so in this vid. This has been my lifelong pursuit with regards to this hobby.

"recreating a performance in an environment in another environment" and "can we mimic a captured soundfield" That pretty well sums it up for me.


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post #4419 of 5319 Old 08-21-2019, 05:04 PM
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With Beolab 90 you can choose
I know but Narrow is the obvious choice in a typical domestic listening room. Tried all three.
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post #4420 of 5319 Old 08-21-2019, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by krabapple View Post
One thing I'm interested in is what constitutes a 'good' recording . ...
I don't listen to much music by itself, really mostly just the soundtracks of the TV and movies that I watch. So I'm not too interested in discussions of speakers on these terms. (That's just me personally, I'm not saying you and others shouldn't discuss it of course.)

But one thing has stuck with me is Dave Fabrikant (owner/designer of Ascend) discussing sound in reality. Unfortunately I can't find the original source text of the discussion but to paraphrase, he said we don't walk around in the real world thinking critically about how great things all sound, the same way we do with speakers. Ideally speakers wouldn't make stuff that sounds good or even great, but instead real.

To that end, I will say that when I was using my Ascend CBM-170 SEs in my living room with my TV, probably once every 1-2 months they would produce a sound that was so real that I thought it actually was real. Of course everybody has experiences where they hear a cell phone ring in a movie and they get confused and check their own cell phone. Probably the same with sirens. But my Ascends were able to reproduce many recorded sounds with a confusing level of realism. They were able to reproduce the sound of rain so convincingly that I once paused a movie to go make sure that my car windows were rolled up, only to find out that the rain was in the movie. Similar story with the sound of kids playing outside. At one point I was watching a movie at night and there was a sound of breaking glass in the movie. It sounded so real to me that I was convinced somebody was breaking into my house. I paused the movie instantly, grabbed the biggest knife I have from my kitchen, and ran out the front door to investigate from the outside.

I've never had such experiences with any other speakers or sound system. I've heard many sound effects on many systems and they often sounded really good but not much that I actually confused with reality.
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post #4421 of 5319 Old 08-21-2019, 06:39 PM
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I don't listen to much music by itself, really mostly just the soundtracks of the TV and movies that I watch. So I'm not too interested in discussions of speakers on these terms. (That's just me personally, I'm not saying you and others shouldn't discuss it of course.)

But one thing has stuck with me is Dave Fabrikant (owner/designer of Ascend) discussing sound in reality. Unfortunately I can't find the original source text of the discussion but to paraphrase, he said we don't walk around in the real world thinking critically about how great things all sound, the same way we do with speakers. Ideally speakers wouldn't make stuff that sounds good or even great, but instead real.

To that end, I will say that when I was using my Ascend CBM-170 SEs in my living room with my TV, probably once every 1-2 months they would produce a sound that was so real that I thought it actually was real. Of course everybody has experiences where they hear a cell phone ring in a movie and they get confused and check their own cell phone. Probably the same with sirens. But my Ascends were able to reproduce many recorded sounds with a confusing level of realism. They were able to reproduce the sound of rain so convincingly that I once paused a movie to go make sure that my car windows were rolled up, only to find out that the rain was in the movie. Similar story with the sound of kids playing outside. At one point I was watching a movie at night and there was a sound of breaking glass in the movie. It sounded so real to me that I was convinced somebody was breaking into my house. I paused the movie instantly, grabbed the biggest knife I have from my kitchen, and ran out the front door to investigate from the outside.

I've never had such experiences with any other speakers or sound system. I've heard many sound effects on many systems and they often sounded really good but not much that I actually confused with reality.
"Ideally speakers wouldn't make stuff that sounds good or even great, but instead real."

Yep, this is it, partly, but in addition to this, I want to also bring along the environment with the performance, the soundfield, as Andrew says at min 7:20 in the vid that I posted. That's the holy grail to me. And yeah, sure, subs are fine, but I want to be able to do the 'rest of it' with two and only two speakers.
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post #4422 of 5319 Old 08-21-2019, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Scotth3886 View Post
"Ideally speakers wouldn't make stuff that sounds good or even great, but instead real."

Yep, this is it, partly, but in addition to this, I want to also bring along the environment with the performance, the soundfield, as Andrew says at min 7:20 in the vid that I posted.
As I alluded to in my last post, if there is "environment" included in the recording, it's in the recording, and will play on any speaker just as any of the other instruments will.

If it's not in the recording, you're adding it with your room. And that's fine, just know that it isn't the same. That's part of the circle of confusion...we can never know exactly what the engineer intended.

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That's the holy grail to me. And yeah, sure, subs are fine, but I want to be able to do the 'rest of it' with two and only two speakers.
Problem is, you can't. The physics of long wavelengths in small rooms are against you.

Have you heard a well-integrated subwoofer setup before? I'm talking multiple articulate subs (Rythmik, HSU), time-aligned, response flattened, tuned to blend with the mains?

The reason I ask is 2.0 purists like to bash on subs, and it's probably because they've had bad experiences. That in turn becomes their point of reference.
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post #4423 of 5319 Old 08-21-2019, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by craig john View Post
We know...
You do realize that new participants enter this thread right? Context is VERY useful, intelligent people use it.

For instance, in this case it serves as a basis for why his input on a recording’s quality might be worth considering more so than my input (or yours).
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post #4424 of 5319 Old 08-21-2019, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Soulburner View Post
As I alluded to in my last post, if there is "environment" included in the recording, it's in the recording, and will play on any speaker just as any of the other instruments will.

Of course it needs to be in the recording, but different playback systems, especially speakers, do a very unequal job of reproducing it

If it's not in the recording, you're adding it with your room. And that's fine, just know that it isn't the same. That's part of the circle of confusion...we can never know exactly what the engineer intended.

What engineer?

Problem is, you can't. The physics of long wavelengths in small rooms are against you.

Have you heard a well-integrated subwoofer setup before? I'm talking multiple articulate subs (Rythmik, HSU), time-aligned, response flattened, tuned to blend with the mains?

The reason I ask is 2.0 purists like to bash on subs, and it's probably because they've had bad experiences. That in turn becomes their point of reference.
We do? I was fine as 2.0. I'm better in many circumstances with 2.2. When I had only 2.0 I designed my system to 'do it'. Now that we have the common use of subs I designed my system to employ subs, stereo subs.

Edit: Looking for a 2nd time, I think you misread that part of my post. I'm not advocating against subs. In fact, subs allow me to employ narrower 'mains' so more of a line source and with high (narrow) directivity for better imaging. I think the same thing Kal is saying in post 4419

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post #4425 of 5319 Old 08-21-2019, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Scotth3886 View Post
Edit: Looking for a 2nd time, I think you misread that part of my post. I'm not advocating against subs. In fact, subs allow me to employ narrower 'mains' so more of a line source and with high (narrow) directivity for better imaging. I think the same thing Kal is saying in post 4419
Physically narrower speakers do not necessarily correlate with controlled narrow dispersion.

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post #4426 of 5319 Old 08-21-2019, 11:34 PM
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Physically narrower speakers do not necessarily correlate with controlled narrow dispersion.
In the mid/low range one could argue the opposite in fact.
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post #4427 of 5319 Old 08-21-2019, 11:47 PM
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Physically narrower speakers do not necessarily correlate with controlled narrow dispersion.
Given the type of narrow line source - ish speakers, it does.
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post #4428 of 5319 Old 08-22-2019, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Karl Maga View Post
You do realize that new participants enter this thread right? Context is VERY useful, intelligent people use it.

For instance, in this case it serves as a basis for why his input on a recording’s quality might be worth considering more so than my input (or yours).
Krabapple has been on the forum since 2003, and has been a frequent contributor to this thread. I have no doubt he has encountered Rex before.

Also the signature line is available to place identifying information that might be posted redundantly. Finally, there is a place in the Member Profile to list your bio, and another place to state your occupation. Rex has taken advantage of both.

But thanks.

Craig

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https://www.cepro.com/article/harman...eiling_speaker

Sounds like there's gonna be a new in-ceiling speaker for Atmos using the waveguide and compression driver from the Synthesis line. I wonder if it will have an integral enclosure, and if it will be aimable.

Also a 16 -channel receiver. I wonder what RC system it will have.

Interesting.

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post #4430 of 5319 Old 08-22-2019, 08:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post
Physically narrower speakers do not necessarily correlate with controlled narrow dispersion.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimVG View Post
In the mid/low range one could argue the opposite in fact.
Yes.
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Originally Posted by Scotth3886 View Post
Given the type of narrow line source - ish speakers, it does.
Possibly but not generically.

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post #4431 of 5319 Old 08-22-2019, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post
Yes.

Possibly but not generically.
True, but narrow panels ESLs though so I got my line source with high directivity. Have had better success here than with the much wider, bigger MLs, Dayton Wrights, SoundLabs, KLH9s, most everything Magneplanar, etc etc that I've had in the past. Downsides too, but I think on the right recordings the best soundstage, imaging with appropriate scale on all but the largest of acoustic instruments such as octobass, contrabass sax, clarinet, Imperial Grand, etc, that I've had. On those, clearly the A1s and the ML Statements did better, but with slightly sloppier imaging.
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Originally Posted by craig john View Post
https://www.cepro.com/article/harman...eiling_speaker

Sounds like there's gonna be a new in-ceiling speaker for Atmos using the waveguide and compression driver from the Synthesis line. I wonder if it will have an integral enclosure, and if it will be aimable.

Also a 16 -channel receiver. I wonder what RC system it will have. Interesting. Craig

We just got this info yesterday. It looks like there are a lot of new things being released at CEDIA. I can't make it to Denver, but John will be there so I'll get lots of updates and will share them if folks are interested.
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post #4433 of 5319 Old 08-22-2019, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by craig john View Post
https://www.cepro.com/article/harman...eiling_speaker

Sounds like there's gonna be a new in-ceiling speaker for Atmos using the waveguide and compression driver from the Synthesis line. I wonder if it will have an integral enclosure, and if it will be aimable.

Also a 16 -channel receiver. I wonder what RC system it will have.

Interesting.

Craig
Quote:
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We just got this info yesterday. It looks like there are a lot of new things being released at CEDIA. I can't make it to Denver, but John will be there so I'll get lots of updates and will share them if folks are interested.
I'm definitely curious if these new 16-channel offerings will be doing Logic7i (or at least a Logic 7i that actually upmixes 5 channel sources).

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post #4434 of 5319 Old 08-22-2019, 04:45 PM
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Sorry for being redundant. I thought it was relevant to the reply and information I gave krabapple.
Your comment was absolutely relevant and appropriate within the given context as it will be read by some who aren't familiar with your professional background and aren't likely to go check your profile. Anyway, those who make many productive contributions to the forum are allowed to be redundant.
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post #4435 of 5319 Old 08-22-2019, 04:53 PM
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I'm definitely curious if these new 16-channel offerings will be doing Logic7i (or at least a Logic 7i that actually upmixes 5 channel sources).
One of my biggest complaints with Atmos/DTS:X is that they make minimal use of my Wide speakers. Atmos will use them with native Atmos content, but the upmixer doesn't use them at all. DTS:X is completely incapable of using Wides, (in spite of their marketing that "You can configure your speakers any way you want!")

Quote:
We make sound move, so your speakers don't have to. Because DTS:X doesn't require any specific speaker layout, you can arrange your home theater system however you want.
https://dts.com/dtsx

If the new 16-channel receivers can integrate the Wides, I'm all over it.

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post #4436 of 5319 Old 08-23-2019, 12:09 AM
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I’ve been reading this thread from the start and it’s full of great information. That said, now that I’m starting to actively look for speakers it’s clear to me that it’s quite difficult to “use science to choose a loudspeaker”. If we take the premise that the research shows that off-axis performance is a key determinant of listener preference - and that I’m in the majority of listeners - then it’s still tricky. I could choose a pair of speakers based upon published spin charts but, basically, this limits me to a few high-end Revel / JBL, Neumann and the odd other speaker. A fall back decision criteria might be to look at brands that have a stated position on the science of speakers (e.g., KEF, PSB) but that is in dispute with, as per this thread, some models deviating from a brands historical record. Perhaps the answer is to select speaker based on obvious design criteria - so, for example, avoid 2-way dome tweeter / large woofer speakers whilst focusing on speakers with a wave-guide and/or wide baffle. So, all in all, I get what the science states but not how to apply this science to choosing a loudspeaker.
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post #4437 of 5319 Old 08-23-2019, 01:21 AM
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I agree!

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Applying is almost impossible, yes.
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post #4439 of 5319 Old 08-23-2019, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Zydeco67 View Post
I’ve been reading this thread from the start and it’s full of great information. That said, now that I’m starting to actively look for speakers it’s clear to me that it’s quite difficult to “use science to choose a loudspeaker”.
Yes. You can find more data at speakerdata2034 and Audioholics often publishes CTA-2034 data. I think Listening Window might be a reasonable proxy for 2034 data and that's available from the Canadian National Research Council (NRC/NRCC/CNRC) via Soundstage.


Perhaps @avkv and Dr. Toole have opinions about shopping in hostile retail world.

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post #4440 of 5319 Old 08-23-2019, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zydeco67 View Post
I’ve been reading this thread from the start and it’s full of great information. That said, now that I’m starting to actively look for speakers it’s clear to me that it’s quite difficult to “use science to choose a loudspeaker”.
Indeed, this thread has been a spectacular failure at its stated purpose. Kevin Voecks said they would use this thread to publish measurements and ended up posting spinoramas for only three speakers, seemingly selected to imply that the speakers made by his company/brand are superior to speakers made by two other companies. How this doesn't violate some forum policy re: marketing, I don't know. Of course Revel speakers would still be towards the top of my list of speakers to audition if I was looking for something in that price range, by this whole situation has lowered my opinion of Harman and Revel.

In addition to the sites mentioned above, Stereophile measures and publishes off-axis response data for almost every speaker they review. They go +/- 90 degrees horizontally and +/- 15 degrees vertically, so you wouldn't be able to reconstruct a spinorama from that, but the wealth of data is certainly helpful IMO.

Last edited by motrek; 08-23-2019 at 09:53 AM.
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cea 2034 , double-blind , listening tests , loudspeaker measurements , spinorama

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