How to Choose a Loudspeaker -- What the Science Shows - Page 20 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #571 of 5323 Old 01-10-2019, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by SouthernCA View Post
I think he meant unbiased rather than objective.

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A distinction without a useful difference though, no?
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post #572 of 5323 Old 01-10-2019, 06:08 PM
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is there a way to tell how loud a speaker can play by reviews/measurements?

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post #573 of 5323 Old 01-10-2019, 06:17 PM
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Sal,

Is that you or David Gilmore?
David, but thanks for the compliment.

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post #574 of 5323 Old 01-10-2019, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by torii View Post
is there a way to tell how loud a speaker can play by reviews/measurements?
It can be assessed objectively, even non-destructively, and I recall that such tests were part of speaker reviews in Audio Magazine.

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post #575 of 5323 Old 01-10-2019, 06:25 PM
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A fascinating read ... many thanks to Kevin, Floyd and Rex.

There is however one glaring omission in all the studies ... where is the data on alcohol consumption and speaker preference ?? Very happy to offer up my services for any future studies !

Cheers,
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post #576 of 5323 Old 01-10-2019, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post
It can be assessed objectively, even non-destructively, and I recall that such tests were part of speaker reviews in Audio Magazine.

just asking in case I decide to buy speakers used online or even new

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post #577 of 5323 Old 01-10-2019, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by SouthernCA View Post
I think he meant unbiased rather than objective.

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Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post
I read the report but there was no description of the basis of their evaluations, just a few paragraphs of their conclusions. How can one say it is unbiased or objective or not?
Consumer Reports is much better with some things than others. Appliances, Cars, Tires and TV's. Other things are hit and miss. In this day, there are so many different items in most categories, that it is impossible to test all things, but they are still useful for many things. They dropped out of testing speakers, receivers, turntables, etc years ago, and now, the closest thing they test to "audiophile" would be Sonos and it's competition. Some stuff is opinion based on relatively small sample size, and other stuff is serious evaluation. Personally, I think the $20 or so annual fee for the website is well worth it. If nothing else, you know they aren't influenced by ads or free samples.
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post #578 of 5323 Old 01-10-2019, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by drh3b View Post
Consumer Reports is much better with some things than others. Appliances, Cars, Tires and TV's. Other things are hit and miss. In this day, there are so many different items in most categories, that it is impossible to test all things, but they are still useful for many things. They dropped out of testing speakers, receivers, turntables, etc years ago, and now, the closest thing they test to "audiophile" would be Sonos and it's competition. Some stuff is opinion based on relatively small sample size, and other stuff is serious evaluation.
Yes. Even more significant is that they have a particular target audience, the large, general mass market, and I think their selection of products and their standards reflect that.

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If nothing else, you know they aren't influenced by ads or free samples.
Yes, I have been impressed with the assiduously proper behavior of their representatives at trade shows. ;-)
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post #579 of 5323 Old 01-10-2019, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by torii View Post
is there a way to tell how loud a speaker can play by reviews/measurements?
The Soundstage magazine measurements include a "Deviation from linearity" graph that shows the difference in response between 70db and 90db. For example the KEF LS50 shows a 1-2db drop across a wide band from 50hz to 1khz. I would think that's audible, meaning the speaker will sound different when you turn it up.
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post #580 of 5323 Old 01-10-2019, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post
Yes. Even more significant is that they have a particular target audience, the large, general mass market, and I think their selection of products and their standards reflect that.

Yes, I have been impressed with the assiduously proper behavior of their representatives at trade shows. ;-)
They will comment on things they don't buy, but they only do in depth reporting on stuff they buy themselves. Since I don't go to trade shows, I'm not sure what your comment means.
I learned a long time ago how to interpret CR for my uses. Been reading them since I was single digits in age.
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post #581 of 5323 Old 01-10-2019, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Lonewolf7002 View Post
I usually think of speakers in pairs, so $1000 for the pair - maybe that's too tall an order! My ears want more than my wallet can deliver That said, I would happily audition a pair of F35s - it would just take a lot longer before I could swing a pair of more expensive speakers.
You may want to take a look at the JBL Studio 5 series. They list for $1K each, but frequently go on sale directly from JBL for half that, putting them directly in your target range. There's a dedicated thread to them on this forum that you may want to scan through:

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-sp...uaranteed.html

I've also asked for them to be measured as part of this thread. Lots of us owners would like to see the data, and since they're JBLs, the data may already be collected.

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post #582 of 5323 Old 01-10-2019, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by drh3b View Post
Been reading them since I was single digits in age.
I have seen some of them insist on paying for their share of a buffet lunch for hundreds or decline to partake. It seemed awkward and a bit uncomfortable for others but my comment was meant as an acknowledgement of their standards.
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post #583 of 5323 Old 01-10-2019, 09:49 PM
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I quote from the linked review: "The LSR6332 and M2 systems are too revealing of the recording, and allow the listener to hear every studio error. They take the enjoyment out of listening to many older recordings. Whereas the XPL-200A, by stopping just short of this level of detail, makes listening to many older recordings more pleasant than on any other loudspeaker system we’ve ever experienced."

So, there we are, the XPLs were good enough for faulty old recordings!!!!
How would an engineer design a speaker by lowering the detail enough that a recording sounded pleasant? How could that be consistent across multiple recordings? It is late and that doesn't make sense to me.

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post #584 of 5323 Old 01-10-2019, 11:36 PM
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How would an engineer design a speaker by lowering the detail enough that a recording sounded pleasant? How could that be consistent across multiple recordings? It is late and that doesn't make sense to me.
It doesn't make sense. The 'reviewer' was simply stating a subjective opinion. The LSR 6332 and the M2 are in fact, quite different loudspeakers altogether.

The LSR6332 is a slightly older 3-way cone/dome system that was clearly optimised for a flat on-axis response. It's listening window curve actually tilts down slightly in the high-treble.



The M2 is a 2-way with a horn/compression driver and a 15" mid/woofer. It was clearly optimised for a flat listening window. The on axis-curve has a slight rising response as a consequence (as the 1,5" exit compression driver simply becomes more directional the top of its pass-band).




The only measurements of the XPL I've found are from John Atkinson (the XPL 160). The on-axis response show the tweeter dropping off quickly above 12-13kHz. I expect the listening window average to be at least a couple of dB down from there in that region.

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post #585 of 5323 Old 01-11-2019, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by neutralguy View Post
The Soundstage magazine measurements include a "Deviation from linearity" graph that shows the difference in response between 70db and 90db. For example the KEF LS50 shows a 1-2db drop across a wide band from 50hz to 1khz. I would think that's audible, meaning the speaker will sound different when you turn it up.

I've always wondered how common this is. I've heard speakers that don't sound all that great until they are turned up, and I've heard speakers that sound great at both low and high volumes.



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You may want to take a look at the JBL Studio 5 series. They list for $1K each, but frequently go on sale directly from JBL for half that, putting them directly in your target range. There's a dedicated thread to them on this forum that you may want to scan through:

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-sp...uaranteed.html
Thanks for the suggestion, I've added them to my list! I see they have horn mounted tweeters. My only experience with horns are Klipsch speakers, and after listening to a bunch of different models I always found them to be very shrill and hard on the ears. I had a hard time listening to them for any length of time. The dealer said they typically only sell them to older guys with bad hearing lol. I don't know if that's typical of horns or not.
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post #586 of 5323 Old 01-11-2019, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by drh3b View Post
Consumer Reports is much better with some things than others. Appliances, Cars, Tires and TV's. Other things are hit and miss. In this day, there are so many different items in most categories, that it is impossible to test all things, but they are still useful for many things. They dropped out of testing speakers, receivers, turntables, etc years ago, and now, the closest thing they test to "audiophile" would be Sonos and it's competition. Some stuff is opinion based on relatively small sample size, and other stuff is serious evaluation. Personally, I think the $20 or so annual fee for the website is well worth it. If nothing else, you know they aren't influenced by ads or free samples.

There's a funny phenomenon with Consumer Reports. If an individual has a special interest or knowledge in the product range, the Consumer Reports reviews are rated low in reliability and usefulness. With the caveat:"But Consumer Reports is ok for other things they review" (that I I'm less familiar with or care less about).


It doesn't seem to matter what they review - go to a forum with enthusiasts who have knowledge on the product being reviewed and this type of observation will show up. "Sure they know nothing about Cars...but I use 'em for buying TVs or audio equipment."
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post #587 of 5323 Old 01-11-2019, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by R Harkness View Post
There's a funny phenomenon with Consumer Reports. If an individual has a special interest or knowledge in the product range, the Consumer Reports reviews are rated low in reliability and usefulness. With the caveat:"But Consumer Reports is ok for other things they review" (that I I'm less familiar with or care less about).


It doesn't seem to matter what they review - go to a forum with enthusiasts who have knowledge on the product being reviewed and this type of observation will show up. "Sure they know nothing about Cars...but I use 'em for buying TVs or audio equipment."
The problem is, they do know about cars. People on Jalopnik or wherever that claim they don't, once you talk to them have clearly never read CR.
Things that are measurable, they are great at. Detergents, tires, etc, etc.
I know this is OT, but for something like cars, you have to know how to use them. People look at a final score, and ranking, and say they don't know anything because they don't agree with the ranking. To use CR properly, you have to put their reports in context, they even say the final score might not be something you agree with. Maybe you weight reliability more important, or sportiness or whatever. You actually read and research there, you can find a car that might not have the ultimate high score, but is more what you want.
I have found their reports to correlate EXACTLY with what I got in all of the new cars I've bought.
These guys are engineers, not just some idiot off the street with opinions.

My favorite dummy that says CR doesn't know anything are people that say "I had a Toyota Corolla, and it was the most unreliable car I ever had". Hey, idiot, your Corolla was one of hundreds of thousands, the odds are that one will be more reliable than average, but it's not a guarantee. Your experience was not typical.

Anyway... Until a moderator deletes this.
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post #588 of 5323 Old 01-11-2019, 07:31 AM
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Attached are the ANSI-CEA-2034-A (Spinorama) test results for the Revel F228Be, Paradigm Persona 3F, and Magico A3.

The double-blind listening test results comparing the Revel and Magico are here:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/quvk1ffpqw...20Res.pdf?dl=0
I heard the Magico Mini a decade or so ago and was quite vocal about how they sounded to me on this forum (absolutely terrible...). They look pretty though.

I owned a 5.1 Salon2 surround. They were overall good speakers, but I didn't feel they were able to deliver spatial cues so well and the treble left a bit to be desired. I've been happier with the B&W 803 D3s than I've been with any other speaker I've owned to date.
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post #589 of 5323 Old 01-11-2019, 07:55 AM
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My only experience with horns are Klipsch speakers, and after listening to a bunch of different models I always found them to be very shrill and hard on the ears. I had a hard time listening to them for any length of time.
Your experience is valid. Klipsch, particularly the newer lines from the last decade, are ice picks to the ears shrill. All they do well in my opinion is - loud (former owner). The Studio 5 series is a great speaker for the money and is not shrill or fatiguing. I have them in my living room and bedroom. I may be parting with the living room set, so if you are in Texas by chance shoot me a PM.
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post #590 of 5323 Old 01-11-2019, 08:21 AM
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Your experience is valid. Klipsch, particularly the newer lines from the last decade, are ice picks to the ears shrill. All they do well in my opinion is - loud (former owner). The Studio 5 series is a great speaker for the money and is not shrill or fatiguing. I have them in my living room and bedroom. I may be parting with the living room set, so if you are in Texas by chance shoot me a PM.
Not the RP series. I have those now, and had RF82II before. There is a world of difference. That description of Klipsch is no longer true. Not sure about the new reference series, but it is supposed to be a massive improvement over the previous reference series as well. The RP series have been around for about 3 years, and have just been recently revised. "Last Decade" just isn't true.
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post #591 of 5323 Old 01-11-2019, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by drh3b View Post
Not the RP series. I have those now, and had RF82II before. There is a world of difference. That description of Klipsch is no longer true. Not sure about the new reference series, but it is supposed to be a massive improvement over the previous reference series as well. The RP series have been around for about 3 years, and have just been recently revised. "Last Decade" just isn't true.
If they are better, that is great news, but call me gun shy at best. I owned the RF series and they were the worst speakers I have ever owned. I bought them without a demo - never again. I am glad to hear they corrected it in the new line.
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post #592 of 5323 Old 01-11-2019, 09:14 AM
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If they are better, that is great news, but call me gun shy at best. I owned the RF series and they were the worst speakers I have ever owned. I bought them without a demo - never again. I am glad to hear they corrected it in the new line.
I agree with you on the RF series. I bought them on clearance, and they sounded great to me, as I ran Audyssey as soon as I hooked them up, and apparently, Audyssey(I know!) Reference tames the harshness, at least in my room. I tried them with Audyssey off one day, big mistake!
My current RP series, I only correct below 500 Hz, no harshness, sounds great to me.
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post #593 of 5323 Old 01-11-2019, 09:41 AM
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So, thought experiment. If you had two different speakers with very different designs -- say one is a ribbon tweeter and one is a dome, and one is MTM and the other is not, and so on. But they've both been designed such that when measured they have identical spinoramas. Should they sound indistinguishable from each other? If not, why not? What characteristics would still separate them that are not being measured?
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post #594 of 5323 Old 01-11-2019, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by epetti View Post
So, thought experiment. If you had two different speakers with very different designs -- say one is a ribbon tweeter and one is a dome, and one is MTM and the other is not, and so on. But they've both been designed such that when measured they have identical spinoramas. Should they sound indistinguishable from each other? If not, why not? What characteristics would still separate them that are not being measured?
A spinorama shows linear performance. Collectively the curves reveal evidence of resonances, bandwidth, spectral balance, smoothness and directivity. The tweeter options you mention, and others, differ in directivity because of their physical dimensions and mounting geometries. Some are circular, some have waveguides, others have different rectangular proportions, some being quite tall and thin. It is not possible for engineers using all of these tweeter designs to end up with absolutely identical spinoramas.

However, they can sometimes be close, and the closer they are, the more similar will be the sound quality.

Then there are the other variables: power handling, power compression and non-linear distortions. These are not shown in the spinorama, but competent design engineers measure them in the selection and design process. Tweeters with identical domes, for example, can exhibit very different behaviors because of differing motor designs - which are invisible.

Summing up, unless there is serious misbehavior in one of these other variables, the linear behavior described by a spinorama is the dominant clue about potential sound quality.
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post #595 of 5323 Old 01-11-2019, 11:27 AM
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I have not been keeping up in the speaker subforum lately as I have been researching other topics, and well, I am super happy with my JBL590's so sometimes ignorance is bliss

I am going to go back and really deep dive on this thread but let me just say it is nice to have a speaker discussion focused on science and actual measurements here at AVS.

Looking forward to diving in. I have been using REW for awhile now and I will add that there is also the room. I am not sure if this was touched on (again will go back and read) but you can have a speaker that sounds great and measures great in room A and that same speaker can sound very poor in room b. The focus in my current theater room, as of late, has been adding various treatments (absorption/diffusion). It's pretty amazing to hear the differences in a treated room vs untreated.
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post #596 of 5323 Old 01-11-2019, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post
IMO there's some weird but apparently long-standing institutional bias going on at Harman against concentric drivers. I speculate, but maybe this unwarranted bias stems from ALTEC having the niche as the American coaxial speaker company with their (not very good) 604 coax, or because the Urei “monitors” Harman finally killed off genuinely sounded bad?

At all but one of Andrew Jones' stops - KEF, Pioneer/TAD, ELAC - he introduced new and innovative concentric drivers. Two very different ones (IRIS and CST) at Pioneer/TAD. The one exception: Infinity!

It's their one blind spot, and an unfortunate one because it slightly undermines the wonderful and beneficial work they’ve done and shared.
Yes, I've always wondered what the science shows about a well designed concentric driver.
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post #597 of 5323 Old 01-11-2019, 02:01 PM
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Where is the test data on the original post?



The responses made me think of the following:


1. There's a reason people don't trust data if it's not truly from an independent source. Hence why industries fund independent labs to test their products (i.e. Underwriters Laboratories) or rely on government (i.e. NTSB, EPA).


2. Unless you have data on speakers from every single 'significant' audio manufacture, it's useless. I need to know how the entry level, mid level, high level all compare at the same time.


3. Personal preference will always matter more than data/science. And it should! The data from hundreds of thousands of cars driven millions of miles shows some brands are simply 'better' at things like reliability. Yet people ignore it to buy cars that are 'unreliable' because they care more about other factors like looks, and that makes the world more interesting. Thank you everyone who gives 'science' the middle finger and goes for style over reliability, practicality, and safety. You make things like the Morgan Aero, Jeep Wrangler, and boutique speakers possible.
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post #598 of 5323 Old 01-11-2019, 02:09 PM
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Yes, I've always wondered what the science shows about a well designed concentric driver.
Think about it. Rooms are not symmetrical horizontally and vertically - a carpet and furnishings on the lower half decide that. Human listeners are not symmetrical horizontally or vertically - our ears are in the horizontal plane. The dominant speaker arrangements are in the horizontal plane.

Subjective and objective data accumulated over the better part of 50 years suggest that uniformly wide dispersion is a desirable performance target for loudspeakers. There is no indication that it needs to be identical in horizontal and vertical or any other planes. In fact with vertical walls and horizontal floor and ceilings, our rooms dictate that those two planes are the most important acoustically, and our ear locations determine that the horizontal plane is the perceptually dominant factor.

There is no theoretical reason why well designed concentric arrangements cannot sound good. It is a choice.

However, putting a tweeter at the bottom of a cone does restrict the high frequency dispersion somewhat, meaning that shallower woofer/mids may have an advantage. One of the Japanese companies marketed a flat/planar concentric design many years ago. It is a choice.

In the end, it has to come down to good design, and I know of no evidence that one configuration, concentric or conventional, has an inherent advantage over the other. A Tannoy dual concentric was in my very first blind listening test in 1966 . At the time the design was highly touted, and advertised, and many of us thought it would have an advantage over distributed driver arrangements, but it lost badly (See Figure 18.1 in my book for measurements). It lost not because of the driver locations but because of inadequate engineering. Recently, a concentric design did not live up to expectations because of intermodulation distortion. These are specific examples, not blanket commentary on the driver configuration. I am sure that if Harman saw an advantage in any driver design or configuration it would be employed. How it sounds is the deciding factor.

All else is idle chatter.
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post #599 of 5323 Old 01-11-2019, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by GoZags13 View Post

The responses made me think of the following:

1. There's a reason people don't trust data if it's not truly from an independent source. Hence why industries fund independent labs to test their products (i.e. Underwriters Laboratories) or rely on government (i.e. NTSB, EPA).
As I understand it, the data from Floyd Toole et all is available for inspection by any consumer who wants to educate himself. So it's not like it's hidden away behind smoke and mirrors or whatever. The consumer can decide for himself, to some degree, if the explanations and data make sense.


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Originally Posted by GoZags13 View Post
2. Unless you have data on speakers from every single 'significant' audio manufacture, it's useless. I need to know how the entry level, mid level, high level all compare at the same time.

You would of course be talking about yourself, right?


Otherwise the type of data Kevin and Floyd speak about are VERY useful, to those who don't feel the need to audition every speaker made. So long as the consumer understands and accepts the theory and data - that the parameters stated result in good sounding speakers (for most subjects) - that in itself can usefully narrow down choices. One can just say "Ok, now I know what data to look for to help ensure I get a good sounding speaker. It's not the case that all speaker manufacturers give this data, but then that helps winnow them out, given I CAN find manufacturers who DO supply that data (or that I can find that data through web sites that measure speakers)."


As it happens, as I've expressed here, although I value the type of data in this thread as a learning tool about audio, I have some reservations about the usefulness of the data for my own speaker buying decisions. But that's just personally. I can see how the data can be very useful for many people, though.





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Originally Posted by GoZags13 View Post

3. Personal preference will always matter more than data/science. And it should! The data from hundreds of thousands of cars driven millions of miles shows some brands are simply 'better' at things like reliability. Yet people ignore it to buy cars that are 'unreliable' because they care more about other factors like looks, and that makes the world more interesting. Thank you everyone who gives 'science' the middle finger and goes for style over reliability, practicality, and safety. You make things like the Morgan Aero, Jeep Wrangler, and boutique speakers possible.

But if one is educated to understand the data (and I freely admit I'm not technical enough to grasp all of it yet), then there needn't be a divide between "personal preference" and the data. You can note, for instance, that perhaps the data lines up quite well with models you have liked, and so looking for that data in a speaker's measurements will be looking for the type of speaker you prefer.


One thing I will agree with. Personally although I totally agree with the idea that quantifying and understanding speaker design and listener reactions is extremely important and useful, and while I absolutely DO want people pursuing a way to close, as Floyd calls it the "circle of confusion....


...I also don't really want the Wild West of high end audio design to just drop away. I also enjoy the fact there are lots of people going in various directions, coming up with designs that, say, Harmon would NEVER design due to the path their data has led them toward. I'd likely never see many of the speakers I've truly loved, and still enjoy, come out of a Harmon-type lab, and I like having those options as well.
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post #600 of 5323 Old 01-11-2019, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Floyd Toole View Post
Recently, a concentric design did not live up to expectations because of intermodulation distortion.
Could this impact of intermodulation distortion be generalized and incorporated into the predictive model? If an effect such as this is known and lies outside the model, it gives critics support to the argument that the frequency response measurements "don't tell the whole story".
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