How to Choose a Loudspeaker -- What the Science Shows - Page 30 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #871 of 5320 Old 01-22-2019, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by TimVG View Post
@SouthernCA



You may simply want to read a copy of Floyd Toole's book which answers many of these questions. It's a summary of many years of research in easy-to-follow language. It's not that expensive.. You can't expect the man to keep answering things literally explained in detail in his book for sake of convenience. The answer is that it depends. There is preference, application and space to consider. It's easier to focus on finding a neutral loudspeaker to start, than to worry about absolute directivity as a primary factor.
I was hoping that someone other than Dr. Toole will give his/her opinion. Is that not possible or allowed here?

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post #872 of 5320 Old 01-22-2019, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by SouthernCA View Post
I was hoping that someone other than Dr. Toole will give his/her opinion. Is that not possible or allowed here?

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Opinions tend to be plenty and varied. Science, what this thread is about, is not a random opinion. His posts are about as valuable as it gets when it comes down to the facts.

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post #873 of 5320 Old 01-22-2019, 01:23 PM
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It seems that any discussion points that fit within the scope of the following quote from the first post would be considered on topic for this thread and that anything too far off this specific topic would be better suited for a separate thread:

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... The intention of this thread is for it to be reality-based, and to inform and discuss loudspeaker measurements and listening tests. ...
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post #874 of 5320 Old 01-22-2019, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by R Harkness View Post
Good question.


None of my other speakers (or any others I've ever heard) provides a sonic image as realistically spacious and 3 dimensional as the Omnidirectional speakers I own. But I'm wondering if this is an aspect I could pick up on an only mono test.
I think you and I are talking about 2 different things. You seem to be referring to what I would call "soundstage" which is the sum total of all the sounds in the frontal listening area. I am referring only to "phantom imaging." which is a central sonic image that is contrived using "dual mono" sound sources. This "phantom image" is perceived as being located precisely between a pair of speakers. When two ears and a brain hear two identical sounds arrive from two speakers at the exact same time, and at precisely the same level, the ear/brain system perceives that sound as originating at a spot precisely between the two speakers, even though there is no "hard" speaker at that location.



I have certainly heard multi-directional speakers, (bipoles, dipoles, omnipoles, etc.) produce a "...sonic image as realistically spacious and 3 dimensional...", but I have never heard such a speaker produce a precise and pinpoint phantom image. Usually they make a central phantom image sound much wider than it's supposed to be, often as wide as the space between the speakers. With a properly set up pair of monopoles, (i.e., a pair of speakers equidistant to the LP, perfectly level-matched, aimed at the listener to provide exact on-axis response, positioned symmetrically within the listening environment, and well away from room boundaries), a central phantom image can sounds as precise and pinpoint as a normal human voice. Female vocalists are the easiest source to hear this phenomenon.


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post #875 of 5320 Old 01-22-2019, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by craig john View Post
I think you and I are talking about 2 different things. You seem to be referring to what I would call "soundstage" which is the sum total of all the sounds in the frontal listening area. I am referring only to "phantom imaging." which is a central sonic image that is contrived using "dual mono" sound sources. This "phantom image" is perceived as being located precisely between a pair of speakers. When two ears and a brain hear two identical sounds arrive from two speakers at the exact same time, and at precisely the same level, the ear/brain system perceives that sound as originating at a spot precisely between the two speakers, even though there is no "hard" speaker at that location.

I have certainly heard multi-directional speakers, (bipoles, dipoles, omnipoles, etc.) produce a "...sonic image as realistically spacious and 3 dimensional...", but I have never heard such a speaker produce a precise and pinpoint phantom image. Usually they make a central phantom image sound much wider than it's supposed to be, often as wide as the space between the speakers. With a properly set up pair of monopoles, (i.e., a pair of speakers equidistant to the LP, perfectly level-matched, aimed at the listener to provide exact on-axis response, positioned symmetrically within the listening environment, and well away from room boundaries), a central phantom image can sounds as precise and pinpoint as a normal human voice. Female vocalists are the easiest source to hear this phenomenon.

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I have heard and have had plenty of pairs of speakers that do both. This is one and maybe my number one BFD in re a purchase of a pair of speakers.
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post #876 of 5320 Old 01-22-2019, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Floyd Toole View Post
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Dr. Toole, I found this post very informative. However, I don't think I understand everything. Would you mind elaborating on a few of these points you made?

You mentioned that the difference in amplitude response between sealed and ported designs is detectable. Could you elaborate what this means? I don't think I understand.

You also mentioned the the lower roll off rate of sealed designs is an advantage. Can you explain why?

If a ported sub is tuned below 20hz (the threshold of audibility) would the lower roll off rate of a sealed design still be an advantage?
There are very likely other internet sites and forums that focus on this topic. There are certainly large sections of books that do - but not mine [IMG class=inlineimg]/forum/images/smilies/frown.gif[/IMG]. If you look at the comparative frequency responses of the designs, and the variations possible by playing with the driver and box parameters it is easy to see potentially audible differences. However, as I have said before, room modes swamp a lot of this if they are not "handled". Chapter 8.

Reflex designs have a range of performance options with respect to resonance and rolloff frequency, and Q (damping). The attenuation in rolloff is 12 dB/oct. You suggest that so long as the rolloff happens below 20 Hz all should be well. But 20 Hz is not the limit of hearing, it is around the lowest frequency we hear as being tonal, having pitch. Below that bass exists as a pressure, whole body, experience - a compression wave in an explosion for example. If it is there you know it, and it is nice. Movie bass in cinemas is almost always "booms", loud to be sure, but in my experience often with pitch. Through a system that extends persuasively to and below 20 Hz explosions and gunshots are a different more credible experience - no pitch. This can be achieved with reflex systems tuned very low, or in small closed box systems with large amps. In multi-sub installations that offer efficiency gains those are logical choices. But, it is a choice.

My early research showed a correlation between low-frequency cutoff and sound quality ratings. There was no trend based on - 3dB frequencies, a little trend based on -5 dB , and a persuasive trend based on the - 10 dB level - obviously adjacent boundary room gain was involved. See Figure 5.3 in my book. Olive's subsequent work showed that bass extension and smoothness accounted for about 30% of the factor weighting in overall sound quality judgments - See Section 5.7 in my book. Sealed boxes that roll off at - 6 dB/oct. have an advantage, especially if size is a consideration.
Thank you for your response. I feel like this is the single most illumating discussion thread I have ever read before on home audio and it is all thanks to you. We are all in your debt.
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post #877 of 5320 Old 01-22-2019, 02:03 PM
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[QUOTE=Rex Anderson;57479628]Phantom images are CREATED by using two loudspeakers when listening to STEREO material that was recorded with the intention of using two speakers to create phantom images. For the effect to work properly, you must setup your speakers and listening position correctly by creating an equilateral triangle and sitting at the apex.

Spinorama does not show any data related to stereo and how phantom images are created. The listeners in the tests in the MLL are not evaluating any aspect of stereo playback.[/QUOTE]


Thanks for making my point. Let me repeat this:

Spinorama does not show any data related to stereo and how phantom images are created. The listeners in the tests in the MLL are not evaluating any aspect of stereo playback.

The premise of the thread is that Harman's science has *everything* one needs to make a speaker choice. Yet, there is no information about a speaker pairs' ability to "create" a phantom sonic image. This is, by definition, a weakness of the science. Some of us care greatly about a speaker pairs' ability to create a phantom image, and some speakers do it better than others.



I agree that "For the effect to work properly, you must setup your speakers and listening position correctly by creating an equilateral triangle and sitting at the apex." However, that is not all that is involved. The speakers must have the ability to "recreate" the phantom imagein a convincing and realistic way. I've heard speakers properly set up, that don't do this well. I've heard other that, whenproperly set up leave me speechless with their ability to recreate an uncannily realistic phantom image.



This is why I've objected to Harman's use of monophonic preference testing of speakers... because you don't get ANY information about a how a PAIR of speaker reproduces soundstage and imaging.



Craig


PS. Next time do not quote me and then edit my post without at least acknowledging the edit. Better yet, just don't quote me and then edit my post. If you have something you feel should be corrected or changed, just put it in the body of your reply. Editing someone's post without acknowledgement of the edit is misleading, and is considered bad forum etiquette. Thank you.

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post #878 of 5320 Old 01-22-2019, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Scotth3886 View Post
I have heard and have had plenty of pairs of speakers that do both. This is one and maybe my number one BFD in re a purchase of a pair of speakers.
Of course. The two properties, while different, are not mutually exclusive. However, I don't find them co-existing very often.


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post #879 of 5320 Old 01-22-2019, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by SouthernCA View Post
I was hoping that someone other than Dr. Toole will give his/her opinion. Is that not possible or allowed here?

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It's possible and it's allowed. Stick around long enough and you'll sometimes wish it wasn't.



In this particular thread, which started off discussing the science of loudspeaker measurements and how those measurements correlate to listener's perceptions of "good" sound, there are very few, if any people on the planet whose expertise in this exact field of study surpass that of Dr. Toole. I'm sure there are some, and I'll speculate that he likely knows and has worked with most of them. This is my guess as to why you're not seeing many other opinions that either support or contradict the information provided here by Dr. Toole. It's a bit like having Wolfgang Puck over to cook dinner and then asking your sister in law what she'd add to the recipe.



Like Rex Anderson, who has added much to this discussion, I'm also a professional audio engineer with decades of experience in both recording studios and live sound production work. Speakers (in the professional world, at least) are simply tools to be used to achieve a desired result. Of course there are always compromises (particularly in live sound work) but I use many different speaker designs for various tasks, depending on what the situation requires. The one thing that is constant, is that using a speaker with neutral characteristics in terms of frequency response and good off axis response is always the best place to start. That's the big take away from this entire thread. Once the sound comes out of the speaker, it's subject to the same laws of physics as the sound from any other speaker. Might as well start with something you know is as close to neutral as is currently possible, no?
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post #880 of 5320 Old 01-22-2019, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by craig john View Post
Of course. The two properties, while different, are not mutually exclusive. However, I don't find them co-existing very often.


Craig
This requirement (of mine too) actually unsold me on what I went out to purchase one day four years ago in re a pair of Maggie 3.7i. Could get the soundstage pretty decent, but could not get the scale of the center image lifelike unless a mouth is something on the order of two feet wide, and of course, that only applies to me. So I ended up with something that I knew was going to be much more of a PITA in that room to get right, and it sure was.
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post #881 of 5320 Old 01-22-2019, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by craig john View Post
The premise of the thread is that Harman's science has *everything* one needs to make a speaker choice. Yet, there is no information about a speaker pairs' ability to "create" a phantom sonic image. This is, by definition, a weakness of the science. Some of us care greatly about a speaker pairs' ability to create a phantom image, and some speakers do it better than others.
Suppose you blind tested 4 speaker models in mono and stereo set-ups to find out how they ranked. Turned out the rankings stayed the same between the mono and stereo tests. So you test the top scoring speaker against another 3 or 4 speaker models. Again, the mono and stereo tests end up with the same preference rankings. You keep doing this and the rankings continue to match between mono and stereo listening tests. ONLY difference is that you arrive at the rankings with half the number of mono trials compared to stereo trials. At any point would you be willing to decide that you no longer need to test in stereo, since the only difference is that it takes twice as long to get the same result? Or is that something you can never be convinced of, no matter how much it is tested?

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post #882 of 5320 Old 01-22-2019, 03:44 PM
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[quote=craig john;57481980]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Anderson View Post
Phantom images are CREATED by using two loudspeakers when listening to STEREO material that was recorded with the intention of using two speakers to create phantom images. For the effect to work properly, you must setup your speakers and listening position correctly by creating an equilateral triangle and sitting at the apex.

Spinorama does not show any data related to stereo and how phantom images are created. The listeners in the tests in the MLL are not evaluating any aspect of stereo playback.[/QUOTE]


Thanks for making my point. Let me repeat this:

Spinorama does not show any data related to stereo and how phantom images are created. The listeners in the tests in the MLL are not evaluating any aspect of stereo playback.

The premise of the thread is that Harman's science has *everything* one needs to make a speaker choice. Yet, there is no information about a speaker pairs' ability to "create" a phantom sonic image. This is, by definition, a weakness of the science. Some of us care greatly about a speaker pairs' ability to create a phantom image, and some speakers do it better than others.

I agree that "For the effect to work properly, you must setup your speakers and listening position correctly by creating an equilateral triangle and sitting at the apex." However, that is not all that is involved. The speakers must have the ability to "recreate" the phantom image in a convincing and realistic way. I've heard speakers properly set up, that don't do this well. I've heard other that, when properly set up leave me speechless with their ability to recreate an uncannily realistic phantom image.

This is why I've objected to Harman's use of monophonic preference testing of speakers... because you don't get ANY information about a how a PAIR of speaker reproduces soundstage and imaging.
Craig
PS. Next time do not quote me and then edit my post without at least acknowledging the edit. Better yet, just don't quote me and then edit my post. If you have something you feel should be corrected or changed, just put it in the body of your reply. Editing someone's post without acknowledgement of the edit is misleading, and is considered bad forum etiquette. Thank you.
Sorry I offended you by how I corrected your terminology. I put my changes in bold so you and others would know what I did assuming they had read your post. My error. Let me do it the way you prefer. Phantom images are CREATED, not RECREATED. You may attempt to recreate the acoustic space that music was recorded in by using stereo mic techniques or other methods in studio recording. In a stereo audio playback system, a phantom image is created between the loudspeakers, creating the illusion of an additional speaker or speakers adding to the overall realism of the soundstage.

"The premise of the thread is that Harman's science has *everything* one needs to make a speaker choice."

That is not the premise of this thread. It's to offer scientific information that exists to help people make informed decisions about how to choose loudspeakers. Nowhere has anyone stated that Harman or anyone else producing scientific data has "everything" you need to make a speaker choice. You added the word "everything".

Any two speakers set up properly to create a phantom image will do it. Even two different speakers. As you say, some speakers create a holographic soundstage better than others. There is no way to measure it, sorry you feel it is a scientific failure for not having a measurement that will tell you what you will prefer. Speakers with different dispersion patterns and designs will do a better or worse job of creating phantom images. That's about all we can say on the subject. If you read what has been stated here and in Dr. Toole's books, the reasons for doing listening tests in mono have been addressed.

Let's move on from this.

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post #883 of 5320 Old 01-22-2019, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by craig john View Post
Of course. The two properties, while different, are not mutually exclusive. However, I don't find them co-existing very often.


Craig


What if mono tests do tend to accurately show how speakers properly project a phantom center image?


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post #884 of 5320 Old 01-22-2019, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Floyd Toole View Post

A single subwoofer has a big job cut out for itself - room modes can only be attenuated by optimized parametric equalization, and that only works for a single mic location. Automated EQ schemes may or may not provide optimum solutions. The most practical solutions, from the research I know of employ multiple subwoofers, usually two or four. Because of the physics of small rooms at low frequencies, there is a substantial overall efficiency gain with multiple subs, meaning that smaller subs can be used; an advantage not everyone is aware of. After proper installation of a multiple sub scheme, many of the room modes cease to be audible problems, simple EQ is adequate, and multiple listeners get to hear similar and similarly good bass. It is eerie to walk around a room and the bass is constant, tight and deep.
I would never suggest a single subwoofer to a client, but as a full time audio calibrator, I do occasionally work in rooms with only one subwoofer.

You know this, of course, but for those reading along..

You can also control a single room mode, length or width, by sliding the subwoofer down the wall a distance equal to the 1/4 wavelength of the frequency of the room mode. This places the subwoofer into the null of the mode, and the peak normally seen/heard will be greatly diminished. Free way to improve seat to seat consistency also if combined with good seating locations. If the client doesn't mind a subwoofer sitting away from a wall, you could slide that same single subwoofer in a 2nd dimension and tackle both a length and width mode.

But a properly designed and engineered room will definitely employ multiple properly placed subs, good seating locations, and EQ.
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post #885 of 5320 Old 01-22-2019, 04:46 PM
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[quote=craig john;57481980]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Anderson View Post
Phantom images are CREATED by using two loudspeakers when listening to STEREO material that was recorded with the intention of using two speakers to create phantom images. For the effect to work properly, you must setup your speakers and listening position correctly by creating an equilateral triangle and sitting at the apex.

Spinorama does not show any data related to stereo and how phantom images are created. The listeners in the tests in the MLL are not evaluating any aspect of stereo playback.[/QUOTE]


Thanks for making my point. Let me repeat this:

Spinorama does not show any data related to stereo and how phantom images are created. The listeners in the tests in the MLL are not evaluating any aspect of stereo playback.

The premise of the thread is that Harman's science has *everything* one needs to make a speaker choice. Yet, there is no information about a speaker pairs' ability to "create" a phantom sonic image. This is, by definition, a weakness of the science. Some of us care greatly about a speaker pairs' ability to create a phantom image, and some speakers do it better than others.



I agree that "For the effect to work properly, you must setup your speakers and listening position correctly by creating an equilateral triangle and sitting at the apex." However, that is not all that is involved. The speakers must have the ability to "recreate" the phantom imagein a convincing and realistic way. I've heard speakers properly set up, that don't do this well. I've heard other that, whenproperly set up leave me speechless with their ability to recreate an uncannily realistic phantom image.



This is why I've objected to Harman's use of monophonic preference testing of speakers... because you don't get ANY information about a how a PAIR of speaker reproduces soundstage and imaging.



Craig


PS. Next time do not quote me and then edit my post without at least acknowledging the edit. Better yet, just don't quote me and then edit my post. If you have something you feel should be corrected or changed, just put it in the body of your reply. Editing someone's post without acknowledgement of the edit is misleading, and is considered bad forum etiquette. Thank you.

"The premise of the thread is that Harman's science has *everything* one needs to make a speaker choice. Yet, there is no information about a speaker pairs' ability to "create" a phantom sonic image. This is, by definition, a weakness of the science. Some of us care greatly about a speaker pairs' ability to create a phantom image, and some speakers do it better than others.

I agree that "For the effect to work properly, you must setup your speakers and listening position correctly by creating an equilateral triangle and sitting at the apex." However, that is not all that is involved. The speakers must have the ability to "recreate" the phantom imagein a convincing and realistic way. I've heard speakers properly set up, that don't do this well. I've heard other that, whenproperly set up leave me speechless with their ability to recreate an uncannily realistic phantom image.

This is why I've objected to Harman's use of monophonic preference testing of speakers... because you don't get ANY information about a how a PAIR of speaker reproduces soundstage and imaging. "


thank you
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Is it really that hard to use the forum quotation system correctly? :facepalm:
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Is it really that hard to use the forum quotation system correctly? :facepalm:

Yes
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how does ringing play a factor in any of the listening tests/graphs? is this something that matters in the chamber/room?

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As TimVG has said, the directivity index is a powerful clue as to the amount of indirect, reflected, sound there will be. The more there is the more "air" there is likely to be around images and the less focused will be the images themselves. Some people prefer one, some the other, and preference will always be influenced by program and how it was recorded. Rex Anderson has had things to say about this in this forum.

...

This "disappearance" is primarily the result of loudspeakers not adding resonances of their own to the collections of resonances that comprise voices and musical instruments that entertain us - in a word: neutrality. Neutrality is predictable from spinorama data.
Would you consider diffraction and the interference pattern it creates, which varies with position, to be a resonance? It is certainly a deviation from neutrality, and one which I suspect impacts a speaker's ability to disappear and create an authentic sounding soundstage. It's also something that is captured (if somewhat indirectly) in the spinorama data.
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post #890 of 5320 Old 01-22-2019, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by craig john View Post
Phantom imaging is used extensively in 2-channel recordings to place sonic images between the loudspeakers. Some speaker pairs do a better job than others in replicating phantom images. What part of the spinorama, which is performed with just one speaker, elucidates a speaker pair's ability to accurately places those phantom images in space? Secondly, how do the trained listeners, when listening to a single speaker and a monophonic source, evaluate this phenomenon when making their preference evaluations?
This is a good question, and while you got some good input regarding placement, seating location, recording techniques, and room dimensions, none of them really answered your question, because those are not the variables you were asking about. You were asking about the physical hardware variable, the speaker itself. Here are a couple of answers that (sorry) I don't have scientific data for, but others do: 1) coincident arrival of sound waves from the various drivers of a speaker. This means sound from a woofer, midrange, and tweeter arriving at your ears at the same time. This can be further enhanced by sound coming from the same point in space. This tends to be a strong point of coaxial drivers and can lead to sharper "images", but other designs can do it well, too. You could measure the impulse responses of various frequencies, and the speaker's overall polar frequency response, to ensure driver placement and/or crossover design isn't causing interference. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable could elaborate on that. 2) I think it was mentioned already that dispersion/directivity plays a role, but I'm not entirely clear myself on how knowing dispersion characteristics would help me choose a speaker with a strong preference for great imaging. I could guess based on the many, many speaker reviews I've read, because some patterns do seem to have emerged, but this thread is about science. It's not a complete answer, but I hope this begins to strike a little closer to your question. Maybe others could add to it, but as was discussed, I don't know that there is anyone doing the type of rigorous testing that this thread was started for.

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post #891 of 5320 Old 01-22-2019, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post
Suppose you blind tested 4 speaker models in mono and stereo set-ups to find out how they ranked. Turned out the rankings stayed the same between the mono and stereo tests. So you test the top scoring speaker against another 3 or 4 speaker models. Again, the mono and stereo tests end up with the same preference rankings. You keep doing this and the rankings continue to match between mono and stereo listening tests. ONLY difference is that you arrive at the rankings with half the number of mono trials compared to stereo trials. At any point would you be willing to decide that you no longer need to test in stereo, since the only difference is that it takes twice as long to get the same result? Or is that something you can never be convinced of, no matter how much it is tested?

Sanjay, your post starts with the word "Suppose..." I suppose that if I did the test myself and came to that conclusion, then yes, I would accept that result. Otherwise, I will always be skeptical of results obtained by a manufacturer using employees "trained" to hear a specific sound. The "training" may appear on the surface to be basic and simple, but we all know how these things go in corporate America. It has to be a feather in an employees' cap to be selected as a "trained listener." The faster one gets at identifying the Harman sound and then "preferring" that sound, the more solidified that employees becomes as a trained listener. Certainly a trained employee would not want to lose their status as a trained listener, and therefore would try to become more and more proficient at hearing the Harman sound. Pretty soon, you have a bunch of trained listeners who are quite adept at identifying the Harman, (or Revel or JBL, etc.) sound and being able to differentiate it from other speakers that don't sound that way. At the very least, this is a possibility, and a reason to be skeptical of Harman's science. The fact that little of it has been verified by other researchers makes me even more skeptical. As Kal Rubinson said earlier in the thread: "Skepticism is essential to science."


It seems pretty clear that Dr. Toole and many of the other Harman supporters in this thread prefer an open, spacious sound over pinpoint imaging. Hence their preference for a consistent and smooth off-axis response with no sound absorption at the first reflection points, and why they are prone to select those types of speakers. Personally, I'll give up some of the spaciousness for precise imaging. Once the imaging is destroyed, it's impossible to get it back. I can always get the spaciousness back by using an upmixer to expand the sound to multi-channel. My personal favorite at this point is DTX Neural:X. as it maintains the precise imaging while adding spaciousness.



As you well know, I am a measurements guy and an objectivist, and, to be honest, I find plenty of value in Harman's measurements. Unfortunately, I don't know what measurement can be taken that can elucidate a speaker pairs' ability to recreate a phantom image. Apparently, neither does Harman.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Anderson View Post
Sorry I offended you by how I corrected your terminology.
No problem and thanks for "correcting" me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Anderson View Post
I put my changes in bold so you and others would know what I did assuming they had read your post. My error. Let me do it the way you prefer. Phantom images are CREATED, not RECREATED.
That is quite a pedantic differentiation. Here's my similarly pedantic response: Sure, the images are "created" in the recording studio. However, when they are REproduced in a listening environment the are RECREATED.



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Originally Posted by Rex Anderson View Post
"The premise of the thread is that Harman's science has *everything* one needs to make a speaker choice."

That is not the premise of this thread. It's to offer scientific information that exists to help people make informed decisions about how to choose loudspeakers. Nowhere has anyone stated that Harman or anyone else producing scientific data has "everything" you need to make a speaker choice. You added the word "everything".
Let me quote the initial post. I have highlighted some statements that I interpret to mean what I said above:
Quote:
Originally Posted by avkv View Post
Choosing a loudspeaker may be the biggest challenge for music and home theater lovers. There are countless brands from which to choose, and even more claims and counter-claims. Since the room has such a profound impact on the sound of a loudspeaker at lower frequencies, and it is impossible to listen in a blind test at an audio store, if they can find one, there is little that an audiophile can do to make a rational decision. Fortunately, science has come to the rescue with a set of measurements that have been proven to demonstrate an extremely close correlation with sound quality, as based on carefully controlled double-blind listening tests. This group of measurements have been adopted as the industry standard for measuring loudspeakers, as ANSI/CEA-2034-A. https://standards.cta.tech/apps/grou...project_id=165

Contradicting the oft-repeated claim that choosing a loudspeaker is a very personal choice, research has proven that regardless of age, culture, or listening experience, all people with nominally normal hearing generally agree on which speakers sound better than others. Indeed, there is a universal definition of what sounds good. http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=12794 and https://secure.aes.org/forum/pubs/co...ns/?elib=12847

In this thread, we will publish the results of these measurements. In addition, we will discuss their correlation to double-blind listening tests, http://seanolive.blogspot.com/2008/1...udspeaker.html as well as publishing the results of formal listening tests, when available. We will add measurement results as they become available. The intention of this thread is for it to be reality-based, and to inform and discuss loudspeaker measurements and listening tests. The papers that really started it all are now available for free from the Audio Engineering Society here: http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=5276 and here: http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=5270

Then in post #3 , he says this:
"Revel's waveguides, along with optimum engineering choices such as crossover points and slopes, relatively small midranges and tweeters that can be safely used to lower frequencies than typical designs contribute to far off-axis responses that are close to the direct sound, as seen in Listening Window measurements. http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=6079"

and
"All Revel speakers are designed to keep resonances below the threshold of human audibility using the most sensitive stimulus. http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=5163"


Seems to me he's saying that science provides everything one needs for "all people" to make a speaker choice. And then he goes on to quote and reference a bunch of Harman's science and explain how Revel speakers use that science in their speaker designs. You may not appreciate my portrayal of what he said, and that's fine. Nonetheless, that's how I read it and, with a healthy dose of skepticism thrown in, how I interpreted it.




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Originally Posted by Rex Anderson View Post
Any two speakers set up properly to create a phantom image will do it. Even two different speakers.
Sorry, but my personal experience is just the opposite. I've heard very expensive speakers that, even when setup properly, don't image worth a Schlitz. They may recreate a spacious and open soundstage, but again, that is very different than precise imaging within the soundstage. I've also heard very inexpensive speakers that image unbelievably well. I have a set of small computer speakers that have 3" full range drivers that do a surprisingly good job of phantom imaging. I don't know what the property is that causes a speaker to image well, or to destroy the sonic images, but clearly some do and some don't.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Anderson View Post
As you say, some speakers create a holographic soundstage better than others. There is no way to measure it, sorry you feel it is a scientific failure for not having a measurement that will tell you what you will prefer. Speakers with different dispersion patterns and designs will do a better or worse job of creating phantom images. That's about all we can say on the subject. If you read what has been stated here and in Dr. Toole's books, the reasons for doing listening tests in mono have been addressed.
I didn't say it was a scientific failure. I said it was a weakness in the science, which I guess is another pedantic differentiation. It needs more research to define the parameter(s) that impact a speaker pairs' ability to provide imaging and soundstage. Subjectivists will tell you that not everything can be measured. I don't often agree with the subjectivist point of view, but in this instance, I think they are correct. Certainly, monophonic testing and preference listening doesn't tell us anything about what a PAIR of speakers will do when fed a stereo signal. So... what does? Until we can answer that question, the science is incomplete, even Harman's science... and it shouldn't be portrayed as all the answers for all the people.



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post #892 of 5320 Old 01-22-2019, 08:03 PM
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the imaging of lets say my focal speakers can be very accurate...the big difference with what my ears told me was focal has more bass in their measurements. so I would guess more people buy focal because bass is favored in listening tests.

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post #893 of 5320 Old 01-22-2019, 08:24 PM
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It seems to me, Craig, you're putting a lot of eggs in one basket by concentrating on one aspect of an already information deprived delivery system such as stereo. There is a lot of information in Harman's measurements that can tell us about how loudspeakers will perform and the ones that can quickly snap us out of that stereo illusion--aspects that are much more objectionable than your subjective imaging preferences.

Your stance reminds of a quote from one of my favorite authors:

Quote:
And so, yet again, we crush the blossom in our hand, lift our gaze from the tumbling petals, and ask the world, ‘Where, then, is this beauty you promised?
― Steven Erikson, Fall of Light.

Harman's approach, which is now an industry standard, is systematic. I would think a guy like you would appreciate that.
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post #894 of 5320 Old 01-22-2019, 08:27 PM
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[quote=craig john;57481980]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Anderson View Post
Phantom images are CREATED by using two loudspeakers when listening to STEREO material that was recorded with the intention of using two speakers to create phantom images. For the effect to work properly, you must setup your speakers and listening position correctly by creating an equilateral triangle and sitting at the apex.

Spinorama does not show any data related to stereo and how phantom images are created. The listeners in the tests in the MLL are not evaluating any aspect of stereo playback.[/QUOTE]


Thanks for making my point. Let me repeat this:

Spinorama does not show any data related to stereo and how phantom images are created. The listeners in the tests in the MLL are not evaluating any aspect of stereo playback.

The premise of the thread is that Harman's science has *everything* one needs to make a speaker choice. Yet, there is no information about a speaker pairs' ability to "create" a phantom sonic image. This is, by definition, a weakness of the science. Some of us care greatly about a speaker pairs' ability to create a phantom image, and some speakers do it bet



I agree that "For the effect to work properly, you must setup your speakers and listening position correctly by creating an equilateral triangle and sitting at the apex." However, that is not all that is involved. The speakers must have the ability to "recreate" the phantom imagein a convincing and realistic way. I've heard speakers properly set up, that don't do this well. I've heard other that, whenproperly set up leave me speechless with their ability to recreate an uncannily realistic phantom image.



This is why I've objected to Harman's use of monophonic preference testing of speakers... because you don't get ANY information about a how a PAIR of speaker reproduces soundstage and imaging.



Craig


PS. Next time do not quote me and then edit my post without at least acknowledging the edit. Better yet, just don't quote me and then edit my post. If you have something you feel should be corrected or changed, just put it in the body of your reply. Editing someone's post without acknowledgement of the edit is misleading, and is considered bad forum etiquette. Thank you.
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post #895 of 5320 Old 01-22-2019, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by garygreyh View Post
It's possible and it's allowed. Stick around long enough and you'll sometimes wish it wasn't.



In this particular thread, which started off discussing the science of loudspeaker measurements and how those measurements correlate to listener's perceptions of "good" sound, there are very few, if any people on the planet whose expertise in this exact field of study surpass that of Dr. Toole. I'm sure there are some, and I'll speculate that he likely knows and has worked with most of them. This is my guess as to why you're not seeing many other opinions that either support or contradict the information provided here by Dr. Toole. It's a bit like having Wolfgang Puck over to cook dinner and then asking your sister in law what she'd add to the recipe.



Like Rex Anderson, who has added much to this discussion, I'm also a professional audio engineer with decades of experience in both recording studios and live sound production work. Speakers (in the professional world, at least) are simply tools to be used to achieve a desired result. Of course there are always compromises (particularly in live sound work) but I use many different speaker designs for various tasks, depending on what the situation requires. The one thing that is constant, is that using a speaker with neutral characteristics in terms of frequency response and good off axis response is always the best place to start. That's the big take away from this entire thread. Once the sound comes out of the speaker, it's subject to the same laws of physics as the sound from any other speaker. Might as well start with something you know is as close to neutral as is currently possible, no?
With all due respect, there is a lot of people here who have good knowledge to share. Besides, not every question can be expected to be answered by Dr. Toole. While there is no one here who does not acknowledge his experience in this field, a thread like this can not survive with only him answering all the questions. I don't think he has that kind of time. So let him answer the question that he feels need his response and others answer questions based on their expertise, experience and knowledge.

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post #896 of 5320 Old 01-22-2019, 08:57 PM
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I think its Doc Floyds passion to answer...its what he spent his life about. I appreciate it. I also like discussion and even arguments (was a logic major back in day along with math and physics). stimulation of the mind is important.
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Originally Posted by Soulburner View Post
This is a good question, and while you got some good input regarding placement, seating location, recording techniques, and room dimensions, none of them really answered your question, because those are not the variables you were asking about. You were asking about the physical hardware variable, the speaker itself. Here are a couple of answers that (sorry) I don't have scientific data for, but others do: 1) coincident arrival of sound waves from the various drivers of a speaker. This means sound from a woofer, midrange, and tweeter arriving at your ears at the same time. This tends to be a strong point of coaxial drivers and can lead to sharper "images", but other designs can do it well, too. You could measure the impulse responses of various frequencies, and the speaker's overall polar frequency response, to ensure driver placement and/or crossover design isn't causing interference. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable could elaborate on that. 2) I think it was mentioned already that dispersion/directivity plays a role, but I'm not entirely clear myself on how knowing dispersion characteristics would help me choose a speaker with a strong preference for great imaging. I could guess based on the many, many speaker reviews I've read, because some patterns do seem to have emerged, but this thread is about science. It's not a complete answer, but I hope this begins to strike a little closer to your question. Maybe others could add to it, but as was discussed, I don't know that there is anyone doing the type of rigorous testing that this thread was started for.
Thank you. This does help to illuminate the topic further for me.

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post #898 of 5320 Old 01-23-2019, 01:15 AM
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Originally Posted by SouthernCA View Post
Thank you. This does help to illuminate the topic further for me.

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Another thing to add perhaps. As explained before, loudspeakers of wider dispersion will introduce a more spacial aspect to the reproduction as stronger reflected sounds are introduced. Crosstalk interference could very well be a detrimental side effect in certain environments with regards to pinpoint imaging and a solid phantom image, as opposed to speakers that disperse sound in a narrower beam. That being said, in a proper environment with proper position, there is no reason why any set of speakers would fail in this regard as explained by Rex A. Although different speakers can potentially introduce different results, as per the directivity index.

An experiment one could undertake with speakers of wide dispersion:



Be sure to use an absorber of sufficient thickness (4-5" of rockwool for instance)
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post #899 of 5320 Old 01-23-2019, 04:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floyd Toole View Post
Folks who sell room treatments talk as though good sound is impossible without it, sometimes a lot of it. If you start with an empty room, as in a dedicated home theater, there is no doubt that treatment is necessary to bring the room acoustics to a desirable level. If the room is carpeted, furnished with chairs, sofas, paraphernalia of life, including some drapes, nothing further may be necessary. So, it depends . . . I discuss some of this in the companion website to my book, which is open access: www.routledge.com/cw/toole.

My book is full of commentary on room EQ, much of it negative, except for the bass, where it I almost essential. Full bandwidth EQ, as frequently practised, is capable of degrading the sound from well designed loudspeakers. When I was teaching acoustics to CEDIA classes of installers I would ask the question about room acoustics. In those days, up to 2 years ago, the answer was predominantly "off". I still claim that EQ is useful at low frequencies, especially when combined with the proper use of multiple subs - no bass traps necessary, although they do no harm, except to the visual environment. See Chapter 8 in my book for full details. This paper has most of the "technical" arguments: Toole, F. E. (2015). “The Measurement and Calibration of Sound Reproducing Systems”, J. Audio Eng. Soc., vol. 63, pp.512-541. This is an open-access paper available to non-members at www.aes.org. http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=17839
Maybe the highlighted sentence ^^ is a qualifier? As a Harman dealer, I recently finished a 2 day in depth seminar on room correction. There certainly is a POV which you reshared above where you don't want to AutoEQ correct above the Schroeder frequency. In the training, other experts suggest otherwise. for instance the op Kevin V, Nick Clarke (director of Engineering of Arcam who is an absolute PRO at setting up rooms) as well as Revel's head calibration expert all said to EQ full range on all speakers (and crossover at 80 Hz).

Thoughts? I get the feeling that this topic isn't black or white. Thanks for sharing.

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post #900 of 5320 Old 01-23-2019, 05:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonewolf7002 View Post
Around Christmas I saw a pair of Polk RTi A9 speakers on sale for about 70% off. Reading up on these I often found the comment that the speakers were "good for movies, not good for music". I've always felt a good speaker should be good for everything so when I hear comments like that I assume the speakers have a lot of colouration to them. I haven't come across good measurements for those speakers so based on the comments I left them alone.
I'm on my 5th bag of popcorn and still not to the last page on this thread.

I've had multi thousands of conversations with customers. Allow me to translate what some people mean. For starters, it is a universal fact that a lousy speaker for music will be a lousy speaker for theater as well as the other way around. But there are some speakers that audiophiles consider "amazing" but are problematic for theater. As an example, lets pick on my home state of MN and Magnapan's. The ribbon speakers give a (false??) perception of "depth". Music hits the front wall because the rear sound waves are not restricted. In fact (correct me if I am wrong Kevin), that was the purpose of putting a rear firing tweeter in your 1st generation of the Revel Ultima series.

I suppose if someone wants to listen to Diana Krall 24-7 or any other "low duty cycle" relaxed style of music, the Maggie might be their cup of tea. But their weakness is "throwing air" or overall impact which is needed for a great theater experience. More ever, their horizontal center channel sounds anemic. So what do people say? To invert your POV: "It's good for music, not so good for theater." In fact, I've never a great Magnapan theater demo and I've been at this for 22 years and have heard literally hundreds of rooms. So their qualified (24-7 Diana Krall) they think they have the cats meow in stereo reproduction.

The other way around can also partially be explained: "Good for movies, not good for music". The reason why Revel tests with one speaker is because it is easier to hear differences with one speaker versus two; let alone 11 speaker. So a "fairly" neutral speaker with a few minor problems won't show the differences as easy in theater as compared to stereo listening. Same same with differences in electronics. Let's pick on Marantz. A 7705 will sound much closer to an 8805 in theater than it will in stereo.

I'm in agreement that the phrase "good for movies, not good for music" is flawed. But that's why some make this comment.
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