How to Choose a Loudspeaker -- What the Science Shows - Page 61 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1801 of 5319 Old 02-19-2019, 05:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Demo music video from Sade

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You may or may not like her (I do), but IMO, "Sade: Bring Me Home-Live" on BluRay is exceptional. What a great band she has working with her.

Live concert and video production are both first rate. A visual experience as well as an aural treat.
Rex,

Thank you for the advice. I am downloading to the Kaleidescape now.
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post #1802 of 5319 Old 02-19-2019, 05:44 PM - Thread Starter
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But how do they sound?

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Originally Posted by DavidK442 View Post
The measurements for the Paradigm Prestige 15B are surprisingly poor.





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Originally Posted by Scotth3886 View Post
But, how do they sound?
One thing that everyone can take to the bank is that poor Spinorama measurements guarantee the speaker will not sound good. While one might quibble about relatively small differences in the measurements of two good speakers, these measured results are clearly poor, and could not be indicative of a speaker that sounds good.
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post #1803 of 5319 Old 02-19-2019, 06:02 PM - Thread Starter
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B&W 803D Spinorama Results

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Originally Posted by Floyd Toole View Post
I have seen spinoramas on numerous B&W models over many years. When John Bowers was alive he used NRCC measurements and our blind listening evaluations in his deliberations. There was an attempt to present a consistent timbral impression across models. We became friends and he gave me a pair of the "pregnant robots" The DM-6, which graced my living room for a while. They were a serious attempt to be neutral.

In his absence things have clearly changed. In recent years the evidence I have seen indicates that if there is a "house sound" I cannot identify it. Neutral is not it, even in the top models in the lineup - see Figure 12.3 shows the 802N from a few years ago. The more current 803 D3 is different, still not neutral, having a significant treble emphasis and a similar DI issue. A 6-inch-midrange to- 1-inch tweeter transition without a waveguide on the tweeter leads inevitably to a DI discontinuity. I suspect that the marketing dept. has something to do with the continued use of this stylistic idiom. One cannot argue with sales, though . . . or can one
Please see the attached Spinorama measurements of the B&W D3.
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post #1804 of 5319 Old 02-19-2019, 06:06 PM
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Please see the attached Spinorama measurements of the B&W D3.
Who or what are they appealing to? These can't possibly sound accurate. There are clearly a lot of folks of means who wouldn't know accurate sound if it bit them in the fanny.

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post #1805 of 5319 Old 02-19-2019, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by avkv View Post
One thing that everyone can take to the bank is that poor Spinorama measurements guarantee the speaker will not sound good. While one might quibble about relatively small differences in the measurements of two good speakers, these measured results are clearly poor, and could not be indicative of a speaker that sounds good.
Well, all I can say is that they sounded pretty good next to the M105 and M106. Although it probably has something to do with my listening levels. I stay far below reference.
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post #1806 of 5319 Old 02-19-2019, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by avkv View Post
One thing that everyone can take to the bank is that poor Spinorama measurements guarantee the speaker will not sound good. While one might quibble about relatively small differences in the measurements of two good speakers, these measured results are clearly poor, and could not be indicative of a speaker that sounds good.
Revel founder, bashing the competition. Nice.
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post #1807 of 5319 Old 02-19-2019, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avkv View Post
One thing that everyone can take to the bank is that poor Spinorama measurements guarantee the speaker will not sound good. While one might quibble about relatively small differences in the measurements of two good speakers, these measured results are clearly poor, and could not be indicative of a speaker that sounds good.


Why, though, does it appear as if other speaker manufacturers making what looks like a deliberate decision to sculpt the frequency response? How does this help them in the market given the above?


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post #1808 of 5319 Old 02-19-2019, 08:49 PM
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Revel founder, bashing the competition. Nice.
It's the measurements doing the bashing.
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post #1809 of 5319 Old 02-19-2019, 08:50 PM
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Why, though, does it appear as if other speaker manufacturers making what looks like a deliberate decision to sculpt the frequency response? How does this help them in the market given the above?


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Speakers have to work in a million different rooms. We don’t listen in anechoic chambers. Do you honestly think Paradigm is that incompetent that they couldn’t design a flat measuring speaker if they really wanted to?
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post #1810 of 5319 Old 02-19-2019, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by avkv View Post
One thing that everyone can take to the bank is that poor Spinorama measurements guarantee the speaker will not sound good. While one might quibble about relatively small differences in the measurements of two good speakers, these measured results are clearly poor, and could not be indicative of a speaker that sounds good.

I'll make sure at this year's AXPONA to go find them to listen. If measurements correlate in any major way to my satisfaction, the high frequency rise would have me hiding behind the sofa. It must have been the previous series that I heard.

I've had plenty of issues in what was supposed to be the listening room downstairs in this house. One of them I think is due to the typical low 7 1/2' ceiling in a basement entertainment room. They were great in the old house in a larger room with 9' ceilings and even here they're better upstairs except the neighbors can hear. I don't want to have to ask the neighbors to turn their hearing aids down so I can listen to Deadmau so the downstairs room it is.

I'm where I am below with REW and the umik at the MLP at what must be 40 degrees or so off axis and they're still a little hot. I prefer a bit more high-end roll off I think, but that requires a couple degree of toe-out and that starts screwing with the back wave and my catnip. I got my mid/upper bass suck out (that Chuck heard when he was here) pretty well fixed by moving the speakers a couple of inches closer together. Any closer and gets to be too much. I have seven other pairs of speakers and nothing really works down there. 16' x 19' room so who would have thunk?



and now I think I've gotten my room a little too dead



And my THD at around 100hz. This is about all I know how to do at this point with measurements using REW.



And whatever this is supposed to tell me


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post #1811 of 5319 Old 02-19-2019, 09:03 PM
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Revel founder, bashing the competition. Nice.

I normally agree with you, and don't get this wrong as I certainly haven't been Harmanized, I think Kevin is a hellofva great guy. Whether we disagree a lil bit on applicability of some of those measurements to me and the manner with which I listen, he still understands that catnip !!! And I have catnip getting near the equivalent of purple microdots or windowpane. You have to be at least 65 or 70 to understand what I just said.
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I normally agree with you, and don't get this wrong as I certainly haven't been Harmanized, I think Kevin is a hellofva great guy. Whether we disagree a lil bit on applicability of some of those measurements to me and the manner with which I listen, he still understands that catnip !!!
I am sure he is. I do think it's poor form for someone that high up in a company to talk about their competition in a negative light. Most respected manufacturers won't even discuss their competition openly. Isn't that like business 101...
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post #1813 of 5319 Old 02-19-2019, 09:16 PM
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I am sure he is. I do think it's poor form for someone that high up in a company to talk about their competition in a negative light. Most respected manufacturers won't even discuss their competition openly. Isn't that like business 101...

Yep, especially in the day of the internet.
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Speakers have to work in a million different rooms. We don’t listen in anechoic chambers. Do you honestly think Paradigm is that incompetent that they couldn’t design a flat measuring speaker if they really wanted to?


No - that’s my point - I’m assuming that they are designing a different response but don’t understand why if the results above are correct in all cases


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So a flat speaker is desired in a properly treated room. What about in a real room, like what most people have? A completely flat speaker is a better starting point, but whether you put a flat speaker or a slightly colored speaker in a real room, wouldn't both need to be equalized to some extent in order to get a flat response at the listening position? I know there's more to a speaker than frequency response alone, but it seems to me that a completely flat native response isn't all that should be desired in an average, real world environment. Go easy on me, I'm quite new to all of this.
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Revel founder, bashing the competition. Nice.
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Speakers have to work in a million different rooms. We don’t listen in anechoic chambers. Do you honestly think Paradigm is that incompetent that they couldn’t design a flat measuring speaker if they really wanted to?
But they didn't, and that's the point.
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post #1818 of 5319 Old 02-20-2019, 03:33 AM
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Research has shown that the room, while important in the overall preference rating, has no influence on the hierarchy between good and bad measuring loudspeakers. A good measuring loudspeaker will still be rated higher compared to one that measures poorly, even in 'bad' rooms.

This doesn't mean that all 'good' loudspeakers will behave exactly the same in all rooms, there are still variables, and preferences, to be considered. That being said, I personally would never again purchase a loudspeaker if there are no comprehensive anechoic measurements available.
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post #1819 of 5319 Old 02-20-2019, 04:28 AM
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It's also worth repeating that above the room transition (or Schroeder) frequency (~200hz) it is the direct sound of the speaker that dominates our perception of the sound. So, 200hz-20,000hz it's the speaker that matters most, not the room.

Most of the flaws in that Paradigm's response are above this frequency.
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post #1820 of 5319 Old 02-20-2019, 04:56 AM
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Research has shown that the room, while important in the overall preference rating, has no influence on the hierarchy between good and bad measuring loudspeakers. A good measuring loudspeaker will still be rated higher compared to one that measures poorly, even in 'bad' rooms.

This doesn't mean that all 'good' loudspeakers will behave exactly the same in all rooms, there are still variables, and preferences, to be considered. That being said, I personally would never again purchase a loudspeaker if there are no comprehensive anechoic measurements available.

You and me too. Have been down that path too many times with over 3 decades working as a professional recording engineer. Because so few companies provided measurements and it was near impossible to hear many of the monitors that were suggested and used by other professionals, I often bought speakers without being able to hear them first. When I used them, I often wondered why other professional recording engineers would choose to use such bad sounding loudspeakers. I would live with them for as long as I could and keep searching for something that sounded good to me. When I found speakers that measured well, they sounded good and right to me. It made my work much easier, mixes translated to other systems better and the process was much faster.
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post #1821 of 5319 Old 02-20-2019, 05:33 AM
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I am sure he is. I do think it's poor form for someone that high up in a company to talk about their competition in a negative light. Most respected manufacturers won't even discuss their competition openly. Isn't that like business 101...
That's "Good ole boy business 101" where nobody is supposed to rock the boat even though it's leaking water and being a GO-boy means ignoring it. I view Kevin's statement as evidence-based criticism where it's a lot more productive to couch it as "you know you can do better."

Anyway, your other posts definitely show you've been grinding an axe for Harman for whatever reasons. Any chance you can address those reasons and move on?
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post #1822 of 5319 Old 02-20-2019, 05:59 AM
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I am sure he is. I do think it's poor form for someone that high up in a company to talk about their competition in a negative light. Most respected manufacturers won't even discuss their competition openly. Isn't that like business 101...
Is it not also poor form that most speaker manufacturers don’t publish a comprehensive set of measurements? This same issue is unfortunately quite common in the world of “professional” studio monitors and PA speakers.
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post #1823 of 5319 Old 02-20-2019, 06:07 AM
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You and me too. Have been down that path too many times with over 3 decades working as a professional recording engineer. Because so few companies provided measurements and it was near impossible to hear many of the monitors that were suggested and used by other professionals, I often bought speakers without being able to hear them first. When I used them, I often wondered why other professional recording engineers would choose to use such bad sounding loudspeakers. I would live with them for as long as I could and keep searching for something that sounded good to me. When I found speakers that measured well, they sounded good and right to me. It made my work much easier, mixes translated to other systems better and the process was much faster.
Crowded road. I’ve also traveled it extensively. In the early stage of my career, which was primarily studio work, I remember being told by studio veterans that Yamaha NS 10s were supposed act as a generic representation of average consumer grade speakers. The idea being that if you could make it sound good on them, it would sound pretty good on just about everything. I found this to be nonsense, as work I did on them did not translate well to other systems, which is the critical job of good studio monitors. Oh well, at least they were incredibly unpleasant to listen to.
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post #1824 of 5319 Old 02-20-2019, 06:43 AM
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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
Easiest way to put the opening statement of the thread and direction for it.

The comment about the data could have been for any “poorly measuring” speaker and wasn’t directly at a certain company.

Speaking of which, is there a speaker in the Harman line that is a definite “stinker”, ie, didn’t measure well and was still produced?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimVG View Post
Research has shown that the room, while important in the overall preference rating, has no influence on the hierarchy between good and bad measuring loudspeakers. A good measuring loudspeaker will still be rated higher compared to one that measures poorly, even in 'bad' rooms.



This doesn't mean that all 'good' loudspeakers will behave exactly the same in all rooms, there are still variables, and preferences, to be considered. That being said, I personally would never again purchase a loudspeaker if there are no comprehensive anechoic measurements available.
I was wondering if you can provide some references for the research papers that show that the relative preference for speakers do not change irrespective of the room characteristics.

Thanks in advance.

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post #1826 of 5319 Old 02-20-2019, 07:06 AM
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I was wondering if you can provide some references for the research papers that show that the relative preference for speakers do not change irrespective of the room characteristics.

Thanks in advance.

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It is described in detail in Floyd Toole's book, with detailed references included. I'd have to look it up.

He talks about it here:

at 16m56s to be precise.
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post #1827 of 5319 Old 02-20-2019, 07:18 AM
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Thanks for posting that video. I had been trying to find it.


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"Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence."

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post #1828 of 5319 Old 02-20-2019, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Scotth3886 View Post
I'll make sure at this year's AXPONA to go find them to listen. If measurements correlate in any major way to my satisfaction, the high frequency rise would have me hiding behind the sofa. It must have been the previous series that I heard.

I've had plenty of issues in what was supposed to be the listening room downstairs in this house. One of them I think is due to the typical low 7 1/2' ceiling in a basement entertainment room. They were great in the old house in a larger room with 9' ceilings and even here they're better upstairs except the neighbors can hear. I don't want to have to ask the neighbors to turn their hearing aids down so I can listen to Deadmau so the downstairs room it is.

I'm where I am below with REW and the umik at the MLP at what must be 40 degrees or so off axis and they're still a little hot. I prefer a bit more high-end roll off I think, but that requires a couple degree of toe-out and that starts screwing with the back wave and my catnip. I got my mid/upper bass suck out (that Chuck heard when he was here) pretty well fixed by moving the speakers a couple of inches closer together. Any closer and gets to be too much. I have seven other pairs of speakers and nothing really works down there. 16' x 19' room so who would have thunk?



and now I think I've gotten my room a little too dead



And my THD at around 100hz. This is about all I know how to do at this point with measurements using REW.



And whatever this is supposed to tell me

Some helpful hints:

When you do frequency response plots it is a good idea to adjust the X and Y axis scaling to correspond to an international standard. All of the spinoramas, and all curves in my books do this. As you show your room curves the vertical scale is compressed, making the curves smoother and flatter than they would appear in the standard format. Manufacturers often do this to flatter their curves. Using the standard format makes it much easier to visually interpret what is going on.

Your waterfalls are essentially useless because the time resolution is so poor - all of the curves look very much alike from top to bottom. Look at Section 4.7 in my book, especially at Figure 4.17 where you can see your kind of waterfall in (b) and (c) when what you really want to see is something like (d) in which you can actually see the rate of decline in amplitude with time. The tradeoff is frequency resolution, as is explained. When you see high resolution in the frequency domain there is likely to be low resolution in the time domain. Many published waterfalls are just visual ornaments, adding no new information. If you see a peak in a high resolution frequency response (as in the back of your plot) there will be ringing - it is totally predictable.

The "mystery curves" look like reverberation times. And your room looks to be on the "dead" side.

Distortion measurements in rooms are not accurate - they need to be done in quiet, anechoic spaces.
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post #1829 of 5319 Old 02-20-2019, 10:15 AM
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You guys all know the tv comparison right? if 1 tv on the wall was set to normal conditions everybody would think it's broke because every other set on the wall is set to vivid. marketing makes the most sense to me and a speaker with a rising treble is going to sound more transparent and 3 dimensional than the speaker that measures flat like the tv on the wall, until you get it home. In my exp that's where break-in comes in, we call the dealer and say 'hey man these speakers sound like crap, nothing like they did in the shop, and the reply is without fail, 'they just need time to break in'....so then after the break in period has passed ant the speakers been shuffled all over the room and it's past the return policy they get to sell us NEW EQUIPMENT to tune our new speakers because we all know how important system synergy is right? I freakin' love it. seriously. That affordable speakers can measure better than the salon 2's can probably heard as less resolution/data retrial .
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post #1830 of 5319 Old 02-20-2019, 10:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floyd Toole View Post
Some helpful hints:

When you do frequency response plots it is a good idea to adjust the X and Y axis scaling to correspond to an international standard. All of the spinoramas, and all curves in my books do this. As you show your room curves the vertical scale is compressed, making the curves smoother and flatter than they would appear in the standard format. Manufacturers often do this to flatter their curves. Using the standard format makes it much easier to visually interpret what is going on.

Your waterfalls are essentially useless because the time resolution is so poor - all of the curves look very much alike from top to bottom. Look at Section 4.7 in my book, especially at Figure 4.17 where you can see your kind of waterfall in (b) and (c) when what you really want to see is something like (d) in which you can actually see the rate of decline in amplitude with time. The tradeoff is frequency resolution, as is explained. When you see high resolution in the frequency domain there is likely to be low resolution in the time domain. Many published waterfalls are just visual ornaments, adding no new information. If you see a peak in a high resolution frequency response (as in the back of your plot) there will be ringing - it is totally predictable.

The "mystery curves" look like reverberation times. And your room looks to be on the "dead" side.

Distortion measurements in rooms are not accurate - they need to be done in quiet, anechoic spaces.

Thanks. I knew you or someone would say that. I've used REW maybe three times, and had great difficulty getting the graphs a size that I could screen shot 20hz to 20k and fit in one photobucket screen size without running off of the page. I'll try this again at some point when I have time to figure out how to experiment with the x and y coordinates and be able to screen shot that into one screen page. Otherwise, I can't post it.

"they need to be done in quiet, anechoic spaces"

It's not anechoic but sure is quiet with a noise floor of 18db or 20db if the fridge upstairs is running. Most of my rooms have been around 30db +/-. This room is built in the middle of my basement so when I originally looked at the house I knew I would have at least have quiet going for me.

"The "mystery curves" look like reverberation times. And your room looks to be on the "dead" side."

Agree. I generally don't like dead rooms plus I still have the flutter echo up the stairs. Best thing for me to do is move.

Last edited by Scotth3886; 02-20-2019 at 10:25 AM.
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