How to Choose a Loudspeaker -- What the Science Shows - Page 79 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #2341 of 5323 Old 03-14-2019, 07:24 AM
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How come other speaker companies do not go out their way to build dedicated listening rooms in malls or stores like Bose? Shoot, a store could get some advertising $'s from all the speaker companies they sell to build a testing room with the appropriate testing equipment.

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post #2342 of 5323 Old 03-14-2019, 07:46 AM
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How come other speaker companies do not go out their way to build dedicated listening rooms in malls or stores like Bose? Shoot, a store could get some advertising $'s from all the speaker companies they sell to build a testing room with the appropriate testing equipment.
I'm sure that the cost to do that would raise the cost of the speakers substantially, and people would still by Bose anyway because of aesthetics.
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post #2343 of 5323 Old 03-14-2019, 07:55 AM
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How come other speaker companies do not go out their way to build dedicated listening rooms in malls or stores like Bose? Shoot, a store could get some advertising $'s from all the speaker companies they sell to build a testing room with the appropriate testing equipment.
What do you guys think of Crutchfield's speaker compare system? While not perfect, can it help consumers narrow down their selection?

I could not figure out the science behind it. But if we were to create a similar system how would we do it?

Why not play different speakers in double blind testing set up like Harman has and record the sound? And then let consumers listen to it using calibrated headphones.

https://www.crutchfield.com/speakercompare/default.aspx


For people who have heard many of the speakers included in this system (like M105, M16, Kef ls50 ) live, do you think this system reflects the relative preference of the speakers FOR YOU.


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post #2344 of 5323 Old 03-14-2019, 07:57 AM
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One can only guess what? I thought you used Tidal long before I did.
A list of links. I would have to load Tidal and check each one. Odd's are it will not be a good use of my time. Titles (rather than Tidals) would be more informative.

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post #2345 of 5323 Old 03-14-2019, 08:46 AM
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A list of links. I would have to load Tidal and check each one. Odd's are it will not be a good use of my time. Titles (rather than Tidals) would be more informative.
Or at least the link to playlist instead of individual tracks

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post #2346 of 5323 Old 03-14-2019, 08:47 AM
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A list of links. I would have to load Tidal and check each one. Odd's are it will not be a good use of my time. Titles (rather than Tidals) would be more informative.

Ok, well cool then, don't do it. Too bad because much of this is great evaluation material. If you hear any of it wafting from a room at AXPONA, you'll know I'm in there.

Only a couple of them would have been material you have heard or heard of, such as the Peggy Lee and the Deadmau so titles wouldn't have been much use for Tidal. I knew of little of it prior to exploring and stumbling on it.
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post #2347 of 5323 Old 03-14-2019, 08:48 AM
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Or at least the link to playlist instead of individual tracks

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Tried that and it didn't work as that would have been much easier for me too. Tidal frequently has issues !
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post #2348 of 5323 Old 03-14-2019, 08:52 AM
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Tried that and it didn't work as that would have been much easier for me too. Tidal frequently has issues !
Please see if that works for you - Check out this playlist on TIDAL: "Scotth3886" http://tidal.com/playlist/963a69e2-3...f-3080c1484a84

I was unable to open few of your tracks, perhaps due to regional restrictions

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post #2349 of 5323 Old 03-14-2019, 09:00 AM
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Please see if that works for you - Check out this playlist on TIDAL: "Scotth3886" http://tidal.com/playlist/963a69e2-3...f-3080c1484a84

I was unable to open few of your tracks, perhaps due to regional restrictions

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Perfect !!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU

You have to then go to your own tidal account or you get the non-hifi / MQA, but only 256k or 320k playback

I'll try again tonight to set up a playlist. I have a real extreme audiophile friend of mine who is also into very weird music and new to Tidal soon, and I want to also send him a playlist
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post #2350 of 5323 Old 03-14-2019, 09:05 AM
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Perfect !!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU



You have to then go to your own tidal account or you get the non-hifi / MQA, but only 256k or 320k playback



I'll try again tonight to set up a playlist. I have a real extreme audiophile friend of mine who is also into very weird music and new to Tidal soon, and I want to also send him a playlist
Not sure what you mean with that regarding account and non-hifi/mqa

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post #2351 of 5323 Old 03-14-2019, 09:12 AM
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Not sure what you mean with that regarding account and non-hifi/mqa

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It will open and play when I'm not signed into my Tidal account, but it defaults to the lowest level of sound quality. It does or at least mine gives me the option of signing into my account so that I can get hifi or MQA quality.
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post #2352 of 5323 Old 03-14-2019, 09:16 AM
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A list of links. I would have to load Tidal and check each one. Odd's are it will not be a good use of my time. Titles (rather than Tidals) would be more informative.
Ok, mea culpa, I now see what you're talking about. I've been doing it incorrectly since I've been using Tidal
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post #2353 of 5323 Old 03-14-2019, 09:20 AM
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It will open and play when I'm not signed into my Tidal account, but it defaults to the lowest level of sound quality. It does or at least mine gives me the option of signing into my account so that I can get hifi or MQA quality.
I produced that playlist by clicking every other link on my phone logged into HiFi account and adding these to list. I can see only Ariana grande track with M label there

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post #2354 of 5323 Old 03-14-2019, 09:21 AM
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It will open and play when I'm not signed into my Tidal account, but it defaults to the lowest level of sound quality. It does or at least mine gives me the option of signing into my account so that I can get hifi or MQA quality.
Also, it least with me, it just gives you a 30 second sample. I never even thought to click on your links, as I don't have a tidal account, although I've thought of getting one, or at least starting a trial.
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post #2355 of 5323 Old 03-14-2019, 09:27 AM
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I produced that playlist by clicking every other link on my phone logged into HiFi account and adding these to list. I can see only Ariana grande track with M label there

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I was using the 'Tracks' list as my playlist. I never noticed that one can create as many playlists as you want. Thanks a bunch for some Tidal tutelage.

I have several meetings this afternoon then old-car geezer bois hangout and then gym so late tonight I'll give it a try to do a proper playlist.
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post #2356 of 5323 Old 03-14-2019, 09:32 AM
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Also, it least with me, it just gives you a 30 second sample. I never even thought to click on your links, as I don't have a tidal account, although I've thought of getting one, or at least starting a trial.
Of course one has to have active tidal subscription in order to play those tracks

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post #2357 of 5323 Old 03-14-2019, 09:33 AM
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Also, it least with me, it just gives you a 30 second sample. I never even thought to click on your links, as I don't have a tidal account, although I've thought of getting one, or at least starting a trial.

I'm almost exclusively using Tidal so now I'm officially a 'streamer'. Never thought it would happen to me. Tidal has a bunch of really obscure European jazzy type fusion to almost Avant Garde, but I also have dance house, dub step, Jamaican dub, etc.

What I'm doing is building my demo list for AXPONA and my goal is not only superb unusual sound plus imaging tricks and to get anyone else in the room to go "WTF was that".
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post #2358 of 5323 Old 03-14-2019, 09:34 AM
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Of course one has to have active tidal subscription in order to play those tracks

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Oh sure, but I figured that most folks on here went that direction and I was last to do so.

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post #2359 of 5323 Old 03-14-2019, 09:40 AM
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Of course one has to have active tidal subscription in order to play those tracks

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No, I get that, I didn't realize that you would get a 30 second clip, I just figured it wouldn't work, so I never tried clicking on his tidal links before.


ETA: Weirdly enough, it continued to play music after it finished Scott's list. Wonder where that is coming from? It seems to be all Jazz. Wonder if it's digging deeper into Scott's preferences or something.

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post #2360 of 5323 Old 03-14-2019, 10:01 AM
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No, I get that, I didn't realize that you would get a 30 second clip, I just figured it wouldn't work, so I never tried clicking on his tidal links before.

My 'tracks' list is about 10x this long with all sorts of material from all genres, but similar in excellence to this stuff. These samples are from albums that are for the most part, equally good.

This also is a bit self-serving. If you came over to my house for the first time and you'd never heard ESLs before, this is the stuff I'd play. This schiit is killer on these speakers. So my friend with the $600k-$700k system including Magico M-Pros and the complete VAC Statement line of electronics including the $80k phono stage, who is coming back here for a few days and then driving up to AXPONA with me. He'll hear this on a lowly $2,500 pr of speakers that I paid $1,900 for including one of the subs and a closeout Hegel integrated amp that I paid $1,650 for, and I'll see how he reacts. He goes truly spastic if he's smitten by something so we'll see.
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post #2361 of 5323 Old 03-14-2019, 10:04 AM
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No, I get that, I didn't realize that you would get a 30 second clip, I just figured it wouldn't work, so I never tried clicking on his tidal links before.


ETA: Weirdly enough, it continued to play music after it finished Scott's list. Wonder where that is coming from? It seems to be all Jazz. Wonder if it's digging deeper into Scott's preferences or something.
Yeah, I also notice that the playlist continues on playing stuff that had nothing to do with my list that Vavan put together or tracks that I otherwise had saved. I'll experiment tonight.
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post #2362 of 5323 Old 03-14-2019, 10:20 AM
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Ok, that was very easy to do, so here's a little more of my playlist

https://tidal.com/playlist/2fbaf556-...4-e05cde917f63

Sure, lots of electronica on here including some dancehouse that this nearly 80 yr old is going to use once I get to the rest home.

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post #2363 of 5323 Old 03-14-2019, 11:33 AM
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I understand, and one of the main reasons we did our big double blind speaker shootout was to illustrate how speaker comparisons SHOULD be done, and to prove it is not impossible to do even in a generic home environment. I realize that is a practical challenge, but the idea was to get people to think critically about how to compare speakers, and about why going in to listen to various speakers in differing locales with differing audition material is a highly flawed method for doing so.

It was a (noble, I think) attempt to raise the bar on this particular topic, to get people to at least think about how they might start controlling the variables so that a listening comparison has greater validity. Even matching volume levels between speakers and blindfolding the listener would go a long way toward improving the situation, and hopefully the approaches outlined here and in my shootout thread get people thinking critically about such things. Who knows - the effort to raise this bar might encourage other dealers to try the same, or influence consumers to request these kinds of listening tests. I used to level match speaker comparisons back in the early 90s when I worked retail, so it can be done (!).

FWIW, we had over 40 people show up for the listening tests, spread out over two days, with several traveling great distances to attend

The resistance to blind testing always amazes me, at least on one level.


I mean, if you really care about the truth and getting to the bottom of things, it just makes sense to try to try to reduce confounding variables that we know exist, like sighted bias. I thoroughly enjoy blind testing (well, except for the pain-in-the-ass part, practically speaking). I actually find it really cool when my own assumptions or perceptions are shown to be wrong. It's part of learning. I took classes in psychology and to me the most energizing aspect of those classes were learning about all our biases and how our intuitions and modes of thinking can lead us astray when we aren't careful.


On the other hand, though blind testing is intellectually appealing to me, I can also conceive of why they seem so distasteful to many if not most people. Our subjectivity, our personal experience, is essentially the way we get through life. You WANT to have some confidence in the inferences you make from your experiences, so it can be de-stabilizing to have that rug pulled out from under you by any method that undermines that confidence. That's why I encounter in audiophile circles over and over the refrain "Look, I'll trust MY ears thank you; they've got me this far in life and since YOU weren't there testing a cable with me who are YOU to cast skepticism on MY experience."


Basically it's the old break-down between the "objectivist" and "subjectivist" school of epistemology.



Personally I have, in one sense, a foot in both camps. Epistemologically I'm an objectivist. The scientific method, recognizing our capacity for error and taking it seriously in to account in it's method, is the most reliable way of investigating empirical claims. I have a foot in the "subjectivist" camp insofar as I really love the subjective aspect of music and audio and I love talking about it, describing it in ways that for the pure scientist, isn't usefully reliable. I visit various forums from the most "subjectivist" to the "only the facts, please" objectivist. The measurements-or-bust crowd satisfy my desire for no B.S. and really getting a grasp on what's going on. But there can be such disdain for even subjective descriptors "sorry, if you aren't supplying measurements your subjective descriptions are useless to us" that I go running back to some subjectivist audiophile forums to just enjoy discussing the actual subjective impression of the sound.



I navigate this by, hopefully, constraining my actual confidence level and claims to be in line with that which is, or can be verified, more "objectively." So....for instance...I really love owning my old Conrad Johnson tube amps. They appeal to me aesthetically, and conceptually: the sound is produced by those glowing tubes? Cool! I also *perceive* the sound of my speakers driven by those amps to be slightly different than when I use a solid state amp (e.g Bryson, Harmon Kardon), in a way that I prefer.
Now, there is as I understand it some level of plausibility there, given the way tube amps can react in measurably/audibly different ways with different speakers. But it's also possible that in a blind test with a solid state amp, I would have a hard time telling any difference. I don't know. But given how the CJ amps satisfy on various other levels, and given I perceive (have the impression) of more pleasing sound with those amps, I'll happily keep using them while also happily admitting "I couldn't tell you with confidence I'd pick them over a solid state amp in blinded conditions." So I feel free to do whatever pleases me in my own purchases, but I will constrain any actual claims to the level of evidence I actually have in favor of that claim.

At least that's my approach.

How do you feel about the intersection of our subjectivity and the objectivity we can apply in the audio world, John?
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post #2364 of 5323 Old 03-14-2019, 11:40 AM
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^^That and how fallible our memories are (especially as we age). The stories we tell are just that...stories as we fill in gaps that may or may not be based on reality. I find that branch of research fascinating. Related to audio memory in the context of this thread.
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The resistance to blind testing always amazes me, at least on one level.


I mean, if you really care about the truth and getting to the bottom of things, it just makes sense to try to try to reduce confounding variables that we know exist, like sighted bias. I thoroughly enjoy blind testing (well, except for the pain-in-the-ass part, practically speaking). I actually find it really cool when my own assumptions or perceptions are shown to be wrong. It's part of learning. I took classes in psychology and to me the most energizing aspect of those classes were learning about all our biases and how our intuitions and modes of thinking can lead us astray when we aren't careful
In my case and I suspect others, we don't want to eliminate our biases and want to choose speakers on more than just sound. I love the look of my LS50's and the coaxial design so I was kind of scared to test them blind because I know they aren't perfect speakers and I was afraid of them losing. If a speaker ever beats my LS50 blind but just barely I probably still won't upgrade because I like the looks and design. I suspect many people are attached to their speakers or more likely the brand of their speakers and don't want to take away those biases when choosing a speaker. I think the RAAL ribbon fanboys especially would be shocked if they compared their speakers blind to some lowly Aluminum domes.

People who don't care about the looks or have their speakers behind an acoustically transparent screen should always go by what sounds best blind of course.
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post #2366 of 5323 Old 03-14-2019, 12:06 PM
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[*excellent overview of Floyd Toole's room* ]
Mssrs Schuermann and Toole, thanks so much for posting the desrcirption of Dr. Toole's room. It definitively answers some questions I had from previous descriptions (like , why the left wall was absorbing...I figured it was because the right 'wall' was a space, and that seems to be right).

I do have at least one question , about speaker placement. In my dedicated listening space , rather smaller, far less furnished*, but completely free to move 5.2 speakers around, I typically bring all 5 of them (2-way passive Behringer monitors, on stands so that tweeters are at ear height) from one to several feet out from the walls. I find especially that (at least 'sighted' ) having the front array (L C R) positioned a few feet out from the front wall gives more 'depth' to the sound field. I tried placing them with their backs very close to the front wall, and it just didn't sound as 3D... Speaker distances and delays and levels are measured and calibrated by my Denon AVR (with optional Audyssey room eq). 'Stereo' sources are all upmixed to 5.1 by DPLIIx.

I've noticed both in Dr. Toole's book diagrams and in his room , that the listening-plane loudspeakers tend to be shown either on or quite close to walls, and, in the case of the rear two in the photos , corners. So my question is: How should boundary effects/distance from walls be factored into loudspeaker setup?


(*the lack of furnishing and almost 14x14 square dimensions makes the room, though well-carpeted, terribly prone to slap/flutter echo. I've put 4"-thick fiberglass panels with dyed burlap covering, on the walls at ear height to tame that.)

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post #2367 of 5323 Old 03-14-2019, 01:57 PM
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I've noticed both in Dr. Toole's book diagrams and in his room , that the listening-plane loudspeakers tend to be shown either on or quite close to walls, and, in the case of the rear two in the photos , corners. So my question is: How should boundary effects/distance from walls be factored into loudspeaker setup?
Loudspeaker location and adjacent boundary effects are discussed in Chapters 8 and 9 in the 3rd edition of my book. There are two problems - standing waves (resonances) and acoustical interference with a nearby boundary. The former requires some analysis and treatment, preferably using multiple subs (Chapter 8). The second can be addressed by intelligent equalization (Chapter 9).

Not all "problems" need to be "solved". I don't know if you have noticed in your life, but humans expect sound to be influenced by boundaries and rooms. We have significant ability to separate the sound of the source from the sound contributed by the room. Adaptation has limits, however, so in extreme situations intervention may be necessary. If we are talking about LCR I would be much fussier than when talking about surround and elevation channels. Chapter 9 shows the significant effects of different mountings of a bookshelf loudspeaker. Free standing - away from all boundaries - differs from on-wall or in-wall primarily in terms of bass boost, an easily equalized phenomenon. Only if the speaker is in a cavity are incurable problems introduced.

Just pan some pink noise around the channels, rotating your head to face the active speaker, and compare timbres. Differences will be heard. Do the same with music and differences will be much less obvious.
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post #2368 of 5323 Old 03-14-2019, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by R Harkness View Post
The resistance to blind testing always amazes me, at least on one level.


I mean, if you really care about the truth and getting to the bottom of things, it just makes sense to try to try to reduce confounding variables that we know exist, like sighted bias. I thoroughly enjoy blind testing (well, except for the pain-in-the-ass part, practically speaking). I actually find it really cool when my own assumptions or perceptions are shown to be wrong. It's part of learning. I took classes in psychology and to me the most energizing aspect of those classes were learning about all our biases and how our intuitions and modes of thinking can lead us astray when we aren't careful.


On the other hand, though blind testing is intellectually appealing to me, I can also conceive of why they seem so distasteful to many if not most people. Our subjectivity, our personal experience, is essentially the way we get through life. You WANT to have some confidence in the inferences you make from your experiences, so it can be de-stabilizing to have that rug pulled out from under you by any method that undermines that confidence. That's why I encounter in audiophile circles over and over the refrain "Look, I'll trust MY ears thank you; they've got me this far in life and since YOU weren't there testing a cable with me who are YOU to cast skepticism on MY experience."


Basically it's the old break-down between the "objectivist" and "subjectivist" school of epistemology.
In my perfect world, blind testing would be the norm because, as a scientist, I delight in knowing that a decision is based on data derived in an unbiased situation and with statistical reliability. Think about the satisfaction of actually knowing that you've chosen the speaker (or anything else) that sounds best to you. It is just a really rigorous objective test of one's personal but subjective perceptions.

The problem is that it only works under conditions which offer painfully limited options. For all the SpinoRama data and valuable subjective tests at Harman, they have barely scratched the surface of available speakers that might interest people here and I know that they are not opening their doors for walk-ins bearing speakers. And while I applaud your efforts, I suspect you are limited to the few brands on hand and something a customer might bring in. In addition, statistical reliability is costly in terms of time and patience at well as money.

As a result, we are (almost all of us) stuck with sighted comparisons in the real world but my experiences with blind testing at Harman were humbling. Now, I can never sit through a sighted comparison without questioning the certainty of any of my preferences and attempting to detect and discount my biases.

Kal Rubinson

"Music in the Round"
Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile
http://www.stereophile.com/category/music-round

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post #2369 of 5323 Old 03-14-2019, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floyd Toole View Post
Loudspeaker location and adjacent boundary effects are discussed in Chapters 8 and 9 in the 3rd edition of my book. There are two problems - standing waves (resonances) and acoustical interference with a nearby boundary. The former requires some analysis and treatment, preferably using multiple subs (Chapter 8). The second can be addressed by intelligent equalization (Chapter 9).

Not all "problems" need to be "solved".
Can't help but ask after seeing pictures of your room, do you find SBIR (in your specific case) audible and detrimential to sound quality?

Revel Ultima Salon 2, Revel M106, Revel C208, Yamaha P5000S, Denon X5200, Panasonic 65" VT50, Dual VBSS w Faital 18FH510
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post #2370 of 5323 Old 03-14-2019, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by John Schuermann View Post
...
Front and rear elevation: Revel M106s
Front center elevation: Revel C205
...
Floyd Toole
These elevation speakers fascinate me Effectively this is one more "budget" and also "wife-friendly" 5.x surround system installed in the same room as the main Revel Ultima2 7.x system.

With SDP75 it must be possible to program the setup to do A/B/C testing (level matched?) between the 7.4 Ultima2, 5.4 Performa2 and the combined 13.4 surround system.

I am curious about 3 aspects:
  1. Are the 5 Performas really less enjoyable than the 7 Ultimas? How big is the difference?
  2. There are people (youtu.be/d5_k340af38?t=947) who advocate raising all speakers relatively higher than the ear level for a generally "better sound". According to that logic, even the lesser Performas could be more enjoyable than the Ultimas purely due to their elevated position.
  3. Timbre matching? The Perfomas and Ultimas are quite different speakers, yet here the elevation speakers are presumably delivering quite a big part of the LCR sound. I am sure there are plenty of enthusiasts who would say that this setup should be flawed due to timbre mismatch.

I am also fascinated about the differences in height of the Gem2s on one side and on another. And the fact that M106 are used sideways which should bring out all their limitations in the vertical dispersion. Both of these decisions are quite bold even if they are driven by aesthetic and practical considerations.

No matter the questions, thank you for the article! My listening space also has "open side" and some of the other real-life limitations that are addressed in this room.
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