How to Choose a Loudspeaker -- What the Science Shows - Page 95 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #2821 of 4435 Old 05-10-2019, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Scotth3886 View Post
Finding the 'acoustic' center of the room isn't necessarily the physical center of the room.
This makes sense if you're trying to diminish excitation of room modes. The more symmetrical the setup, the more the same modes will be excited in a rectangular room.
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post #2822 of 4435 Old 05-10-2019, 08:31 AM
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If anyone is looking for a fun setup for their PC, I can recommend the Kanto YU2s with a Kanto Sub8. The YU2s are not flat in the bass by any means, but the "Beats" generation curve is easily ironed out with something like Equalizer APO. Fairly cheap setup, small foot print, and sound great once a modest curve is applied from 63-400hz.

As a point of reference, the other desktop speaker I tried was the Audio Engine A5. That one went back to the seller pretty quick...

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post #2823 of 4435 Old 05-10-2019, 09:09 AM
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Back to science?

Distortion is probably underrated in this thread. Most of this thread's focus has been on and off axis frequency response and resonances, and rightly so, because most speakers don't even get this right. However, as mentioned in this thread, that's only a good starting point for a good sounding speaker. Bad performance in these measurements will be indicative of a bad speaker, but among speakers that get this right, there are still sound quality differences that are not explained by the frequency response charts.

Case in point is the M2 vs Salon2 shootout between two speakers with excellent spinorama measurements. The Salon2 destroyed the M2 by 73% average A/B preference and 8.40 to 7.18 average preference scores, even though the M2's measurements look at least as good as the Salon2's, if not better. Spinoramas did not explain differences among these two high achievers.

Of course, the measurements among these speakers are not completely identical, so perhaps there are still signals that can be extracted in their minor variations from one another that could further explain differences. Barring that, we have to look at aspects of speaker performance that are not captured by these plots. Frequency response plots capture only linear behavior, so nonlinear distortions such as THD and IMD are not reflected. When the speaker's frequency response is broken, distortion is probably the lesser offender, but among speakers that have good frequency response, I'm not convinced that distortion can be ignored. Previous studies have shown high tolerance thresholds due to musical masking. However, that does not mean distortion is solved. Two reasons I can think of:

1. THD is not a good measurement of distortion that correlates with human perception. More recently work using more complex stimulus than single tones and more complex analyses have yielded metrics of nonlinear distortion that better correlate with perception. There's the perceptual model based metrics PEAQ and Tan et al 2004.

2. My own hypothesis is that we also have to consider off axis distribution of distortion, just as we look at off axis frequency response. Most previous experiments have experimented with perceptual correlations by adding distortion into the signal. This means the distortion takes on the same dispersion as the rest of the content when played by a loudspeaker. Masking makes sense in this case since all we're doing is introducing harmonics and other distortions that are similar to those that occur naturally in the recorded music anyway. However, for loudspeakers, if the source of distortion is from a vibrating side panel, the distortion may be strongest at 90 degrees off axis. That's a sound field that cannot be duplicated by any distortions of the source signal. My guess is off-axis distortion is what causes some loudspeakers not to "disappear" and to sound "small", even when they have excellent on and off axis frequency response measurements.

One example is a speaker I've heard that had near perfect spinorama measurements but sounded chesty in the lower midrange, resulting in a somewhat small and colored sound. Standing next to the speaker and hearing the sound emanating from the flimsy side panel made me think that was a likely cause.
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post #2824 of 4435 Old 05-14-2019, 03:13 PM
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I H8 that avs rotated my phone pic on the upload

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Let's try that again.
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post #2828 of 4435 Old 05-15-2019, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by neutralguy View Post
Back to science?

Distortion is probably underrated in this thread. Most of this thread's focus has been on and off axis frequency response and resonances, and rightly so, because most speakers don't even get this right. However, as mentioned in this thread, that's only a good starting point for a good sounding speaker. Bad performance in these measurements will be indicative of a bad speaker, but among speakers that get this right, there are still sound quality differences that are not explained by the frequency response charts.

Case in point is the M2 vs Salon2 shootout between two speakers with excellent spinorama measurements. The Salon2 destroyed the M2 by 73% average A/B preference and 8.40 to 7.18 average preference scores, even though the M2's measurements look at least as good as the Salon2's, if not better. Spinoramas did not explain differences among these two high achievers.

Of course, the measurements among these speakers are not completely identical, so perhaps there are still signals that can be extracted in their minor variations from one another that could further explain differences. Barring that, we have to look at aspects of speaker performance that are not captured by these plots. Frequency response plots capture only linear behavior, so nonlinear distortions such as THD and IMD are not reflected. When the speaker's frequency response is broken, distortion is probably the lesser offender, but among speakers that have good frequency response, I'm not convinced that distortion can be ignored. Previous studies have shown high tolerance thresholds due to musical masking. However, that does not mean distortion is solved. Two reasons I can think of:

1. THD is not a good measurement of distortion that correlates with human perception. More recently work using more complex stimulus than single tones and more complex analyses have yielded metrics of nonlinear distortion that better correlate with perception. There's the perceptual model based metrics PEAQ and Tan et al 2004.

2. My own hypothesis is that we also have to consider off axis distribution of distortion, just as we look at off axis frequency response. Most previous experiments have experimented with perceptual correlations by adding distortion into the signal. This means the distortion takes on the same dispersion as the rest of the content when played by a loudspeaker. Masking makes sense in this case since all we're doing is introducing harmonics and other distortions that are similar to those that occur naturally in the recorded music anyway. However, for loudspeakers, if the source of distortion is from a vibrating side panel, the distortion may be strongest at 90 degrees off axis. That's a sound field that cannot be duplicated by any distortions of the source signal. My guess is off-axis distortion is what causes some loudspeakers not to "disappear" and to sound "small", even when they have excellent on and off axis frequency response measurements.

One example is a speaker I've heard that had near perfect spinorama measurements but sounded chesty in the lower midrange, resulting in a somewhat small and colored sound. Standing next to the speaker and hearing the sound emanating from the flimsy side panel made me think that was a likely cause.
It is always the story with measurements and engineering - the only things that matter to engineers and numerous tests sponsored by engineers are always the things that can be measured and known how to be corrected (or sometimes known and cheap enough to be corrected). As soon as "perfection" reached there is soon another factor discovered (or already known but made cheaper to correct by more large scale or just progress) and the circle continues.
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post #2829 of 4435 Old 05-15-2019, 09:44 AM
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It is always the story with measurements and engineering - the only things that matter to engineers and numerous tests sponsored by engineers are always the things that can be measured and known how to be corrected. As soon as "perfection" reached there is soon another factor discovered and the circle continues.
It ain’t over until the fat lady sings (and sounds real)...
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post #2830 of 4435 Old 05-15-2019, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by neutralguy View Post

Case in point is the M2 vs Salon2 shootout between two speakers with excellent spinorama measurements. The Salon2 destroyed the M2 by 73% average A/B preference and 8.40 to 7.18 average preference scores, even though the M2's measurements look at least as good as the Salon2's, if not better. Spinoramas did not explain differences among these two high achievers.
The Salon2 and M2 spinoramas show significantly different dispersion characteristics: you can tell from the spins that they will not sound the same in a normally reflective room. In the shootout, listeners preferred the speaker with broader dispersion, i.e. the one producing a greater proportion of reflected to direct sound.

The M2’s better performance in the on-axis and listening window curves is not subjectively significant, since both speakers’ deviations from the ideal in those curves are below the threshold of audibility. Floyd Toole commented on this point earlier in the thread: https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-sp...l#post57359530
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post #2831 of 4435 Old 05-15-2019, 04:28 PM
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In the shootout, listeners preferred the speaker with broader dispersion, i.e. the one producing a greater proportion of reflected to direct sound.
We can't be sure that difference in measured dispersion between the two speakers are what caused the difference in perception of "dispersion". I note that absolute dispersion levels are not mentioned as being part of the prediction model in section 5.7.1 of this thread's favorite book, which list only "flatness" and "smoothness" as dominant factors.
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post #2832 of 4435 Old 05-15-2019, 04:52 PM
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In the shootout, listeners preferred the speaker with broader dispersion, i.e. the one producing a greater proportion of reflected to direct sound.
Yup, listeners tend to prefer spaciousness. Wolfgang Klippel did experiments three decades back comparing a narrow dispersion speaker versus a wide dispersion speaker with poor off-axis response. The latter was preferred because listeners were craving a feeling of space so much that they were willing to take a flawed version rather than none at all.
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post #2833 of 4435 Old 05-15-2019, 09:21 PM
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M2 measured by third party is not very flat on-axis and on polar graphs it starts to beam after 10 kHz.
Anyone has independant measurements of salon2?
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post #2834 of 4435 Old 05-16-2019, 04:31 AM
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M2 measured by third party is not very flat on-axis and on polar graphs it starts to beam after 10 kHz.
Can you post those 3rd party measurements? It is important to know the environment in which the 3rd party measurements were taken. If they're in-room measurements, they have a lot less value than anechoic measurements.
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post #2835 of 4435 Old 05-16-2019, 06:24 AM
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Back to science?

Distortion is probably underrated in this thread. Most of this thread's focus has been on and off axis frequency response and resonances, and rightly so, because most speakers don't even get this right. However, as mentioned in this thread, that's only a good starting point for a good sounding speaker. Bad performance in these measurements will be indicative of a bad speaker, but among speakers that get this right, there are still sound quality differences that are not explained by the frequency response charts.

Case in point is the M2 vs Salon2 shootout between two speakers with excellent spinorama measurements. The Salon2 destroyed the M2 by 73% average A/B preference and 8.40 to 7.18 average preference scores, even though the M2's measurements look at least as good as the Salon2's, if not better. Spinoramas did not explain differences among these two high achievers.
I get the point you're trying to make, but when comparing the M2 and Salon2, there's enough information in the spinorama alone to understand why they sound different. These two speakers are like an apple and an orange. Both have "good" frequency response measurements, but you're comparing a controlled directivity speaker designed for very high output with a conventional home hi-fi speaker.

The M2 becomes more directional than the Salon2 beginning above 100 Hz and remains more directional all the way up to 10 KHz. In a typical non-treated or minimally-treated room, the perceived tonal balance is determined more by the power response than the on-axis frequency response. Compared to the Salon2, the power response of the M2 has a steeper downward slope through most of the midrange. Also, the M2 transitions from increasing directivity to constant directivity around its crossover point of 800 Hz, producing a discontinuity in the DI (and change of slope in the power response) right in the midrange. In comparison, the DI of the Salon2 doesn't change much at the woofer to midrange crossover point around 500 Hz. It follows a fairly constant slope representing a gently increasing directivity up to its mid/tweet crossover. I suspect that if I listened to them back to back, I would find the Salon2 to be subjectively more "neutral" in the critical midrange. Also, the Salon2 has an off-axis dip where the mid crosses to the tweet, centered around 2.2-2.3k, which is subjectively favored by many listeners.

Quote:
Of course, the measurements among these speakers are not completely identical, so perhaps there are still signals that can be extracted in their minor variations from one another that could further explain differences. Barring that, we have to look at aspects of speaker performance that are not captured by these plots. Frequency response plots capture only linear behavior, so nonlinear distortions such as THD and IMD are not reflected. When the speaker's frequency response is broken, distortion is probably the lesser offender, but among speakers that have good frequency response, I'm not convinced that distortion can be ignored. Previous studies have shown high tolerance thresholds due to musical masking. However, that does not mean distortion is solved. Two reasons I can think of:

1. THD is not a good measurement of distortion that correlates with human perception. More recently work using more complex stimulus than single tones and more complex analyses have yielded metrics of nonlinear distortion that better correlate with perception. There's the perceptual model based metrics PEAQ and Tan et al 2004.

2. My own hypothesis is that we also have to consider off axis distribution of distortion, just as we look at off axis frequency response. Most previous experiments have experimented with perceptual correlations by adding distortion into the signal. This means the distortion takes on the same dispersion as the rest of the content when played by a loudspeaker. Masking makes sense in this case since all we're doing is introducing harmonics and other distortions that are similar to those that occur naturally in the recorded music anyway. However, for loudspeakers, if the source of distortion is from a vibrating side panel, the distortion may be strongest at 90 degrees off axis. That's a sound field that cannot be duplicated by any distortions of the source signal. My guess is off-axis distortion is what causes some loudspeakers not to "disappear" and to sound "small", even when they have excellent on and off axis frequency response measurements.

One example is a speaker I've heard that had near perfect spinorama measurements but sounded chesty in the lower midrange, resulting in a somewhat small and colored sound. Standing next to the speaker and hearing the sound emanating from the flimsy side panel made me think that was a likely cause.
Distortion from enclosure resonances is a concern, but it's a concern whose magnitude isn't well characterized IMO. John Atkinson of Stereophile likes to measure them with an accelerometer, but that doesn't tell you whether a vibrating cabinet panel produces enough acoustic output to be audible.

But I appreciate the fact that he measures the port. Sometimes, the port noise and resonances are only 10-20 dB below the direct output!
Here's an example: https://www.stereophile.com/content/...r-measurements

Even though the port is facing the rear, that energy is going to reflect off the wall and reach your ears. Some of the resonant energy is also leaking out the front through the driver, which (I think) explains the jaggies that Soundstage measured under anechoic conditions in that same frequency range:
https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/in...nts&Itemid=153

I also think that explains why JA couldn't get rid of the midrange congestion he noticed by loading the cabinet. He was incorrectly blaming it on a cabinet resonance when the real problem is the port.

I think distortion from the drivers comes into play mainly at higher levels, e.g. reference level HT, outdoor, or sound reinforcement applications. I've measured harmonic and IM distortion of some of the "good" hi-fi loudspeakers that I've owned, and at comfortable home listening levels (75-85 dB SPL at the listening position) the distortion products are usually quite low. One of my first experiments with it is described in another forum: https://db.audioasylum.com/mhtml/m.h...2Bmeasurements
I've since measured others, and achieved similar results, with distortion products down in the -50 to -60 dB range at the listening levels I prefer.

You can also tell a lot about how a speaker will work and sound by looking at the impedance plots. That can be a topic for another day. But in general, I agree with you that spinorama doesn't tell the whole story.
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post #2836 of 4435 Old 05-16-2019, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by craig john View Post
Can you post those 3rd party measurements? It is important to know the environment in which the 3rd party measurements were taken. If they're in-room measurements, they have a lot less value than anechoic measurements.

(machine translation)

From the measuring laboratory under anechoic conditions, the following measurements on the frequency response,
radiative behavior and to the distortion values. The class 1 measuring room allows measuring distance up to 8 m and offers free field conditions
100 Hz upwards. All measurements are carried out with a B & K 1/4 "4939 measuring microphone at 96 kHz sampling rate and 24 bit resolution with the
Monkey-Forest audio measuring system. Measurements below 100 Hz are taken as combined near field far field measurements.

Distance was 4m, there is 3.97 dB between those bars from 100 to 10k Hz




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post #2837 of 4435 Old 05-16-2019, 10:37 AM
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The M2 becomes more directional than the Salon2 beginning above 100 Hz and remains more directional all the way up to 10 KHz.
If we're saying that a speaker with lower dispersion predicts a lower subjective rating (which again the published model does not, given FR is flat and smooth) and not just hindsight to explain the M2/Salon2 shootout after the fact, then we must also conclude that the 705i would similarly destroy the M2 when used with a subwoofer and not played too loudly. Like the Salon2, the 705i's spins show a power response that's down 5db at 1000hz, unlike 8db for the M2.

In my non-blind listening at low volumes (60-70db) and ignoring bass differences, the 705p does not sound as good as the Salon2 either.

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If we're saying that a speaker with lower dispersion predicts a lower subjective rating (which again the published model does not, given FR is flat and smooth) and not just hindsight to explain the M2/Salon2 shootout after the fact, then we must also conclude that the 705i would similarly destroy the M2 when used with a subwoofer and not played too loudly. Like the Salon2, the 705i's spins show a power response that's down 5db at 1000hz, unlike 8db for the M2.

In my non-blind listening at low volumes (60-70db) and ignoring bass differences, the 705p does not sound as good as the Salon2 either.
I'm not going to jump to the conclusion that wider dispersion is universally preferred over narrow dispersion. That might be true, but on-axis response, power response, and directivity are all tied together. In order to test the hypothesis, you'd have to find two speakers with different directivity but similar on-axis response AND power response, so that you're only comparing directivity. I suspect that will be a hard pair to find. I can equalize two speakers to have the same on-axis response, or the same power response, but not both at the same time.

In general, I agree with your earlier statement that there are sound quality differences not captured in the frequency response. There are other measurements I like to see when I'm deciding whether to audition a loudspeaker. However, in the case of M2 vs. Salon2, there are clearly some audible differences in the spinorama.

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post #2839 of 4435 Old 05-16-2019, 03:23 PM
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no avkv or Floyd Toole posts for a month or two....

Instead , speculators speculatin' about supposedly unmeasured things....that may actually have been measured.

Plus: anecdotes.

R.I.P., science thread.
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no avkv or Floyd Toole posts for a month or two....

Instead , speculators speculatin' about supposedly unmeasured things....that may actually have been measured.

Plus: anecdotes.

R.I.P., science thread.
It is anti-science to think that only specific authorities should speak on a subject, and to call references to and analyses of measurement data and scientific papers "speculation" and "anecdotes".

I don't know if this thread is dead but with more destructive posts like yours it certainly will be.
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This was never a science thread. It was a marketing thread. I respect the Harman engineers for making good speakers and thank them for sharing data with the community, but it's quite obvious that the pitch was in their self-interest. Anyway, there's still plenty of things that could be discussed on the topic of how can we use measurements to help select loudspeakers, so I don't think this thread has run its course yet.

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post #2842 of 4435 Old 05-16-2019, 07:13 PM
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^^Did Harman engineers post in this thread? I missed their posts but would be interested in which ones are here.
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post #2843 of 4435 Old 05-16-2019, 09:27 PM
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Well, to be fair to Red MC, it only took KV 15 minutes to get to his third post where it was no longer the science in the abstract but comparison diagrams between Harman speakers and Magico. lol...

IOW, I can see why he came to the conclusion that he came to...
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post #2844 of 4435 Old 05-16-2019, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red MC View Post
when comparing the M2 and Salon2
I think distortion from the drivers comes into play mainly at higher levels
That could well be. For me, a big difference between speakers is what happens if you crank something like Motorhead way up. Many speakers can sound great with jazz and classical, but put in some hard rock at loud levels and the speakers just turn the sound into a shrill hash. I was very surprised when I was at Upscale Audio listening to Monitor Audio Silver 300s and they did NOT do that-they stayed quite "clear" if we can really use that word to describe No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith ha ha.

By the way, I somewhere missed, M2 what? JBL?
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post #2845 of 4435 Old 05-16-2019, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by QueueCumber View Post
Well, to be fair to Red MC, it only took KV 15 minutes to get to his third post where it was no longer the science in the abstract but comparison diagrams between Harman speakers and Magico. lol...

IOW, I can see why he came to the conclusion that he came to...
I wonder how they compare to speakers that measure better than theirs
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post #2846 of 4435 Old 05-17-2019, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by red mc View Post
this was never a science thread. It was a marketing thread. I respect the harman engineers for making good speakers and thank them for sharing data with the community, but it's quite obvious that the pitch was in their self-interest. Anyway, there's still plenty of things that could be discussed on the topic of how can we use measurements to help select loudspeakers, so i don't think this thread has run its course yet.
exactly!!!!!

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post #2847 of 4435 Old 05-17-2019, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by QueueCumber View Post
Well, to be fair to Red MC, it only took KV 15 minutes to get to his third post where it was no longer the science in the abstract but comparison diagrams between Harman speakers and Magico. lol...

IOW, I can see why he came to the conclusion that he came to...
Actually, though some seem to have missed it, @avkv clearly stated the intention of this thread in a single sentence in his first post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by avkv View Post
... The intention of this thread is for it to be reality-based, and to inform and discuss loudspeaker measurements and listening tests. ...
His third post was merely an example that is true to the originally stated intention of this thread to inform and discuss loudspeaker measurements and listening tests. Of course, everyone should feel free to participate here as @avkv clearly indicated with his open invitation. But the more participants stray from the originally stated intention of this thread the less they contribute to productive discussion.
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post #2848 of 4435 Old 05-17-2019, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave in Green View Post
Actually, though some seem to have missed it, @avkv clearly stated the intention of this thread in a single sentence in his first post:



His third post was merely an example that is true to the originally stated intention of this thread to inform and discuss loudspeaker measurements and listening tests. Of course, everyone should feel free to participate here as @avkv clearly indicated with his open invitation. But the more participants stray from the originally stated intention of this thread the less they contribute to productive discussion.
Yes, yes, of course, that must have been his only intention. I will put away my cynicism and don my naïveté...
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post #2849 of 4435 Old 05-17-2019, 11:38 AM
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In other news, I picked up one of those JBL Boomboxes, and I have to say it’s pretty darn good for what it does. I may go pick up a second one so I can listen to them in stereo on the patio! I didn’t DBT it against the competition, but it seemed fairly obvious it was higher quality sound (and more balanced) across the frequency spectrum compared to its peers.

Does Harmon spinorama these things?

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post #2850 of 4435 Old 05-17-2019, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by QueueCumber View Post
Yes, yes, of course, that must have been his only intention. I will put away my cynicism and don my naïveté...
I would say a good percentage of posts on AVS are marketing for whatever said poster owns. Of course, I am pretty cynical myself.
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