Originally Posted by Dave in Green
Prioritizing mid-range frequencies over flat response to exploit human psychoacoustics is akin to human attraction to unnaturally bright and colorful images that TV makers exploit by adding a bright but inaccurate store display (torch) mode to attract customers' eyes like moths to a flame. Many leave their TVs in torch mode at home even though it produces an unnatural, cartoonish image. When presented with a more natural, color correct image many find it to be too dull by comparison. Similarly most humans also have a craving for sugar that food companies exploit by adding sugar or high fructose corn syrup to foods that are not naturally sweet.
Considering the millions of people hooked on torch mode TVs and sugar/high fructose corn syrup laced food it's not surprising that many get hooked on the Bose psychoacoustic sound over something closer to what's found in nature.
Be careful there...
Bose is but a building block in the equation. I would argue that they are built with the goal to replicate nature as humans hear it.
The science begins to be documented with the work of Fletcher and Munson at Bell Labs in 1933 with statistical sample populations tested with regards to how the ear hears different frequencies at different levels. This work remains as a subset of the ISO 226 standard which defines normal equal-loudness-level contours. If this isn't a quantification of the representation of what's found in nature, I'm not sure what is.
Dr. Bose come's along some 20-25 years later and is underwhelmed at the sound of some high fidelity speaker he's purchased and decides to fix it. He begins his work with how people hear and perceive sound. Psychoacoustic's is a legitimate field of research, not marketing speak. Bose applies the understanding of how people hear to speaker design using active crossover and EQ electronics to build on the foundation of equal-loudness-level contours using/building on the Fletcher-Munson data. The RIAA EQ curve for phono pre-amps pivots at 1000Hz (mid-range) with de-emphasis/pre-emphasis for recording/playback on high/low frequencies. The hearing range of humans is generally accepted to be 20Hz-20kHz and that's for a young person. By the time you're in your 20's, it's dropped to something under 20hKz and by your 30-40's, under 18kHz. What are you left with if not a lot of mid range?
Keep in mind, a lot of this work was done before parametric equalizer/graphic equalizers as we know them today were available. Bose used electronic's combined with what many would consider to be rather ordinary looking drivers to produce rather remarkable sound. There was a company, CTS in Paducah, Kentucky, that built the drivers for the Bose 901's. The drivers were proprietary and sold for around 50 cents each in the early 1970's. I had an acquaintance that worked there as the basis for my information regarding price. They sounded quite good mounted in 901 cabinet with their outboard EQ Box in line with an amplifier. There were many, many more speaker companies around at that time building what looks like the same speakers you see today that are no longer in business.
Bose left the audiophile/home audio market a long time ago. They now sell mostly audio appliances for home use now with regards to the public/consumer identification. Yet, they remain as one of the major players in audio research and commercial sound reinforcement today. They are still a private company and have not sold out to the highest bidder; they must be doing something that's ok in the eye's of the business world.
The industry now builds speakers that profess to or aim at flat frequency response. All, including the best, fall short when moved from the measurement room to the area where they are finally used. We then apply various room correction algorithms via various filters designed and implemented with DSP circuits, fuss with room treatments and speaker placement, various crossover designs (passive/active), as well as box shape, and use combinations of electrostatic, plasma, dynamic, plainer magnetic, and ribbon drivers to reproduce sound. Yet, this forum alone is full of countless numbers of people left scratching their heads with questions from the most simplistic to the most complex in nature asking how to get their non-Bose speakers right.
What's that you say? Something about "something closer to what's found in nature."
No, I think it's about something more than changing Gamma and color saturation on TV's in a room with un-natural color temperature light. We don't need light to hear sound. And while we all may have differences in the ability to hear, we all hear in the same mechanical way, at least based on science and statistical population sampling. I've never heard a speaker that didn't sound like a speaker. That is, an electric-mechanical transducer that is reproducing sound.
I'm in the group that believes that if a speaker measure's well it will probably sound good, but that does not mean there will not be differences.
Dr. Bose and the Bose company has contributed more to accurate sound reproduction than 98+% of the people who frequent this forum ever will.