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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One thing I hear on this forum a lot, which actually surprised me for some reason is "Listen and decide which is best for YOU."


But... I was thinking, aren't speakers all after the same holy grail?

Being able to accurately reproduce their source material?


Imagine if you will, putting a singer, a trumpet player and a drummer

on a large stage. There are ultra high quality microphones very close

to each muscisian. Now... next to each musician place a pair of

your choice of speaker.


The musicians should be able to play into the microphone but

the audience hears it live. Immediately what they played is then

repeated through the speakers. It's the only way I can think of to

get an excellent true to life AB test.


Now, since I'm imagining, how 'off' will most of the high end speakers

sound from the live performance if the volume is properly matched?

(Say the audio mixer uses an SPL meter to match the output.)


Once you have that set up, you can run in 10-20 people a day to

get their opinions on which speakers were the most 'real'. My gut says that it would be easy to get majority opinion on the most realistic reproducers. Then you could almost definitevly say "That speaker is the most accurate, for ANYONE."


Could it be my base assumption is off though? (That exact replication of

source material is the goal)


What do you guys think?


Dreamaster
 

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I think many (not all, nor a majority mind you) people will describe the most accurate speakers (also called monitors) as "boring". I recall reading a post awhile back from someone who went to all kinds of extremes to flatten the response of their listening room (which is perhaps much more important than choosing between brand A and brand B speakers in similar price points). When the response was finally beautifully flat, nobody liked it . "It 's too dull and boring".


But many people strive to find those perfectly flat, boring speakers which you describe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well there ya go... I played the saxophone for 8 years in high school, and I can tell ya one thing... bass drums only make so much bass. LOL... Only time I've heard subwoofer level bass is when a plane flies overhead here at work.


Unfortunately I haven't heard many high end speakers, but one pair I will NEVER forget was the Eosone RSF-400 in Best Buy. They had a demo track "The Magnificant 7" playing and it sounded exactly like I was in the middle of the orchestra (and I have experience to know what that sounds like!) There is something I can't put my fingers on with cheap speakers that make them sound 'not real.' It's not bad, its just 'not real.'


Flat=dull and boring. It makes ya wonder. Likewise, what makes a lot of treble in real life? Bullets, for sure, screeching nails on a chalkboard.


Music instruments have a surprising flow into the high frequencies due to harmonics. I think accurate reproduction of those harmonics is key but I'm not sure yet. :)


Dreamaster
 

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Dreamaster, you ain't dreamin'! Harmonics are everything. Sure, you can still recognize someone's voice on the frequency-restricted telephone, because the fundamentals get through, and we're used to it, but it sure isn't an accurate reproduction of them.


Remember the first time you heard your voice played back on a high-fidelity tape recorder? It didn't sound like you - to you - but to everyone else, it did. (I'm not talking about the lack of bone conduction; low-fi tape recorders don't exhibit the same phenomenon)
 

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Your test is invalid simply because the recording gear itself ( the microphone ) has its own tonality that will never match the live performance. There are just as many, if not more factors, in making a live recording in terms of acoustics and capturing the original event as reproducing it over a pair of loudspeakers. Furthermore, instruments are not point source and have different radiation patterns depending upon the frequency and the instrument. You simply cannot make a nearfield recording of an instrument, play it back in the same acoustic space over a speaker and even remotely expect it to sound the same as the original instrument. This is basically what a PA system does and its only real value is for sound reinforcement not sound reproduction.


The other big problem is that you are assuming that all people hear the same. I can 100% say that not only is this not the case, most people don't even really know what or how to listen. Just as being a musician takes training, being what I would term a discriminating listener requires training as well. You are assuming an untrained statistical sample has enough capability in what to listen for to dictate valid results. It would be the same as taking 100 people to do a wine tasting that really don't know anything about wine.


The closest you could come with a live A/B test is to have a pair of speakers in a room that are being fed from a nearby live performance that is being recorded. Then you would have people walk in from live performance then to listen to the speakers. I actually do do this to test the quality of recording and reproducing gear... The source is a Yamaha disklavier reproducing grand piano being fed into state of the art recording gear and then into a dedicated reproduction room. I can say that under no circumstances will a pair of speakers EVER sound like the real event because there are just too many variables with very inexact mechanical technologies required on both ends (microphone and speaker).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I posted this a few months back and was suprised it got blew off. I was reading the "Rocket Ascend" shootout thread and caught a link to Von Shweikert's Audio" website.


Check this quote out:

Quote:
How do we design our speakers?


With live musical instruments of course!


We have sophisticated laboratory grade test equipment to measure our speakers just like all the other speaker companies; however, a flat frequency curve does not always mean a speaker sounds real. That is why we use musical instruments such as the human voice, acoustic guitar, snare drum, trombone, harmonica and trumpet to test our speakers. Using a live microphone feed to run the instruments through our speakers, we then invite a listening panel to compare the sound of the original instrument to the sound of our speaker model under test. No Von Schweikert speaker model is released for sale until it passes this critical test!
I think they owe me money or something! ;)


Dreamaster
 
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