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I was thinking about doing an in-home comparison (aka shootout) between the Ascend CBM-170's and the Onix ELT's speakers (both which have a 30 day return policy), but I only have one receiver.


Is there a good device (not too expensive) that will allow me to switch between each system (5.1) and still give each channel the full power of my reciever?
 

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I don't know of any switches. You could probably make one with parts from Radio Shack. A bunch of switches would work. I would have someone else switch the speakers for you and you be blindfolded or something. That way you don't know which speakers are playing and can really compare the two.
 

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Sorry, you can't, really. To make a meaningful comparison, you need a way to match levels exactly, more precise that is possible by any cheap methods. Even professionals can't do comparisons reliably without level matching.


It is well known and documented that if the subjects have level differences big enough that they sound like different level (pros: 1 dB or so, amateurs 3dB or so), they sound so different that you can detect only gross differences. (Of course, amateurs and pros differ in the meaning of "gross". :) ) If the level differences are smaller than the above, but bigger than the hearing threshold (and this is very small, 0.1 to 0.05dB for pros!) the difference is heard not as a level difference, but as a quality difference(!). The shootout is really something you can't do at home.


However, you can hook up speaker set A, listen for it a few days, with different volume levels and form an opinion. Repeat with speaker set B. Repeat until done. Sell the loser on Ebay.


A side note: this effect is a reason why signal levels in equipment have been raising for at least two decades. Manufacturers do know that an easy way to win listening tests is to have your equipment put out 0.5 to 1.0dB higher signal level than normal. When I started with audio, 500mV was a common level; first CD players had 1.0V; now the "norm" is 2.0V (and seems to stop for a while, since digital systems expect this and Dolby has been enforcing this level), but I've seen CD players with up to 2.5V output.
 

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Do it the easy (and IMO only valid way). Put one on the right channel and one on the left. Put the preamp in mono mode and put the speakers right next to each other so you can't tell which is playing. Have someone else do the switching. While this won't tell you about imaging, etc., at least it does not introduce a switcher into the chain which can seriously degrade the sound and obscure any minor differences that my be present.


Just my 2 cents.
 

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I think bpape is on the right track here. The trick, as JuKu noted, is to match the levels. The balance control can do that.


However, even though they are set up on the left and right channels, you will want the two speakers side by side, not one on each side of the room. And you want to be able to instantaneously switch between them. If the receiver has provisions for front A and B speakers, that’s all you need. If not, you can get a speaker switching device from Radio Shack. In this case you would run say, the left speaker through one of the “Speaker One†connections, and the right through “Speaker Two.†Then, after using the balance control to match the levels, you can switch in the speaker you want to audition.


Regards,

Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 

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Hi,

I'm not sure that I understand what levels have todo with it, adjust volumes as desired assuming their the same ohms and it's not an amplification thing.

If these speakers are so close in sound texture and quality (and of course you love them) that you can't tell the difference then the one that fits your pocketbook best is the right choice.


If not have 2 stands that they will fit on or if their floor standers, put them side by side and use banana plugs to switch between the two on the L/R side of the room, (remove the pair you not auditioning at the moment if your worried about acoustic interference) put on pieces of music your very familiar with and listen to each pair for a day at a time.


My guess is that it will take you less than a week to choose your favorites. If not it doesn't matter go back to the wallet part and send your less favorites back.


One more thing, you may want to try them with different kinds of music as well. You may not be interested in Jazz to-day but in 5 years it might be different.


Peter m.
 

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The loudness problem can be minimized (not entirely) by letting another person to change from one set of speakers to the other and matching the volume with an SPL Meter. Not scientific? no. Not precise? no. But still, it will give you a fair idea.
 
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