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Discussion Starter #282
Loud to you may be different than me or anyone else, do you have an SPL meter? I'm not sure how accurate the ones on smartphones are, I'm guessing they're close enough. You need to get an idea of what that 20% loudness level is. LS50's played plenty loud for me but I'm not trying to do permanent hearing damage when I rock out either lol.
Don't have a SPL meter. But I am going to pay attention to buying speakers that are efficient. I used to like loud music but not anymore. Other folks at home would find loud music annoying too. Quality music at low volumes should work for me.
 

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In my research I have found that I can predict that 100% of speaker salesmen will recommend the brand that they sell.
I used to believe a certain prolific poster on here was a paid shill for Ascend! Not even joking. It also crossed my mind that another person was the guy who bought up DCM's remaining stock that was being cleared out on eBay. Or knew the guy that did. Of course the reality is they just probably really like those speakers. Like REALLY like them.
 
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Discussion Starter #285
As a result of this thread I started another to try and see just how happy AVS member who chose to participate are with modern speakers they have heard.

One might expect a classic Bell Curve with most responses grouped in the center with very few at each extreme but that has not been the case thus far with myriad brands involved and 15 or so members chiming in and counting.

Here is the latest graph showing 5 percentiles. Chances are very good that you won't have to listen to too many different speakers to have an "aha" moment.

Ratings from 1 to 5 with 5 being "excellent."

View attachment 3066678
How about running a pool on overpriced speakers?
 

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How about running a pool on overpriced speakers?
That ought to be fun. Of course 'overpriced' is subjective. More fun!
1) Raidho (Does anyone buy at retail? I sure could not. Pricing plummets once not new, but that puts superb qualitity, extremely high-priced speakers down into a monetary category for folks with real life incomes.)
 

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I see what you're saying about salesmen but anyone recommending a speaker is potentially selling that speaker. Do you really think no one has bought a speaker based on your recommendations? Other than that I do agree that giving someone a few good options in their price range and having them try them all out is a good recommendation.

Of course measurements have to be interpreted and I admit that takes time and possibly some trial and error. It also takes a lot of time and money to buy dozens of speakers and properly compare them against each other. I agree that you need to know what to look for, picking out a distortion spike in the RAAL tweeter when we don't even have much research on the audibility of distortion is a problem. I recommend mostly looking at the listening window and early reflections curve to keep it simple, those 2 curves are most of what matters regarding speaker performance.

The way I see it, the 2 sides are really only arguing about what criteria someone uses to try out a speaker because either way most people will buy 2 or 3 to try out in their home and send back the losers. You're basically arguing that it's better to go on a forum like this and have everyone and their mother recommend speakers that they own, sell or have just heard good things about in order for someone to choose the best speakers for them. The measurement people are saying that you should pick a few speakers with objectively good performance and compare them and send back the losers. Is it not obvious which method has much more room for bias and dishonesty?
I know everyone wants to get away from the measurements discussion in this thread, but I'd like to make a couple comments. What I'd like to know and experience for myself, is would I actually choose the better measuring speaker at the same price point in a blind listening test? Obviously I could buy two speakers and try it, but a larger scale would be ideal. Like a dozen or two speakers. It would be nice if some other company that doesn't sell speakers recreated the same blind listening tests.

Also, let's say I'm someone that prefers a slightly laid back midrange. You would suggest buying a Revel and eq'ing that in rather than buying a well designed speaker from a manufacturer that typically designs speakers voiced with a recessed midrange? Or same case for someone who prefers a tipped up treble. Or are you just saying well if you don't know what sound signature you prefer, just buy a Revel since it's flat and you're most likely going to like it, since Harman research shows that's what the majority prefer?
 

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I know everyone wants to get away from the measurements discussion in this thread, but I'd like to make a couple comments. What I'd like to know and experience for myself, is would I actually choose the better measuring speaker at the same price point in a blind listening test? Obviously I could buy two speakers and try it, but a larger scale would be ideal. Like a dozen or two speakers. It would be nice if some other company that doesn't sell speakers recreated the same blind listening tests.

Also, let's say I'm someone that prefers a slightly laid back midrange. You would suggest buying a Revel and eq'ing that in rather than buying a well designed speaker from a manufacturer that typically designs speakers voiced with a recessed midrange? Or same case for someone who prefers a tipped up treble. Or are you just saying well if you don't know what sound signature you prefer, just buy a Revel since it's flat and you're most likely going to like it, since Harman research shows that's what the majority prefer?
I think that is a great observation... While the thought revel (and other like speakers) are inherently more acceptable in a macro sense may be true( and the easy answer), there certainly are other variables that can make them a poor choice.. At least imo.. Although knowing what i know/ like, my guess is i fall into the "buy revel and be happy" group...
 
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In summary: There is no such thing as "objective" vs "subjective"----there is only "subjective which is honest about being subjective" and "subjective that deludedly calls itself objective."
I read this last week and I've been pondering it since. I feel the neded to respond, even if it's a bit delayed.

Subjective = Influenced by or based on personal beliefs or feelings rather than based on facts.
Objective = Based on real facts and not influenced by personal beliefs or feelings.

A subjective opinion is meaningless to anyone except the person offering the opinion... unless accompanied by objective facts that can back up the subjective opinion. Objective data is the best, and really the "only" tool we have to speak to each other accurately about what we hear.

Let me give an example... I once knew a guy with a system costing over $300k. This was a full-blown "audiophile" system with uber-expensive DAC's, power cords, interconnects and speaker cables. He even had the romex in his walls "cryo'd" from the breaker box to the "cryo'd and cooked" audiophile outlets, connected to his dual audiophile grade power conditioners, into which all his electronic equipment was connected. (In spite of all that he still had hiss from his amps and a 60 Hz ground loop hum.) In addition, all of his electronic equipment had been "upgraded" by "The Upgrade Company." (Google them). His L/R speakers were a pair of custom prototypes from a small maker with big, round horns around compression driver tweeters and horn-loaded bass bins, with 105 dB sensitivity. His CC was a mismatched, (and clearly outmatched), horizontal CC, and equally mismatched surrounds. Everything was "isolated" with "spikes" and "dots" and "cups" and he even had some "Mystery Feet." On top of his digital sources, he used "supersonic stabilizers" that provided even more magic. His turntable, (which cost more than most mid-sized cars), was isolated with some "Grungebusters". Suffice it to say that this guy had bought into all the audiophile snake oil and mysterious and unproven audiophile nonsense. He did have an extensive acoustic treatment setup designed by Bryan Pape when he was with GIK, using absoption, diffusion and Bass Traps, so there was at least some redeeming social value in his system.

At the time I knew him he was very active on some of the "audiophile" forums and he offered a great many subjective opinions about the "high-end" stuff. His "subjective opinion" of his own system was that it was "ultra-high resolution" and "every detail was perfectly reproduced". He also stated that his subwoofers, a pair of Epik Conquests, provided "exceptionally deep and smooth bass response." He used all the flowery and non-descript audiophile adjectives to describe the fantastic sonic qualities of his system. He was also constantly changing out all sorts of things like cables and amps and various and sundry "tweaks" and was sure he could hear the differences between all these things.

I invited myself over to listen to his system because I wanted to hear all this magic. After a few minutes of listening to some stuff I had taken along, and was very familiar with, I realized that my "subjective opinion" was somewhat different. I thought there were some things missing and some things greatly overemphasized. I offered to take some measurements of his system so we could "see" what we were hearing. His initial response was that "I don't need measurements to tell me how good my system sounds." Nonetheless, after some cajoling, he agreed to let me come back another day with my mic and laptop. A few days later, I went back, and this is the measurment I found of his system at the primary listening position:



The objective data showed that his "subjective opinion" was NOT based on fact, but on his own personal opinions, beliefs, feelings and biases about his equipment. There was a HUGE null from 50 to 100 Hz, (the things that were "missing"), with peaks on either side of the null, (the things that were "greatly overemphasized"). With a 27 dB difference between the highest peak and the deepest null, the bass response was anything but "smooth", and it was clearly not "exceptionally deep", as it dropped precipitously at about 40 Hz.

In his uber-expensive system he was using an Onkyo pre/pro, (but one that had been "modified" by "The Upgrade Company" to make it "high-end" enough for him.) He was only using "Pure, Direct" mode because he thought anything else would add an unnecssary A/D - D/A conversion which would add "processing", which was, by the audiophile definition, detrimental. He was not using Audyssey and no calibration of levels or distances had been done, (all Level and Distances settings were at "0"), and no Bass Management was being used. I offered to run Audyssey for him, and, after I reassured him we could shut it off if he didn't like it, he reluctantly allowed me to do so. This was the result of the Audyssey run:



We went from over 25 dB of variation to about 12 dB. I could immediately hear the improvement, although I thought the results could still be improved upon. However, he would not let me make any placement changes to speakers or subs prior to running Audyssey, so that was the best we could get. He eventually decided that he didn't like the "processed" sound of Audyssey and eventually shut it off and reset all the calibrations back to "0". He didn't believe the measurements and insists to this day, (well, at least up to the last time I talked to him, which was a couple of years ago), that his system was still "ultra-high resolution" even with the 25 dB of variability. That was his "subjective opinion."


Here's another example... A friend asked me for help with his system, which he described as sounding "too boomy". Not being sure exactly what he meant by "boomy" I took my measurement gear and checked the FR of his system. I found this:



That huge peak at 40 Hz was the cause of his boominess. It was so big that Audyssey wouldn't have had enough correction ability to flatten it, so we added an external parametric EQ, (Velodyne SMS-1), and grouped 3 parametric bands in the 40 to 60 Hz range with 9 to 12 dB of cuts. We ended up with this:



Complete elimination of that one big peak. (The peak above 80 Hz was outside the range of the SMS-1, which only EQ's to 80 Hz, so we couldn't address that.) But Audyssey could:



The subwoofer is now flat from 16 Hz to the crossover of 80 Hz and the speakers' response is significantly improved. Prior to the measurements, all we had to work with was the subjective observation of "boominess." His observation was totally accurate, but it didn't provide any information that we could use to objectively define the problem, and without that, we could never have fixed it. Afterwards, he no longer hears any "boominess" and now describes his bass as full, articulate, deep and powerful. (We added the DSP program in his subs that lowered the F3 to 15 Hz and added DEQ, so he now has a nice "house curve" to his bass.)

The bottom line is that the only meaningful tool we have to communicate about audio is objective information. Subjective opinions don't provide meaningful information and should be taken with a massive grain of salt. When someone tells us they "love" the sound of a set of speakers, but they can't "show" us what they're listening to, we should be very careful about how we use that information, as we have no idea what it really "means". We have no idea of the background and listening experience of the listener, nor the biases and preferences of that listener. We don't even know anything about the physiologic hearing abilityof the person providing the subjective opinion.

Personally, I place zero value on subjective opinions I read on-line unless those opinions are referenced to measurements of the sound the listener is hearing. I know @Zorba922 often uses anecdotes about other users who "love" the speakers he recommends, but I find those anecdotes to be essentially meaningless, (to me.) As far as I'm concerned, it's basically impossible to have an intelligent and informed conversation about speakers and sound without some objective way to describe what is being produced by the speakers. Measurements are the only good tool we have to communicate with.

Should we prioritize measurements when making decisions about speakers selections? Well, I would say that, if one has the experience and knowledge to know what measurements one "prefers", then measurements can certainly guide those selections. If one doesn't have that skill set, then one needs to depend on others for that information. In that case, should one depend on people who offer subjective opinions like, "I love my speakers" without any qualifying information about how they objectively measure in their listening space? I personally don't find any value in that, but some folks might. What about the forum member who amalgamates the opinions of other users and posts that as somehow "better" subjective info, even without any direct personal experience with the speakers in question? Again, I personally don't find any value in that either, but some folks might.

Or, how about the poster who makes recommendations based on measurements taken under specific, standardized measurement conditions? Those measurements can certainly be used as a starting point. By looking at the measurements of the speakers being recommended, then listening to them, one can get a feel for what they like, and then then look for other speakers with similar measurements. If they don't like what they hear, then identify what is missing, or what they want more of, and then look for speakers that have those characteristics in their measurements.

Using subjective terms like "bright" "neutral" "warm" or "neutral" can be deceptive. Some might call bright speakers "detailed" while other might call them "harsh" or "brittle." Some might find bright speakers very pleasing to listen to while others suffer from early "listening fatigue" and can't stand the sound for very long. What do "warm" speakers sound like? Are they "tubby" and "bloated" or are they "smooth" and easy to listen to? What color are "colored" speakers? All these subjective adjectives are very ill-defined, non-specific and confusing. They can all mean different things to different people.

OTOH, show someone these measurements and it will be immediately obvious that these two speakers will sound dramatically different:

Speaker 1:


Speaker 2:

(These are the "Listening Window" responses of these speakers, which is an average of five measurements: on-axis, 15 degrees left and right off-axis, 15 degrees up and down off-axis.)

I personally would not enjoy the sound of either of those speakers. I prefer a speaker with something more akin to this Listening Window response:



Mate those speakers with a good subwoofer system and Bass Management and result will be very pleasing to my ears. If I were to start looking for new speakers, I would check the databases and find all the speakers with these types of measurements and go audition them first.

There are several databases available with these kinds of measurements:
SoundStageNetwork.com | SoundStage.com - SoundStageNetwork.com | SoundStage.com (This is the databass I used for the above graphs.)

The first database is just the measurements without any "interpretations* or editorial comment. The others all have impressions, ratings and/or subjective content. I generally ignore all that stuff and go straight to the measurements, but some might find value in the subjective impressions of others along with the measurements. Nonetheless, before one places much stock in the subjective comments, the reader should spend some time getting familiar with the personal peculiarities, biases and prejudices of the reviewer(s). The measurements actually communicate much more accurate information than the opinions of the so-called experts.

To bring this full-circle, there is no such things as "subjective that deludedly calls itself objective" as stated by @Zorba922. I don't even know what that means. There is only subjective opinion and hard, indisputable objective fact. I personally value the later; the former not so much.

Craig
 

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Discussion Starter #290
[
I read this last week and I've been pondering it since. I feel the neded to respond, even if it's a bit delayed.

Subjective = Influenced by or based on personal beliefs or feelings rather than based on facts.
Objective = Based on real facts and not influenced by personal beliefs or feelings.

A subjective opinion is meaningless to anyone except the person offering the opinion... unless accompanied by objective facts that can back up the subjective opinion. Objective data is the best, and really the "only" tool we have to speak to each other accurately about what we hear.

Let me give an example... I once knew a guy with a system costing over $300k. This was a full-blown "audiophile" system with uber-expensive DAC's, power cords, interconnects and speaker cables. He even had the romex in his walls "cryo'd" from the breaker box to the "cryo'd and cooked" audiophile outlets, connected to his dual audiophile grade power conditioners, into which all his electronic equipment was connected. (In spite of all that he still had hiss from his amps and a 60 Hz ground loop hum.) In addition, all of his electronic equipment had been "upgraded" by "The Upgrade Company." (Google them). His L/R speakers were a pair of custom prototypes from a small maker with big, round horns around compression driver tweeters and horn-loaded bass bins, with 105 dB sensitivity. His CC was a mismatched, (and clearly outmatched), horizontal CC, and equally mismatched surrounds. Everything was "isolated" with "spikes" and "dots" and "cups" and he even had some "Mystery Feet." On top of his digital sources, he used "supersonic stabilizers" that provided even more magic. His turntable, (which cost more than most mid-sized cars), was isolated with some "Grungebusters". Suffice it to say that this guy had bought into all the audiophile snake oil and mysterious and unproven audiophile nonsense. He did have an extensive acoustic treatment setup designed by Bryan Pape when he was with GIK, using absoption, diffusion and Bass Traps, so there was at least some redeeming social value in his system.

At the time I knew him he was very active on some of the "audiophile" forums and he offered a great many subjective opinions about the "high-end" stuff. His "subjective opinion" of his own system was that it was "ultra-high resolution" and "every detail was perfectly reproduced". He also stated that his subwoofers, a pair of Epik Conquests, provided "exceptionally deep and smooth bass response." He used all the flowery and non-descript audiophile adjectives to describe the fantastic sonic qualities of his system. He was also constantly changing out all sorts of things like cables and amps and various and sundry "tweaks" and was sure he could hear the differences between all these things.

I invited myself over to listen to his system because I wanted to hear all this magic. After a few minutes of listening to some stuff I had taken along, and was very familiar with, I realized that my "subjective opinion" was somewhat different. I thought there were some things missing and some things greatly overemphasized. I offered to take some measurements of his system so we could "see" what we were hearing. His initial response was that "I don't need measurements to tell me how good my system sounds." Nonetheless, after some cajoling, he agreed to let me come back another day with my mic and laptop. A few days later, I went back, and this is the measurment I found of his system at the primary listening position:



The objective data showed that his "subjective opinion" was NOT based on fact, but on his own personal opinions, beliefs, feelings and biases about his equipment. There was a HUGE null from 50 to 100 Hz, (the things that were "missing"), with peaks on either side of the null, (the things that were "greatly overemphasized"). With a 27 dB difference between the highest peak and the deepest null, the bass response was anything but "smooth", and it was clearly not "exceptionally deep", as it dropped precipitously at about 40 Hz.

In his uber-expensive system he was using an Onkyo pre/pro, (but one that had been "modified" by "The Upgrade Company" to make it "high-end" enough for him.) He was only using "Pure, Direct" mode because he thought anything else would add an unnecssary A/D - D/A conversion which would add "processing", which was, by the audiophile definition, detrimental. He was not using Audyssey and no calibration of levels or distances had been done, (all Level and Distances settings were at "0"), and no Bass Management was being used. I offered to run Audyssey for him, and, after I reassured him we could shut it off if he didn't like it, he reluctantly allowed me to do so. This was the result of the Audyssey run:



We went from over 25 dB of variation to about 12 dB. I could immediately hear the improvement, although I thought the results could still be improved upon. However, he would not let me make any placement changes to speakers or subs prior to running Audyssey, so that was the best we could get. He eventually decided that he didn't like the "processed" sound of Audyssey and eventually shut it off and reset all the calibrations back to "0". He didn't believe the measurements and insists to this day, (well, at least up to the last time I talked to him, which was a couple of years ago), that his system was still "ultra-high resolution" even with the 25 dB of variability. That was his "subjective opinion."


Here's another example... A friend asked me for help with his system, which he described as sounding "too boomy". Not being sure exactly what he meant by "boomy" I took my measurement gear and checked the FR of his system. I found this:



That huge peak at 40 Hz was the cause of his boominess. It was so big that Audyssey wouldn't have had enough correction ability to flatten it, so we added an external parametric EQ, (Velodyne SMS-1), and grouped 3 parametric bands in the 40 to 60 Hz range with 9 to 12 dB of cuts. We ended up with this:



Complete elimination of that one big peak. (The peak above 80 Hz was outside the range of the SMS-1, which only EQ's to 80 Hz, so we couldn't address that.) But Audyssey could:



The subwoofer is now flat from 16 Hz to the crossover of 80 Hz and the speakers' response is significantly improved. Prior to the measurements, all we had to work with was the subjective observation of "boominess." His observation was totally accurate, but it didn't provide any information that we could use to objectively define the problem, and without that, we could never have fixed it. Afterwards, he no longer hears any "boominess" and now describes his bass as full, articulate, deep and powerful. (We added the DSP program in his subs that lowered the F3 to 15 Hz and added DEQ, so he now has a nice "house curve" to his bass.)

The bottom line is that the only meaningful tool we have to communicate about audio is objective information. Subjective opinions don't provide meaningful information and should be taken with a massive grain of salt. When someone tells us they "love" the sound of a set of speakers, but they can't "show" us what they're listening to, we should be very careful about how we use that information, as we have no idea what it really "means". We have no idea of the background and listening experience of the listener, nor the biases and preferences of that listener. We don't even know anything about the physiologic hearing abilityof the person providing the subjective opinion.

Personally, I place zero value on subjective opinions I read on-line unless those opinions are referenced to measurements of the sound the listener is hearing. I know @Zorba922 often uses anecdotes about other users who "love" the speakers he recommends, but I find those anecdotes to be essentially meaningless, (to me.) As far as I'm concerned, it's basically impossible to have an intelligent and informed conversation about speakers and sound without some objective way to describe what is being produced by the speakers. Measurements are the only good tool we have to communicate with.

Should we prioritize measurements when making decisions about speakers selections? Well, I would say that, if one has the experience and knowledge to know what measurements one "prefers", then measurements can certainly guide those selections. If one doesn't have that skill set, then one needs to depend on others for that information. In that case, should one depend on people who offer subjective opinions like, "I love my speakers" without any qualifying information about how they objectively measure in their listening space? I personally don't find any value in that, but some folks might. What about the forum member who amalgamates the opinions of other users and posts that as somehow "better" subjective info, even without any direct personal experience with the speakers in question? Again, I personally don't find any value in that either, but some folks might.

Or, how about the poster who makes recommendations based on measurements taken under specific, standardized measurement conditions? Those measurements can certainly be used as a starting point. By looking at the measurements of the speakers being recommended, then listening to them, one can get a feel for what they like, and then then look for other speakers with similar measurements. If they don't like what they hear, then identify what is missing, or what they want more of, and then look for speakers that have those characteristics in their measurements.

Using subjective terms like "bright" "neutral" "warm" or "neutral" can be deceptive. Some might call bright speakers "detailed" while other might call them "harsh" or "brittle." Some might find bright speakers very pleasing to listen to while others suffer from early "listening fatigue" and can't stand the sound for very long. What do "warm" speakers sound like? Are they "tubby" and "bloated" or are they "smooth" and easy to listen to? What color are "colored" speakers? All these subjective adjectives are very ill-defined, non-specific and confusing. They can all mean different things to different people.

OTOH, show someone these measurements and it will be immediately obvious that these two speakers will sound dramatically different:

Speaker 1:


Speaker 2:

(These are the "Listening Window" responses of these speakers, which is an average of five measurements: on-axis, 15 degrees left and right off-axis, 15 degrees up and down off-axis.)

I personally would not enjoy the sound of either of those speakers. I prefer a speaker with something more akin to this Listening Window response:



Mate those speakers with a good subwoofer system and Bass Management and result will be very pleasing to my ears. If I were to start looking for new speakers, I would check the databases and find all the speakers with these types of measurements and go audition them first.

There are several databases available with these kinds of measurements:
SoundStageNetwork.com | SoundStage.com - SoundStageNetwork.com | SoundStage.com (This is the databass I used for the above graphs.)

The first database is just the measurements without any "interpretations* or editorial comment. The others all have impressions, ratings and/or subjective content. I generally ignore all that stuff and go straight to the measurements, but some might find value in the subjective impressions of others along with the measurements. Nonetheless, before one places much stock in the subjective comments, the reader should spend some time getting familiar with the personal peculiarities, biases and prejudices of the reviewer(s). The measurements actually communicate much more accurate information than the opinions of the so-called experts.

To bring this full-circle, there is no such things as "subjective that deludedly calls itself objective" as stated by @Zorba922. I don't even know what that means. There is only subjective opinion and hard, indisputable objective fact. I personally value the later; the former not so much.

Craig
The man you knew, with the 300k system, was a unique specimen, probably needed psychiatric help, that's my my subjective opinion.
 

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To bring this full-circle, there is no such things as "subjective that deludedly calls itself objective" as stated by @Zorba922. I don't even know what that means.
Actually, you DO know what it means, you just don't know THAT you know. :)

What I mean is, if you were in the "subjective that deludedly calls itself objective" camp you'd point to the 3rd graph you posted as THE "objectively BEST" speaker of the 3.

Instead, you have the maturity and honesty to admit that YOU simply PREFER a speaker that measures similarly to that 3rd graph.

In other words, you have not made any preposterous claim that the 3rd graph is THE universally preferred or "best" type of sound (at least to 86% of carefully groomed test subjects, lol).
 
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The man you knew, with the 300k system, was a unique specimen, probably needed psychiatric help, that's my my subjective opinion.
I'd say not unique at all...he was simply operating under the very powerful "you get what you pay for" placebo effect, which drives and dominates any capitalism-driven culture.
 

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Craig, excellent info and write up.

That withstanding both examples seem to be related to the sub frequencies and not the speakers. Isn't that more room related than speaker related? How did the speakers measure in your testing?
I agree that measurements are important. However they are no more important than subjective preference. Measurements can give an idea of how a speaker will sound. Those measurements will not change the sound of the room. They will however tell us what we are hearing after installation and allow us to alter the sound if we so choose.
I think the problem with the $300k system was likely mix matched cables and other expensive accessories. Since those magic coated cables have a signature it is just a matter of finding one that produces the eq that flatten the frequency range. :)
I like my speakers and recommend that everyone use the same as I do. Really, I do. :cool:
 

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I'd say not unique at all...he was simply operating under the very powerful "you get what you pay for" placebo effect, which drives and dominates any capitalism-driven culture.
And ( while semi off topic) that's what drives the political argument that " nothing is free" .. Which is demonstrably non applicable to most versions of a those arguments... We get fed so many consumer based lies to keep the wheels going those lies become " self fulfilling truths"
 

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These look fine from a looks standpoint. Please share what you know about them.
I was going to do a write up of these until I read Craig John's post and realised he is right and I know nothing except my own useless opinion :)

So all I can say is that in my room they sounded every bit as good as the $20,000 Krix demo room - in fact they sounded damn near identical to me.

Wharfedale website : https://www.wharfedalepro.com/product-detail.php?pid=48 and they have 12" and 15" versions too.
 

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Discussion Starter #296
I'd say not unique at all...he was simply operating under the very powerful "you get what you pay for" placebo effect, which drives and dominates any capitalism-driven culture.
This measurements theory is also about money, isn't it?
 

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Craig, excellent info and write up.

That withstanding both examples seem to be related to the sub frequencies and not the speakers. Isn't that more room related than speaker related? How did the speakers measure in your testing?
Thanks. I readily admit that the $300k example was extreme. And, yes, those measurements were just the lowest 300 Hz frequencies in his system, the lowest 80 Hz coming from the subs and the rest up to 300 Hz coming from the speakers. I didn't post the full-range measurements because the post was already excessively long, but they were similarly non-smooth. Here is a full-range 1/3 octave RTA of his L/R speakers:



That is just the L/R speakers. The CC looked completely different. I didn't measure the Side or Rear Surrounds, but they were different speakers than the L/R's or the CC, and they were different than each other, so I wouldn't expect any consistency there either.

I know I took some higher resolution full range FR graphs, but I either didn't save them or I deleted them at some point, (remember this was all done about 8 years ago.) My recollection is that the higher resolution FR graphs showed more dramatic variability, but what you see above is still fairly representative. For comparison purposes, here is the same measurment taken of my speakers in my room:



That dip at 2K is Audyssey's "Midrange Compensation" not an actual dip in the speaker's FR.

I agree that measurements are important. However they are no more important than subjective preference. Measurements can give an idea of how a speaker will sound. Those measurements will not change the sound of the room. They will however tell us what we are hearing after installation and allow us to alter the sound if we so choose.
Subjective opinion is valuable... to oneself. One should never purchase speakers that one doesn't find personally and "subjectively" satisfying. That would be foolish. It is when one recommends those subjective opinions to others without the background of the objective data that the subjectivity comes into question, or at least it should, IMO.

I think the problem with the $300k system was likely mix matched cables and other expensive accessories. Since those magic coated cables have a signature it is just a matter of finding one that produces the eq that flatten the frequency range. :)
Surely you don't think cables and isolators and the like can correct for 27 dB of variation in the frequency response, do you? Anyone claiming to be able to hear a trivial 0.5 to 1 dB difference between cables, or a 0.1 dB variation between isolators, when there is 27 dB of variation in their system, is kidding themselves...and all the others reading along and nodding their heads.

I like my speakers and recommend that everyone use the same as I do. Really, I do. :cool:
What speakers are they again?

I like my speakers too, but I don't often recommend them to others on the forum, (or even other, cheper versions of them). In fact, I rarely make recommendations of specific speakers. When I do, it is only speakers with which I have extensive personal experience. Instead, I recommend what I think one should listen for in a speaker, or the compromises made in specific speaker designs, and let the reader decide if that information is applicable to them. I also spend a lot of time trying to help people optimize what they have through setup and placements changes. I think that is equally valuable as recommending specific speakers, sometimes much more valuable. An excellent speaker set up badly will sound bad. A more modest speaker can sound much better when it's setup is optimized.

YMMV. ;)

Craig
 
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I read this last week and I've been pondering it since. I feel the neded to respond, even if it's a bit delayed.

Subjective = Influenced by or based on personal beliefs or feelings rather than based on facts.
Objective = Based on real facts and not influenced by personal beliefs or feelings.

Personally, I place zero value on subjective opinions I read on-line unless those opinions are referenced to measurements of the sound the listener is hearing. I know @Zorba922 often uses anecdotes about other users who "love" the speakers he recommends, but I find those anecdotes to be essentially meaningless, (to me.) As far as I'm concerned, it's basically impossible to have an intelligent and informed conversation about speakers and sound without some objective way to describe what is being produced by the speakers. Measurements are the only good tool we have to communicate with.

Using subjective terms like "bright" "neutral" "warm" or "neutral" can be deceptive. Some might call bright speakers "detailed" while other might call them "harsh" or "brittle." Some might find bright speakers very pleasing to listen to while others suffer from early "listening fatigue" and can't stand the sound for very long. What do "warm" speakers sound like? Are they "tubby" and "bloated" or are they "smooth" and easy to listen to? What color are "colored" speakers? All these subjective adjectives are very ill-defined, non-specific and confusing. They can all mean different things to different people.

To bring this full-circle, there is no such things as "subjective that deludedly calls itself objective" as stated by @Zorba922. I don't even know what that means. There is only subjective opinion and hard, indisputable objective fact. I personally value the later; the former not so much.

Craig
Great post Craig, absolutely agree with most of what you said. I really don't get how measurements became the enemy around here but you've shown just 1 example of the huge benefit they can provide. We all know people who still believe they can set up their system "by ear" better than these fancy new measurement mics and software and they're just flat out wrong, properly integrating subwoofers isn't trivial and requires measurements.

I agree about placing almost zero value on other peoples' opinions unless we've heard similar speakers and they describe them in similar terms to what I heard. It seems that people are more interested in defending what they own than being objective and honest around most forums like this. The bright and laid back terminology can be informative but as you say it's much more useful to start correlating what you hear to how the speakers measure so that you start knowing what you like and dislike before going through the trouble of buying a speaker and sending it back. Measurements don't have to disqualify a speaker either, not sure why so many seem to believe that on this forum but I've said many times that the LS50 are a bit bright and measure that way but they are also very easy to EQ and once I filtered out that region from 2-5k slightly I could listen all night without fatigue.

I think most of us know why some don't like measurements, it's simply because they can't blow smoke with all the flowery language about how "detailed" and magical their speakers sound, or how fast the woofers or errr tweeters are, or how the bass is so incredible for their size or how they compete with speakers 5-10x their price... measurements can prove or disprove these claims. Subjectivists want us to believe that we all have our own unique preferences and that the room, amplifier and cables can also change that preference but that isn't what the research shows. Also, as I said before if that were really true then we really shouldn't be recommending any speaker to anyone right?

Back to choosing a speaker with something Sean Olive of Harman said when asked about the value of sighted and blind listening tests and then measurements he said this at ASR:

In ranking objective/subjective measurements in terms of how reliable and trustworthy test they are I would say:
#1 A well-controlled double-blind listening test.
#2 Meaningful Objective Measurements that Predict #1
#3 A sighted listening test.
 

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This measurements theory is also about money, isn't it?
Look at the Soundstage network database I linked previously. It is generated by the National Research Council of Canada. There is no financial gain for those measurements. It's an intellectual undertaking. More importantly, their measurment techniques have been converted into a "standard" for measuring speakers, the CEA-2034-2015 standard:
I own a copy of the standards and they specify precisely how the measurments are to be performed. The 60 page document specifies the measurement environment, the exact test signals to be used and the exact measurements to be taken, and how that data is processed for presentation. This makes them repeatable and allows precise comparisons between different loudspeakers based on a specific set of standard measurements.

Feel free to believe whatever you want about measurements, but that doesn't invalidate them as valid and accepted scientific "objective" data. Any speaker that is measured by those standards can be compared to other speakers measured the same way and differences in sound can be easily correlated to the measurements.

Craig

Edit:

If you want some further, deeper understanding of the measurements, this document is very helpful:
Once you understand the measurements, and what they can and can't tell you, you may be less prone to dismiss them as being some "financial undertaking".
 
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