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85 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

I have no idea whether this is the correct forum for such a discussion but with such a large audience somebody here must know what they're talking about.

I've been listening to a lot of YouTube videos of audio systems lately. It never fails to surprise me how absolutely dire audio systems sound when recorded "live" from the speakers (and subs) in almost any listening environment.

It doesn't matter (at all) which kind of speakers are involved or how much the system cost. Or how carefully the room has been treated. They all sound awful!

Yet YouTube sound quality isn't universally bad. Professional recordings can sound quite good with bass going right down to the single digits of Hz with plenty of power.

This got me thinking. I recorded a video of my own system playing a CD using my handy TZ7 camera as the recording device. I wasn't interested in the pictures. Only the sound. I then played the video back through my system. The recording sounded absolutely dreadful! With obvious speaker colouration and sound quality I didn't even recognise! Just like all those extremely embarrassing YT videos!

Let's assume, just for the sake of argument, that the camera faithfully recorded what was heard at the listening position. Now, what if I had played some music and recorded the sound of my speaker system using better quality microphones and a decent recorder? I could repeatedly pass each new recording back through my system. Record it again and then play it back to identify weaknesses in my speaker system and/or listening room.

It could form a useful test for SQ because each new pass would further amplify deficiencies in SQ. The multi-pass test could be used for judging the amount of stuffing to put in a DIY speaker. Or the best position for room treatment.

I could even imagine testing pre-amps, processors and EQ devices by multi-pass recording at line level. To identify obvious sonic characteristics (if any) without introducing the weaknesses of loudspeakers (or subjective listeners) into the chain. Though noise might eventually become a problem with too many passes.

Cables could easily enjoy the same multi-pass treatment to identify what SQ nasties they are actually doing to our sound for our hard earned money. Cables could be graded according to the number of passes they allowed before the sound was too poor to continue. Or perhaps when colouration, muffling, forwardness or brightness first became noticeable. Headphones could be used to monitor progress as SQ went steadily downhill with each iteration.

This multi-pass idea is so absurdly simple I can't imagine it is truly original. Perhaps I'm missing some obvious technical flaw? It wouldn't surprise me at all.

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