Heretical challenge to level matching

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Steve_D, Jul 17, 2003.

  1. Steve_D

    Steve_D Second Unit

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 1999
    Messages:
    299
    Likes Received:
    0
    For a long time, it has been "Gospel" that you must level match in order to evaluate speakers. The underlying reason given is that louder will always be evaluated as better.

    If this is the case, then why don't we all buy competent speakers and turn them up a db or 2?

    In other words, according to that logic, I can buy some B&W 600's and listen to them at 85 db and get a better perceived sound then buying Nautilus 804's and listening to them at 83 db. I've purposely used a line of speakers that most people will be familiar with.

    I am not completely challenging the importance of level matching in speaker auditioning, I am directly challenging the underlying assumption that louder is always perceived as better. If you disagree, then answer the question in bold above.

    This should be fun [​IMG]
     
  2. Jason_Me

    Jason_Me Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Messages:
    215
    Likes Received:
    0
    Because if you turn the better speakers up to the same sound level they'll sound better.
     
  3. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    7,270
    Likes Received:
    1
    The premise is based upon studies wherebye if we take two identical whatevers: cables, speakers, receivers, and providing nothing is being driven past it's design capabilities and make one a little louder than the other distinct preferences are observed. Not 100% preferences, but the results are skewed. This would suggest the unimportance of level matching?
     
  4. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    6,531
    Likes Received:
    15
    "Because these go to eleven!"

    Actually, you answered the bold yourself. When you level match, the perceived difference due to one being louder goes away, so it was not an acccurate perception of quality in the first place.
     
  5. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2001
    Messages:
    1,088
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dangit Jeff. You stole my reply.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. RichardHOS

    RichardHOS Second Unit

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2003
    Messages:
    454
    Likes Received:
    0
    Steve, I thought this was already covered fairly well at AVS, but I suppose I was mistaken. "Louder is always perceived as better" has some qualifications that limit how it can be applied, and you are ignoring those.

    The premise is that two identical components will be perceived as different when the levels are not matched, with the higher level typically being perceived as superior. The implication is that differences between two similar components might be lost in the tide when the levels aren't matched. You're twisting this premise to say that any speaker will sound better than any other speaker if it is simply turned up louder.

    That isn't the point at all. As was the case with the question asked at AVS, and is most often the case when any of us goes speaker shopping, the quality of the speakers you are considering are actually quite similar. If you're in the market for some mid-range bookshelfs, then there won't be a tremendous difference in objective performance between Rockets, B&W, Ascend, Aerial, NHT, etc. If you're having to use audiophile terms like "slightly more veiled, laidback, warm" etc. to desicribe the small differences you hear, then any mismatch in volume could completely erase any chance you had at accurately assessing the performance of the different speakers.

    So why level match then? To make sure that the small differences you hear in similar speakers are due to physical differences in the speaker and not the levels. Do you run the risk of buying Bose and turning it up louder? No - a crappy speaker played louder will sound loud and crappy.
     
  7. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    7,270
    Likes Received:
    1
    Speaker auditioning...it's a bitch.
     

Share This Page