is there a way to scientifically test a pair of speakers...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by felix_suwarno, Nov 10, 2002.

  1. felix_suwarno

    felix_suwarno Screenwriter

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    for
    soundstage
    smoothness
    warmness / brightness

    all the tables i have seen so far measured only the loudness on certain frequencies.
     
  2. Sasha_G

    Sasha_G Agent

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    Felix,

    Measurements alone can not totally do it, because the room has such an effect. But the room has much more of an effect below 500 Hz than above 500 Hz. So, when measuring mains, researcher Floyde E. Toole found that you can account for the rooms effects above 500 to a large degree by looking at the frequency response coming from different angles of the speaker. The frequency response coming out at 30 degrees from the center should be similarly smooth as the one coming from the center, so that the reflected sounds that hits your ears also sound natural. In his papers, published in the AES journal, he found some correlations with the patterns of frequency response and subjective ratings.

    I've also read that frequency response dips sound better than peaks. Dips are a void in the sound, while peaks accentuate it.

    I'm not saying that charts and graphs can replace listening to a speaker and declaring "this sounds good." No, researchers around the world are still struggling for that. But, I think there are measurement analysis meathods that could be brought to mainstream product reviewing.
     
  3. Manuel Delaflor

    Manuel Delaflor Supporting Actor

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    Good question. Measuring audio equipment is a formidable task. It is true that most people usually take for granted that current measuring methodologies are fairly "complete" and that they can portrait a fairly accurate representation of how determinate gear will sound (based exclusively on the results of those measures).
    But as you point out, some of the categories that are considered as most important are (still) not measurable. Of course, this is one of the main reasons of why people read subjective reviews instead of just reading the technical data and the results of the measurements when buying equipment.
    Now, several "objectivists" (on this other forums) have exposed the flaws of believing what a subjectivist reviewer tell us about some gear. Why? because he maybe listening only to what he expect to hear. That’s why they insist that we need certain procedures (like double blind tests) to account for any subjective expectancy and be able to just listen to the sound differences (if they exists).
    I don't think things are that easy, specially because I feel the methodology of some of the DBT’s they invoke as a “prove” of some sort (to demonstrate that they are more intelligent than the regular buyer) is rather weak.
    But anyway, regarding speakers of course things are easier. It maybe impossible to account for the sound differences between, say, a Sony or a Yamaha amplifiers, but there are more vast differences between the different brands of speakers.
    Now the question here, specially for objectivists, is who to trust? Are there really speakers which have more "soundstage" than others? We can't measure soundstage, so for this we need to rely on subjectivists reviews? What about their personal perceptions? As they don't trust in what they hear, they should conclude that maybe the greater soundstage they are listening with some speakers its really in their minds and so its better to stay with the cheaper speaker?
    Sorry for the brief rant about objectivists, I couldn't resist!! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    My personal opinion is that we should be informed about all those subjective terms and of course the objective ones, then listen to as many speakers as we can, then read the reviews of the ones that we are really liked and then make our final decision.
     
  4. felix_suwarno

    felix_suwarno Screenwriter

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    what is the definition of soundstage, really?
     
  5. Jo_M

    Jo_M Stunt Coordinator

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    I always thought the definition of soundstage was the area of sound that the speakers create. For example, when I play music in stereo the sound seems to be coming from in between and to the left and right of the speakers not directly from the speakers. That wall of sound is the soundstage. Hope that makes some sense.
     
  6. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    I think many parameters are measurable. For example, horizontal and vertical dispersion affect the soundstage. Group delay (transient response) partially represent the 'tightness / smoothness' of the sound. Frequency response (at various SPL levels!) could help describe whether a speaker is bright or not. Having said all this, every speaker designer goes through multiple iterations of measurement, listening and redesigning (vs. only designing by measurement / simulation). I believe this is called 'voicing' the speaker and is important in giving the design a desired sound.
     
  7. Will Orth

    Will Orth Stunt Coordinator

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    Well you can use A RTA, Then the rest is up to your EAR!
    If you have a bad ear it will never sound right! If you have a friend that is a tweek for audio sound get him-her over and let them help you.

    Will
     
  8. felix_suwarno

    felix_suwarno Screenwriter

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    is there a device to detect timber matching problem?
     
  9. Gregg Z

    Gregg Z Stunt Coordinator

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    For fun, let me pose the question back to you in another way...
    Is there a way to scientifically quantify why a Stradivarius violin sounds better than a modern violin?
    Here is an article on just this topic...
    http://physicsweb.org/article/world/13/4/8
    To save you a little reading...
    In practice it is extremely difficult to distinguish between a particularly fine Stradivarius instrument and an indifferent modern copy on the basis of the measured response alone. The ear is a supreme detection device and the brain is a far more sophisticated analyser of complex sounds than any system yet developed to assess musical quality.
     
  10. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Trust your ears.
     

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