Where can I learn to listen?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Drew_W, Oct 12, 2003.

  1. Drew_W

    Drew_W Screenwriter

    Jul 2, 2003
    Likes Received:
    It's very hard to compare speakers when you're running around the city from dealer to dealer trying to compare speakers and then trying to remember what they all sound like. It would also seem that very few dealers (at least around here) sell final sale only on all their products, so a real in-home comparison isn't possible. What's the benchmark that should be used by comparison? I have a demo CD that I go to the dealers with with a wide array of familiar tracks, but how do I know which speakers provide me with the most accurate reproduction of the recording? Surely it is impossible to demo every speaker with every available amp and source on the market.

    To save you all from a long ramble, perhaps some of you guys who have far more experience than I do when it comes to this kind of stuff could provide some insight on how you came to the decisions you did...at least in terms of sound.
  2. ScottCarr

    ScottCarr Second Unit

    Jan 28, 2003
    Likes Received:
    I went thru the same problem. So I swung by wal mart and picked up a notebook and worte down what I wanted in my speakers.

    high were important to me.

    lows the SVs would pick up any thing that was lacking.

    mid would be on a speaker to speaker basis.

    When I listened it was from left center right locations.
    How did the sound fill the room.
    How well did the sound spread across the front
    Sound flat, too deep and so on.

    i think taking notes is very important. Also salespersons will try to crank it up, I didn't I wanted to be able to hear the speakers.
    the demo disk is the right thing to have. You need to hear how the music you like will sound but also listen to what the sales person has in their collection.

    As far as most accurate reproduction, I think it's somewhat subjective since not everyone hears the music the same way.

    i found it frustrating and so many opinions and products. And of course $$$$$$ will always buy more.

    Take your time and if your do get frustrated leave and come back some other time.

    good luck and so for the ramble

  3. Doug BW

    Doug BW Stunt Coordinator

    Nov 27, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Yes, this is definitely a tough problem with no perfect answer.

    However, I think the key to doing the best possible job you can has to do with choosing what you use as a frame of reference...what it is you focus on when you're listening. And although I agree with Scott when he said that using accurate reproduction as your frame of reference has its problems, I still think that accurate reproduction is the only game in town.

    That is, use things you've heard in the real world as your frame of reference.

    To get a good frame of reference, it's important that a lot of what you use at auditions is good recordings of acoustic music, preferably recordings of musical instruments that you've heard in real life. Then, when you're auditioning, close your eyes and focus in on how natural sounding the instruments are....on how much they sound like the real thing. Don't focus on whether you "like" the sound, because then you can get sucked in by pleasant sounding colorations.

    I don't think it's nearly so important (though not a bad thing) to listen to "familiar" tracks, especially if "familiar" means you know how it sounds on your current speakers. (If your current speakers are perfect, you don't need new speakers. If your current speakers aren't perfect, they don't make a good frame of reference.) Also, a lot of popular music is not all that well recorded, or involves a lot of synthesized sound for which there's no notion of how it "really sounds".

    As mentioned before, if you're planning to use a sub in your system, you should try to ignore the quality of the bass during auditions, though I'm not sure how to actually DO that. (And even if you don't plan to use a sub, keep in mind that bass reproduction is EXTREMELY room dependent, so the bass you get at home could easily be better or worse than what you hear in the showroom.)

    Auditioning speakers is a skill like anything else. The more you do, the better you get at it. And definitely take notes.....I found that using a 3x5 index card for each speaker worked really well. Good luck!
  4. Kenneth Harden

    Kenneth Harden Screenwriter

    May 13, 2002
    Likes Received:
    It really comes down to a gut instinct. Again, same here, going to different places and listening is hard. Sometimes, you just need to find something you like, and GO FOR IT!!!
  5. Tim Ranger

    Tim Ranger Stunt Coordinator

    Oct 22, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Chesky makes a really good test CD that is helpful for training yourself for what to listen for. Says things like 'the sax should sound like it is 10 feet behind your left speaker' I can't think of the CD name. I'll try to remember to check at home tonight. I found it very helpful.

Share This Page