Can Objective Loudspeaker Measurements Predict Subjective Preferences?

Can measurements predict listening preferences in loudspeakers?

  • Yes. If the proper measurements are conducted

    Votes: 44 66.7%
  • No. What we hear is far too complex to fully quantify empirically.

    Votes: 14 21.2%
  • Who cares. Just get what sounds good to you and be done with it.

    Votes: 8 12.1%

  • Total voters
    66
Ossidian

Ossidian

Enthusiast
Your response is both arrogant and ignorant.

The Hirata method is based upon noting that musical waveforms often contain transient events which are brief, and asymmetric in shape. Recognising this, Hirata devised test waveforms which are asymmetric and quasi-transient, but which have a mean (average level) of zero – i.e. no d.c. component. Waveforms of this general type are very interesting since they can probe effects whereby the linearity of an amplifier (or other audio component) is sensitive to medium-term statistical or short-term asymmetries in the waveforms. Unfortunately, as with the Belcher method, Hirata’s proposal in the above article is based upon waveforms that have some related drawbacks. For example, the Hirata waveforms were essentially a group of rectangular pulses. The resulting spectra then depend upon the sharpness of the pulse edges, etc.

The purpose of what follows is to outline some of the amplifier effects which might need to be probed to identify non-linearities which affect musical reproduction. Then go on to consider an alternative method that might provide measured results more relevant to musical performance.

Measuring well and sound well are different things. Hirata tested many amps; some tested measured poorly like the Marantz 8B but sound fantastic while some amps that measured very well sounded bad on his testing method. There are many products that measure well and sound awful.

I won't get into the end user restrictions i.e rooms ect. Nobody lives and listens in an anechoic chamber.
 
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Bucknekked

Bucknekked

Audioholic Field Marshall
Your response is both arrogant and ignorant.

Measuring well and sound well are different things.
.
Well, there you have it. Succinctly expressed. I am both arrogant and ignorant.
As well, the conclusion that devices that measure well are different from devices that sound well.
Again, succinctly expressed and clearly done. All supported by a 38 year old research paper about a testing method.

I bow to your insight on my character and knowledge base. Perhaps your testing method, reading a few lines on a forum, should be codified and put in to a paper. There are a great number of people who would love to know how to do such a thing.

I think I've read enough to satisfy my curiosity though. Thank you for your insights.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Spartan
Your response is both arrogant and ignorant.
I read nothing in Buck's post that was ignorant or arrogant. What I can't believe is that you went back later just to edit this part into your post. Your earlier, more civil reply wasn't good enough? I don't know if "arrogant" is the right word for your response or the type of person who would bother to go back to add it in, but it does bring to mind a few other colorful adjectives...
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Samurai
If anyone ever does and it turns out to be accurate, we'll never hear about it because, well, you know, women have a kind of telepathic network and they'll all know about it as soon as it's active. By "we'll never hear about it", I really mean "We'll never hear from the inventor".

In the mean time, there's this-

https://etherealmind.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/man-woman-knon.jpeg
Here are the facts: Male Brain and then Female Brain

male-female-brain.jpg


Statistics have changed with regard to SEX in the last two generations: Women now play more with themselves than ever
 
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killdozzer

killdozzer

Audioholic Field Marshall
Your response is both arrogant and ignorant.

The Hirata method is based upon noting that musical waveforms often contain transient events which are brief, and asymmetric in shape. Recognising this, Hirata devised test waveforms which are asymmetric and quasi-transient, but which have a mean (average level) of zero – i.e. no d.c. component. Waveforms of this general type are very interesting since they can probe effects whereby the linearity of an amplifier (or other audio component) is sensitive to medium-term statistical or short-term asymmetries in the waveforms. Unfortunately, as with the Belcher method, Hirata’s proposal in the above article is based upon waveforms that have some related drawbacks. For example, the Hirata waveforms were essentially a group of rectangular pulses. The resulting spectra then depend upon the sharpness of the pulse edges, etc.

The purpose of what follows is to outline some of the amplifier effects which might need to be probed to identify non-linearities which affect musical reproduction. Then go on to consider an alternative method that might provide measured results more relevant to musical performance.

Measuring well and sound well are different things. Hirata tested many amps; some tested measured poorly like the Marantz 8B but sound fantastic while some amps that measured very well sounded bad on his testing method. There are many products that measure well and sound awful.

I won't get into the end user restrictions i.e rooms ect. Nobody lives and listens in an anechoic chamber.
Man, you couldn't be further from the truth. @Bucknekked gave you such a calm, elaborate answer and took time to read your links, you can't say it is ignorant. Also, he didn't give you an opinion, he repeated end results of some serious people doing thorough experiments. You can't just say it's ignorant.
 
Art Vandelay

Art Vandelay

Audioholic
Ossidian

The basic premise of this thread is to pose the question "can measurement predict subjective performance?". That question has been thoroughly discussed, sliced n diced, and I think pretty well answered in the affirmative.
Measurements, done well, can predict from a group which speakers will sound better than others. Toole and others have demonstrated it to be true.
.
When it comes to amplifiers the situation isn't necessarily as clear cut though, and Bruce Candy, Pass and others have admitted that the correlation between subjective and objective measurements is far from definitive. Leaving aside for now the argument that a Halcro should sound identical to any other lower distortion amplifier regardless of price, when operated within voltage and current limits.


With loudspeakers there are established measurements that can provide a reasonably good guide to in-room sound quality but it's probably fair to say that 1. People read more into basic measurements than they really should, and 2. Measurements or specs from the manufacturer or other third party are still limited in various ways to not highlight deficiencies that can be audible in real world conditions. An example of that might be high IM or harmonic distortion with certain types of music that simple low power test tone sweeps are not going to reveal.

Ultimately the test is in the listening within your own specific listening environment, which is likely going to be far more compromised than the majority of well designed loudspeakers.
 
S

Speedskater

Senior Audioholic
When it comes to amplifiers the situation isn't necessarily as clear cut though, and Bruce Candy, Pass and others have admitted that the correlation between subjective and objective measurements is far from definitive.
When it comes to amplifiers with euphonic colorations this is true. It would be hard to predict human preferences from measurements. And with different listeners, different loudspeakers or different music genres the preferences might be different.
But with accurate amplifiers there will be correlation (or the wrong measurements were made).
 
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Art Vandelay

Art Vandelay

Audioholic
But with accurate amplifiers there will be correlation (or the wrong measurements were made).
Perhaps you mean to say "near-perfect amplifier", but it's more likely that the right measurements were not made, given that all measurements are valid. Typical sweeps and distortion measurements may not reveal some dynamic distortions which can be audible, which explains why two seemingly perfect amplifiers (from typical measurements) can sound different in some ways.
 

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