Can Objective Loudspeaker Measurements Predict Subjective Preferences?

Can measurements predict listening preferences in loudspeakers?

  • Yes. If the proper measurements are conducted

    Votes: 54 63.5%
  • No. What we hear is far too complex to fully quantify empirically.

    Votes: 22 25.9%
  • Who cares. Just get what sounds good to you and be done with it.

    Votes: 9 10.6%

  • Total voters
    85
E

Edgar Betancourt

Junior Audioholic
No, you were. I really don't have time to waste quoting you to yourself. If you are unable to understand the conceptual differences between the methods and why they will have drastically different results or are too proud to acknowledge it, I can't help you any further.
As most people that simply want to argue you are lazy so thus I willquote myself to demostrate your rambling useless trolling
Qoute "eir methodology was anechoic chamber with on and off axis curves. The Harman method is a modern refinement of that". See its exactly what Ive said from the beginning. Ergo you are full of crap!
 
colofan

colofan

Enthusiast
The Industry standard for compression testing in consumer audio is actually CEA-2034a. Various other standards exist and are in use in the pro audio industry with the primary difference being around the test stimulus used.

We will be publishing something on all of this in the coming months. I'd love to do compression testing on all speakers that come for review but there are potential risks of harm and we don't feel comfortable asking manufacturers to allow us to do that. It also brings new demands on our testing that may not be feasable. Things like sufficiently large and powerful amplifiers and an ability to play annoying tones at really loud levels for extended periods of time outside. My neighbors are likely already at their limits. I can't get far enough out into a field to totally address this problem. Still you never know, we might start doing this on some products.
I completely concur for CEA-2034a being the consumer level standard just stating a of foundation work has and still is done be AES.

Compression testing doesn't have to be destructive though. Using an optical displacement laser you can see this happening in real time with having to be concerned with any room environment getting in the way. FFT on the output can show many breakup modes and also distortion products before damage. If more speakers gave you a AES 400ms rating would be a good guide on where a driver can operate at. Though this is focused on Pro systems where headroom in a particular room is really important for live music reproduction.
 
S

Speedskater

Audioholic Chief
what is 'Compression testing' with regards to loudspeakers?
or is that a repeated typo?

Compression testing is an automobile engine test.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
what is 'Compression testing' with regards to loudspeakers?
or is that a repeated typo?

Compression testing is an automobile engine test.
Compression testing is testing to see how loud a speaker will get before some part of the frequency band just stops getting louder or when gross distortion starts creeping up.
 
colofan

colofan

Enthusiast
Every mechanical system has a region that goes into non-linear mode in two ways. The suspension is stretched beyond where the mechanical properties of the material can "spring" back in a linear fashion. Or the magnet motor with the moving membrane moves out of the linear electro-magnetic region. Typically 70% field strength is given as the limit for the speakers "motor".

The end result is putting more power into a driver that does not respond in increased SPL linearlity.

Company that has instruments for this as an example is Klippel in germany.
 
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Audioluvr!

Audioluvr!

Enthusiast
"
Can Objective Loudspeaker Measurements Predict Subjective Preferences?

No.
 
Audioluvr!

Audioluvr!

Enthusiast
Sorry. I can't hear research. There are so many variables in audio equipment theory and engineering and then there's listener preferences. Some like their systems bright. Others prefer warm. Some distortion is preferred by many. Others think it destroys everything. Measurements mean nothing if you don't enjoy the sound to your ears in your home with your components.
 
Mikado463

Mikado463

Audioholic Samurai
Sorry. I can't hear research.
agreed but you can hear what solid engineering and research does provide in the finished product. No argument that speakers are a subjective choice, to that I like to start out with some sound engineering.

I will admit years back enjoying the listening experience of a pair of Wilson (Sasha's I believe) that I later discovered did not measure all that well, not to mention Wilson's ugly looks, IMO.
 
S

Speedskater

Audioholic Chief
Objective loudspeaker measurements can predict subjective preferences for a range of listeners. The larger and more diverse the range (group) the more accurate the prediction.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Sorry. I can't hear research. There are so many variables in audio equipment theory and engineering and then there's listener preferences. Some like their systems bright. Others prefer warm. Some distortion is preferred by many. Others think it destroys everything. Measurements mean nothing if you don't enjoy the sound to your ears in your home with your components.
So you just randomly pick stuff to experiment with? You buy gear to achieve some vague perception of warmth or brightness instead of applying necessary eq? Weird.
 
S

Sadie42

Audioholic Intern
"If it sounds good and measures bad, then you're measuring the wrong thing."

I used to believe that, and at one time it made sense to believe it - but technology has finally caught up. So, I no longer believe it's true. There is a measurement for everything now.

"Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts."

I think this one is still true.
 
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Matthew J Poes

Matthew J Poes

Senior Audioholic
"If it sounds good and measures bad, then you're measuring the wrong thing."

I used to believe that, and at one time it made sense to believe it - but technology has finally caught up. So, I no longer believe it's true. There is a measurement for everything now.

"Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts."

I think this one is still true.
There is still much to be learned in measurement. The main issue is that we can "count" a lot that may or may not "count" and we don't really know yet. For example, there is a lot still to be learned about dispersion. We also don't really know exactly which aspects of measured performance is the most important. A lot of this stuff was studied using "end run" research and as a result we know how it worked at a fairly gross level. We don't, for example, know exactly how much variation at what frequencies are transparent/perceptible. There is a big difference between the JND of a pure tone and of music played back through a speaker with these errors. When this was studied, it was done using fairly crude methods. At the end of the day, research is expensive and time consuming. You can only look at so much, so you pick what seems like the most important given your time and budget.

I think the main reason people think a bad measuring speaker sounds good is that they either have hearing problems or they simply don't know better. I doubt anyone, under blinded conditions, would prefer the sound of a really flawed/colored speaker. On the other hand, I do think a speaker could be flawed and have those flaws not matter. When Toole and Olive did a lot of this work, it took on a kind of smoother is better approach to the Spin data. But there has to be a limit where it doesn't matter anymore. We have measured a lot of speakers that had a good response for the most part, some minor issues in our opinion, and we thought it sounded really good. We didn't hear evidence of those flaws. We would question how audible they are. And we are pretty sure they aren't something that has been extensively studied. here an example would be the Polks I recently reviewed where I found that the tweeter beamed excessively. It was still smooth where it counted. Is it really possible to hear a speaker that is -30dB by 30 degrees at 15khz? I don't think so, or at least, I don't think its all that audible or matters all that much.

What about some disturbances in the integration due to directivity mismatch. We see that a lot. If it gets everything else right, including a very smooth listening window, does it matter? The research doesn't really say, they didn't test those kinds of issues (What was tested was far more extreme/flawed than what we typically see today). We've discussed this and question, again, if there is some limit where the amount of error is minor enough to not matter.
 

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