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Old 18th September 2008, 04:30 PM   #1
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Default Testing vs listening

Has anyone had a "conflict" between what test's good (imperical) and what sounds good (subjective)? And did the test indicate the characteristic that caused the conflict?

Might slight variations in freq. response be something some of us desire ? Just curious...
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Old 18th September 2008, 05:08 PM   #2
lineup is offline lineup  Sweden
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there is no better listener
than one good hi-fi test microphone

even if some, strictly subjectively, likes to think the human mind is so superior to everything
in determine true signal quality
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Old 18th September 2008, 06:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: Testing vs listening

Quote:
Originally posted by cathode_ray
Has anyone had a "conflict" between what test's good (imperical) and what sounds good (subjective)? And did the test indicate the characteristic that caused the conflict?

Might slight variations in freq. response be something some of us desire ? Just curious...
Yes.
While measurements are a good guide, they don't measure everything.
Some things are ignored. It is assumed by some that it's inaudible.
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Old 18th September 2008, 06:21 PM   #4
ratza is offline ratza  Romania
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The best testing is made with yout built in ears If you're happy with the sound, then there's no point to measure them and see that... they are not liniar at all. After all, we build the speakers to listen to them, not to make measurements all day long.
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Old 18th September 2008, 06:32 PM   #5
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I'm not "asking which is better". I realize there are often "un-measurables" and wonder if anyone had isolated aspects that may account for this ... Time alignment, freq. response(as stated earlier. Some like overstated bass, etc ...)

Re: "ears are best" - I take issue when I consider much of what people listen to these days.
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Old 18th September 2008, 07:19 PM   #6
lineup is offline lineup  Sweden
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Default test microphone setup

Nobody can deny that

Linkwitz is one authorithy in LoudSpeakers.
We use his name to refer to the Linkwitz-Riley speaker x-over filter.
Though the years he has produced numerous papers & investigations on the subject.

some stuff at his personal website.

A dozen ways to evaluate a loudspeaker.
http://www.linkwitzlab.com/Loudspeaker%20evaluation.htm

PHOENIX.
Build your own open-baffle loudspeaker system.
System Test.
Including test microphone construction and shaped toneburst testing.

http://www.linkwitzlab.com/sys_test.htm


By www.diyaudio.com member .....
Here is the correct way to do speaker testing
Photo by fotios our man in Greece (Hellas)
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Old 18th September 2008, 09:15 PM   #7
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I trust my ears more than a microphone when judging the sound of loudspeakers. However, my ears don't help as much as the microphone when designing loudspeakers.
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Old 21st September 2008, 05:18 PM   #8
djdan is offline djdan  Romania
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I have this kind of dilemma, every time when I work at a new loudspeaker design.

First of all, it is vey important to know what it really happen.
Hearing it is a little bit tricky, and it isn't the best way to start a project, in my opinion. It is true, we make loudspeakers for music, but when we make something like that, we need more than a "golden ear" .

Almost everybody run for a linear response but I am not sure if it is the best way to design a good loudspeaker. For me, a non linear loudspeaker sound better than ultra linear cabinets. Sometime, for classic music, a linear response sound better, but for pop music or jazz, a little deep ( - 1,5dB to 3dB ) will be a very good idea.

Anyway, to be on topic, the measurement don't exclude other ways to design a cabinet. I know few people how made very good loudspeakers, without any kind of measurement.
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Old 21st September 2008, 07:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by HiFiNutNut
I trust my ears more than a microphone when judging the sound of loudspeakers. However, my ears don't help as much as the microphone when designing loudspeakers.
Excellent thought, but I will add that while you may trust your ears, can you really trust your mind. There are tremendous psycho-acoustic factors that come into play when listening to a speaker or pair of speakers.

You would assume if you had a reference standard speaker, and compared all speakers against it for sound, then you would be OK, but your mind will always prefer the speaker that is slightly louder.

Psychologically, people will immediately prefer a speaker that has heavier bass. Though upon extended listening they may discover that it is an exaggerated one-note bass.

Some times a speaker with a tweeter that is a little louder, will jump out and be presumed to sound better.

Even people who listen to and review hundreds of speakers every year, still have to struggle to rein in the instinctive psycho-acoustic effects that can bias them with regard to a speaker.

I concede that some speakers that test right, don't sound right. And some speaker that sound right, don't test right. Consequently I think the truest test is BOTH measure and listen. Measuring give you some assurance that nothing is out of order. Listening verifies that a theoretical or technical idea was able to be translated into a working practical idea.

Just some random thoughts.

Steve/bluewizard
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Old 21st September 2008, 09:22 PM   #10
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Yes, sort of "been there, done that".

For the same speaker, I could find that at one time it sounds perfect, then the next day awful.

When tuning a XO, I would keep trimming down the tweeter until I thought the harshness and brightness were completely gone, then the next day found them sounding terribly dull. So the tweeter was tuned up and up again, until the speakers sounded really "phenomenal" with a lot of presence and I was very happy. Then the next day I found harshness again. This cycle was repeated many times, sometimes tunning the bass, sometimes the treble, sometimes the BBC dip, etc, etc.

But still, eventually, experience can be gained during the repeated processes. I listen to live classical music and that serves as the reference. I play music CDs of string quartet and walk around the rooms and also listen to the music from the next room and ask myself: "does it sound like a real quartet play in the next room?" if it doesn't, something still needs to be done. The recordings could be at fault so multiple good recordings must be used.

I found it very educational to listen to my familiar music while adjusting an equalizer (you can do it from Wimamp from a PC with a good earphone) and understand the effects of the dips and peakers of frequency response and different sets of response profiles. This helps identify the peaks and dips of my speakers.

It is extremely tedious to do it this way and it took me a few years to tune a pair of speakers to near perfection.

It could have been substantially easier if the tunning was based on accurate measurement.

Regards,
Bill
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