Listening about things


I've been recenlty doing all sorts of listening experiments, trying to get more familiar with my DIY speakers and speakers in general. Experiments from trying to find out how room affects perceived sound to how vibrations (knock) various parts of my speaker structure makes the freestanding waveguide resonate :) Plan is to post about these for fun, even though they are not translatable through posts like this so you could have the same experience as I have had live doing these, hopefully my posts encourage everyone develop their listening skills and systems of course.

if you have some fun listening tests / experiments, please post them so me and others following can learn more :)

Here is fun set to start. Bought few compression drivers and was interested in how much their sound can differ in application, meaning that each was adjusted as part of complete system very close to same response would there still be meaningful difference? Well, didn't quite get there yet but had some time to make one round of measurements drivers playing alone, and thought to record small snippets out of that. There was 5uF capacitor in series with all, otherwise measured fullrange but then while exporting sound files I applied crude 4th order high pass at 1300Hz, about where it would be adjusted in application.

The test was not very scientific, although I tried to keep everything untouched, except change the driver. Waveguide is RCF H100 and drivers are hf10ak, cdx1-1747 and nd350.
HF10AK is measured three times actually, once with the same setup with cdx and nd350. Then twice with slightly different measurement setup with motivation to compare if there is difference between 5uf protection cap or series resistor with parallel inductor making high passinstead. I had to level match the inductor measurement as the resistor works as a pad.

Anyway, behind link thre is some wav files if you want to listen to. There is a snippet from a song and short white and pink noise files for each DUT. Also gated frequency response sweeps form on-axis. The files are level matched quite close, but frequency responses vary some. See text file inside to see which DUT-x- in file names is which driver :)

Well, haven't done much yet with the data. Plan is try to EQ match them with some tools and by ear and so on, just to manipulate them for a while to learn what the sound differences are. If you have a good methodology how to compare drivers in/for application, how to EQ match each for example, I'd be interested, thanks!:)
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Here is another fun one, had measurement mic at listening spot so took recordings with Left and Right speaker playing alone (with sub actually), so complete system is playing. then pan them to sides to make a stereo track :) In a music production DAW it's easy to analyze spectral content of the files, and use some EQ plugin to match with pink for example.

Here is files for both speakers playing, recorder mono of course, then stereo track explained above. Find the song from your collection and compare.

Not sure what to make with this test either, except, it somehow shows some aspects about the system. Like playing with an EQ live and listening if it gets closer to orginal, try auto EQ with pink noise recording and so on. Listening with headphones of course. Then, it's also fun to kind of listen if the original tracks sounds better or worse in headphones than in room, better or worse in a way that which one is more fun?:D

Well, anyway, try it with your system next time you take mic out to tune the system. If you have more information on this kind of recording / listening testing, please share :)

Perhaps there is some possibility to compare original track with the recorded one somehow, with the LUFS reading or something. Haven't had time to analyze these more than just listening quickly and posting here.
Recently posted simple test on another thread to figure out if my freestanding waveguide, printed with prototyping in mind with prototype quality, resonates loudly when speaker is playing.

Here nice simple test to try it out:
Here follow up post.

If you have comments on these, please reply in this thread, I'll leave back reference to the other thread :)
yes, need to make dummy head out of football and couple of mics one day :D Have you tried recording yours?

The recording came out surprisingly fine, pleasant sound as you say. It is regular living room by the way, no acoustic treament other than typical furniture. It is comfortable room to be in so the acoustics isn't too bad, not as bad as some of my friends places anyway. One big modern livingroom feels so noisy it's not very comfortable to be in let alone listen music :) Mic was about 2.1m away, at apex of stereo listening triangle. Room is roughly 5x8m composed of livingroom and kitchen.

Anyway, what ever the means of recording it's fun test: get to listen the mic recording with headphones, also the original track with headphones and also live with the speaker system. Gives hints about the sound, it's another perspective. I guess recording with a mobile could work fine as well, although it's nice to have impulse responses recorded at the same time to see some graphs as well. Learning to connect perceived sound to graphs and the other way around.
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Another test, whether series inductor makes difference in sound of a woofer while DSP handles bulk of the response.

More stuff on this test on another thread:

It is midrange driver, not even near it's limits but loud at home, and not sure if I hear any difference although there is difference in distortion measurement. Need to facilitate some ABX right to test these files I've been uploading. But, it seems so little difference not sure if this matters in my case. Perhaps on some one elses it could be more clear difference, on some circumstances, like in two way application where distortion gets higher overall.

edit. listening the files: song- I think there is slight more clarity with the series inductor, or the sound is somehow congested without the inductor. But, it is likely be due to bit different frequency responses. Which is quite apparent if comparing pink noise samples. Anyway, some hint of magnitude of things, how graphs and sound relate.

Unfortunately, about 2db difference at high frequencies, which I didn't notice and compensate, seems to be readily audible preventing hearing any difference with the distortion. At least to my ear, not sure how the distortion actually sounds like here, perhaps nothing as it's more than 40db down. The samples would need to be equalized within say half db. I see if I can EQ them in post processing for better match.
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Thanks Juhazi for the articles!

I need to take deep dive into writings about listening. I've found listening is the most important thing to sort out to make sense on loudspeakers and rooms. Not very surprising :D but easily forgotten thinking about technical details and dreaming about stuff.

Anyway, I've been polluting many threads with listening experiment: how to find audible critical distance in room and utilizing that as a tool to reason about sound perception and learn listening. Most recently here:

It's a weird thing, not sure how should I relate this stuff to what others hear or consider important and that's why desperately posting with it hoping to get some feedback. What I've learned utilizing the audible critical distance on my place is that looking at photos of various home setups and from hifi expo show rooms it's very apparent that most people listen beyond critical distance for some reason. Went first time to a hifi expo this weekend to listen all kinds of sets in various rooms, and sure enough most of the rooms had all listening positions beyond the audible critical distance. The ones that head main listening position close enough were small rooms where there was no other option. To me, all this indicates that the whole audible critical distance thing is not very widely known/utilized aspect of stereo listening. If it was there would be at least on chair at the critical distance in the show, but no. Sadly, the event was such in nature it was hard to actually listen as there is lots of people who come and go, cannot swap listening position at will, demo records playing and so on.. anyway, equipped with the knowledge it was fun to compare how things were setup and how important it is to have them good. I'm sorry for people who buy something based on what they heard on the floor and not hear the same thing at home not being able to setup them well, or businesses that make great product but poor positioning ruined the impression at the show. Anyway, a lot of confusion ensues if one is not aware how to listen to things.

Not saying I know, I'm trying to find out how to, and share what I've found out so far. Please, post any comments, how you listen about things? do you know good books about listening?