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Multi-Way Conventional loudspeakers with crossovers

Do you measure then listen or listen then measure?
Do you measure then listen or listen then measure?
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Old 4th October 2017, 04:52 PM   #1
midrange is offline midrange  United Kingdom
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Default Do you measure then listen or listen then measure?

So, you have built your latest design. You Attach the wires to your amp and the first thing you do is...........?

Sit down to listen.

Or

Sit down to measure.
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Old 4th October 2017, 05:09 PM   #2
Tiido is offline Tiido  Estonia
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Plenty measuring to make sure things work as expected, reality doesn't always reflect the theory.
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Old 4th October 2017, 06:47 PM   #3
Dave R is offline Dave R  United States
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I find it useful to at least make an impedance sweep measurement before hooking up the amp. Maybe not everyone has to double check their own work, but I do this out of routine.

After I hook it up, I might listen a little bit, but spl measurements are used to validate or reveal any primary issues.

It is interesting to see if my own ears might pick up on an spl peak (or null), if the mic measurements show it. Sometimes the problem is that I may not have a source (cd) that has the frequency band in question.

As an example, I found a replacement tweeter with similar specs to the original. At most, I figured that a small padding resistor may be necessary. The microphone measured a narrow 4-6 dB peak at around 11 kHz. I didn't notice it with a few cds that I listened to. A friend put on a jazz cd that had a particular saxophone passage, which really brought out the shrillness at that peak. After more measurements with the microphone, the peak was due to the abrupt edge of the tweeter flange, and was resolved by flush-mounting it.

I tend to use the microphone first, as the resolution tends to reveal the whole picture (through the audio spectrum). Then I go to listening. Then maybe back and forth, especially if there are tweaks done along the way.
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Old 4th October 2017, 11:11 PM   #4
scottjoplin is offline scottjoplin  Wales
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Sit down to listen. Measuring requires too much getting up
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Old 4th October 2017, 11:33 PM   #5
Tweet is offline Tweet  Australia
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Loudspeakers are highly subjective so personally I found listening to a driver first. Its tonal qualities and its general usable bandwidth, is what I found most useful before measurements. Clarity with low orders of harmonic distortion is what I find important, then a possible design might follow.

C.M

Last edited by Tweet; 4th October 2017 at 11:41 PM.
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Old 5th October 2017, 12:26 AM   #6
bentoronto is offline bentoronto  Canada
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Do you measure then listen or listen then measure?
Arrogance, arrogance, arrogance. Everybody is certain they can hear and discriminate what frequencies and bands are errant. Toole showed you can't tell with music a boost in the upper bass from a cut in the lower treble and vice versa.

Granted the hearing situation is better than colour vision where you just can't no-how judge what are the colour pigments of a colour. But you can't just listen to a sound and have a good notion of what the FR is like.

Granted.you can play a soprano singing and decide if the sibilants are peaked or something a bit lower down in the tone compass is amiss and with long and patient efforts using recordings you've played on many systems for decades, you can take a shot at fixing.

While there's no disputing taste in sound, you can't get great sound that works for all recorded sources (esp newer and better recordings) by simply listening. A quick run with REW (or even test tones, in a pinch*) will illuminate the situation (including distortion and "group delay" issues) right away.

B.
*I've been using the Pop Science test record sweep band 300-20 Hz with cricket markers at 50 Hz intervals since 1957 and have developed a certain acquaintance with it
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Last edited by bentoronto; 5th October 2017 at 12:35 AM.
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Old 5th October 2017, 01:34 AM   #7
plasnu is offline plasnu  United States
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I measure first to match the new speaker's frequency response and SPL to my reference speaker's as much as possible. It makes the difference very clear. After the initial test, I just do whatever I want to do...
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Old 5th October 2017, 01:38 AM   #8
Bigun is offline Bigun  Canada
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Do you measure then listen or listen then measure?
I build amps - so I measure a bit first before I risk my speakers (CRO), then listen, then measure, then put it on the shelf and design and build another amp, rinse and repeat

For speakers, I never measure anything. I listen.
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Old 5th October 2017, 03:15 AM   #9
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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Do you measure then listen or listen then measure?
Quote:
Originally Posted by bentoronto View Post
But you can't just listen to a sound and have a good notion of what the FR is like.
Well, maybe you can't, but plenty of people who make a living in pro audio can. If they couldn't, they'd lose their jobs. If you can't quickly reach over and pull down the right EQ slider to kill feedback right now, you shouldn't be doing the job. Ditto for finding problems on the channel strip. All it takes is practice and experience. Outside the business I can also show you FR graphs of crossovers done completely by ear.

As for me, I listen first, because listening is the ultimate goal. Measurement comes next, to confirm and refine what you hear - and maybe look for surprises.
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Old 5th October 2017, 03:40 AM   #10
DonVK is offline DonVK  Canada
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Measure first, ask questions, then listen. If it measures good, it will most likely sound good.

It's incremental and repetitive for me. I need repeatable measurements to help identify where the problems are. My ears always have the final say after measuring.
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