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A Blind Test Attempt: Neumann KH310+Sub vs KH120+Sub, and My Thoughts on CEA2034 and Preference Rating

Χ Ξ Σ

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#1
My desktop 2.2 system was a pair of the Neumann KH120 and a pair of JBL LSR310S subwoofers. I purchased the Neumann KH310s right before Amir tested his unit. The KH310s were not cheap. In order to prove that I could indeed an improvement, I decided to blind test myself and find out whether I truly prefer the more expensive speakers.
1.jpg


The Setup

My signal path was MacBook->Motu M2->JBL LSR301S->KH310 or KH120. I connected the M2 with two TRS splitters so that the signal fed into both the LSR310S was stereo. The LSR310S is a typical studio subwoofer that has a built-in high pass filter and balanced in/out to the main speakers. This means when the sub is turned off, the main speakers are silent. I bought two remote controls and connected the receivers to the end of the subs’ power cords, allowing me to switch between the two subs within a few seconds. I tested and verified that one remote only worked with one receiver. I scrambled the identical remotes and marked them A and B using stickers. I piled the stickers off after finishing a set of listening tests, and repeated the process before testing the next set of samples.
5.jpg


The LSR310S extends to 27Hz, just barely covers the whole piano range. I could make it extend to 20Hz using Dirac but I did not do that during this test. Adding a sub to each pair of speakers gave them equal bass extension but not equal room resonance. However, the bass quality was not my focus. The point of adding a sub was to see which pair of speakers sound better when only playing above 80Hz.

The KH120s were placed on the outer side and KH310s on the inner side. I eliminated some visual and audio cues that could give it away. I put duct tapes on the subs’ indicator lights so that I wouldn’t know which sub is turned on. The subs would make a popping sound when powered on, therefore, I had to walk outside the room and then use the remotes. This way I couldn’t tell which sub was on, nor could I saw the Neumann indicator lights changing colors.

I was unable to randomize my samples because it was impossible for me to be unaware of which one of the remotes I just pressed. This means my samples had to be ABABABAB and couldn’t be scrambled in to something like ABBABAAB. I verified which speakers that A and B represented after I listened to a group of samples. I know this was imperfect.

I used only classical solo piano pieces as my test tracks for two reasons. A) When playing solo piano music, KH120 often sounded a little shrill, and I couldn’t fix that no matter how I change the placement or use Dirac to add a steep high-frequency tile. B) I needed the music to be as simple as possible. Having multiple instruments in a piece means more spatial information. The more complex the music was, the easier I could identify the speakers by their placements. I did not try to identify which speakers were playing from samples A and B. Rather, I simply put a check next to the samples that I found more pleasing.

The Measurements

@amirm has measured the KH310 a few weeks ago. Guy Layfield from Neumann has posted KH120’s measurements done at Kippel in Germany. Neumann’s website also provides detailed official measurements.
2.png
3.png


The responses below are my in-room measurements. Both were using Dirac full-range correction. These were taken when the KH120s and KH310s were placed individually before and after the test, not when they placed next to each other, and not when the responses I listened in my blind test.

Can you guess which pair of responses is the KH310+sub, and which pair is the KH120+subs?
4.jpg


The Result

I call a single A or B a sample, a pair of A B a trial, and 8 samples or 4 trials a set.

Set One: Nocturne Op. 9/1
B A B A B A B A
X√ X√ X√ √X
A is better on 3 trials, B is better on 1 trial.
A=KH120
B=KH310

Set Two: Prelude Op. 28/1
B A B A B A B A
√X √X √X √X
B is better.
A=KH120
B=KH310

Set Three: Prelude Op. 8/24
B A B A B A B A
√X √X √X √X
B is better.
A=KH120
B=KH310

Set Four: Etude Op. 10/1, Etude S. 144/3
A B A B A B A B
√X √X √X √X
A is better.
A=KH310
B=KH120

Set Five: Ballade Op. 2, Kavierstucke Op. 76/1, Glasswork, Etude No. 9
B A B A B A B A
X√ X√ X√ X√
A is better.
A=KH310
B=KH120

Set Six: Jeux d'eau, M. 30, Nocturne Op. 9/1, Ballade No. 1, Prelude Op. 28/1
B A B A B A B A
√X √X √X √X
B is better.
A=KH120
B=KH310

Total Preference of the KH310:
42/48 samples
21/24 trials
5.25/6 sets

Basically, except for the first 3 trials, I always preferred the sound of the KH310+sub over the KH120+sub in the following 21 trials.

Keep in mind that I couldn’t randomize the samples, I could only randomize the first 2 samples of each set. I think 5/6 is the best number to describe my sccuss rate, i.e., I preferred the KH310 five times out of the six first trials after the two remotes were scrambled.

The Impression

Blind Testing: As I mentioned before, KH120 often had a tiny bit of shrillness when playing classical solo piano pieces. The shrillness of KH120 was inaudible to me when playing symphonies, concertos, black metal, or pop songs, but it irritated me in a very subtle way when playing simple piano notes. KH310 simply does not sound shrill, and that was the main reason I prefer the KH310 in my test.

Sighted Listening: When listening to other genres of music, the gap between these speakers was painfully obvious. Even when the shrillness of the KH120 is not presented, the KH310 had more depth, clarity, authority, smoothness… you name it. Any subjective rhetoric that you are familiar with when switching to a bigger speaker can be used to describe what I heard.

I am not sure what causes the shrillness of the KH120. According to my measurements at my normal listening volume, Both the KH310 and the KH120 produced distortion below the noise floor of my room, so it probably wasn’t due to the distortion. Their frequency responses and directivity are similar, the smaller KH120 might even be better, so it probably wasn’t that either.

The shrillness is probably not caused by the tweeter but the woofer. I found one particularly shrill piano note from the sheet music of a piano piece. The fundamental of that note is at only 349Hz, meaning this note does not activate the tweeter until its sixth harmonic. My theory is that, when holding the tweeter and sub constant, the combination of a dome and a big woofer is better than a small woofer. Quite an obvious explanation, isn’t it? But it isn’t so obvious in the CEA2034 data.
6.jpg


The Afterthought

Neumann studio monitors are known for their near-flat on-axis frequency responses and well-controlled directivity behaviors. According to Harman’s research, these two merits, along with the bass extension, are the dominating factors for predicting the preference ratings of the listeners. The KH310 scored 6.2 standalone and 7.6 with sub. We don’t have the data to calculate a score for the KH120, but given its similarity to other Neumann and even Genelec speakers tested by the NFS, I assume the KH120 would score at least 6 standalone and 8 with sub. That should mean the KH120 is as good as the KH310, and the KH120+sub is as good as the KH310+sub, right?

Well, not from my experience.

If I remember correctly, @MZKM posted that the preference rating formula starts to underpredict the actual preference when the rating goes above 6. I believe this is the case here. From what I heard, If the KH120 was rated 6 standalone and 8 with sub, then the KH310 would be 10+. I have yet to find any piece of music that sounds better on the KH120+sub than on the KH310+sub. Even when the shrillness of the KH120 is not present, the KH310 still sounded much fuller and heavier, like if the sound was solid. The KH310 makes the KH120 sound like gas.

I am not throwing shade on Harman’s research. I chose these Neumann studio monitors mainly because their CEA2034 data and presumed preference ratings are quite good. The CEA2034 data available on ASR and other sites have helped me avoid many unworthy options. These measurements allowed me to purchase the KH120 and KH310 without audition and have no regrets. Nonetheless, they have limitations, and it is beyond my understanding of acoustics and speaker design to identify what these limitations are.
 
Last edited:

richard12511

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#2
My desktop 2.2 system was a pair of the Neumann KH120 and two JBL LSR310S subwoofers. I purchased the Neumann KH310s right before Amir test his unit. The KH310s were not cheap. In order to prove that there was indeed an improvement, I decided to blind test myself and find out whether I truly prefer the more expensive speakers.
View attachment 100806

The Setup

My signal path was MacBook->Motu M2->JBL LSR301S->KH310 or KH120. I connected the M2 with two TRS splitters so that the signal fed into both the LSR310S was stereo. The LSR310S is a typical studio subwoofer that has a built-in high pass filter and balanced in/out to the main speakers. This means when the sub is turned off, the main speakers are silent. I bought two remote controls and connected the receivers to the end of the subs’ power cords, allowing me to switch between the two subs within a few seconds. I tested and verified that one remote only worked with one receiver. I scrambled the identical remotes and marked them A and B, piled them off, and repeated the process before the next set of blind testing samples.
View attachment 100807

The LSR310S extends to 27Hz, just barely covers the whole piano range. I could make it extend to 20Hz using Dirac but I did not do that during this test. Adding a sub to each pair of speakers gave them equal bass extension but not equal room resonance. However, the bass quality was not my focus. The point of adding a sub was to see which pair of speakers sound better when only playing above 80Hz.

The KH120s were placed on the outer side and KH310s on the inner side. I eliminated some visual and audio cues that could give it away. I put duct tapes on the subs’ indicator lights so that I wouldn’t know which sub is turned on. The subs would make a popping sound when powered on, therefore, I had to walk outside the room and then use the remotes. This way I couldn’t tell which sub was on, nor could I saw the Neumann indicator lights changing colors.

I was unable to randomize my samples because it was impossible for me to be unaware of which one of the remotes I just pressed. This means my samples had to be ABABABAB and couldn’t be scrambled into something like ABBABAA. I verify which speakers that A and B represented after I listened to a group of samples. I know this was not optimal.

I used only classical solo piano pieces as my test tracks for two reasons. A) When playing solo piano music, KH120 often sounded a little shrill, and I couldn’t fix that no matter how I change the placement or use Dirac to add a steep high-frequency tile. B) Having multiple instruments in a piece means more spatial information. The more complex the music was, the easier I could identify the speakers by their placements. I did not try to identify which speakers were playing from samples A and B. Rather, I simply put a check next to the samples that I found more pleasing.

The Measurements

@amirm has measured the KH310 a few weeks ago. Guy Layfield from Neumann has posted KH120’s measurements results done at Kippel in Germany. Neumann’s website also provides detailed official measurements.
View attachment 100816 View attachment 100818

The responses below are my in-room measurements. These were taken when the KH120s and KH310s were placed individually before and after the test, not when they placed next to each other. Both were using Dirac full-range correction.

Can you guess which pair of responses is the KH310+sub, and which pair is the KH120+subs?
View attachment 100819

The Result

I call a single A or B a sample, a pair of A B a trial, and 8 samples or 4 trials a set.

Set One: Nocturne Op. 9/1
B A B A B A B A
√ √ √ √
A is better on 3 trials, B is better on 1 trial.
A=KH120
B=KH310

Set Two: Prelude Op. 28/1
B A B A B A B A
√ √ √ √
B is better.
A=KH120
B=KH310

Set Three: Prelude Op. 8/24
B A B A B A B A
√ √ √ √
B is better.
A=KH120
B=KH310

Set Four: Etude Op. 10/1, Etude S. 144/3
A B A B A B A B
√ √ √ √
A is better.
A=KH310
B=KH120

Set Five: Ballade Op 2, Kavierstucke Op 76/1, Glasswork, Etude No. 9
B A B A B A B A
√ √ √ √
A is better.
A=KH310
B=KH120

Set Six: Jeux d'eau, M30, Nocturne Op. 9/1, Ballade No. 1, Prelude Op. 28/1
B A B A B A B A
√ √ √ √
B is better.
A=KH120
B=KH310

Total Preference of the KH310:
42/48 samples
21/24 trials
5.25/6 sets

Basically, except for the first 3 trials, I always preferred the sound of the KH310+sub over the KH120+sub in the following 21 trials. Keep in mind that I couldn’t randomize the samples, making this blind test easier than it should have been.

The Impression

Blind Testing: As I mentioned before, KH120 often had a tiny bit of shrillness when playing classical solo piano pieces. The shrillness of KH120 was inaudible to me when playing symphonies, concertos, black metal, or pop songs, but it irritated me in a very subtle way when playing simple piano notes. KH310 simply does not sound shrill, and that was the main reason I prefer the KH310 in my test.

Subjective Impression after the test: When listening to other genres of music, the gap between these speakers was painfully obvious. Even when the shrillness of the KH120 is not presented, the KH310 had more depth, clarity, authority, smoothness… you name it. Any subjective rhetoric that you are familiar with when switching to a bigger speaker can be used to describe what I heard.

I am not sure what causes the shrillness of the KH120. According to my measurements at my normal listening volume, Both the KH310 and the KH120 produced distortion below or the noise floor of my room, so it probably wasn’t the distortion. Their frequency responses and directivity are similar, the smaller KH120 might even be better, so it probably wasn’t that either.

The shrillness is probably not caused by the tweeter but the woofer. I found one particularly shrill piano note from the sheet music of a piano piece. The fundamental of that note is only at 349Hz. Meaning this note does not active the tweeter until its sixth harmonic. My theory is that, when holding the tweeter and sub constant, the combination of a dome and a big woofer is better than a small woofer. Quite an obvious explanation, isn’t it? But it isn’t so obvious in the CEA-2034 data.
View attachment 100822

The Afterthought

Neumann studio monitors are known for their near-flat on-axis frequency responses and well-controlled directivity behaviors. These two merits, along with the bass extension, according to Harman’s research, are the dominating factors for predicting listeners’ preferences. The KH310 scored 6.2 standalone and 7.6 with sub. We don’t have the data to calculate a score for the KH120, but given its similarity to other Neumann and even Genelec speakers tested by the NFS, I assume the KH120 would score at least 6 standalone and 8 with sub. That should mean the KH120 is as good as the KH310, and the KH120+sub is at least as good as the KH310+sub, right?

Well, not according to my experience.

If I remember correctly, @MZKM posted that the preference rating formula starts to underpredict the actual preference when the rating goes above 6. I believe this is the case here. From what I heard, If the KH120 was rated 6 standalone and 8 with a sub, then the KH310 would be 10+. I have yet to find any piece of music that sounds better on the KH120+sub than on the KH310+sub. Even when the shrillness of the KH120 is not present, the KH310 still sounded much fuller and heavier, like if the sound was solid. The KH310 makes the KH120 sound like gas.

I am not throwing shade on Harman’s research. I chose these Neumann studio monitors precisely because their CEA2034 data and preference ratings are quite good. The CEA2034 data available on ASR and other sites help avoid many unworthy options. Nonetheless, they have limitations, and it is beyond my understanding of acoustics and speaker design to identify what these limitations are.

Now, can anyone guess which pair of responses is the KH310+sub, and which pair is the KH120+subs? ;)
View attachment 100823
Awesome work! We need more of this kinda stuff on ASR.

Did you try running the KH310s on the outside for any of the tests? Could be as simple as the inner position just being a little better.

Assuming it's not due to position, I would think it has to come down to that beautiful midrange dome on the KH310. As for where that might show up in the measurements? I'm not sure. IMD? Polar maps?

Could it have something to do with how the sealed enclosure of the KH310 and how it integrates with the subwoofers?
 

Pearljam5000

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Oct 12, 2020
Messages
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Likes
891
#3
My desktop 2.2 system was a pair of the Neumann KH120 and two JBL LSR310S subwoofers. I purchased the Neumann KH310s right before Amir test his unit. The KH310s were not cheap. In order to prove that there was indeed an improvement, I decided to blind test myself and find out whether I truly prefer the more expensive speakers.
View attachment 100806

The Setup

My signal path was MacBook->Motu M2->JBL LSR301S->KH310 or KH120. I connected the M2 with two TRS splitters so that the signal fed into both the LSR310S was stereo. The LSR310S is a typical studio subwoofer that has a built-in high pass filter and balanced in/out to the main speakers. This means when the sub is turned off, the main speakers are silent. I bought two remote controls and connected the receivers to the end of the subs’ power cords, allowing me to switch between the two subs within a few seconds. I tested and verified that one remote only worked with one receiver. I scrambled the identical remotes and marked them A and B, piled them off, and repeated the process before the next set of blind testing samples.
View attachment 100807

The LSR310S extends to 27Hz, just barely covers the whole piano range. I could make it extend to 20Hz using Dirac but I did not do that during this test. Adding a sub to each pair of speakers gave them equal bass extension but not equal room resonance. However, the bass quality was not my focus. The point of adding a sub was to see which pair of speakers sound better when only playing above 80Hz.

The KH120s were placed on the outer side and KH310s on the inner side. I eliminated some visual and audio cues that could give it away. I put duct tapes on the subs’ indicator lights so that I wouldn’t know which sub is turned on. The subs would make a popping sound when powered on, therefore, I had to walk outside the room and then use the remotes. This way I couldn’t tell which sub was on, nor could I saw the Neumann indicator lights changing colors.

I was unable to randomize my samples because it was impossible for me to be unaware of which one of the remotes I just pressed. This means my samples had to be ABABABAB and couldn’t be scrambled into something like ABBABAA. I verify which speakers that A and B represented after I listened to a group of samples. I know this was not optimal.

I used only classical solo piano pieces as my test tracks for two reasons. A) When playing solo piano music, KH120 often sounded a little shrill, and I couldn’t fix that no matter how I change the placement or use Dirac to add a steep high-frequency tile. B) Having multiple instruments in a piece means more spatial information. The more complex the music was, the easier I could identify the speakers by their placements. I did not try to identify which speakers were playing from samples A and B. Rather, I simply put a check next to the samples that I found more pleasing.

The Measurements

@amirm has measured the KH310 a few weeks ago. Guy Layfield from Neumann has posted KH120’s measurements results done at Kippel in Germany. Neumann’s website also provides detailed official measurements.
View attachment 100816 View attachment 100818

The responses below are my in-room measurements. These were taken when the KH120s and KH310s were placed individually before and after the test, not when they placed next to each other. Both were using Dirac full-range correction.

Can you guess which pair of responses is the KH310+sub, and which pair is the KH120+subs?
View attachment 100819

The Result

I call a single A or B a sample, a pair of A B a trial, and 8 samples or 4 trials a set.

Set One: Nocturne Op. 9/1
B A B A B A B A
√ √ √ √
A is better on 3 trials, B is better on 1 trial.
A=KH120
B=KH310

Set Two: Prelude Op. 28/1
B A B A B A B A
√ √ √ √
B is better.
A=KH120
B=KH310

Set Three: Prelude Op. 8/24
B A B A B A B A
√ √ √ √
B is better.
A=KH120
B=KH310

Set Four: Etude Op. 10/1, Etude S. 144/3
A B A B A B A B
√ √ √ √
A is better.
A=KH310
B=KH120

Set Five: Ballade Op 2, Kavierstucke Op 76/1, Glasswork, Etude No. 9
B A B A B A B A
√ √ √ √
A is better.
A=KH310
B=KH120

Set Six: Jeux d'eau, M30, Nocturne Op. 9/1, Ballade No. 1, Prelude Op. 28/1
B A B A B A B A
√ √ √ √
B is better.
A=KH120
B=KH310

Total Preference of the KH310:
42/48 samples
21/24 trials
5.25/6 sets

Basically, except for the first 3 trials, I always preferred the sound of the KH310+sub over the KH120+sub in the following 21 trials. Keep in mind that I couldn’t randomize the samples, making this blind test easier than it should have been.

The Impression

Blind Testing: As I mentioned before, KH120 often had a tiny bit of shrillness when playing classical solo piano pieces. The shrillness of KH120 was inaudible to me when playing symphonies, concertos, black metal, or pop songs, but it irritated me in a very subtle way when playing simple piano notes. KH310 simply does not sound shrill, and that was the main reason I prefer the KH310 in my test.

Subjective Impression after the test: When listening to other genres of music, the gap between these speakers was painfully obvious. Even when the shrillness of the KH120 is not presented, the KH310 had more depth, clarity, authority, smoothness… you name it. Any subjective rhetoric that you are familiar with when switching to a bigger speaker can be used to describe what I heard.

I am not sure what causes the shrillness of the KH120. According to my measurements at my normal listening volume, Both the KH310 and the KH120 produced distortion below or the noise floor of my room, so it probably wasn’t the distortion. Their frequency responses and directivity are similar, the smaller KH120 might even be better, so it probably wasn’t that either.

The shrillness is probably not caused by the tweeter but the woofer. I found one particularly shrill piano note from the sheet music of a piano piece. The fundamental of that note is only at 349Hz. Meaning this note does not active the tweeter until its sixth harmonic. My theory is that, when holding the tweeter and sub constant, the combination of a dome and a big woofer is better than a small woofer. Quite an obvious explanation, isn’t it? But it isn’t so obvious in the CEA-2034 data.
View attachment 100822

The Afterthought

Neumann studio monitors are known for their near-flat on-axis frequency responses and well-controlled directivity behaviors. These two merits, along with the bass extension, according to Harman’s research, are the dominating factors for predicting listeners’ preferences. The KH310 scored 6.2 standalone and 7.6 with sub. We don’t have the data to calculate a score for the KH120, but given its similarity to other Neumann and even Genelec speakers tested by the NFS, I assume the KH120 would score at least 6 standalone and 8 with sub. That should mean the KH120 is as good as the KH310, and the KH120+sub is at least as good as the KH310+sub, right?

Well, not according to my experience.

If I remember correctly, @MZKM posted that the preference rating formula starts to underpredict the actual preference when the rating goes above 6. I believe this is the case here. From what I heard, If the KH120 was rated 6 standalone and 8 with a sub, then the KH310 would be 10+. I have yet to find any piece of music that sounds better on the KH120+sub than on the KH310+sub. Even when the shrillness of the KH120 is not present, the KH310 still sounded much fuller and heavier, like if the sound was solid. The KH310 makes the KH120 sound like gas.

I am not throwing shade on Harman’s research. I chose these Neumann studio monitors precisely because their CEA2034 data and preference ratings are quite good. The CEA2034 data available on ASR and other sites help avoid many unworthy options. Nonetheless, they have limitations, and it is beyond my understanding of acoustics and speaker design to identify what these limitations are.

Now, can anyone guess which pair of responses is the KH310+sub, and which pair is the KH120+subs? ;)
View attachment 100823
Isn't a more fair test :
KH120 + sub
KH310 with no sub?
 

Blumlein 88

Major Contributor
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#4
How did you match playback levels? I think Toole recommends pink noise filtered with 12db/octave roll offs below 500 hz, and above 2 khz.

Kudos for going to the trouble to do all this by the way.
 

tifune

Active Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2020
Messages
203
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#5
The Impression

Blind Testing: As I mentioned before, KH120 often had a tiny bit of shrillness when playing classical solo piano pieces. The shrillness of KH120 was inaudible to me when playing symphonies, concertos, black metal, or pop songs, but it irritated me in a very subtle way when playing simple piano notes. KH310 simply does not sound shrill, and that was the main reason I prefer the KH310 in my test.

Sighted Listening: When listening to other genres of music, the gap between these speakers was painfully obvious. Even when the shrillness of the KH120 is not presented, the KH310 had more depth, clarity, authority, smoothness… you name it. Any subjective rhetoric that you are familiar with when switching to a bigger speaker can be used to describe what I heard.

I am not sure what causes the shrillness of the KH120. According to my measurements at my normal listening volume, Both the KH310 and the KH120 produced distortion below or the noise floor of my room, so it probably wasn’t the distortion. Their frequency responses and directivity are similar, the smaller KH120 might even be better, so it probably wasn’t that either.
I am extremely happy you posted this for 2 reasons:

I've always noticed the shrillness you mention, but assumed it was something wrong with my setup. Given the FR you posted for KH120, could it be as simple as the bump at ~16KHz?

And, I did the exact same test yesterday with KH750 using LSR 708P vs KH120. It was nowhere near as methodical as yours, but my very short very subjective conclusion was that music seems to be "easier" for the 708P while the KH120 still has noticeably more detail and depth.

In the end i preferred the 120's, but theres so much wrong with my "test" it's probably not even fair to use that word. I Iiterally just plugged in the 708's and found a volume I liked, nothing more. Somehow I doubt the 708's were designed for a 3ft listening distance

I suppose that's a very long winded way of saying, I think I just learned firsthand how there's no replacement for displacement but it would be nice if I could learn to associate that experience with objective measurements. Lower THD at higher volume is a good one, I suppose?
 
OP
Χ

Χ Ξ Σ

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Location
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Thread Starter #6
Awesome work! We need more of this kinda stuff on ASR.

Did you try running the KH310s on the outside for any of the tests? Could be as simple as the inner position just being a little better.

Assuming it's not due to position, I would think it has to come down to that beautiful midrange dome on the KH310. As for where that might show up in the measurements? I'm not sure. IMD? Polar maps?

Could it have something to do with how the sealed enclosure of the KH310 and how it integrates with the subwoofers?
Thanks for your kind words!

I did put the left KH120 on the inside and listened to mono, but in less than one minute I decided that the KH310 still sounded better and I was too lazy to switch things up. At that moment I suddenly understood why Amir was reluctant to remeasure a speaker when the crowd demanded. Carrying these speakers up and down is mad exhausting!
 
Last edited:
OP
Χ

Χ Ξ Σ

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Messages
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Thread Starter #7
How did you match playback levels? I think Toole recommends pink noise filtered with 12db/octave roll offs below 500 hz, and above 2 khz.

Kudos for going to the trouble to do all this by the way.
Gosh, I forgot to write about this!

The sensitivity on all speakers was set to -15dB and the output level was set to 94dB. I played the 3000Hz, 1000Hz, and 300Hz tones while pressing the UMIK-1 mic against the tweeters, dome, and woofers on these speakers while monitoring the level on REW's SPL meters. There was a random +/-0.3dB variation from the mic position and my shaking hand, but the KH310 and KH120 were equally loud. Measuring the same tones at my listening area yielded a higher variation, Understandblaly.
 
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Thread Starter #9
I've always noticed the shrillness you mention, but assumed it was something wrong with my setup. Given the FR you posted for KH120, could it be as simple as the bump at ~16KHz?
It's not that. The reason why the lower in-room responses have a steep roll-off is that I didn't extend the correction "curtain" all the way over 20kHz, but I did that for the upper in-room responses, so the upper looks more straight. However, this has nothing to do with the shrillness. I have tried some aggressive full range roll-offs and the shrillness is still there.
 
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Blumlein 88

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Gosh, I forgot to write about this!

The sensitivity on all speakers was set to -15dB and the output level was set to 94dB. I played the 3000Hz, 1000Hz, and 300Hz tones while pressing the UMIK-1 mic against the tweeters, dome, and woofers on these speakers, and watched the level on REW's SPL meters. There was a random +/-0.3dB variation from the mic position and my shaking hand, but the KH310 and KH120 are equally loud. Measuring the same tones at my listening area yielded a higher variation, Understandblaly.
If you have the speakers still in position (sounds like you don't), it might be useful to try the Toole suggested pink noise at the LP.

It does sound as if you made a good attempt to get them the same loudness. Due to response differences there isn't a clear cut single absolute answer.
 
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Thread Starter #12
I suspect KH120 is the bottom FR, because KH310 will have wider vertical directivity and thus stronger desk bounce. Odd that the subwoofer bandwidth has such differences though.
Nice catch. One was measured and corrected before the blind test and the other after the blind test. One was corrected to the frequency range suggested by Dirac and the other had a manually adjusted correction range of 18Hz to 22kHz. Not really audible for most music.
 
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#13
Interesting soundest.
you are mentioned shrillness from a special piano note of 384 Hz.
Maybe you heard the port resonance from the KH120. The 3rd harmonic of this note correlates with the portresonance of the speaker. and due to the ports are pointing to your ear this could be the reason.
in addition the KH310 is a closed system ans so no such effects are audible.
 

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#14
Nice test.

In your hearts of hearts, when switching between A&B, do you think you could have told which was which by just hearing due to one pair being on the inside and the other outside (with presumably wider stage)?
 
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Nice test.

In your hearts of hearts, when switching between A&B, do you think you could have told which was which by just hearing due to one pair being on the inside and the other outside (with presumably wider stage)?
When I listened to my test tracks, those solo piano pieces, I didn't really hear a image width difference.

When I listened to music with more instruments, there was an obvious difference in spatial positions of the instruments. That's why I only used solo piano pieces as my test track.
 

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#17
I think when the spinorama of 2 speakers is very similar (same rating) then other criteria must be used to find the better one. My hint is IMD and in this respect a 3-way always wins over a 2-way. See the multitone measurements by Sound & Recording.
 

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#18
When I listened to my test tracks, those solo piano pieces, I didn't really hear a image width difference.

When I listened to music with more instruments, there was an obvious difference in spatial positions of the instruments. That's why I only used solo piano pieces as my test track.
You can try to circumvent this by placing the speakers AB...AB instead of AB...BA. Don't know whether the slight shift of the phantom center is audible.
 

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#19
Also could just listen in mono for the test.
 

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#20
The shrillness is probably not caused by the tweeter but the woofer. I found one particularly shrill piano note from the sheet music of a piano piece. The fundamental of that note is at only 349Hz, meaning this note does not activate the tweeter until its sixth harmonic. My theory is that, when holding the tweeter and sub constant, the combination of a dome and a big woofer is better than a small woofer. Quite an obvious explanation, isn’t it? But it isn’t so obvious in the CEA2034 data.
Thank you for the excellent carried out and documented test which matches most user experiences who have listened to both and shows repeatedly that while the Harman metric is good enough to show the difference between poor and good as like we know tonality is what counts most, if it is wrong than the rest doesn't not matter much anymore, it does not show differences outside of tonality which matter at a high quality level comparison were tonalities are all good. I think the main difference lies not in HD but in IMD (which related to HD though) and other non-linearities which cannot be measured through HD.
 
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