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Amphion studio monitors

jhaider

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Jazmanaut

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tuga

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It would be interesting to see one of their pro monitors measured because they're also very popular on Gearslutzz on the other hand so is ATC and those also measure badly

How is that possible when research says that people prefer flat?
 

jhaider

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Well, I have been spoken with the designer,

I hope you really don’t think you’re the only one here who could have written that. Not impressed.

and he said that consumer models uses a bit different components, and voicing is more relaxed, than studio pro line.

Hearsay is whatever - out of scope and nobody cares. Compare the measured performance of similar models, such as the One18 measured in Sound und Recording and the Argon 3S I measured, and discuss that.
 

richard12511

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How is that possible when research says that people prefer flat?

What is most preferred may not necessarily correlate with what is most purchased. I imagine it's quite common for people to purchase speakers that they actually prefer less(sonically) than other speakers they could have purchased.
 

Jazmanaut

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I hope you really don’t think you’re the only one here who could have written that. Not impressed.



Hearsay is whatever - out of scope and nobody cares. Compare the measured performance of similar models, such as the One18 measured in Sound und Recording and the Argon 3S I measured, and discuss that.

Not trying to impress you. Just answering your question.
Just chill out a bit.
 

JohnYang1997

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Would love to hear about some two15 instead of one18.
 

tuga

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What is most preferred may not necessarily correlate with what is most purchased. I imagine it's quite common for people to purchase speakers that they actually prefer less(sonically) than other speakers they could have purchased.
It certainly doesn’t correlate with the research.
 

q3cpma

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It certainly doesn’t correlate with the research.
It does and you're not being honest here, aren't you? For most people, music has become so unimportant that sound quality is second to looks, street cred, millions of channels for movies, fuzzy feelings inside due to marketing, etc...
Which is why choices aren't the same anymore when those people are blind tested.
 

tuga

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It does and you're not being honest here, aren't you? For most people, music has become so unimportant that sound quality is second to looks, street cred, millions of channels for movies, fuzzy feelings inside due to marketing, etc...
Which is why choices aren't the same anymore when those people are blind tested.

Which people are you talking about?

The tens of thousands of middle aged men who’ve been practicing audiophilia for decades and after living with as many as 2 dozen speakers have settled for a pair which has a tailored response?

The few hundreds who where forced to listen to an inadequately positioned single speaker in an unfamiliar room probably to unfamiliar music?

We must live in a different planet...
 

q3cpma

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Which people are you talking about?
I did say most. Thus, "people" means "people buying speakers"; at least a stereo pair, let's forget the philistines happy to return to the 60s who buy mono.
The tens of thousands of middle aged men who’ve been practicing audiophilia for decades and after living with as many as 2 dozen speakers have settled for a pair which has a tailored response?
Nobody knows if sound quality was the main motivation for changing and settling; not even the man himself, as a lot of stuff happens subconsciously (and the neurotic behaviour of most audiophiles who hear cables talking isn't in favour of your "choice by reason" theory). How do you know these aren't influenced mainly by looks, audiophile group think or nostalgia? You don't and I don't. Meanwhile, the Toole/Olive research, while not perfect at all, brings some (statistical) facts that make a lot of sense.
 

tuga

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I did say most. Thus, "people" means "people buying speakers"; at least a stereo pair, let's forget the philistines happy to return to the 60s who buy mono.

Nobody knows if sound quality was the main motivation for changing and settling; not even the man himself, as a lot of stuff happens subconsciously (and the neurotic behaviour of most audiophiles who hear cables talking isn't in favour of your "choice by reason" theory). How do you know these aren't influenced mainly by looks, audiophile group think or nostalgia? You don't and I don't. Meanwhile, the Toole/Olive research, while not perfect at all, brings some (statistical) facts that make a lot of sense.

I said nothing about choice by ear. Such people may be influenced by hype but the most definitely choose by ear. I’ve been at this audio forums business for 15 years now, my comments are based on observation.
People buy what they like the sound of. Sometimes they make mistakes and then buy something different. Many after a while start to find a pattern in the equipment that they like. Most often it’s not Benchmarks and Kefs but less than what one would consider acceptably flat gear...
 

q3cpma

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I said nothing about choice by ear. Such people may be influenced by hype but the most definitely choose by ear. I’ve been at this audio forums business for 15 years now, my comments are based on observation.
People buy what they like the sound of. Sometimes they make mistakes and then buy something different. Many after a while start to find a pattern in the equipment that they like. Most often it’s not Benchmarks and Kefs but less than what one would consider acceptably flat gear...
Honestly, I can't really go further, you and I aren't mind readers. I'll just say that either nostalgia/conditioning to old inaccurate hardware or the "need" for a sound distorted in a way that make it more fit for background music is my guess. Another thing to look out for is the concept of silent majority: these audiophiles make kilometer long circlejerks, so of course they're very visible, but the average joe simply isn't on these forums very much.
 
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napilopez

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Most people i know prefer the furthest thing from flat as possible.
Flat is boring for most people.

I really don't meant to pick on you but... this is extremely anecdotal. The only effective research we have into what people actually find sounds "good" shows that people prefer flattish and smoothish directivity. It's not just Harman, studies from Klippel and others show this too. In the past few decades it doesn't seem anyone has been able to find evidence for otherwise. Yes, we could use even more research, but this is the best we have.

Keep in mind this research doesn't only look for what people find most 'neutral,' but also what people find most enjoyable. And time and time again it is determined these are one and the same.

Doesn't mean individuals don't have their own preferences, and that's always fine. But certainly, when it comes to making recommendations for someone else, unless you know that exact person's specific tastes, it makes sense to go with what the science says.

I said nothing about choice by ear. Such people may be influenced by hype but the most definitely choose by ear. I’ve been at this audio forums business for 15 years now, my comments are based on observation.
People buy what they like the sound of. Sometimes they make mistakes and then buy something different. Many after a while start to find a pattern in the equipment that they like. Most often it’s not Benchmarks and Kefs but less than what one would consider acceptably flat gear...

I've been on audio forums nearly as long and my own anecdotal observation is very much that the vast majority of people buy into hype and do not get to try all the potential contenders. Even if they do, there's a good chance their own tastes could be influenced by what prominent forum members and reviewers say; "they say it's good, so it must be good!" I've certainly been guilty of that myself.

I think part of the problem is that audio enthusiasts tend to think upgrades are almost limitless. There's this assumption that if you spend a little more, do a little more research, or find something with more exotic materials, you can always find a speaker that's 'better.' But I truly believe diminishing returns sets in rapidly past a few thousand bucks, and when it comes to sound alone, you can only do "different," not better. Problem is, at first "different" often does seem to be "better," until you get bored and want something new again. It's a vicious cycle.

....

Now, all that being said, returning to the topic of the Amphions... I'll play a bit of a devil's advocate. While I'm definitely more in the flat is best camp, I do think it's important to keep in mind diminishing returns for 'flatness,' and the fact that most measurements out there don't create a full spinorama the way we see here from Amir, Erin, and me.

For example, we often see a speaker with a messy on-axis, that looks quite a bit better in the listening window and especially PIR. I suspect the Amphion monitors are a bit in this camp. And yes, the PIR was created for home listening in an untreated room, but I still find it useful for monitoring situations too.

My spin of the Amphion Argon1 (a home speaker, but measures very similarly to the One18) shows some obvious flaws, for example:
1608588009573.png

In this home design, the speakers are likely meant to be heard slightly off axis, rectifying the peaking above 7kHz. The real problem is the mess in the sub-2kHz mids.

These are mainly caused by a resonance escaping from the port:

Agon1 Port Woofer.png


But I have often found these to not sound nearly as bad as they look. Less than ideal, but still, not the obvious distraction it appears to be on a graph. In any case, on many speakers that are EQ-d flat on-axis, the resonance shows up in the off-axis curves.

Taking the spin as whole, the PIR is still fairly smooth and trends quite close to the harman target. And though we all know the preference score has its problems, I think it can sometimes be useful for keeping certain deviations in context. The w/sub score only puts the Argon1 only 0.5 away from the KEF R3 in my measurements, for instance, 0.3 if we're looking at the listening window.

There are other things that I like as well, such as the almost-coaxial-like vertical directivity, and the very smooth directivity after 2kHz (I consider 2-10khzish to be the prime zone for soundstage performance).

One thing I've considered to be of greater importance these days, for example, is the smoothness of the step changes in the individual off-axis curves, not just the average. It's something I've noticed in some of my favorite speakers. To pick a bit more on the R3, for example:

1608589014481.png


We can see a sharp dropoff from the 3-4kHz, about 4dB at 60 degrees. It's a small but potentially noticeable directivity mismatch in a rather crucial region for imaging.

Meanwhile the Argon1 has what I read as smoother changes between angles beyond 2kHz:

1608589240333.png


So while I personally would like to see the measurements tidied up, I also think it's possible the Argon monitors are not perceptually as far off from the more objectivist-friendly speakers as a few measurements might make them seem. They are not pristine measurements, but they do still generally satisfy the criteria of flat-ish on-axis and smooth-ish directivity.

For example, let's look at my PIR of both the Argon1 and Neumann KH80:

Argon1 vs KH80.png


Yeah, the KH80 is smoother, but it's hard to imagine the Neumann would sound that much smoother.

Comparing it against Neumanns and some the non-coaxial Genelecs, it also wouldn't surprised if, in some setups, the Amphions sounded better by virtue of having less offensive desk and ceiling bounces. I think theres a possibility these would be more audible than squiggles in the on-axis curves.

All of this is not to say I wouldn't like to see more modern design, but rather to provide an explanation for why Amphions can be so popular in a world of flatter speakers. I think they are likely in many cases "flat enough" and "good directivity" enough that it would be difficult to quickly tell their flaws compared to flatter speakers, and in some cases it's possible vertical directivity balances out flaws in other areas.
 
OP
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Pearljam5000

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I really don't meant to pick on you but... this is extremely anecdotal. The only effective research we have into what people actually find sounds "good" shows that people prefer flattish and smoothish directivity. It's not just Harman, studies from Klippel and others show this too. In the past few decades it doesn't seem anyone has been able to find evidence for otherwise. Yes, we could use even more research, but this is the best we have.

Keep in mind this research doesn't only look for what people find most 'neutral,' but also what people find most enjoyable. And time and time again it is determined these are one and the same.

Doesn't mean individuals don't have their own preferences, and that's always fine. But certainly, when it comes to making recommendations for someone else, unless you know that exact person's specific tastes, it makes sense to go with what the science says.



I've been on audio forums nearly as long and my own anecdotal observation is very much that the vast majority of people buy into hype and do not get to try all the potential contenders. Even if they do, there's a good chance their own tastes could be influenced by what prominent forum members and reviewers say; "they say it's good, so it must be good!" I've certainly been guilty of that myself.

I think part of the problem is that audio enthusiasts tend to think upgrades are almost limitless. There's this assumption that if you spend a little more, do a little more research, or find something with more exotic materials, you can always find a speaker that's 'better.' But I truly believe diminishing returns sets in rapidly past a few thousand bucks, and when it comes to sound alone, you can only do "different," not better. Problem is, at first "different" often does seem to be "better," until you get bored and want something new again. It's a vicious cycle.

....

Now, all that being said, returning to the topic of the Amphions... I'll play a bit of a devil's advocate. While I'm definitely more in the flat is best camp, I do think it's important to keep in mind diminishing returns for 'flatness,' and the fact that most measurements out there don't create a full spinorama the way we see here from Amir, Erin, and me.

For example, we often see a speaker with a messy on-axis, that looks quite a bit better in the listening window and especially PIR. I suspect the Amphion monitors are a bit in this camp. And yes, the PIR was created for home listening in an untreated room, but I still find it useful for monitoring situations too.

My spin of the Amphion Argon1 (a home speaker, but measures very similarly to the One18) shows some obvious flaws, for example:
View attachment 100728
In this home design, the speakers are likely meant to be heard slightly off axis, rectifying the peaking above 7kHz. The real problem is the mess in the sub-2kHz mids.

These are mainly caused by a resonance escaping from the port:

View attachment 100730

But I have often found these to not sound nearly as bad as they look. Less than ideal, but still, not the obvious distraction it appears to be on a graph. In any case, on many speakers that are EQ-d flat on-axis, the resonance shows up in the off-axis curves.

Taking the spin as whole, the PIR is still fairly smooth and trends quite close to the harman target. And though we all know the preference score has its problems, I think it can sometimes be useful for keeping certain deviations in context. The w/sub score only puts the Argon1 only 0.5 away from the KEF R3 in my measurements, for instance, 0.3 if we're looking at the listening window.

There are other things that I like as well, such as the almost-coaxial-like vertical directivity, and the very smooth directivity after 2kHz (I consider 2-10khzish to be the prime zone for soundstage performance).

One thing I've considered to be of greater importance these days, for example, is the smoothness of the step changes in the individual off-axis curves, not just the average. It's something I've noticed in some of my favorite speakers. To pick a bit more on the R3, for example:

View attachment 100733

We can see a sharp dropoff from the 3-4kHz, about 4dB at 60 degrees. It's a small but potentially noticeable directivity mismatch in a rather crucial region for imaging.

Meanwhile the Argon1 has what I read as smoother changes between angles beyond 2kHz:

View attachment 100734

So while I personally would like to see the measurements tidied up, I also think it's possible the Argon monitors are not perceptually as far off from the more objectivist-friendly speakers as a few measurements might make them seem. They are not pristine measurements, but they do still generally satisfy the criteria of flat-ish on-axis and smooth-ish directivity.

For example, let's look at my PIR of both the Argon1 and Neumann KH80:

View attachment 100744

Yeah, the KH80 is smoother, but it's hard to imagine the Neumann would sound that much smoother.

Comparing it against Neumanns and some the non-coaxial Genelecs, it also wouldn't surprised if, in some setups, the Amphions sounded better by virtue of having less offensive desk and ceiling bounces. I think theres a possibility these would be more audible than squiggles in the on-axis curves.

All of this is not to say I wouldn't like to see more modern design, but rather to provide an explanation for why Amphions can be so popular in a world of flatter speakers. I think they are likely in many cases "flat enough" and "good directivity" enough that it would be difficult to quickly tell their flaws compared to flatter speakers, and in some cases it's possible vertical directivity balances out flaws in other areas.
The average guy on the street prefers boosted bass and treble over flat and accurate sound, you can be sure of that.
That's why soundbars and subwoofers are so popular.
Even most audiophiles prefer "warm and musical" sound of tube amps and vinyl over accuracy and "flat, cold and sterile" sound
That leaves a few hardcore audiophiles that want ro hear the recording just the way it is
 

richard12511

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I said nothing about choice by ear. Such people may be influenced by hype but the most definitely choose by ear.

Actually, I think it would be more correct to say it the other way around :p. People may be influenced by ear, but most are choosing mostly based on hype and the anecdotal evidence of others.

I believe that most people think they're mostly choosing by ear, but they are far more influenced by other factors than they realize, especially when you consider that the choices they even get to hear in the first place are already filtered by hype and anecdotes of others. If most people were choosing their speakers by ordering 100 speakers to demo in their own home and then doing a controlled blind test to pick a winner, then I think it would be fair to say that most people "choose by ear". But, I know of no one who choose their speakers that way. Most people I know choose almost entirely based on online reviews and forum impressions of others. A rare few actually utilize 30/60 day trials to setup a shootout between multiple options in the same environment at the same time. Even then, most of those people still do sighted shootouts, which we know are just as - if not more - influenced by expectation bias(from said hype) than they are by the soundwaves entering the ears. People choosing speakers via well controlled blind shootouts(which is the only way to really "choose by ear") are a very tiny minority.

We know that the majority of people prefer neutral speakers. If people really were choosing by ear, then neutral speakers would dominate the market. That they don't is evidence that people are mostly choosing by recommendations from others.
 

Mnyb

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Actually, I think it would be more correct to say it the other way around :p. People may be influenced by ear, but most are choosing mostly based on hype and the anecdotal evidence of others.

I believe that most people think they're mostly choosing by ear, but they are far more influenced by other factors than they realize, especially when you consider that the choices they even get to hear in the first place are already filtered by hype and anecdotes of others. If most people were choosing their speakers by ordering 100 speakers to demo in their own home and then doing a controlled blind test to pick a winner, then I think it would be fair to say that most people "choose by ear". But, I know of no one who choose their speakers that way. Most people I know choose almost entirely based on online reviews and forum impressions of others. A rare few actually utilize 30/60 day trials to setup a shootout between multiple options in the same environment at the same time. Even then, most of those people still do sighted shootouts, which we know are just as - if not more - influenced by expectation bias(from said hype) than they are by the soundwaves entering the ears. People choosing speakers via well controlled blind shootouts(which is the only way to really "choose by ear") are a very tiny minority.

We know that the majority of people prefer neutral speakers. If people really were choosing by ear, then neutral speakers would dominate the market. That they don't is evidence that people are mostly choosing by recommendations from others.

That’s a real problem to try to overcome .

Even if if you try , the startup line for your home trial is preselected in some way . Why did I pick these 3 speakers to audition ? Is the one I would prefer the most really in the lineup, not likely .

The likelihood at getting something closer to being rigth is better if one tries to pick from brands that do conform to science . I’m reading ASR with great interest .

So next time i’m Picking from what’s well regarded here at ASR or other scientifically inclined sources . That’s also very biased but probably closer to rigth in some way. The probably of success is not zero anymore .
I might not find THE speaker but something closer to rigth , good enough for a reasonable price.
 

thewas

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Even if they do, there's a good chance their own tastes could be influenced by what prominent forum members and reviewers say; "they say it's good, so it must be good!" I've certainly been guilty of that myself.
Oh yes, remember selling many years ago my quite honest Canton to "get into serious British monitor sound" with a pair of ProAc, thankfully they sounded so weird to me that I immediately inspected their internal cabling thinking there was a wrong polarity somewhere and sold those soon and never trusted audiophool hype again... :facepalm:
 

Mnyb

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Oh yes, remember selling many years ago my quite honest Canton to "get into serious British monitor sound" with a pair of ProAc, thankfully they sounded so weird to me that I immediately inspected their internal cabling thinking there was a wrong polarity somewhere and sold those soon and never trusted audiophool hype again... :facepalm:

Add to that what happens when you live in small sparsely populated country , dealer structure local audiophile culture and distributor oligopolies pre selects the whole market to certain brands you can experience in the stores and the few local magazines in your language also have their own weird biases .

It's so bad that certain brands are limited to certain store chains by their distributor who sometimes ins the same .

Luckily i live close to Stockholm . I'f i strolled down to the local dealer (who is part of a monopoly called hifi-klubben) i would end up with Dali or B&W and if i did not know better I would think that's how speakers sounds and pick the least bad out of their collection.
And that's how you start your journey as an audiophile and the endless upgrade cycle , it's a life long chain off suboptimal choices due to all kinds of biases not only your biases , even a good dealer has some biases.
I used to live in another town where the dealer was very partial to audivector speakers and had a lot of them in store . Luckily they where also partial to meridian , that's my current sub optima ;)
 
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