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Binaural blind comparison test of 4 loudspeakers

Which loudspeaker sound do you personally prefer?

  • Loudspeaker A

    Votes: 7 13.5%
  • Loudspeaker B

    Votes: 42 80.8%
  • Loudspeaker C

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Loudspeaker D

    Votes: 7 13.5%

  • Total voters
    52
  • Poll closed .

thewas

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Lets see how the preferences of our community are when listening to binaural recordings of four loudspeakers.

Of course this is not a test according to scientific standards and has also significant methodological limitations like for example how well can binaural cues capture and recreate the three-dimensional sound field of a listening room, but at least the tonal differences (which as we know play the biggest role in the preference of sound reproduction) are captured quite well.

To keep mutual bias influence as low as possible the results won't be shown till Monday when the poll is closed and till then I would kindly ask you to also not post comments about your preference or what differences you perceived. :)Of course you can still post other comments about it, although I won't answer questions like for example what kind of loudspeakers I chose or details about the recordings to keep bias as low as possible. I decided to give the option for even two votes in case you have two strong favourites where its very hard to decide on one, but hopefully this won't be too often the case.

After that when the results will be revealed I still won't name the loudspeakers for few days but the discussion of the preference results and perceived sound differences will be welcome so it also won't be biased.

And after that as final stage the loudspeakers will be revealed.

There are 2 (same) known track samples for each loudspeaker included in the uploaded zip file, the audio format is FLAC (not that it really matters), I personally would also have preferred different music styles, but we have to live with the material we get, hope you have understanding.
These are binaural recordings so best to be listened via neutral or EQed to neutral headphones.

Hope you will see it just as a fun rough community experiment, as said it has several limitations (like most such experiments, even the Harman ones), so please don't take it too seriously! :)


Update: Results have been published here.
 
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thewas

thewas

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Please beware that I disabled the change vote option as people can see the other votes after they voted and I don't want that to bias them and make them possibly change their vote after.
 

charleski

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I haven't listened to these yet, but I did a scan of the files and they come up with a difference of almost 2LUFS in loudness for track 1, which would be enough to skew results. If would be an idea to do a ReplayGain scan and set playback to track gain for these.
 
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thewas

thewas

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I haven't listened to these yet, but I did a scan of the files and they come up with a difference of almost 2LUFS in loudness for track 1, which would be enough to skew results. If would be an idea to do a ReplayGain scan and set playback to track gain for these.
Good objection, I play them for example with Foobar with ReplayGain scanned and active and didn't want to manipulate the original files.
Please keep in mind though that they were will be always loudness differences when the tonality and compression are different and there are no unique perfectly fair ways to equalise them. Also in this case the tonality dominates so much that till now at least the loudness doesn't seem to be a strong influencing factor.
 

MayaTlab

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Well I don't know which one I prefer, but I know which one I like the least. One of these is giving me strong "low anchor" vibes :D.
 

Haint

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Preference commentary spoiler tagged below:

Without knowing what the original track is supposed to sound like, B sounds the most like what I imagine both tracks should sound like. C is clearly the worst of the lot. The spatial qualities and warmth of A probably sounds better on the instrumental track than D, but D sounds better than A on the vocal track. I used Oratory's EQ profile with Creative Aurvana Live headphones.
 
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GXAlan

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What are you using to record the audio? It seems like all 4 speakers are heavily missing high frequency information.
 
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thewas

thewas

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What are you using to record the audio? It seems like all 4 speakers are heavily missing high frequency information.
Unfortunately they are not my recordings but older ones done with a professional binaural recording head (I think Neumann KU 100).
 
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thewas

thewas

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This was fun!
What pieces are those btw, @thewas ?
Am glad you enjoyed it :),
first is from Bach "Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied"
and second is from Beethoven, Symphony No. 7.
 
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PierreV

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Am glad you enjoyed it :),
first is from Bach "Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied"
and second is from Beethoven, Symphony No. 7.

The Bach version sounds a lot like the 1980 Harnoncourt version that I really, really don't like :)
I didn't vote. I don't particularly like any of the recordings, one was kind of OKish but felt a bit muffled, two sounded bad, 1 was awful to my ears.
@thewas as you noted, too bad we can't choose the tracks.
 
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thewas

thewas

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The Bach version sounds a lot like the 1980 Harnoncourt version that I really, really don't like :)
I didn't vote. I don't particularly like any of the recordings, one was kind of OKish but felt a bit muffled, two sounded bad, 1 was awful to my ears.
@thewas as you noted, too bad we can't choose the tracks.
Hope someone could do such better in the future, but for now that is all we have and results till now seem to be quite well correlating to the expectations from the current state of research.
 

Haruko

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there is a way to level them ! i will tell u the LUFS for each of the tracks: [-20.6 -15.8] [-19.8 -14.7] [-18.7 -15.5] [-20.0 -15.3] so i would just pick the lowest value [-20.6 -15.8] and level the rest of the tracks....
 
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Blumlein 88

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OK, listened and voted. I'm notoriously unable to appreciate binaural recordings. Maybe I have weirdly shaped ears.
I was only able to hear a tiny out of my head imaging on one track which I also otherwise thought sounded the best. I'd also comment that if this was an accurate representation none sounded very good.
 

TheHighContemplator

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I'm dying to know which speakers these are. Cheers for the thread and opportunity to participate.

It's also great to have my two favourite musical minds be the composers of the two tracks. These two represent at least 90% of all the music I consume.
 
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