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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 .
Unfortunately they are not my recordings but older ones done with a professional binaural recording head (I think Neumann KU 100).

Maybe there’s something wrong with my headphones but it really seems like there’s something missing in the higher frequencies in all samples so I don’t like any of the samples (!).
 
I have difficulty choosing if I don't like the recordings. I am a real "classical" music snob, so feel free to tell me to piss off.

The vocal track, which I don't know but it is probably somewhere around Bach's time up to maybe Haydn, is polyphonic music where one should hear each line and the male voices just get lost on everything (maybe my headphones).

The Beethoven 7 finale is not one I would have chosen for this. If it should be 7, then roll with the 2nd movement, especially parts that move through the instruments, like here to the end.

My choices would have been:
Sunday Morning from Peter Grimes, Britten. Or the Passacaglia from the same opera. In either, you should hear clearly articulation of instruments from the highs to the lows and clearly hear each instrument/section of instruments.
For voices, Don Giovanni First Scene of the First Act by Mozart for about a 1.5 to 2 min (and on your own back here until about 11:14). You should be able to hear two lines: the tenor and soprano moving together and the baritone delicately moving. Then at 10:00 or so you should be able to hear each of the tenor, baritone and bass interleave together, but still hear each one (gives me chills every time).


Other post: Bach "Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied"....BOOM, my music history class in undergrad did not fail me.
 
I have difficulty choosing if I don't like the recordings. I am a real "classical" music snob, so feel free to tell me to piss off.

The vocal track, which I don't know but it is probably somewhere around Bach's time up to maybe Haydn, is polyphonic music where one should hear each line and the male voices just get lost on everything (maybe my headphones).

The Beethoven 7 finale is not one I would have chosen for this. If it should be 7, then roll with the 2nd movement, especially parts that move through the instruments, like here to the end.

My choices would have been:
Sunday Morning from Peter Grimes, Britten. Or the Passacaglia from the same opera. In either, you should hear clearly articulation of instruments from the highs to the lows and clearly hear each instrument/section of instruments.
For voices, Don Giovanni First Scene of the First Act by Mozart for about a 1.5 to 2 min (and on your own back here until about 11:14). You should be able to hear two lines: the tenor and soprano moving together and the baritone delicately moving. Then at 10:00 or so you should be able to hear each of the tenor, baritone and bass interleave together, but still hear each one (gives me chills every time).


Other post: Bach "Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied"....BOOM, my music history class in undergrad did not fail me.
As said above those recordings already existed so I had unfortunately no choice option, personally I would had chosen also other more revealing music genres. see http://seanolive.blogspot.com/2010/03/method-for-training-listeners-and.html
 
My preferences are:
Could you please remove them as on asked on the original post till Monday?

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.
 
All survey takers should use the same model of headphones or results are meaningless.
Not necessarily, if they use EQed headphones as recommended in #1. By the way even in that case there is a disturbance factor of the individual HRTFs which cannot be avoided with a binaural HP reproduction, but on the other hand the results till now show a very good match.
 
Maybe there’s something wrong with my headphones but it really seems like there’s something missing in the higher frequencies in all samples so I don’t like any of the samples (!).
looking at the spectrum, it seems like there is a 16kHz low pass filter. Maybe the original source was in MP3 format.
 
Maybe there’s something wrong with my headphones but it really seems like there’s something missing in the higher frequencies in all samples so I don’t like any of the samples (!).
What headphones are you using? I don't find the recordings dark, except maybe the last octave which though generally has usually not much energy in the used genre.
 
Could you please remove them as on asked on the original post till Monday?

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.
Well noted, sorry :)
 
looking at the spectrum, it seems like there is a 16kHz low pass filter. Maybe the original source was in MP3 format.
Please keep in mind that a 16 kHz low pass would be usually audible rather to very young listeners and even in that case just remove a tad of the uppest shimmer and not make a recording sounding treble shy.
 
None of the examples for track 2 sounded acceptable, but this is probably a function of the recording setup. Having cast my vote and being shown the results so far, I’m really surprised at the one in the lead.
 
None of the examples for track 2 sounded acceptable, but this is probably a function of the recording setup. Having cast my vote and being shown the results so far, I’m really surprised at the one in the lead.
Me too, really, really surprised.
 
This little survey demonstrates to me that I am deaf, not just somewhat impaired :(. or maybe not...:facepalm:

As requested, I reserve comment/evaluation until comments close (if I can remember to do so... I am old and forgetful).

Tillman
 
I'm a coward so I voted for two of them. A lot of that is down to the playback device. Even when tuned to Harman (whether by design of by using EQ presets based on ear simulator measurements) headphones will exhibit remaining differences that were enough for me to make me hesitate between two options after listening to the samples over several HPs. It may (or may not) be interesting to discuss playback devices once the results are revealed.
 
I was also thinking : would it be interesting to get a long term spectrum of each sample, at least to know how they comparatively differed ? I'd like to see if some interesting correlation could be found with the actual on-head measurements I can make of the HPs I used to play them back.
 
I'm a coward so I voted for two of them. A lot of that is down to the playback device. Even when tuned to Harman (whether by design of by using EQ presets based on ear simulator measurements) headphones will exhibit remaining differences that were enough for me to make me hesitate between two options after listening to the samples over several HPs. It may (or may not) be interesting to discuss playback devices once the results are revealed.

Is this turning into a situation where people think there is a "best" choice (the speaker closest to the preferred FR response) that needs to be recognized? That would be a bit funny imho.

As far as the Bach piece is concerned, this post prompted me to listen to several recordings on my big systems yesterday evening.

That made me realize that the differences between recordings were in some cases much bigger than the differences between test files here. The recording I think I had recognized (see above) sounds dull, and unidimensional compared to Gardiner's 2012 version. It is a matter of taste of course, but on that more recent version, I can localize and follow everything accurately. It is a live recording that better fits what I expect to hear. That's definitely a bias.

But this got me thinking.

First, the original recording matters a lot. Not big news, we all know that. It is also a matter of taste. I focus on the "being there" feeling, which a decently recorded live version clearly satisfies better but I can see how someone focused on the execution of the music would maybe prefer a studio/non-live "perfectly executed" version.

Second, given the big differences between recordings, I can see how people could prefer "bright boxes" (say the archetypal house B&W curve) on what sounds like duller recordings to me. On the other hand, on a recording that is intrinsically brighter, people might prefer a more pronounced downslope in the FR. There are recordings I like a lot musically but are technically awful (again, to my subjective hears) that I can only listen to them on my lower-end speakers, out of the sweet spot, because they don't magnify the technical issues.

Third, as many have noted, the binaural recording seems to have issues. Or maybe something was lost between the recording and the files we get. It's really hard to say of course.

Finally, what we use to listen to the test files has a major impact. I wouldn't worry too much about having a Harman-matched device to attempt to recognize which speaker matches Harman's FR better. The question is which test file one actually prefers, not a conformity test that identifies the file one should prefer according to this forum's opinion.

It is a bit strange to see that Harman's curve is so heavily described as some kind of ultimate standard here that people start to be mildly ashamed of their eventually diverging tastes.

I guess I will end up voting because @Blumlein 88 comment, in typical "you'll be very surprised if you click" Internet bait style, triggered my curiosity ;)
 
I think the point of the exercise is to listen for the preferred speaker. Spectral analysis will be interesting to look at when the results are finished.
 
Finally, what we use to listen to the test files has a major impact. I wouldn't worry too much about having a Harman-matched device to attempt to recognize which speaker matches Harman's FR better. The question is which test file one actually prefers, not a conformity test that identifies the file one should prefer according to this forum's opinion.

It is a bit strange to see that Harman's curve is so heavily described as some kind of ultimate standard here that people start to be mildly ashamed of their eventually diverging tastes.

I think that @thewas recommandation to tune the playback device to "neutral" is more related to the idea of trying to listen to the samples on a more or less standardised playback system among us (and as it's fairly easy to obtain EQ presets to Harman's target for a wide range of HPs that's what I'd go for) rather to what one of the ideas underlying the conception of the target ("decent loudspeakers in a decent room"), ie an attempt at reducing the circle of confusion, which in this case is already quite confused given all the other points you mentioned anyway. I think it's just that, trying to avoid different listeners listening to the samples on wildly different HPs.
 
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