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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 .
Now that the voting is closed, first of all thank you for the high participation and lets have a look at the results, which seem to show a quite unequivocal preference:

Loudspeaker A Votes: 7 13.5%
Loudspeaker B Votes: 42 80.8%
Loudspeaker C Votes: 0 0.0%
Loudspeaker D Votes: 7 13.5%


So, as promised, lets get to the next phase, where you can write about what you heard (it would be great if you would incluse with which transducer you heard the samples), the differences, your preference and your guesses which loudspeaker brands, models or types these could be.
My preference was for "B" (turns out I was not alone :p) and I listened with generic Samsung/AKG EO-IC100 USB-C earbuds.
Though all have some tonality differences between them, my main reasons for eliminating other speakers were:
- "A" had some bass resonance that muddied-up a few sections in track #2
- "C" is very thin sounding, a bit of the transistor-radio sound - I assume it is some compact or BT speaker
- "D" clipped in a section in track #2
 
C is really awful, instant disqualification.

D is colored, and not in a good way, I can very clearly 'hear' the room with D. I wouldn't be surprised if that speaker has the most low frequency extension if the output is not EQed at all in the room. either A or D have the most low frequency extension

B and A has less amount of bass, making them the only two options left. but obviously B is significantly louder than A and thus it wins the comparison. Whether the difference in loudness is a function of the frequency response or not i'm not sure. A has the most low frequency extension between the two though.

So in conclusion, B is louder in mid-bass making it sound 'fast' and 'impactful' which plays well in Track 2. Track 1 was not really a good track to showcase differences between speakers imo.
 
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I primarily listened for choir/voice distortions and found that loudspeaker B had the least of that using my DT-150 headphones. I have a big suspicion however that loudspeaker B is way too bright in-room and would probably not choose that if I listened live or using binaural-optimised headphones.
 
C is really awful, instant disqualification.

D is colored, and not in a good way, I can very clearly 'hear' the room with D. I wouldn't be surprised if that speaker has the most low frequency extension if the output is not EQed at all in the room. either A or D have the most low frequency extension

B and A has less amount of bass, making them the only two options left. but obviously B is significantly louder than A and thus it wins the comparison. Whether the difference in loudness is a function of the frequency response or not i'm not sure. A has the most low frequency extension between the two though.

So in conclusion, B is louder in mid-bass making it sound 'fast' and 'impactful' which plays well in Track 2. Track 1 was not really a good track to showcase differences between speakers imo.
Could you maybe add also with what you listened to the samples? :)
 
that's not what i experienced, B is more neutral with a hump in mid-bass.

Could be. I have no idea about the room response in that particular setup. I chose B anyhow.
 
Could you maybe add also with what you listened to the samples? :)

well i first listened to all 4 of them briefly and realised B is the one i perfered the most, then I realized Drums decay time in B are much higher than all the rest making it louder and punchier, then I realized it's just the drums that behave this way so i thought the speaker has a mid-bass hump.
 
well i first listened to all 4 of them briefly and realised B is the one i perfered the most, then I realized Drums decay time in B are much higher than all the rest making it louder and punchier, then I realized it's just the drums that behave this way so i thought the speaker has a mid-bass hump.
Thank you, but I meant with what headphones or loudspeakers you listened to them.
 
None of the tracks sounded great to me, but B overall had the least amount of objectionable flaws to my ears. Tested on AKG K371 and standard samsung galaxy earbuds (which I prefer to the AKG for general listening with a slight bass EQ).
 
I listened all tacks in foobar2000 (no dsp equalisation) -> Behringer Ultramatch 2496 -> AKG K141 MKII Studio

In track 1 I was between loudspeakers B & A
In track 2 I was between loudspeakers A & D

So, I voted A although it was not my first choice for both tracks.
Maybe I'll try to listen again with two other pair of headphones I own (Audio Technica & Marshall) to see if I'll make the same choice...
 
Speaker A didn't have good bass. It was a little wooly and the midrange is unclear.
Speaker B had more bass, but not good bass. Also the midrange wasn't to my liking and seemed to have little treble.
Speaker C had less bass, better midrange, but seemed almost clipping on some loud parts or at least distorting.
Speaker D had well controlled bass with a clear midrange. It too seems like it clipped a time or two, but not often enough to be a problem as it seemed to recover quickly.

Initially listened with an RME BabyFace Pro FS and Sony MDR 7510 headphones.
 
None of the tracks sounded great to me, but B overall had the least amount of objectionable flaws to my ears. Tested on AKG K371 and standard samsung galaxy earbuds (which I prefer to the AKG for general listening with a slight bass EQ).
I second that, using both EQed HD800 and K371 (with a little less bass than recommended by @amirm). These are my subjective impressions:

SpeakerK371 and HD800
Aon both tracks: boomy bass, muddy mids, no highs
Bmost neutral FR, no resonances but also no/low bass - I prefer more. 2nd score with Bach and favorite for Beethoven, hence my overall winner
CBach: one note bass of low amplitude
Beethoven: very thin
DBach: My favorite due to its clearer intelligibility of the voices - which may be due to age related hearing loss.
Beethoven: much too bright with no bass - could it be an Adam studio monitor? Might sound fatiguing with neutral recordings.
NotesNo real effect of head related soundstage with the K371, much better with the HD800
 
I second that, using both EQed HD800 and K371 (with a little less bass than recommended by @amirm). These are my subjective impressions:

SpeakerK371 and HD800
Aon both tracks: boomy bass, muddy mids, no highs
Bmost neutral FR, no resonances but also no/low bass - I prefer more. 2nd score with Bach and favorite for Beethoven, hence my overall winner
CBach: one note bass of low amplitude
Beethoven: very thin
DBach: My favorite due to its clearer intelligibility of the voices - which may be due to age related hearing loss.
Beethoven: much too bright with no bass - could it be an Adam studio monitor? Might sound fatiguing with neutral recordings.
NotesNo real effect of head related soundstage with the K371, much better with the HD800
I was listening over a D10 DAC/JDS labs Atom/Drop HD-6XX headphones (Sennheiser equivalent).
At the bottom:
C was terrible, really terrible.
A seemed confused, lacked any detail what was this, a telephone land line?

I preferred D over B, going against consensus. D seemed natural, clear, maybe I share that age related hearing loss.
B was a close second for me, nothing bad but little base, slight muddiness.

Binaural recordings (at least these examples) are just plain weird. Even a mediocre Spotify/Pandora sounds better than this. Youtube "speaker tests" sound better. What is going on?
 
Ok, here are my impressions. Listened on the Sony MDR-7506, which to my ears are superb (tonality/FR is spot on, and the added distortion doesn't seem to bother me). My experience was that I found it hard to form a clear preference with the first track (Bach). I thought I had a preference, but I wasn't sure about it and whether it would be consistent if I did a re-test later.

With the second track (Beethoven), however, I had a very clear preference for loudspeaker B. I assume it was easier for me to form a preference on this track because this track is more intensive and thus demands more of the loudspeaker. I won't claim that my listening provided me with a detailed technical analysis of what I was hearing, because it wasn't like that and I didn't bother listening in detail once I formed a presence. In subjective terms, I perceived a higher presence of the music. I would guess that the mids may be somewhat elevated in this speaker compared to some of the others, but I may be wrong about that. The presentation also seemed more coherent in a way.

Second-best for me was loudspeaker A, which I thought was the one which was closest to B in overall sound.

C was the worst-sounding by far.

D was different - it sounded more airy, less direct. Bass was worse than B and A to my ears. I would guess that this is a loudspeaker with broad dispersion. I often like such speakers in a room, but reproduced through headphones it sounded strange to me. Or was it about a different frequency response, a more pronounced treble perhaps? I'm not sure.
 
Binaural recordings (at least these examples) are just plain weird. Even a mediocre Spotify/Pandora sounds better than this. Youtube "speaker tests" sound better. What is going on?

I agree with these examples sounded complete off. I thought this was going to be a test of something with a massive HF rolloff as a red herring to see how many people complained about the recordings versus who could hear a difference and rank them. Using AKG K3003 with a Cambridge Audio DacMagic XS. (great IEMs by the way; sold for $1300 10 years ago, now just $400)

I waited until Monday before analyzing the tracks, relying just on my "this sounds off" post as my proof.

Ran the soundprint on the files today for Sample 1
A B
C D

capture.JPG



In B and D, you can clearly see that missing band around 10 khz which might be what I thought I was hearing. It's not that high of a signal though.

B was the winner in this group and what you can see is that B and D had the highest content in 6K and down range, but D has a broader hole between 5-6kHz.
 
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I agree with these examples sounded complete off. I thought this was going to be a test of something with a massive HF rolloff as a red herring to see how many people complained about the recordings versus who could hear a difference and rank them. Using AKG K3003 with a Cambridge Audio DacMagic XS. (great IEMs by the way; sold for $1300 10 years ago, now just $400)

I waited until Monday before analyzing the tracks, relying just on my "this sounds off" post as my proof.

Ran the soundprint on the files today for Sample 1
A B
C D


View attachment 155918


In B and D, you can clearly see that missing band around 10 khz which might be what I thought I was hearing. It's not that high of a signal though.

B was the winner i this group and what you can see is that B and D had the highest content in 6K and down range, but D has a broader hole between 5-6kHz.

It's not blind anymore once you open up the spectrogram.
 
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