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Blind Listening Test Results (N=4) : Revel F206 vs Ascend Sierra RAAL Towers

echopraxia

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#1
Intro & Methodology:

This weekend, I finally got around to doing a proper blind listening test between the following two tower speakers:
Methodology is same as before with my KEF R3 vs Ascend Sierra 2EX blind test, except this time:
  1. No subwoofers were used (which I figured is somewhat appropriate since these are both towers).
  2. This time we have four participants (including myself), with somewhat different musical tastes, but all music lovers.
  3. Due to music taste variety, each participant was invited to simply play whatever songs they want on the spot (rather than forcing a single list of songs on everyone).
For simplicity, this time I will jump right into the results without much preamble. Scroll down to the bottom if you want to cut to see the tally of preference votes, or start reading below for the results and comments on a song-by-song basis.


In-Room Measurements:

In-room REW measurements were posted and can be downloaded here.


Blind Listening Test Log and Votes:

Note that while all the comments as transcribed here in this post mention the speakers by name (for your reading convenience), during each test, no participant was aware of which speaker they were listening to. So when they described their preference and comments, they were speaking in terms of “Speaker A” vs “Speaker B”, where the identity of the speakers behind these are unknown and the roles of A/B are also randomly shuffled between each song.


Valley of the Yuccas - Live from Joshua Tree - RÜFÜS DU SOL (Spotify)
  • Participant 1: Ascend wins. Ascend sounded more full and was able to capture each of the different aspects of the song clearly, like the deeper bass. Revel sounded a little bit more flat, and was more piercing on the symbols.

Portland, Maine - Donovan Woods (Spotify)
  • Participant 1: Ascend wins. Revel sounded like the artist was far away, yet still clearly. Ascend has vocals so strongly it’s like the artist is in front of me and instruments in back. In Ascend the guitar treble is better, whereas on Revel it’s more piercing. Prefer Ascend because vocals are up front, felt more live like artist is right in front of me.

River - Leon Bridges (Spotify)
  • Participant 1: Ascend wins. High frequency of the bells are more harsh on Revel. Ascend sounds more equal and blended. On Revel, the vocals and instruments are more separate. Can imagine having recorded and mixed the tracks when hearing the Revel, whereas on Ascend it’s more blended together. Revel background noise more pronounced. Prefer the blended sound and because treble is less harsh here.

Only Now (feat. Tyler Graves) - Seven Lions, Tyler Graves (Spotify)
  • Participant 1: Ascend wins. Revel sounds pretty bad here. Ascend is okay and easy to listen to, though a subwoofer would make it better yet. Revel sounds cheap as the really deep bass is entirely missing.

Come Down - Anderson .Paak (Spotify)
  • Participant 1: Revel wins. Revel is missing something, but I feel like if we were to add the sub it would sound complete. In this one, I prefer how the instruments are more separated and distinct in space on the Revel.

Rain On Me - Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande (Spotify)
  • Participant 1: Revel wins. Revel sounds much more full bodied. Ascend is missing something in the mid bass.

I Feel You - Sun Soaked Mix - Kaskade, Zip Zip Through The Night, Penguin Mofex (Spotify)
  • Participant 1: Revel wins. Ascend sounds more blended. Revel feels more full. Can physically feel the bass more from the Revel, hear the vocals, doesn’t feel as flat.

Stairway To Heaven - Led Zeppelin (Spotify)
  • Participant 1: Revel wins. Guitar is louder on Revel. Vocals stronger on Ascend. Revel sounds more full. Sounds more correct. Treble feels a little too forward on Ascend.

People Get Ready - The Impressions (Spotify)
  • Participant 2: Revel wins. Slight preference due to lower frequencies.

Prelude in E Minor - Gerry Mulligan Sextet (Spotify)
  • Participant 2: Ascend wins. Slight preference due to higher frequencies.

Move On Up - Curtis Mayfield (Spotify)
  • Participant 2: Revel wins. Moderate preference due to lower frequencies.

The Duel - John Williams, Anne-Sophie Mutter, The Recording Arts of Los Angeles (Spotify)
  • Participant 2: Revel wins. Slight preference is due to lower frequencies, but note that the violin sounds better on Ascend.

Selenium Forest - Plini (Spotify)
  • Participant 2: Revel wins. Slight preference due to lower frequencies, but note that guitar sounds better on Ascend.

Back In Black - AC/DC (Spotify)
  • Participant 2: Revel wins. Slight preference due to mids and lower frequencies, but note that treble guitar sounds a bit better on Ascend.
  • Participant 3: Ascend wins. Sounds more real and live, feel like you’re there. Revel sounds more ‘studio mastered equalized’.

Every Piece Matters - Plini (Spotify)
  • Participant 3: Ascend wins. Revel has more bass, but Ascend was able to render the treble better. Guitar were much more clear, which is very important for this song.
  • Participant 4: Ascend wins. Same reasons.

Everybody Wants To Rule The World - Tears For Fears (Spotify)
  • Participant 3: Revel wins. Ascend treble too much at times.
  • Participant 4: Ascend wins. Prefers more forward presentation.

In The Air Tonight - Phil Collins (Spotify)
  • Participant 3: Revel wins. Treble too much on Ascend, bass of Revel preferred — sound is fuller bodied.
  • Participant 4: Revel wins. Same reasons.

The Island, Pt. I (Dawn) - Pendulum (Spotify)
  • Participant 3: No winner.
  • Participant 4: No winner.

Cleric Beast - SIE Sound Team (Spotify)
  • Participant 3: Revel wins. Fuller bodied sound.
  • Participant 4: Revel wins. Same reason.

Dance of Eternity - Dream Theater (Spotify)
  • Participant 3: Ascend wins. Treble and mids are better on Ascend. On Revel, the highs get washed out into the mids.
  • Participant 4: No winner. Both sound equally good.

Your Body Is A Wonderland - John Mayer (Spotify)
  • Participant 3: Ascend wins. More clear acoustic instruments.
  • Participant 4: Ascend wins. Same reasons.

Pneuma - Tool (Spotify)
  • Participant 3: No winner. Notes that Ascend treble sounds better and more accurate to in-person concerts attended, whereas Revel has more well rounded bass but is lacking in treble fidelity vs Ascend.
  • Participant 4: No winner.

About A Girl - Nirvana (Spotify)
  • Participant 3: Ascend wins. Better treble, more forward “live” sound.
  • Participant 4: Ascend wins. Sounds more like a live concert.

Final Vote Tally

Ascend Sierra RAAL Towers: 14 votes in favor.
Revel Performa3 F206: 14 votes in favor.


It’s a perfect tie!!


Additional Comments

What’s really interesting here to me is not just how this happened to be a perfect tie overall, but how consistent the results are: Preference in treble usually goes to the Ascend and preference in bass goes to the Revel.

But while the Ascend have a bit deeper bass extension, the midbass of the Revel was unanimously preferred by all four participants for its more “full bodied” and “tactile” experience, with few if any exceptions.

And while the Revel’s treble is excellent, the Ascend renders a treble experience (thanks to the RAAL tweeter I’m sure) that all four participants unanimously preferred when describing the treble.

If you’re thinking of buying either of these speakers, I do not think you can really go wrong. They are both fantastic speakers. But between the two, I would lean towards Revel for home theater (due to likely higher midbass SPL capabilities at least), and Ascend for music if you are willing to use an equalizer to tune the bass to your liking -- since there is some evidence here that the Ascend is the higher fidelity speaker aside from midbass. In my own listening experience (not blind), I add a moderate midbass boost to the Ascend, and over ~1 year I have found I prefer in most (but still not all) cases over the Revel.

If I could use this as feedback for Ascend, I'd urge them to consider designing a higher end tower with more of a bass/midbass tilt and more woofer area/displacement capable of significant EQ and SPL headroom there as well. I believe if they did that, there's a good chance they'd have a product that could win over the Revel F208 (and who knows, maybe even the PerformaBe line too) without audible compromise.

Lastly, in these tests, I was Participant 2. I preferred the Revel for most of the songs I tested. If I had picked more treble focused songs, I probably would have preferred the Ascend. I didn’t test many songs here because I didn’t want to skew the results — I stopped testing when I realized I could clearly identify which speaker I was listening to with my eyes closed. I made a note of which speaker I thought I was listening to with my eyes closed, and when I stopped testing more songs and checked later, I found my identification was correct 100% of the time. This was also the case for Participant C near the end — where it was becoming quite obvious to him which speaker was which, independent of shuffling the roles of “Speaker A” and “Speaker B” randomly. He referred to them as “Mr Treble” and “Mr Bass” with consistency when describing them to indicate he clearly heard one of the speakers had superior treble to his ear, and the other had superior bass.

It is also interesting that everyone’s blind impressions here aligned exactly with my sighted listening impressions between these speakers initially, and over time. I love them both, but each has slightly different strengths.
 
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goldark

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#2
Thanks for all the work you've done in putting this together. I own the F206 and the Sierra 2-EX and this aligns with my sighted impressions (even though the EX isn't the same as the tower, the descriptions of the differences in treble are consistent). From other user impressions, I believe the EX may have more of a midbass presence than the RAAL tower - which would've improved its performance in a heads up match up vs. the Revels. Regardless, I didn't test many bass heavy tracks. And they leaned heavily towards acoustic jazz, orchestral, bossa nova. You could guess based on your blind test results that I preferred the EX on virtually all these tracks and it came off sounding like the higher fidelity speaker. I may go back and compare them blind with another listener and with more variety in music. But like you mentioned, the difference in treble performance is stark enough where I would be able to tell which speaker was playing immediately.
 

GelbeMusik

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#4
And while the Revel’s treble is excellent, the Ascend renders a treble experience (thanks to the RAAL tweeter I’m sure) that ...
The RAAL tweeter is quite special. What has been debunked as myth for long now is the low-mass / fast transient confusion. What You are left with is a quite high xo, I assume, which then leads to some peculiarities, and for sure a asymmetrical dispersion pattern. One might even say it is odd. So wide in the horizontal, so much narrowing down in the vertical.

Whatever, did You compare the predicted in-room response of the spinorama to what You actually got?
 
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echopraxia

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Thread Starter #5
Thanks, always useful. And I guess it's fun to do once all the tedious preparations are made.
> Dance of Eternity - Dream Theater
Noice.

Should have done it 3-way with your 8351Bs, though.
A comparison with the Genelec’s will definitely happen eventually. I actually sold the Revel F206 locally this weekend (which is what forced me to actually do this blind test, since it was my last chance to do so).

To replace the F206, I am planning to order a Revel F228be today, which I think will be a very interesting comparison against the Genelec 8351B :)
 
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echopraxia

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Thread Starter #6
Thanks for all the work you've done in putting this together. I own the F206 and the Sierra 2-EX and this aligns with my sighted impressions (even though the EX isn't the same as the tower, the descriptions of the differences in treble are consistent). From other user impressions, I believe the EX may have more of a midbass presence than the RAAL tower - which would've improved its performance in a heads up match up vs. the Revels. Regardless, I didn't test many bass heavy tracks. And they leaned heavily towards acoustic jazz, orchestral, bossa nova. You could guess based on your blind test results that I preferred the EX on virtually all these tracks and it came off sounding like the higher fidelity speaker. I may go back and compare them blind with another listener and with more variety in music. But like you mentioned, the difference in treble performance is stark enough where I would be able to tell which speaker was playing immediately.
Another thing that would have been interesting is if I EQ’ed a slight bass boost into the Ascends for this test. This is actually how I usually run them. I find that with a slight midbass boost, it mostly “fixes” what is lacking on the Ascends on some tracks. However, even when doing this, I still find the Revel bass to be preferred (not sure why), which is why I still really like the Revels, and partly why I plan to upgrade to the PerformaBe series.

I did not EQ either speaker for this test. It would be really interesting to compare with both equalized, but it seems even Harman’s blind tests don’t do this, so I didn’t want to diverge too much from a pure test of each speaker pair.
 
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echopraxia

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Thread Starter #8
Have you crossed both over to subwoofers and if so, did the differences in bass performance vanish?
I have tried comparing both with subs myself in sighted comparisons, and I find that the bass differences do not vanish.

The Ascend actually has more deep bass extension than the Revel, while I suspect the Revel’s bass advantages are more in the mid and upper bass region. As a result, this is either beyond the reach of what most subs are capable of, or even if your sub is capable of reaching high enough, these frequencies tread into the easily localizable frequencies where you would at least need stereo symmetric subs.

The differences mostly vanish instead when I EQ the Ascends (though my Marantz receiver N-band equalizer, not via Audessy) to boost the mid bass a few decibels. The differences mostly vanish though — not completely. There is still something preferred about the Revel here that is hard to describe.

Lastly, I don’t believe the difference is due to subtle room positioning effects. While during these blind tests the speakers were positioned close to each other, I realize even 1 foot difference in position can have an impact on in-room bass nulls etc at the listening position. Prior to these blind tests during the ~1 year I’ve owned both these speakers, I tried many different positions as well as two rooms — and found the perceived bass character differences mostly consistent (though these tests were sighted, I note that the comments from these blind tests aligned perfectly with my sighted impressions over time).

That said, I cannot rule out the possibility that this could all be fixed with sufficiently precise equalization work. I have just been too lazy/stubborn so far to deal with that since I can’t easily use miniDSP via my AVR, and Audessy always makes it sound worse to me for whatever reason (I assume because it aggressively equalizes above the Schroeder frequency, and obviously doesn’t use moving mic method). Some day I will buy the Audessy app and see if I can get better results there, but I have been admittedly stubborn about buying that too as I don’t understand why I should have to pay $10 for an app to control a Marantz AVR I paid $1k for and has an MSRP if $2k.
 

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#9
Inspired by your post, I ran a really rough, informal blind test with another listener of my F206 and Sierra 2-EX (I had previously posted my own sighted impressions of these 2, but never with another listener in a blind test). I don't have a mic so level matching was done with an SPL app on my phone which I admit, isn't super precise but both are approximately the same volume using test tones. Speakers were set up using different zones on my Pioneer receiver. I didn't have a stand that put the tweeters at the same height unfortunately. You can see in the photo I posted below the difference in height. The other listener is older with no formal training and admittedly 'not' an audiophile, but I trust her ears (I had set up a home theater system in her house previously and without being prompted, noticed the differences immediately when Audyssey was engaged the next day - she is my mother :)

Listener was asked to closed her eyes while she listened and was asked what she preferred between the first speaker she heard and the second (order was randomized each track). For simplicity's sake, my summaries will just say which speaker was which, but the listener didn't know which was playing.

Track summaries below:

1. Ana Caram - Samba de Verao: background piano sounded more pronounced on the Revel which she preferred but liked how vocals on sounded a little more "live" on the Ascends. Sounded "good" on both speakers, slight preference to Revel.

2. Sugar Blues - Clark Terry: the trumpet sounds more distinct and separate from accompanying instruments, but also more distant on the Revel. Trumpet sounds more "3D" and "live, spacious" on the Ascend as if it was present in the room. Slight preference to Ascend.

3. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue See - The Modern Jazz Quartert: listener heard the Ascend first and was taken aback by how realistic it sounded when the xylophone hits about a minute into the track. The Revels, perhaps either by going second and losing "shock" value, did not have the same "emotional effect" as described by the listener. Strong preference to Ascend.

4. Echale Salsita - Paquito D'Rivera: a little bit more depth in the midrange on the Revels; more airiness/realism on the sax on the Ascends; slight preference to Ascend

5. Fall Underneath - Snakadactal (the Kilter remix): bass was actually punchier on the Ascends despite being a bookshelf; track sounded similar throughout; slight preference to Ascend

6. Thais: Meditation - cello arrangement with Yo yo ma: cello sounded more "realistic"; strong preference to Ascend

7. Sweetest Goodbye - Maroon 5: both sounded "good" - no strong preference either way

That was about all she wanted to listen to before going on about her day. I should've let her pick out some tracks she knows well but the session was cut short. One trend I'm seeing is that treble-heavy acoustic recordings definitely favor Ascend/the RAAL ribbon. Other tracks seem to be a tossup or too close to have a strong preference. Not sure this was particularly useful since I'm not comparing the same speakers you have, but it's another data point for those that are interested.
 

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ernestcarl

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To replace the F206, I am planning to order a Revel F228be today, which I think will be a very interesting comparison against the Genelec 8351B :)
Hmmm... some people have simply no room for floor standers, and since these two are not too far apart in price (if you add accompanying Genelec stands), this comparison would be very interesting.

Literally no room in couch area... :(
1592841382248.png
 
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#13
Excellent music choices!

I too have the Revel F208 as well as the Sierra 2-EX and want to do a test like this at some point. I've done similar tests with my Maggies - from which you quickly realize a strong preference for bass when it's revealed what you're missing
 
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echopraxia

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Thread Starter #14
1. Ana Caram - Samba de Verao: background piano sounded more pronounced on the Revel which she preferred but liked how vocals on sounded a little more "live" on the Ascends. Sounded "good" on both speakers, slight preference to Revel.

2. Sugar Blues - Clark Terry: the trumpet sounds more distinct and separate from accompanying instruments, but also more distant on the Revel. Trumpet sounds more "3D" and "live, spacious" on the Ascend as if it was present in the room. Slight preference to Ascend.

3. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue See - The Modern Jazz Quartert: listener heard the Ascend first and was taken aback by how realistic it sounded when the xylophone hits about a minute into the track. The Revels, perhaps either by going second and losing "shock" value, did not have the same "emotional effect" as described by the listener. Strong preference to Ascend.

4. Echale Salsita - Paquito D'Rivera: a little bit more depth in the midrange on the Revels; more airiness/realism on the sax on the Ascends; slight preference to Ascend
It's almost bizarre how precisely these impressions/descriptions match those in all my comparisons of Ascend RAAL speakers: Descriptions like vocals sounding more "live" on the Ascend RAAL, and from Revel sometimes better pinpoint imaging while simultaneously sounding more "distant", but more of a "live, spacious, airy" and simultaneously "up front" and "live" sound to the Ascend.

It does sound like the Sierra 2EX may actually have a stronger midbass, which could set it ahead of the Ascend Towers in such a comparison. I didn't compare the 2EX to the Towers more than briefly, but I did notice that.
 

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#15
It's almost bizarre how precisely these impressions/descriptions match those in all my comparisons of Ascend RAAL speakers: Descriptions like vocals sounding more "live" on the Ascend RAAL, and from Revel sometimes better pinpoint imaging while simultaneously sounding more "distant", but more of a "live, spacious, airy" and simultaneously "up front" and "live" sound to the Ascend.

It does sound like the Sierra 2EX may actually have a stronger midbass, which could set it ahead of the Ascend Towers in such a comparison. I didn't compare the 2EX to the Towers more than briefly, but I did notice that.
Sorry, I cannot resist. Many of Your impressions might correlate with the spinorama and the reasoning behind it. I use horn loaded mid / high drivers and huge bass / mid drivers aka 'econowave' for quite a lot of years now.

The more narrow but smooth directivity makes a big difference. I expect the same with the RAAL, more live sound, up front as You say. That in comparison the Revel are more likely to please Dr Toole is expected. Wide space, distant immersion, the concert hall as an ideal.

The stronger midbass would depend so much on the particular room acoustics. It could become too much occasionally. And vice versa. I think this cannot be predicted by the spinorama. I think its preference cannot be predicted by an arbitrary selection of test music. Some likes it, some not. It is a typical use case for an EQ. It may be set to a grand average, weighing in the most preferable records more, or one would even go for an EQ setting specific to a particular genre, listening volume and such--again Dr. Toole.
 

Feanor

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@echopraxia, did you listen to any real music, i.e. classical? You don't really have to like classical music but good classical selections are a much better basis for judging the quality of a speaker.

Of course classical or otherwise, the character of given recordings must be considered in making preferences judgement. (There are some
terrible recordings in every genre.)
 
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echopraxia

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Sorry, I cannot resist. Many of Your impressions might correlate with the spinorama and the reasoning behind it. I use horn loaded mid / high drivers and huge bass / mid drivers aka 'econowave' for quite a lot of years now.

The more narrow but smooth directivity makes a big difference. I expect the same with the RAAL, more live sound, up front as You say. That in comparison the Revel are more likely to please Dr Toole is expected. Wide space, distant immersion, the concert hall as an ideal.

The stronger midbass would depend so much on the particular room acoustics. It could become too much occasionally. And vice versa. I think this cannot be predicted by the spinorama. I think its preference cannot be predicted by an arbitrary selection of test music. Some likes it, some not. It is a typical use case for an EQ. It may be set to a grand average, weighing in the most preferable records more, or one would even go for an EQ setting specific to a particular genre, listening volume and such--again Dr. Toole.
I wasn't claiming these results defy the spinorama -- just that I'm impressed by the consistency of people's impressions and preference for the Ascend RAAL treble, independent of room and (for the most part) music :)

And yes that's all very true about bass and test music.

In fact, the reason why I ended my test session was I quickly realized not only that (1) I could easily identify which speaker was playing, but (2) I would have been able to manipulate the results quite easily by choosing a lot of music with high fidelity acoustic instruments and less important midbass, if I wanted to.

But in the same way, this also calls into question to some extent any finite set of test music, no matter how carefully chosen -- because even if for example Harman's set of test music is the most perfect representative sample for the widest range of genres, it's always possible someone will have a music genre preference that will skew their ideal music selection a bit. I'm not saying I have a good solution to this, just observing how complex/difficult this space is to navigate objectively.
 
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echopraxia

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@echopraxia, did you listen to any real music, i.e. classical? You don't really have to like classical music but good classical selections are a much better basis for judging the quality of a speaker.

Of course classical or otherwise, the character of given recordings must be considered in making preferences judgement. (There are some
terrible recordings in every genre.)
In terms of genre correlation to speaker selection reliability, we have this from research:

1592847690895.png


If you managed to find the time in your day to read my post fully, you'll see that I did include a contemporary orchestral track in my test. But... I'm not sure if that's what you meant, which brings me to:

@echopraxia, did you listen to any real music, i.e. classical? You don't really have to like classical music
Regarding your claim that Classical music is the only real music, and is better to judge speakers -- I believe you are wrong on both counts:

There are quite a lot of pieces from the Classical era that are far from orchestral, and actually involve quite a narrow dynamic range and range of frequencies from e.g. a single instrument such as the Harpsichord (which you'd find in the early Classical era, though granted, this instrument was more popular in the Renaissance and Baroque eras).

Perhaps you were meaning to say "Orchestral" music rather than "Classical" music? Perhaps you don't realize that "Classical" is not a genre as much as an era in the wider range of music eras spanning Midieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modernist? Most people who colloquially mention "Classical" music as if it were a genre are usually actually referring to music from the Romantic era and not Classical era music. I would never be so pedantic as to pick on anyone for this, however, except perhaps in your case where you accuse anyone who listens to music other than "Classical" as not listening to "real music" :p

Perhaps you should understand that the world of music is incredibly diverse and some people enjoy everything from Rap to Baroque, before insulting everything that isn't "Classical" as being "not real music"?

FWIW, I quite enjoy music spanning from the Baroque era to a wide range of modern music across the board (Jazz, Rock, Pop, Electronic, etc.).I'm not as much a fan of Renaissance or prior though, though I enjoy observing the transition into Baroque.

But when it comes to this blind test, what do you suggest I tell my participants who are so kindly donating their time? "I'm sorry, but you can't listen to your favorite music. Your favorite music sucks and these speakers are too good for you. Listen to my REAL music, or go away."

With an attitude like that, I'd not be surprised to find nobody wants to participate in your blind tests :). More than that though, I expect such an attitude would in fact rightfully turn 98% of the world away from the concept of hifi/audiophile speakers entirely, since it casts a negative and snobby light on this entire hobby. This hobby should be first and foremost about your personal audio enjoyment -- whatever it is you enjoy listening to -- not looking down on someone for not having a refined music taste by some arbitrary definition.
 
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GelbeMusik

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#19
In terms of genre correlation to speaker selection reliability, we have this from research:
... I'd be no surprise if nobody wanted to participate in your blind tests :)
Ja, I feel the same regarding the so called classical music. A term that is more often than right used wrong. I was kind of a fanboy when listening to "it" ( wrong term, that means ;-) through the 5 valve radio of my parents. But then electronica chimed in, again through the (German) Dampfradio. PGP sequencer and stuff like that, and / or the early Stockhausen, anybody? Steampunk by todays standards.

On the other hand, Stairways To Heaven is fun to listen to, but as a testprogram, I don't know. Wasn't it the last piece on a vinyl record? Last piece means least quality due to slowing down of the linear speed of the groove. All the sounds gets so congested. It starts clear with few instruments and becomes thicker and thicker, without actually changing loudness. Not to forget the accumulated dust at the needle, and accumulated wear out there. To me it more or less represents a practical joke of the sound engineer. Super drama, so close to going kitsch, good art alltogether, but as a test?
 

Dennis Murphy

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#20
The RAAL tweeter is quite special. What has been debunked as myth for long now is the low-mass / fast transient confusion. What You are left with is a quite high xo, I assume, which then leads to some peculiarities, and for sure a asymmetrical dispersion pattern. One might even say it is odd. So wide in the horizontal, so much narrowing down in the vertical.

Whatever, did You compare the predicted in-room response of the spinorama to what You actually got?
If you're saying the RAAL 70-20 OEM tweeter has to be crossed high, that's not correct. It was designed to be used with a 4th order crossover at 1800 Hz, and to achieve that only one component is needed--a series capacitor, along with whatever padding is appropriate for the other drivers being used. The vertical dispersion is more limited than a typical 1" dome, but not so much that the treble balance changes much when you stand up from a seated position at the listening distance.
 
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