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Does anyone else prefer a dipped midrange?

Digby

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After testing a few different speakers, I have come to the conclusion that I don't like a completely flat midrange, I find it to sound unnatural and somewhat boosted to my ears. I am trying to compile a list of reasons why this might be, that aren't related to personal preference, here are some I have come up with:

1. A lot of, particularly older, classical music is recorded with a midrange boost, because of microphone placement (according to Linkwitz), so a flat speaker sounds boosted
2. Listening in an untreated room. Perhaps recordings mastered in a heavily treated studio will sound boosted in the mids when transferred to a typical, untreated room?
3. Listening in the nearfield. It just seems much more relaxing/natural to have a dip when the speakers are within 1m of you. The same dip was appreciated at distances of 3m or more, but a somewhat shallower dip may be preferred at these distances.
4. This one is a bit of speculation - perhaps the monitors used in many studios are, more often then not, not completely flat themselves, so too much midrange is present on the recording, leading to an overemphasis of mid frequencies when reproduced on a flat loudspeaker

I am struggling to wrap my head round why a dipped speaker would sound better, when Toole says that a flat speaker is preferred. I understand that people will say this is purely a case of personal preference, and maybe so, but ultimately my reference is the naturality of sounds. Typically as pertains to a violin, cello, piano and so on and it is here where a dipped mid seems to better emulate the sound of these instruments. I especially have difficulty listening to a completely flat midrange as the volume increases, it just seems too prominent, taking on a telephone like quality.

Can anyone proffer other suggestions as to why one may preferred a dipped midrange, that is not related to personal preference.

Does anybody else want to fess up to feeling similarly, that they prefer a bit of a dip, anyone feeling brave...?
 

HarmonicTHD

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You are confusing your personal preferences and what the average listener preferred in the F. Toole studies. Secondly F. Toole states anechoically flat not in-room flat.

If you personally prefer mid dip - that’s all that counts for you. However doesn’t make it statistically relevant when compared to what the majority prefers in the Toole studies. So go for it.

Edit. Typo
 
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Sokel

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Maybe it's not the mid that's high,in most cases what suffers is the mid-bass which is lower and that's makes mid sound elevated.

I also listen to classical and my preference is flat mid and a tad elevated mid-bass,makes things sound to the right proportions to me.

What type of speakers do you use?
 

czt

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Probably because mid range is the most problematic in small rooms, even with correction (if your room is small and untreated/reflective)?
 
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abdo123

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Not really, If anything i find it kinda cool how a boosted mid-range pushes the vocals forward.

If i have to choose a low Q boost anywhere it's going to be the mid-range.
 

abdo123

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Also i completely agree with the first three points you raised. However, flat on-axis still sounds better to me than flat in-room (midrange dip on-axis).
 
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Digby

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Secondly F. Toole states anechoically flat not in-room flat.
I was somewhat unclear. What you say is true, but with an anechoically flat speaker, then what should happen in room is a steady downwards slope without any dipping away from the trend. I am seeking to understand reasons why a dip away from the trend may be preferable.
If you personally prefer mid dip - that’s all the counts for you. However doesn’t make it statistically relevant when compared to what the majority prefers in the Toole studies. So go for it.
I feel like the "counts for you" argument is not as comprehensive as some make it seem. Perhaps I need to read the Toole studies in detail, but in my room I get the distinct impression anechoically flat equals subjectively mid heavy. This is my personal experience and in my room, of course, but I would bet 9 out of 10 plucked off the street would feel similarly. Perhaps also in their own given (untreated) room. Were the Toole studies conducted in a untreated room or a soundproofed studio?

Maybe it's not the mid that's high,in most cases what suffers is the mid-bass which is lower and that's makes mid sound elevated.
Perhaps.

I also listen to classical and my preference is flat mid and a tad elevated mid-bass,makes things sound to the right proportions to me.

What type of speakers do you use?
Behringer B2031A. The problem is this doesn't just pertain to classical, but all music. It all sounds more balanced this way. The possible exception would be the voice, which can sound a little recessed, but I admit preferring somewhat recessed to overly forward. I don't listen to much vocal music, so this isn't of utmost importance for me.
 

Sokel

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Behringer B2031A. The problem is this doesn't just pertain to classical, but all music. It all sounds more balanced this way. The possible exception would be the voice, which can sound a little recessed, but I admit preferring somewhat recessed to overly forward. I don't listen to much vocal music, so this isn't of utmost importance for me.
You might be interested in this then:

 

HarmonicTHD

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You might be interested in this then:

Can you share REW measurements? So we can quantify the dip. Or is it just a feeling.

For the 9 out of 10 argument there is no base for it. It actually it is in direct contradiction to the Toole studies. (I have the Kindle version of the book, in case you are interested to buy it).

Yes you are correct, that anechoically flat results in more or less a downward slope. But depends on room.

There can be any number of reasons why you prefer it, but in the end only you can say.
a) There actually no dip as so far there are no measurements to really verify
b) Simply your preference
c) Physical hearing deficiency (no offense pls)
d) Your room (again one would need REW measurements to confirm).
 

Sokel

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Can you share REW measurements? So we can quantify the dip. Or is it just a feeling.

For the 9 out of 10 argument there is no base for it. It actually it is in direct contradiction to the Toole studies. (I have the Kindle version of the book, in case you are interested to buy it).

Yes you are correct, that anechoically flat results in more or less a downward slope. But depends on room.

There can be any number of reasons why you prefer it, but in the end only you can say.
a) There actually no dip as so far there are no measurements to really verify
b) Simply your preference
c) Physical hearing deficiency (no offense pls)
d) Your room (again one would need REW measurements to confirm).
I'm not the OP :p
 

beagleman

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I think I get where the OP is coming from.
I often prefer a slightly dipped midrange also. It may be partially a preference, and often most music just sounds better with a few db down in the 2-4khz range.

I would also add, not sure we all "hear" in flat response either.

Have to add, with Pink Noise and room response, I found pink noise sounds best flat, but it is "Music" I prefer a bit less midrange than flat.
 

Mart68

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one thing I don't understand about this is that music programme is so variable how can we simply say we prefer a mid-range dip with all of it?

The exact same reduction in db across the exact same frequencies works for every recording? I don't buy it.
 
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Digby

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Can you share REW measurements? So we can quantify the dip. Or is it just a feeling.
I will do so, but in the meantime in the link somebody else shared there are measurements of B2031A showing a dip in frequency in the midrange.

For the 9 out of 10 argument there is no base for it. It actually it is in direct contradiction to the Toole studies.
Yes, 9 out of 10 is me speculating, but I don't think it is wildly inaccurate speculation. In a typical UK room, which are smaller than American rooms and similar in size to most European rooms, with typical furnishing, I wouldn't be surprised if a strong majority favoured this kind of presentation.

Can you provide an excerpt from Toole's book regarding the setup for his testing. Size of room, level of soundproofing, distance from loudspeakers and so on. This may explain where some of the difference lies. Yes, I am just speculating, but I don't think it is inaccurate just because it is speculation, as opposed to a double blind test. I can understand others may not be so convinced, that is fine.

There can be any number of reasons why you prefer it, but in the end only you can say.
a) There actually no dip as so far there are no measurements to really verify
b) Simply your preference
c) Physical hearing deficiency (no offense pls)
d) Your room (again one would need REW measurements to confirm).
I don't deny the potential for any of this, but I am also interested in whether there are reasons other than personal preference as to why people, generally, would prefer a dip in the midrange. I have provided a few arguments in the OP, do you disagree with any of those?

one thing I don't understand about this is that music programme is so variable how can we simply say we prefer a mid-range dip with all of it?
Sure, but perhaps the same could be said of a flat anechoic response, if the music was mastered in a heavily soundproofed studio and then reproduced in a typical living room, carpeted, bare walls, bookshelf. This is a more reverberant environment than a studio, for sure.

The exact same reduction in db across the exact same frequencies works for every recording? I don't buy it.
Not exact, it would be rough. No set response works for every recording, that goes without saying. I am exploring it as a general trend, whether it reproduces music with a greater naturality of sound when compared to the real instruments, not the recording. This may be a circle of confusion, but my reference is the sound of instruments, not the recording, in that my interest is having music sound like music.

If, for instance, recordings are leaving studios midrange heavy (at least as pertains to natural reproduction in a typically furnished home), then why not have a dip in the mids of a speaker, as opposed to a flat response. There is more than one way to crack an egg, don't you think?
 

Thomas_A

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Toole has several times said that stereo is flawed. In the stereo triangle you will experience a dip around 2 kHz followed by a peak 3-4 kHz when using a speaker with flat frequency response. This effect is exaggerated in nearfield (and anechoic) conditions. The dip at 2 kHz can somewhat be filled with reflections from the room and the peak at 3-4 kHz can be damped with 1-2 dB dip.
 

Mart68

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Sure, but perhaps the same could be said of a flat anechoic response, if the music was mastered in a heavily soundproofed studio and then reproduced in a typical living room, carpeted, bare walls, bookshelf. This is a more reverberant environment than a studio, for sure.


Not exact, it would be rough. No set response works for every recording, that goes without saying. I am exploring it as a general trend, whether it reproduces music with a greater naturality of sound when compared to the real instruments, not the recording. This may be a circle of confusion, but my reference is the sound of instruments, not the recording, in that my interest is having music sound like music.

If, for instance, recordings are leaving studios midrange heavy (at least as pertains to natural reproduction in a typically furnished home), then why not have a dip in the mids of a speaker, as opposed to a flat response. There is more than one way to crack an egg, don't you think?
Yes there is more than one way but none of them are really solutions. With a built-in dip you then have to EQ a recording that has a dip or it will be too much dip.

There is no solution to the variation in recordings except EQ and I don't want to be adjusting that for every recording I listen to. I don't actually think it's enough of a problem to be designing speakers that specifically address it.

Maybe you just like a slightly laid-back sound? It's not uncommon. Full on 'Studio control room' is exciting to listen to but it can be hard to relax to, as I have found myself.
 

ZolaIII

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I don't know your reason but hell no regarding me, flat and in line with bass possibly with a little swing rise in female over tones, even boosted when listening on lower level's or if I particularly want to annalise that range and uper stepped about 2 level's range 3 dB as it's crowded regarding data on above average lv. Deap will have arguably same stepping effect to layer down the difference but it would be diminishing for the data.
 

HarmonicTHD

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I will do so, but in the meantime in the link somebody else shared there are measurements of B2031A showing a dip in frequency in the midrange.


Yes, 9 out of 10 is me speculating, but I don't think it is wildly inaccurate speculation. In a typical UK room, which are smaller than American rooms and similar in size to most European rooms, with typical furnishing, I wouldn't be surprised if a strong majority favoured this kind of presentation.

Can you provide an excerpt from Toole's book regarding the setup for his testing. Size of room, level of soundproofing, distance from loudspeakers and so on. This may explain where some of the difference lies. Yes, I am just speculating, but I don't think it is inaccurate just because it is speculation, as opposed to a double blind test. I can understand others may not be so convinced, that is fine.


I don't deny the potential for any of this, but I am also interested in whether there are reasons other than personal preference as to why people, generally, would prefer a dip in the midrange. I have provided a few arguments in the OP, do you disagree with any of those?


Sure, but perhaps the same could be said of a flat anechoic response, if the music was mastered in a heavily soundproofed studio and then reproduced in a typical living room, carpeted, bare walls, bookshelf. This is a more reverberant environment than a studio, for sure.


Not exact, it would be rough. No set response works for every recording, that goes without saying. I am exploring it as a general trend, whether it reproduces music with a greater naturality of sound when compared to the real instruments, not the recording. This may be a circle of confusion, but my reference is the sound of instruments, not the recording, in that my interest is having music sound like music.

If, for instance, recordings are leaving studios midrange heavy (at least as pertains to natural reproduction in a typically furnished home), then why not have a dip in the mids of a speaker, as opposed to a flat response. There is more than one way to crack an egg, don't you think?
Again. There is no foundation for your claim that a majority will prefer a mid dip. Therefore there are no studies which show this and most certainly not Toole.

I most certainly don’t, but I am not claiming 9 out of 10 nor does my personal preference which happens to coincide with Toole. However it remains my personal subjective preference. Also nothing wrong with your personal preference (it is just not statistically representative - nor is mine).

Pasting excerpts from the book might violate copyright and besides the book is not that expensive via Kindle, considering what you spent on Equipment. However this YouTube pretty much sums up the essentials.

 
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Sokel

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I will do so, but in the meantime in the link somebody else shared there are measurements of B2031A showing a dip in frequency in the midrange.


Yes, 9 out of 10 is me speculating, but I don't think it is wildly inaccurate speculation. In a typical UK room, which are smaller than American rooms and similar in size to most European rooms, with typical furnishing, I wouldn't be surprised if a strong majority favoured this kind of presentation.
Dear Digby if you like it dipped so be it.
You don't have to defend it or think that's something wrong with you or the others that prefer other types of curves (that sounded odd :cool:).
Enjoy your music!

EDIT: odd expression.
 
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Digby

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Maybe you just like a slightly laid-back sound? It's not uncommon. Full on 'Studio control room' is exciting to listen to but it can be hard to relax to, as I have found myself
It is quite possible. What is the music you mostly listen to? Probably a full 80% of music I listen to is unamplified sonatas, concertos and such. Probably 2% of all music has vocals in it. If the music you listen to is mostly Rock, say, with 98% being vocal music, then it is quite possible this provides a different perspective entirely.

Again. There is no foundation for your claim that a majority will prefer a mid dip. Therefore there are no studies which show this and most certainly not Toole.

I most certainly don’t, but I am not claiming 9 out of 10 nor does my personal preference which happens to coincide with Toole. However it remains my personal subjective preference.
This isn't a particularly useful reply, you are bypassing the interesting things I say (with regards to a convivial discussion) and focussing on less interesting things. I said this was speculation on my part, I can only repeat it so many times. Can you provide this information as an excerpt from Toole, then we will have more to discuss:

"Size of room, level of soundproofing, distance from loudspeakers and so on. This may explain where some of the difference lies."

I would imagine types of music used would be of not insignificant importance too.

Dear Digby if you like it dipped so be it.
You don't have to defend it or think that's something wrong with you or the others that prefer other types of curves.
Enjoy your music!
Yes, I enjoy it fine. No need to justify it to you or your preference to me, but I think there is something broader at play. I am willing to be wrong, but I am really scouting for information that may make sense of what I am hearing. I don't believe I am hearing it in isolation, but it may be part of a trend.

I'm engaging in a thought experiment/discussion. I should know better than floating such things on ASR, as they seem to go down like a lead balloon. Some people have a fantastic ability to bypass the main point and head straight to minor side points.

The main points of my OP are 1st paragraph and paragraph starting "can anyone offer".

Science, it seems, is not always considered as being the processes that lead up to new discovery and something becoming an established fact, rather than just the fact itself. I don't suggest anything so grand will come of what I am trying to figure out here, by any means, but I do feel there is sometimes a stark lack of imagination for what could be on this forum and it can make fruitful discussion like wading through treacle.

Cheers, Digby (English idiom dispenser).
 
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