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How "bad" must a Speaker be for normies to notice?

Geert

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"How "bad" must a Speaker be for normies to notice"?

When it sounds broken. Like woofer or tweeter are dead, rotten woofer suspension, rattling crossover components, mouse nest in the port ...
 

Killingbeans

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--3) How crappy does a speaker have to be for a normal, non-audiophile person to recoil and say "this sucks"? Here, my assumption is that there is a vast gulf between what the ASR-reading audiophile considers acceptable and what the person in the street is willing to tolerate (e.g., Horrortones.)

My normie partner in crime once asked me why the built-in speakers in her old flat screen monitor sounded terrible. She had seriously cranked the volume, and it did sound really, really terrible. I told her it was a combo of tiny ****** speakers violently hitting x-max and breaking up in all kinds of ways + a tiny ****** amp circuit clipping like crazy.

It's the only time I've ever heard her complain about sound quality.
 

DanielT

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It will probably take a lot of trouble, noise, extreme distortion, extremely strange FR before those who don't care about sound quality will notice that it sounds bad. What, or how much is this extreme?
It is individual. We all know how people we know react to noise. Some care more than others. It also differs from time to time from the same person. The level of sensitivity, irritation that is.

Edit:
Having said that, when these non-HiFi enthusiasts still want some sound at home they may prioritize appearance, design and functionality first and foremost. But when they are thinking about buying a soundbar I absolutely sure that they still, then and there at the time of purchase, ALSO will consider the sound quality. ;)
That's what I do with other things that don't really interest me one bit. Say I'm going to buy a new vacuum cleaner, of course I start thinking about its performance. That regardless of how little interest I have in vacuuming my home.:oops:
 
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Ellebob

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Working in this industry here is what I have experienced from non-enthusiasts. They have different priorities when it comes to audio. I would rank it in this order.
1. Ease of use
2. Price
3. Aesthetics
4. Sound quality

Enthusiasts will change this ranking with Sound quality probably 1st or second.

Some of the things I have heard and their reality.

"I would never be able to hear the difference anyway."
Reality: Every comparison I have ever done people were able to tell the differences in speakers and had a preference in sound quality. That doesn't mean they went with the one that sounded best but they were able to tell the difference. Refer to their priorities. No need to have golden ears or any bull like that. People can tell the difference.

"I have Bose already and it's the best!"
Reality: Every comparison with speakers against Bose cubes, Bose lost. We have done this many times. People still don't want to believe it! They then say things like you must have messed with the system. A few will buy the better speakers. We would level match the speakers and not touch anything. I have an enthusiast that became one Circuit Citys (remember them) top salesman. When he started he said he tried to show people better sounding and less expensive systems and he wasn't a great salesman. He then changed his attitude and started selling people what they wanted. If they were interested in Bose he would say you know you want it, and they would hand over their card. He learned that trying to change their preconceived notions about what is good actually hurt his paycheck. The power of marketing is very strong.

"I can't make out the dialogue when watching TV"
Reality: This is really the only complaint I see people complain about with sound quality. Something would have to be worse than an AM radio before they would complain. This is true and the reason soundbars exist. I am not a big fan of sound bars in general but they have their place in the world. This is its place is when you have a TV with tiny speakers facing the floor or back wall, a sound bar is a big improvement. I do like to do active speakers with a TV using the headphone or variable audio out. The problem is many TVs no longer have any type of analog output. The sound bar just fits most people's aesthetic.

No customers want audio that requires another remote. This is more important than sound quality. Audio should either use HDMI ARC or the TV's analog connection when available that will work with the TVs remote. Tell people they need a receiver or a cheap soundbar that only has an optical connection and they need another remote and they will not like it. Also, devices with only an HDMI ARC input are brilliant for the average consumer. If they have to learn how to switch inputs, it is too hard. Enthusiasts often criticize companies like Sonos with only an HDMI ARC input but it is tough for the non-enthusiast to mess up. Probably saves Sonos a ton in phone support by not adding multiple inputs.

Aesthetics is also top priority. We carry Genelec, Neumann and other studio monitors as well as consumer speakers. Try to sell a studio monitor for the non-enthusiast no matter how much better it sounds. Good luck. A nice looking speaker will sell over the better sounding speaker.
 

Killingbeans

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No customers want audio that requires another remote. This is more important than sound quality. Audio should either use HDMI ARC or the TV's analog connection when available that will work with the TVs remote. Tell people they need a receiver or a cheap soundbar that only has an optical connection and they need another remote and they will not like it. Also, devices with only an HDMI ARC input are brilliant for the average consumer. If they have to learn how to switch inputs, it is too hard. Enthusiasts often criticize companies like Sonos with only an HDMI ARC input but it is tough for the non-enthusiast to mess up. Probably saves Sonos a ton in phone support by not adding multiple inputs.

At the repair shop I work at right now, there's this old lady that keeps calling saying "there's something wrong with her TV". Then one of us drive over and show her that she can't control the set-top box with her TV remote. Next week she calls again saying "there's something wrong with her TV". Rinse and repeat :facepalm:
 

Mart68

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At the repair shop I work at right now, there's this old lady that keeps calling saying "there's something wrong with her TV". Then one of us drive over and show her that she can't control the set-top box with her TV remote. Next week she calls again saying "there's something wrong with her TV". Rinse and repeat :facepalm:
Last week I spend an hour on the 'phone to my mother trying to explain the difference between her cell phone and the cordless land-line phone she also has.

In fairness she is 83 and has never really been playing with a full deck.
 

egellings

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Given that you can no doubt buy a cheap speaker for less than a dollar, but a Genelec 8381 costs ~100,000 times that, I'd say your question needs some additional parameters to be meaningful.
A speaker, however crappy, for less than a dollar?
 

Somafunk

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I have convinced quite a few people to get these new little HomePods as they are cheap and sound miles better than the little Bluetooth speakers they were using.

I use a stereo pair of HomePod minis set up in my bedroom on bedside cabinets either side, their perfectly acceptable for listening duties and work flawlessly
 

Axo1989

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A speaker, however crappy, for less than a dollar?

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Sure: $0.64 as long as you buy in bulk.

Not that the two for $1.27 each price changes my proposition much.
 

DonR

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View attachment 327835

Sure: $0.64 as long as you buy in bulk.

Not that the two for $1.27 each price changes my proposition much.
Amazing what can be cranked out in mass production for so little money. No wonder we have become a throwaway society. Probably sounds better than any old AM transistor radio from the 60's and certainly better than any smartphone. Retail is probably around $10 for these.
 

MattHooper

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At the repair shop I work at right now, there's this old lady that keeps calling saying "there's something wrong with her TV". Then one of us drive over and show her that she can't control the set-top box with her TV remote. Next week she calls again saying "there's something wrong with her TV". Rinse and repeat :facepalm:

My wife STILL occasionally asks me how to use the (standard) remote for our cable TV.

Last week I spend an hour on the 'phone to my mother trying to explain the difference between her cell phone and the cordless land-line phone she also has.

In fairness she is 83 and has never really been playing with a full deck.

I empathize.

A couple weeks ago my mother (85) called and asked me how to use her computer to look up something. She only ever occasionally uses email and even that scares her. Imagine having to try to direct someone over the phone how to surf the web to a given site, and download something..with almost ZERO of the relevant words in common. She had no idea what a browser is (so I had to help her find it on her computer blindly over the phone), what google did, what a mouse or pointer is, what a link is, what downloading is...and it was panic mode for every step.

My sympathy for phone tech workers (e.g. at Apple) was significantly enhanced by such experiences.
 

fpitas

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Mart68

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My wife STILL occasionally asks me how to use the (standard) remote for our cable TV.



I empathize.

A couple weeks ago my mother (85) called and asked me how to use her computer to look up something. She only ever occasionally uses email and even that scares her. Imagine having to try to direct someone over the phone how to surf the web to a given site, and download something..with almost ZERO of the relevant words in common. She had no idea what a browser is (so I had to help her find it on her computer blindly over the phone), what google did, what a mouse or pointer is, what a link is, what downloading is...and it was panic mode for every step.

My sympathy for phone tech workers (e.g. at Apple) was significantly enhanced by such experiences.
Thankfully mine will not go near the internet although she does have access. Last year though the TV company replaced the satellite dish with a broadband delivery system, which meant a new set top box and new remote control.

She had the neighbour round to try to get it to work but he's almost as old as she is and couldn't figure it out either.

I think that was about two hours on the 'phone with her. I eventually managed to talk her round to getting it working but I'll be honest I really did not think I had that much patience in me. At least phone techs get paid for their time and effort.
 

Prana Ferox

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Remember that for a lot of people the 'ok' standard were full-range drivers, often open-baffle, often without as much as a shaping circuit, found in CRT TVs, alarm clocks, car doors, horrid little on-ear foam headphones, etc. Something that at least roughly hits the 20-20khz spectrum is going to sound amazing compared to that.

Also a smile EQ may be atrocious to us but it's effectively an equal-loudness curve for the deeply muted levels 'normies' often listen at.
 

fpitas

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Also a smile EQ may be atrocious to us but it's effectively an equal-loudness curve for the deeply muted levels 'normies' often listen at.
Oddly, some like it at high levels too, booming bass and screaming treble.
 

pkane

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My wife STILL occasionally asks me how to use the (standard) remote for our cable TV.

Mine tells me how to use it every time I have it my hand. She figured out how to use the microphone on the remote to tell the cable box what to do, while I hate talking to inanimate objects (and they hate talking to me) ;) This extends to Siri and Alexa: she can say a couple of words and be done with it, while I am still frantically looking for where that one setting can possibly be located in the byzantine menu system of the device. She is also much nicer to our AI assistants. She'll say "thank you", and "goodbye", while I'll generally curse at them ... which may explain why they don't respond well to me.
 
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