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Objective vs. subjective with speakers in a room?

6sigma

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#1
I'm making the transition from decades of taking the advice of dealers in selecting gear to understanding & using the measurements to get to a short list of gear. I'm thinking of a rather extreme example here, but I'd like to use this thought experiment to see if I'm catching on.

As a kid I listened to a handheld transistor radio. Later, I stuck an 8" driver in a plywood box and connected that to a table radio. The sounds were different. Since those years, I've heard large, full-range stereo loudspeakers costing tens of thousands of dollars & stand-mounts costing hundreds or less. The sounds were different!

My question relates to the over-used, subjective terms: "involving," "detail," "revealing." The sound I heard from the large, expensive speakers was clearly different from the sound from the radio. Are the measurements that dictate that difference primarily the SPL, frequency response and the distortion (or absence of distortion)? Are those the things that allow you to hear a sneeze in an orchestra on one system and miss it completely when the same recording is played on a "lesser performing" system?

If I bring the examples closer together so that I'm comparing Brand A at $1000 and Brand B at $5000, are the better measurements of SPL, frequency response & distortion the primary "predictors" of the gear that is likely to be more satisfying in one vs. the other?

If this is all too subjective or doesn't belong here, I'll trust a moderator to move or delete it. Or, if the question is already discussed in another thread, someone kindly point me toward that. Thanks for the usual help you folks provide.
 

majingotan

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#2
I'd say speaker's performance depends on the room reflections and spinorama performance. The HS7 speakers that I have would sound terribly off-axis, losing detail as the dip at 4KHz worsens as the mic is placed more off-axis, but when listening on-axis and near field only (2 feet away) the FR balances off without applying any DSP, allowing me to hear every fart, sneeze, cough from several rows in the audience that you're describing. Heck I can even hear the orchestra track from Pink Floyd's eclipse song which is not an easy feat to reproduce without turning the speaker/headphone volume to max. An easier test that I use is the echo voice from Chainsmoker's Closer from the beginning of the track "Hey (hey)" If you can't hear the echo (hey) then you need to perform room treatment and DSP so you hear all the details in the recording along with that "involving" sound that you're describing.

Yes, IMO, spinorama measurements and taking advantage of its data in placing your speakers, DSP and room treatment should make your speakers perform far better than so-called audiophile speakers playing on overpriced amps, DACs and snake oil cables.
 
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#3
I'd say speaker's performance depends on the room reflections and spinorama performance. The HS7 speakers that I have would sound terribly off-axis, losing detail as the dip at 4KHz worsens as the mic is placed more off-axis, but when listening on-axis and near field only (2 feet away) the FR balances off without applying any DSP, allowing me to hear every fart, sneeze, cough from several rows in the audience that you're describing. Heck I can even hear the orchestra track from Pink Floyd's eclipse song which is not an easy feat to reproduce without turning the speaker/headphone volume to max. An easier test that I use is the echo voice from Chainsmoker's Closer from the beginning of the track "Hey (hey)" If you can't hear the echo (hey) then you need to perform room treatment and DSP so you hear all the details in the recording along with that "involving" sound that you're describing.

Yes, IMO, spinorama measurements and taking advantage of its data in placing your speakers, DSP and room treatment should make your speakers perform far better than so-called audiophile speakers playing on overpriced amps, DACs and snake oil cables.
hi, i just downloaded the song Closer by Chainsmokers to test. You mean when the singer says "Hey" there is echo ( or reverb, whatever), but there is only one "Hey" with reverb, not another hey as in real echo? Like HEY, HEy, Hey, hey, he....... To be precise only one "Hey" with reverb effect, because i dont hear another hey, and i would be surprised that my speakers are that bad, that i don't hear echo properly..
Thanks
 

majingotan

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#4
Just one faint hey sounding slightly to the left channel after the main "Hey". I'll put the faint lyrics that is inaudible with less detailed speakers inside the star quote * *

Hey *hey*, I was doing just fine before I met you
I drink too much and that's an issue but I'm okay *okay, I'm okay*
The *okay, I'm okay* part should be easily heard with any bookshelf speakers while the *hey* part is slightly fainter and any decent bookshelf speakers should reproduce this. It's one of my test tracks and my ultimate test track is still the orchestral section part from Pink Floyd's eclipse song which requires 30 dBa room background noise to be able to hear that
 
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#5
I might have a different mix then yours (from the EP), since the first "Hey" is alone with reverb. I checked it with audacity, zoomed in and out and i don't see any waveform that resembles another faint echo of "hey". But i'll check again later today, just to make sure. If there is, then i have some work to do or change the speakers.
Thank you.
 

majingotan

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#6
I might have a different mix then yours (from the EP), since the first "Hey" is alone with reverb. I checked it with audacity, zoomed in and out and i don't see any waveform that resembles another faint echo of "hey". But i'll check again later today, just to make sure. If there is, then i have some work to do or change the speakers.
Thank you.
The Closer track from EP (5 tracks) should have the 2nd hey phrase after the first one. Even the Music Video from YouTube has the second “hey”. It should be a complete word “hey” that is audible and not some reverb. Do you hear the second hey before the phrase “I was doing just fine”?
 

majingotan

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#8
what I hear is the synth dubling the "heys"
Yep it’s a synth echo. It should sound from center then fade to the left channel. Not a lot of speakers can reproduce this without cranking the volume to the max
 
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#9
Yep it’s a synth echo. It should sound from center then fade to the left channel. Not a lot of speakers can reproduce this without cranking the volume to the max
I heard it on my TV speakers (which are REW corrected by the way lol). Will try tomorrow on my mains.
But anyways, stereo field is more affected by first reflection points then the speakers per se
 

majingotan

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#10
What about the (okay, I’m okay) synth part after the “I’m okay”? You should hear two okays and one I’m okay. It should be much easier to hear those two words on your TV speakers
 
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#11
What about the (okay, I’m okay) synth part after the “I’m okay”? You should hear two okays and one I’m okay. It should be much easier to hear those two words on your TV speakers
ok, that one is more intresting. I hear two very quiet "oks" which I never would hear on this TV without somebody saying they are there.
will actualy fire up my monitors for that one now

EDIT: on my TV I had the impression the hey synth fades to the right but I didn't want to say somenthing like this base on TV speakers. But my monitors seam to confirm this. also on my monitors I only hear two "oks" after "but I'm OK" which are in loudness the same related to the rest of the music.
I don't realy hear diference in perception between my TV speakers and my KRK Rokit 8. might not be high end speakers but between them and the TV speakers are worlds. my room is treated by the way

EDIT2:
got my monitors to reference level and I hear something now after the two "oks". But what I hear is a word which got cut out in the middle of it. I can clearly hear a bad cut there

this is the version I am listening to
 
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majingotan

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#12
ok, that one is more intresting. I hear two very quiet "oks" which I never would hear on this TV without somebody saying they are there.
will actualy fire up my monitors for that one now

EDIT: on my TV I had the impression the hey synth fades to the right but I didn't want to say somenthing like this base on TV speakers. But my monitors seam to confirm this. also on my monitors I only hear two "oks" after "but I'm OK" which are in loudness the same related to the rest of the music.
I don't realy hear diference in perception between my TV speakers and my KRK Rokit 8. might not be high end speakers but between them and the TV speakers are worlds. my room is treated by the way

EDIT2:
got my monitors to reference level and I hear something now after the two "oks". But what I hear is a word which got cut out in the middle of it. I can clearly hear a bad cut there

this is the version I am listening to
The 2nd **hey** part and the but I'm okay **okay, I'm okay** part are there on the video, but they're much fainter compared to the Spotify version. You should be able to hear the faint synth echoes without struggling to hear them. I listen to the Yamaha HS7 speakers which a lot of home studio YouTubers use for mixing
 
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#13
I'm not interested in the song in question, but I have to point out that being able to hear things in a track is a really poor way to judge equipment. This is often a sign that there's imbalance or undue emphasis in the speaker, not that it's super revealing.
 
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#14
I'm not interested in the song in question, but I have to point out that being able to hear things in a track is a really poor way to judge equipment. This is often a sign that there's imbalance or undue emphasis in the speaker, not that it's super revealing.
good point. I doubt the producer intended to let those things "in your face"
 

majingotan

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#15
good point. I doubt the producer intended to let those things "in your face"
No they’re not. They’re just there as easter eggs and no they’re not supposed to be reproduced in your face but fading ever so subtly. Those are just some Easter Eggs that I notice (not that those small details are not there from other speakers but to my subjective preferences a good speaker to me is that it brings my attention to notice those subtle details) after getting some decent near-field speakers and calibrated room treatment. There are more tracks out there and a good one is the orchestral section in Pink Floyd Eclipse track. The important thing is to NEVER consider this as the de facto standard for grading speakers since they’re not objective but 100% subjective and uncontrolled rather.
 

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